The Survey of London (1633): A Description of London

This document is currently in draft. When it has been reviewed and proofed, it will be published on the site.

View the draft document.

Please note that it is not of publishable quality yet.

The Situation thereof.
AMong the Noble Cities
of the World, honou-
red by fame, the City
of LONDON is one,
the chiefe Seate of the
Kingdome of England, whose renowne
is spred abroad farre and neere, but
transporteth her wares and commodi-
ties much further, and so advanceth her
greatnesse. It is happy by reason of
the Aires wholsomnesse, by Christi-
an Religion, her munition also and
strength, the nature of the situation,
the honour of the Citizens, the chasti-
ty of grave Matrones. Very pleasant
also with sports and pastimes, and re-
plenished with Honourable Persona-
ges. All which I thinke meet severally
to consider.
The temperatenesse of the Aire.
IN this place, the calmnesse of the
Aire doth mollifie mens minds,
not corrupting them with venereall
lusts, but preserving them from savage
and rude behaviour, and seasons their
inclinations with a more ingenious
Of Religion.
THere is in the Church of Saint
Paula Bishops See: It was for-
merly Metropolitane, and as it
is thought, shall recover the said digni-
ty againe, if the Citizens shall returne
backe into the Iland, except perhaps
the Archepiscopall title of Saint Tho-
the Martyr, and his bodily pre-
sence, doe perpetuate this honour to
Canterbury, where now his Reliques
are. But seeing Saint Thomas hath gra-
ced both these Cities, namely, London
with his birth, and Canterbury with his
death; one place may alleage much
against the other for the beholding of
that Saint, and further additions to
their holinesse. Now, concerning the
worship of God in the Christian faith:
There are in London and in the Suburbs
13. Churches belonging to Covents,
besides 126. lesser Parish Churches.
Of the strength of the City.
IT hath on the East part a Tower
Palatine large and strong, whose
Court and Walls are secured with
a very deepe foundation, the morter is

A Description

tempered with the blood of beasts.
On the West side are two Castles well
fenced. The Wall of the City is high
and spacious, with seven gates, which
are made double every way, and on the
North side distinguished with Turrets.
Likewise on the South side, London
hath beene inclosed with Walls and
Towers, but the large River of Thames
being well stored with Fish, and in
which the Tide ebbes and flowes, by
continuance of time hath washed and
worne away those walls. Further, a-
bove in the West part, the Kings Pa-
lace is eminently seated upon the same
River, an incomparable building, ha-
ving a Wall before it, and some Bull-
warks; it is two miles from the City,
and a continuall Subvrbs doth lye be-
Of the Gardens.
NEere to the houses of the Sub-
vrbs, the Citizens have Gar-
dens and Orchards planted
with trees, large, beautifull, and one
joyning to another.
Of Pasture and Tillage.
ON the North side are Fields for
Pasture, and open Meadowes,
very pleasant, into which the
River-waters doe flow, and Mills are
turned about with a delightfull noise.
Next, lieth a great Forest, in which are
wooddy places, and Beasts for game.
In the Coverts whereof doe lurke the
Stag, the Bucke, the wilde Bore, and
the Bull. The arable Lands are no hun-
gry pieces of gravell ground, but like
the rich fields of Asia, which bring
plentifull Corne, and fill the Barnes of
the owners with a dainty crop of the
fruits of Ceres.
Of their Wells.
THere are on the North part of
London principall Fountaines of
water, sweet, wholsome, and
cleare, streaming forth among the gli-
stering pebble stones: In this number
Holy-well, Clerken-well, and Saint
Clements well, are of most note and fre-
quented above the rest, when Schollers
and the youth of the City take the Aire
abroad in the Summer evenings. Cer-
tainly the City is good, seeing it hath
a good Lord.
Of the Citizens honour.
THe Honour of this City con-
sists in proper Men, brave Ar-
mour, and multitude of Inha-
bitants. In the fatall warres under King
Steven, there went out to a Master,
men fit for warre, esteemed to the
number of 20000. horsemen armed,
and 60000. footmen. The Citizens of
London are knowne in all places, and re-
spected above all others, by their civill
Demeanour, their good Apparell, their
Table, and their Discourse.
Of their Matrones.
THe Matrones here may be paralleld
with the Sabine women.
Of their Schooles.
IN London three famous Schooles are
kept at three principall Churches,
which they retaine by priviledge
and ancient dignity. Notwithstanding
by favour of some persons, or Teachers,
who are knowne and well reputed for
their Philosophie; there are other
Schooles upon good will and suffe-
rance. Vpon the Holydayes, assemblies
flocke together about the Church,
where the Master hath his abode. There
the Schollers dispute; some use demon-
strations, others topicall and probable
arguments: Some practise Enthi-
mems, others are better at perfect Syl-
logismes: Some for a shew dispute,
and for exercising themselves, & strive
like adversaries: Others for truth,
which is the grace of perfection. The
dissembling Sophisters turne Verba-

