The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3

Allen, Thomas
1827

Moorfields.

Moorfields.

This was in early times a play ground for the youth of the city, for shooting with the long bow and other athletic exercises. Part of the eastern side was formerly bounded by the ancient hospital and priory of Bethlem, separated by a deep ditch, now covered by part of Blomfield street, or, as it was formerly called, and is even now better known, Broker's-row; the lower part of the fields was divided into four squares impaled, and each square planted regularly with elm trees round a grass plat. Between these squares, or quarters as they were generally called, were broad gravel walks from east to west, and from north to south, which, with the trees on each side, formed a tolerable vista, and was so well frequented by the citizens of both sexes in the evenings and fine weather, to walk in, that it obtained the name of the city mall. The upper part, which had been long enclosed with a dwarf wall, continued waste long after the improvement of the lower quarters, and was a rendezvous for the boxers and wrestlers that composed Vinegar's ring; and for mountebanks, and iron stalls, &c. Moorfields was, in the time of Edward II. of so little value, that the whole of it was let at the rate of four marks a year. It could only be passed on causeways raised for the benefit of travellers. In 1414, Thomas Fauconer, mayor, opened the postern in the wall, called Moorgate, to give the citizens a passage into the country. He also began to drain this watery tract. In 1512, Roger Achely, mayor, made further progress, and successive attempts rendered this large space tolerably dry. Mr. Pennant thus notices the state of Moorfields: Here the mountebanks set up their stages, and dispensed infallible medicines, for every species of disease, to the gaping gulls who surrounded them. Here too, I lament to say, that religion set up its stage itinerant, beneath the shade of the trees ; and here the pious, well-meaning Whitfield, long preached so successfully, as to steal from a neighbouring charlatan the greater part of his numerous admirers, in defiance of the eloquence of the doctor, and the witty sallies of his pied attendant. The faithful merry andrew told his master not to be discouraged: he would engage soon to dislodge this powerful adversary. He accordingly climbed a tree above the head of the zealous preacher, who, in the midst of an ecstatic attitude, received from the impious wretch the full effects of a most active drug, and was forced to quit his discourse with the utmost precipitation. But Andrew found it difficult to escape with his life; for he was assailed on all sides by showers of stones from the justly enraged congregation; and long felt, in his battered bones, the consequence of his wit. P. 252, 4to.

On the southern portion of Moorfields, and adjoining London wall was

This was in early times a play ground for the youth of the city, for shooting with the long bow and other athletic exercises. Part of the eastern side was formerly bounded by the ancient hospital and priory of Bethlem, separated by a deep ditch, now covered by part of , or, as it was formerly called, and is even now better known, Broker's-row; the lower part of the fields was divided into squares impaled, and each square planted regularly with elm trees round a grass plat. Between these squares, or quarters as they were generally called, were broad gravel walks from east to west, and from north to south, which, with the trees on each side, formed a tolerable vista, and was so well frequented by the citizens of both sexes in the evenings and fine weather, to walk in, that it obtained the name of the

city mall.

The upper part, which had been long enclosed with a dwarf wall, continued waste long after the improvement of the lower quarters, and was a rendezvous for the boxers and wrestlers that composed

Vinegar's ring;

and for mountebanks, and iron stalls, &c. was, in the time of Edward II. of so little value, that the whole of it was let at the rate of a year. It could only be passed on causeways raised for the benefit of travellers.

In

1414

, Thomas Fauconer, mayor, opened the postern in the wall, called

Moorgate

, to give the citizens a passage into the country.

He also began to drain this watery tract. In , Roger Achely, mayor, made further progress, and successive attempts rendered this large space tolerably dry. Mr. Pennant thus notices the state of :

Here the mountebanks set up their stages, and dispensed infallible medicines, for every species of disease, to the gaping gulls who surrounded them. Here too, I lament to say, that religion set up its stage itinerant, beneath the shade of the trees ; and here the pious, well-meaning Whitfield, long preached so successfully, as to steal from a neighbouring charlatan the greater part of his numerous admirers, in defiance of the eloquence of the doctor, and the witty sallies of his pied attendant. The faithful merry andrew told his master not to be discouraged: he would engage soon to dislodge this powerful adversary. He accordingly climbed a tree above the head of the zealous preacher, who, in the midst of an ecstatic attitude, received from the impious wretch the full effects of a most active drug, and was forced to quit his discourse with the utmost precipitation. But Andrew found it difficult to escape with his life; for he was assailed on all sides by showers of stones from the

justly enraged congregation; and long felt, in his battered bones, the consequence of his wit.

On the southern portion of , and adjoining was

 
 
Footnotes:

[] P. 252, 4to.

View all images in this book
 Title Page
 Dedication
 CHAPTER I: The site, extent, buildings, population, commerce, and a view of the progressive increase of London
 CHAPTER II: List of the parishes and churches in London, with their incumbents, &c
collapseCHAPTER III: History and Topography of Aldersgate Ward
collapseCHAPTER IV: History and Topography of Aldgate Ward
collapseCHAPTER V: History and Topography of Bassishaw Ward
collapseCHAPTER VI: History and Topography of Billingsgate Ward
collapseCHAPTER VII: History and Topography of Bishopsgate Ward, Without and Within
collapseCHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of Bread-street Ward
collapseCHAPTER IX: History and Topography of Bridge Ward Within
collapseCHAPTER X: History and Topography of Broad-street Ward
collapseCHAPTER XI: History and Topography of Candlewick Ward
collapseCHAPTER XII: History and Topography of Castle Baynard Ward
collapseCHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of Cheap Ward
collapseCHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of Coleman-street Ward
collapseCHAPTER XV: History and Topography of Cordwainer's-street Ward
collapseCHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of Cornhill Ward
collapseCHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Ward Within
collapseCHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Yard Without
collapseCHAPTER XIX: History and Topography of Dowgate Yard
collapseCHAPTER XX: History and Topography of Farringdom Ward Within
collapseCHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of Farringdon Ward Without
collapseCHAPTER XXII: History and Topography of Langbourn Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXIII: History and Topography of Lime-street Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXIV: History and Topogrpahy of Portsoken Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXV: History and Topography of Queenhithe Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXVI: History and Topography of Tower Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXVII: History and Topography of Vintry Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXVIII: History and Topography of Wallbrook Ward
This object is in collection:
Edwin C. Bolles papers
Subjects
London (England)--History
Antiquities
Permanent URL
http://hdl.handle.net/10427/44306
ID: tufts:UA069.005.DO.00068
To Cite: DCA Citation Guide
Usage: Detailed Rights