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bride in appropriate speeches. " In the midst of
the tower," writes Stow, " was such several solemn
instruments, that it seemed to be an heavenly noise,
and was much regarded and praised ; and besides
this, the conduit ran wine, claret and white, all the
afternoon ; so she, with all her company and the
mayor, rode forth to Temple Bar, which was newly
painted and repaired, where stood also diverse
singing-men and children, till she came to West-
minster Hall, which was richly hanged with cloth
of arras." Preceding the beautiful queen on this
occasion rode bishops and mitred abbots ; the
judges in their scarlet robes ; the Knights of the
Bath in their " violet gowns, with hoods purfelled
with minever;" and the barons, earls, and mar-
quises of the realm, attired for the most part in
crimson velvet. After these came the Lord
Mayor of London, in his robes ; Garter king-at-
arms, in his herald's attire ; and the Earl Marshal
and Lord High Constable of England, bearing the
ensigns of their offices. Next, under a canopy of
cloth of gold supported by knights carrying silver
staves, appeared Anne herself, seated in an open
chariot drawn by two palfreys. Her dress was a
garment of white cloth of tissue, with a mantle of
the same furred with ermine, while on her head
she wore a circlet of precious stones, from under-
neath which her long tresses flowed over her
shoulders. Other chariots followed, containing
her ladies of honour ; and lastly, the procession


closed with a long train of guards and attendants,
clad in scarlet dresses.

In 1659 we find General Monk, afterward
Duke of Albemarle, lodged near the Conduit in
Fleet Street.

In Shoe Lane, on the site of Bangor Court,
stood, as early as the year 1378, the London resi-
dence of the Bishops of Bangor. Bishop Dolben,
who died in 1633, was tne last Bishop of Bangor
who resided here. From Brayley we learn that a
part of the garden, with lime-trees and a rookery,
existed in 1759; indeed, as late as the year 1828
a portion of the old mansion still remained. The
Bishops of Peterborough also had anciently their
London residence in this neighbourhood ; the site
being still pointed out by Peterborough Court, on
the north side of Fleet Street.

In Shoe Lane, John Florio tutor to Henry,
Prince of Wales, and compiler of the well-known
Italian and English Dictionary resided till the
breaking out of the plague in 1625, when he re-
tired for safety to Fulham, where he died. In
Harp Alley, Shoe Lane, at the shop of one Charles
Kerbye, we find Izaak Walton in the habit of pur-
chasing his fish-hooks.

On the south side of Fleet Street, nearly oppo-
site Fetter Lane, stood, till 1788, the famous Mitre

" Meet me strait
At the Mitre door in Fleet Street"


occurs in a comedy by Lodovick Barrey published
in 161 1 ; and in 1640 William Lilly, the astrologer,
mentions his dining there with some choice associ-
ates. In the reign of Charles the Second we find
it frequented by Pepys ; and in the reign of Will-
iam the Third it was the favourite resort of the
witty and eccentric physician, Doctor Radcliffe.
At the Mitre Tavern, Doctor Johnson was for
years accustomed to pass many of his social hours.
" I had learnt," writes Boswell, " that his place of
frequent resort was the Mitre Tavern in Fleet
Street, where he loved to sit up late, and I begged
I might be allowed to pass an evening with him
there soon, which he promised I should. A few
days afterward I met him near Temple Bar, above
one o'clock in the morning, and asked if he would
then go to the Mitre. Sir,' said he, ' it is too late ;
they won't let us in, but I'll go with you another
night with all my heart.' " Subsequently Boswell
had numerous opportunities of enjoying the con-
versation of the great philosopher at his favourite
tavern. A short time afterward he writes : " John-
son agreed to meet me in the evening at the
Mitre. I called upon him, and we went thither
at nine. We had a good supper and port wine,
of which he then sometimes drank a bottle. The
orthodox high-church sound of the Mitre, the fig-
ure and manner of the celebrated Samuel Johnson,
the extraordinary power and precision of his con-
versation, and the pride arising from my finding


myself admitted as his companion, produced a
variety of sensations and a pleasing elevation of
mind beyond what I had ever before experienced."
At a later period some of the most agreeable con-
versations recorded by Boswell took place at their
late suppers at the Mitre, at more than one of
which Goldsmith is stated to have been present.

Opposite Mitre Court, in March, 1733, was
executed Sarah Malcolm, a charwoman twenty-
five years of age, for the murder of three persons
in the Temple. Hogarth has immortalised her
with his pencil, and there is a print of her in the
Gentleman's Magazine for 1733. Mitre Court
and Ram Alley formed part of the famous Alsatia.

