Survey of London (1633): Bridges

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Bridges of this Citie.
THe originall founda
tion of London bridge,
London Bridge first of timber.

by report of Bartho
lomew Linsted
, alias
Fowle, last Prior of
Saint Mary Overees
Church in South
A Ferry over the Thames be
tweene London Bridge & Southwark.
was this: A Ferry being kept in
the place where now the Bridge is buil
ded, at length the Ferry-man and his
wife deceasing, left the same Ferry to
their onely Daughter, a Maiden, na
med Mary, which with the goods left
her by her parents, as also with the
profits rising of the said Ferry, builded
an House of Sisters, in place where
now standeth the East part of Saint
Mary Overees Church
, above the
Queere, where shee was buried, unto
which house shee gave the oversight
and profits of the Ferry. But afterward,
the said House of Sisters being conver
ted into a Colledge of Priests, the
Priests builded the Bridge of Timber,
as all other the great Bridges of this
Land were, and from time to time
kept the same in good reparations;
till at length, considering the great
charges which were bestowed in the re
pairing the same, there was (by ayd of
the Citizens and others) a Bridge buil
ded with stone, as shall be shewed.
But first of the Timber Bridge, the
Antiquity thereof being great, but un
certaine: I remember to have read, that
in the yeere of Christ 994. Sweyn King
of Denmarke
besieging the Citie of Lon
, both by water and by land, the Ci
tizens manfully defended themselves,
and their King Ethelred, so as part of
their enemies were slaine in battaile,
and part of them were drowned in the
River of Thames, because in their hastie
rage they tooke no heed of the Bridge.
Moreover, in the yeere 1016. Canu
the Dane, with a great Navie came
up to London, and on the South of the
Thames, caused a Trench to bee cast,
through the which his Ships were tow
ed into the west side of the Bridge, and
then, with a deepe Trench and straight
siege he compassed the City about.
Also 1052. E. Goodwin, with the like
Navy, taking his course up the River of
, and finding no resistance on the
Bridge, he sailed up the South side. Fur
ther, 1067. Will. Conq. in his Charter
to the Church of Saint Peter at

Bridges of this Citie.
Westminster, confirmed to the Monkes,
serving God there, a Gate in London,
then called Buttolphs Gate, with a
Wharfe, which was at the head of Lon
We read likewise, that in the yeere
1114. the 14. of Henry the first, the Ri
ver of Thames
was so dryed up, and such
want of Water there, that betweene
the Tower of London & the Bridge, and
under the Bridge,
Men went dry-shod under Lon
not only with horse,
but also a great number of men, women
and children did wade over on foot.
In the yeere 1122. the 22. of Hen. 1.
Thomas Arden gave to the Monkes of
Lib. Ber
the Church of S. George in
, and five shillings rent by
the yeere, out of the Land pertaining
to London Bridge.
I have also seene a Charter under
seale, to the effect following:
Henry King of England, to Ralfe Bi
shop of Chichester
, and all the Ministers
of Sussex, sendeth greeting. Know ye, &c.
I command by my Kingly authority, that
the Mannor called Alceston, which my
Father gave, with other Lands, to the Ab
bey of Battle, be free and quiet from Shires
and Hundreds, and all other Customes of
earthly servitude, as my Father held the
same, most freely and quietly; and namely,
from the worke of London bridge, and the
worke of the Castle at Pevensey: and this
I command upon my forfeiture. Witnesse
William de Pontlearche at Berry.
The which Charter, with the seale
very faire, remaineth in the custody of
Ioseph Holland, Gent.
In the yeere 1136 the first of King
Lib. Berm.
a fire began in the house of one
Lib. Trin.
neere unto London stone,
which consumed East to Ealdgate, and
West to S. Erkenwalds shrine in Pauls
: the Bridge of Timber over
the River of Thames was also burnt, &c.
but afterwards againe repaired. For
Fitzstephen writeth, that in the Reigne
of King Stephen
, and of Henry the 2.
when pastimes were shewed on the Ri
ver of Thames
, men stood in great num
ber on the Bridge, Wharfes, and Hou
ses, to behold.
Now in the yeere 1163. the same
Bridge was not onely repayred but new
made of timber,
London Bridge of Timber new built.
as before, by Peter Cole-church,
Priest and Chaplaine.
Thus much for the old timber-bridge,
maintained partly by the proper Lands
thereof, partly by the liberality of di
vers persons, and partly by taxations in
divers Shires, as I have proved for the
space of 215. yeeres, before the Bridge
of stone was built.
Now touching the foundation of
the stone Bridge,
London Bridge of stone founded.
it followeth: About
the yeere 1176. the stone Bridge over
the River of Thames at London, was be
gun to be founded by the foresaid Peter
of Cole-Church
, neere unto the Bridge of
Timber, but somewhat more towards
the West: for I reade, that Buttolph-Wharfe
was in the Conquerours time
at the head of London Bridge.
Lib. Waver
The King
assisted this worke: A Cardinall then
being Legate here, and Richard Arch
bish. of Cant. gave one thousand marks
towards the foundation. The course of
the River (for the time) was turned an
other way about by a Trench, cast for
that purpose; beginning (as is supposed)
east about Radriffe, and ending in the
west about Patricksey, now termed Bat
. This worke, to wit, the Arches,
Chappell, and stone Bridge over the
Thames at London,
London Bridge 33. yeeres in building.
having been 33. yeers
in building, was in the yeere 1209. fini
shed by the worthy Merchants of Lon
, Serle Mercer, William Almaine, and
Benedict Botewrite, principall masters of
that worke: for Peter Cole-Church decea
sed foure yeeres before, and was buried
in the Chappell on the Bridge, in the
yeere 1205.
King Iohn gave certaine void places
in London to build on, the profits thereof
to remaine towards the charges of buil
ding and repayring of the same Bridge.
A Mason, being Master-workman of
the Bridge, builded (from the foundati
on) the large Chappell on that Bridge,
Chappell on the Bridge, on the East side.

