Londina Illustrata. Graphic and Historical Memorials of Monasteries, Churches, Chapels, Schools, Charitable Foundations, Palaces, Halls, Courts, Processions, Places of Early Amusement, and Modern Present Theatres, in the Cities and Suburbs of London and Westminster, Volume 2

Wilkinson, Robert
1819-1825

Gerrard's Hall.

Gerrard's Hall.

S.W. View of Gerrard's Hall.

On the south side of Basing Lane, Bread Street Ward, stood Gerrard's Hall, originally the dwelling and mansion of John Gisors, Mayor of London in the year 1245, and of Sir John Gisors, Knt. Mayor of London and Constable of the Tower anno 1311, who, with divers others of his name and family, since that time, have resided here. It takes its name of Gerrard's Hall from a fabulous legend of a giant named Gerrard having, in times long since, occupied it; and in Stow's time a fir pole, which reached to the roof, was shown as one of the staves that Gerrard the giant used in the wars to run withal; there stood also a ladder of the same length, which, it was said, served to ascend to the top of the staff. The pole measured nearly forty feet: and what did not lessen the belief of many in the size and strength of the marvellous owner, may be acounted for, from the assertion of a grave historian of the time of Queen Elizabeth: R. G. (Richard Grafton), in his Brief Collection of Histories says, "I, the writer hereof, did see, the 10th day of March, in the year of our Lord 1564, and had the same in my hand, the tooth of a man which weighed ten ounces of Troy weightIt certainly must have been a stray tooth of the mammoth Grafton describes; or such a fabricated deception he as readily received and gave credit to, as his succeeding brother historian, Sir Richard Baker, has recorded in his very marvellous and faithful Chronicle of England. Still he has rendered his giant a dwarf in proportion, as it would require a shin bone of sixteen rather than six feet in length, to carry a mouthful of teeth, one of which weighed near a pound.. And the skull of the same man is extant, and to be seen, which will hold five pecks of wheat. And the shin bone of the same man is six foot in length, and of a marvellous greatness." Out of this Gisors' Hall, at the first building thereof, were made divers arched doors, yet to be seen, which seem not sufficient for any great monster, or other than men of common stature to pass through. The pole in the Hall might be used, in old time, as then the custom was in every parish, to be set up in the street in the summer as a May-pole, before the principal hall or house in the parish or street; and to stand in the Hall before the scrine, decked with holly and ivy, at the feast of Christmas; and the ladder might serve for the decking the May-pole and roof of the Hall.

The house was built upon arched vaults, and with arched gates, of stone brought from Caen in Normandy; which clearly proves the foundation to have been shortly after the Norman conquest, anno 1066.

In the troublesome reign of Edward II. it was ordained in Parliament, that every city and town in England, according to its ability, should raise and maintain a certain number of soldiers against the Scots, who at that time, by their great depredations, had laid waste all the north of England as far as York and Lancaster. The quota of London to that expedition being two hundred men, it was five times the number that was sent by any other city or town in the kingdom. To meet this requisition, the mayor in council levied a rate on the city, the raising of which was the occasion of continual broils between the magistrates and freemen, which ended in the Jury of Aldermanbury making a presentation before the Justices itinerant and the Lord Treasurer, sitting in the Tower of London, saying, "That the commonalty of London is, and ought to be common, and that the citizens are not bound to be taxed without the special command of the king, or without their common consent; that the mayors of the city, and the custodes in their times, after the common redemption made and paid for the city of London, have come, and by their own authority, without the king's command and commons' consent, did tax the said city according to their own wills once and more, and distrained for those taxes, sparing the rich, and oppressing the poor middle sort; not permitting, that the arrearages due from the rich be levied, to the disinheriting of the king, and the destruction of the city; nor can the commons know what becomes of the monies levied of such taxes."

They also complained, that the said mayor and aldermen had taken upon them to turn out of the commoncouncil, men at their pleasure; and that the mayor and superiors of the city had deposed Walter Henry from acting in the common council, because he would not permit the rich to levy tallages upon the poor, till they themselves had paid their arrears of former tallages. Upon which Sir JOHN GISORS, some time lord mayor, and divers other principal citizens, were summoned to attend the said justices, and personally to answer to the accusations laid against them. But, being conscious of guilt, they fled from justice, screening themselves under the difficulty of the times.

How long Sir JOHN GISORS continued absent from London does not appear; but probably, on the dethronement of Edward II. and accession of Edward III. he might join the prevailing party, and return to his mansion without any dread of molestation from the power of ministers and favourites of the late reign, who were at this period held in universal detestation. Sir John Gisors died, and is buried in Our Lady's Chapel, Christ Church, Faringdon Within.

