Tag Archives: token

John Empson at the sign of the Crown and Beacon in Duke’s Place

A mid-17th century token issued by John Empson of Duke's Place, London

A mid-17th century token issued by John Empson of Duke’s Place, London

The above copper half penny token measures 20.9 mm and weighs 1.34 grams. It was issued by a tradesman operating from Duke’s Place in London in the mid-17th century. Its design may be formally described as follows;

Obverse: (mullet) IOHN . EMPSON . 1667 . , around the depiction of crown or coronet above a fire beacon. A banner across the latter bears the motto NISI DOMINUS.

Reverse: (sexfoil) IN (cinquefoil) (cinquefoil) PLACE, around a twisted wire inner circle. A in three lines reads HIS / HALFE / PENY below a triad of initials reads, I| F.|A .

The token’s issue date of 1667 is clearly stated in its obverse along with the name of its issuer, John Empson. The triad of initials on the token’s reverse are those of the token issuer and his wife, whose christian name began with the letter “A”. The token’s reverse also states the location of John Empson’s business, i.e. Duke’s Place in the Aldgate Ward of the city. At the beginning of the 17th century this area comprised a mixture of late 16th century buildings scattered within the partial remaining structures of the former Priory of Holy Trinity, Christ Church which previously occupied the site. After the dissolution of the priory, in 1531, King Henry VIII gave it to Sir Thomas Audley. It subsequently passed to his son-in-law, the 4th Duke of Norfolk, from whom the name “Duke’s Place” is derived.

Part of the Ward of Aldgate, London, showing the district of Duke's Place (c.1720).

Part of the Ward of Aldgate, London, showing the district of Duke’s Place (c.1720).

The pictorial image on the token’s obverse (i.e. a coronet above a fire beacon) is almost certainly a depiction of the trade sign which hung over its issuer’s (or a neighbour’s) business premises. If it was his personal trade sign, and not just one which had long been associated with the building he operated from, its design may well offer clues as to his trade/profession. The sign of a fire beacon is not at all common and combined with a coronet it is believed to be unique, at least in London. Examples of a beacon, as used for a 17th century London trade sign, are known for both a distillers and a tavern. Both of these examples are from Southwark(1) . In the case of the tavern, which took its name from a nearby fire beacon, its proprietor is also known to have issued his own trade tokens(2) .

The Latin motto (i.e. Nisi Dominus(3) , which may be translated as “Except the Lord”) draped across the pictorial image on John Empson’s trade token is not so easy to explain (Note 1).

In Search of John Empson and his Family

Initial investigations indicated the existence of two separate individuals by the name of John Empson living in the parish of St. James, Dukes Place in the latter half of the 17th century. The first of these men died in 1681 while the second was still inhabiting the area during the early part of the 18th century. Despite their common surnames it appears the two individuals were totally unrelated. Subsequent research has indicated that it was the former of the two men who was responsible for the issue of the above token. The following brief history of this individual, and his immediate family, has been pieced together from a variety of contemporary sources including parish registers, livery company records, hearth tax returns and probate records.

The plan below is based on the Agas Map of London (c.1561) and shows some of the locations that are mentioned hereafter in the story of John Empson and his family.

Part of the Agas Map of London (c.1561) - Locations Shown: St. Peter le Poer Church (1); St. Henen's Bishopsgate (2); Priory of Holy Trinity, i.e. Dukes's Place (3); Perimeter of Aldgate Ward (4); St. Botolph's Without, Aldgate (5); The Minories (6); St. Katherine Coleman (7); Future location of Swan Alley (8).

Part of the Agas Map of London (c.1561) – Locations Shown: St. Peter le Poer Church (1); St. Henen’s Bishopsgate (2); Priory of Holy Trinity, i.e. Dukes’s Place (3); Perimeter of Aldgate Ward (4); St. Botolph’s Without, Aldgate (5); The Minories (6); St. Katherine Coleman (7); Future location of Swan Alley (8).

While it is not certain there is a possibility that the issuer of the above token can be identified with one John Empson who was baptised on 12th February 1608/9 in the parish of North Walsham in north east Norfolk (Note 2).

Around the age of seventeen (i.e. c.1625) it can be assumed young John, like so many other provincial young men of his age, was bound into a London apprenticeship by his father in order to learn a trade. Typically, such apprenticeships lasted for a period of seven years after which, assuming the apprentice had stayed the course, he would be eligible to become a freeman of his master’s associated livery company. Assuming John served an uninterrupted apprenticeship period it would be logical to assume he gained his freedom c.1632. The name and trade of John’s master is unknown but it is likely that he was a member of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, as by 1651 this was the trade by which John listed himself (see below).

On 29th November 1649 John Empson married Mary Mathews at the parish church of St. Peter le Poer in the Broad Street Ward of London. In 1651 the couple had a son as recorded in the parish registers of St. Helen’s Church, Bishopsgate.

“Edmond Empson son of John Empson cordwainer and his wife Mary was baptised this 18th day of May.  A. D…………1651”

It is not clear where John Epsom and his family were living at this time but it was presumably within the parish of St. Helen’s, Bishopsgate (Note 3). The eastern boundary of this parish runs alongside the Aldgate Ward of the city and as such is in very close proximity to Duke’s Place, the location of John’s business premises as noted on his trade token issued in 1667.

Unfortunately, John and Mary’s son died only three months after his first birthday as recorded in the parish registers of St. Helen’s Church, Bishopsgate.

“Edmund Empson infant son of John Empson was buried in the churchyard the 25th day of August. A.D…….1652”

Between 1652 and the mid-1660s there appears to be no further reference to John Empson and his family despite the death of his first wife, Mary, and his subsequent re-marriage to his second wife, Ann. Despite extensive searches in both London and Middlesex parish registers the current writer has been unable to find any documentary references to either of these two key events in John Empson’s life. While both must have transpired during the period 1651 to 1667 (Note 4) their occurrences are only known from indirect references in later dated records. While the date and cause of death of Mary Empson remains unknown it is clear (as will be seen later) that she was buried in a grave in the south side of the churchyard of St. Helen’s Church, Bishopsgate.

The parish church of (Great) St. Helen's Bishopsgate, London showing the now paved over ancient churchyard where the Empson family were buried.

The parish church of (Great) St. Helen’s Bishopsgate, London showing the now paved over ancient churchyard where the Empson family were buried.

The next documentary reference to John Empson occurs in the London Hearth Tax returns for Lady Day (i.e. 25th March) 1666. His name appears as one of the 249 property occupiers listed under the parish of St. James’, Duke’s Place. According to his entry in the returns he was then occupying a property having five hearths(4) . We can’t be certain if this property was serving as his family home or just his business premises but typically we might expect it to have represented both as it was common for tradesmen of the period to live either over and/or behind their place of work. The latter, if a shop or tavern, would normally face onto a thoroughfare for ease of public access and marketing of the tradesman’s goods.

We do not know if and how the Empson family were effected by either the Great Plague of 1665 or the Great Fire of September 1666. However, they were lucky in respects to the latter as neither of the adjacent locations in the city with which they appear to have then been  associated  (i.e. the parishes of St. Helen’s, Bishopsgate and St. James’, Duke’s Place) were greatly affected by the devastating fire which consumed 83% of the city within just a few days.

From 1667 until 1679 John Empson and his family again appear to fall off the historical radar with no contemporary references to them being known. Then in 1680 John reappears in, of all places, the records of the Worshipful Company of Innholders.

At some time after 1651, when John Empson was recorded as a cordwainer and prior to 1680, he appears to have changed his profession and become a member of the Innholders Company. This is apparent as on 3rd May 1680 the latter Company’s records list him as taking on an apprentice, one Robert Holkey or Holby/Holbie (Note 5), the son of Henry, a woollen draper from Aylsham(5) . Based on evidence presented hereafter it would appear that Robert was one of John’s cousins from Norfolk and hailed from a neighbouring parish to where John is believed to have been born in 1608/9.

While the surviving apprentice registers for the Innholders Company are not totally complete sufficient remain to conclude that Robert Holby/Holkey was the first apprentice John had taken on since becoming a member of the Company(6) . This begs the questions of how long had John been in the trade and what exactly attracted him into it?  The number of hearths recorded in his Hearth Tax return for 1666 (i.e. five) does not imply he was then occupying an inn which one might expect to have far more hearths associated with it. One possible explanation is that John entered his new trade through a business inheritance which came via his second wife Ann.

One potential reason for John Empson taking on an apprentice at this time could be related to his age and the reduced ability for him and his wife to carry on managing their business effectively, presumably with only domestic servants to rely on as back-up. If John Empson the token issuer was one and the same person as the individual baptised in North Walsham in 1608/9 then by 1680 he would have been 71 years old and presumably thinking of retirement. Unfortunately, events were to overtake John and just over a year later it appears his health was failing him.

On 2nd August 1681 John Empson made his last Will and Testament (7) in which he described himself a citizen of London and Innholder. Three weeks later John was dead. His burial is recorded in two of his local parish churches St. Botolph’s Without, Aldgate, and St. Helen’s Bishopsgate where his body was interred. Firstly, from the parish registers of St. Botolph’s, Aldgate we learn that;

“24th August 1681 – John Empson, Innholder, buried at St. Hellen’s.”

The burial register entry from St. Helen’s, Bishopsgate is more informative and even confirms the burial location of his first wife, Mary.

“John Empson was buried in the Churchyard on the South side in his first wife’s grave the 24th day of August 1681.”

According to the provisions of John’s Will he was to be buried in the churchyard of St. Hellen’s Bishopgate. His wife, Ann, was made executrix of his Will and was to inherit his estate after payment of any outstanding debts and funeral expenses plus the following set of bequests(8) ;

  1. To James Empson, his brother in North Walsham. – Twelve pence.
  2. To Katherine Roys – His best bed with green curtains and valance and all things associated unto.
  3. To Henry Mathews his son in law (Note 6) – The deeds and ownership of the house in which Henry currently lived (which presumably was owned by John).
  4. To each of the children of Henry Mathews – Four pounds.
  5. To Israel Turant (his servant) – Forty shillings.
  6. To Elizabeth Kempe (the daughter of Joan Kempe) – Twenty shillings.
  7. To the widow of Captain Philip Starky (Note 7) – Ten pounds
  8. To each of his cousins; Thomas, John, Joseph, Robert and John Holkie/Holby the younger of Norwich, Norfolk) – A small gold mourning ring.
  9. Thomas Berry, the son of John Berry of Aylesham, Norfolk – A small gold mourning ring.
  10. Moses Roys of White Friars, London – Thirty shillings.
  11. William Carter, cordwainer of London – Thirty shillings.

By a request in his Will John Empson also charged his good friends Moses Roys and William Carter to act in assistance to Ann in executing the terms of his Will(9) .

As an aside, an inventory dated 30th September 1861, of the contents of John Empson’s London home (10) is appended to the probate copy of his Will (Note 8). Apart from giving us a glimpse of the Empson family’s living conditions and household goods this inventory is interesting in several other respects. Firstly, its opening lines indicates its location as being within the parish of St. Botolph’s Without, Aldgate. This is a neighbouring but separate parish to St. James’, Duke’s Place where the Empson’s were living in 1666 and 1667. The property described in the inventory would also suggest that if John Empson was still an acting innholder at the time of his death, as suggested by statements in both his Will and the inventory, he was living in a separate and much smaller dwelling to that of a typical 17th century inn. This might suggest he was the acting manager rather than the proprietor of whichever inn he was associated with at the time of his death.

After John’s death his widow Ann appears to have retained strong ties with his cousin and once apprentice Robert Holby. By the late 1680s Robert was living in the parish of St. Mary’s, Whitechapel. He stated profession at that time being a Glover (Note 8)(11) .

After John’s death Ann Empson is known to have had two properties in Swan Alley, in the Minories district of the parish of St. Botolph Without, Aldgate. These she leased off the Master of the Bridge House (i.e. the warden of London Bridge)(12) . It is possible that one of these properties was that detailed in the household inventory attached to the probate copy of John Empson’s Will.

The Minories district of St. Botolph's Without. Aldgates showing the location of Swan Alley (c.1720).

The Minories district of St. Botolph’s Without. Aldgates showing the location of Swan Alley (c.1720).

In the third quarter of the 1680s Ann Empson was living in Middlesex in a leased property located in Blewgate (or Blue Gate) Fields in the hamlet of Wapping in the parish of St. Dunstan’s, Stepney. This she leased off one Robert Hasting, Esquire(13) .

The Hanlet of Wapping (c.1720) showing the location of Blue Fields.

The Hanlet of Wapping (c.1720) showing the location of Blue Fields.

By this time Ann’s health was obviously faltering as she made her Last Will and Testament on 16th September 1687(14) . Just over a year later in January 1688/9 she died. Her death is recorded in her local parish registers of St. Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney.

“6th January 1688 – Ann Empson of Wapping, widow (buried) at St. Hellens, London.”

By the terms of her Will Ann requested “to be decently interred in the churchyard of the parish of Great St. Helens, London, in or near the place where my late husband was buried.” In accordance with this request her burial is further recorded in the parish registers of St. Helen’s, Bishopsgate.

“Ann Empson of the parish of Stepney was buried in the churchyard – 7th January 1688”

Ann made Robert Holby, her “loving Kinsman”, the executor of her Will as well as its principal beneficiary. Robert was to inherit the bulk of her estate after payment of any outstanding debts and funeral expenses and after the following specific bequests had been made(15) ;

  1. Robert Holby – Her lease hold properties in both the Minories and Blue Gate Fields.
  2. Richard Roys (her kinsman (Note 9) and the son of Moses Roys) – Twelve pence.
  3. To whom ever stripped, laid out her body prior to burial – All her cloths, linen and woollen garments.
The signatures of John (left) and Ann (right) Empson respectively taken from their last Will and Testaments.

The signatures of John (left) and Ann (right) Empson respectively taken from their last Will and Testaments.

Notes:

  1. John Empson and his immediate family had various trade associations throughout their history in the city. These included links to the Worshipful Companies of Cordwainers, Innholders plus possibly the Glovers and Leathersellers Companies also. None of the mottos of these Livery Companies match that on John’s token. As such its significance in this case remains an enigma.
  2. This individual was the son of a John Empson and his wife (who was possibly named Alice) of North Walsham, Norfolk. In addition to John Empson junior this individual had at least a further three children. Namely, Amphilius (baptised in North Walsham on 11th March 1609/10), William (baptised in North Walsham on 1st March 1611/2) and James (baptism date and location unknown).

    The parish church of St. Nicholas, North Walsham (right) and its highly ornately covered font (left) in which John Empson was potentially baptised in 1608/9.

    The parish church of St. Nicholas, North Walsham (right) and its highly ornately covered font (left) in which John Empson was potentially baptised in 1608/9.