On the north side of Fleet Street, near Fetter
Lane, is Crane Court, where the Royal Society
held their meetings from 1710 to 1782, when they
removed to Somerset House.

The Rainbow Tavern, close to Inner Temple
Lane, occupies the site of another tavern of the
same name, famous as a place of recreation for more
than two centuries. In 1667 it was kept by one
James a Barke ; at which period, curiously enough,
we find the proprietor threatened with an indict-
ment by the ward of St. Dunstan's in the West,
" for making and selling a sort of liquor called
coffee, as a great nuisance and prejudice to the
neighbourhood." Doubtless the tavern-keepers
of the day were not a little incensed against the
introducers and advocates of the new drink, which


shortly grew to be so far popular as to interfere
seriously with their profits. Howell, speaking in
1659 of the curious and eccentric traveller, Sir
Henry Blount, observes, "This coffee drink
hath caused a great sobriety among all nations.
Formerly apprentices, clerks, etc., used to take
their morning draughts in ale, beer, or wine, which
often made them unfit for business. Now they
play the good fellows in this wakeful and civil
drink. The worthy gentleman, Sir James Muddi-
ford, who introduced the practice hereof first in
London, deserves much respect of the whole na-
tion." Sir Henry himself appears to have been a
constant frequenter of the Rainbow. Aubrey, in
his brief memoir of him, observes, " When coffee
first came in, he was a great upholder of it, and
hath ever since been a constant frequenter of
coffee-houses ; especially Mr. Farres, at the Rain-
bow, by Inner Temple Gate ; and lately John's
Coffee-house, in Fuller's Rents." Sir Henry, not-
withstanding his sober habits, appears to have
delighted in practical jokes, of which the following
is recorded by Aubrey as having been practised by
him at the Rainbow. Two young gentlemen who
happened to be in his company, having related
some anecdotes which bordered closely upon the
marvellous, Sir Henry took upon himself to relate
a circumstance even more extraordinary. There
was an inn, he said, at St. Albans, at the same
time mentioning the name, the landlord of which


having sacrilegiously converted a freestone coffin
into a hog's trough, "the pigs after grew lean, and,
dancing and skipping, would run up on the tops of
the houses like goats. The two young gentlemen
that heard Sir Henry tell this sham so gravely,
rode the next day to St. Albans to inquire. Com-
ing there, nobody had heard of any such thing.
'Twas altogether false. The next night, as soon
as they alighted, they came to the Rainbow, and
found Sir Henry. Looking leeringly on him, they
told him they wondered he was not ashamed to
tell such stories, etc. 'Why, gentlemen,' said Sir
Henry, ' have you been there to make inquiry ? '
1 Yea,' said they. Why, truly, gentlemen,' said
Sir Henry, ' I heard you tell strange things that I
knew to be false. I would not have gone over the
threshold of the door to have found you out in a
lie.' At which all the company laughed at the two
young gentlemen."

But a still more celebrated house of entertain-
ment than either the Mitre or the Rainbow was
the Devil Tavern, which stood next door to Child's
banking-house, deriving its name and its sign from
the legend of St. Dunstan seizing the evil spirit by
the nose with a pair of hot tongs ; St. Dunstan
being the saint to whom the neighbouring church
is dedicated. The Devil Tavern is famous as
having been the favourite resort of Ben Jonson,
who presided here, in an apartment called the
" Apollo," - over the celebrated club of which


he was the founder. Over the door of the
Apollo remained inscribed, as late as the year
1787, the following verses of Jonson's own compo-
sition :

" Welcome all who lead or follow,
To the Oracle of Apollo ;
Here he speaks out of his pottle,
Or the tripos, his tower bottle ;
All his answers are divine,
Truth itself doth flow in wine.
Hang up all the poor hop drinkers,
Cries old Sim, the king of skinkers ;
He the half of life abuses,
That sits watering with the Muses.
Those dull girls no good can mean us ;
Wine it is the milk of Venus,
And the poet's horse accounted :
Ply it, and you all are mounted.
'Tis the true Phoebian liquor,
Cheers the brain, makes wit the quicker,
Pays all debts, cures all diseases,
And at once three senses pleases.
Welcome all who lead or follow,
To the Oracle of Apollo."

