Category Archives: Tokens from within the City Walls

Here are listed some some of my brief reseach notes on a random selection of 17th century tokens that were issued by tradesmen living within the old walls of the City of London .

The Golden Cross in Chancery Lane

A farthing token issued in the name of the Gold Cross in Chancery Lane, London

A farthing token issued in the name of the Gold Cross in Chancery Lane, London

The above copper farthing token measures 15.7 mm and weighs 1.05 grams. It was issued by a tradesman (most likely to have been a tavern keeper) operating from premises at or by the sign of the Golden Cross in Chancery Lane in the Farringdon Without Ward of the City of London.

The design of the token may be formally described as follows;

Obverse: (star) F.W.AT.THE.GOLDEN.CROS, around twisted wire inner circle, within is a cross pattée.

Reverse: (star) IN. CHANCERY.LANE, around twisted wire inner circle, within a triad of initials comprising F | .W. | .A , plus a central dot below the “W”.

There is nothing on the token to indicate the date of its issue. However, it is likely that it belongs to the period 1650 to 1660.

This token has a small drilled piercing through the “H” of the word “Chancery” on the token’s reverse legend. This may be a cancellation mark, a deliberate defacement indicating that the token had been made worthless. It has been postulated that such defacing cancellation marks were applied to the tokens in 1672 when they were made illegal by Royal proclamation , or at the death of the issuer or closure of their business.

The location of Chancery Lane, London (c.1720)

The location of Chancery Lane, London (c.1720)

The sign of the Golden Cross was a common London tavern sign so it is possible that this token was used in such a named establishment in Chancery Lane. It is possible that the use of this sign may have derived from a particular site having earlier religious origins.

The initials of the couple that traded from the Golden Cross at the time the token was issued, a Mr. “F.W” and his wife Mrs.” A.W.” have not as yet been positively identified. There were eight individuals living in Chancery Lane at the time of the 1666 Hearth Tax with surnames beginning with “W”. Any one of these may or may not be related to the token’s original issuers. By 1666 the original token issuers may have moved out of the lane or may even have died. Two of those individuals identified from the Hearth Tax returns have initials which directly fit with those of one of the issuers identified in the token’s reverse triad of initials. These two individual are;

  • Francis Ward – paid tax on a premises with 10 hearths
  • Anne Walford – paid tax on a premises with 10 hearths

The first of these named individuals could very possibly be the same man referred to in the triad of initials on the token’s reverse. The second individual could equally be the wife of the original token issuer who was still trading in the lane after the death of her husband. In both of the above cases the number of hearths mentioned (i.e. 10) fits well with the named individuals occupying a good-sized tavern of the period.

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Ralph Lucas at the White Bear in Abchurch Lane

A half penny token issued in the name of the White Bear Tavern in Abchurch  Lane

A half penny token issued in the name of the White Bear Tavern in Abchurch Lane

The above brass half penny token measures 19.3 mm and weighs 2.08 grams. It was issued in 1665 in the name of Ralph Lucas of The White Bear Tavern in Abchurch Lance in the Candlewick Ward of the City of London. The design of the token may be formally described as follows;

Obverse: (rosette) RALPH. LVCAS.AT.THE.WHIT, around twisted wire inner circle, within is a depiction of a bear on all fours paws walking left wearing a collar and waist harness.

Reverse: (rosette) IN. ABCHVRCH.LANE.1665, around twisted wire inner circle, legend within three lines reads HIS / HALF / PENY.

location of the White Bear Tavern and Later Pontack's in Abchurch Lane. Taken from John Ogilby & William Morgan’s 1676 Map of the City of London

The approximate location of the White Bear Tavern and Later Pontack’s in Abchurch Lane. Taken from John Ogilby & William Morgan’s 1676 Map of the City of London

A Ralph Lucas is recorded in the “Lane Syde” part of Abchurch Lane in the 1666 Hearth Tax returns. He is recorded as occupying a property with 5 hearths. This was almost certainly a reference to the White Bear Tavern. By September of that same year the tavern, like all the other properties in Abchurch Lane was consumed by the Great Fire of London. The lane was re-built over the following three years but it appears that Ralph Lucas did not return to resurrect the White Bear. Instead the approximate site of the old tavern was used for a new establishment which traded under the sign of “Pontack’s Head”.

The new proprietor, of what was to become one of the city’s most fashionable eating houses, was François-Auguste Pontac, the son of Lord Arnaud de Pontac who was the parliamentary president of Bordeaux.

Arnaud de Pontac (1599-1681)

Arnaud de Pontac (1599-1681)

François-Auguste use his newly established French Ordinary(1) as an outlet for the celebrated wines from his family’s vineyards, particularly those from the estate of Château Haut-Brion in Bordeaux. It was a sign board depicting his father’s image which he chose to hang outside his new premises. The diarist John Evelyn was a regular at Pontack’s and in his diary entry for 13th July 1683 he wrote this of his host;

“I had this day much discourse with Monsieur Pontaq, son of the famous and wise prime President of Bordeaux. This gentleman was owner of excellent vignoble of Pontaq and Obrien, from whence comes the choicest of our Bordeaux wines; and I think I may truly say of him, what was not so truly said of St. Paul, that much learning had made him mad. He spoke in all languages , was very rich, had a handsome person, and was well bred; about forty five years of age.”

Pontack’s Head was famous for its French cuisine and excellent wines. The fashion for such new French cookery was not to the tastes of all Londoners and many retained an insular contempt for such new fashions. However, amongst those who could afford it and who were more adventurous in their eating habits it was a great hit and could possibly be described as the capital’s first trendy and exclusive French Wine Bar.

Thomas Rowlandson's satirical depiction of "A French Ordinary" where dead cats and "slops" are all on the menu.

Thomas Rowlandson’s satirical depiction of “A French Ordinary” where dead cats and “slops” are all on the menu.

A French refugee in London writing in 1693 took pride in the fact that where it was difficult to obtain a good meal elsewhere “those who would dine at one or two guineas per head are handsomely accommodated at our famous Pontack’s”

Amongst those who frequented Pontack’s were such personalities such as John Evelyn, Jonathan Swift, Daniel Defoe, John Locke and Sir Christopher Wren. It was also to become the location where Fellows of the Royal Society held their annual dinner until 1746. As a fellow of the Royal Society from 1665 and as its president from 1684 to 1686 it is almost certain that the famous diarist Samuel Pepys would have visited at Pontack’s. A further well-known diner at Pontack’s is believed to have been the artist William Hogarth. Hogarth even paid Pontac a dubious compliment in his third scene from “The Rakes Progress” series.