  3. The parish church of St. Helen’s, Bishopsgate formed the nucleus of the former Benedictine convent based on the site. In 1543 the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers acquired the site where they set-up their new Hall. Thereafter the area and the parish church itself retained close associations with this Livery Company. Given that for a significant part of his working life John Empson’s was a cordwainer it may not be by accident that he chose to live in this part of the city.
  4. The last documentary mention of Mary Empson is the baptism record for her and John’s son which is dated 1651. The first historic reference to John’s second wife, Ann, is found in the numismatic record in 1667. This takes the form of the letter “A” in the triad of issuer’s initials on the reverse side of his trade token issued in that same year.
  5. The published form of Robert’s surname in Volume 17 of London Apprentices is in fact “Holkey”(16) and not “Holbey”. However, the current writer is of the opinion that the published form of the name is a transcription error of the Livery Company’s original 17th It appears that this same individual is mentioned in several later dated documents related to the Empson family(17)(18) . In these he is variously described as being one of John Empson’s cousins from Norfolk or a kinsman of Ann Empson. In these later documents his name is variously spelt “Robart Holbie” or “Robert Holbey”.
  6. In this case the term “son-in-law” can almost certainly be translated into the more modern equivalent term “step-son”. This implying that when John married Mary Mathews she was likely a widow with at least one surviving child (i.e. Henry) from a previous marriage.
  7. The lady here being referred to is likely to Mary Starky or Starkey who, by the date John Empson’s Will was written in 1681, was a widow. The name of Captain Philip Starkey is of some potential historical interest. A person having that same name and title, which can be of no coincidence, lived in London during the 17th century and is known to have been buried in the parish church of St. Katherine Coleman in 1679. Philip Starkey was a cook of London Wall and was master of the Worshipful Company of Cooks for 1688 to1689. During the Commonwealth period he was employed as a master cook to the household of the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. He also officiated at several state banquets organized by Cromwell for foreign ambassadors for which he charged a fee of £20(19) . At the time of his death he was Captain of the Red Company of the London trainedband(20) .
  8. An inventory of John Empson’s home at the time of his death in 1681. This dwelling was located in the parish of St. Botolph Without, Aldgate, possibly in Swan Alley off the Minories.inventory-pdf
  9. Although inferred in Ann’s Will (of 1687) the family relationships between herself and Richard and Moses Roys are not yet known. Moses and a Katherine Roys are also mentioned in John Empson’s Will (of 1681) in which Moses is described as John’s “loving friend” of White Fryers, London. The family of a Moses and Katherine Roys are variously recorded in the parish registers of St. Dustan in the West along with St. Bride’s, Fleet Street, London in the 1680s. Prior to this, in the 1670s, the family of a Moses and Mary Roys are recorded in the parish of St. Andrew’s, Holborn. It is possible that both family units are based on the same Moses Roys who could have re-married Katherine after the death of Mary. Either way as yet no records have been found relating to a Richard Roys being the product of either marriage, although it appears likely that he was. One hypothesis is that Moses Roys was the brother of Ann Empson which by birth would make her Ann Roys. Unfortunately such a family connection can’t yet be proven although records have been found of a William and Ann Roys being born to a William and Joan Roys of the Liberty of Norton Folgate, London in 1628 and 1629 respectively.

References:

  1. Lillywhite, B. – London Signs: A Reference Book of London Signs from Earliest Times to about the Mid Nineteenth Century. (London, 1972).
  2. Everson, T. – Seventeenth Century Trading Tokens of Surrey and Southwark. (Llanfyllin, 2015).
  3. G.C. – Trade Tokens Issued in the Seventeenth Century in England, Wales and Ireland by Corporations, Merchants, Tradesmen, Etc. – A New and Revised Edition of William Boyne’s Work. Volume 2. (London, 1967).
  4. Davies, M.; Ferguson, C.; Harding, V.; Parkinson, E. & Wareham, A. – London and Middlesex Hearth Tax. The British Record Society. Hearth Tax Series Volume IX, Part II. (London, 2014).
  5. Webb, C. – Innholders’ Company 1642-1643, 1654-1670, 1673-1800. London Livery Company Apprenticeship Registers. Volume 17. (Society of Genealogists, London. 1998).
  6. Ibid 5.
  7. Reference Number: MS 9052/22. Will Number: 19. London Metropolitan Archives and Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section, Clerkenwell, London.
  8. Ibid 7.
  9. Ibid 7
  10. Ibid 7.
  11. Reference Number: MS 90172/77. Will Number: 2. London Metropolitan Archives and Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section, Clerkenwell, London.
  12. Ibid 11.
  13. Ibid 11.
  14. Ibid 11.
  15. Ibid 11.
  16. Ibid 5.
  17. Ibid 7.
  18. Ibid 11.
  19. Latham, R.C. – The Diary of Samuel Pepys. Volume 10 – Companion. (London, 1995).
  20. Ibid 19.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Tokens from within the City Walls

Robert Manfield at the Sign of The Death’s Head in Distaff Lane

A mid-17th century token issued by a tradesman operating from the sign of the Death's Head in Distaff Lane, London.

A mid-17th century token issued by a tradesman operating from the sign of the Death’s Head in Distaff Lane, London.

The above copper farthing token measures 16.2 mm and weighs 1.02 grams. It was issued by a tradesman from the Bread Street Ward of London in the mid-17th century. Its design may be formally described as follows;

Obverse: (mullet) AT . THE . DEATHES . HEAD , around the depiction of a human skull.

Reverse: (mullet) IN . DISTAF . LANE . 1652 , around a twisted wire inner circle. A triad of initials within reads, R|.M.|(rosette)D .

The token’s issue date of 1652 is clearly stated in its reverse along with a triad of initials which belong to its issuer and his wife. In this case a Mr. R.M. and a Mrs. D.M.  What is also clear is that the token issuer’s business premises were located in Distaff Lane (Note 1) in the Bread Street Ward of London. This street crossed the parishes of St. Mildred’s, Bread Street and St. Margaret Moses, Friday Street and was home, on its north side, to the hall of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers.

A map of part of part of the Bread Street Ward of London (c.1720) showing the location of the Cordwainer's Hall (indicated in yellow) on Distaff Lane.

A map of part of part of the Bread Street Ward of London (c.1720) showing the location of the Cordwainer’s Hall (indicated in yellow) on Distaff Lane.

The design on the token’s obverse is almost certainly a depiction of the trade sign which hung over its issuer’s (or a neighbour’s) business premises. If it was his personal trade sign, and not just one which had long been associated with the building he operated from, its design may well offer clues as to his trade/profession.

In the late 16th and 17th centuries the image of a skull, or death’s head, has various potential interpretations when used as a trade sign or a decorative device on jewellery. In the case of the latter use, other than being a typical design element incorporated into mourning jewellery, the image of a skull often formed the central design of rings worn by Elizabethan bawds and procuresses (1). Additionally, it has been suggested that when used as a mid-17th century trade sign the image is potentially indicative of the apothecary trade(2). It was probably the latter suggested association which lead at least one previous researcher to suggest the issue of the above token was either Richard Meynell or Robert Moore, both of whom were known apothecaries operating in London during the mid-17th century(3).

A Re-appraisal of the Potential Identity of the Token Issuer

The current author has endeavoured to confirm the historic attribution of the above token’s issue to either of the mid-17th London century apothecaries Richard Meynell or Robert Moore. Attempts have been made to link either of these men with an abode or business premises in or near Distaff Lane in the Bread Street Ward of the city. A review of tithe and property rental values for inhabitants of London in 1638(4) together with hearth tax records for 1662 and 1666(5) has failed to identify either of these two men as having associations with this area of the city. However, further similar searches for individuals who lived in this same area, and who had the same initials as the token issuer (i.e. R.M.), have proven positive.

In both 1638 and 1662 a Robert Manfield is recorded as living in the parish of St. Margaret Moses, the parish church for which was located on the south-east corner of the cross-roads of Friday Street where it intersected with Distaff Lane and Pissing Lane. Additional searches of both local parish registers and contemporary Livery Company apprenticeship records have further identified the name of Robert Manfield’s wife and the Manfield family’s place of residence. All of these additional details match the issuer’s information as presented on the above token. As such it is now possible to confidently re-attribute the issue of this token to the above named individual. A summary of related information discovered relating to this token issuer, and his family, is given below.

It is unclear to whom and where Robert Manfield (alternatively spelt Maunsfield, Manfeild, Manfild, Mansfild and Mansfilld) was born but on the basis that he became a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Girdler’s in 1622(6) it is reasonable to assume, by back calculation (Note 2), that he was born in 1598 (± 2 years).

Although having been apprenticed to a master craftsman of the Girdler’s Company, on receiving his freedom John Manfield set-up business as an ironmonger(7) . This was not unusual as by the end of the 16th century a lot of the traditional product markets for girdlers began to dwindle as dress fashions began to change. After this time the trades practiced by the members of the Company of Girdler’s increasingly began to overlap with the traditional skills of other craftsmen associated with metal or leather working (i.e. pinners, cordwainers plus gold and silver wire drawers and ironmongers).

Within five years of completing his apprenticeship John Manfield was married and he and his wife, Dorothy, were living in the parish of St. Margaret Moses in the Bread Street Ward of London(8). It is noted that the initial of his wife’s Christian name fits with the appropriate initial in the triad of previously discussed on the above token(9). It is possible that the couple’s first home in the parish was that at which Robert was recorded at in a London tithe and rental listing document of 1638 (10). According to the order of listings in this document it is likely that John’s premises were located close to the Cordwainers Hall, which could locate him in the same property in Distaff Lane from where he later issued his trade token in 1652.

In 1627 Robert and Dorothy Manfield baptised their first recorded child, whom they named John(11). Between this date and 1650 they went on to have a total of thirteen children all of whom were baptised, and some buried, in the parish church of St. Margaret Moses on Friday Street. A total of seven of the couple’s children died during infancy and of these three died within a week of their baptisms (Note 3).

It would appear that John’s business was successful and by 1631 he was obviously earning sufficient to employ at least one household servant(12) and possibly one or more apprentices of his own.  Over the course of his career Robert took on at least four separate apprentices (Note 4). It is also possible his first son (i.e. John Manfield), also took an active role in the family business (Note 5) as by 1659 he is also recorded in the parish records of St. Margaret Moses as being an ironmonger in his own right (13) .

Robert Manfield appears to have taken an active role in his local community. He is known to have been a parish constable and also to have been politically opinionated and active (14). He is recorded as being a financial contributor to both the Relief of Ireland (i.e. post the 1641 Irish Rebellion) and later the parliamentary war effort during the English Civil War(15). His parliamentary sympathies in the run-up to the Civil War are further noted in an account quoted by Sir John Strangeways relating to a demonstration of London apprentices in Westminster on 24th November 1641. According to this report one of the apprentice demonstrators, a Master Cole, claimed that his and other masters had armed their apprentices and dispatched them to Westminster in response to calls from some members of parliament for assistance in helping change the outcome of a Common’s vote in which the “best affected party” faced defeat. Cole’s master was none other than Robert Manfield of Distaff Lane(16).

Robert Manfield continued to operate as an ironmonger in Distaff Lane after the English Civil War. His last recorded presence in the street is in 1663 when the hearth tax returns for the Upper Precinct of the parish of St. Margaret Moses note him as occupying a property containing four hearths. The position of his listing in this document, as being just prior to that for the Cordwainer’s Hall, suggests that his property may have been one of the private residences located alongside this landmark building in Distaff Lane(17).

A section of the Agas Map of central London (c.1561) showing the relative positions of the Cordwainer's Hall (indicated in yellow) on Distaff Lane and the parish church of St. Margaret Moses (indicated in green).

A section of the Agas Map of central London (c.1561) showing the relative positions of the Cordwainer’s Hall (indicated in yellow) on Distaff Lane and the parish church of St. Margaret Moses (indicated in green).

Unfortunately, the hearth tax returns compiled for March 1666 for the parish of St. Margaret Moses have not survived. As such it is not possible to confirm if Robert Mansfield or his family were still present in Distaff Lane after the tumultuous year of 1665 in which so many of London’s population either perished from the Great Plague or fled the city never to return.

Despite extensive searches by the present author and at least one earlier researcher(18), the last record of Robert or Dorothy Manfield that can be traced in London is one dated 2nd August 1665.  Again this is found in the parish registers of St. Margaret Moses and takes the form of a mention to Robert in a family members burial record(19) ;

“John Manfield the grandson of Robert Manfield, (buried) in the new church-yard.”

The John Manfield mentioned above was the son of Robert’s first son, also named John Manfield, and his wife Jane who he married in the early 1650s. At his death John Manfield junior was nearly twelve years of age. The fact that he died in mid-Summer of 1665 may be indicative as to the cause of his death as this was the period during which the Great Plague was at its peak within the city. The mention of Robert Manfield, as opposed to the deceased boy’s father John, in the above burial register entry likely implies that Robert was acting as guardian to his grandson at the time of the latter’s death and as such is suggestive of Robert still residing in the parish of St. Margaret Moses at that time.

Interestingly a review of Mills and Oliver’s Survey of building sites after the Great Fire of 1666 makes no mention of Robert Manfield as either a new or previous plot owner in Distaff Lane or in any other part of the city(20). This could be evidence that he either died during the later phase of the Great Plague or he and his remaining family left the city during that period never to return again.

Notes:

  1. In the Agas map of c.1561 gives the name of what was later to become Distaff Lane as Maidenhead Lane. The Hearth Tax Survey of 1663 clearly refers to this road as Distaff Lane as does Mills and Oliver’s survey of London after the Great Fire. The latter also refers to those sections either side of the Cordwainer’s Hall as East and West Maiden Lane.
  2. In the first quarter of the 17th century the typical length of a trade apprenticeship in London was seven years and the average age of those boys entering into them was seventeen. This age dropped over the following century.
  3. The following table chronologically lists the entries for the children (and house hold servants) of Robert and Dorothy Manfield as presented in the parish records of St. Margaret Moses(21).RMT1
  4. The following is a list of known apprentices who were bound to Robert Manfield. It is almost certainly not a complete list.
    1. Master Cole – Actively serving his apprenticeship in late 1641(22).
    2. Daniell Partridge – Bound as a new apprentice in 1656(23).
    3. James Chapman – Received his freedom in 1657(24).
    4. Robert Drinkwater – Bound as a new apprentice in 1658(25).
  5. The following table chronologically lists the entries for John Manfield and his family in the parish records of St. Margaret Moses(26).JMT1

References:

  1. Lillywhite, B. – London Signs: A Reference Book of London Signs from Earliest Times to about the Mid Nineteenth Century. (London, 1972).
  2. G.C. – Trade Tokens Issued in the Seventeenth Century in England, Wales and Ireland by Corporations, Merchants, Tradesmen, Etc. – A New and Revised Edition of William Boyne’s Work. Volume 2. (London, 1967).
  3. Whittet, T.D. – A Survey of Apothecaries’ Tokens, Including Some Previously Unrecognised Specimens. Journal of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Issue 230. (London, 1983).
  4. Dale, T.C – The Inhabitants of London in 1638. Edited from Ms.272 in Lambeth Palace Library. Society of Genealogists. (London, 1931).
  5. Davies, M.; Ferguson, C.; Harding, V.; Parkinson, E. & Wareham, A. – London and Middlesex Hearth Tax. The British Record Society. Hearth Tax Series Volume IX, Part II. (London, 2014).
  6. Ibid 5.
  7. Lindley, K. – Popular Politics and Religion in Civil War London. (Aldershot, 1997).
  8. Bannerman, W. B. – The registers of St. Mildred, Bread Street, and of St. Margaret Moses, Friday Street, London. Harleian Society. Vol. 92. (London, 1912).
  9. Ibid 8.
  10. Ibid 4.
  11. Ibid 8.
  12. Ibid 8.
  13. Ibid 8.
  14. Coates, W.H. – The journal of Sir Simonds D’Ewes, from the first recess of the Long Parliament to the withdrawal of King Charles from London. (Yale, 1942).
  15. Ibid 7.
  16. Ibid 7.
  17. Ibid 5.
  18. Boyd, P. – Inhabitants of London. A genealogical Index held by the Society of Genealogists, London.
  19. Ibid 8.
  20. Mills, P. & Oliver, J. – The Survey of Building Sites in the City of London after the Great Fire of 1666. (London Topographical Society Publication. No.103. 1967).
  21. Ibid 8.
  22. Ibid 14.
  23. The Records of London’s Livery Companies Online – Apprentices and Freemen 1400-1900 (ROLLCO at http://www.londonroll.org/).
  24. Ibid 23.
  25. Ibid 24.
  26. Ibid 8.