of the City of London.

lists, and are magnified when they o-
verflow in speech; some also are intrapt
with deceitfull arguments. Sometime
certaine Oratours, with Rhotoricall O-
rations, speake handsomly to perswade,
being carefull to observe the precepts of
Art, who omit no matter contingent.
The Boyes of divers Schooles wrangle
together in versifying, and canvase the
principles of Grammar, as the rules of
the Preterperfect and Future Tenses.
Someafter an old custome of prating,
vse Rimes & Epigram: these can free-
ly quip their fellowes, suppressing their
names with a festinine and railing li-
berty: these cast out most abusive jests,
and with Socraticall witnesses either
they give a touch at the vices of Supe-
riours, or fall upon them with a Saty-
ricall bitternesse. The hearers prepare
for laughter, and make themselves mer-
ry in the meane time.
How the Affaires of the City
are disposed.
SEverall Craftmen, and sellers of
Wares, and Workemen for hire,
all are distinguished every mor-
ning by themselves, both in their pla-
ces and imploiments. Besides, there is
in London upon the Rivers banke, a pub-
like place of Cookery, betweene the
Ships laden with Wine, and the
Wines laid up in Cellers to bee sold:
there ye may call for any dish of meat,
rost, fried, or sodden, Fish both small
and great, ordinary flesh for the poo-
rer sort, and more dainty for the rich,
as Venison and Fowle. If friends come
upon a sudden, wearied with travell, to
a Citizens house, and they be loth to
wait for curious preparations, and dres-
sings of fresh meat, the servants give
them Water to wash, and Bread to
stay their stomacke, and in the meane
time goe to the water side, where all
things are at hand answerable to their
desire. Whatsoever multitude, either
of Souldiers or other strangers, enter
into the City at any houre, day or
night, or elle are about to depart, they
may turne in, bait there, and refresh
themselves to their content, and so a-
void long fasting, and not goe away
without their dinner. If any desire to
fit their dainty tooth, they need not
to long for the Accipenser, or any o-
ther Bird; no not the rare Godwit of
Iõnia. This publike victualing place
is very convenient, and belongs to the
City. Hereupon we reade in Platoes
, that the office of Cookes is
neere to Physicke, and the flattery of
dissemblers is the fourth part of civi-
lity. Without one of the gates is a cer-
taine field, plaine both in name and
situation. Every Fryday, except some
Festivall come in the way there is a
great market of horses: some come out
of the City to buy or looke on, Earles,
Barons, Knights, and many Citizens
resort thither. It is a pleasant sight
there to behold the Nags to jog on
with an ambling pace, and their feet
on either side up and downe together
by turnes, or else trotting horses which
are more convenient for men that beare
armes; these although they set a little
harder, goe away readily, and lite up
and set downe together the contrary
feet on either side. Here are also young
Colts of a good breed, that have not
beene well accustomed to the bridle;
these fling about, and by mounting
bravely, shew their mettle. Here are
principall horses, strong and well-lim-
med. Here also are brest horses, fit
to bee joyned by couples, very faire
and handsome, and sleeke about the
eares, carrying their necks aloft, be-
ing well flesht, and round about the
The buyers at first looke at their soft
and slow pace, and after cause them to
put on with more speed, and behold
them in their gallop. When these
Coursers are ready to runne their race,
and perhaps some others, which in their
kinde are both good for carriage and
strong for travaile: The people give a
shout, and the common Hackneys are
commanded to go aside The boyes that
ride, make matches among themselves,
two and two together, being expert
in governing their horses, which they
rule and curbe with a sharpe bridle,
labouring by all meanes that one get
not before the other. And the very
beasts, after their fashion, doe not cease
to strive, while their joynts tremble,

