Connecting to Secondary Schools: Hearth Tax Document Handling Workshops.

Between January and March 2020, as part of the Centre for Hearth Tax Research’s impact and outreach work, Aaron Columbus visited three secondary schools in London: Esher Sixth Form College in Surrey, Acland Burghley in Tufnell Park in north London and Alleyn’s School in Dulwich. These visits were organised as part of the Centre’s strategy to connect with secondary schools and help sixth form students enhance their understanding and confidence with primary sources. Students were provided with the opportunity to engage with and handle hearth tax sources and draw conclusions on wealth distribution in London on the eve of the Great Fire. Harry Crawshaw and William Bateson of Esher College reflected on their experience for this blog.

Harry Crawshaw:

Even as a history student, working with and assessing primary sources from a period about which I knew very little was quite a daunting prospect. However, it soon became clear that not only were the resources far more insightful than we may’ve first thought, but that the session was incredibly accessible even to an absolute beginner. As a group, we were introduced to the wider context surrounding the hearth tax concisely but effectively and soon felt that we had enough understanding of the period to tackle the primary sources put in front of us. We were clearly taught of new perspectives on how to approach a primary source, from never discounting the seemingly minutest number or detail to continually assessing the provenance and limitations regarding the sources (tax collection records from the eastern parish of St Botolph Aldgate).

While the hearth tax initially appeared to make sense as a way of staggering taxation based on wealth in a similar way to the later window tax, one of the most interesting aspects of the workshop was seeing the resentment with which it was embraced by those who were seemingly amongst the poorest in restoration London, those who by the very nature of the tax had to pay the least. This illustrated the state of poverty in the city in the 17th century, people so poor that they (in many cases) couldn’t pay tax on their one solitary chimney. Yet what perhaps said more was when on further examination it became apparent that in the same parish, often the same street as these simple one hearth homes were properties boasting as many as 20-30 chimneys, sometimes more. Great poverty juxtaposed in agonising proximity with great affluence and wealth, in many ways it’s become a story for the ages. Perhaps the recent Grenfell tower tragedy in the classically desirable Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea shows that even though the Hearth Tax sources are hundreds of years old, the observations and situations they reflect aren’t unfamiliar, even to the contemporary Londoner.

History has always appealed greatly to me as a subject, and this taster of a different side of history, one which further study may have to offer and it has only cemented my interest in studying the subject at a higher level. Be it out of a curiosity for the period or to learn how 17th century London relates to the modern city, I would urge anyone to make use of the Hearth Tax Digital Website. The sources are easily accessible, easy to engage with and I have been left with little doubt of their importance to greater understanding and appreciating the history of London.

William Bateson:

Before the workshop I had never thought so much detail could be learned from documents from the time through interpretation, from tax records stating both the financial situation of an area as well as its character and the feelings of the people toward the Hearth Tax. The detail that has remained from the documents and the interpretations which can be taken from them surprises me. Tax collectors would use their own notes and would use their own perception to decide if anything was worth taking or not.

I found working with the sources very enjoyable and I leant much about London and the UK in the given period that I otherwise would not have known. I found the fact that they would be copied by a collector and thereafter would be rewritten as records leading to other administrative workings fascinating.

I found the tasks with other students good and we had the chance to meet students from different history classes, which was highly engaging. Overall, I found that the information explained by Aaron about the Hearth Tax, what led up to it and its aftermath as well as other explained historical information was very useful as he pointed out many inferences that I wouldn’t have otherwise have noticed. I therefore found the workshops highly beneficial.

I found the hearth tax very insightful and much more human, with names and reactions of people towards tax collection as well as seeing the socio-economic stance of the given area and how people lived there, compared with today’s more artificial methods which do not involve the same practices as those used in the 17th century as more efficient tax collection methods are in place.

I’ve always wanted to study either History or Geography at university, as I have never done an analysis workshop in 17th century Britain. I feel that it has furthered my interests in pursuing and studying History later on.

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Thomas Padnall and the ‘Sunne’ inn, St Margaret New Fish Street in 1666.

This latest blog in our series from the work of University of the Third Age members participating in the Shared Learning Project with the British Academy Hearth Tax Project, Centre for Hearth Tax Research, is by Barbara Sanders. Using the hearth tax returns from the City of London and Middlesex as a starting point, Barbara reveals the life of Thomas Padnall, resident in the intramural parish of St Margaret New Fish Street in 1666. This builds on her earlier blogs, where the parish itself was detailed and the life of David Barton was revealed.

The 1666 Hearth Tax  shows Thomas Padnall living at the “Sunne” on Fish Street Hill, East Side, in the parish of  St Margaret, New Fish Street, in the City of London. His occupation is vintner and he has 13 hearths.

He appears in records variously as Padnall, Padnell, Padnoll and Padnol. He is referred to here as Thomas Padnall except where making a drect quote from a record.


His birth family

On 15 July 1611 Thomas Padnoll was baptised at Colchester St Mary at the Walls, Essex. His sister Em [Emma] was baptised there in 1614. Their father John Padnoll and their mother Lois, née Wilkinson, were both of Colchester. [Boyd]


It was probably his apprenticeship that brought Thomas to London, the thriving capital and a magnet for young men looking for opportunities. Thomas Padnall was apprenticed on 7 June 1626 to William Longe of the Vintners’ Company; such an apprenticeship was typically for seven years. Longe himself had been apprenticed in 1613, his family from Essex too. Finding a suitable master was often through business or family connections. Padnall in due course would train his own apprentices, the first one in 1637, the last shortly before his death. [See Appendix 2] The boys were not only sons of London citizens but from around the country. It is interesting to note that the sons of a haberdasher, grocer, tailor, butcher, fishmonger, and scrivener were not following in their fathers’ footsteps as would have been likely in previous times.

In 1660 Thomas took on his own son Robert.

The Artillery Company

A Thomas Padnell was a member of the volunteer Artillery Company(later to be known as the Honourable Artillery Company and still going strong). In the list “A Remembrance of Legacies and Gifts given to this Societie by divers well disposed Gent. of this Companie and others since ye reviving thereof, Anno 1611”, there is an entry in 1627 for Mr Thomas Padnell, a gift of £6 13s 4d. At this time our Thomas was only a year into his apprenticeship so unlikely to be wealthy enough; it could have been paid on his behalf by a benefactor such as a family member. I have found no evidence of a second Thomas Padnell at this time, but records of many sorts were lost in the upheavals of the Civil War and the later Fire of London.

The Fraternity or Guild of Artillery of Longbows, Crossbows and Handguns had been incorporated by Royal Charter in 1537 by Henry VIII for “The better increase of the Defence of this our Realm and maintenance of the Science and Feat of shooting Long Bows, Cross Bows and Hand Guns”. The Guild became known as “The Gentlemen of the Artillery Garden”, named after its practice ground. “Artillery” described archery and other missile weapons, while guns were known as “great artillery”. Its members did not commit to either side in the Civil War. I have found no evidence of Thomas’ part, if any, in the Civil War.

Marriage and Family

Apprentices were generally not free to marry until they had served their time. Thomas Padnol married Elizabeth Jackson on 16 February 1636 at St Dionis Backchurch in the City of London. [Boyd]

They had nine surviving children. Their two sons were Thomas (born 1637) and Robert (born 1642), who were educated at the Merchant Taylor’s School, admitted in 1646 and 1653 respectively. Their seven daughters were Barbara, Lois, Emma, Mary, Elizabeth, Anne and Rhoda. [Boyd]

The Sunne or Sun Inn

The inns on Fish St Hill were designed to cater for passing trade as well as local residents. At the bottom of the Hill was the approach to London Bridge, London’s only bridge across the Thames. It lead south to the roads through Kent and Surrey as far as the south coast. Travellers arriving via London Bridge from the south would need to pass up the steep Fish Street Hill on the way to their London destination or to the old city gates and beyond to the rest of the country. Later, debris from the Great Fire would be used as landfill to level out the steep incline of the street.

Travelling was an exhausting actvity whether by coach, by horse or on foot. Carriers were always busy moving goods to and from the wharves along the Thames. Coaches were as yet mostly unsprung and turnpike roads were yet to come. City streets generally were rough and narrow, often poorly maintained, being the responsibility of each parish they passed through; London streets were congested, with no rules of the road. Journeys around the country which now in the 21st century take just hours would take days, and necessitated stops for rest and refreshment for passengers, drivers and horses. Consequently the inns on Fish Street Hill did a roaring trade. They had multiple guest rooms and catering to accommodate travellers and business visitors, plus yards and stables to accommodate coaches and horses.

In the 1666 Hearth Tax one of these inns was run by Thomas Padnall, vintner, of the “Sunne”, the property listed as having 13 hearths, so clearly offering accommodation. This was not the largest inn on the Hill: Robert Whitborne, “Inhoulder” of the “Starr” had 29 hearths. The “Miter” had 12 but was “empty”; the plague had been at its peak in 1665, the previous year, but had not completely faded, so some properties were still deserted by their residents, either by death or, for the more fortunate, escape to a healthier place. The Kings Head, lower down the hill in the parish of St Magnus the Martyr, had 14 hearths.

By 1666 Thomas Padnall had been at the Sunne for nearly three decades. In 1638 he was already established at the “Sunn”, a Tavern, value £30, Fish Street the East Side [Inhabitants of London in 1638].  Again, as drawn up on 10 May 1640, Thomas Padnall, “vintener” was there in the list of  The Principal Inhabitants of London, those regarded as wealthy enough to contribute money to the cash-strapped King Charles I. In 1660 he is recorded as a Warden of the Vintners company [The Rulers of London 1660-1689]

The Churchwardens’ Accounts of St Margaret New Fish Street show frequent meetings, including food and drink, held at the Sunne, chargeable to the parish, though the Starr and the Mitre had their fair share too. A remarkable entry for “Holy Thursday” 1663 is for 16s 6d spent at the King’s Head followed by £1 1s  spent at the Sunne – remarkable because this is Maundy Thursday, the day of preparation for the solemnity of Good Friday, when leaders of the church traditionally wash the feet of the poor to signify humility.

Samuel Pepys in his diary of 1660 to 1669 makes several mentions of the Sunne, though not of its landlord. Pepys sees this as a place to entertain and be entertained, often in the company of senior men in the Navy or contractors for Navy supplies. Once even his long-suffering wife.  “Fine” and “merry” are typical adjectives he uses to describe the food and jovial atmosphere. The Sunne being on New Fish Street and close to the Fishmongers’ Hall and Billingsgate, it is hardly surprising that most of the food on offer is fish. Perhaps more surprising is that diners could take along fish bought elsewhere and have it cooked on the premises.

Appendix 1 shows Samuel Pepys’ quotes about the Sun.

The Padnall Bottle Seal or Token?

The illustration (right) is from the book “Treasure in the Thames” by Ivor Noel Hume (published 1956), where it is described as “a bottle seal”, found close to London Bridge. The sun motif and the initials T.P. clearly associate it with Thomas Padnall of the Sunne inn.