Leave a comment

Filed under Tokens from within the City Walls

Ralph Butcher in Bishopsgate Without

A farthing tradesman's token issued by Ralph Butcher of Bishopsgate Without, London (Image courtesy of Simmons Gallery)

A farthing tradesman’s token issued by Ralph Butcher of Bishopsgate Without, London (Image courtesy of Simmons Gallery)

The above brass farthing token measures 16.9 mm and weighs 0.90 grams. It was issued in the name of Ralph Butcher a tradesman who operated his business in the Bishopsgate Without district of London.

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

Obverse: A legend in italics in three lines reads; Ralph / Butcher / 1666 .

Reverse: (circle with eight radiating rays) WITHOVT . BISHOPS . GATE , around a twisted wire inner circle within the depiction of a rod from which is suspended six candles, three either side of a lion rampant facing left.

The design on the token’s reverse is almost certainly a depiction of the trade sign which hung over Ralph Butcher’s premises or that of premises adjacent to his. If it was his personal trade sign, and not just an historic one which had long been associated with the building he worked from, its design may well offer clues as to the token issuer’s trade. The rod with suspended candles would have been instantly recognizable in the 17th century as an emblem associated with a wax or tallow chandler (Note 1).

The district in which Ralph Butcher’s trade property was located, i.e. Bishopsgate Without, lay immediately to the north east of London’s city walls outside the Bishopsgate entrance to the city and along the Old North Road. It was one of the parts of London which was spared by the Great Fire of September 1666 which, by coincidence, was the year in which Ralph Butcher issued his token.

In Williamson’s standard catalogue of 17th British tradesmen’s tokens (1) a foot note against the entry for the above token indicates that in 1664 the same Ralph Butcher was trading in Tower Street, within the heart of the City of London. His evidence for this being the existence of a farthing token bearing the sign of the Three Sugar Loaves with the obverse and reverse legends; RALPH BVTCHER. 1664. IN. TOWER. STREETE. The token’s reverse bears a triad of issuer’s initials; R.B.A.

A farthing trade token of Tower Street issued by R & A B in the name of the Three Sugar Loaves in 1664

A farthing trade token of Tower Street issued by R & A B in the name of the Three Sugar Loaves in 1664

In addition to indicating the presence of a tradesman by the name of Ralph Butcher operating in Tower Street in 1664 we may deduce from the token that the Christian name of the issuer’s wife began with the letter “A” (e.g. Ann or Agnes for example). In addition, the trade sign indicated (take this word out***), if personal to the issuer and not just a historical one associated with his premises etc., may be indicative of Ralph Butcher being a grocer. The trade sign of one or more sugar loaves was commonly adopted by grocers in 17th century London to mark and advertise their shops (2).

A map of the Ward of Bishopsgate Without, London in c.1720

A map of the Ward of Bishopsgate Without, London in c.1720

In Search of the History of Ralph Butcher & His Family

The following brief account of the life of the above token issuer and his immediate family has been pieced together from a variety of sources including parish registers, livery company records, hearth tax and probate records and finally burial registers related to the Society of Friends of London.

Initial searches of transcribed London parish registers and related genealogical data bases (3)(4)(5)(6) has indicated two families with the surname Butcher living in 1660s London having heads of the family by the name Ralph. The first of these families (Ralf and Mary Butcher) lived in the parish of St. Sepulchre, Holborn while the second (Ralph and Ann Butcher) lived, or at least had strong associations, to the parish of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate Without. Given that the Ralph Butcher we are interested in was issuing trade tokens in Bishopsgate Without in 1666 (if not also in Tower Street in 1664) the primary focus obviously falls on the second of the above two identified families.

In an attempt to confirm Ralph Butcher’s profession the trade signs on both the earlier described trade tokens associated with his name have been used as a guide. As previously noted the depiction of a rod of suspended candles or sugar loaves and on trade signs of the period is strongly associated with candle makers and grocers respectively. A review of the master and apprentice records for the Worshipful Companies of Tallow Chandlers, Wax Chandlers and Grocers (7)(8)(9) has failed to identify a Ralph Butcher associated with any of them. As such it is reasonable, but by no means certain, to conclude that our token issuer’s practiced an alternative trade.

The first reference to Ralph and Ann Butcher in the parish of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate Without, occurs in the parish baptisms records where we find the following entry for his son;

5th May 1660 – Simon the son of Ralph and Ann Butcher

Ralph Butcher is further recorded as living in the ‘first precinct on the West” of the parish in the returns from the 1662/3 Hearth Tax. He is listed as paying 10 shillings on a property with 5 hearths (10). Unfortunately the Hearth Tax assessments for Bishopsgate Without from 1666 have not survived. However, those for Tower Street have but contain no listing for a Ralph Butcher.

We can’t be sure if Ralph Butcher, the token issuer of 1666 from Bishopsgate Without, is the same individual who issued the earlier farthing token from a business in Tower Street in 1664. Having now ascertained that both the former and latter tokens were issued by a Ralph Butcher who had a wife whose Christian name began with “A” further supports Williamson’s assumption that both tokens were issued by the same individual.

By 25th January 1668/9 Ralph Butcher’s health was obviously a cause for concern for him as it was on this date that he draw up his Last Will and Testimony (11)  This document is very enlightening as its opening sentences not only confirms the status of his health, i.e. being “weak in body but of sound and perfect mind and memory”, but goes on to verify him as being of the parish of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate Without, and his standing as a “citizen and poulterer of London” (Note 2). As a poulterer Ralph would have sold both poultry and game to the general public typically from a street facing open fronted shop located either in front of or below the private rooms of his home.

A 17th Century Poulterer's Shop - By Frans Snyders (1579–1657)

A 17th Century Poulterer’s Shop – By Frans Snyders (1579–1657)

Ralph Butler’s Will confirms him as still being married to his “loving wife” Ann who he made executrix and principal beneficiary of his estate and worldly goods. His Will makes no mention of any surviving children but does mention the existence of three other “kinsfolk”, namely Richard Butcher, Elizabeth Watkins and a nephew, John Block. To each of these individuals he left only the token sum of one shilling each. Additional sums of 40 shillings each were bequeathed to his good friends William Harwood and Ezekiel Woolley who he also requested to act as overseers of his Will.

Ralph’s Will clearly indicates he owned or had interests in multiple properties. These included his own home and a neighbouring one in the Bethlem district of the parish, the latter of which was then occupied by a William Pemberton. Ralph’s other holdings comprised two copyhold properties in the village of Plaistow in Essex (some 6 miles from Bishopsgate). At that time these were in the hands of tenants, namely George Sherebofe and Ralph’s friend Ezekiel Woolley.

Ralph Butcher went on to live a further 20 months after making his Will. His burial record is enlightening in that it more accurately confirms whereabouts in the parish he was living at the time of his death, the cause of his death (as best known at the time), where he was buried and his precise religious denomination.

Ralph’s death was not recorded in the burial register of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate Without, despite the fact he was still living in the parish at the time. Instead it is to be found in the London and Middlesex burial records of the Society of Friends. It appears that Ralph Butcher was a Quaker. His burial register entry (for 25th November 1670) reads as follows;

Ralph Butcher neer halfe Moon Ally without Bishopsgate Departed this Life the 25th day of the 9th Month 1670 and was buryed in the Burying in Checker Ally his Distemper was given in a Dropsie.

Assuming Ralph didn’t move residences within the parish during the last 20 months of his life we know that the location of his home was between Half Moon Alley and Bethlem (or Bedlam as it was more commonly known). This puts it approximately within the bounds of the red circle in the map below, where Half Moon Alley is marked in yellow.

A map of the Ward of Bishopsgate Without, London (c.1720) indicating the general area where Ralph Butcher is believed to have lived. Half Moon Alley is indicated in yellow.

A map of the Ward of Bishopsgate Without, London (c.1720) indicating the general area where Ralph Butcher is believed to have lived. Half Moon Alley is indicated in yellow.

Ralph’s cause of death is given in his burial record as dropsy. This was the term commonly given in the 17th century to edema, a condition whereby liquid is retained in parts of the body and under the skin causing severe swelling.

Ralph Butler’s body was interred in Chequer Alley Quaker Burial Ground (Note 3) which was located north of the city walls on Bunhill Fields between Upper Moor Fields and Old Street. His Will was proven on 2nd December 1670 (12).

No further conclusive record has been found relating to either Ann or Simon Butcher after Ralph’s death. However, the burial registers of the Society of Friends of London do record the interment, in Chequer Alley Burial Ground, of a still born child on 15th September 1672 to a Richard and Ann Butcher. This poses the question – did Ann Butcher marry Ralph’s “kinsman” Richard after her husband’s death?

Footnotes:

1)  An almost identical token in terms of style, design, trade sign and issuing location to that described above for Ralph Butcher was issued in the name of Henry Slater in 1667. It is unclear if Henry operated from neighbouring business premises to Ralph Butcher, thereby qualifying him to use the same trade sign, or if he took over those formerly occupied by Ralph in 1666.

2) George Berry has previously identified only two 17th century poulterers’ token from London. These were issued by John Puller of the Strand and Edmund Warner of Newgate Market (13). The identification of Ralph Butcher’s trade now brings the count of known London poulterers’ token issues to three.

A half penny trade token of 1666 issued by Edmund Warner, a poulterer, of Newgate Market.

A half penny trade token of 1666 issued by Edmund Warner, a poulterer, of Newgate Market.

3) The site of Chequer or Checker Alley Quaker Burial Ground lies in an area historically known as Bunhill Fields. This name is possibly derived from a corruption of “Bone Hill”, alluding to the area having been used for occasional burials since the early medieval period. There was certainly a mass secondary interment of human remains on the site in 1549 when over 1,000 cartloads of bones were brought from the charnel house of St Paul’s Cathedral after its demolition (14). The initial burial ground site, which comprised 30 square yards, was purchased for the sum of £270 in 1661 by the London Quakers (15). This was the first freehold property owned by Quakers in the city. The plot lay between of Checker Alley, on its southern side and Coleman Street, on its northern edge. This cemetery opened four years earlier than that of the nearby “Dissenters'” burial ground, on the eastern side of Bunhill Row and north of the “New Artillery Ground”. The latter still forms part of Bunhill Fields Cemetery and Memorial Gardens today.

A map of Bunhill Fields in 1676 showing the location (in yellow) of Checker Alley Quaker Burial Ground at its maximum extent in size

A map of Bunhill Fields in 1676 showing the location (in yellow) of Checker Alley Quaker Burial Ground at its maximum extent in size

As well as burials arising from routine deaths Checker Alley Burial Ground also contains the graves of 1,177 Quakers who died in the Great Plague of 1665/6. The initial plot of 30 square yards quickly became full and additional plots of land were purchased to extend it, until by c.1845 about £3,600 had been invested in the site (16).

Graves were not individually marked with monuments or gravestones. The sole exception was a small tablet on the wall, simply inscribed “G. F.”, in commemoration of George Fox (1624–1691), one of the founders of the Quaker movement. However, so many Quakers came to visit this that it was denounced as being idolatrous by Robert Howard, a prominent member of the Society, and it was destroyed. George Fox is now commemorated by a more modern marker which has also been set against the wall (17).

The location of Quaker Gardens south of Old Street, London

The location of Quaker Gardens south of Old Street, London

The burial ground closed in 1855 by which time it contained approximately 12,000 burials. Shortly after this date work began on the site’s redevelopment. In 1880, as part of the initial land reclamation works some 5,000 bodies were exhumed and re-buried with carbolic acid in a corner of the remaining site (18). The cleared land was subsequently built on until less than half an acre of the original open site remained. What remains of the site today has now been neatly laid out and constitutes Quaker Gardens, a small public garden in the extreme south of the London Borough of Islington. Apart from a couple of memorial plaques, one of which commemorates George Fox, nothing remains to remind the passer-by of its former use or history.

The following video clip presents further information of the Checker Alley Quaker burial ground along with other lost cemeteries of London.

References:

  1. G.C. – Trade Tokens Issued in the Seventeenth Century in England, Wales and Ireland by Corporations, Merchants, Tradesmen, Etc. – A New and Revised Edition of William Boyne’s Work. – Volume 2. (London, 1967).
  2. Lillywhite, B. – London Signs: A Reference Book of London Signs from Earliest Times to about the Mid Nineteenth Century. (London, 1972).
  3. Searched via the data bases available at Ancestry – Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History Records (http://www.ancestry.co.uk/).
  4. Searched via the data bases available at Findmypast – Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History Records (www.findmypast.co.uk).
  5. Searched via the data bases available at FamilySearch – Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History Records (https://familysearch.org/).
  6. Boyd, P. – Inhabitants of London. A genealogical Index held by the Society of Genealogists, London.
  7. Webb, C – London Livery Company Apprenticeship Records – Tallow Chandlers’ Company. 1633-1800. Society of Genealogists (London, 2003).
  8. Webb, C – London Livery Company Apprenticeship Records – Wax Chandlers’ Company. 1666-1800. Society of Genealogists (London, 2000).
  9. Webb, C – London Livery Company Apprenticeship Records – Grocers’ Company. 1629-1800. Society of Genealogists (London, 2008).
  10. Davies, M.; Ferguson, C.; Harding, V.; Parkinson, E. & Wareham, A. – London and Middlesex Hearth Tax. The British Record Society. Hearth Tax Series Volume IX, Part II. (London, 2014).
  11. Reference Number: MS 9172/61. Will Number: 154. London Metropolitan Archives and Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section, Clerkenwell, London
  12. Ibid 11.
  13. Berry, G. – Seventeenth Century England: Traders and their Tokens. (London, 1988).
  14. Holmes, B. – The London Burial Grounds: Notes on their history from earliest times to the present day. (New York. 1894).
  15. Butler, D.M. – The Quaker Meeting Houses of Britain Volume 1. (Friends Historical Society. London. 1999).
  16. Ibid 15.
  17. Bowes-Isaacson, L. & P. – Notes for Visitors to Bunhill. (Bunhill Fields Meeting House. 2001).
  18. The British Architect and Norther Engineer. Volume 7. January to June 1877. Bunhill Fields. Page 321. (Manchester. 1877).

Leave a comment

Filed under Tokens from North of the City Walls

Thomas Bonny at the sign of the Clothworkers’ Arms in Bedlam

A half penny tradesman's token issued by Thomas Bonny of Bedlam

A half penny tradesman’s token issued by Thomas Bonny of Bedlam

The above brass half penny token measures 20.8 mm and weighs 2.28 grams. It was issued in the name of Thomas Bonny a tradesman who operated his business in the district of Bedlam in Bishopsgate Without district of the City of London.

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

Obverse: (sexfoil) THOMAS (rosette) BONNY (rosette) AT (rosette) THE , around a twisted wire inner circle within which is a depiction of Clothworkers’ Arms.

Reverse: (sexfoil) IN (rosette) BEDLAM (rosette) 1667 (rosette) , around a twisted wire inner circle within the legend in three lines reads HIS / HALFE / PENNY . Below a triad of initials reads, .T|B.| M.

The reverse of the token bears a triad of issuers’ initials, i.e. those of Thomas Bonny and his wife. Given that Thomas’s wife’s first name began with the letter “M” and given the time period in which the token was issued there is a high probability that her name was either Mary or Margaret as both names were very popular in 17th century England. The issue date of the token, i.e. 1667, is clearly stated on its reverse.

The location of the Bedlam or Bethlem district of Bishopsgate Without, London (c.1720)

The location of the Bedlam or Bethlem district of Bishopsgate Without, London (c.1720)

The token issuer’s place of abode, i.e. Bedlam, was the colloquial name given to Bethlem, a 13th century priory church founded by the Italian bishop-elect of Bethlehem to raise alms and funds to support the crusades to the Holy Land. It was located just north of St. Botolph’s Parish Church off Bishopsgate Street outside the city walls. By 1330 Bedlam was more often referred to as a hospital which in medieval terms may have simply denoted a hostel for travelling alms-seekers. By the 1370s the hospital had been seized by the crown and was becoming a far more secularized institution. It was from this period that it became first associated with the care of the mentally ill. So was to begin a centuries long tradition for which the institute, and its later nearby successor, was to became famous throughout Europe.