The room of this boisterous scene is adorned with pictures of Roman Emperors, one of which has been removed to make way for a portrait of Pontac. One contemporary of Hogarth commented on Pontac as follows ” an eminent French cook, whose great talents being turned to heightening sensual, rather than mental enjoyments, has a much better chance of a votive offering from this company, than would either Vespasian or Trajan.” Such advertisements, were no doubt all to the good for Pontack’s and its proprietor’s reputation.

William Hogarth's A Rake's Progress: The Rake at the Rose Tavern (1734)

William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress: The Rake at the Rose Tavern (1734)

It is not clear when François-Auguste Pontac died. However in January 1735, there is a reference to a Mrs. Susannah Austin;”who lately kept Pontack’s, and had acquired a considerable fortune” prior to marrying the banker William Pepys of Lombard Street.

Notes:

1) An Ordinary was a term used to describe a tavern or eating house which served regular meals.

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The King’s Head at Chancery Lane End

A farthing token issued in the name of the King's Head Tavern on the corner of Chancery Lane and Fleet Street, London

A farthing token issued in the name of the King’s Head Tavern on the corner of Chancery Lane and Fleet Street, London

The above copper farthing token measures 16.1 mm and weighs 1.63 grams. It was issued in the name of The King’s Head Tavern which was located on the corner of Chancery Lane and Fleet Street in the City of London.

The design of the token may be formally described as follows;

Obverse: .THE.KINGS.HEAD.TAVERNE , around the central depiction of a the facing head and shoulders of King Henry VIII.
Reverse: .AT.CHANCERY.LANE.END. , around a triad of initials comprising T | .K. | .A

The King’s Head is first recorded in 1472. It was one of the forty permitted taverns (as opposed to inns or the later introduced “ordinaries”) fully licensed to operate within London under an Act passed in 1553. From his diary entries (1663-69) we know that Samuel Pepys was familiar with at least 10 of these earlier listed taverns including the King’s Head. Despite the fact that his travels to and from the Navy Office and Whitehall would have taken him past the King’s Head on a regular basis Pepys only records two visits to the tavern during the six years he was writing his diary.  These are reproduced (in part) below.  The reference may be to a separate establishment of the same name in a different part of the city as Pepys refers to the establishment as an “ordinary” as opposed to a tavern. There were discreet differences between taverns, inns and ordinaries and it is doubtful that Pepys would have confused the two definitions. The King’s Head at the southern end of Chancery Lane was a well-known city tavern and land mark.

21th June 1665

“Up and to White Hall with Sir J. Minnes, and to the Committee of Tangier, where my Lord Treasurer was, the first and only time he ever was there, and did promise us £15,000. for Tangier and no more, which will be short. But if I can pay Mr. Andrews all his money I care for no more, and the bills of Exchange. Thence with Mr. Povy and Creed below to a new chamber of Mr. Povy’s, very pretty, and there discourse about his business, not to his content, but with the most advantage I could to him, and Creed also did the like. Thence with Creed to the King’s Head, and there dined with him at the ordinary, and good sport with one Mr. Nicholls, a prating coxcombe, that would be thought a poet, but would not be got to repeat any of his verses. Thence I home, and there find my wife’s brother and his wife, a pretty little modest woman, where they dined with my wife.”

2nd April 1668

“Thence with Lord Brouncker to the Royall Society, where they were just done; but there I was forced to subscribe to the building of a College, and did give £40.; and several others did subscribe, some greater and some less sums; but several I saw hang off: and I doubt it will spoil the Society, for it breeds faction and ill-will, and becomes burdensome to some that cannot, or would not, do it. Here, to my great content, I did try the use of the Otacousticon, —[Ear trumpet.]— which was only a great glass bottle broke at the bottom, putting the neck to my eare, and there I did plainly hear the dashing of the oares of the boats in the Thames to Arundell gallery window, which, without it, I could not in the least do, and may, I believe, be improved to a great height, which I am mighty glad of. Thence with Lord Brouncker and several of them to the King’s Head Taverne by Chancery Lane, and there did drink and eat and talk, and, above the rest, I did hear of Mr. Hooke and my Lord an account of the reason of concords and discords in musique, which they say is from the equality of vibrations; but I am not satisfied in it, but will at my leisure think of it more, and see how far that do go to explain it. So late at night home with Mr. Colwell, and parted, and I to the office, and then to Sir W. Pen to confer with him, and Sir R. Ford and Young, about our St. John Baptist prize, and so home, without more supper to bed, my family being now little by the departure of my wife and two maids.”

The location of the King's Head Tavern on the corner of Chancery Lane and Fleet Street, London (c.1720)

The location of the King’s Head Tavern on the corner of Chancery Lane and Fleet Street, London (c.1720)

Three separate sets of tokens (two farthings and a half penny) were issued in the name of the King’s Head tavern by three successive landlords. Each of these sets of tokens carries the initials of their respective issuers. While none of the tokens  are dated it is possible to arrange them in a chronological issuing sequence as their respective issuers have been identified and their tenancies approximately date as follows;

T.K. & A.K. – Thomas Kent and his wife (Anne?) who ran the tavern from 1630 to 1660

L.W. & H.M. – The partnership of Lewis Wilson and Henry Morris who ran the tavern between 1660 to c.1662. After which Henry Morris appears to have left the partnership.

W.M. & K.M. – William Mart and his wife (Katherine?) who ran the tavern between 1666 to 1682. Prior to this the couple had run the Queen’s Head in Fleet Street where they also issued trade tokens.

The farthing token illustrated above is one of those issued during the tenancy of Thomas Kent and his wife. This is indicated by the triad of issuers’ initials displayed on its reverse side. Thomas Kent’s name first appears in the St. Dunstan’s list of vintners in 1630 and remains on it until 1660. In the Lambeth Tithes list of 1638 his rent is accessed as £70. A poll list of 1660 includes a reference “Mr. Thomas Kent, vintner, has been warden“. In a further parish list of the same year Kent’s name is replaced by those of Henry Morris and Lewis Wilson (1).