It should be mentioned that "old Sim, the king
of skinkers," alluded to in the foregoing verses,
was Simon Wadloe, the landlord of the Devil
Tavern in the days of Ben Jonson. As late as
the period of the Restoration, the Devil was still
kept by one Wadloe, probably a descendant of
"Old Sim." On the 226. April, 1661, Pepys
alluding to the progress of Charles the Second


from the Tower to Whitehall writes : " My Lord
Monk rode bare after the king, and led in his hand
a spare horse, as being master of the horse. The
king, in a most rich embroidered suit and cloak,
looked most noble. Wadloe, the vintner at the
Devil in Fleet Street, did lead a fine company of
soldiers, all young comely men, in white doublets."
It was old Simon Wadloe who was the original of
the favourite air of Squire Weston, in " Tom Jones,"
"Old Sir Simon the King." On being some time
since conducted over Messrs. Child's banking-house,
it was an unexpected pleasure to the author to find,
in one of the apartments, not only a bust of Apollo,
but also a tablet, on which were inscribed, in gilt
letters, the celebrated verses we have just quoted,
with the familiar words beneath them, " O rare
Ben Jonson ! "

Over the chimneypiece of the Apollo were also
inscribed, on marble, Jonson's well-known leges
conviviales, which have been thus paraphrased in
English :

1. "As the fund of our pleasure let each pay his shot,

Except some chance friend, whom a member brings

2. Far hence be the sad, the lewd fop, and the sot,

For such have the plague of good company been.

3. " Let the learned and witty, the jovial and gay,

The generous and honest, compose our free state ;

4. And the more to exalt our delight whilst we stay,

Let none be debarred from his choice female mate.


5. " Let no scent offensive the chamber infest;

6. Let fancy, not cost, prepare all our dishes.

7. Let the caterer mind the taste of each guest ;

Let the cook, in his dressing, comply with their

8. " Let's have no disturbance about taking places,

To show your nice breeding, or out of vain pride.

9. Let the drawers be ready with wine and fresh glasses,

Let the waiters have eyes, though their tongues must
be tied.

10. " Let our wines, without mixture or stum, be all fine,

Or call up the master, and break his dull noddle.

11. Let no sober bigot here think it a sin,

To push on the chirping and moderate bottle.

12. " Let the contests be rather of books than of wine;

13. Let the company neither be noisy, nor mute;

14. Let none of things serious, much less of divine,

When belly and head's full, profanely dispute.

15. " Let no saucy fiddler presume to intrude,

Unless he is sent for to vary our bliss ;

1 6. With mirth, wit and dancing, and singing conclude,

To regale every sense, with delight in excess.

1 7. " Let raillery be without malice or heat ;

1 8. Dull poems to read let none privilege take;

19. Let no poetaster command or entreat

Another extempore verses to make.

20. " Let argument bear no unmusical sound,

No jars interpose, sacred friendship to grieve;

21. For generous lovers let a corner be found,

Where they in soft sighs may their passions relieve.


22. " Like the old Lapithites, with the goblets to fight,

Our own 'mongst offences unpardon'd will rank,
Or breaking of windows, or glasses, for spite,
And spoiling the goods for a rakehelly prank.

23. " Whoever shall publish what's said, or what's done,

Be he banished for ever our assembly divine.

24. Let the freedom we take be perverted by none,

To make any guilty by drinking good wine."

These verses, though far from conveying a
proper notion of the epigrammatic neatness and
elegance of the original rules, nevertheless afford
some idea of the spirit of conviviality and wit
which pervaded the club. Jonson in one of
his memoranda, the MSS. of which are preserved
at Dulwich observes, " The first speech in my
Catiline, spoken to Scylla's ghost, was writ after
I had parted with my friends at the Devil
Tavern : I had drunk well that night, and had
brave notions."

The next notice which we find of the Devil
Tavern is in a curious memoir of Mull Sack,
alias John Cottington, a famous highwayman in
the days of the Commonwealth. The fact is
a rather singular one, that this person not only
had the honour of picking the pocket of Oliver
Cromwell, when Lord Protector, but that he sub-
sequently robbed Charles the Second, then living
in exile at Cologne, of plate valued at ^1,500.
Another of his feats was his robbing the wife of
the Lord General Fairfax at a fashionable chapel