Detail from a map of Elizabethan London (1572) taken from "Civitates orbis terrarum" showing the location of Bethlem Hospital in the Bishopsgate Without Ward of the city

Detail from a map of Elizabethan London (1572) taken from “Civitates orbis terrarum” showing the location of Bethlem Hospital in the Bishopsgate Without Ward of the city

Although Bethlem had been enlarged by 1667 to accommodate fifty nine patients, the Court of Governors of the hospital observed at the start of 1674 that;

“The Hospital House of Bethlem is very old, weak & ruinous and to small and streight for keeping the greater number of lunatics therein at present.”

Given the increasing demand for admission and the inadequate and dilapidated state of the building it was decided to rebuild the hospital on a site at nearby Moorfields. This was just north of the city walls and one of the largest open spaces in London. The architect chosen for the new hospital, which was built rapidly and at great expense between 1675 and 1676, was the famous natural philosopher and City Surveyor Robert Hooke.

Engraving by Robert White of the new Bethlem Hospital designed by Robert Hooke and built at Moorfields, outside of the City of London in 1676

Engraving by Robert White of the new Bethlem Hospital designed by Robert Hooke and built at Moorfields, outside of the City of London in 1676

By the late 1670s the original site and any remaining buildings which had once comprised part of the original Bethlem Hospital had been absorbed by the wide spread urban development to the west of Bishopsgate Street Without. Today nothing remains of the medieval hospital. Its former site is now occupied by the Great Eastern Hotel next to Liverpool Street Railway Station.

The device illustrated in the obverse field of the token is the coats of arms of the Worshipful Company of London Clothworkers (Note 1). It is likely that in this case the device represents the trade sign that hung over, or adjacent to, the token issuer’s business premises in Bedlam and/or is a direct indication of his profession.

In Search of the History of Thomas Bonny & His Family

The following brief history of our token issuer and his immediate family has been pieced together from a wide variety of sources including parish registers (Note 2) and records, livery company records, school admission registers, tax records, contemporary newspaper entries and finally probate records.

Due to the relatively large number of 17th century Londoners having the name “Thomas Bonny” (or phonetically similar surnames, e.g. Bonney, Bonnie, Bonne, Bunny, Bunnee, Bonnes and Boune etc.) reconstructing the history of this token issuer has been challenging given the increased potential for ascribing the life events and records relating to one individual with those of contemporaries having the same or a similar name. With increased potential for such confusion being apparent added caution and conservatism has been applied in reconstructing the following brief family history. Despite such efforts the following must be considered as only a possible and not definitive history.

Thomas Bonny was born c.1616. Nothing is known of his early life or where he was born. By the time he was 31 (in 1647) we know that he was married and he and his wife had just had their second son, Thomas(1). From later evidence(2) we know that Thomas Bonny had at least two other children, Eleanor and a younger daughter by the name of Judith. It is also possible that Thomas’s first son was named Francis (Note 3).

A reference to Thomas in 1659 indicates that by that date he was a goldsmith (Note 4) and citizen of London. As a goldsmith in the mid-17th century it is also possible that Thomas’s business activities could have includes aspects of the banking trade.

In 1659 Thomas enrolled his second son Thomas, then aged 12, as a student in the Merchant Taylors’ School. Founded in 1551, by the Merchant Taylors’ Company, this early school was located in the Manor of the Rose, in Suffolk Lane in the Candlewick Ward of the city of London.

By 1657 Thomas Bonny, the goldsmith and later token issuer, was living in Cheapside in the parish of St. Mary Colechurch(3) . He was 41 years old. It has to be assumed that by this date his wife had died as in this same year he re-married. His new bride, Mary Metcalf, was the widower of John Metcalf who had lived in a property on the northern side of the church of St. Mary Colechurch on the south-west side of Old Jewry. Prior to his death, in 1656, John Metcalf had been a prominent member of the parish and keeper of the Royal Exchange(4) .

A section of the Agas Map of London (c.1561) showing part of Cheapside Ward and including location details of the home of Thomas Bonny in Old Jewery (in yellow); the parish church of St. Mary Colechurch (in red); the Mercers' Hall (in blue) and the Great Conduit (in green) being one of the city's principle supply points of "clean" water.

A section of the Agas Map of London (c.1561) showing part of Cheapside Ward and including location details of the home of Thomas Bonny in Old Jewry (in yellow); the parish church of St. Mary Colechurch (in red); the Mercers’ Hall (in blue) and the Great Conduit (in green) being one of the city’s principle supply points of “clean” water.

From 1657 until the time of the Great Fire of 1666 there is an abundance of documentary evidence for Thomas Bonny in the parish of St. Mary Colechurch(5). Much of this comes from parish records such as the churchwardens accounts and vestry minute books. A sample of this evidence is presented below.

Firstly, from annual rate assessments of the inhabitants of the parish(6);

1) For the Lord Mayor’s relief payments which were levied to support the poor house holders of the city, and which were collected door to door or at the church door on stimulated dates, we find the following entry for the years 1657, 1659, 1660, 1661 and 1666;

Mr. Thom. Bonny (also spelt Bonney) – 1 penny per week or annually 4 shillings and 4 pence

A separate payment of 1 penny a week for the above is also recorded in the name of Mrs. Bonny in 1657. 

2) For the annual assessment for the payment of the parish’s poor rates of 1663 and 1664;

 Mr. Bonny – 3 shillings and 6 pence

3) For the annual assessment of payments to pay for the wages of the parish “raker” (i.e. street cleaner) for 1666;

Mr. Bonny – 3 shillings and 6 pence

Secondly, from the three years of existing records for the congregation’s seating arrangements in the 13 sets of pews of the parish church of St. Mary Colechurch between 1657 and 1661 (i.e. 1657, 1678 and 1661) we have the following listings for the Bonny family (variously spelt in the entries as either Bonny, Bonney or Boney)(7) ;

 Mr. Bonny – Pew 12 in 1657 and 1658 and Pew 10 in 1661.

Mrs. Bonny – Pew 8 in 1657 and 1658 and Pew 9 in 1661.

Between 1662 and 1666 Thomas Bonny is known to have had associations with two adjacent properties on the west side of Old Jewry immediately north of the parish church of St. Mary Colechurch. The most southerly of these was surveyed in 1648 as comprising a cellar, 13 ft. 4 in. by 11 ft.; a shop and staircase, 16 ft. by 12 ft.; a yard 11 ft. by 4 ft. 8 in.; the hall and kitchen over the shop, 18 ft. by 12 ft.; a staircase and house of office, 5 ft. by 5 ft.; the room over the hall and kitchen, 20 ft. by 12 ft.; and 2 garrets over that room, 20 ft. by 12 ft. This house contained 3 storeys and garrets above ground and the first and second storeys would each appear to have jettied 2 ft. over the street beyond the storey below. At some time in the 1650s this property was divided into two and according to the Hearth Tax return of 1662 we know that Thomas Bonny was occupying one part of it which had 3 hearths and shared a common oven with the other part of the property(8). By the time of the Hearth Tax assessment of 1666 Thomas no longer appears to be in this property and instead can be found in the adjoining house to the north. This house had been in the possession of John Metcalf from at least 1638 until his death in 1656 and obviously passed into Thomas Bunny’s hands when he married John’s widow Mary in 1657. According to a contemporary survey this property comprised a cellar, 14 ft. by 11 ½ft.; a shop and entry, 17 ft. by 12 ft.; a yard, 11 ft. by 5 ft.; a chamber, 18 ½ ft. by 11 ½ft.; a kitchen and staircase, 11 ½ ft. by 10 ft.; a chamber, 12 ft. by 10 ft.; and a garret, 20 ft. by 11 ft.(9).

Thomas Bonny took on a 21-year lease on the latter of the 2 properties from its owners, the Worshipful Company of Mercers. Like the neighbouring tenement to the south this property was divided into 2 parts just prior to 1662 when it was probably represented by 2 houses, each with 3 hearths. In 1662 these were occupied by a Mr. Joseph Moore and Mrs. Frances Howell, a widow. By the time of Hearth Tax of 1666 the 2 houses, each of which still contained 3 hearths, were occupied by Thomas Bonny himself and a Mr. James Townsend(10,11).

In 1666 Thomas Bonny became a churchwarden for the parish of St. Mary Colechurch(12). He and his wife had survived the ravages of the plague of 1665, which had killed approximately 100,000 of the city’s population. However, they weren’t to escape the effects of the Great Fire of early September 1666 which consumed four fifths of the city including all of Cheapside Ward. Thomas Bonny is officially listed as one of those who lost his property in the parish, most likely during the course of the first full day of the fire (i.e. Monday 3rd of September).

A plan of mid-17th Century London showing the extent of destruction of the city by the Great Fire of September 1666 plus the location of Thomas Bonny's home in Cheapside Ward (yellow dot) and the main street running through the district of Bedlam in the Bishopsgate Without Ward (green line)

A plan of mid-17th Century London showing the extent of destruction of the city by the Great Fire of September 1666 plus the location of Thomas Bonny’s home in Cheapside Ward (yellow dot) and the main street running through the district of Bedlam in the Bishopsgate Without Ward (green line)

It is unclear what happened to the Bonny family immediately after the Great Fire but by 1667 we know from the numismatic and  hand writing evidence (Note 5) that Thomas and Mary were living and working in Bedlam in the Bishopsgate Without district of the city. This area of London was not directly affected by the inferno of 1666 and like other districts spared by the fire saw an immediate escalation in its property and rent prices as those who could afford to invested in new properties in the city did so.

It is possible that Thomas Bonny planned to rebuild his home in Old Jewry, Cheapside as a “Mr. Bonner” paid the sum of 6 shillings and 8 pence on 21st May 1668 to the city authorities for the staking out of his old home’s foundations(13) . Quite how far his plans got to either rebuild on or sell his cleared building plot are unclear.

It is not known in which part of Bedlam the Bonny family lived and worked but we know from the numismatic evidence that Thomas’s business address was “at” or “by” the trade sign of the Clothworkers’ Arms. The depiction of such an image on his token might be interpreted as a direct advertisement of his occupation. While it is not impossible that Thomas Bonny could have switched trades (i.e. from a goldsmith to a clothworker) after being forced out of Cheapside by the Great Fire it appears highly unlikely that he did. A search of the transcribed on-line master and apprentice records relating to the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers(14) has failed to find any one associated with this Livery Company during this period with the name Bonny (or a phonetically similar sounding surname). Furthermore, documentary evidence exists confirming that Thomas Bonny was still describing himself as a “citizen and goldsmith of London” in mid-1668(15). It appears most likely that the coat of arms depicted on his token simply represented the historic trade sign hung above the property in or adjacent to which he lived and worked. This was a time before the official numbering of properties in London’s streets, lanes and allies.

It wasn’t uncommon (Note 6) for tradesmen to apply a previous occupant’s or neighbour’s trade sign to their address, especially where such a sign was an established local land mark that was well known to the local populace.

By late June 1668 it appears that Thomas Bonny’s health was starting to fail as on the 24th of that month he made his Last Will and Testament in which he describes himself as being “sick in body but of perfect memory”(15). Despite his obvious concerns Thomas’ health didn’t finally fail him until early November 1671 as confirmed by the following burial register entry in his local parish church, St. Botolph, Bishopsgate Without.

7th November 1671 – Burial of Thomas Bonnes (aged 55)

Thomas’s Will was subsequently proven on 16th November 1671(16). He named Mary, his wife, as executrix and requested the following provisions to be made after the settlement of any debts or expenses outstanding on his estate;

a) To his eldest daughter Eleanor Churcher, 1 shilling to be paid 3 months after his death.

b) To Judith Bonny, his second daughter, 20 shillings to be paid 3 months after his death.

c) To Thomas Bonny, his son, 20 shillings to be paid 3 months after his death.

d) To George Bonny, his brother, his coloured suit and coat plus 10 shillings to be paid and delivered to him a month after his death

e) To his loving wife, Mary Bonny, the remains of his estate together with all ready money, goods and chattels

Thomas’s Will makes no reference to his eldest son. Whether Thomas outlived him or there had been a rift between the two is unknown.

Coincidentally on the same day as Thomas Bonny’s Will was proven the following entry was made in the register of the Bonny family’s parish church, St. Botolph, Bishopsgate Without;

16thJanuary 1671 – Marriage of Thomas Boone and Sarah Finch

This is possibly the marriage of Thomas Bonny (the token issuer’s) second son who was born in 1647 and would have been 24 at the time of his father’s death.

No further clear references to the Bonny family appear after the above date other than for some possible references to one of his sons and grandsons in the late 1680s and early 1690s (Note 3).

 

Footnotes:

1)  The Worshipful Company of Clothworkers was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1528, formed by the amalgamation of its two predecessor Companies, the Fullers (incorporated 1480) and the Shearmen (incorporated 1508). It succeeded to the position of the Shearmens’ Company and thus ranks twelfth in the order of precedence of Livery Companies of the City of London.

The original craft of the Clothworkers was the finishing of woven woollen cloth: fulling it to mat the fibres and remove the grease, drying it on tenter frames, raising the nap with teasels and shearing it to a uniform finish. The Ordinances of the Clothworkers’ Company, first issued in 1532 and signed by Sir Thomas More, sought to regulate clothworking, to maintain standards and to protect approved practices.

From the later Middle Ages, cloth production gradually moved away from London, a situation exacerbated by the Great Fire of London and the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Famous members of the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers included King James I and the famous diarist and naval administrator, Samuel Pepys.

2) A search of transcribed London parish baptism, marriage and burial records(17,18,19,20) has identified various individuals in the London area in the mid-17th century by the name of Thomas Bonny (or with a phonetically similar surname). These are listed below as well as possible entries for the token issuer’s wife, i.e. Mary or Margaret Bonney etc. together with their possible children;

6th September 1636 – Baptism of Rachell the daughter of Thomas and Mary Bone. St. Botolph’s Church, Bishopsgate Without.

20th April 1641 – Burial of Thomas Bonny. St. Dunstan in the East. London

12th November 1642 – Marriage of Thomas Bonnce and Jean Fletcher. Holy Trinity Church, Minories.

16th April 1653 – Marriage of Thomas Bonner and Mary Fowler. St. Augustine’s Church, Watling Street.

13th April 1657 – Baptism of Thomas Bonus to Thomas and Joane Bonus. St. Botolph’s Church, Bishopsgate Without.

14th June 1668 – Marriage of Thomas Boane to Marry Bibble. St. James’ Church, Clerkenwell.

8th January 1670 – Burial of Mary Bones (aged 35). St. Botolph’s Church, Bishopsgate Without.

16th January 1671 – Marriage of Thomas Boone and Sarah Finch. St. Botolph’s Church, Bishopsgate Without.

7th November 1671 – Burial of Thomas Bonnes (aged 55). St. Botolph’s Church, Bishopsgate Without.

25th July 1673 – Burial of Thomas Boone, the son of Nicholas Boone. St. Andrews’ Church. Holborn.

28th August 1673 – Burial of Mary Bone. St. Sepulchre’s Church. Holborn.

Unfortunately, when analysed on their own there is no way of knowing which, if any, of the above entries are references to the same Thomas Bonny (or his wife) who issued a half penny trade token in 1667 from his premises in Bedlam. However, the burial record for Thomas “Bonnes” in the parish church of St. Botolph’s, Bishopgate is arguably of particular relevance in relation to our token issuer. Living in the district of Bedlam it is highly likely that Thomas Bonny’s local parish church was St. Botolph’s and as such that would be the obvious location for his burial, assuming he didn’t move out of the parish after 1667. This entry has been used as the principal starting point in the research presented in the above brief family history

3) It is possible that Thomas Bonny’s first son was named Francis Bonny. An individual by this name, who was also a London goldsmith, was living in the parish of St. Andrew’s, Holborn in the early 1680s. From Francis’ Last Will and Testament(21), which was made on 10th March 1683, we know his then wife was named Hester Bonny and that he had a nephew (i.e. possibly the son of one of Thomas Bonny the token issuer’s other three children) named Thomas Bonny who then lived in Covent Garden.