According to one reference only the first and second floors of the ancient four-story building on the corner of Fleet Street and Chancery Lane were devoted to housing the King’s Head tavern. Amongst other rooms the tavern possessed a dedicated dining room plus a music room (2). The Hearth Tax return for Fleet Street in 1666 indicates that during the tenancy of William Mart the King’s Head possessed 20 hearths.. The building’s ground floor housed shops. One was a grocery which was run by the father of the famous 17th century poet Abraham Cowley another a book shop run by Thomas Maxey from where he printed and sold the first edition of Izaak Walton’s “Complete Angler”. Luckily for all the tradesmen that operated from this ancient building the Great Fire of London (1666) stopped just short of its location on Fleet Street.

During Samuel Pepys’ time the King’s Head tavern was known as a “Protestant House”. Between c.1675 and 1683 it was the meeting place of the Green Ribbon Club (3) . This notorious group comprised lawyers, city politicians, and MPs alarmed by what they perceived to be a drift towards “popery” and arbitrary government under King Charles II together with the prospect of Charles’ brother, the Duke of York (later King James II), inheriting the throne.  The club took its name from the green ribbons which its members wore in their hats and which subsequently proved to be a useful means of recognition in street brawls. The choice of this emblematic badge was derived from the similar ribbons attached to the clothes worn by the Levellers. The Levellers were a pre-eminent political group that rose to prominence during the English Civil Wars and which had a significant following with Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army as well as within the general populace of the city of London. Many of the club’s members had extreme protestant views and were supporters of Titus Oates and his anti-Catholic rantings. They were also associated with the Rye House Plot and the Duke of Monmouth’s rebellion. According to the playwright John Dryden, drinking was the chief attraction of the club and the members talked and organized sedition over their cups.

Prior to 1679 the club’s had been known as the King’s Head Club, after the tavern where they met. The tavern’s trade sign depicted of the head of King Henry VIII (as per that used on its tokens). As Henry was Britain’s first protestant ruler it made this already well-known Fleet Street tavern the ideal meeting place and emblematic home of the club.

Included amongst the club’s most notable members were the Duke of Monmouth, the Earl of Halifax, the 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury. The latter famously harangued Samuel Pepys, during his early parliamentary career, accusing him of being a Roman-catholic in an attempt to undermine him.

In 1680 and 1681 the club organised pope-burning processions on the anniversary dates of Queen Elizabeth I’s accession to the throne. These ended by the lighting of huge bonfires in front of the King’s Head tavern and proved an effective means of inflaming the religious passions of the populace.

William Hogarth's depiction of a street celebration in April 1653 outside the King's Head tavern in Fleet Street applauding the dissolution of the Rump Parliment by Oliver Cromwell.

William Hogarth’s depiction of a street celebration in April 1653 outside the King’s Head tavern in Fleet Street applauding the dissolution of the Rump Parliament by Oliver Cromwell.

A near contemporary image of Fleet Street looking west towards Temple Bar Gate can be found in an engraving by William Hogarth. The vantage point for this view is at, or very close to, the street frontage of the King’s Head tavern. This image was commissioned as part of a set of prints to illustrate an issue of Samuel Butlers poem “Hudibras”. The content of the print is that of a street protest against the “Rump Parliament” which was dissolved by Oliver Cromwell on 20th April 1653. Its depicts members of the public roasting rump steaks on an open bonfire together with full size effigies of members of parliament being hung from shop front signs. This possibly fictitious scene will know doubt have resembled the actual events which took place outside the King’s Head tavern in 1680 and 1681 when the Green Ribbon Club’s pope-burning processions reached their climactic finale.

In the late 17th century Robert Hooke and other fellows of the Royal Society are noted by one source (4) to have regularly met at the King’s Head Tavern. As President of the society from 1684 to 1686 Samuel Pepys was probably amongst those notable members who attended such meetings. No doubt the meetings of the Royal Society members were less rowdy and quieter affairs than the earlier meetings of the Green Ribbon Club.

A late 18th century painting of the building which once housed the King's Head Tavern

A late 18th century painting of the building which once housed the King’s Head Tavern (by William Alexander 1767-1816).

 A late 18th century image of the building is preserved in a picture by the artist William Alexander. The tavern’s distinctive trade sign, which depicted the head of King Henry VIII, is no-longer visible in this picture which confirms its was painted after the tavern had ceased to operate. The tavern was demolished in 1799 af the widening of Chancery Lane (2). Today the site of its original location is occupied by George Attenborough & Son (jewellers at 193 Fleet Street).

References:

1) Berry, G. – Tavern Tokens of Pepy’s London. (London, 1978).

2) Wheatley, H.B – London: Past and Present: Its History, Associations and Traditions. (London, 1891).

3) Shelley, H.C. – Inns and Taverns of Old London. (London, 1909).

4) Jungnickel, C. & MacCormmach, R. – Cavendish. (Philadelphia, 1996).

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Edward Shrawley at The Crown in Creechurch Lane

A penny token issued in the name of Edward Shrawley of Creechurch Lane, London

A penny token issued in the name of Edward Shrawley of Creechurch Lane, London

The above copper penny token measures 24.1 mm and weighs 4.95 grams. It was issued in 1669 in the name of Edward Shrawley who operated his business at the sign of the Crown in Creechurch Lance in the Aldgate Ward of the City of London. The design of the token may be formally described as follows;

Obverse: (rosette) EDWARD. SHRAWLEY . AT . YE . CROWN , around twisted wire inner circle, a crown within.

Reverse: (rosette) IN. CEEECHVRCH . LANE . 1669, around twisted wire inner circle, legend within three lines reads HIS / (rosette) I D (rosette) plus triad below comprising E |(rosette) S (rosette) | (rosette) I.

A similar design of half penny token is also recorded with the issue date of 1666.

Creechurch Lane, Aldgate Ward, London (c.1720)

Creechurch Lane, Aldgate Ward, London (c.1720)

Based on a review of surviving London parish registers plus the apprenticeship registers of the Worshipful Company of Vintners it appears highly likely that Edward Shrawley was born in 1644 and baptised on 3rd November of that same year in the church of St. Mary at Hill, Billingsgate . His parents were Thomas and Sarah Shrawley. Thomas Shrawley was a grocer and citizen of London.