A Description

and impatient of delay, endure not
standing still in a place. When the to-
ken is given, they stretch out their bo-
dies and runne speedily away, the Ri-
ders spurring them on for the love of
praise, or hope of victory. You would
thinke every thing were in motion
with Heraclitus, and Zenoes opinion to
bee false, saying that nothing moves
from place to place. In another part
stand the country people with Cattell,
and commodities of the field, large
Swine, and Kine with their Vdders
strutting out, faire bodied Oxen and
Sheepe. There are also Cart-horses fit
for the Dray, or the Plough, and some
Mares big with Foale, together with o-
thers that have their wanton Colts
following them close at their side.
To this City Merchants bring in
Wares frō every Nation under heaven:
The Arabian sends his Gold; the Sabe-
an his Frankincense & other Drugs; the
Scythian his provision frō the plentifull
wood of Date trees; Babylon bestowes
the fruits of a fertile soile; and Ny-
lus his precious stones; the Seres send
Purple garments; they of Norway and
Russia, Trowts, Furs, and Sables. Ac-
cording to the report of Chronicles, it
is more ancient then the City of Rome:
for both being descended from the
same Trojan stocke, Brute builded this,
before Remus and Romulus the other.
Whereupon it comes to passe, that their
ancient Lawes doe so agree: For this
our City is distinguished by Wards
and severall limits; it hath Sheriffes
every yeere, answerable to their Con-
suls; it hath Aldermen, enjoying the
dignity of Senators, besides inferiour
Magistrates; it hath also Conduits and
conveyances for water in the streets.
Concerning causes in question; there
are severall places and Courts for mat-
ters Deliberative, Demonstrative, and
Judiciall: upon set dayes also they have
their Common Councell and great As-
semblies. I thinke there is no City that
hath more approved Customes, for
frequenting the Churches, for honou-
ring Gods Ordinances observing of
Holy-dayes, giving Almes, entertai-
ning Strangers, confirmation of Con-
tracts, making up and celebrating of
Marriages, setting out of Feasts, wel-
comming the Guests; and moreover,
in funerall rites, and burying of the
dead. The only plagues of London are
immoderate drinking of idle fellowes,
and often fires. Moreover, almost all
Bishops, Abbots, and Noble men of
England, are as it were, Citizens and
Free-men of London; there they have
faire dwellings, and thither they doe
often resort, and are called into the
City to Consultations and solemne
meetings, either by the King, or their
Metropolitane, or drawne by the peo-
ples affaires.
Of Exercise and Pastimes.
LEt us also come at last to their
Sports and Exercises; for it is
expedient that a City bee not
onely commodious for gaine, and seri-
ous, but also pleasant and delightfull.
Therefore to the time of Pope Leo, the
Popes gave in their Seales, on one side
of their Bull, Saint Peter like a Fisher-
man, and over him a Key reached forth
to him as it were from Heaven by the
hand of God, and this verse about it:
For me thy Ship
thou didst forsake,
Therefore the Key
of Heaven take.
On the other part was stamped a City
with this Inscription, Golden Rome. Also
this was written to the praise of Caesar
Augustus, and Rome:
All night the Sky distils
downe watry showeres,
The morning cleeres againe
to shew the play.
Great Iove and Caesar
have their severall houres,
And in this Vniverse
by turnes beare sway.
London, in stead of common Enter-
ludes belonging to the Theatre, hath
plaies of a more holy subject, represen-
tations of those miracles which the
holy Confessors wrought, or of the suf-
ferings wherein the glorious constancy
of Martyrs did appeare. Besides that,
wee may beginne with the Schooles of
youth, seeing once wee were all chil-
dren; Yeerely at Shrovetide the Boyes
of every Schoole bring fighting Cocks