Padnell seal

I first assumed that it seemed more likely that this was not a bottle seal but a trader’s token, used instead of conventional coins. Wrong!  Thanks to Stephen Freeth of the Vintners’ Company I have discovered the following.

In the 17th century wine was imported in casks then bottled locally or sold straight from the barrel.  Vintners (and others) would often have personalised bottles made for them. During manufacture the bottles would be finished, before the glass cooled, with a disc of glass with an impressed stamp to identify the merchant or owner.

Thomas’ Status

Thomas was a man of substance.  In 1647 and probably other years, he was a churchwarden at his parish church of St Margaret’s New Fish Street.

He was elected a Warden of the Vintners Company, part of the governing body under the Master.  The Court Minutes are extant up to 1659 then missing until they resume in 1669. Unfortunately Thomas was elected in 1660 and died in 1668, so records of his period in office are entirely lost. It is likely that this gap in records is due to the Fire of London and the immediate aftermath.

The Court of Common Council was and is still the governing body of the City of London Corporation; Thomas was an elected Common Councilman for Bridge Ward in 1660, 1663 and 1666.

 Deaths of Thomas and Elizabeth

Thomas and Elizabeth survived the Great Fire in September 1666 but did not survive for long after. On 12th of June 1667 Elizabeth was buried in the nearby parish of St Andrew Undershaft. In little over a year later, Thomas too was dead.

The will of Thomas Padnoll, Vintner of London was proved 11 September 1668 (TNA  ref  PROB 11/328/38), just two years after the Fire . He provided for his sister Elizabeth Clarke and female cousin Elizabeth Tilley and there was a generous bequest to each of his children and to the grandchildren who were alive at his decease.

The Sunne was only yards away from Thomas Farriner’s bakery where the Great Fire broke out on 2 September 1666. There was virtually no insurance at this time so the sudden devastation of Thomas’ home and main business, earliest victims of the Fire with no time for a salvage plan, would have been a massive loss. He also owned a larger tavern with 14 public rooms in Leadenhall Street (as recorded in The Rulers of London), but this too would soon have been consumed. He clearly had other interests and survived financially, but the deaths of both Thomas and Elizabeth within 2 years suggest that they may have been damaged by the physical or mental trauma.

Thomas appears to own land and property elsewhere, so maybe he had taken his family to a place of safety; the public”s fear of mixing and travelling would have severely cut back his business even without the Fire.

It may be that Thomas, after living through civil war, plague and fire in a crowded and insanitary city did well to survive to 57 years. Elizabeth’s age is not known, but she, in additional to everything else, survived at least 9 pregnancies. They did well to live to see their grandchildren, as so many did not.


  • The Hearth Tax records for St Margaret’s New Fish Street
  • Margaret’s New Fish Street – Churchwarden’s Accounts and Vestry Minutes (manuscripts). London Metropolitan Archives
  • The Rulers of London 1660-1689: A Biographical Record of the Aldermen and Common Councilment of the City of London by J R Woodhead (London, 1966)
  • Genealogy websites: Family Search, Ancestry, Find My Past (especially Boyd’s records)
  • The Honorable Artillery Company website:
  • London Livery Company Apprenticeship Registers, Vol.43, Vintners’ Company 1609-1800, ed.Cliff Webb
  • A register of the scholars admitted into Merchant Taylors’ School : from A. D. 1562 to 1874 by Robinson, Charles John, Rev., 1833-1898, published 1882
  • Inhabitants of London in 1638: St. Margaret’s, New Fish Street (British History Online)
  • Treasure in the Thames by Ivor Noel Hume, published 1956.
  • Society for Historical Archeology (USA) website:
  • The Will of Thomas Padnoll, Vintner of London, 11 September 1668 (TNA  ref,  PROB 11/328/38)
  • The Diary of Samuel Pepys websites:
  1. a) indexed by date or person:
  2. b) Searchable plain text:



Thanks to Stephen Freeth, Archivist of the Vintners’ Company, for advice.

Appendix 1

References in The Diary of Samuel Pepys to the Sun(ne) Tavern

1660    Mar 10

I went with the rest to the Sun tavern on Fish Street Hill, where Mr. Hill, Stevens and Mr. Hater of the Navy Office had invited me, where we had good discourse and a fine breakfast of Mr. Hater.

1660    Mar 15

So into London by water, and in Fish Street my wife and I bought a bit of salmon for 8d. and went to the Sun Tavern and ate it, where I did promise to give her all that I have in the world but my books, in case I should die at sea.

1660    Aug 1

I took boat and homewards went, and in Fish Street bought a Lobster, and as I had bought it I met with Winter and Mr. Delabarr, and there with a piece of sturgeon of theirs we went to the Sun Tavern in the street and ate them.

1660    Dec 22

At noon I went to the Sun tavern; on Fish Street hill, to a dinner of Captn. Teddimans, where was my Lord Inchiquin (who seems to be a very fine person), Sir W. Pen, Captn. Cuttance, and one Mr. Lawrence (a fine gentleman now going to Algiers), and other good company, where we had a very fine dinner, good musique, and a great deal of wine.

1661    Nov 6

Going forth this morning I met Mr. Davenport and a friend of his, one Mr. Furbisher, to drink their morning draft with me, and I did give it them in good wine, and anchovies, and pickled oysters, and took them to the Sun in Fish Street, there did give them a barrel of good ones, and a great deal of wine, and sent for Mr. W. Bernard (Sir Robert’s son), a grocer thereabouts, and were very merry, and cost me a good deal of money,

1661    Nov 8

Thence to Westminster Hall (it being Term time) and there met with Commissioner Pett, and so at noon he and I by appointment to the Sun in New Fish Street, where Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Batten, and we all were to dine, at an invitation of Captain Stoaks and Captain Clerk, and were very merry, and by discourse I found Sir J. Minnes a fine gentleman and a very good scholler.

1661    Nov 14

At noon I went by appointment to the Sun in Fish Street to a dinner of young Mr. Bernard’s for myself, Mr. Phillips, Davenport, Weaver, &c., where we had a most excellent dinner, but a pie of such pleasant variety of good things, as in all my life I never tasted.

1666    Apr 5

At noon would have avoided, but could not, dining with my Lord Bruncker and his mistresse with Captain Cocke at the Sun Taverne in Fish Streete, where a good dinner, but the woman do tire me . . .

 Appendix 2

 Apprentices to Thomas Padnall, Vintner

Date Surname Forename Father of Occupation
20 Nov 1637 Marden Thomas Nicholas Blechingley, Surrey husbandman
4 Dec 1638 Jeophrys Thomas      
4 Feb 1639/40 Churchman Robert      
1 Dec 1640 Chatman * Robert William Blechingley Surrey butcher
3 Feb 1640/1 Tabor Thomas Thomas Baddow Essex yeoman
1 Mar 1641/2 Banister Vincent Richard Shawbury Shropshire gentleman (deceased)
7 Jun 1642 Hudson John John Bishops Hatfield, Hertfordshire yeoman
7 Mar 1642/3 Downes William William Greenwich, Kent scrivener
6 Jun 1643 Walker Thomas John   citizen and fishmonger
4 Jun 1644 Booke Mathew John   citizen and haberdasher


4 Jun 1644 Sharp Alexander Thomas Rochester, Kent grocer
1 Aug 1648 Bennett William William   citizen and dyer
3 Apr 1649 Burton Tobias Tobias Windsor, Berkshire gentleman
7 Jun 1653 Preston Graveley Richard Graveley, Hertfordshire yeoman
6 Dec 1653 Padnall John John Dover, Kent tailor
7 Aug 1655 Cawthorn John Henry Clare, Suffolk yeoman
8 Jan 1655/6 Blower Lewis William Edmonton, Middlesex yeoman
2 Feb 1657/8 Smith Thomas Thomas Croydon, Surrey yeoman
7 Feb 1659/60 Padnoll Robert Thomas   his father
5 Feb 1660/1 Jackson William Adam Nottingham, Nottinghamshire maltster
6 Sep 1664 Bruton John Robert Wymondley, Hertfordshire yeoman
4 Apr 1665 Rayley Henry James Woodmancote Sussex  yeoman (deceased)
25 Jan 1665/6 Webb Josiah Richard Hartlepool Durham gentleman

* in Wardens’ Accounts “Chapman”

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The Hearth Tax and and the minister David Barton of St Margaret New Fish Street

This latest blog in our series from the work of University of the Third Age members participating in the Shared Learning Project with the British Academy Hearth Tax Project, Centre for Hearth Tax Research, is by Barbara Sanders. Using the hearth tax returns from the City of London and Middlesex as a starting point, Barbara revealed the life of the minister David Barton, resident in the intramural parish of St Margaret New Fish Street in 1666. This builds on her earlier blog, where the parish itself was detailed, and is the first in a series of two lives for the parish that we will  publish to the blog over the next week or so.

David Barton, Minister (1622 – 1683)

The 1666 Hearth Tax entry names him as just “Barton” with no Christian name. He lived on Fish Street Hill, East Side in the parish of  St Margaret, New Fish Street, in the City of London. His occupation was “Minister” and he had 7 hearths.


David Barton’s Timeline

c. 1622 Born, son of John Barton, “gent”, of Southampton, Hampshire.
26 Jan 1637/8 matriculated (enrolled) at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, at the age of 15.
18 Nov 1641 awarded his B.A
17 Apr 1651 ordained as priest by Bishop Robert Skinner of Oxford.
7 April 1656 married Katharine Heywod at Nursling (a small Hampshire village 4 miles from Southampton).
7 Aug 1660 received his M.A.
7 Aug 1660 appointed  Rector of St. Margaret New Fish Street, City of London
19 Aug 1662 subscribed to the 1662 Act of Uniformity[1]
17 Oct 1662 listed at the rectory of St Margaret Pattens.
1664 recorded Rector, St Margaret, New Fish Street (Liber Cleri)
25 Mar 1666  (Lady Day) 1666 Hearth Tax:  “Barton”, “Minister” (Christian name blank) has 7 hearths on Fish Street Hill, East Side in the parish of  St Margaret, New Fish Street.
 2/3 Sept 1666 the Great Fire of London destroyed his church and adjacent home.
17 Sept 1666 Barton was granted sequestration of the vicarage of Boughton under Blean, a village between Canterbury and Faversham, Kent.
1667-1669 Curate of Bromley, Kent
31 Jan 1670 appointed Rector of “Chiselherst”, by the Bishop of  Rochester, John Dolben
13/14 Feb 1670  collation and induction at Chislehurst took place.
23 Sep 1678 letter extant from David Barton, rector of Chislehurst, to the Dean and Chapter of Rochester[2]
2 Feb 1683 died, and was buried at Chislehurst.