At some point c.1688, and possibly in relation to the internal political and religious turmoil created in the Kingdom by the Glorious Revolution, Francis Bonny and a Mr. John Whiting put up £1000 each in sureties for the bail of a Mr. Jasper Grant. Mr. Grant was indicted for “spiriting away a person beyond sea” and after being subsequently convicted of this crime “fled in rebellion to Ireland”. Francis Bonny subsequently gave John Whiting a bond to indemnify him and afterwards committed suicide(22). The following notice was published in the London Gazette on 27th February 1689(23);

“Whereas Francis Bonny late of London, goldsmith, died £1,100 indent to the Crown. These are to give notice thereof to Debtors of the said Bonny, that they may not make any payment to their own prejudice.”

In a further issue of the London Gazette that month(24) Hester Bonny, inserts a notice that Thomas Bonny (i.e. Francis’ nephew) has some time since;

“fraudulently and deceitfully got into his hands, several trunks, wherein was writings of great value and, Jewels, Plate, Linen, etc., of Francis Bonny decd and other persons. And all, persons are cautioned against buying the said goods.”

After Francis’s death a legal battle subsequently started between the Treasury (representing the Crown) and Francis’s widow Hester. The Treasury’s solicitor argued that in committing suicide Francis’s entire estate were to be forfeited to the Crown (as per the legal custom at that time). Hester’s counter argument to the Crown was that at the time of his suicide Francis was “non compos mentis” (i.e. insane).  In early 1691 Hester Bonny eventually won her legal battle and the bulk of her husband’s estate passed to her(25) as per the provisions of Francis’ Will of 1683.

4) While Thomas Bonny is clearly listed as a goldsmith and citizen of London in documents dated 1659(26) and 1668(27) a search of the transcribed master and apprentice records for the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths has failed to identify him(28).

5)  Handwriting evidence further supports that Thomas Bonny, the 1667 token issuer of Bedlam, was the same Thomas Bonny who was lining in the parish of St. Mary Colechurch up until the Great Fire of September 1666.

Signatures of Thomas Bonny - c.1666 (top) and 1671 (bottom)

Signatures of Thomas Bonny – c.1666 (top) and 1671 (bottom)

An analysis of the two signatures above supports this. The first dates to c.1666, when Thomas was churchwarden of St. Mary Colechurch. It is taken from an entry in the latter’s parish registers. The second if from Thomas Bonny’s Last Will and Testament which is dated 24th June 1668. This Will was proven 8 days after the burial entry for “Thomas Bonnes” which was made on 7th November 1671 in the registers of parish church of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate Without (i.e. the local parish church for the district of Bedlam).

6) There are many examples of mid-17th British tradesmen who issued tokens displaying trade signs that are seemingly inappropriate to their occupations. The following examples are all taken from tokens issued by goldsmiths(29);

a) Henry Pinckney of Fleet, London, at the sign of the Three Squirrels.

b) Samuel Calle of Exeter at the signs of the Smoking Man and Covered Cup.

c) Joseph Partington in Skinner Row, Dublin, at the sign of the King’s Head.

  

References:

  1. Robinson, C.J. Rev – Register of the Scholars Admitted into The Merchant Taylor’s School from A.D. 1562 to 1874. Compiled from Authentic Sources with Biographical Notes. Volume I. (London, 1882).
  2. London Metropolitan Archives and Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section, Clerkenwell, London, England; Reference Number: MS 9172/61; Will Number: 311.
  3. Keene, D.J. & Harding, V. – Historical Gazetteer of London Before the Great Fire Cheapside; Parishes of All Hallows Honey Lane, St Martin Pomary, St Mary Le Bow, St Mary Colechurch and St Pancras Soper Lane. (Centre for Metropolitan History, London, 1987).
  4. Ibid 3.
  5. People in Place Project – St Mary Colechurch: Vestry Minutes 1613-72 (London, 2011).
  6. Merry, M & Baker, P. – Source specific data sets, Cheapside and Tower Hill, 1558-1769. On-line data sets accessible at http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/id/eprint/752. (Institute of Historical Research, Centre for Metropolitan History, London 2007).
  7. Ibid 6.
  8. Ibid 3.
  9. Ibid 3.
  10. Ibid 3.
  11. Davies, M.; Ferguson, C.; Harding, V.; Parkinson, E. & Wareham, A. – London and Middlesex Hearth Tax. The British Record Society. Hearth Tax Series Volume IX, Part II. (London, 2014).
  12. Ibid 6.
  13. Mills, P. & Oliver, J. – The Survey of Building Sites in the City of London after the Great Fire of 1666. Volume I. (London Topographical Society Publication. No.103. 1967).
  14. The Records of London’s Livery Companies Online – Apprentices and Freemen 1400-1900 (ROLLCO at http://www.londonroll.org/).
  15. Ibid 2.
  16. Ibid 2.
  17. Searched via the data bases available at Ancestry – Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History Records (http://www.ancestry.co.uk/).
  18. Searched via the data bases available at Findmypast – Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History Records (findmypast.co.uk).
  19. Searched via the data bases available at FamilySearch – Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History Records (https://familysearch.org/).
  20. Boyd, P. – Inhabitants of London. A genealogical Index held by the Society of Genealogists, London.
  21. PROB 11/394 – Will of Francis Bonny (10th March 1683), National Archives, London.
  22. Shaw, W.A. – Appendix: 1691, 2 January – 4 May in Calendar of Treasury Books. Volume 17, 1702 (London, 1939).
  23. The London Gazette – Issue 2536, Page 2. (London, 1689).
  24. Hilton-Price, F.G. – A Handbook of London Bankers with Some Account of Their Predecessors the Early Goldsmiths. (London, 1891).
  25. Shaw, W.A. – Appendix III, 1689-1692 in Calendar of Treasury Books. Volume 9 (London, 1931).
  26. Ibid 1.
  27. Ibid 2.
  28. Ibid 14.

2 Comments

Filed under Tokens from North of the City Walls

Abraham le Keux in Norton Folgate

A farthing token issued by Abraham le Keux a mid-17th century tradesman of the Liberty of Norton Folgate, London

A farthing token issued by Abraham le Keux a mid-17th century tradesman of the Liberty of Norton Folgate, London

The above copper farthing token measures 15.9 mm and weighs 0.92 grams. It was issued in the name of Abraham le Keux of Norton Folgate, London.

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

Obverse: (mullet) ABRAHAM . LE . KEVX , around cable inner circle, depiction of three barrels (or tuns) lying on their sides in a triangular formation within.

Reverse: Legend within in three lines reads; . IN . / NORTON / FALGATE (rosette) below.

There is no date on the token to indicate when it was issued, however, on stylistic grounds it seems to date from the mid-1650s to early 1660s.

The token is one of 12 different designs of farthing and half penny tradesmen’s tokens know to have been issued in the Liberty of Norton Folgate between 1648/9 and 1672 (1).

A plan of the Liberty of Norton Folgate (1682)

A plan of the Liberty of Norton Folgate (1682)

In the 17th century Norton Folgate was an independent Liberty located between the Bishopsgate Ward of the City of London to the south, the parish of St. Leonard, Shoreditch to the north and the parish of Spitalfields to the east. The Liberty originally comprised monastic land outside the city gates and by the mid-17th century comprised Folgate Street (formerly White Lyon Yard or White Lion Street), Spital Square, Elder Street, Fleur de Lis Street and Blossom Street.

After the Reformation in the 1530s Norton Folgate became a self-governing area of approximately 9 acres. Like East Smithfield it was a part of London where “outsiders” were allowed to live and practice their respective trades free from the control of the city’s Guilds and Livery companies. In the early 18th century the area (including Spitalfields) became particularly popular with immigrant Huguenot weavers from France – some of whose houses and business premises survive in the area to this day.

severs1

18 Folgate Street, Norton Folgate is a fine example of a Huguenot Weaver’s House of the first half of the 18th century

This concentration of French speaking immigrants in the Spitalfields area ensured the survival of a distinctive culture and identity for several generations. Both their language, diet and fashions set them apart from the native Londoners and they soon acquired a certain respectability. Even in 1738, William Hogarth could contrast the clothing and behaviour of a French Protestant congregation leaving church with the poverty, squalor and sexual immorality of other Londoners. Many prospective English gentlemen about to set off on the Grand Tour made an initial visit to the Spitalfields area to polish their language skills.

The four times of Day – Noon by William Hogarth (1738) – Contrasts a French Huguenot congregation leaving their church against the native English Londoners of the period.

The four times of Day – Noon by William Hogarth (1738) – Contrasts a French Huguenot congregation leaving their church against the native English Londoners of the period

Based on the information given on the above token the premises of its issuer, Abraham le Keux, was at or by the sign of the three tuns in Norton Folgate. In mid-17th century London this trade sign was traditionally used to mark the location of brew houses and taverns. It also formed the central device of the arms of the Worshipful Company of Vintners (2). However, for reasons to become obvious later it is unlikely that our token issuer was engaged in any one of the above or similar trades (Note 1).

A review of Hearth Tax returns for London and Middlesex for 1666 has failed to identify anyone in the area of Norton Holgate (and the immediate environs) with the surname “Le Keux”(3). This implies that by that time the issuer and his family had either moved out of the area or had possibly perished during the Great Plague of 1665. Being outside that area of the city that was directly affected by the devastation of the Great Fire of September 1666 we can discount this as a possible reason for them leaving the area.

The token issuer’s surname offers a significant clue as to his ancestry as “Le Keux” is derived from Old French (i.e. queu, keu, kieu or cu) denoting a cook or someone who operated an eating house (4). A search of mid-17th century parish registers from this particular area of London has failed to identify an Abraham le Keux. However, a similar review of non-conformist church registers revealed the following marriage entry (the original written in French) from the registers of the Walloon and French Protestant Chapel of the Hospital, Spitalfields (Note 2).

23rd November 1642 – Abraham son of Pierre le Keux native of Canterbury & Barbe daughter of Sebastian Brigode.

Further genealogical research has identified Abraham le Keux as a third generation Huguenot immigrant. The name of his wife and father-in-law indicate that they were almost certainly of similar Calvinist descent.

Born in Canterbury on 3rd November 1617, Abraham was one the oldest of 10 children born to Pierre le Keux and his wife Anne Du Chasteau between 1617 and 1636. Abraham’s father, Pierre, was one the oldest of 4 children born between 1580 and 1590 in Canterbury to Anthoine le Keux and Jaquemyne de le Haie. It has not been possible to trace the family’s history in England any earlier than 1580 which suggests that it was only shortly before that date that they fled from persecution in France.

Huguenots were French Protestants inspired by the writings of the reformation theologian John Calvin (1509 to 1564). Their numbers peaked near to an estimated two million by 1562 and were mainly concentrated in the southern and central parts of France. While their numbers were drawn from across French society the new religion had a particular following amongst many of the educated tradesmen. At this time the Huguenots represented approximately an eighth of the number of French Christians. As the Huguenots gained influence and more openly displayed their faith, Catholic hostility grew, in spite of increasingly liberal political concessions and edicts of toleration from the French crown. A series of religious conflicts followed, known as the Wars of Religion, that were fought intermittently between 1562 and 1598. The wars began with the Massacre of Vassy on 1st March 1562, when dozens (some sources say hundreds) of Huguenots were killed, and approximately 200 were wounded. It was in this year that some Huguenots destroyed the tomb and remains of Saint Irenaeus, an early Church father and bishop. Thereafter the Huguenots became organized as a definitive political movement. Protestant preachers rallied a considerable army and a formidable cavalry, which came under the leadership of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny. Henry of Navarre and the House of Bourbon allied with the Huguenots, adding wealth and holdings to the Protestant strength. At the height of their power the Protestants controlled sixty fortified cities and posed a serious threat to the Catholic crown and Paris.

In what became known as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 24th August 1572, Catholics killed thousands of Huguenots in Paris. In the weeks that followed similar massacres took place in other French towns including Aix, Bordeaux, Bourges, Lyons, Meaux, Orleans, Rouen, Toulouse, and Troyes. Nearly 3,000 Protestants were slaughtered in Toulouse alone. By mid-September almost 25,000 Parisian protestants had been killed while in the provinces a further 3,000 to 7,000 perished. Beyond Paris, the killings continued until 3rd October. An amnesty granted in 1573 pardoned the Catholic perpetrators. The persecution of the Huguenots in France finally ended with the granting of the Edict of Nantes (1598) which allowed the Huguenots substantial religious, political and military autonomy (Note 3).

Not surprisingly from the 1560s onwards increasing numbers of Huguenots started to flee France for the safety of adjacent Protestant countries who would offer them refuge. As part of this exodus many Huguenots crossed the English Channel to start new lives in south-east England. They settled initially in the coastal towns at which they landed. These included Dover, Rye, Folkestone and Sandwich.

In 1575 the town authorities in Sandwich, Kent, decided that they were reaching the limit in terms of the number of Huguenot refugees they could accommodate. It was at this point that the nearby city of Canterbury decided to accepted 100 refugee families to eleviate the situation. It is very possible that Abraham le Keux grandparents were amongst this initial influx of Huguenots into the city.

In the years that followed Canterbury became a favourite destination for those Huguenots who reached the safety of south-east England to the extent that their community came to represent the largest foreign population outside London.

These early Huguenot refugees, most of whom were known by the native English as “Walloons” or simply “strangers”, were silk weavers and wool dyers. Their textile production techniques were superior to those of the English at that time and their cloths were generally of a far superior quality. The welcome extended to the Huguenot refugees from their adoptive English communities partly reflected the perceived economic benefits they could offer, particularly with regards to developing the local textile industry. On the back of the new textile processing and weaving techniques introduced from the continent, new weaving and draperies were established in textile towns such as Canterbury. The Huguenot’s skills allowed the production of lighter fabrics, made from a mix of fibres, suitable for export to Europe, rather than the traditional heavier local woollen fabrics. Such were the economic benefits to Canterbury from the Huguenots that laws were introduced by the Privy Council to protected them when they became threatened from attack from established local textile workers and prejudicial locals.

The early 16th century Weaver’s House in Canterbury was once occupied by Huguenot weavers and remains as a permanent reminder of the City’s history with French Protestant refugee community

The early 16th century Weaver’s House in Canterbury was once occupied by Huguenot weavers and remains as a permanent reminder of the City’s history with French Protestant refugee community

Canterbury’s city authorities allowed the French refugees to conduct their own services of Christian worship (in French) in the church of St. Alphege which was made available for their use. Later, when their numbers became too great for one church, the western end of Canterbury Cathedral crypt was also made available for their worship.

It is extremely likely that Anthoine le Keux, the grandfather of our token issuer, was a silk weaver and that both his son Pierre and grandson Abraham were brought up and possibly locally apprenticed in Canterbury to learn the silk and/or cloth trades.

Industry & Idleness by William Hogarth (1742) illustrates a master weaver in London overseeing his apprentices weaving at their looms – Such workshops would have been common in Norton Folgate and Spitalfields during the 17th & 18th centuries

Industry & Idleness by William Hogarth (1742) illustrates a master weaver in London overseeing his apprentices weaving at their looms – Such workshops would have been common in Norton Folgate and Spitalfields during the 17th & 18th centuries

It is not known when Abraham le Keux left Canterbury to set up home and a new place of work in London but it must have been prior to his marriage to Barbe Brigode on 23rd November 1642. In 1642 he will have been 25 years of age. We can assume that he was apprenticed in Canterbury to a master weaver within his own community at the age of around 12. Thereafter he would have spent 7 years serving his new master and learning his trade before being finally freed to practice his trade and become a master weaver in his own right.