At the age of fifteen Edward was bound apprentice by his father to Brian Appleby, a London Vintner. It is likely that Edward served a typical seven-year apprenticeship before gaining his freedom and becoming a Vintner in his own right at the age of twenty-two.

Edward obviously had ambitions and a new what he wanted from life. Within less than a year of striking out on his own he was married and within three years it appears he was the proprietor of the Crown (we must assume a tavern) in Chreechurch Lane in the Aldgate Ward of the city of London.

On 4th April 1666/7 the parish register of St. James Dukes Place show Edward marrying Josinah Minshull. The initial I/J in the triad of issuers’ initials on the above token’s reverse is obviously that of his wife’s christian name.

A year after their marriage Edward and Josinah had their first child, a son who was baptised Edward at the neighbouring church of St. Katherine Cree, located on the corner of Leadenhall Street and Creechurch Lane. This part of the city was spared from destruction during the Great Fire of London in early September of 1666 and property prices and associated rents in the area at this time must have been at premium levels.

In 1681 Edward and Josinah had a second son. He again was baptised as Edward at the parish church of St. Katherine Cree. In the parish register the baby’s farther is recorded as Captain Edward Shrawley. It is possible that Edward had become a member of the local city militia or “trained bands”. As will become apparent later this is a title that Edward appears proud to have used until at least the early 1683.

The Parish Church of St Katharine Cree at the junction of Chreechurch Lane and Leadenhall Street in the Aldgate Ward of the city.

The Parish Church of St Katharine Cree at the junction of Chreechurch Lane and Leadenhall Street in the Aldgate Ward of the city.

A copy of Edward Shrawley’s Last Will and Testimony exists in the collections of the Metropolitan Archives and Guildhall Library (London) and is dated 6th August 1690. The cover of the Will bears the note that it had passed probate by 5th February 1694/5. His Will confirms the name of his wife still as Josinah, and his profession as a London vintner. It also confirms the then existence of two surviving children, a son Edward and a daughter Martha.

The signature and seal of Edward Shrawley, taken from his Last Will & Testimony of 6th August 1690.

The signature and seal of Edward Shrawley, taken from his Last Will & Testimony of 6th August 1690.

As yet the current writer has found no references to a Crown Tavern in Creechurch Lane or any reference to Edward Shrawley in the city Hearth Tax returns of the 1660s. In the 18th century there is a recorded trade sign in Creechurch Lane of “Three Sugar Loaves and Crown” which may have been related to a nearby Crown Tavern? To the south-west of Creechurch Lane on the southern side of Leadenhall Street (see location 20 on the above plan) there was a “Crown Tavern” but again there is no reference to a Mr. Shrawley in that street in the Hearth Tax returns of the 1660s.

Over the course of his career Edward took on apprentices of his own. At least two indentures exist prepared under the seal of The Worshipful Company of Vintners and dated 1672 and 1674 contracting two separate boys to the terms of seven and eight years respectively as apprentices to Edward Shrawley.

A vintner by the name Edward Shrawley was buried in St. Saviours parish church in Southwark on 2nd November 1694. Given the deceased stated profession in the burial register plus the close proximity of his burial date compared to the probate date on the Will of Edward Shrawley the token issuer, we must assume they are one and the same person and that Edward died a day short of his fiftieth birthday.

According to the apprenticeship records of the Worshipful Company of Vintners, Edward Shrawley’s surviving son, Edward, followed in his farther’s footsteps. Two years after his father’s death young Edward was bound as an apprentice to Thomas Harris, a London vintner.

It is not clear what became of Josinah after Edward’s death. However, listings exist of a widow Shrawley living in the district of Cripplegate Within in 1703 and 1704 and a further record of the burial of a Mrs. Josina Shrawley at All Saints Church, Edmonton. It is almost certain that the latter was Edward’s widow as there is a least one other know link between the Shrawley family and this area of Middlesex. In the churchyard of what was once Weld Chapel, a former chapel of ease to the church of All Saints, Edmonton and now the site of Christ Church, Southgate, can be found the grave marker illustrated below. It records the death of Rebecca Shrawley, the daughter of Captain Edward Shrawley, who died on the 9th September 1683, at the age of 4 months and 6 days. It appears that the Shrawley family has strong connections with the Edmonton area and may even have had a second home there. It was not uncommon in the 17th century for wealthier trades and business men to have a second home in rural Middlesex within easy communication with the city.

The 1683 grave marker of Rebecca Shrawley in the churchyard of Chrish Church, Southgate, Middlesex.

The 1683 grave marker of Rebecca Shrawley in the churchyard of Christ Church, Southgate, Middlesex.

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Daniel Burry of Cousin Lane

A farthing token issued in the names of Daniel Burry of Cousin Lane, London

A farthing token issued in the names of Daniel Burry of Cousin Lane, London

The above copper farthing token measures 15.9 mm and weighs 0.76 grams. It was issued in the name of Daniel Burry of Cousin Lane, Dowgate. Cousin Lane was located in the Dowgate Ward of the city and ran off the south side of Thames Street down to a slip way and wharf on the River Thames. This lane formed the western boundary of Steelyard (or Steel / Still Yard) and was located in an area containing several warehouses and goods storage yards all of which backed onto the north bank of the River Thames.

The design of the token may be formally described as follows;

Obverse: .DAN . BURRY WOODMVNGR , around twisted wire inner circle, depiction of four barred gate within.

Reverse: .CVZEN LANE . AT . DOWGAT, around twisted wire inner circle, a triad within reads D|.B.|M below (.)

On stylistic grounds this farthing token appears to date from the mid 1650s t0 the early 1660s.

Cousin Lane from John Ogilby & William Morgan's 1676 Map of the City of London

Cousin Lane from John Ogilby & William Morgan’s 1676 Map of the City of London

Daniel Burry (or possibly Berry) was a woodmunger, or domestic fuel (i.e. wood and coal) salesman. He probably traded at the sign of the gate in the terrace row which ran along Cousin Lane and backed onto Dowgate Dock. The properties on the eastern side of Cousin lane backed onto Steel Yard. In the 1662 Hearth Tax returns his property is listed as having 5 hearths.

On 2nd September 1666 this area of the city was destroyed during the first morning of the Great Fire of London. In the first of his famous diary entries (reproduced in part below) which document the progress of the fire  Samuel Pepys described its progress that first morning and how he witnessed it engulf the warehouses and storage yards in the vicinity of Steel Yard. These contained a plethora of combustible goods including, brandy and spirits, rope and cord, tallow and wax, wool and cloth, pitch and tar plus coal and (in the case of our particular token issuer) wood.