of the City of London.

to their Masters, and all the forenoone
is spent at Schoole, to see these Cockes
fight together. After dinner, all the
youth of the City goeth to play at the
Ball in the fields, the Schollers of eve-
ry Schoole have their Balls. The tea-
chers also that traine up others in seats
and exercises, have every one their Ball
in their hands. The ancient and weal-
thy Citizens come on horsebacke to see
these yongsters contending at their
sport, with whom in a manner they
participate by motion, stirring their
owne naturall heat in the view of
youth, with whose mirth and liberty
they seeme to communicate. Every
Sunday in Lent, after dinner, a com-
pany of young men ride out into the
fields on horses which are fit for warre,
and principall runners: every horse a-
mong them is taught to run his rounds.
The Citizens sonnes issue out thorow
the gates by troupes, furnished with
Lances and warlike Shields: the yon-
ger sort have their Pikes not headed
with yron, where they make a repre-
sentation of battell: There resort to
this exercise many Courtiers, when the
King lies neere-hand, and young strip-
lings out of the families of Barons and
great persons, which have not yet at-
tained to the warlike Girdle, doe traine
and skirmish. Hope of victory inflames
every one: the neighing and fierce hor-
ses bestir their joynts, and chew their
bridles, and cannot indure to stand
still; at last they beginne their race,
and then the yong men divide their
troupes; some labour to outstrip their
leaders, and cannot reach them; others
fling downe their fellowes, and get
beyond them. In Easter Holy-dayes
they counterfeit a Sea-sight: a Pole is
set up in the middle of the River, with
a Target well fastened thereon, and a
yong man stands in a Boat which is
rowed with Oares, and driven on with
the tide, who with his Speare hits the
Target in his passage; with which
blow, if he breake the Speare, and stand
vpright, so that hee hold footing, hee
hath his desire: but if his Speare con-
tinue unbroken by the blow, hee is
tumbled into the water, and his Boat
passeth cleere away: but on either side
this Target, two Ships stand in Ward,
with many yong men ready to tak
him up after he is sunke: assoone as he
appeareth againe on the top of the
water; the spectators stand upon the
Bridge, and other convenient places
about the River to behold these things,
being prepared for laughter. Vpon
the Holy-dayes, the youth is exercised
all Summer, in Leaping, Shooting,
Wrestling, casting of Stones, and
throwing of Javelins fitted with loopes
for the purpose, which they strive to
fling beyond the marke; they also use
Bucklers, like fighting men. As for
the Maidens, they have their exercise
of Dancing. In Winter, almost every
Holy-day before dinner, the foaming
Bores fight for their heads, and pre-
pare with deadly Tushes to bee made
Bacon; or else some lusty Bulls, or huge
Beares, are baited with Dogs. When
that great Moorish Lake at the North
part of the City wall is frozen over,
great companies of young men goe to
sport upon th yee, then fetching a
runne, and setting their feet at a di-
stance, and placing their bodies side-
wise, they slide a great way. Others
take heapes of yee, as if it were great
Mil-stones, and make seats: many go-
ing before, draw him that sits thereon,
holding one another by the hand; in
going so fast, sometime they all fall
downe together: some are better pra-
ctised to the yee, and binde to their
shooes, Bones, as the legs of some
beasts, and hold Stakes in their hands,
headed with sharpe yron, which some-
times they strike against the yee; and
these men goe on with such speed, as
doth a Bird in the Aire, or Darts shot
from some warlike Engine: sometime
two men set themselves at a distance,
and runne one against another, as it
were at tilt, with these Stakes, where-
with one or both parties are throwne
downe, not without some hurt to their
bodies; and after their fall, by reason
of the violent motion, are carried a
good distance one from another: and
wheresoever the yee doth touch their
head, it rubs off the skin and bruiseth it:
and if one fall upon his leg or his arme,
it is usually broken: But young men
being greedy of honour, and desirous
of victory, doe thus exercise them-