Unless otherwise specified, details of David Barton’s career are found in:

The Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540-1835 (CCEd)

The Guildhall Library

Lambeth Palace Library

Barton’s Story:

David Barton was ordained in 1651 by Bishop Robert Skinner. Skinner had had a controversial career. He had been chaplain to King Charles I and in 1641 had been appointed Bishop of Oxford, but as a committed supporter of Archbishop William Laud he joined a protest by bishops in 1641 to support the Episcopy, in opposition to Parliament. For this he was imprisoned in the Tower and deprived of his parish. He was released on bail and continued to ordain ministers in secret, including Barton, in spite of the ban on the Church of England. The Restoration of Charles II  brought a change of fortunes, as  Skinner became one of the King’s Commissioners of Oxford University, and was appointed Bishop of Worcester in 1663, where he died in 1670.

When in 1662 Barton was appointed Rector of St. Margaret’s, New Fish Street in the City of London, he succeeded Robert Porey. Porey (Porie or Pory) had also been a rebel against the Parliamentary regime. Following the outbreak of the First English Civil War he was deprived of the living. The parliamentary order against him (23 March 1643) asserts [3]:

“Robert Pory, Parson of the Parish Church of St. Margaretts New Fishstreet, London, hath endeavoured, in his Preaching, to corrupt his Parishioners with the Leaven of Arminian Doctrine . . . affirming a Puritan to be a Limb of the Devil, abusing our Brethren the Scotts, publicly affirming them to be damned Rogues, . . . and hath expressed his Malignancy against the Power and Proceedings of Parliament, refusing to read the Declarations and Ordinances of Parliament required to be read by him; and, when the same was read by another, flung out of the Church, calling such as he met to go out with him, and not to stay to hear (as he called it) a Kind of bibble-babble Things, to no Purpose at all; and hath not officiated in his said Cure for the Space of Five Months last past”

Instead eight worthy parishioners were appointed to take over the practical duties of St Margaret’s.  Two of these, William Wybird and Nicholas Haughton, may be related to John Wybeard and Widow Houghton who appear in the 1666 Hearth Tax returns  An approved preacher, Thomas Froysell, “a Godly, Learned, and Orthodox Divine” was “to preach every Lords-day” and officiate as parson until further notice.

The Restoration of the King in 1660 also restored Porey’s fortunes, he was reinstated at St Margaret’s, and also acquired  several other appointments. However, he soon resigned from St Margaret’s, leaving the vacancy for David Barton.

Barton subscribed to the 1662 Act of Uniformity which enforced strict standards in public worship throughout the Church of England, in particular, to use the Book of Common Prayer. In so doing, he was accepting the terms of the King and his Parliament.

There is an apparent anomaly in finding Barton listed on 17 October 1662 at the rectory of St Margaret Pattens, a nearby parish. According to the CCED Barton was both Preacher and Rector at St Margaret’s in 1662. Maybe he was not living in his own vicarage. It was possible in the Church of England for a rector to hold more than one parish at a time, appointing a curate for the everyday duties. In the list of clergy of St Margaret’s, a George Smallwood is listed for 1662 then vacates in the same year. Barton reappears in this list in 1664, apparently maintaining his post until 1670. A rather vague statement in a 1715 book by Richard Newcourt, that “David Barton, I suppose, continu’d Rector S. Margaret . . . here till his Church was burnt down in 1666.”[4]

Why did the Lady Day (25th March) 1666 Hearth Tax enumerator not record Barton’s Christian name? Maybe the Minister was absent that day, and only known to his parishioners as “The Reverend” or “Mister” Barton. If absent, for what timescale was this?  One day away? Or was he avoiding the plague that was still endemic in London, maybe back in the family home in Hampshire?

The Fire in 1666:

The Great Fire of London started in the early hours of Sunday 2nd of September 1666 in the combined bakeshop and home of Thomas Farriner in Pudding Lane. These buildings were very close neighbours of Barton’s church of St Margaret New Fish Street and its vicarage.

The streets were narrow. The houses were built mainly of wood, often multi-occupied and with shops or workshops on the ground floor. Thatched roofs had been banned since medieval times, but in the absence of any planning control, properties were “jettied”, built with as many as six- or seven-stories, successively expanded until they practically met across the street thus becoming bridges for flames to leap across across.

Fires were common in the City of London at that time and were usually put out quickly, though they had been more serious in previous years, notably in 1633 when houses on London Bridge and in nearby Thames Street had been destroyed. Fire fighting equipment was rudimentary –  leather buckets, ladders, metal fire hooks and hand-held water syringes. There was a water supply in this area, but it ran through wooden pipes, supplied from the Thames.

On the night of 2nd  September the tide was at its lowest and there had been a prolonged drought; the weather was hot and a strong east wind was blowing. Thus the fire swept almost immediately into the church and vicarage of David Barton. Ironically the church, being one of the few stone buildings, housed the local fire fighting equipment (from the Churchwardens’ Accounts we know that men had been paid to maintain it) but that was soon consumed too. Fortunately for future researchers someone had the presence of mind to rescue the parish records.

After the Fire:

David Barton’s church would not be restored.  John Stow in his Survey of London  (1603) had been rather dismissive, describing “the parish church of St Margaret on Fish street hill, a proper church, but monuments it hath none”. So, being unremarkable and lacking wealthy parishioners, the fate of St. Margaret’s was sealed. The Monument[5], completed in 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire, was built on its site. The nearby church of St Magnus the Martyr offered accommodation, though it too had suffered disastrously in the fire. The parish of St. Margaret New Fish Street was united with that of St. Magnus the Martyr, but the two parishes retained separate vestries and churchwardens. Parish clerks continued to be appointed for both of the parishes, and St. Margaret’s continued to operate independently the various parish functions and accounts, such as administering relief of the poor.

David Barton’s future was to be in Kent.

Just a fortnight later, on 17 Sept 1666, remarkably soon after his church was lost to the Fire, Barton was granted sequestration of the vicarage of Boughton (or Bocton) under Blean, a village between Canterbury and Faversham, Kent. This was following the death of Vicar Percivall Radcliffe, the previous incumbent. Barton “having been rector of St. Margaretts New Fishstreete in London, which by the late lamentable fire in London is burnt downe and consumed,  Barton being well known and approved.” [6]

From 1667 to 1669 he was Curate of Bromley, Kent.

On 1 Jan 1670 there was a “Dispensation to hold St. Margaret’s New Fish Street, City of London, with Chislehurst, Kent”[7] So Barton was to keep his old living as well as  the new.  Up to 29 January 1670 Barton had been Chaplain to John Dolben, Bishop of Rochester[8]. Then on 31 Jan 1670 the Bishop appointed him Rector of Chislehurst following the death of the previous incumbent Richard Edward. On 13 and 14 Feb 1670 his collation and induction at Chislehurst took place, conducted by Dolben.

This was to be David Barton’s last appointment. On 2 Feb 1683 he died, and was buried at Chislehurst.

What can we make of David Barton?

David Barton was ordained in April 1651 less than two years after the execution of Charles I in January 1649 and during the period of Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth.  On 17 April 1651 the controversial Bishop Robert Skinner of Oxford ordained him as priest, without the authority to do so. I have not found any record of his activities in the years between his graduation and appointment at St Margaret’s. Possibly he was in the Southampton area where he had been born and married.  Wherever he was, he would have experienced a time of political, religious and social ferment.

His appointment to St Margaret New Fish Street in the City of London in 1662 was just two years after the Restoration of King Charles II. At this time many conflicts were still unresolved. The King was not universally popular, and many people resented paying taxes, including the Hearth Tax, granted by Parliament to fund the Stuart monarchy. Convictions and emotions  ran high. Was it right to speak out, or wise to go quietly with the flow, waiting till better times might arrive? I get the impression that David Barton took the latter view.

The evidence so far suggests he was not an activist, in fact his name rarely appears in the St Margaret’s parish records suggesting that he may not even have been physically present much of the time. 1 June 1663 was his first appearance in the St Margaret’s Vestry minutes as  “David Barton, Rector) [9].

Did he find some respite in his move to a country living from the politics and calamities of the past two decades?

There is a letter extant from David Barton, rector of Chislehurst, to the Dean and Chapter of Rochester, dated 23 Sep 1678 relating to a pension dispute. He regrets he could not come himself because of a violent headache which “hath seased on mee for a week together . . .”.  He pleads that he is not responsible for pensions unpaid before he accepted the living [10]. Of course, one letter is just a snapshot in time, but rather than portraying him as ineffectual this could well indicate that Barton suffered from what we would now call post traumatic stress disorder.

It seems that Barton and Dolben were close in their philosophy, and that both had interests in the City of London, Barton being allowed to retain St Margaret’s and Dolben, as Bishop of Rochester, being one of the signatories in 1674 to the commissioning of the rebuilding of St Paul’s Cathedral [Lambeth Palace Library]. There can be no doubt that Barton was a committed Royalist.


 – and thank you to Dr Brodie Waddell for helping me to start unravelling the complexities of the religious politics of the mid 17th century!

[1]     Agreed to use the Book of Common Prayer, compulsory in religious services.

[2]     Medway Archives Centre, Kent

[3]     Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 5, 1642-1643; Die Jovis, videlicet, 23 die Martii. (British History Online)

[4]     “Repertorium ecclesiasticum parochiale londinense”, Newcourt, Richard (d. 1716)

[5]     The Monument, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, is 202 feet (61 metres) high, said to be equal to its distance eastward from the site to the house of the Thomas Farriner’s bakery in Pudding Lane.

[6]     Lambeth Palace Library

[7]     Lambeth Palace Library

[8]     John Dolben, Bishop of Rochester (1666-1683; archbishop of York from 1683-86).

[9]     London Metropolitan Archives

[10]   Medway Archives Centre

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The Hearth Tax and a series of lives at All Hallows Staining

This latest blog in our series from the work of University of the Third Age members participating in the Shared Learning Project with the British Academy Hearth Tax Project, Centre for Hearth Tax Research, is derived from a series of lives that Joan Hardinges researched at the north-eastern intramural parish of All Hallows Staining. Using the hearth tax returns from the City of London and Middlesex as a starting point, Joan revealed the wider lives of three quite different individuals making the parish home in 1666. 

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Paid tax on 27 hearths on the north side of Fenchurch Street, All Hallows
Staining parish.  He was born in 1596 and baptised on the 20th February at All Hallows Barking by the Tower, first son of Sir John Wolstenholme of St. Olave Hart Street (the wealthiest Merchant in the City)  and Catherine daughter of John Fanshaw of Dronfield, Derbys.   He was educated at Grays Inn 1611, Sidney Sussex Cambs 1613. Travelled abroad 1616, Inner Temple 1646. He was married by 1619 to Anne daughter of Sir Roger Dallison of Laughton. Lincs. She died on the 25 November 1661.  He was knighted on the 8 May 1633 by King Charles I. Succeeded his father in 1639.  He sat in the House of Commons in 1640. Created Baronet on 10th January 1665 (The History of Parliament). 

Wolstenholme and his wife, Anne,  had twelve children, seven of whom died young including Henry who died at Marston Moor (Boyd’s Inhabitants of London). 