(Lord’s day). Some of our mayds sitting up late last night to get things ready against our feast to-day, Jane called us up about three in the morning, to tell us of a great fire they saw in the City. So I rose and slipped on my nightgowne, and went to her window, and thought it to be on the backside of Marke-lane at the farthest; but, being unused to such fires as followed, I thought it far enough off; and so went to bed again and to sleep. About seven rose again to dress myself, and there looked out at the window, and saw the fire not so much as it was and further off. So to my closett to set things to rights after yesterday’s cleaning. By and by Jane comes and tells me that she hears that above 300 houses have been burned down to-night by the fire we saw, and that it is now burning down all Fish-street, by London Bridge. So I made myself ready presently, and walked to the Tower, and there got up upon one of the high places, Sir J. Robinson’s little son going up with me; and there I did see the houses at that end of the bridge all on fire, and an infinite great fire on this and the other side the end of the bridge; which, among other people, did trouble me for poor little Michell and our Sarah on the bridge. So down, with my heart full of trouble, to the Lieutenant of the Tower, who tells me that it begun this morning in the King’s baker’s house in Pudding-lane, and that it hath burned St. Magnus’s Church and most part of Fish-street already. So I down to the water-side, and there got a boat and through bridge, and there saw a lamentable fire. Poor Michell’s house, as far as the Old Swan, already burned that way, and the fire running further, that in a very little time it got as far as the Steeleyard, while I was there. Everybody endeavouring to remove their goods, and flinging into the river or bringing them into lighters that layoff; poor people staying in their houses as long as till the very fire touched them, and then running into boats, or clambering from one pair of stairs by the water-side to another. And among other things, the poor pigeons, I perceive, were loth to leave their houses, but hovered about the windows and balconys till they were, some of them burned, their wings, and fell down. Having staid, and in an hour’s time seen the fire: rage every way, and nobody, to my sight, endeavouring to quench it, but to remove their goods, and leave all to the fire, and having seen it get as far as the Steele-yard, and the wind mighty high and driving it into the City; and every thing, after so long a drought, proving combustible, even the very stones of churches…..”

The neighbourhood of Steel Yard on the north bank of the River Thames, London. (c.1540).

The neighbourhood of Steel Yard on the north bank of the River Thames, London. (c.1540).

After the Great Fire it appears that Daniel Burry re-built his property in Cousin Lane and is recorded as having paid for the staking out of foundations associated with the re-building of at least four other properties in the vicinity of Dowgate. The receipts, each for 6s and 8d, for staking out these various properties were received from Daniel Burry by the city authorities on the following dates;

  1. Cozen (Cousin) Lane, near Dowgate – 14th December 1667
  2. Dowgate Hill, at ye west Corner Hill – 7th April 1668
  3. Dowgate Hill, at ye west Corner Hill – 7th April 1668
  4. Dowgate Hill, east side – 4th September 1668
  5. Dowgate Hill, east side – 4th September 1668

The last four of these foundations were surveyed by the famous Robert Hooke under his post Great Fire role of Surveyor of the City of London.

No further information has yet come to light regarding Daniel Burry or his wife (possibly Margaret or Mary) or business post the Great Fire although the present writer has been discovered a burial register entry, dated 23rd February 1698, for a Daniel Burry in the parish registers of All-Hallows-the-Great. This church was situated on Thames Street just east of Steel Yard. It was one of the many parish churches re-built by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire. This church would almost certainly have been that to which Daniel Burry, the woodmunger of Cousin Lane from the 1650s and 60s, would have attended.

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The Hercules Pillars in Fleet Street

A farthing token issued in the name of The Hercules Pillars in Fleet Street, London

A farthing token issued in the name of The Hercules Pllars in Fleet Street, London

The above brass farthing token measures 15.8 mm and weighs 0.93 grams. It was issued in the name of The Hercules Pillars Tavern in Fleet Street, London.

The design of the token may be formally described as follows;

Obverse: (star) THE.HERCVLVS.PILLERS , around twisted wire inner circle, depiction of Hercules with a rope wrapped around his waist pushing against two pillars.
Reverse: (star) IN.FLEET.STREETE.WESTMINSTER , around twisted wire inner circle, triad I /. S . / .M within.

Stylistically this undated farting token probably dates to the mid 1650s and was probably struck by David Rammage at the Tower Mint. The initials of the couple that ran The Hercules Pillars at the time this token was issued (i.e. Mr. “J (or I).M” and his wife Mrs.”S.M.”) have not been positively identified although one researcher has proposed that those of the landlord belong to a Mr. John Symons.

From c.1657 to at least 1666 The Hercules Pillars tavern was run by Edward Oldham who issued his own half penny token in the names of himself and his wife. stylistically this later token appears to date to the mid 1660s. In the 1666 Hearth Tax return the tavern appears to have 17 hearths.

The location of Hercules Pillar Alley off the south side of Fleet Street from John Ogilby & William Morgan’s 1676 Map of the City of London

The location of Hercules Pillar Alley off the south side of Fleet Street from John Ogilby & William Morgan’s 1676 Map of the City of London

The Hercules Pillars was built-in the time of King James I and was a tavern of great repute in the 17th century with lovers of good living. It stood at the head of Hercules Pillar Alley on the south side of Fleet Street, south-west of St. Dunstan’s Church and north of Temple Churchyard. In John Strype‘s Survey of London (1720) he describes Hercules Pillars Alley as;

“Hercules Pillars Alley, but narrow, and altogether inhabited by such as keep Public Houses for Entertainment, for which it is of Note.”

In a letter of advice to a foreigner visiting England in 1679 the philosopher John Loche sates the following on the subject of “the home made ales of England”;

“There are also several sorts of compound ales, as cock-ale, wormwood-ale, lemon-ale, scurvy-grass-ale, colledge-ale etc. These are to be had at Hercules’ Pillars, near the Temple.”

The Hercules Pillars tavern was a popular haunt of Samuel Pepys . He mentions it in 26 separate entries in his famous diaries. These entries are listed chronologically below.