Gerrard's Hall, on the decease of Sir John Gisors, came into possession of William Gisors, one of the sheriffs in 1329; afterwards to Thomas Gisors, who, deceasing in 1358, left unto his son Thomas his messuage, called Gisors. HallBy this it appears, that Gisors' Hall by corruption hath been called Gerrard's Hall; as Blossoms Inn for Bosom's Inn, Bevis Marks for Burie's Marks, Mark Lane for Mart Lane, Billiter Lane for Belzeter's Lane, Gutter Lane for Guthurun's Lane, Cry or Cree Church for Christ Church, St. Michel in the Quern for St. Michel at Corn, &c., in the parish of St. Mildred, in Bread Street; of which John Gisors made a feoffment in 1386, and alienated it from his family.

To what use Gerrard's Hall was applied after the Gisors family had quitted it, does not appear; but most likely it was purchased to the use we find it afterwards converted to, namely, an inn for accommodation of travellers, foreign traders, merchants, &c. Maitland speaks of it as in his time an inn of good repute, and notices the arched vaults, supported by sixteen pillars, as a great curiosity.

The general appearance of these vaulted chambers of ancient mansions has induced many persons to imagine them as appropriated solely to religious uses, particularly as they so frequently occur under the foundations of religious stuctures: but there is every reason to think they were appropriated at first to the purposes they are at present applied to, that is, store chambers to desposit goods; of which merchants in a large way of traffic always stood in need. The yaults of Gerrard's (or Gisors') Hall, at present belong to Messrs. Jervis and Moore, wine-merchants, and are used to store the commodities they deal in.

A gigantic figure holding a truncheon, representing a military character of the early ages, still ornaments the entrance to Gerrard's Hall Inn and Tavern, at present in the occupation of Mr. Ivatts.

 

On the south side of , Ward, stood Gerrard's Hall, originally the dwelling and mansion of John Gisors, Mayor of London in the year , and of Sir John Gisors, Knt. Mayor of London and Constable of the Tower anno , who, with divers others of his name and family, since that time, have resided here. It takes its name of Gerrard's Hall from a fabulous legend of a giant named Gerrard having, in times long since, occupied it; and in Stow's time a fir pole, which reached to the roof, was shown as of the staves that Gerrard the giant used in the wars to run withal; there stood also a ladder of the same length, which, it was said, served to ascend to the top of the staff. The pole measured nearly feet: and what did not lessen the belief of many in the size and strength of the marvellous owner, may be acounted for, from the assertion of a grave historian of the time of Queen Elizabeth: R. G. (Richard Grafton), in his Brief Collection of Histories says, ", [*] . " Out of this Gisors' Hall, at the building thereof, were made divers arched doors, yet to be seen, which seem not sufficient for any great monster, or other than men of common stature to pass through. The pole in the Hall might be used, in old time, as then the custom was in every parish, to be set up in the street in the summer as a May-pole, before the principal hall or house in the parish or street; and to stand in the Hall before the scrine, decked with holly and ivy, at the feast of Christmas; and the ladder might serve for the decking the May-pole and roof of the Hall.

The house was built upon arched vaults, and with arched gates, of stone brought from Caen in Normandy; which clearly proves the foundation to have been shortly after the Norman conquest, anno .

In the troublesome reign of Edward II. it was ordained in Parliament, that every city and town in England, according to its ability, should raise and maintain a certain number of soldiers against the Scots, who at that time, by their great depredations, had laid waste all the north of England as far as York and Lancaster. The quota of London to that expedition being men, it was times the number that was sent by any other city or town in the kingdom. To meet this requisition, the mayor in council levied a rate on the city, the raising of which was the occasion of continual broils between the magistrates and freemen, which ended in the Jury of making a presentation before the Justices itinerant and the Lord Treasurer, sitting in the , saying, "That the commonalty of London is, and ought to be common, and that the citizens are not bound to be taxed without the special command of the king, or without their common consent; that the mayors of the city, and the in their times, after the common redemption made and paid for the city of London, have come, and by their own authority, without the king's command and commons' consent, did tax the said city according to their own wills once and more, and distrained for those taxes, sparing the rich, and oppressing the poor middle sort; not permitting, that the arrearages due from the rich be levied, to the disinheriting of the king, and the destruction of the city; nor can the commons know what becomes of the monies levied of such taxes."

They also complained, that the said mayor and aldermen had taken upon them to turn out of the commoncouncil, men at their pleasure; and that the mayor and superiors of the city had deposed from acting in the common council, because he would not permit the rich to levy tallages upon the poor, till they themselves had paid their arrears of former tallages. Upon which Sir JOHN GISORS, some time lord mayor, and divers other principal citizens, were summoned to attend the said justices, and personally to answer to the accusations laid against them. But, being conscious of guilt, they fled from justice, screening themselves under the difficulty of the times.

How long Sir JOHN GISORS continued absent from London does not appear; but probably, on the dethronement of Edward II. and accession of Edward III. he might join the prevailing party, and return to his mansion without any dread of molestation from the power of ministers and favourites of the late reign, who were at this period held in universal detestation. Sir John Gisors died, and is buried in Our Lady's Chapel, , Faringdon Within.