In April 1640, Wolstenholme was elected Member of Parliament for Queenborough in the Short Parliament.  He supported the king in the Civil War, selling property and incurring debts to provide finance for the Royalist cause. As a result, he was then fined by parliament. He and his father’s partners in the customs farming business were required to pay £150,000 which led to the sale of his estates. His son Henry and brother in law Sir Thomas Dallison were both killed in the Civil War.1  

After the Restoration, he became a farmer of customs again and was given a patent for collecting taxes on outbound goods in the Port of London. He was created a baronet, of London, by King Charles II in 1664.2  

  1. William Betham, The Baronetage of England, or the History of the English Baronets Vol 2  
  1. Willis Browne (1750) Notitia Partliamentaria, Part II. A Series or Lists of the Representatives in the several Parliaments held from the Reformation 1541  to the Restoration 1660. London pp 229-239 

In his will he bequeathed to his grandchild Jane Neville £2,400 at her marriage. To grandchild Sandford Neville £1,000. To grandchild Mrs Elizabeth Hatton £500. To his son, Thomas, all his lands and houses in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and London.  He asked to be buried at Stanmore where his father, dearly beloved wife and several of his children were buried.  This request was honoured and he was buried on the 15th July 1670 at St.John the Evangelist Great Stanmore which church his father had built at his sole expense.  PROB11/333 

John’s son, John, had died the previous year and was buried at All Hallows Staining on the 21st September aged 49.  His youngest son Thomas succeeded him (Boyds Inhabitants of London).    

The original Stanmore church, located on Old Church Lane, was consecrated in the name of St. Mary. It remained the village church until 1632, when it was replaced, and thereafter fell into ruin and was taken down.  

The 1632 church, located nearer to what had become the village centre, was paid for by merchant Sir John Wolstenholme and consecrated by William Laud, then Bishop of London.[3] It is in red brick. 

Peter Matthews (23 March 2017). Who’s Buried Where in London. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 68. ISBN978-1-78442-202-8.  



CITIZEN AND CARPENTER paid tax on three hearths in his property in Blanche Appleton Court on the south side of Fenchurch Street.  He was also an Assistant of the Company and a Master taking on apprentices One was a Michael Mony son of Richard Mony Carpenter of Chingford, Essex, whom he apprenticed on the 24th May 1662.1   

He appeared to be quite wealthy as when he died in 1685 he left a considerable amount of property. Apart from money bequests to friends and relatives, he bequeathed to his daughter Susanna Allen, wife of George Allen, Dyer,  a messuage or tenement and lands with appurtenances in the parish of Edmonton, two messuages or tenements in Fenchurch Street in the Parish of St. Gabriel Fenchurch, lately united to the Parish of St. Margaret Pattens in Eastcheap, and also estate, messuages, tenements and premises he had on lease from the Worshipful Company of Skinners.   

To his dear and loving wife, Elizabeth one annuity or yearly rent charge of £45.  Also freehold messuage, tenements, lands and premises in All Hallows Staining and  Edmonton and the two leasehold messuages in Fenchurch Street above to be enjoyed by his wife.  

Francis daughter, Susanna, was born in 1663.  She married George Allen of St. Saviour Southwark in 1683 at the age of twenty in Stoke Newington when she was living at St. Catherine Coleman Parish, where her father had lived. 

Francis was born in 1629.  The wife, Elizabeth, mentioned in his will was his second wife, Elizabeth Sutton, widow, of St. Giles Cripplegate, whom he married at the age of fifty on the 28th May 1679 at Stoke Newington when he was at St. Catherine Coleman parish.  He had only been married to her for six years when he passed away.  That is probably the reason why he left his property to his daughter.  

NOTE Lime Street on the South Side of Leadenhall Street leads into Fenchurch Street, and is for the generality taken up by Merchants, and Persons of Repute. . Entering into which, on the Left Hand there is a large open square Place, with a Passage to it for Carts, which is called Blanch Appleton Court having pretty good Timber Houses, which are indifferently well inhabited.  

Sources: John Strype’s Survey of  London, Boyd’s Inhabitants of London, Will PROB11/380/218 and Boyd’s Inhabitants of London. 



RECTOR of All Hallows Staining paid tax on five hearths on the west side of Mark Lane.It was whilst he was incumbent that the Church fell down on November 25th 1671.  The tower and that part of the west end of the Church didn’t fall down and it was thought that the foundations were undermined and wrecked by the practice of making graves within and close to the Church.  The Revd WILLIAM HOLLAND made a vigorous effort to obtain funds for raising the tabernacle that had fallen down.  It is recorded that on March 9th 1674 William Holland and Church Wardens went from house to house soliciting subscriptions to rebuild the Church estimated at £1,300.  Mr. Holland promised the Vestry £300 from non-parishioners if they could obtain £1,000 from the inhabitants of the parish and several parishioners contributed £50 each.  

On June 25th 1674 the foundation was laid and William Holland laid the first stone.  The principal workmen  involved in rebuilding the Church were Edward and James Goodman carpenter and bricklayer who may also have been the architects. 

On July 15th 1670 William Holland buried Sir John Wolstenholme and Lady Corbett in one grave at Stanmore.  Lady Letitia Corbett was the daughter of Robert Knowles and Lady Wolstenholme sister of Sir John Wolstenholme married to John Corbett. She was visiting her uncle, fell sick and died (The Annals of All Hallows Staining). 

William Holland died in 1677 aged 57 and was buried at All Hallows Staining on the 9th October. Parish register stated: 

Mr William Holland the worthy Minister of this Parish and a good benefactor to the Church and parsonage house in whose time were rebuilt – buried in the chancel. 

In his will he stated: My estate which is little (nor was I ever ambitious of much) I thus dispose of’ 

He gave to his daughter Bradley 20 shillings. To daughter Ann Berry £50 if she lives to Lady Day 1678. To son Robert £20. To son James £60 and all interest due  from his uncle James Holland for ye £20 given him by his aunt Margaret. To  daughter Mary £70. To daughter Susan £50 to all the interest due from her uncle James Holland for the £20 in his hands given her by her aunt Margaret Holland.. To his wife Elizabeth £150.  If his estate arose to more than £400 the over plus should be divided between his two youngest daughters Mary and Susan (Will handwritten – no reference  Prob 26 Oct 1677). 

Willliam’s wife, Elizabeth, died in 1699 aged 77.   Daughter Susannah died 1704 aged 44. Parish Register. 

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The Aristocracy of St Botolph’s Aldersgate in 1666

This latest blog in our series from the work of University of the Third Age members participating in the Shared Learning Project with the British Academy Hearth Tax Project, Centre for Hearth Tax Research, is derived from the work of Aelwyn Taylor, Jane Harrington and Lisa Vine. Using the hearth tax returns from the City of London and Middlesex as a starting point, they reveal the lives of the aristocratic residents at the northern suburban parish of St Botolph’s Aldersgate.

The Hearth Tax return of Lady Day 1666 includes the Dowager Countess of Thanet and the Dowager Countess of Exeter but embracing nobility was not new for this parish. In his introduction to The Inhabitants of London in 1638 Dale states “The most fashionable parish seems to have been St. Botolph Aldersgate, probably because in that parish there was still plenty of room for gardens and orchards. In that parish lived the Countess of Westmoreland, £30, the Lord Peter (no rent given), the Lady Anne Tufnall, Edward, Lord Gorge, the Countess of Rutland, the Earl of Winchelsea, the Lady Catherine Wentworth, the Countess Humes, the Earl of Thanet, and about half-a-dozen knights or baronets, for none of whom is any rent given.” (T C Dale, ‘Introduction’, in The Inhabitants of London in 1638 (London, 1931), pp. iv-xii. British History Online

By 1666, the residence of Lord Peter or Petre (36 hearths) in Half Moon Alley had become London House and the seat of the Bishop of London after the Restoration. In the Hearth Tax return for Michaelmas 1666, the occupant is shown as Sir Joseph Sheldon who was the nephew of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Gilbert Sheldon. Sir Joseph was an Alderman and Lord Mayor of London 1675-76. He was Master of the Tallow Chandlers Company from 1667-68 and the Draper’s Company from 1676 -77. He is also mentioned in the entry for July 4th 1667 of Samuel Pepys Diary involving the trial of young men who had set fire to part of his house in Aldersgate Street.

In Aldersgate Street, the Countess of Thanet is shown as having 38 hearths. The Countess, born Lady Margaret Sackville, was the daughter of Richard Sackville (1589 -1624), 3rd Earl of Dorset and Lady Anne Clifford (1590-1676).

She was born on July 2nd 1614 at Dorset House London and married John Tufton (1608-1664), 2nd Earl of Thanet on 21st April 1629 at the church of St Bartholomew the Great.

London Metropolitan Archives; London, P69/BAT3/A/001/MS06777/001

The Earl of Thanet was the son of Nicholas Tufton, 1st Earl of Thanet and Lady Frances Cecil. He was a staunch supporter of Charles 1 and suffered from confiscations and sequestrations of his large estates during the English Civil War. His country house was at Hothfield, Kent.,_2nd_Earl_of_Thanet

They had twelve children, six sons and six daughters, eleven of whom survived to adulthood:

  • Nicholas Tufton, 3rd Earl of Thanet (1631–1679)
  • Lady Margaret Tufton (b. 13 July 1636), married George Coventry, 3rd Baron Coventry on 18 July 1653
  • John Tufton, 4th Earl of Thanet (1638–1680)
  • Richard Tufton, 5th Earl of Thanet (1640–1684)
  • Thomas Tufton, 6th Earl of Thanet (1644–1729)
  • Col. Sackville Tufton (c.1647–1721)
  • George Tufton (30 Jun 1650- 12 Dec 1670)
  • Lady Anne Tufton, died young
  • Lady Frances Tufton, married Henry Drax, died without issue
  • Lady Cicely Tufton (2 June 1648 – 30 December 1672), married on 12 February 1667 Christopher Hatton, 1st Viscount Hatton
  • Lady Mary Tufton (d. February 1674), married Sir William Walter, 2nd Baronet (d. 1693)
  • Lady Anne Tufton, married Samuel Grimston

Note that the Dowager Countess had four sons who became the Earl of Thanet in succession as the first three did not have any children.

Less than five months after the 1st Earl of Thanet’s death in 1631, the 2nd Earl paid £5,500 to acquire a residence in Aldersgate Street, London, which became known as Thanet House. The house was redesigned by Inigo Jones in 1844.

The Countess’s mother, Lady Anne Clifford, Countess Dowager of Dorset, Pembroke and Montgomery and 14th Baroness de Clifford was married firstly to the 3rd Earl of Dorset and after his death to Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke and 1st Earl of Montgomery. She is well known as a writer and diarist. Her diaries present an opportunity to learn more about the life of the Countess of Thanet in some detail beginning with her childhood which was largely spent at her father’s country house at Knole in Kent.  The diary of The Years Between 1620-1649 and especially The Kendal Diary 1650-1675, which covered the later years of her life when she had moved to her castles in Yorkshire and Westmorland, include many references to events in the life of her daughter Margaret and her family, Lady Anne’s grandchildren, and also to Thanet House and Aldersgate Street.