11th October 1660

“Here, in the Park, we met with Mr. Salisbury, who took Mr. Creed and me to the Cockpitt to see “The Moore of Venice,” which was well done. Burt acted the Moore; ‘by the same token, a very pretty lady that sat by me, called out, to see Desdemona smothered. From thence with Mr. Creed to Hercules Pillars, where we drank and so parted, and I went home.”

30th October 1660

“In the afternoon, to ease my mind, I went to the Cockpit all alone, and there saw a very fine play called “The Tamer Tamed;” very well acted. That being done, I went to Mr. Crew’s, where I had left my boy, and so with him and Mr. Moore (who would go a little way with me home, as he will always do) to the Hercules Pillars to drink, where we did read over the King’s declaration in matters of religion, which is come out to-day, which is very well penned, I think to the satisfaction of most people.”

4th January 1660/61

“After dinner Mr. Moore and I to the Theatre, where was “The Scornful Lady,” acted very well, it being the first play that ever he saw. Thence with him to drink a cup of ale at Hercules Pillars, and so parted.”

30th July 1661

“So in Fleet Street I met with Mr. Salisbury, who is now grown in less than two years’ time so great a limner (i.e. a portrait painter or book illuminator) that he is become excellent, and gets a great deal of money at it. I took him to Hercules Pillars to drink, and there came Mr. Whore (whom I formerly have known), a friend of his to him, who is a very ingenious fellow, and there I sat with them a good while, and so home …..”

27th March 1663

“Thence I to the Exchequer again, and thence with Creed into Fleet Street, and calling at several places about business; in passing, at the Hercules pillars he and I dined though late, and thence with one that we found there, a friend of Captain Ferrers I used to meet at the playhouse, they would have gone to some gameing house, but I would not but parted, and staying a little in Paul’s Churchyard, at the foreign Bookseller’s looking over some Spanish books….”

29th October 1663

“…Being wearied with looking upon a company of ugly women, Creed and I went away, and took coach and through Cheapside, and there saw the pageants, which were very silly, and thence to the Temple, where meeting Greatorex, he and we to Hercules Pillars, there to show me the manner of his going about of draining of fenns, which I desired much to know, but it did not appear very satisfactory to me, as he discoursed it, and I doubt he will faile in it. Thence I by coach home….”

21st June 1667

“Thence homewards, calling at my Tailor’s to bespeak some coloured clothes, and thence to Hercules Pillars, all alone, and there spent 6d. on myself, and so home and busy all the morning. At noon to dinner, home….”

6th February 1667/68

“At last I did find my wife staying for me in the entry; and with her was Betty Turner, Mercer, and Deb. So I got a coach, and a humour took us, and I carried them to Hercules Pillars, and there did give them a kind of a supper of about 7s., and very merry, and home round the town, not through the ruines; and it was pretty how the coachman by mistake drives us into the ruines from London-wall into Coleman Street: and would persuade me that I lived there.”

20th April 1668

“Thence with Creed, thinking, but failed, of dining with Lord Crew, and so he and I to Hercules Pillars, and there dined, and thence home by coach….”

22nd April 1668

“Up, and all the morning at my office busy. At noon, it being washing day, I toward White Hall, and stopped and dined all alone at Hercules Pillars, where I was mighty pleased to overhear a woman talk to her counsel how she had troubled her neighbours with law, and did it very roguishly and wittily.”

28th April 1668

“Thence with Creed to Hercules Pillars by the Temple again, and there dined he and I all alone, and thence to the King’s house….”

1st May 1668

“Thence I by coach to the Temple, and there set him down, and then to Sir G. Carteret’s to dine, but he not being at home, I back again to the New Exchange a little, and thence back again to Hercules Pillars, and there dined all alone, and then to the King’s playhouse, and there saw “The Surprizall…”

2nd May 1668

“At noon with Lord Brouncker in his coach as far as the Temple, and there ‘light and to Hercules Pillars, and there dined, and thence to the Duke of York’s playhouse, at a little past twelve, to get a good place in the pit……”

13th May 1668

“Thence, at noon, to Hercules Pillars, and there dined all alone, and so to White Hall, some of us attended the Duke of York…”

23rd June 1668

“So I away with my wife and Deb., whom I left at Unthanke’s, and so to Hercules Pillars, and there we three supped on cold powdered beef, and thence home and in the garden walked a good while with Deane, talking well of the Navy miscarriages and faults. So home to bed.”

31st August 1668

“Up, and to my office, there to set my journal for all the last week, and so by water to Westminster to the Exchequer, and thence to the Swan, and there drank and did baiser la fille there, and so to the New Exchange and paid for some things, and so to Hercules Pillars, and there dined all alone, while I sent my shoe to have the heel fastened at Wotton’s, and thence to White Hall to the Treasury chamber, where did a little business, and thence to the Duke of York’s playhouse…..”

9th November 1668

“So I staid about the Court a little while, and then to look for a dinner, and had it at Hercules-Pillars, very late, all alone, costing me 10d. And so to the Excise Office, thinking to meet Sir Stephen Fox and the Cofferer….”

18th November 1668

“Lay long in bed talking with my wife, she being unwilling to have me go abroad, saying and declaring herself jealous of my going out for fear of my going to Deb., which I do deny, for which God forgive me, for I was no sooner out about noon but I did go by coach directly to Somerset House, and there enquired among the porters there for Dr. Allbun, and the first I spoke with told me he knew him, and that he was newly gone into Lincoln’s Inn Fields, but whither he could not tell me, but that one of his fellows not then in the way did carry a chest of drawers thither with him, and that when he comes he would ask him. This put me into some hopes, and I to White Hall, and thence to Mr. Povy’s, but he at dinner, and therefore I away and walked up and down the Strand between the two turnstiles, hoping to see her out of a window, and then employed a porter, one Osbeston, to find out this Doctor’s lodgings thereabouts, who by appointment comes to me to Hercules pillars, where I dined alone, but tells me that he cannot find out any such, but will enquire further.”

23rd November 1668

“Thence with W. Hewer, who goes up and down with me like a jaylour, but yet with great love and to my great good liking, it being my desire above all things to please my wife therein. I took up my wife and boy at Unthank’s, and from there to Hercules Pillars, and there dined, and thence to our upholster’s, about some things more to buy, and so to see our coach, and so to the looking-glass man’s, by the New Exchange, and so to buy a picture for our blue chamber chimney, and so home…”

9th December 1668

“This done, and having spent 6d. in ale in the coach, at the door of the Bull Inn, with the innocent master of the house, a Yorkshireman, for his letting us go through his house, we away to Hercules Pillars, and there eat a bit of meat: and so, with all speed, back to the Duke of York’s house, where mighty full again; but we come time enough to have a good place in the pit, and did hear this new play again….”