Gerrard's Hall, on the decease of Sir John Gisors, came into possession of William Gisors, of the sheriffs in ; afterwards to Thomas Gisors, who, deceasing in , left unto his son Thomas his messuage, called Gisors. Hall[*] , in the parish of St. Mildred, in ; of which John Gisors made a feoffment in , and alienated it from his family.

To what use Gerrard's Hall was applied after the Gisors family had quitted it, does not appear; but most likely it was purchased to the use we find it afterwards converted to, namely, an inn for accommodation of travellers, foreign traders, merchants, &c. Maitland speaks of it as in his time an inn of good repute, and notices the arched vaults, supported by pillars, as a great curiosity.

The general appearance of these vaulted chambers of ancient mansions has induced many persons to imagine them as appropriated solely to religious uses, particularly as they so frequently occur under the foundations of religious stuctures: but there is every reason to think they were appropriated at to the purposes they are at present applied to, that is, store chambers to desposit goods; of which merchants in a large way of traffic always stood in need. The yaults of Gerrard's (or Gisors') Hall, at present belong to Messrs. Jervis and Moore, wine-merchants, and are used to store the commodities they deal in.

A gigantic figure holding a truncheon, representing a military character of the early ages, still ornaments the entrance to Gerrard's Hall Inn and Tavern, at present in the occupation of Mr. Ivatts.

43

 
 
 
Footnotes:

[*] It certainly must have been a stray tooth of the mammoth Grafton describes; or such a fabricated deception he as readily received and gave credit to, as his succeeding brother historian, Sir Richard Baker, has recorded in his very marvellous and faithful Chronicle of England. Still he has rendered his giant a dwarf in proportion, as it would require a shin bone of sixteen rather than six feet in length, to carry a mouthful of teeth, one of which weighed near a pound.

[*] By this it appears, that Gisors' Hall by corruption hath been called Gerrard's Hall; as Blossoms Inn for Bosom's Inn, Bevis Marks for Burie's Marks, Mark Lane for Mart Lane, Billiter Lane for Belzeter's Lane, Gutter Lane for Guthurun's Lane, Cry or Cree Church for Christ Church, St. Michel in the Quern for St. Michel at Corn, &c.

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 Title Page
collapseCourts, Halls, and Public Buildings
collapseSchools
collapseAlms-Houses, Hospitals, &c.
collapsePlaces of Amusement
collapseMiscellaneous Objects of Antiquity
collapseAncient and Modern Theatres
collapseTheatres
The Bull and the Bear Baiting,
The Red Bull Playhouse, Clerkenwell.
Fortune Theatre
Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre
D'Avenant's Theatre Otherwise the Duke's Theatre, Little Lincoln's Inn Fields
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
Destruction of Drury Lane Theatre by Fire
Opening of Drury Lane New Theatre
Theatre Royal, Covent Garden
The New Theatre Royal, Covent Garden.
Theatre Royal, Haymarket
New Theatre Royal, Haymarket
The King's Theatre, or the Italian Opera, Haymarket
Theatre in Goodman's Fields. The whole of Goodman's Fields was formerly a farm belonging to the Abbey of Nuns, of the Order of St. Clare, called the Minories or Minoresses, from certain poor ladies of that order; and so late as the time of Stow, when he wrote his Survey in 1598, was let out in gardens, and for grazing horses. One Trolop, and afterwards Goodman, were the farmers there. But Goodman's son being heir by his father's purchase, let the grounds in parcels, and lived like a gentleman on its produce. He lies buried in St. Botolph's church, Aldgate.
The Royalty Theatre, Wellclose Square
The Tennis Court Theatre, Bear Yard, Little Lincoln's Inn Fields
Olympic Theatre, Newcastle Street, Strand
Sadler's Wells.
The Pantheon Theatre, Oxford Street
Strand Theatre, the Sans Pareil
Astley's Amphitheatre, Westminster Road
The Regency Theatre. Tottenham Street Tottenham Court Road
The Cobourg Theatre
Royal Circus or Surrey Theatre
Lyceum Theatre, or English Opera, Strand.
Theatre in Tankard Street, Ipswich
Checks and Tickets of Admission to the public Theatres and other Places of Amusement.

Title page of Vol. 2 reads: Theatrum illustrata. Graphic and historic memorials of ancient playhouses, modern theatres and other places of public amusement in the cities and suburbs of London & Westminster with scenic and incidental illustrations from the time of Shakspear to the present period.

This object is in collection:
Edwin C. Bolles papers
Subjects
London (England)--Antiquities
London (England)--Description and Travel
Wilkinson, Robert, d. ca. 1825
Bolles, Edwin Courtlandt
Permanent URL
http://hdl.handle.net/10427/53839
ID: tufts:MS004.002.057.001.00001
To Cite: DCA Citation Guide
Usage: Detailed Rights