It is interesting to note that despite having been in England for three generations members of the le Keux family were still looking to within their own community for marriage partners. This, coupled with the fact that French was still the language of their worship and community records suggests a relatively low level of integration with the native English communities amongst whom they lived. For those Huguenot families that were privy to certain silk weaving secrets this insularism no-doubt helped protect their family’s commercial interests.

Abraham likely chose the Spitalfields area to live in as it already played host to a small Huguenot community and church (Note 4). It’s Liberty status also meant that tradesmen who settled there were free from the trading restrictions applied in most other parts of the city by the various London livery companies.

Within a year of being married Abraham and Barbe had the first of six children (listed below) all but one of whom are recorded in the baptism records of the Walloon and French Protestant Chapel of the Hospital, Spitalfields.

  1. Pierre (born 1643)
  2. Hester (born 1646)
  3. Susanne (born 1647)
  4. Isaac (born 1649)
  5. Jacob (born 1656)
  6. Marie (married 1662, date of birth unknown)

It is not known how many of the above children survived into adulthood or if any of them went on to join the family business. Unfortunately, no further record of Abraham le Keux’s business or life history are known. However, the 1662 marriage entry for Marie le Kuex (to Samuel de Lespau of Canterbury) suggests that both Abraham and Barbe were still alive and living in London at that time.

A review of Huguenot tradesmen operating in the Spitalfields area during the later 17th and 18th centuries indicates several individuals bearing the surname “le Keux”. These include the engravers Peter and Henry le Keux plus the master silk weaver Peter le Keux, a wealthy silk weaver who supervised two hundred and fifty looms in the Spitalfields area. Tracing back through the ancestry of the above “le Keux” families none of them appear to be directly related to Abraham le Keux the token issuer of Norton Folgate, despite several of their families having pre-Spitalfield origins in the Huguenot community in Canterbury (5).

Of the twelve mid-17th century token issues so far recorded for the Liberty of Norton Folgate (6) that of Abraham le Keux is the only one with a surname suggesting a Huguenot ancestry. This is not totally surprising as it wasn’t until after 1685 that the much larger extended second wave of Huguenots started to arrive in the Spitalfields area. Although not proven the case for Abraham le Keux being a silk weaver or textile worker is a strong one. A review of the mid-17th century paranumismatic record confirms that such tradesmen, along with related workers (i.e. wool combers and dyers), were known to have issued their own trade tokens. In the country as a whole mid-17th century tokens issued by weavers are common although few weavers refer to themselves as such within their tokens’ legends (7) (as likely in the example issued by Abraham le Keux). In the City of London and Middlesex a total of 11 weavers’ trade tokens have so far been conclusively identified through historical research (8)(9). These date from the period 1648/9 to 1672 and emanate from the following locations and issuers;

City of London:

Angel Alley (Dowgate Ward) – Obadiah Surridge at the sign of the Angel in Angel Alley. Half Penny. 1668.

Barbican – William Shatchwell at the sign of the Weavers’ Arms. Undated Farthing.

Green’s Rents (Fleet Bridge) – William Warde at the sign of the Weavers’ Arms, Fleet Bridge. Half Penny. 1666. As well as being recorded as a Weaver William Ward also traded as a sea coal seller from the same address.

Snow Hill (Farringdon Ward Without) – Gabriel Bonner at the sign of the Grocers’ Arms. Undated Farthing.

Finch Lane (Cornhill & Broad Street Wards) – Thomas Stubs at the sign of the Bull and Horseshoe. Half Penny. 1669.

Middlesex:

Ratcliff Highway – Robert Davers at the sign of the Weavers’ Arms. Undated Farthing.

Hackney – John Davis in Hackney. Farthing 1667.

Hog Lane (Shoreditch) – John Bavet at the sign of the Horse & Dog. Undated Farthing.

Mile End – George Smith (at the Weavers’ Arms) in Mile End, Weaver. Farthing 1658.

Wapping – Thomas Pierce at the sign of the Shears. Undated Farthing.

Spitalfields – John Ormes at the sign of the Red Lion in Spitalfield. Undated Farthing.

On first appearances, and without the benefit of further historical research results, only one of the above tokens can be conclusively identified as being issued by a weaver (i.e. that of George Smith of Mile End whose trade is included within the token’s legend). Approximately half of the tokens listed infer their issuers’ trade as being a weaver due to the selection of their respective trade sign, i.e. the coat of arms of the Worshipful Company of Weavers or a pair of cloth shears/scissors.

A review of the above token issuers’ surnames suggests none of them had their origins in the Huguenot community. A review of similar tradesmen’s tokens issued in locations in Kent that are known to have had established mid-17th century Huguenot communities has similarly failed to identify any weaver’s tokens with Huguenot surnames (10). This observation potentially makes the Abraham Le Keux tokens from Norton Folgate a significant and important discovery.

Notes:

  1. Like their English puritan cousins, the Huguenots did not drink alcohol and thus despite the appearance of the three tuns trade sign on Abraham le Keux trade token. And the derivation of his surname’s meaning, he is considered extremely unlikely to have found his way into the mid-17th century hospitality or vintners’ trades.
  2. The Chapel of the Hospital was located in Spitalfields and looked after the initial needs of the emerging Huguenot community in this area of London. It was effectively established as a daughter church to London’s central French and Flemish Protestant church in Threadneedle Street. This mother church was founded in 1550 by King Edward VI who granted Protestant refugees freedom of worship by royal charter. This central church had previously been St. Anthony’s Hospital Chapel and thereafter simply became known as “the French Church”. The medieval building, which dated back to the thirteenth century, was destroyed in the Great Fire of London, but by 1669 the hardworking Huguenots had erected a new church, one of the first to be rebuilt after the fire. It was demolished in 1841 to make way for the Royal Exchange.
  3. After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV in 1685 there was a large second wave of immigration by French Protestants to England and by 1700 in the region of 5 per cent of London’s population were Huguenots. The majority of this second wave of immigrants were attracted to the earlier established Huguenots communities such as those in Canterbury and Spitalfelds. With them they brought a further wealth of trade secrets and in some cases financial capital also. The Huguenots contributed overwhelmingly to the development of London’s textile, gun-making, silver, watch and clock-making industries, to the creation of the banking and insurance business as well as to the sciences and the arts. By the 18th century, the Huguenot families had begun to integrate with the local English population. The girls married local men and their names changed. Many of the others anglicised their names and most became English citizens.
  4. Many successful Spitalfields weavers established the viability of their businesses in Canterbury before making the move to London. As the Spitalfields weaving business flourished in the 18th century, the Canterbury industry went into decline, ceasing entirely in 1837 as a result of the introduction of mechanisation to the industry.

References:

  1. Dickinson, M.J. – Seventeenth Century Tokens of the British Isles and their Values. (London, 2004).
  2. Lillywhite, B. – London Signs: A Reference Book of London Signs from Earliest Times to about the Mid Nineteenth Century. (London, 1972).
  3. Hanks, P. & Hodges, F. – A Dictionary of Surnames. (Oxford, 1988).
  4. Davies, M.; Ferguson, C.; Harding, V.; Parkinson, E. & Wareham, A. – London and Middlesex Hearth Tax. The British Record Society. Hearth Tax Series Volume IX, Part II. (London, 2014).
  5. Agnew, D.C.A. Rev. – Protestant Exiles from France in the Reign of Louis XIV – The Huguenot Refugees in Great Britain and Ireland. Index Volume. (London, 1874).
  6. Dickinson, M.J. – Seventeenth Century Tokens of the British Isles and their Values. (London, 2004).
  7. Berry, G. – Seventeenth Century England: Traders and their Tokens. (London, 1988).
  8. Thompson, R.H. & Dickinson, M.J. – Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles – Volume 59 (The Norweb Collection) – Tokens of the British Isles 1575 – 1750. Part VII – City of London. (London, 2007).
  9. Thompson, R.H. & Dickinson, M.J. – Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles – Volume 62 (The Norweb Collection) – Tokens of the British Isles 1575 – 1750. Part VIII – Middlesex and Uncertain Pieces. (London, 2011).
  10. Ibid 6.

3 Comments

Filed under Tokens from North of the City Walls

Sir Charles Sedley – Issuer of An Enigmatic 17th Century Token From Honeychild Manor, Kent

The token illustrated below is different in several ways to other 17th century trade tokens discussed on this site. Firstly it is not from the city of London or its environs, although its issuer did spent the bulk of his life living in the capital. Secondly the token was not issued by a tradesman from his respective business premises but by a peer of the realm from one of his country seats.

A half penny token issued by Sir Charles Sedley from his Honeychild Manor estate on Romney Marsh, Kent

A half penny token issued by Sir Charles Sedley from his Honeychild Manor estate on Romney Marsh, Kent

The token in question is struck is brass and weights 2.05 grams and has a diameter of 21.4 mm. Its design is formerly described below.

Obverse: (sexfoil) THE (rosette) MANOR (rosette) OF, around beaded and linear inner circles. Within centre field is a large CS monogram with a (sexfoil) either side.

Reverse: (sexfoil) HONYCHILD (rosette) 1672, around beaded and linear inner circles. Within centre field the depiction of a goat’s head facing left (the crest of the Sedley family of Kent).

Comparing the above token to other examples in the 17th century series of British trade tokens its size and weight is highly suggestive of it being of a half penny denomination.

The issue date of the token, 1672, is clearly stated within its reverse legend as is the location of its issue, Honeychild Manor. This ancient manor was located just under half a mile south-east of St. Mary in the Marsh on Romsey Marsh in Kent. Other than as an occasional crop mark, viewed on aerial photographs, there is nothing left of the site of the manor house complex. It appears to have been demolished sometime between 1940 and 1960. Its buildings, including the site of a possible medieval fish pond are clearly visible in aerial photographs taken in the early 1940s.

A map of Romney Marsh (c.1813-18) indicating the position of Honeychild Manor

A map of Romney Marsh (c.1813-18) indicating the position of Honeychild Manor

While the issuer’s name is not stated on the token the combination of its issue location, the family crest illustrated on its reverse together with the obverse monogram, comprising the initials of the token issuer’s first and family names, allows it to be firmly attributed to Sir Charles Sedley (baptised: 5th March 1639; died: 20th August 1701).

Honeychild Manor and its associated lands were purchased by Charles Sedley’s father (prior to 1638) from Sir Roger Twysden for £5,000 (1). This acquisition added to the Sedley’s existing land holdings in Kent. Honeychild Manor was just part of Sir Roger Twysden’s assets on Romney Marsh. The Manor had defects that the Sedley’s were no doubt to discover in time. Like much of the land on Romney Marsh the Honeychild estate was only fit for sheep farming. By local standards the manor comprises of comparably poor land being noted as giving those sheep that grazed on it the “scab”. An added cost to the Sedley family through the purchase of the manor was the cost of its enclosure. There was poor availability of enclosure materials (i.e. timber, posts and rails etc.) on the Marsh so they had to be brought into the area at added cost (2).

Honeychild Manor and its immediate environs from aerial photographs of Romney March taken in 2010 (left) and 1940 (right)

Honeychild Manor and its immediate environs from aerial photographs of Romney March taken in 2010 (left) and 1940 (right)

The late issue date of the Honeychild Manor token places it as one of the last to be struck in the series of British trade tokens which span the period 1648/9 to 1672.

As noted earlier, while this token has the look and appearance of a typical 17th century tradesman’s token it must have been fundamentally different in that it was issued by a peer of the realm from, and possibly for use on, one of his country estates. This makes it unique in the British 17th century token series. If not used to help facilitate small trade transactions between a trader and his local customer base these tokens pose the question of what was their purpose and exactly how were they used?

A review of find locations for examples of this particular token type (Note 1) (3)(4) would indicate that their use and circulation was focused on Charles Sedley’s Honeychild Manor estate. Generally the most recent finds have been reported to be in good condition indicating relatively little circulation wear on their surfaces (2). If used as trade tokens this observation could be largely explained given their late issue. After 16th August 1672 the production and use of trade tokens were outlawed by Royal Proclamation. While there is evidence in parts of Britain to suggest that some trade tokens continued to circulate for some time after this date it may be reasonably assume that most would have been withdrawn from use shortly after the proclamation’s issue.

Sir Charles Sedley

Charles Sedley was baptised on 4th March 1639 at the parish church of St. Clement Danes, Westminster. He was the youngest of nine children born to Sir John Sedley (died August 1639) the 2nd Baronet of Aylesbury and his wife Elizabeth (died after 1651) the daughter of Sir Henry Savile. The Sedleys (sometimes spelled Sidley) had been prominent in Kent since the first half of the 14th century but during the reign of King Henry VIII their fortunes rose after one of the family married a London heiress acquiring much property (5).

At the time of Charles’ birth the family were living in a wealthy town house in Shire Lane off the Strand. He and his brothers were too young to take part in the Civil War but their mother’s royalist sympathies were well known.

Charles Sedley was educated at Wadham College Oxford but left before taking his degree. After the death of his oldest surviving brother William in 1656 he became the 5th Baronet of Aylesbuty (6).

Contemporary portrait of a young

Contemporary portrait of a young “rakish” Charles Sedley

On 9th February 1657 Charles married Lady Katherine Savage a Catholic (the Sedley’s were Protestants) and the sister to his late brother Henry’s widow. The young couple set up house in Great Queen Street between Covent Garden and Holborn. Within a year they had a daughter, Catherine. In later life the witty Catherine Sedley went on to become the mistress of the Duke of York (later King James II), who created her countess of Dorchester in 1686.

On 7th March 1660 Charles Sedley was appointed one of the royalist commissioners to reconstitute the militia in Kent and in October of that year became a captain of the Kent Volunteer Horse. It was around this time that he began his long political career.

Aged twenty-one at the Restoration, Sedley took enthusiastically to the pleasures of the court and the city, becoming one of the “Merry Gang” of courtiers, whose prominent members included John Wilmot the 2nd Earl of Rochester, George Villiers the 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Charles Sackville the Lord Buckhurst, who combined riotous living with intellectual pursuits and patronage of the arts. Charles Sedley’s witty conversation and the fact that unlike others in the “Merry Gang” he never asked for any grace or financial favours of his host made him a favourite drinking companion of King Charles II.

Outside of the royal court Sedley and others in the “Merry Gang” could often be found making merry at one of their favourite haunts such as Locket’s tavern in Charing Cross, the Rose tavern in Russell Street or Will’s Coffee House in Covent Garden (7). Alternatively, as noted by the diarist Samuel Pepys, they could be frequently found behaving “loudly” in one of the city’s theatres, notably the Drury Lane Playhouse off Covent Garden.

It was while attending a raucous “boy’s night out” on 16th June 1663 at Oxford Kate’s Cock tavern in Bow Street, Covent Garden that Charles along with Lord Buckhurst and Sir Thomas Ogle orchestrated a drunken and licentious frolic on the balcony of the tavern which started a public riot and shocked London society. Although Samuel Pepys wasn’t in the audience outside the Cock tavern that day to witness the spectacle for himself he did give a summary of it in his diary entry for 1st July 1663. Such was the notoriety of these infamous events that they were still being recounted by city commentators such as Dr. Samuel Johnson almost a century later. As a result of his actions Charles Sedley was jailed for a week and fined £500, of which he paid only half, due it is said, to the kindness of the King. The details of this notorious “bad boys” night out are accurately described in the audio-visual presentation below.