20th January 1668/69

“Thence to my wife at Unthanke’s, and with her and W. Hewer to Hercules Pillars, calling to do two or three things by the way, and there dined, and thence to the Duke of York’s house, and saw “Twelfth Night,” as it is now revived; but, I think, one of the weakest plays that ever I saw on the stage.”

10th February 1668/69

“Up, and with my wife and W. Hewer, she set us down at White Hall, where the Duke of York was gone a-hunting: and so, after I had done a little business there, I to my wife, and with her to the plaisterer’s at Charing Cross, that casts heads and bodies in plaister: and there I had my whole face done; but I was vexed first to be forced to daub all my face over with pomatum: but it was pretty to feel how soft and easily it is done on the face, and by and by, by degrees, how hard it becomes, that you cannot break it, and sits so close, that you cannot pull it off, and yet so easy, that it is as soft as a pillow, so safe is everything where many parts of the body do bear alike. Thus was the mould made; but when it came off there was little pleasure in it, as it looks in the mould, nor any resemblance whatever there will be in the figure, when I come to see it cast off, which I am to call for a day or two hence, which I shall long to see. Thence to Hercules Pillars, and there my wife and W. Hewer and I dined, and back to White Hall, where I staid till the Duke of York come from hunting, which he did by and by, and, when dressed, did come out to dinner; and there I waited: and he did tell me that to-morrow was to be the great day that the business of the Navy would be dis coursed of before the King and his Caball, and that he must stand on his guard, and did design to have had me in readiness by, but that upon second thoughts did think it better to let it alone, but they are now upon entering into the economical part of the Navy.”

12th February 1668/69

“….and so away vexed, and called my wife, and to Hercules Pillars, Tom and I, there dined; and here there coming a Frenchman by with his Shew, we did make him shew it us, which he did just as Lacy acts it, which made it mighty pleasant to me. So after dinner we away……”

22nd February 1668/69

“After the play done, we met with W. Batelier and W. Hewer and Talbot Pepys, and they follow us in a hackney-coach: and we all stopped at Hercules’ Pillars; and there I did give them the best supper I could, and pretty merry; and so home between eleven and twelve at night, and so to bed, mightily well pleased with this day’s work.”

21st April 1668/69

“This we were discoursing when my boy comes to tell me that his mistress was at the Gate with the coach, whither I went, and there find my wife and the whole company. So she, and Mrs. Turner, and The., and Talbot, in mine: and Joyce, W. Batelier, and I, in a hackney, to Hyde Park, where I was ashamed to be seen; but mightily pleased, though troubled, with a drunken coachman that did not remember when we come to ‘light, where it was that he took us up; but said at Hammersmith, and thither he was carrying of us when we come first out of the Park. So I carried them all to Hercules-Pillars, and there did treat them: and so, about ten at night, parted, and my wife, and I, and W. Batelier, home; and he gone, we to bed.”

30th April 1668/69

“This morning I did visit Mr. Oldenburgh, and did see the instrument for perspective made by Dr. Wren, of which I have one making by Browne; and the sight of this do please me mightily. At noon my wife come to me at my tailor’s, and I sent her home and myself and Tom dined at Hercules’ Pillars; and so about our business again, and particularly to Lilly’s, the varnisher about my prints, whereof some of them are pasted upon the boards, and to my full content. Thence to the frame-maker’s one Morris, in Long Acre, who shewed me several forms of frames to choose by, which was pretty, in little bits of mouldings, to choose by.”

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The Three Mariners in Boss Alley

A farthing token issued in the name of the Three Mariners in Boss Alley, London

A farthing token issued in the name of the Three Mariners in Boss Alley, London

The above brass farthing token measures 15.9 mm and weighs 1.17 grams. It was issued in the name of Three Mariners  in Boss Alley in 1653. The design of the token may be formally described as follows;

Obverse: (star) AT.THE 3.MARINERS, around edge. Within centre field a depiction of three sailors standing. The centre one smoking a clay pipe (?).
Reverse: (star) IN.BOSS.ALLEY.1653 , around twisted wire inner circle. Triad W | .R. | C within.

There are two alternatives for the location of Boss Alley and both lead off Thames Street. The first of these options is in Billingsgate Ward to the north of  Thames Street, east of St. Mary Hill and the south of Cross Lane. The second possibility, and the one normally accepted, is in Queenhithe Ward. This option runs off the south side of Thames Street,opposite Green Dragon Court and running parallel to Trig Lane.

Queenhithe showing the location of Boss Alley from John Ogilby & William Morgan's 1676 Map of the City of London

Queenhithe showing the location of Boss Alley from John Ogilby & William Morgan’s 1676 Map of the City of London

As yet the issuers of this farthing token , Mr. W.R. and Mrs. C.R., have not been identified. The Three Mariners was possibly a tavern. Its location between Thames Street and the north bank of the Thames, made it very accessible to passing trade moving to and from the nearby watermen’s stairs  or boat landing stage known as Trig Stairs. Here boats could be hired to cross the river or navigate to one of the many other river stairs located both up and down stream along both banks of the Thames.

The sign of the Three Mariners was common along the banks of the Thames. There are at least a dozen other examples of this sign known from 17th century London.

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Thomas Stares in the Bulwark, Tower Hill

A farthing token of Thomas Stares in the Bulwark, Tower Hill

A farthing token of Thomas Stares in the Bulwark, Tower Hill

The above copper farthing measures 15.6 mm and weighs 0.95 grams. It was issued in the name of Thomas Stares of the Bulwark, Tower Hill in 1653.

Obverse: (mullet) THOMAS STARES, around twisted wire inner circle, triad T |. S.| .E in two lines within.

Reverse: (mullet) IN.THE.BVLLWORKE , around twisted wire inner circle, 1653 with (rosette) above and below.

This token has a small radius semi-circular cut removed from its outer edge. This may be a cancellation mark, a deliberate defacement making the token worthless. It has been postulated that such cancellation marks (and others which are manifest as defacing piercings) were applied to the tokens in 1672 when they were made illegal by Royal proclamation , or at the death of the issuer or closure of their business.