The first reference to Aldersgate Street comes in 1644. She writes “About ye beginning of ye yeare of 1643 my eldest Daughter, ye Countesse of Thanett, went over to France to her Lord and their eldest sonne, where she stayed some 17 or 18 months about Paris and Roan [Rouen] and those places, and in April and May 1644 she returned with her Lord to me and four of their younger children, leaving their eldest son behind them. Where she was delivered ye 30th August of her 7th child, Mr Thomas Tufton, at her husband’s house in Aldersgate street in London;”

Lady Anne recorded that on the 18th July 1653, her grandchild Lady Margaret Tufton was married in her father’s house in Aldersgate Street to George Coventry, the son of Thomas, Lord Coventry.

In 1654 the Countess of Thanet gave birth to her last child Lady Anne Tufton at Hothfield House on June 22nd and became a grandmother for the first time about nine weeks later.

The Countess’s eldest son Nicholas was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1655 and again from 1656 to 1658, for allegedly conspiring to capture Charles II. Also in 1655, a daughter Lady Frances Tufton, was sent from Thanet House to Utrecht in Holland to be cured of rickets.

Sackville College in East Grinstead had been founded by the 2nd Earl of Dorset and completed by Lady Anne’s first husband, the 3rd Earl, as an almshouse. However, the latter left large debts when he died and the college trustees sued his son-in-law the Earl of Thanet. As a result, the Earl spent two months in Fleet prison in 1663.

May 7th 1664 Lady Anne said “about 3 a clock in the morning dyed my Sonne in Law John Tufton Earle of Thanet, in his house called Thanet House in Aldersgate Street at London, in those lodgings that look towards the  Street which he had about 20 yeares since built with freestone so magnificently, and my first child Ladie Margaret Countesse of Thanet, and their 5 younger Sonnes and 4 younger Daughters lay in this House when he dyed”. He was 55 years old. She then describes how his body was taken over London Bridge to the church at Raynham where he was buried.

On February 23rd 1665 there is a diary entry noting that Lady Frances Tufton was married in the Chapel at Thanet House to Mr Henry Drax by the Countess of Thanet’s chaplain.

There is reference to the Great Fire on September 2nd 1666. The Countess of Thanet and 3 of her daughters were staying with her mother at Skipton Castle at the time of the fire and the diarist notes her relief that Thanet House escaped damage.

In 1668 Thomas, the fourth son of the Countess became the Member of Parliament for Appleby until 1679. At the latter end of August in 1669, the Countess and her two youngest daughters left Aldersgate Street because smallpox was rife in the area and they went to the country for about two months.

On 8th September 1670 Lady Mary Tufton, the youngest but one child was married to William Walter Esquire at St Botolph’s Aldersgate by Dr Wells, the Minister of the parish.

London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: P69/BOT1/A/001/MS03854/001

Sadly on December 12th 1670, the Countess’ youngest son George died and was buried in Raynham with other members of his family. UK and Ireland, Find A Grave Index, 1300s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.

In February 1667 Lady Cicely Tufton the 4th daughter of the family had married Christopher Hatton privately in Sir Charles Littleton’s House in the Minories. Lord Hatton became Governor of Guernsey in 1670 and therefore lived in Castle Cornet as his official residence. On December 30th 1672 lightning struck the castle’s magazine, housed in the keep and exploded. The explosion killed seven people including Lady Cicely and the mother of Lord Hatton, and completely altered the appearance of the upper part of the Castle forever.

On April 17th 1673 the youngest daughter, Lady Anne Tufton was married at St Botolph’s Aldersgate to Mr Samuel Grimston, a widower and son of Sir Harbottle Grimston, Master of the Rolls by Dr Wells.

LMA 69/BOT1/A/001/MS03854/001

Lady Anne Clifford died on March 22nd 1676 and her daughter Margaret died on August 14th 1676 and was buried at Withyham, Sussex.

The diaries relate in detail the travels of the Countess and her children, the journeys to see their mother or grandmother, their frequent commutes to the family home at Hothfield and also information of voyages overseas to Holland, France and Italy. It is clear that the family were often on the move and shows how much time travel took and included the need for servants.

As the children of the Countess of Thanet marry and start their own families, Lady Anne includes the details of their offspring’s births but, sadly, often too their early deaths and so illustrates the reality of the high infant mortality rate of the time which affected even noble families.

Ref: D.J.H Clifford (editor), The Diaries of Lady Anne Clifford, 2003, The History Press, Stroud, England

Also listed in the Hearth Tax return for St Botolph’s Aldersgate is the Dowager Countess of Exeter who is listed as having 24 hearths in Little Brittan. The Countess was born Lady Elizabeth Egerton, daughter of John Egerton, 1st Earl of Bridgewater and Lady Frances Stanley, daughter of the 5th Earl of Derby about 1604. She married David Cecil, the 3rd Earl of Exeter who died in 1643. They had 3 children:

Hon John Cecil, (1628-1678) became 4th Earl of Exeter on his father’s death in 1643

Hon Thomas Cecil (buried 20 May 1641)

Lady Frances Cecil (baptised 14 Aug 1633; died 31 Dec 1652) who married Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury on 15 Apr 1650,_3rd_Earl_of_Exeter

The Dowager Countess died in 1687. She outlived her husband and son so her grandson John Cecil was 5th Earl of Exeter at the time of her death. Her will was proved in 1688 in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. UK, Extracted Probate Records, 1269-1975 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA

It is interesting to note that Bridgewater House, the London home of the Countess’s father’s family, was not far away although just over the parish boundary. In the 1666 Hearth Tax listing the Earl of Bridgewater is shown as having 36 hearths in Barbican North, Three Pigeon Alley in the parish of St Giles (without) Cripplegate. That Earl would have been the Countess’s brother who succeeded to the title in 1649.

Furthermore, Thanet House in Aldersgate Street (mentioned above) was acquired by the Earl of Shaftesbury and became known as Shaftesbury House. Lord Shaftesbury was the son-in-law of the Countess of Exeter and father of her grandson, the 2nd Earl of Shaftesbury.

It was also close to Lauderdale House as described here:

“At the north-east end of this street of noblemen’s houses, not far from Shaftesbury House, stood Lauderdale House, the residence of that cruel and unprincipled minister of Charles II. Lauderdale was one of those five “thorough-going” adherents of Charles II. who formed the “cabal” (Clifford, Ashley, Buckingham, Arlington, and Lauderdale), after Clarendon’s exile, and the death of Southampton and Monk. It was this same unscrupulous inhabitant of Aldersgate Street whom Charles, in 1669, sent to Edinburgh as High Commissioner to the Scottish

Parliament, to put down conventicles with a high hand, to fine Presbyterians, and to hang and shoot field-preachers, severities which eventually led to the rebellion of the Covenanters of 1679. There must have been many a quiet and many a state visit made from Shaftesbury House to Lauderdale House.”

Following the hearth tax collector’s route north along Aldersgate Street, Lauderdale House is the next very large residence and has 22 hearths. It is not being used by the Earl of Lauderdale in 1666. The Lady Day list identifies the resident as Mihill Etger but the Michaelmas list shows it being occupied by Henry Ashurst who was a wealthy and benevolent merchant of London, an Alderman in the City of London and also a prominent non-conformist.

According to his Wikipedia page he was living at Lauderdale House in 1667.

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The Parish of St Katherine Coleman in 1666

This blog in our series from the work of University of the Third Age members participating in the Shared Learning Project with the British Academy Hearth Tax Project, Centre for Hearth Tax Research, is derived from the work of Pauline Brown and Maryke Koomans. Using the hearth tax returns from the City of London and Middlesex as a starting point, Pauline and Maryke present a view of the City parish of St Katherine Coleman in 1666. 

The parish of St Katherine Coleman lies within Aldgate Ward on the eastern perimeter of the city of London, between the Tower of London to the southeast, Leadenhall market to the west, and the eastern city wall at Aldgate to the east. The first known records of the Church go back to 1346 and a south aisle was built in 1489.


St Katherine Coleman Parish – shown as no.55 on the map above

St Katherine Coleman Church

The church was dedicated to the virgin and martyr, St Katherine of Alexandria and according to John Stow’s survey of London of 1598 was built on ‘a great haw-yard, or garden, of old time called Coleman Haw’. It survived the Great Fire of London but was demolished and rebuilt in 1734 and remained in service until November 1926 when it finally closed its doors. The church was demolished and the site is now a public garden.

Streets of St Katherine Coleman

When the Hearth Tax was taken after Lady Day in 1666 the parish included eleven streets or part streets with around two hundred dwellings.  The population could have been up to one thousand people although, as with much of the City, the Great Plague of the summer of 1665 greatly affected the parishioners; the parish records show an alarming increase in the number of burials, in fact whole families were decimated.  The following year and six months after the Hearth Tax was recorded, the church and much of the surrounding area fortunately escaped Fire of London.  This is clearly depicted (79) in John Leake’ s ‘Exact Surveigh of the City after the Great Fire’, engraved by W. Hollar in 1667.

Character of the Parish

The boundaries of the parish are not easily understood as they can run through the middle of streets and include parts of longer streets that run through several parishes so whether St Katherine had a specific character is difficult to ascertain, but a description from year 1720 can be found in Strype.

Fenchurch Street is long, reaching from the Pump within Aldgate to Gracechurch Street; and for the generality is well inhabited, and amongst the Inhabitants divers are Merchants: But of this Street, there is in this Ward no more but from Billiter Lane unto Aldgate Street on the North Side, and a little beyond Mark Lane to Aldgate Street on the South Side; the rest being in Langborn Ward. Places of Name in this Part of the Street are, St. Katharine Coleman Church, seated on the South Side betwixt Mark Lane and Northumberland House, now converted into Buildings, and called Northumberland Alley. Adjoining to this Church Westward, is Magpye Alley, which hath a narrow Passage into French Ordinary Court, and so into Cructched Fryers. Sugar Loaf Alley hath a Passage with a Free Stone Pavement into Leadenhall Street. Northumberland Alley, very long, which with several turning Passages falls into Crutched Fryers; and for the generality is but an ordinary Place, as well for Buildings as Inhabitants, yet not without some few that are good. Nearer Aldgate is the Sarazens Head Inn, which is very large, and of a considerable Trade.

Analysis of the hearth tax records show that:

  • The parish contained approximately 200 dwellings
  • Average number of hearths in SKC is 4.1, although possibly not all dwellings with 0 or 1 hearth were recorded.
  • Sizeable houses of 6+ hearths can be found on each street
  • 16 out of 200 (8%) houses were empty
Street No of dwellings Total no of Hearth Average Hearths per street Greatest no of Hearths Lowest no of Hearths
Magesty Allie 16 100 6.3 12 3
Sugar Loffe Allie 5 30 6 12 3
Fanchurch Strett west 14 80 5.7 16 1
Fanchurch Strett north 18 98 5.4 11 1
Biliter Lane Este 9 45 5 7 3
Fanch Street South side 9 43 4.8 7 1
Crutchett Friers North 32 133 4.2 8 2
Aingell Allie 4 16 4 7 3
Poste masters yarde 26 90 3.5 7 1
Northumberland Allie Est 26 88 3.4 6 1
Harte & Hand Corte 41 102 2.5 9 1
Total SKC 200 825 4.1 16 1

Table 1: St Katherine Coleman – Overview of dwellings per street.