The Description of the City of London.

in counterfeit battels, that they
may beare the brunt more strongly,
when they come to it in good earnest.
Many Citizens take delight in Birds,
as Spar-hawkes, Gosse-hawkes, and
such like, and in Dogs to hunt in the
wooddy ground. The Citizens have
authority to hunt in Middlesex, Hert-
, all the Chilterns, and in Kent,
as farre as Gray-water. The Londo-
ners, once called Trinovants, repulsed
C. Iulius Caesar, who commonly pa-
ved his way with blood: whereupon
He was afraid,
and foil’d by Britons hand,
That first presumed
to invade their land.
The City of London can bring out
some who subdued many Kingdomes,
and the Empire of Rome, and many o-
thers who (being great Lords heires)
were deified in another world: as A-
Oracle did promise Brute:
Brute, thou shalt finde
an Iland in the West,
Beyond the Gaules,
environ’d with the maine;
Direct thy journey
thither for thy rest,
And there a second Troy
shall rise againe.
Kings from thy Hieres,
and Conquerours shall spring.
Who will the world
into subjection bring.
In the times of Christianity, it brought
forth the Noble Emperour Constan-
, who gave the City of Rome, and
all the Imperiall Armes to God, and to
Saint Peter, and Silvester the Pope,
whose Stirrop hee refused not to hold,
and pleased rather to be called, Defen-
dour of the holy Romane Church, than
Emperour any more. And lest the
peace of our Lord the Pope should suf-
fer any disturbance, by the noise of se-
cular affaires, he left the City, and be-
stowed it on the Pope, and founded
the City of Constantinople for his owne
habitation. London also in these latter
times hath brought forth famous and
magnificent Governours; Maud the
Empresse, Henry the third, King, and
Thomas the Archbishop, a glorious
Martyr of Christ, then whom no man
was more innocent, or more devoted to
the generall good of the Latine world.

Cite this page

MLA citation

Stow, John, Anthony Munday, Anthony Munday, and Humphrey Dyson. The Survey of London (1633): A Description of London. The Map of Early Modern London, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 26 Jun. 2020,

Chicago citation

Stow, John, Anthony Munday, Anthony Munday, and Humphrey Dyson. The Survey of London (1633): A Description of London. The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed June 26, 2020.

APA citation

Stow, J., Munday, A., Munday, A., & Dyson, H. 2020. The Survey of London (1633): A Description of London. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London. Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from

RIS file (for RefMan, 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  - The Survey of London (1633): A Description of London
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
PY  - 2020
DA  - 2020/06/26
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  -
UR  -
ER  - 


RT Web Page
SR Electronic(1)
A1 Stow, John
A1 Munday, Anthony
A1 Munday, Anthony
A1 Dyson, Humphrey
A6 Jenstad, Janelle
T1 The Survey of London (1633): A Description of London
T2 The Map of Early Modern London
WP 2020
FD 2020/06/26
RD 2020/06/26
PP Victoria
PB University of Victoria
LA English
OL English

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">The Survey of London (1633): A Description of London</title>. <title level="m">The Map of Early Modern London</title>, edited by <editor><name ref="#JENS1"><forename>Janelle</forename> <surname>Jenstad</surname></name></editor>, <publisher>U of Victoria</publisher>, <date when="2020-06-26">26 Jun. 2020</date>, <ref target=""></ref>.</bibl>