of his owne charges; which Chappell
was then endowed for two Priests, foure
Clarkes, &c. besides Chanteries; since
founded by Iohn Hatfield, and others.
After the finishing of this Chappell,
which was the first building upon those
Arches, sundry houses (at times) were
erected, and many charitable men gave
Gifts givē to London Bridge, in a table no
ted for po
tenements, or summes of money
towards the maintenance thereof; all
which was sometimes noted, and in
a Table faire written for posterity:

Bridges of this Citie.

remaining in the Chappell, till the same
Chappell was turned to a dwelling
house, and then removed to the Bridge-house.
The effect of which Table I
was willing to have published, in this
Booke, if I could have obtained the sight
thereof: but making the shorter worke,
I finde by the accompt of William Mari
and Christopher Eliot, Wardens of
London Bridge, from Michaelmas the 22.
of Hen. 7
. untill Michaelmas next ensu
ing, by one whole yeere, that all the
payments and allowance came to 815.
l. 17. s. 2. d. ob. as there is shewed
by particulars: by which accompt then
made, may be partly ghessed the great
charges and discharges of that Bridge
at this day, when things bee stretched
to so great a price. And now to actions
on this Bridge.
The first action to be noted, was la
Actions on London Bridge to be noted.
for within foure yeeres after
the finishing thereof, to wit, in the
yeere 1212. on the 10. of Iuly at night,
the Borrought of Southwarke, upon the
South side of the River of Thames, as al
so the Church of our Lady of the Ca
there, being on fire, and an excee
ding great multitude of people passing
the Bridge, either to extinguish and
quench it, or else to gaze and behold it;
suddenly the North part,
Liber Dun
by blowing
of the South wind, was also set on fire,
and the people which were even now
passing the Bridge,
Gualt. Co
perceiving the same,
would have returned,
London Bridge pe
rished by fire.
but were stopped
by the fire; and it came to passe, that as
they stayed or protracted the time, the
other end of the Bridge also, namely,
the South end, was fired; so that the
people thronging themselves betweene
the two fires, did nothing else but ex
pect present death. Then there came
to aide them many ships and vessels, in
to which the multitude so unadvisedly
rushed, that the ships being thereby
drowned, they all perished. It was said,
that through the fire and shipwracke,
there were destroyed above three thou
sand persons, whose bodies were found
in part, or halfe burned, besides those
that were wholly burnt to ashes, and
could not be found.
Five ar
ches of London Bridge borne downe.
About the yeere one thouſand two
hundred eighty two
, through a great
frost and deepe snow, five Arches of
London Bridge were borne downe, and
carried away.
In the yeere 1289. the Bridge was so
sore decayed for want of reparations,
Patent the 14. of Edw. the 2.

