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are the two chroniclers Fabian and Arnold. They afford an illustration of what has been said as to the natural alliance of antiquarianism and poetry; for both were poets as well as antiquaries and chroniclers. Both figure in the pages of the great historian of our English poetry, Warton, who introduces his account of Fabian by anticipating the surprise of his readers at finding “a mercer, a sheriff, and an alderman of London descending from his important occupations to write verses.” Fabian was certainly rather an uncommon sort of alderman. “ He was esteemed,” Warton goes on to tell us, “not only the most facetious, but the most learned, of all the mercers, sheriffs, and aldermen of his time; and no layman of that age is said to have been better skilled in the Latin language.” Undoubtedly, however high we might be disposed to rate the qualifications of their worships for the discharge of their more appropriate functions, such as presiding on criminal trials at the Old Bailey, or witching the world with noble horsemanship in a great civic procession, one would hardly think now-a-days of looking among their number for the greatest classical scholar of the time. Fabian's Chronicle, or Concordance of Histories,' comes down, in the first edition, to the year 1485; and it is in this work that his verses are found, narratives, soliloquies, and other pieces, introduced usually at the divisions between the Books. Warton is not laudatory in his account of the worthy alderman's metre :—“Our author's transitions from prose to verse,” he remarks,“ in the course of a prolix narrative, seem to be made with much ease; and when he begins to versify the historian disappears only by the addition of rhyme and stanza.” Nor is he less severe upon poor Fabian's historical merits. “ As an historian,” says Warton, “our author is the dullest of compilers. He is equally attentive to the succession of the Mayors of London, and of the monarchs of England ; and seems to have thought the dinners at Guildhall, and the pageantries of the City companies, more interesting transactions than our victories in France, and our struggles for public liberty at home. One of Fabian's historical anecdotes, under the important reign of Henry V., is, that a new weathercock was placed on the cross of St. Paul's steeple." But the truth is, these notices of little matters generally considered beneath the dignity of history, though more illustrative of the manners and spirit of the past than the greater part of what is found in ordinary histories, give its chief value and interest to Fabian's work. In descanting on the dinners at Guildhall and the pageantries of the City companies he talks to us
any rate of things that he really knew and understood and had a genuine feeling for, which is in all cases the best course that any writer can take : in tracing the course of the national “ struggles for public liberty,” he would not, we take it, have been quite so completely at home, and we are just as well pleased therefore that he has let that subject very much alone-eren treating it and all its grandeur as subordinate in importance to the history of the weathercocks on St. Paul's. Warton, with all his love of old literature, had little of the London antiquary, or perhaps of the topographical antiquary at all, in him, else he would not have made such contemptuous mention of the information Fabian has preserved as to matters of this kind. Why should the chronology of the successive weathercocks on St. Paul's not be as faithfully recorded as that of many other things about which history is wont to busy itself? the succession, for instance, of prime ministers and cabinets, which, after all, are but the
weathercocks that show how the winds of party blow?-nay, are hardly entitled to be classed so high among the indicators of the state of the times as weathercocks, for they are apt to be not only turned but sometimes turned out by the changes of weather to which they are obedient;--they are in fact made and unmade, as well as moved, by the currents and commotions of the political atmosphere, and may be better likened to straws and feathers caught up by the air than to weathercocks.
Fabian is supposed to have died in 1512. Arnold's Chronicle, or Customs of London,' appeared in 1521. To Arnold we owe, if not the authorship, at least the preservation of the beautiful old ballad of the · Nut-brown Maid.' His curious volume “is perhaps," says Warton," the most heterogeneous and multifarious miscellany that ever existed. The collector sets out with a catalogue of the mayors and sheriffs, the customs and charters of the City of London. Soon afterwards we have receipts to pickle sturgeon, to make vinegar, ink, and gunpowder; how to raise parsley in an hour; the arts of brewery and soap-making; an estimate of the livings in London ; an account of the last visitation of St. Magnus's church; the weight of Essex cheese; and a letter to Cardinal Wolsey. The Nut-brown Maid' is introduced between an estimate of some subsidies paid into the exchequer, and directions for buying goods in Flanders. In a word, it seems to have been this compiler's plan, by way of making up a volume, to print together all the notices and papers, whether ancient or modern, which he could amass, of every sort and subject.” But this omne-gatherum turn is one of the characteristics of your true antiquary-nor, were it but for the sake of the Nut-brown Maid' alone, ought either historian or lover of our early poetry to be scandalized at the compass and varied voracity of Arnold's literary appetite, though it does range from poetry to pickling, from sturgeons to Lord Mayors.