on Ludgate Hill. " This lady," we are told,
"used to go to a lecture on a week-day, to Lud-
gate Church, where one Mr. Jacomb preached,
being much followed by the Precisians. Mull
Sack observing this, and that she constantly wore
her watch hanging by a chain from her waist,
against the next time she came there dressed
himself like an officer in the army ; and having
his comrades attending him like troopers, one of
them takes off the pin of a coach-wheel that was
going upward through the gate, by which means
it falling off, the passage was obstructed, so that
the lady could not alight at the church door, but
was forced to leave her coach without. Mull
Sack, taking advantage of this, readily presented
himself to her ladyship, and having the impu-
dence to take her from her gentleman usher who
attended her alighting, led her by the arm into the
church ; and by the way, with a pair of keen or
sharp scissors for the purpose, cut the chain in
two, and got the watch clear away, she not miss-
ing it till sermon was done, when she was going
to see the time of the day."

The visits paid by Mull Sack to the Devil
Tavern were in his occasional character of a man
of fashion ; a character probably assumed by him
partly out of vanity, and partly from the oppor-
tunities which it must from time to time have
afforded him of relieving the company of their
watches and purses. There is extant a very rare


print of him, in which he is represented partly in
the garb of a chimney-sweep, his original avoca-
tion, and partly in the fashionable costume of the
period. Underneath are inscribed the following
lines :

" I walk the Strand and Westminster, and scorn
To march i' the City, though I bear the horn.
My feather and my yellow band accord
To prove me courtier ; my boot, spur, and sword,
My smoking-pipe, scarf, garter, rose on shoe,
Show my brave mind t' affect what gallants do.
I sing, dance, drink, and merrily pass the day,
And, like a chimney, sweep all care away."

Mull Sack was hanged at Smithfield in April,
1659, in his fifty-sixth year, for the murder of one
John Bridges, with whose wife he had long been
on terms of too great intimacy. After his con-
demnation, in hope of saving his life, he intimated
that at the time he robbed Charles the Second of
his plate, he had also carried off some important
papers containing state intelligence ; but the in-
formation he possessed was not of sufficient
importance to save him from the gallows. His
peculiar cognomen is said to have been derived
from his extraordinary addiction to mulled sack,
a favourite liquor of the period.

The Devil Tavern was the frequent resort of
Thomas Shadwell, the dramatic writer and poet-
laureate, the hero of whose worship was Ben
Jonson, and to whom consequently the Devil


Tavern was classic ground. Whatever may be
our estimate of Shadwell's abilities as a dramatic
writer, we have the testimony of his contempo-
raries that his conversational powers rendered him
worthy of being the chosen associate even of Jon-
son himself. By Lord Rochester it was said of
him, that had he burnt all he had written, and
printed all he had spoken, his character for wit
and humour would have been unrivalled. At the
Devil, Killigrew has laid one of his scenes in the
"Parson's Wedding;" and here, in the Apollo,
in the last century, the poets-laureat were in
the habit of rehearsing their Birthday Odes.

From the days of " Rare Ben Jonson " to those
of Dr. Samuel Johnson, this celebrated tavern
continued to be the favourite resort of men of
letters. " I dined to-day," writes Swift to Stella,
on the 1 2th of October, 1710, "with Doctor Garth
and Mr. Addison at the Devil Tavern, by Temple
Bar, and Garth treated." Here too it was, in
1751, that Doctor Johnson assembled a jovial
party to celebrate the production of Mrs. Char-
lotte Lenox's first novel, " The Life of Harriot
Stuart." " One evening, at the Ivy Lane Club,"
writes Sir John Hawkins, "Johnson proposed to
us the celebrating the birth of Mrs. Lenox's first
literary child, as he called her book, by a whole
night spent in festivity. Upon his mentioning it
to me, I told him I had never sat up a whole night
in my life, but he continuing to press me, and say-


ing that I should find great delight in it, I, as did
all the rest of our company, consented. The place
appointed was the Devil Tavern ; and there, about
the hour of eight, Mrs. Lenox and her husband,
and a lady of her acquaintance still [1785] living,
as also the club, and friends to the number of near
twenty, assembled. The supper was elegant, and
Johnson had directed that a magnificent hot apple-
pie should make a part of it, and this he would
have stuck with bay-leaves ; because, forsooth,
Mrs. Lenox was an authoress, and had written
verses ; and further, he had prepared for her a
crown of laurel, with which but not till he had
invoked the Muses by some ceremonies of his own
invention he encircled her brows. The night
passed, as must be imagined, in pleasant conver-
sation and harmless mirth, intermingled, at differ-
ent periods, with the refreshments of coffee and
tea. About five, Johnson's face shone with merid-
ian splendour, though his drink had been only
lemonade ; but the far greater part of the com-
pany had deserted the colours of Bacchus, and
were with difficulty rallied to partake of a second
refreshment of coffee, which was scarcely ended
when the day began to dawn. This phenomenon
began to put us in mind of our reckoning ; but
the waiters were all so overcome with sleep that it
was two hours before a bill could be had, and it
was not till near eight that the creaking of the
street door gave the signal for our departure."