that men were afraid to passe thereon,
and a Subsidy was granted towards the
amendment thereof, Sir Iohn Britaine
being Custos of London, 1381. a great
collection or gathering was made, of all
Archbishops, Bishops, and other Ec
clesiasticall persons, for the reparations
of London Bridge.
In Anno 1381. Wat Tyler, and other
Rebels of Kent, by this Bridge entred
the Citie, as yee may reade in my Sum
and Annales.
In the yeere 1395. on S. Georges day,
was a great Justing on London Bridge,
betwixt David Earle of Craford of Scot
, and the Lord Wels of England: In
the which, the Lord Wels was at the
third course borne out of the Saddle:
Which History proveth, that at that
time the Bridge (being coaped on ey
ther side) was not replenished with hou
ses builded thereupon, as since it hath
beene, and now is.
The next yeere,
Nine per
sons crow
ded to death on London Bridge.
on the 30. of Novem
, the yong Queene Isabel, common
ly called the little, (for she was but 8.
yeeres old) was conveyed from Ken
, beside Lambeth, through South
, to the Tower of London; and such
a multitude of people went out to see
her, that on London Bridge nine persons
were crowded to death, of whom the
Prior of Tiptre, a place in Essex, was one,
and a Matron on Cornehill, was another.
The Tower on London Bridge, at the
North end of the draw-bridge,
Tower on London Bridge builded.
that bridge was then readily to bee
drawne up, as well to give passage for
ships to Queenehith, as for the resistance
of any forreigne force) was begun to be
builded in the yeere 1426. Iohn Rain
being Maior.
Another Tower there is on the said
Bridge, over the Gate at the South end
towards Southwarke, whereof in another
place shall be spoken.
In the yeere 1450. Iacke Cade,
Iacke Cade entred the Citie by the Bridge
other Rebels of Kent, by this Bridge en
tred the Citie, hee strake his sword on
London stone, and said himselfe then to
be Lord of the Citie; but they were by
the Citizens overcome on the same

Bridges of this Citie.

Bridge, and put to flight, as in my An
In the yeere 1471. Thomas the Ba
stard Fawconbridge
besieged this Bridge,
Bastard Fawcon
sieged the Bridge.

burned the Gate, and all the Houses to
the draw-bridge, being at that time 13
in number.
In the yeere 1481. an house,
An house of the Bridge fell downe.
The common siege, on London Bridge,
fell downe into the Thames: through
the fall whereof five men were draw
In the yeere 1553. the third of Fe
Sir Thomas Wyat lay in Southwarke at the Bridge foot.