On 8th May 1668 Charles Sedley won his first parliamentary election becoming the representative for New Romney in Kent. He continued to hold this seat for much of his life. Additionally he took on several more local and central government roles and offices. However, being a member of parliament didn’t prevent Sedley and his old friend Lord Buckhurst from staying out of trouble as is recounted in the following diary entry made by Samuel Pepys on 23rd October 1668;

“……among other news, the late frolic and debauchery of Sir Charles Sedly and Buckhurst, running up and down all the night with their arses bare, through the streets; and at last fighting, and being beat by the watch and clapped up all night; and how the King takes their parts; and my Lord Chief Justice Keeling hath laid the constable by the heels to answer it next Sessions: which is a horrid shame.”

William Hogarth's

William Hogarth’s “A Midnight Modern Conversation” (c.1733) – A reminiscent scene of 17/18th century gentlemen “living it large” at an evening soiree.

In the late 1660s Katherine Sedley, after showing symptoms of insanity and insisting in being called “Your Majesty”, was consigned by her husband to a Roman Catholic convent in Ghent, Holland, where she remained, living and being cared for on a pension from her husband, until her death in 1705 (8).

After successfully committing Katherine to the long term care of the nuns of Ghent, Charles tried in vain to obtain a divorce from her as he now had a new love in his life, Ann Ayscough, who he met in 1670 and by whom he soon had two illegitimate sons, William and Charles. In April 1672 Sedley went through a form of bigamous marriage with Ann Ayscough and moved to a new house in Bloomsbury Square, London (9).

Contemporary portrait of an older more

Contemporary portrait of an older more “statesman like” Charles Sedley

On the death of his friend and patron King Charles II in 1685, Sedley was illegally excluded from the parliament by the Catholic King James II. There can be no doubt that Sedley opposed James in favour of the protestant William of Orange during the “Glorious Revolution”. There was no love lost between the two. Commenting on the accession of William and Mary, Sedley is quoted as saying;

“As the king (i.e. James II) has made my daughter a countess, the least I can do, in common gratitude, is to assist in making his Majesty’s daughter (i.e. Mary) a queen”.

In March 1690 Sedley was returned to parliament, his political career reaching its zenith through his becoming Speaker of the Commons.

Charles Sedley’s relationship with Ann Ayscough lasted to the end of his life and it appears that she was a great stabilizing influence on him and his public behaviour. Charles died at Hampstead on 20th August 1701 and was buried at Southfleet Church in Kent. The Sedley baronetcy became extinct on his death.

Charles and Ann Sedley had two sons, William and Charles. William, died in infancy while his brother survived into adulthood, eventually being knighted by King William III after his coronation in 1689 and created a baronet in 1702.

While the above account of Charles Sedley’s history is focused on his family and social life it should be noted that during his lifetime he was famous as an accomplished poet, play wright and classical translator. However, above all things it was his notorious wit that his contemporaries, like Samuel Pepys, most admired him for even to the extent of forgiving him the riotous and rakish behaviour of his youth.

 

Foot Notes:

1) As early as 1869 (3) there are reports of “copper coins” (likely to be our brass tokens) found in the fields adjacent to Honeychild Manor in Kent. More recently the present author has been made aware (4) of further metal detector finds of this token type on the former site of Honeychild Manor.

References:

  1. Jessup, F. – Sir Roger Twysden 1597 – 1672: Study in the Life and Literature of the Reformation. (London, 1965).
  2. Ibid 1.
  3. Bunbury, T. – Note on page 56 of “Notes and Queries: A Medium of Inter-Communication for Literary Men and General Readers etc. Fourth Series, Volume IV. July – December 1869. (London, 1869).
  4. Private communication between the author and Duncan Pennock of Dymechurch, Kent. (16th August 2015).
  5. De Sola Pinto, V. – Sir Charles Sedley 1639 – 1701: Study in the Life and Literature of the Reformation. (London, 1927).
  6. Ibid 5.
  7. Ibid 5.
  8. Ibid 5.
  9. Ibid 5.

2 Comments

Filed under 17th century Tokens issued by Pepys' Acquaintances Outside of London

John Kent at the Three Tuns Taverns

The mid-17th century copper farthing tokens illustrated below are of similar weight (0.98 grams and 0.95 gams respectively) and size (15.4 mm and 15.7 mm respectively) and were both issued by the same person, namely John Kent, a vintner and citizen of London. The designs of the two tokens are described further below.

A farthing token issued in the name of the Three Tuns tavern in Gracechurch Street, London

A farthing token issued in the name of the Three Tuns tavern in Gracechurch Street, London

Obverse: (mullet) THE. 3. TVNN. TAVERNE. IN , around a twisted wire circle, within the depiction of three barrels in a triangular stacked arrangement.

Reverse: (mullet) GRACE.CHVRCH.STREETE, around a twisted wire circle, within a triad of initials comprising I | .K. | .E

A farthing token issued in the name of the Three Tuns tavern in Crutched Friars, London.

A farthing token issued in the name of the Three Tuns tavern in Crutched Friars, London.

Obverse: (cinquefoil) AT . THE . 3 . TVN . TAVERN , around the depiction of three barrels in a triangular stacked arrangement.

Reverse: (cinquefoil) IN . CRVTCHED . FRIERS , around a twisted wire circle, within a triad of initials comprising I | .K. | .E

The two separate business addresses given on the reverse side of each of these tokens (.i.e. Gracechurch Street in the Candlewick Ward of the city and Crutched Friars in the Tower Ward of the city) clearly indicates that they were issued from two different taverns but with a shared common name (i.e. the Three Tuns). The Three Tuns was a fairly common tavern sign in 17th century London. It is derived from the ancient coat of arms of the Vintners Company of London which, like the token, depicts three wine barrels lying on their sides and arranged in a triangular pattern.

The common triad of initials on the reverse of the above tokens are those of their respective issuers which in this case were John (i.e. where “I” represents “J” in the Latin alphabet) and his wife Elizabeth Kent.

Visually the two above tokens look very similar. The difference in their surface colouring is indicative of the chemical conditions that each has been exposed to since being lost in the mid-17th century. The dark green patina of the first is telling of it being buried for a considerable period in chemically rich soil. The dark brown toning of the second is typical of it being recovered from waterlogged and low oxygen content conditions and is typical of most such tokens recovered from the River Thames foreshore.

Examples of Legend dividers on 17th Century British Tradesman's tokens - A mullet (left) and a cinquefoil (right)

Examples of Legend dividers on 17th Century British Tradesman’s tokens – A mullet (left) and a cinquefoil (right)

Stylistically the first of the two tokens appears to be the older of the two. The use of the “mullet” ornament as a divider in both the obverse and reverse legends is typical of tokens dating from 1648/9 to c.1662. The alternative use of a “cinquefoil” ornament as a legend divider in the second token is indicative of a later issuing date, typically c.1662 to 1668. By the time of this second issuing period farthing tokens were being struck in far fewer numbers in comparison to half penny denomination trade tokens.

In Search of the History of John Kent & his Family

John Kent, the token issuer, was the son of John Kent a yeoman of Standon in rural Hertfordshire. In December 1631 John was sent by his father to London to be apprenticed to George Gopsell a citizen and vintner of the city (1). Like other boys entering trade apprenticeships during this period he would typically have been around fourteen years of age (i.e. suggesting his year of birth as 1617). He would have been expected to work and learn his trade under his new master for approximately seven years before receiving his freedom and becoming a member of the Worshipful Company of Vintners. There after (i.e. c.1638) he would have been free to practice his trade independently.

It is not known where in London John Kent first set up his own business but within three years after completing his apprenticeship he appears to have already established himself and felt sufficiently confident to take on an apprentice of his own on 1st June 1641 (1). This was to be the first of many apprentices he took on over his long career (Note 1). By 1643 John was obviously financially secure and settled enough to get married.  His bride was Elizabeth Winch, the daughter of a grocer and church warden originally from the parish of St. Mildred, Poultry in the Cheap Ward of the city (2). The couple married in the parish church of St. John, Hackney on 23rd December 1643. Two years later there is parish register evidence that they were living in the parish of All Hallows, Lombard Street in the Candlewick Ward of the city. John was to retain strong ties to All Hallows parish church for the rest of his life.

Within a couple of years of the marriage of John and Elizabeth the parish registers of All Hallows, Lombard Street record the christenings of their first two children, Mercy and Elizabeth Kent.

12th October 1645 – Merse the daughter of John and Elizabeth Kent was baptised.

4th November 1649 – Elizabeth the daughter of John Kente was baptised.

In 1654 the church warden’s accounts of St. Benet, Gracechurch record his tenancy in Gracechurch Street from that year until the Great Fire in 1666 (3). It has been suggested that his first business in the street was based at the Cock Tavern (4). However, by the start of 1656 he and his family were most definitely in the Three Tuns Tavern as the following family burial entries from the parish registers of All Hallows, Lombard Street confirm;

Samuell Kent – Samuell the son of John Kent, vintner, & of Elizabeth his wife was buried in the South chapel on the south side under the pew marked 9 upon the 13th day of January Anno. 1655

Francis Kent – The daughter of John Kent vintner at the 3 tuns in Gracechurch Street and Elisabeth his wife was buried in the South Chapel on ye south side underneath the pews marked 9 and 10 upon the 10th day of February in the year aforesaid (i.e. 1655/6).

A review of the Hearth Tax returns for London on Lady Day 1666 indicates an entry for a John Kent in Lombard Street at a property containing 16 hearths (5). Such a number of hearths is in keeping with a well sized tavern of the period. The layout and geographical location sub-heading in of the Hearth Tax return document would indicate John Kent’s property was located at the east end of Lombard Street on the south side close to All Hallows parish church. Given that the contemporary accepted address for the three Tuns taverns as being in Gracechurch Street this coupled with the Hearth Tax return evidence would logically put the tavern’s location as being at the south-east corner of Lombard Street at the north-south junction with Gracechurch street. Presumably the tavern’s main entrance was via Gracechurch Street, hence it being known as the Three Tuns in Gracechurch Street. According to one source (6) citing John Roque’s 1746 map of London the Three Tuns tavern was located on the western side of Gracechurch Street, due east of the church of St. Clement’s Eastcheap but within the bounds of the parish of St. Benet’s. It is likely that this refers to the later tavern of the same name built in Gracechurch street after the Great Fire of 1666 (Note 2).

Gracechurch & Lombard Streets c.1720 indicating the locations of the pre Great Fire Three Tuns Tavern (YELLOW), post Great Fire Three Tuns Tavern (GREEN( plus All Hall0ws Church (RED) and St. Clement's Eastcheap (BLUE)

Gracechurch & Lombard Streets c.1720 indicating the locations of the pre Great Fire Three Tuns Tavern (YELLOW), post Great Fire Three Tuns Tavern (GREEN) plus All Hall0ws Church (RED) and St. Clement’s Eastcheap (BLUE)

Unfortunately there was to be more sorrow in the Kent household over the next three years as the following parish register entries from All Hallows, Lombard Street attest to;

Elizabeth Kent – Elizabeth Kent the wife of John Kent vintner in Gracechurch Street was buried in the South Chapel of our church on the south side underneath the first two pews upon the 28th day of December 1657

With two known surviving children still to look after and a family business to run the loss of Elizabeth must have hit John hard despite having some potential support from his apprentice(s) (Note 1). With this in mind it is not so surprising that within a year of Elizabeth’s death John was preparing to re-marry as recorded by the following banns entry in the parish register of All Hallows, Lombard Street made on the 29th October 1658;

A marriage intended between John Kent, widower of the Parish of All Hallows Lombard Street, and Elizabeth Barret, spinster, the daughter of Peter Barret, gentleman, of the Parish Margaret Pattens London, was published in the market place of Cheapside upon three market days, in three several weeks one after another, between the hours of eleven and five of the clock according to the late Act of Parliament that is to say upon Saturday the first, Monday the third and Wednesday ye 12th days of January 1658. & no exception was made against the same.

And on the 18th of January 1658 the said parties above named were married in Margaret Pattens Church by Mr. Thomas Lye minister of this parish.

Confirmation of John’s second marriage is also documented in the parish register of St. Margaret Pattens Church.

Exactly nine months after John and Elizabeth’s marriage the Kent family was to have yet more misfortune as recorded in the registers for All Hallows Church, Lombard Street.

Sarah Kent – Sarah the daughter of Mr. John Kent of the Three Tunns in Gracechurch Street was buried in the South Chapel of our church on the south side of the pews marked as 10, 11 upon the 18th day of September 1659

No baptism record has so far been found for Sarah Kent so it is not known if she was the product of John’s first or second marriage. Either is possible but the present writer is of the opinion that she was probably the infant daughter of John and Elizabeth Barret.

One further child was born to the couple while living in Gracechurch Street.

Dixy Kent – Dixy the son of John & Elizabeth Kent vintner at the Three Tuns in Gracechurch Street was baptised in the parish church the 26th day of January by Mr. Thomas Lye the minister

The Kent family appears to have survived the Great Plague of 1665. It is not known if they evacuated the city during the plague, as so many who could afford to do so did, but it must remain a distinct possibility.  From details contained in John Kent’s Will of December 1689 (7) it is clear that at some point he acquired a considerable estate including a manor house (the Manor House of the Mark) straddling the parish boundaries of Walthamstow and Lower Leyton. This area was then a very rural part of Essex and a popular location with many of London’s leading citizens for the location of their second homes. If he had this estate in 1665 it may well have been to here or his family’s home village of Standon in Hertfordshire that he and his family escaped in order to survive the plague.

While the Kent family may have survived 1665 unscathed like most other Londoners there was to be a major upheaval in their lives in the following year.

The Great Fire of London broke out in Pudding Lane in the early hours of Sunday 2nd September 1666 and by the following evening it had consumed all of Gracechurch and Lombard Streets. The Three Tuns tavern was raised to the ground while the family’s parish church of All Hallows was severely damaged.

A view of the south end of Gracechurch Street with the Monument (marking the starting point of the Great Fire of London) clearly in full view.

A view of the south end of Gracechurch Street with the Monument (marking the starting point of the Great Fire of London) clearly in full view.

At some time prior to the Great Fire of 1666 but after 1648/9 (i.e. the year in which the first London tradesman’s tokens were issued) John Kent issued the earlier illustrated farthing trade token from the Three Tuns tavern in Gracechurch Street. Unfortunately the fact that both his wives were called Elizabeth does not allow us to use the triad of initials on the reverse of the token to date it more precisely using contemporary parish marriage records. However, as previously mentioned, stylistically the token’s appearance suggests an issue date prior to c.1662.

Despite losing their tavern and presumably home in Gracechurch Street in early September 1666, just over a month later John and Elizabeth Kent had re-established their business, under its former name of the Three Tuns, in a vacant property at the intersection of Hart Street and Crutched Friars in the parish of St. Olave’s, Hart Street (Note 3).

Seething Lane Area in 1678 - Showing the locations of Samuel Pepys' Lodgings (BLUE); the parish church of St. Olave, Hart Street (RED) and that most likely for the Three Tuns Tavern (YELLOW)

Seething Lane Area in 1678 – Showing the locations of Samuel Pepys’ Lodgings (BLUE); the parish church of St. Olave, Hart Street (RED) and that most likely for the Three Tuns Tavern (YELLOW)

This district, in the north-eastern part of the city, was one of the few areas which escaped the Great Fire. Properties in such areas would have been highly sought after and expensive after September 1666 as the Great Fire had laid waste to most of the city.

A map of London immediately after the Great Fire of September 1666 showing the extent of the devastation and the locations of the Three Tuns Taverns in Gracechurch Street and Crutched Friars

A map of London immediately after the Great Fire of September 1666 showing the extent of the devastation and the locations of the Three Tuns Taverns in Gracechurch Street and Crutched Friars

Crutched Friars is the eastern extension of Hart Street. Starting adjacent to the parish church of St. Olave this street ran alongside the north end of Seething Lane and the Navy Office where the famous diarist and naval administrator Samuel Pepys lived and worked respectively.