It was at the Devil Tavern, in 1 774, that Doctor
Kenrick used to read his lectures under the title
of "The School of Shakespeare." Goldsmith has
an allusion to them in his happy poem, " Retalia-

The last notice of any interest which we have
to record of the Devil Tavern is in connection
with an amusing practical joke played by John,
second Duke of Montague, on Heidegger, the
" Swiss Count " of the Tatler, and conductor of
the fashionable operas and masquerades in the
reign of George the Second. A few days previous
to one of the latter entertainments, at which the
king had promised to be present, the duke invited
Heidegger to sup with him at the Devil Tavern,
where he plied him with wine till he fell into a
state of insensibility. While in this condition Mrs.
Salmon, a well-known modeller in wax, was intro-
duced, who took a cast of his face, which was
afterward painted to the very image of life. The
duke next procured a suit of clothes exactly resem-
bling those ordinarily worn by Heidegger, and
having secured the services of a person whose
voice and figure closely resembled those of the
German, he contrived to manufacture an admirable
counterfeit of his unfortunate butt. The night of
the masquerade having arrived, Heidegger, so soon
as the king made his appearance, gave the signal
to the band to strike up the national anthem ;
while, at the same moment, to his intense anger


and vexation, the counterfeit Heidegger stepped
forward and commanded them to play the then
disloyal Jacobite tune of " Over the Water to
Charley." The king, as well as the musicians,
was evidently in the secret of the joke. As for
Heidegger, he was exhibiting all the gestures of
a madman, when the Duke of Montague, with
every appearance of serious formality, intimated to
him that the king was highly incensed at his con-
duct ; recommending him at the same time to re-
pair at once to the royal box, and there afford the
best explanation in his power. Accordingly he had
just commenced a warm vindication of his conduct,
when his counterfeit, who appears to have followed
him to the box, began a no less indignant defence,
insisting that he was the real Heidegger and the
other an impudent impostor. The king allowed
the joke to continue till he perceived his country-
man was suffering real pain, when he terminated
it by ordering the fictitious Heidegger to pull off
his mask.

The Devil Tavern was pulled down in 1788,
when the present Child's Buildings, or Child's
Place, were erected on its site. In the immediate
neighbourhood stood at one time Apollo Court,
deriving its name from Ben Jonson's famous club.

Fleet Street, and more especially that portion
of it near Temple Bar, is associated with many
celebrated names beside those we have already
recorded. In Fleet Street, in 1605, the eminent


lawyer, Bulstrode Whitelock, was born ; and in
this street, in June, 1664, died Katherine Philips,
the " matchless Orinda," to whom Bishop Taylor ad-
dressed his " Measures and Offices of Friendship,"
and on whose early death Cowley composed an
elegiac ode. At the time of the great fire of Lon-
don, James Shirley, the dramatic poet, was residing
in Fleet Street, near the Inner Temple Gate.

Cowley, Michael Drayton, and Izaak Walton
appear to have resided within a short distance of
each other in Fleet Street. The house in which
Cowley was born, and in which he afterward re-
sided with his mother, was, as Aubrey informs us,
"in Fleet Street, London, near the end of Chan-
cery Lane." Here, apparently, it was that the
perusal of the " Faerie Queene " made him " irrecov-
erably a poet." " I believe," he writes, " I can tell
the particular little chance that filled my head first
with such chimes of verses, as have never since
left ringing there ; for I remember, when I began
to read, and take some pleasure in it, there was
wont to lie in my mother's parlour I know not
by what accident, for she herself never in her life
read any book but of devotion but there was
wont to lie Spenser's works. This I happened to
fall upon, and was infinitely delighted with the
stories of the knights, and giants, and monsters,
and brave houses, which I found everywhere
though my understanding had little to do with all
this and by degrees with the tinkling of the


rhyme, and dance of the numbers ; so that I think

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Online LibraryJohn Heneage JesseMemoirs of the city of London and its celebrities (Volume 2) → online text (page 17 of 20)