Sir Thomas Wyat and the Kentish
men, marched from Depeford towards
London, after knowledge whereof,
forthwith the draw-bridge was cut
downe and the Bridge gates shut.
The draw
bridge cut downe.
and his people entred Southwarke, where
they lay till the 6. of Feb. but could get
no entry of the Citie by the Bridge, the
same was then so well defended by the
Citizens, the Lord W. Howard assisting:
wherefore hee removed towards King
stone, &c
. as in my Annales.
To conclude, of this Bridge over the
said River of Thames,
The bridge described.
I affirme, as in o
ther my descriptions, That it is a worke
very rare, having with the draw-bridge
20. arches, made of square stone, of
height 60. foot, and in bredth 30. foot,
distant one from another 20. foot, com
pact and joyned together with vaults
and cellars; upon both sides be houses
builded, so that it seemeth rather a con
tinuall street than a bridge: for the for
tifying whereof, against the incessant
assaults of the River, it hath overseers
and officers, (viz.) Wardens, as afore
said, and others.
Fleet-bridge in the west, without Lud
, a bridge of stone, faire coaped on
either side with iron pikes, on the which
towards the South, bee also certaine
Lanthornes of stone, for lights to be pla
ced in Winter evenings, for commodi
ty of travellers. Vnder this Birdge runs
a water, sometimes called (as I have
said) the River of the Wels; since, Turne
; now, Fleet Dike, because
it runneth by the Fleet, and sometime
about the Fleet, so under Fleet-bridge in
to the River of Thames.
This Bridge hath beene farre greater
in times past; but lessened, as the wa
ter-course hath beene narrowed.
It seemeth, this last Bridge to bee
made or repaired at the charges of Iohn
Maior, in the yeere 1431: for on
the coping is ingraved, Wels imbraced
by Angels, like as on the Standard in
, which hee also builded. Thus
much of the Bridge: for of the water
course and decay thereof, I have spoken
in another place.
Oldborne-bridge, over the said River
of Wels
more towards the North, was so
called, of a Boorne that sometimes ran downe
Oldborne Hill, into the said Ri
ver: This bridge of stone, like as Fleet-bridge,
from Ludgate west, serveth for
passengers, with carriage or otherwise,
from Newgate toward the West and by
Cowbridge, more North over the same
water, by Cowbridge street, or Cow-lane:
this bridge being lately decayed, ano
ther of timber is made somewhat more
North, by Chicklane, &c.
Bridges over the Towne-ditch, there
are divers:
Bridges over the Towne-
to wit, without Ealdgate,
without Bishopsgate, the Posterne cal
led Mooregate, the Posterne of Creplegate,
without Aldersgate, the Posterne of
Christs Hospitall, Newgate and Ludgate:
all these be over-paved levell with the
streets. But one other there is of Tim
ber, over the River of Wels, or Fleet dike,
betweene the precinct of the Blacke Fri
and the House of Bridewell.
There have beene of old time also,
Bridges over the course of Walbrooke.
vers bridges in sundry places over the
course of Walbrooke, as before I have
partly noted; besides Horshooe bridge,
by the Church of S. Iohn Baptist, now
called S. Iohns upon Walbrooke. I reade
that of old time, every person having
Lands on either side of the said brooke,
should cleanse the same, and mend and
repaire the bridges so far as their Lands
More, in the eleventh of Edward the
, the inhabitants upon the course
of this brooke, were forced to pile and
wall the sides thereof.
Also, that in the third of Henry the
, this water-course had many brid
Walbrooke vaulted o
ver, and paved with stone

since vaulted over with bricke, and
the streets where-through it passed, so
paved, that the same water-course is
now hardly discerned. For order was
taken in the second of Edw. the fourth,

Gates of this Citie.

that such persons as had any ground ly
ing on eyther side of the River of Wal
, should vault and pave it over,
so farre as his ground extended. And
thus much for Bridges in this Citie
may suffice.

Cite this page

MLA citation

Stow, John, Anthony Munday, Anthony Munday, and Humphrey Dyson. Survey of London (1633): Bridges. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 6.6, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 30 Jun. 2021, Draft.

Chicago citation

Stow, John, Anthony Munday, Anthony Munday, and Humphrey Dyson. Survey of London (1633): Bridges. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 6.6. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed June 30, 2021. Draft.

APA citation

Stow, J., Munday, A., Munday, A., & Dyson, H. 2021. Survey of London (1633): Bridges. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London (Edition 6.6). Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from Draft.

RIS file (for RefMan, RefWorks, EndNote etc.)

Provider: University of Victoria
Database: The Map of Early Modern London
Content: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

A1  - Stow, John
A1  - Munday, Anthony
A1  - Munday, Anthony
A1  - Dyson, Humphrey
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - Survey of London (1633): Bridges
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
ET  - 6.6
PY  - 2021
DA  - 2021/06/30
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  -
UR  -
ER  - 

TEI citation

<bibl type="mla"><author><name ref="#STOW6"><surname>Stow</surname>, <forename>John</forename></name></author>, <author><name ref="#MUND1"><forename>Anthony</forename> <surname>Munday</surname></name></author>, <author><name ref="#MUND1"><forename>Anthony</forename> <surname>Munday</surname></name></author>, and <author><name ref="#DYSO1"><forename>Humphrey</forename> <surname>Dyson</surname></name></author>. <title level="a">Survey of London (1633): Bridges</title>. <title level="m">The Map of Early Modern London</title>, Edition <edition>6.6</edition>, edited by <editor><name ref="#JENS1"><forename>Janelle</forename> <surname>Jenstad</surname></name></editor>, <publisher>U of Victoria</publisher>, <date when="2021-06-30">30 Jun. 2021</date>, <ref target=""></ref>. Draft.</bibl>