The Bulwark was the outer most enclosure on the approach to the Tower of London. Formerly this area was part of Stepney. Its construction began c.1480 and its demolition began in 1668 although the shops within and/or around it are reported to have been cleared by 1666. The outer side of the Bulwark was part of Tower Hill. It was entered by Bulwark Gate and exited via Lion Gate as part of the final approach to the Tower Gate of the Tower of London.

The Tower of London (c.1600) indicating the area of the Bulwark between the Lion and the Bulwark Gates

The Tower of London (c.1600) indicating the area of the Bulwark between the Lion and the Bulwark Gates

Based on Thomas’s wife having the a fist name beginning with the letter “E” it can be assumed that the triad of initials on this token represent those of Thomas and Elizabeth Stares. There is no record of a Thomas Stares in the Hearth Tax return for London for 1660s. However, there is a Mrs. Stares (widow) recorded as paying  tax on a single hearth in the Limehouse district of Stepney in 1666. This could well be Thomas’ widow.

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Robert Redway at the Red Lion in Fetter Lane

A  half penny token of Robert Redway of Fetter Lane, London.

A half penny token of Robert Redway of Fetter Lane, London.

The above copper half penny measures 17.9 mm and weighs 1.51 grams. It was issued in the name of Robert Redway, the inn keeper at the Red Lion in Fetter Lane. Fetter Lane ran north off Fleet Street to Holborn through the ward of Farringdon Without.

Obverse: (diamond) ROBERT.REDWAY.AT.YE , around twisted wire inner circle, rampant lion left.

Reverse: (diamond) LION.IN.FETTER.LANE , around twisted wire inner circle, HIS HALFE PENY in three lines within.

Fetter  Lane district of the Farrindon Without Ward of the city of London (c.1720)

Fetter Lane district of the Farrindon Without Ward of the city of London (c.1720)

According to the Hearth Tax returns of 1666 Robert Redway lived in the Middle Precinct of Fetter Lane in a dwelling (presumably the Red Lion ) having 7 hearths. Fetter Lane was fully consumed by the Great Fire of 1666. Interestingly in the survey of building sites laid out in London after the Great Fire there are three separate plots staked out in Fetter Lane in the name of Robert Redway. The first of these was on 20th May 1667 and was adjacent to the Mercers’ Company and the Vicarage House. The second two were allotted on 8th June 1667.

According an entry attributed to Sir Thomas Blidworth (MP) in a publication by William Bedloe of 1679 (Narrative and impartial discovery of the horrid Popish Plot) separate cases of arson were discovered on both the 3rd and 4th of August 1670 in rooms belonging to of the Red Lion, an establishment run by Robert Redway in Fetter Lane.  The perpetrators of these crimes were not known but it is inferred by the publication that they were Catholic agents looking to raise the city to the ground by the setting of fires as had been suspected to have been the cause of the Great Fire of 1666.

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Anthony Poole of Foster Lane

A half penny of Anthony Poole of Foster Lane, London

A half penny of Anthony Poole of Foster Lane, London

The above copper half penny measures 20.1 mm and weighs 1.86 grams. It was issued in the name of Anthony Poole, an ironmonger, who by the emblem on his token, appears to have traded under the sign of the Nag’s Head in Foster Lane. Foster Lane ran north off Cheap Side through the Aldersgate Ward of the city and into Farringdon Ward Within. This lane was traditionally the home of the goldsmith trade in London.

Obverse: (rosette) ANTHONY. POOLE. IRONMONGR around inner circle; a nag’s head within. Behind the Nag’s head the bridle appears to be held in a gloved hand.
Reverse: (mullet) IN.FOSTER.LANE.1668 (four pellets arranged in a diamond pattern) around inner circle; HIS / HALFE / PENY in four parallel lines within central field.

It is likely that Anthony Poole traded from a plot and under a trade sign that had previously been used by Samuel Dawson prior to the destruction of Foster Lane by the Great Fire of London. Samuel Dawson issued his own half penny trade tokens under the sign of the Nag’s Head in Foster Lane in 1666.

Anthony Poole was born in 1643 and died in 1679. He was buried in the churchyard or possibly the ruins of St Leonard’s in Foster Lane. St. Leonard’s Church was destroyed in the Great Fire and never re-built. Its ruins were later used as an extension of the churchyard for burials.

St. Leonard's Church, Foster Lane before the Great Fire of 1666

St. Leonard’s Church, Foster Lane before the Great Fire of 1666

I have been unable to find any further contemporary references to Anthony Poole other than in a printed transcription of the records of Worshipful Company of Clockmakers of the City of London (1) to which guild Anthony Poole was presumably a member. In an entry for 21st February 1671/2 we find Anthony being reprimanded for having “faulty goods”, in the form of folding brass tipped wooden rules, for sale in his shop in Foster Lane.

“At a search made the 21st day of February 1671, upon and for the concerns onely of the Mathematicall instrument Makers:
Present;
Nicholas Coxeter – Master
Samuell Horne & Jeffery Bayley – Wardens
John Nicasius, John Browne, Walter Hayes, Richard Ames – Assistants

There was seized in Shopps, within the limitts of the search of the Company, of severall Tradesmen who buy and sell and severall persons who make Mathematical measures and instruments, the workes and measures hereafter particularly expressed for that they are (as the said Walter Hayes, and John Browne, who are Mathematicall Instrument Makers and carried with them the company’s standards sealed in his Majesties Exchequer to trye and prove the same, doe finde and affirme them) not agreeable to the said standards and the rules and proportions of art, but are faulty and therefore not fitt to be put to sale (vizt.)

…Of Mr. Anthony Poole, Ironmonger in Foster Lane, seized two plaine joynted two foot Rules and five plaine two foot Rules foure of them being tipped with Brasse and one untipped.

…And upon the same day the said Mr. Anthony Poole appeared at the Court then holden and being fully satisfied upon tryall and proofe by the standards that the measures which were seized from him were faulty, one of them the most faulty was then broken by him and the rest were delivered back to him upon his promise not to put them to sale till made perfect.”

References:

1) Atkins, S.E. & Overall, W.H. Some Account of the Worshipful Company of clockmakers of the City of London (London. 1881).

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