Other than dwellings, the parish contained

  • Church of St Katherine Coleman
  • One public house – possibly the Saracens Head as indicated in Strype
  • Ironmongers Hall

Close by, though not in the parish itself, were notable buildings with links to the parish

  • Clothworkers Hall – made donations to Parish church
  • Custom House on Lower Thames Street– collection of excise for merchants and shipping
  • Navy Office in Seething Lane west of Tower Hill.
  • East India House in Leadenhall street

Population of St Katherine Coleman

As well as recording the name of the householder and the number of hearths, the hearth tax records for the parish also include the occupation for approximately 66% of the householders which provides a snapshot of the people who lived and worked here.

A total of 61 different occupations have been found in the parish, with the most frequent occupation being merchant (16%), and the second winecooper (12%), a merchant in wines. Other occupations included victular (9%), Tailor (8%), Porter (6%) and a small number of carpenters, clothworkers, pewterers, shoemakers and 3% noted as gentleman. The customs house accounted for 60% of noted occupations.

In terms of the wealthiest occupations, i.e. those with the highest number of hearths, the Merchants had on average 8 hearths in their homes and winecoopers 4.2 hearths.

Notable Residents

Merchant was not only the most frequently found occupation, the merchants were also the wealthiest.


The wealthiest inhabitants according to the size of their property were largely the merchants.

Jacob Lacie Merchant 16
William Bonde Haberdasher 12
Mary Delabar Merchant 12
Thomas Papillion Merchant 11
Thomas Bewley Draper 10
  Rawson Landlord 9
George Clifford Merchant 9
Randolph Isaacson Merchant 9
Charles Hillard Merchant 9


The most notable person in St Katherine Coleman in 1666 was Thomas Papillion, a merchant, politician, member of the Mercers, an influential figure in the City of London.

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Launch Event for Hearth Tax Digital

Hearth Tax Digital was officially launched at an event held at the British Academy on Tuesday 2 July.  The event was an opportunity to celebrate the new site, which came online in January, and share the story of its development, vision and potential going forward.

In regards to the official launch, Project Director Dr Andrew Wareham said, “We are delighted to share this resource with family and local historians as well as the academic community and we hope to see it grow over the coming years.”

The event was attended by those involved with the publication of county volumes, members of the U3A, the genealogy community, committee members for the British Academy Hearth Tax Project, colleagues from Roehampton University and our Hearth Tax Digital partners from the University of Graz in Austria – Georg Vogeler, Theresa Dellinger and Jakob Sonnberger.

Launch AW pres

Dr. Andrew Wareham talks to the development of Hearth Tax Digital 

Trevor Dean from Roehampton University and Chair of the Committee for the British Academy Hearth Tax Project welcomed event attendees, whilst Sarah Williams from Who Do You Think You Are? introduced the new website. We are grateful for the enthusiastic view she extended toward the potential Hearth Tax Digital holds for the academic and genealogy communities alike.

Georg Vogeler then outlined the technological development of the site and its functionality and future vision. Andrew Wareham concluded the presentations with a more general discussion of the project’s genesis and realisation. The presentations were followed by a drinks reception which was enjoyed in the beautiful environs of the British Academy.

Launch Georg and Rob

From left – Georg Vogeler (University of Graz) and Rob Wheeler ( Lincolnshire Record Society)

Launch Pete Brodie

From left – Pete Seaman (Member of British Academy Hearth Tax Project), Brodie Waddell (Birkbeck and member of the BAHTP), Aaron Columbus (Project Research Officer and Birkbeck)

Launch Trevor etc

From left – Trevor Dean (Chair of the British Academy Hearth Tax Project), Paul Hodges (former Roehampton University) and Charlotte Beher (Department of Humanities, Roehampton University)

Laucnh Andrew and Ken

From left – Ken Emond (British Academy) and Dr. Andrew Wareham (Roehampton and Project Director)

Launch Jax

From left – Helena Hammond (Department of Dance, Roehampton) and Jacqui Wales (family historian)

Launch 1

From left – Dr. Brodie Waddell (Birkbeck and member of the BAHTP), Aaron Columbus (Project Research Officer and Birkbeck), Professor Vanessa Harding (Birkbeck and member of the BAHTP)

Hearth Tax Digital was developed by the University of Roehampton’s Centre for Hearth Tax Research in partnership with the University of Graz’s Centre for Information Modeling.  The Roehampton-Graz website has been designed by Professor Georg Vogeler and Dr Andrew Wareham, and it has been built by Theresa Dellinger and Jakob Sonnberger, with financial support from the British Academy and the Department of Humanities at the University of Roehampton. Returns for the city of London, Middlesex and Yorkshire (East and West Riding) were made available with the site’s launch in January. The 1672 Lady Day return for County Durham was added to the site in late June. Other counties are in the pipeline.

Hearth Tax Digital has four key features that make it a powerful tool for researchers – a general search button which allows users at any time to do any textual search (by personal name, location or descriptor), a records page which allows readers to read the entries in the returns, together with the preliminary information, as they were written in the original returns and assessments, databasket which allows users to click on all the entries which they are interested in for further use, alongside an advanced search function which allows users to combine searches for people and places with numbers of hearths.

HT landiong page for blog

Visit our new website Hearth Tax Digital – – and stay tuned for future developments.




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The story of Thomas Elwood, Tyler & Brickmaker, and underdog…

The fifth blog in our series from the work of University of the Third Age members participating in the Shared Learning Project with the British Academy Hearth Tax Project, Centre for Hearth Tax Research, is by Jane Harrington. Using the Hearth Tax returns from the City of London and Middlesex as a starting point, Jane presents the story of one Thomas Elwood.

In the 1666 Hearth Tax returns for both Lady Day and Michaelmas, Thomas Elwood, bricklayer, is recorded as living in Stones Court (St Botolph Aldersgate) with a modest 2 hearths. Stones Court was to the east of Aldersgate and near to the City boundary, more or less opposite Trinity Chapel. It was also home to alehousekeeper Mathew White, with a generous 8 hearths, some of whose tradesmen’s tokens still survived in 1849 (and may yet do so)[1]. Other fellow residents listed included Edward Cox, a milliner; Richard Cox, a shoemaker; and Thomas Terrill, a silversmith.

In 1632 Thomas was apprenticed by his father, Clement, to Edward Dee of the Tylers & Bricklayers Company[2].  At that time they were living in London (in the Minories, which is near to St Botolph Aldgate). By 1638 Thomas has moved into the parish of St Botolph Aldersgate, appearing in a list of London inhabitants in that year[3].

Thomas’s elder brother, also Clement (and later Executor of his will), had been apprenticed to another Master of the same Company, four years earlier[4], when the family were evidently still living in Rutland and Clement snr. was a farmer (husbandman).  It seems likely that Clement jnr. stayed in the Aldgate area as there are St Botolph Aldgate records which refer to ‘Clement Ellwood, bricklayer” of Houndsditch[5]. Bricklaying was clearly a family business. There are some other Ellwoods mentioned in connection with this Company.

This is all pretty unremarkable but at some point in the years following, Thomas got entangled in a complex and protracted legal case of ejectment, from which an impassioned printed legal defence document (1659) survives in the British Library[6]. In a recent book, Peacey refers to it briefly as an example of such documents sometimes coming from “any number of less well-connected individuals, such as impoverished London bricklayer, Thomas Elwood…” [7]

It revolved around the lease of a house in St Pauls which Thomas had obtained from a successful Mercer/Draper called Richard Higginson.  Higginson, originally from Bispham in Lancashire, had clearly made a fortune down in London. His will is an extensive document with a large number of bequests[8]. He owned a good deal of property, including in the vicinity of Paternoster Row (known as an area where mercers and drapers were concentrated) and he later became an Alderman in Castle Baynard Ward in 1658[9], also nominating various others for similar office around the same time.

Ejectment was/is not the same as eviction.  It is an action to recover the possession of, or title to, land – not merely eviction from it for not paying the rent or otherwise breaking a contract. The dispute about whether Thomas could be ejected from his entitlement clearly went on for months if not years, with Higginson changing his story, involving various relatives and associates, then denying that they were involved at all, then persistently not turning up in various courts (he could clearly afford to forfeit the various bail payments involved) and finally dying (in summer 1658) before any resolution was reached. At one hearing Thomas turns up with “3 Counsell and 14 Witnesses” but the case is still not tried. At the end of the document poor Thomas bemoans “such potent unjust men, supported in wickedness by the corrupt practice of the Law, the just cause of the poor is destroyed, and the poor by them eaten up as they eat bread, and for that your Petitioner by these impious practises is utterly ruined in his Estate, Credit and Calling, and his wife and Children destroyed and your Petitioner damnifyed above 500 [pounds].” One assumes that he never got satisfaction, only impoverishment. It all seems to resemble Jarndyce v Jarndyce in Dickens’ ‘Bleak House’ some 300 years later.

Thomas himself died in Spring 1667[10]. If he was apprenticed around the age of 12 (as was typical) that would make him around 47 years old, actually a reasonable age to attain of course. He was buried at St Botolph Aldersgate on 21st May and his will was probated quickly, on 1st June[11]. His wife Ann is mentioned, also his sons John and Thomas to whom he rather sadly leaves what is left of his tools and equipment.  His brother Clement is appointed Executor.

There is a marriage record for Thomas Elwood, Tyler & Brickmaker, to one Hannah Tompson in the preceding February[12]. This may or may not be him. Although he and his family are also similarly described in Boyd’s List of London Inhabitants and Ann is a known diminutive of Hannah. If his first wife had indeed died earlier, he may have been ill and trying to make some sort of last minute provision of care for his sons? There are records for the sons in the City of London Court of Orphans at the end of 1667[13], in which Thomas jnr is described as the orphan, presumably being under the stipulated age for that status at the time. In the inventory Thomas Snr has debts, both ‘separate’ and ‘desperate’, and little that is owed to or owned by him.  His brother also seems to have died a few years later, in 1674, as he too appears in the same records in January of that year[14].

This seems to be the story of a country lad without any obvious social advantages who achieved some solid professional success in London. But then he came up against the forces of those who were privileged, affluent and unscrupulous, if not downright corrupt. As a result, he lost virtually everything he had worked for, providing a thought-provoking corrective to the many accounts we have of successful men in the City.

By Jane Harrington


[1] AKERMAN, John Yonge ‘Tradesmen’s tokens, current in London and its vicinity between the years 1648 and 1672.’ London: John Russell Smith, 1849, entries 32 & 33.  [accessed 2 April 2018]

 [2] WEBB, Cliff ‘London Apprentices Vol 2: Tylers & Bricklayers Company’ London: Society of Genealogists, 1966/ LMA Ref Book 35.31WEB. 