Fabian and Arnold, and after them Leland, Norden, Camden, and others, all broke ground in different parts of the great field of the antiquities of London : but the first trudger and trencher of the field in its whole extent was the excellent John Stow. His venerable tome lies as the foundation of all that has yet been written on the subject; indeed it has supplied the most valuable part of every work that has since appeared calling itself a history or survey of London. He and it therefore claim our particular notice here; and there is much curious matter both in Stow's biography and in his books. He was born in the year 1525, in the reign of Henry VIII., and died in 1605, a few years after the accession of James I., having thus in the beginning of his earthly pilgrimage of eighty summers and winters witnessed the substitution of a new religion in the Church, and at its close the establishment of a new family on the throne. Stow's antiquarian taste possibly did not greatly relish either of these changes, the first more especially ; but his love of the past also drew him away from what was going on around him, and that and his moderate temper and good sense together got him out of any trouble into which his known or suspected opinions brought him. In the year 1568 his collection of manuscripts and other old volumes exposed him to some danger: “report,” we are told by his biographer Strype, “was brought to the Queen's Council, as though he were a suspicious person, and had a great many dangerous books of superstition in his custody.” The Council thereupon sent to Grindall, the Bishop of London, to cause the poor antiquary's
study to be searched; and the bishop's chaplain and two other divines were accordingly despatched to his house, and overhauled all his literary treasures. To this curious proceeding, so expressive of the state and spirit of the time, we are indebted for an account of the contents of Stow's library, which is interesting The three divines reported to the bishop that in the first place he had great collections of his own for the English chronicles; upon which, as the chaplain particularly remarked, he seemed to have bestowed much labour. ' They found also many printed old books, among which were some fabulous, such as Sir Degory Triamour,' &c.; "and a great parcel of old manuscript chronicles, both in parchment and paper.” And then the report went on to state “ that, besides, he had miscellaneous tracts, touching physic, surgery, and herbs, and medicinal recipes; and also fantastical old Popish books printed in old time; also others written in old English in parchment.” “But,” it is added, “another sort of books he had more modern; of which the said searchers thought fit to take an inventory, as likely most to touch him; and they were books lately set forth in the realm or beyond sea in defence of papistry. Which books, as the chaplain said, declared him a great fautor of that religion.” A list of some of these papistical books is appended; among them are treatises by Bonner, Edgeworth, Pollard, and other Romish divines; but it is probable, after all, that our antiquary had been led to collect them and store them up rather as curiosities, as the relics of an order of things passed or fast passing away, than from any strong affection he felt for the doctrinal theology expounded in them. We believe he would not have been the man to disturb the fabric of the old religion, any more than-he would have been inclined to pull down any other fabric venerable for its antiquity, however much it might stand in the way of modern notions of propriety or convenience; at any rate it was his business to preserve the memory of whatever was in danger of being forgotten and doomed to oblivion by the rest of the world. Like Spenser's Eumnestes,
* This man of infinite remembrance was,
Ne suffer'd them to perish through long eld.” Strype is inclined to think that he came at length “ to have a good opinion of the Church of England;" “ for,” adds that grave narrator, whose dulness, however, is more amusing than the liveliness of most other writers, “in the reign of Queen Elizabeth he hath somewhere this expression, that doctrine is more pure now than it was in the monkish world;' but whether he spake it ironically or in carnest, I do not dispute.” What or whether anything befell Stow in consequence of the chaplain's report is not recorded; and it may be hoped that he got out of the scrape without any more serious annoyance; at least we trust they did not plunder him of any of his beloved books, either printed or manuscript, on parchment or on common paper.
Stow, it seems, is an ancient London name; and our antiquary, who was born in the city whose history he has done so much to illustrate, although but of humble parentage, was not altogether a novus homo. “Certain it is," writes the solemn Strype, “ that, as St. Paul made it his boast, as to the flesh, that he was an Hebrew of the Hebrews; so John Stow was a citizen born of citizens of
London; for both his father and his grandfather were citizens, and tradesmen of good substance and credit, dwelling in Cornhill, the chief place of trade and credit in the city ; and both lying buried in St. Michael's Cornhill Church, under monuments : Thomas Stow, his grandfather, buried about the year 1526; and Thomas Stow, his father, in the year 1559; as himself writes in Cornhill ward." In this same church, by the by, was buried Stow's predecessor in his favourite pursuit, Robert Fabian, alderman, also under a monument, which however was gone when Stow wrote his Survey, although he has preserved some moral verses, not unlikely to have been of the alderman's own composition, which were inscribed on it. And here, it appears, in the same family burying-place, Stow's great-grandfather also lay; so that the family had been established in this parish for a long while. Strype, in his edition of the ‘Survey of London,' has furnished, from the Register, the will of the first Thomas Stow, the chronicler's grandfather, which helps to show the condition of the family, and