Shortly after moving into their new establishment John and Elizabeth Kent issued the undated farthing token illustrated and described earlier. In addition they also issued half penny trade tokens. As can be seen from the above images the design of this farthing token was very similar to the earlier one they issued when at the Three Tuns tavern in Gracechurch Street.

Samuel Pepys would have been a regular visitor to the Three Tuns tavern in Crutched Friars. Geographically speaking it was his “local pub”. Between November 1666 and May 1669 Pepys records in his diary visiting “the tavern in our street” on a total of seven different occasions. He frequented the tavern with friends and colleagues from the adjacent Navy Offices plus with his neighbours on the occasion of parish dinners which appear to have been regularly held there. On 17th November 1666 Pepys refers to the Three Tuns as “the new tavern come by us”. In May of the next year he further refers to the tavern as “Kent’s”. Two related and more interesting of his diary references to the tavern are reproduced below.

Thursday 9th May 1667 – ….and so home, and in our street, at the Three Tuns’ Tavern door, I find a great hubbub; and what was it but two brothers have fallen out, and one killed the other. And who should they be but the two Fieldings; one whereof, Bazill, was page to my Lady Sandwich; and he hath killed the other, himself being very drunk, and so is sent to Newgate. I to the office and did as much business as my eyes would let me, and so home to supper and to bed.

Friday 10th May 1667 – Up and to the office, where a meeting about the Victuallers’ accounts all the morning, and at noon all of us to Kent’s, at the Three Tuns’ Tavern, and there dined well at Mr. Gawden’s charge; and, there the constable of the parish did show us the picklocks and dice that were found in the dead man’s pocket, and but 18d. in money; and a table-book, wherein were entered the names of several places where he was to go; and among others Kent’s house, where he was to dine, and did dine yesterday: and after dinner went into the church, and there saw his corpse with the wound in his left breast; a sad spectacle, and a broad wound, which makes my hand now shake to write of it. His brother intending, it seems, to kill the coachman, who did not please him, this fellow stepped in, and took away his sword; who thereupon took out his knife, which was of the fashion, with a falchion blade, and a little cross at the hilt like a dagger; and with that stabbed him.

Documentary evidence suggests that John Kent lived the rest of his life as a practicing vintner in the parish of St. Olave, Hart Street and eventually even became a parish elder. However, it is unclear if he remained the resident landlord at the Three Tuns tavern in Crutched Friars after the late 1660s.

There is an additional series of interesting farthing and half penny trade tokens which were issued for the Three Tuns tavern in Crutched Friars in the names of Theophilus Pace and his wife. These are undated but in London the issue of half-penny trade tokens typically dates to the period 1664 to 1669 while farthings were issued over a longer period commencing in 1648/9. No trade tokens of any denomination were issued after their use was officially declared illegal in 1672. This highlights a question mark with regards to the exact dates of John Kent’s tenure at the Three Tuns tavern.

One possible explanation of the Theophilus Pace tokens is that the latter was let the Three Tuns tavern by John Kent sometime after 1667 and that he retained that position until his death. The parish registers for St. Olave’s, Hart Street records the burial of a “Theophilus Pais” in February 1667/68. Thereafter it is possible that John Kent took over the running of the tavern again possibly with the ultimate intention of passing it onto his son Dixy on his retirement.

Parish register entries from the later 1660s to early 1670s offer documentary evidence of a further five children (Mary, Elizabeth, Peter, John and a still-born child) belonging to John and Elizabeth Kent in addition to the seven (i.e. Mercy, Elizabeth, Sam, Francis, Sarah, John and Dixy) known to have been born while he lived in Gracechurch Street. At least three of these additional children were born while John and Elizabeth were based in Crutched Friars as is evident from the documentary evidence below. Firstly from the parish registers of Al Hallows, Lombard Street:

Mary Kent – Mary the daughter of John Kent and of Elizabeth his wife was buried in our church the last day of March 1667 towards the upper end of the south side close to the wall.

Peter Kent – Peter the son of John Kent and of his wife was buried in the south chapel 21 foot from the upper end from the head of the corpse at 2 foot from ye Side wall on the 5th of November 1667

Unbaptized – A small child of John Kent and of Elizabeth his wife. Still born was buried in our South Chapel on the 5th day of September 1670.

John Kent – John the son of John & Elizabeth Kent was buried in our South Chapel on the 13th day of August 1671 sixteen foot from ye end wall to the head of the corpse and about a foot from the side wall.

Secondly from the parish register of St. Olave, Hart Street:

John Kent – Baptism 6th September 1668 – John son of John and Elizabeth Kente.

John Kent – Burial 13th August 1671 – John son of John and Elizabeth Kente buried at All Hallows in ye church.

Elizabeth – Baptism 26th January 1672/3 – Elizabeth daughter of Mr. John Kente and Elizabeth Kente his wife born and baptised.

While the family became established in their new parish it is interesting to note that they continued to use their former parish church for family burials despite the fact that it had been badly damaged during the Great Fire of 1666. After the fire the local parishioners of All Hallows, Lombard Street attempted to “patch up” their church by rendering the walls with straw and lime in an attempt to stop any further decay (8). A bell was hung in the steeple, despite its perilous condition, as late as 1679 (9). Ultimately, however, restoration proved impractical and the old building was replaced with a new one designed by the office of Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1694.

After the birth of Elizabeth in 1673 there are no further records of John and Elizabeth Kent having any further children. Of John Kent’s twelve children only five were to survive into adulthood (11).

In 1668 John Kent’s eldest daughter, Mercy, married John Sergent, an apothecary from the adjacent London parish of St. Katherine Cree (12) (Notes 4). Oddly their marriage didn’t take place in either the bride’s or the groom’s home parish. Instead the ceremony took place in St. Mary’s Church in Leyton, Essex. As previously noted, at some point in his history John Kent acquired a considerable holding of land in this area of Essex including the Manor House of the Mark on the parish boundary of Walthamstow and Lower Leyton. By the time of the marriage of John’s daughter in 1668 the association between his family and this area of Essex already appears to have been established. By 1680 John Sergent had died making Mercy a widow. It is possible that it was through her father’s connections and/or introduction she met her second husband, Philip Stubbs, who according to their marriage license was also a widower and vintner from a neighbouring London parish to St. Olave, Hart Street (13).

28th October 1680. “Phillipp Stubbs of St Andrew Undershaft Lond. Vintner aged about 44 years and a Widdower” and “Mrs Mercy Sarjeant of St Catherine Creechurch Lond. aged about 34 years and a Widdowe ” to be married in ye parish Church of Battersey in Surrey.

On 4th December 1677 John Kent apprenticed his youngest surviving son, Dixy, to Richard Acton, a London vintner. He probably hoped that Dixy would follow in his father’s footsteps (Note 5). It is unclear what trade Dixy’s older brother, John, entered as no record has so far been found for him in the transcribed apprenticeship records of the principal London Livery Companies.

Even when John Kent was in his mid-60s he was still very active in his chosen profession being appointed one of the Masters of the Worshipful Company of Vintners in 1681. It is likely that he took on his final apprentice in 1685 (Note 6).

By the end of 1689 John Kent’s health must have been failing. He prepared his last will and testament on 14th December 1689. He died and was buried eight days later. An entry in the parish register for St. Olave, Hart Street for the 22nd December 1689 records the following;

John Kent, vintner, was buried in All Hallows, Lombard Street, Lond.

While short and to the point this entry records some interesting facts about John in that;

  1. He remained a resident of the parish of St. Olave, Hart Street until his death.
  2. At the time of his death he remained an active vintner.
  3. The historic ties to his former parish of All Hallows, Lombard Street remained strong until the time of his death and he was buried in his family’s former parish church along with his first wife and his seven deceased children.

John Kent’s Will was proven the day after his burial (i.e. 23rd December 1689). It states that he was an Elder of the parish of St. Olave, Hart Street as well as confirming him being a citizen and vintner of the city of London and that he was to be buried in the parish church of All Hallows, Lombard Street;

“at the upper end of the first isle in the right hand under the window where the seat stood.”

John’s Will further confirms that he was survived by his second wife, Elizabeth, and five of his children, namely John, Elizabeth and Dixy Kent plus his married daughters Mercy (Stubbs) and Elizabeth (Upsher).

To his eldest son, John, plus his daughters Mercy Stubbs and Elizabeth Upsher John Kent left £5 each. Similar amounts were each left to his “worthy good friends” Doctor Josiah Clarke and Mr. John Newton. To his youngest daughter Elizabeth Kent he left £500 to be paid to her on her 21st birthday or day of marriage, which ever came first. After the payment of any debts the remaining of John Kent’s estate excluding eight acres of meadow land in Leyton Marsh near the Ferry House (which was in the tenure of Edward Dawson) was to be split equally between his wife, Elizabeth, and his youngest son, Dixy. This included the various meadow and pastures lands and tenements pertaining to the Manor House of the Mark, all of which straddled the parish boundaries of Walthamstow and Lower Leyton in the county of Essex.

The signature of John Kent as it appears on the Apprenticeship Indenture of Throgmorton Underwood dated 4th February 1672/3.

The signature of John Kent as it appears on the Apprenticeship Indenture of Throgmorton Underwood dated 4th February 1672/3.

 

Foot Notes:

 

1) During the 51 year period that John Kent was an active vintner (i.e. from the completion of his apprenticeship in 1638 until his death in December 1689) the records of the Worshipful Company of Vintners record 34 separate apprentices who were bound to a master vintner by the name of John Kent.  These are listed in the summary table below.

Apprentices

While it is possible that all of the above apprentices were bound to our token issuer, particularly considering his apparent long and successful career and the fact that not all apprentices completed their binding period, it is equally possible that those listed after 1655 and 1669 respectively could relate to the apprentices of one or other of two other John Kents who were bound apprentice vintners in London in 1648 and 1662 respectively. The apprenticeship records for these two additional John Kents are summarised below.

  1. John Kent, son of William a merchant tailor of London, apprenticed to Leonard Girle on the 1st August 1648. (1655)
  2. John Kent, son of John a blacksmith of London, apprenticed to Nicholas Clarke on the 6th May 1662. (1669)

While we can be certain that both of the above boys embarked on apprenticeships to become vintners we have no evidence that either of them either completed their standard seven or eight year apprenticeships or went on to become vintners in their own right. It was not unheard of that boys who successfully completed an apprenticeship in a one particular trade went on to become a master in a totally different but often related trade.

 

2) An interesting later reference to the second Three Tuns Tavern build in the lower portion of Gracechurch Street, after the Great Fire of 1666, can be found in the Daily Journal of 16th September 1732.

“Yesterday, about 5 o’clock in the evening, notwithstanding the wind was so high, a sailor flew from the top of the Monument to the Upper Three Tuns tavern in Gracechurch Street, which he did in less than half a minute; there was a numerous crowd of spectators to see him. He came down within 20 feet of the place where the rope was fixed, and then flung himself off; and offered, if the gentlemen would make him a handsome collection, he would go up and fly down again.”

 

3) George Berry (14) suggests that the location of the Three Tuns tavern in Crutch Friars was half way along Crutch Friars on the southern side of the lane opposite the Navy Office where Samuel Pepys worked. However, the current writer believes that the tavern’s location was on the west side of the entrance to Crown Court Alley (15) at the north-west end of Crutched Friars where the lane joined Hart Street.

Part of John Rocque's Map of London (1746) indicating the location of the Three Tuns Tavern in Crutched Friards according to George Berry (BLUE) and the current writer (RED) plus the additional locations of Three Tuns Yard (YELLOW) and Samuel Pepys' lodgings (GREEN).

Part of John Rocque’s Map of London (1746) indicating the location of the Three Tuns Tavern in Crutched Friards according to George Berry (BLUE) and the current writer (RED) plus the additional locations of Three Tuns Yard (YELLOW) and Samuel Pepys’ lodgings (GREEN).

This location better fits Samuel Pepys’ own words when he records in his diary the location of the Three Tuns tavern as being “in our street”. Further support of this theory comes from later place-name evidence contained in John Roque’s famous 1746 map of London. In this map Crown Court in Crutched Friars has been re-named as Three Tuns Yard. This presumably is in recognition of the location of a tavern by the same name. An advertisement in the London Evening Post of 3rd April 1742 reads;

“To be let – the house and shop lately occupied by John Calcott blacksmith in Crutch Friars. Enquiry at the Three Tun Tavern against the Church.”

The use of the term “against the church” further suggests the tavern was located opposite St. Olave’s Church on Crutched Friars as opposed to being located down the alley that lead to Three Tuns Court.

The junction of Seething Lane, Hart Street and Crutched Friars showing the entrance to New London Street (formerly the site of the Three Tuns Alley and Tavern).

The junction of Seething Lane, Hart Street and Crutched Friars showing the entrance to New London Street (formerly the site of the Three Tuns Alley and Tavern).

Three Tuns Yard Alley was later to become New London Street, the original street entrance to which is still preserved (all be it as a dead-end turning) in the modern street plan of the north side of Hart Street.

4) It is possible that it was a close relation (i.e. a possible younger brother) of John Sergent’s the apothecary who married Mercy Kent in 1668 who was to be bound as an apprentice vintner to John Kent (the token issuer) in 1676 (see table in Note 1).

5) A Dixy Kent married Jane Brown on 11th January 1690 at All Hallows Church, London Wall. His trade is listed by Boyd as a linen draper and silversmith. If this entry is for Dixy Kent, son of John Kent, it indicates that he did not go on to follow in his father’s footsteps as a vintner despite being apprenticed as such. Dixy Kent died on 10th July 1696 and was buried in his father-in-law’s (Daniel Brown, died 1698) own vault in the parish church of St. Stephen, Wallbrook (16).

6) Further to Note 1 above it is interesting to note the areas of the United Kingdom from which the various apprentices came from. While many were from London or the Home Counties others were sent to London from as far afield as Mid-Wales and Yorkshire. It is highly likely that those apprentices listed as being from villages close to Standon in Hertfordshire plus Leyton and Walthamstow in Essex were bound to John Kent the token issuer given the close associations we know his family had to these two areas.

References:

  1. Webb, C. – London Livery Company Apprenticeship Registers. Volume 43. Vintners’ Company 1609-1800. (2006).
  2. Boyd, P. – Inhabitants of London. A genealogical Index held by the Society of Genealogists, London.
  3. Berry, G. – Tavern Tokens of Pepy’s London. (London, 1978).
  4. Latham, R.C. – The Diary of Samuel Pepys. Volume 10 – Companion. (London, 1995).
  5. Davies, M.; Ferguson, C.; Harding, V.; Parkinson, E. & Wareham, A. – London and Middlesex Hearth Tax. The British Record Society. Hearth Tax Series Volume IX, Part II. (London, 2014).
  6. Harben, H.A. – A Dictionary of London: Historical notes of streets and buildings in the City of London, including references to other relevant sources. (1918).
  7. PROB 11/397/409 – Will of John Kent (22nd December 1689), National Archives, London.
  8. Daniell, A.E. – London City Churches. (London, 1896).
  9. Godwin, G.; Britton, J. – All Hallows, Lombard Street. The Churches of London: A History and Description of the Ecclesiastical Edifices of the Metropolis. (London, 1839).
  10. Milbourn, T. – The Vintners’ Company: Their Nuniments, Plate and Eminent Members with
  11. Ibid 7.
  12. Ibid 2.
  13. Stubbs, H. – Pedigree of the Kentish Family of Stubbs. Archaeologia Cantiana. Volume 18. (1889).
  14. Ibid 3.
  15. Hyde, R. – The A to Z of Restoration London (The City of London, 1676). (London Topographical Society Publication. No.145. 1992).
  16. Ibid 2.

5 Comments

Filed under Tokens from Pepys' London, Tokens from within the City Walls