[3] DALE T. C, ‘Inhabitants of London in 1638: St. Botolph without Aldersgate, London’, in The Inhabitants of London in 1638 (London, 1931), pp. 203-209. 

British History Online  [accessed 7 June 2018].

 [4] WEBB op.cit.

 [5]Burial of Clement 5 Dec 1674 and earlier of wife Ann, 2 Dec 1641

Parish registers LMA P69/BOT2/A/015/MS09222/002 (via Ancestry)

 [6] ELWOOD, Thomas ‘The case of Thomas Elwood bricklayer, and Richard Higginson mercer in Pater-noster-row, late alderman of London’ BL 669.f.21.(65).

Also online at;view=fulltext  [accessed 25 May 2018]

 [7] PEACEY, Jason ‘Print and public politics in the English Revolution.’ Cambridge University Press, 2014 p313

[8] PCC National Archives Kew PROB11/294/514

[9] BEAVEN, Alfred P, ‘Aldermen of the City of London: Aldersgate ward’, in The Aldermen of the City of London Temp. Henry III – 1912(London, 1908), pp. 1-8. 

British History Online [accessed 7 June 2018].

[10] Burial 21 May 1667 St Botolph Aldersgate. Parish Registers. LMA P69/BOT1/A/001/MS03854/001 (via Ancestry) 

[11] PCC National Archives Kew PROB 11/324/186

[12] Marriage 28 February 1667 St James Duke’s Place, Aldgate.  Parish Registers LMA P69/JS1/A/002/MS07894/001 (via Ancestry and The Genealogist)

[13] Elwood, Thomas, Citizen and Tyler & Bricklayer. Court of Orphans, City of London 1662-1677 LMA CLA/002/02/01/0339

[14] Elwood, Clement, Citizen and Tyler & Bricklayer. Court of Orphans, City of London 1662-1677 LMA CLA/002/02/01/0989



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The Parish of St Margaret New Fish Street in 1666

The fourth blog in our series from the work of University of the Third Age members participating in the Shared Learning Project with the British Academy Hearth Tax Project, Centre for Hearth Tax Research, is by Barbara Sanders. Using the hearth tax returns from the City of London and Middlesex as a starting point, Barbara presents an incredibly detailed picture of the intramural parish of St Margaret New Fish Street in 1666. 

John Stow published his Survey of London in 1598, then a revised edition in 1603. His maps of each ward in the City of London were topographically extremely accurate for the time. The ground plan of St Margaret’s parish would have changed very little by Lady Day (25th March) 1666 when the Hearth Tax survey was recorded.

The Fire, less than 6 months later, in September 1666, devastated most of the City of London. When it came to rebuilding, Londoners resisted grand designs for boulevards and squares and preferred to rebuild on their own plots, so again the ground plan did not change.

The map below is the part of Maitland’s adapted version of Stow’s map showing the parish of St Margaret New Fish Street in 1720. It has the advantage that lesser byways are also labelled, clarifying the locations of the Hearth Tax inhabitants. The difference is that Wren’s Monument to the Great Fire, in Monument Yard, has been built on the site of the former St Margaret’s church and churchyard.

Fish Street

The Itinerary of the Hearth Tax Enumerator

The addresses listed for the Hearth Tax for 1666 in this parish are in the following sequence:

  • Fish Street Hill, (part of) east side
  • Pudding Lane, west side
  • Pudding Lane, east side
  • Fish Yard
  • Lamb Yard
  • The Church Yard
  • Fish Street Hill, (part of) west side
  • Crooked Lane, south side
  • Mitre Yard
  • “The Lane side”
  • Crooked Lane, north side
  • “The Streete side”
  • Bell Yard
  • “The Streete side”

Note that the dashed line on the map marks ward boundaries; this parish is partly in Bridge Ward and partly in Billingsgate Ward. The fainter dotted line is the parish boundary.

The enumerator’s path seems to be to start at the lower end of Fish Street Hill east. This seems likely as the first six residents are fairly well-to-do fishmongers (4 to 7 hearths) who are close to the river and the Fishmongers Hall (which is at the bottom of the Hill, in the next parish).

He proceeds up the Hill, past the Sun inn (substantial with 13 hearths, but not marked), and the minister’s house (7 hearths). The church and minister’s house were formerly at the junction of the Hill and St Margaret’s Lane, now replaced on the map by the Monument and Monument Yard.

He then turns right to the Star inn (a large site with 29 hearths), cutting east towards Pudding Lane.

Going southwards down Pudding Lane west there is a very socially mixed working population with between 1 and 7 hearths.

Crossing Pudding Lane to the east side there are two residents (4 and 7), then a turn right into Fish Yard and Lamb Yard (the former is now marked on Maitland’s map; the latter is not marked but is probably the adjoining yard).

He then crosses back to the Church Yard (later Monument Yard) with 6 residents, the last being a merchant with 9 hearths, next to the church.

Back on Fish Street Hill he crosses to the west side, with 4 fishmongers (1 to 6 hearths), the Mitre coaching inn (12 hearths) and one more fishmonger.

A left turn into Crooked Lane south coming next suggests that the unmarked area within the junction of the Hill and Crooked Lane is probably the yard of the Mitre.  Crooked Lane south has 5 homes:  4 artisans (2 to 4 hearths) and 1 empty (4 hearths)

Next comes Mitre Yard. It seems that the location is as suggested above but the access in 1666 for inn users  was from the Hill, while access to the dwellings behind was from the much narrower Crooked Lane.

Turning back into Crooked Lane south there is one resident (“the Lane side”), then a U-turn along the north side of Crooked Lane where there are mixed properties (1 to 7 hearths).

Back on the Hill (“the Streete side”) are 4 substantial properties (4 to 9 hearths).

A left turn goes into Bell Yard with 2 merchants (7 and 17) and a “kallendor” (5).

Back on the Hill (“the Streete side”) are 5 more properties (2 to 11 hearths).

Fish Street Hill

London Bridge was the only way to cross the Thames on foot, horse or by coach, though watermen did a roaring trade ferrying passengers across as well as along the river. Fish Street Hill was the main thoroughfare north from London Bridge, starting in the parish of St Magnus the Martyr. As the Hill ascended steeply it entered the parish of St Margaret New Fish Street, passing onward to Gracechurch Street (Grasse Street). It was sometimes known as Bridge Street.

The parish church of St Margaret New Fish Street was on the east side, described by John Stow in his survey as “a proper church, but monuments hath it none”.

There were passenger services for travelling by coach between cities and towns. It was a slow and uncomfortable experience in unsprung unstable vehicles over poorly maintained roads, mainly cobbled in town and unmade cross-country. The stagecoach was introduced in Britain in 1640. An improved design developed in Germany in about 1660, was known as the Berlin, with curved metal springs, to help absorb shocks. so gradually springing and other improvements to passenger coaches and carriages were made. The building of turnpike roads was yet to come. Journeys which in the 21st century take hours took days then; London to Bath by stage coach took 3 days, assuming the weather was favourable. Coaching inns provided the facilities for the coach driver to break a journey at intervals for the driver’s and passengers’ rest and refreshment, and for the tired horses to be changed.

Fish Street Hill was the only street in the parish broad enough to accommodate such coaches so it provided coaching inns – the Sun, Mitre and Star – serving both travellers and locals. Stow wrote “in New Fishstreete be Fishmongers and fayre Tavernes”.

Samuel Pepys mentions these inns where he has social or business meetings, having a merry time with fine food and wine. Where he describes the dishes, a wide range of fish and shellfish seem to predominate.

Virtually all the houses of quality in the parish were on Fish Street Hill.

The Lanes and Yards

Pudding Lane has gone down in history as the site of the bakery where the Great Fire of London broke out in 1666. It was parallel to Fish Street Hill, but very narrow, made narrower and darker by successive upper storeys of the houses being “jettied” to the point where top storeys nearly touched each other above the street. Crooked Lane was probably similar. The residents were of lesser status than those on he Hill, but the lowest were in some of the Yards, packed in behind other houses and accessed through dark narrow alleys.

Fish Yard and its likely neighbour Lamb Yard were the poorest, tucked away in a small complex behind Pudding Lane.

Mitre Yard was the back part of the Mitre inn with space for the coaches and stabling; the homes there may have had a better aspect though the noise and smell could be off-putting. The residents are a tailor and two hook and eye makers, both fairly comfortable at 3 or 4 hearths. The remaining four are widows with just 1 or 2 hearths. This usually suggests poverty, but could this be a case of early sheltered living for the elderly?

The name of Bell Yard suggests a former inn of that name on the Hill. The three dwellings there with 5, 7 and 17 hearths are much superior to those of the other Yards.

The Church Yard had buildings looking out onto what we now understand by a “churchyard”, that is the church access and burial ground, though even that could be less than appealing. One wealthy resident was a merchant (9 hearths), next door to the church.

Occupations – and the notorious Thomas Farriner

This was a mixed community but with no-one important enough to qualify in history books of the City of London. That is, with one notable exception –  Thomas Farriner.

Farriner and his Bakery

Farriner’s bakery was the source of the Great Fire in 1666. He has been written about plenty elsewhere so there is no point in researching him here, though in browsing the Internet I have encountered two fallacies about his story.

Firstly, he was not the King’s baker. The belief arises from the fact that he was appointed by the King to supply the Royal navy with ship’s biscuit, but not to supply the royal household – no doubt Whitehall Palace had its own in-house bakery. The Navy account must have taken a lot of his time, but he did provide the Eucharist bread for St Margaret’s (Churchwarden’s Accounts) and most likely the daily bread of his neighbours.

Secondly, the Monument is definitely not on the site of his bakery (beware the internet!). It is generally accepted that the bakery was in Pudding Lane, 202 feet to the east of the Monument. There has been some question as to its precise location. Dorian Gerhold recently presented a thoroughly researched new theory, based on post-fire legal and planning documents [1].

In the 1666 Hearth Tax survey the Pudding Lane residents do not include Farriner; he is in Fish Yard.  Fish Yard is not named on Stow’s map, but Maitland, using the same map, has added the words “Fish Yard” to the alleys off to the east of Pudding Lane, backing towards Botolphs Lane, but accessed from Pudding Lane.

In the 19th century, Stow’s St Margaret Lane, later Maitland’s Monument Yard, was absorbed  into the new Monument Street thoroughfare. The continuation of Monument Street towards the east would cut across Maitland’s Fish Yard. Dorian Gerhold has identifed the precise location under the present day Monument Street, so it tallies.

The Fishmongers

With the Fishmongers Hall to the west of the bridge foot, and wharves and Billingsgate dock, base of the long established fishing industry, to the east, it is not surprising that the southern end of the parish was mainly populated by fishmongers, plus a number of porters. In the Hearth Tax list for St Margaret New Fish Street, of 73 occupations shown, 12 were fishmongers and 5 porters. Here the fishmongers were successful businessmen rather than simple shop or market traders. Among them, Arthur Wine or Wyne, recorded  here as Arthur Wind, fishmonger, for the Hearth Tax, had the most hearths at seven. He was Fishmonger to the King, supplying fish to the royal household from about 1660 to 1668. He is mentioned in Pepys diary:

9 November 1660: “. . . to dinner with Mr. Wivell at the Hoop Tavern where we had [list of companions], and our dinner given us by Mr. Ady and another, Mr. Wine, the King’s fishmonger.”