is also curious as a specimen of the time—the last hours of popery in England. The testator designates himself Citizen and Tallow-chandler; and, after bequeathing his soul to “ Jesus Christ and our blessed Lady St. Mary the Virgin," and his body to be buried “ in the little green churchyard of the parish church of St. Michael in Cornhill, between the cross and the church-wall, nigh the wall as may be,” by his father and mother, sisters and brothers, and also his own children, he proceeds:-“ Also I bequeath to the high altar of the aforesaid church, for my tithes forgotten, 12d. Item, to Jesu's Brotherhood, 12d. I give to our Lady and St. — Brotherhood 12d. I give to St. Christopher and St. George 12d. Also, I give to the seven altars in the church aforesaid, in the worship of the seven sacraments, every year during three years, 206. Item, 5s. to have on every altar a watching candle, burning from six of the clock till it be past seven, in worship of the seven sacraments; and this candle shall begin to burn and to be set upon the altar from All Hallowen-day till it be Candlemas-day following; and it shall be watchingcandle, of eight in the pound. Also, I give to the brotherhood of Clerks to drink, 20d. Also, I give to them that shall bear me to church every man 4d. Also, I give to a poor man or woman, every Sunday in one year, 1d., to say five Paternosters and Aves and a Creed for my soul. Also, I give to the reparations of Paul's 8d. Also, I will have six new torches, and two torches of St. Michael, and two of St. Anne, and two of St. Christopher, and two of Jesus, of the best torches.” The notion that the old tallow-chandler had of the light of the Gospel seems to have been somewhat professional. Having thus settled the important matter of the watching-candles and the torches, he has little more to say; but in a few words he bequeaths to his son Thomas (probably the only one of his children that survived), “ 201. in stuff of household,” that is to say, as he goes on to explain, his great melting-pan, with all the instruments thereto belonging ; and also 6l. 138. 4d. in plate; namely, “a nut," of silver gilt, of the value of 21. 18s. 4d. ;-“a pounced piece,” weighing above six ounces, of the value of 21. ; “a mass of a pint," valued at 11. 6s. 8d.; and a “little macer,” of the value of 13s. 4d. (making in all, by the by, if the figures be rightly given by Strype, 5s. more than the sum first mentioned). And he concludes by naming his wife Elizabeth as his cxccutrix.
Strype also gives us an abstract of the will of Stow's mother, Margaret Stow, made in June 1568, shortly before her death. In this there is no popery: she merely bequeaths 30s. to bury her decently ; 10s. to her children and friends, “ to drink withall after the funeral ;" 5s. to the poor in bread; 6s. 8d. to the Company of Tallow-chandlers, to follow her corpse to the church; and legacies to her four sons and three daughters, but, of them all, to John, the eldest, the least, that is to say, only 51. We should infer from all this that the antiquary's father was, like his grandfather, a tallow-chandler; but Strype chooses to conceive, though he gives neither authority nor reasons for his notion, that Stow followed “ his father's trade and calling, whatever it were ;" and then he proceeds to show that he was a tailor. He is called expressly “Stow, the tailor," in Grindall's report to the Privy Council of the search made among his books by the three divines, “ which perhaps,” observes his biographer, "might be more than barely relating to the Company of Merchant Tailors, whereof he was free. It might bespeak him a tailor by trade ; since in former times in Cornhill men of that occupation lived and had their shops; who were then of more reputation and wealth than of later times those of that calling are. . . . These shopkeepers, as they sold cloth out of the piece, so they seemed also sometimes to make and fit it up for wearing. And in Birching Lane, and along thence in Cornhill, westward, lived upholders, or frippers, that is, such as sold apparel and old household stuff. These were not of equal credit with the drapers and tailors, but yet their trades came near.”
However, it is pretty clear that Stow's trade was really that of a tailor. Strype assumes that he lived and carried on business originally in Cornhill; but of this we find no evidence. In 1549, it appears, he dwelt near the Pump in Aldgate. This we learn from a remarkable incident which he relates in his account of Aldgate ward in his 'Survey.' During the great insurrection of the commons in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and other shires, which broke out in the above-mentioned year, the third of Edward VI., "strait orders,” says Stow, “ being taken for the suppression of rumours, divers persons were apprehended and executed by martial law, amongst the which the bailiff of Rumford in Essex was one, a man very well beloved. He was early in the morning of Mary Magdalen's day (then kept holiday) brought by the sheriffs of London and the knight marshal to the well within Aldgate, there to be executed upon a gibbet set up that morning; where, being on the ladder, he had words to this effect :- Good people, I am come hither to die, but know not for what offence, except for words by me spoken yesternight to Sir Stephen, curate and preacher of this parish, which were these : He asked me, What news in the country? I answered, Heavy news. Why ? quoth he. It is said, quoth I, that many men be up in Essex, but, thanks be to God, all is in good quiet about us. And this was all, as God be my judge,' &c. Upon these words of the prisoner, Sir Stephen, to avoid reproach of the people, left the city, and was never heard of since amongst them to my knowledge. I heard the words of the prisoner, for he was executed upon the pavement of my door, where I then kept house." This was the same Sir Stephen, the fanatic curate of St. Catherine Cree, whose sermon preached a short time before this at Paul's Cross occasioned the destruction of the ancient Maypole from which