The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers was one of the earliest and most powerful of the livery companies of the City of London. In 1515 the Court of Aldermen of the City of London had settled an order of precedence and ranked the Fishmongers fourth out of the 48 existing at that time. The rank still applies, with later Companies being ranked by date of foundation.

Ancillary trades for the fish business

4 coopers, 1 salter.  A cooper’s barrels and tubs would generally have many uses, but here the fishmongers would be his biggest customers. Both fresh and salted fish were traded, even in the past having separate guilds.


The 3 merchants in this parish could be dealing in any sort of goods and materials coming into or leaving the Pool of London. All imported cargoes had to be inspected and assessed by officers at the Custom House, further east, on the riverside in All Hallows parish. Merchants tended to be affluent, as here with 7, 9 and 17 hearths.

The Church

Minister, parish clerk, sexton, 1 of each.

Personal services

3 apothecaries, 1 barber, 1 surgeon and 1 scrivener. A scrivener wrote or copied legal documents, sometimes also producing minutes or accounts, sometimes simply writing letters for those who could not write.

Landlords of hostelries

1 vintner (The Sun), and 1 innholder  (The Star). The Mitre is recorded as empty, possibly due to the Plague.

Supplies and  food

1 baker, 1 oilman, 1 water bearer, 1 tobacconist, 2 victuallers, 1 vintner, 1 innholder, and 1 cook. A victualler or vintner often had a dual role of running a hostelry but also selling food or other provisions.  A cook who was a domestic servant would not appear (as here) as a householder. In this case Widow Bennett is living next door to the Mitre Inn.  She has 4 hearths, so could have her own business, serving the inn and/or local households.

Textiles and clothes

2 clothworkers, 1 kallendor, 2 tailors, 1 haberdasher, 4 hook & eye makers, 6 (linen) drapers, 2 glovers,  1 hosier.

A “kallendor” or calender in textiles operates a finishing process used to smooth, or coat or otherwise enhance a fabric by passing it between calender rollers at high temperatures and pressure.

Before zips and press studs were invented, clothes were fastened with hooks and eyes, buttons, clasps, belts or drawstrings. Making hooks and eyes from wire was a specialist precision task, but 4 separate makers seems rather excessive. Possibly they were selling not just to the local haberdasher, but to the pedlars who travelled around the country selling small items.

Draper was originally a term for a retailer or wholesaler of cloth that was mainly for clothing; some specialised in linen or wool.


2 glaziers, 3 plasterers, 1 smith, and 1 turner


2 latten men, 1 needle maker. 1 plateworker and 1 wire worker,

Latten is an alloy of copper and zinc, similar to brass, much used for church decorations and vessels, candlesticks and some tableware.

A plateworker used tinplate to make household articles such as drinking vessels, plates, bowls and lanterns.

A wire worker used wire to make functional or decorative objects such as fish hooks, cages and small chains.

The latter two groups of craftsmen had amalgamated to form a trade guild for the management and regulation of their trades, and in due course the company was granted a Royal Charter by Charles II in 1670 with the title of “The Trade Arte and Mistery [Guild] of Tynne Plate Workers als Wyer Workers of the City of London”. The Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers, as it became known, still exists as a charity even though though its original craftsmen have been replaced by machines.

Then in less than 6 months time . . .

. . . the world these citizens knew would be turned upside-down by the Great Fire. Some would never return to the City, while others faced the challenge to make a fresh start. At least the craftsmen and metal-workers there were assured of full employment into the foreseeable future.

The Health and Mortality of the City Inhabitants

Some Londoners caught but did survive the 1665 Plague, (which was still lingering in 1666) but it would have left them debilitated.

Everyone who remained in London, even those not infected, suffered from food shortages.  The prevalence of Thames fish around Fish Street did still provide one important part of a balanced diet. But farmers and poulterers avoided bringing their meat animals to market in London. The benefits of fruit and vegetables, not well understood at the best of times, were lost when farmers and smallholders refused to deliver to the infected capital as they had previously. The Plague had reduced imports of food and wine into the Port of London. Then the Great Fire devastated the Thameside wharves and warehouses.

The report of just a handful of deaths actually in the Fire is ludicrously small and subject to debate. But in addition, after surviving two years of unspeakable hardships, premature death must have been commonplace. Elsewhere there are contemporary records of longevity well beyond the biblical “three-score years and ten” (Psalm 90)  in parishes such as on the South Downs, where there was fresh air, uncontaminated water, good local food and an established supportive community. But even at the best of times, conditions were poor in the City of London. The population was not yet overly knowledgeable or concerned about public health, so expectation of life was much lower.

Survivors of even a single house fire may have long term respiratory problems. This Great Fire was all-consuming in a densely built-up area, generating soot containing poisonous elements, floating burning embers and noxious gases. Lung problems can be killers after the event as in emphysema and cancer.

I have explored the life and careers of two of the inhabitants of this parish. Both survived the Fire itself, but David Barton, the Minister of St Margaret New Fish Street, moved to a country living and complained of severe headaches; Thomas Padnall (age 57), vintner and innkeeper and his wife both died within 2 years of the Fire. It seems very unlikely that many survived unscathed.

By Barbara Sanders

[1]     Where Did The Great Fire Begin? by Dorian Gerhold, London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Transactions, 66 (2015), 1—7


The Guild of Scholars of the City of London:


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The Druggists of Bucklersbury

The third blog in our series from the work of University of the Third Age members participating in the Shared Learning Project with the British Academy Hearth Tax Project, Centre for Hearth Tax Research, is by Cheryl Bailey. Using the hearth tax returns from the City of London and Middlesex as a starting point, Cheryl investigated the ‘druggists’ of Bucklersbury Street in the City parishes of St Stephen Walbrook and St Benet Sherehog.

A notable feature of the 1666 Hearth Tax returns for the contiguous parishes of St. Benet Sherehog and St. Stephen Walbrook is that one sixth of the residents are described as ‘druggist’. The parishes share the street of Bucklersbury between them, SSW also listing The Strete and Barge Yard which were offshoots of the main thoroughfare. This area was the locus of the trade with fifty percent of residents involved.

Originally, Bucklersbury marked the boundary for navigation of the River Walbrook to The Thames. Barges brought cargo from the docks up to Bucklesbury which is noted by Stow as being a place for pepperers and grocers. When the Apothecaries Guild split from the Grocers Guild in 1617, stressing that their knowledge and skill set them apart from simple traders,  a number of ‘spicer-apothecaries’, later known as druggists, remained in the Grocers Guild. The main function of apothecaries was to dispense the complicated prescriptions issued by doctors and to compound preparations of various substances for use in common ailments. The censors of the Apothecaries Guild inspected their members premises regularly and expected them to have a full range of all drugs available. It was to the druggists that the apothecaries turned for this supply.  Bucklersbury was the centre where herbs and drugs were stored and sold together with spices, confectionery, perfumes and spiced wines. Though they interacted directly with the public, it seems druggists acted mainly as wholesalers, supplying drugs to apothecaries nationwide.  In the 1600s, nearly all drugs were imported to London and apothecaries from hundreds of miles away would send their orders in by carrier to be delivered back to them in the same way. For example, in 1623, Henry Elliott apothecary of Exeter sent monthly orders to London for his supplies. Even later in the next century, the account books of a Coventry apothecary, Thomas Bott, show that he procured his drugs from London druggists.

Though imported substances had been known and used since Tudor times, they had, at first, been treated with suspicion by the public who tended to favour simple cures based on local herbs or simples. The second half of the seventeenth century was a period of stabilised population and falling farm produce prices so that there was an increasing amount of income available to many people and this coincided with the increase in available imports. Use of more exotic ingredients in prescriptions began to be fashionable and the number of different drugs known proliferated.  In 1588 only 14% of drugs imported came from outside Europe but by 1669 this had increased to 70%, most originating in India and the East Indies though some came from the New World. The actual quantity of imported drugs increased by twenty-five times during the seventeenth century and hundreds of different substances became available.  Some were particularly effective – notably,  ipecacuanha (used as an emetic and an expectorant) and Jesuits’ bark (a source of quinine for the treatment of malaria.). Rhubarb and senna were among the most important drug imports.

At this time, all drug came into the country through London and so the Bucklersbury druggists were enjoying a position of monopolised supply to meet a soaring demand. Drugs, in general, were not bulky and usually only made up about one or two percent of a ship’s cargo but they were valuable and sought after so that merchants were happy to search them out as imports. It is likely that the fourteen merchants listed in the two parishes (again a significant proportion of the population) would, among other merchandise, have been involved in the import of drugs to supply the druggists. It should be remembered that the term ‘drug’ was not limited to substances of a purely medicinal nature. John Dandy of Sise Lane, the tobacconist, would also have been purchasing from the druggists and documents have survived showing that John Lilburne was interested in madder (a red dye stuff) as a commodity. Bucklersbury was noted even in Shakespeare’s day as a place of perfumery and cosmetics.

John Lilburne (1629 – 1678), Citizen and Grocer, was one of the largest druggists holding (with his partner) a property of 11 hearths on the north side of Bucklersbury. His memorial in St. Stephen’s Walbrook was erected by George, his first-born and only surviving child of five. It mentions his family connections with Sunderland and the Bishopric of Durham but he does not appear to be closely related to the famous Leveller of the same name. The memorial shows John and his wife Isabella though it cannot be judged whether the representation is lifelike.


The druggists were probably comfortable financially though their properties have, on average, just five hearths. The three largest businesses of Joseph Lilburne (11 hearths, see above), Henry Lascoe (10 hearths) and John Sadler (10 hearths) all ran their businesses in conjunction with a partner. Unfortunately, only one will, that of John Brisco, has been found during this research. He lived two doors away from John Lilburne in a property that had just five hearths. However, in 1689, he left over £5000 to his children and grandchildren while his wife, Beatrix,received £1000 and all his properties and appurtenancies which consisted of the house of the late Sir Richard Hawkins(d.1687) which was in the Old Bayley area near Ludgate Hill and three other properties adjoining it.

By Cheryl Bailey


Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 396, John Brisco

The National Archive, E 134/31and32Chas2/Hil6, Edward Brooke, clerk v. Wm. Hills, John Hill, Fras. Hacker, Geo. Lilburne, administrator…

Burnby J.G., ‘A study of the English apothecary from 1660 to 1760. Med Hist Suppl. 1983;(3): pp.1–128

Porter, R. & D.  ‘The rise of the early drugs industry: the role of Thomas Corbyn’

Medical History 1989 33(3) pp. 277-295

Roberts, R.S. ‘The Early history of the import of drugs into Britain’ in F.N.L. Poynter (ed.)

‘The evolution of pharmacy in London’, Pitman 1965

Photo of Lilburne monument courtesy of Bob Speel,

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