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onerous task of supporting the national credit in the hands of our own merchants, thus rendering the system of loans more safe, more economical, and more “fructifying.” The particulars developed by Mr. Burgon on this important subject lend a great value to his work. In the second place, Sir Thomas Gresham is immortalised by his grand monument, the Royal Exchange, a work which alone might have sufficed for the memory of another man, but which in justice can only be regarded as an inferior item in his fame; for his greatest and most patriotic work was the foundation of Gresham College, the only attempt until of late years to form a university in the metropolis of England, and one which, though little answering the intentions of its founder in modern times, may yet exercise its influence amidst all the hubbub of modern commerce, now that it has found a palace of its own (erected near Guildhall since the publication of Mr. Burgon's volume), and that its objects, it may be hoped, will be carried out with renewed energies. Celebrated as the name of Sir Thomas Gresham deservedly is as the Founder of the Royal Exchange, it is but little known that his grand design was hereditary, having been entertained and advocated by his father, Sir Richard Gresham. Stowe has recorded what the habits of the City were before the erection of the Exchange. He states that the merchants and tradesmen, as well English as strangers, for their general making of bargains, contracts, and commerce, did usually meet twice every day, at noon and in the evening, in that ancient seat of the monied interest, Lombard Street. “But these meetings were unpleasant and troublesome, by reason of walking and talking in an open narrow streete; being there constrained either to endure ali extremities of weather, viz. heat and colde, snow and raine, or else to shelter themselves in shoppes.” This inconvenience had been long felt; yet, such is the influence which localities derive from established habits, that, as in the modern case of the cattlemarket of Smithfield, which has maintained its traffic in spite of its manifold inconveniences and nuisances, GENT. M.A.G. Wol. XXII.
so the citizens were not to be persuaded to desert their long-accustomed haunts in Lombard Street. When the use of Leadenhall, a spacious and convenient edifice, was offered by the King in the year 1534 or 1535, the change was negatived by a majority of the Common Council. The only condition upon which an Exchange was to be accepted was, that it should be raised upon the site of the very shops which had already afforded their friendly shelter. To this object, therefore, the views of the promoters of the project were directed : and in 1537, Sir Richard Gresham submitted to Crumwell, then Lord Privy Seal, a design for such a structure. We gather these particulars from the following letter," written to the same minister by Sir Richard Gresham, shortly before the close of his mayoralty in 1538.
“The last yere I shewyd your goode lordeshipe a platte, that was drawen howte for to make a goodely Bursse in Lombert strette for marchaunts to repayer unto. I doo supposse yt wyll coste ii M. li. [2,000l.] and more, wyche shalbe very beautyfull to the citti, and allsoo for the honor of our soverayngne lord the kinge. But ther ys serien howssis in the sayd strette belongyn to Sir George Monnocks; and excepte wee maye purchesse them, the sayd Bursse cannot be made. Wherefor, yt may please your goode lordshipe to move the kyngs highnes to have hys most gracious lettyrs directyd to the sayd Sir George, wyllinge and alsoo commaundynge hym to cawse the sayd howssys to be solld to the mayer and commonaltye of the city of London, for such prices as he dyd purches then for; and that he fawte not but to accomplyshe hys gracious commandement. The lettyr must be sharpley made, for he ys of noe jentyll nature; and that he shale giffue further credens to the mayor, I wyll delyuer the lettyr, and handyll him the beste I can ; and yf I maye obtayngne to have the sayde howssys, I dought not but to gather oon M pounds [1,000l.] towerde the bulldynge or I departe howte of myne office. Ther shale lacke noe goode wylle in me. And
* This letter (which is preserved in the Cottonian MSS.) was published by Ward in his History of Gresham College, but was incorrectly assigned by him, and by subsequent writers until Mr. Burgon, to the year 1531, and supposed to have been addressed to Audeley, while Privy Seal,— an office which Auoy never had.
thus our Lorde preserve your good lordeshipe in prosperous helthe, longe to contynewe. At London the xxv daye of Juylly . All yours, att your lordeshipes commandement, “RY c. GREs HAM.”
The difficulties mentioned in this letter were sufficient to defer the project sor many years, indeed, it may be said for a whole generation, for it was not until 1564 that it was effectively resumed by the son of Sir Richard Gresham. Another letter is preserved, foreshadowing the great undertaking. It is addressed to Sir Thomas Gresham by his factor Richard Clough, who warmly advocates the erection of a bourse in London, from the utility he had found in that of Antwerp, where he resided. The letter is dated from that city, the 31st Dec. 1561, and the subject is incidentally introduced among other topics of complaint against the London merchants.
. . . . . . ... “For in dede it is marvell that wee have so gude orders as wee have, consyderyng what rulers wee have in the sittey of London; suche a companny that do study for nothyng ells butt for their own profett. As for insampell ; consyderyng whatt a sittey London ys, and that in so many yeres they have nott founde the menes to make a Bourse ! but must wallke in the raine, when ytraineth, more lyker pedlers then marchants; and in thys countrie, and all others, there is no kynde of pepell that have occasyon to meete, butt they have a plase meete for that pourpose. Indede, yf your besynes were done, and that I myghtt have the lesure to go about hytt, and that you wyll be a menes to Mr. Secretary to have hys favore therein, I wyll nott doutt butt to make so fere a Bourse in London as the grett Bourse is in Andwarpe, withoutt molestyng of any man more then he shulld be well dysposed to geve. Herein I am somwatt tedyus; desyryng you to pardone me, for, beyng ownse enteryd into the matter, I collde not stee myselfe.”...... ...Mr. Burgon has with great probability dated Sir Thomas Gresham's personal exertions in the erection of the Exchange from the death of his only child, a youth of sixteen years of age; in the year 1564,-an event very likely to have directed his thoughts, in that age of munificent benefactions, to some channel of great public utility. It appears from the minutes of the Court of Aldermen that on the 4th Jan. 1504-5, a proposition was made to
the court by Sir Thomas Gresham (through his servant Anthony Strynger) that a Burse should be built in London at his expense, provided a site was found on which the edifice might be conveniently erected. This proposal was thankfully accepted by the court; they agreed that Sir Thomas should be at liberty to employ such strangers about the making of the said Burse as he might think proper, and entrusted certain of their number with the task of fixing on the site, who were to make their report on the following Sunday, at 8 o’clock, in the chapel of St. Paul’s church, where they were in the habit of assembling before sermon-time. So strong was still the attachment of the merchants to Lombard Street, that it was determined, on the present occasion, that the fittest place for a Burse would be the ground between that street and Cornhill; and it was resolved (on Monday, 8th Jan.) that the Merchant-Taylors should be petitioned for leave to pull down the house in which Alderman Harpur resided, and some other houses adjoining, for the purpose of obtaining a commodious site. To this scheme it is obvious that objections again arose, for it was abandoned, and in six weeks a negociation was opened with the Dean of Canterbury, Dr. Wotton, for the ground on the other side of Cornhill, on which the Exchange was finally erected. Alderman Rowe, who married Mary Gresham, a cousin of Sir Thomas, took a leading part in these negociations, and at eight o'clock in the morning of the 23rd July was waited on in his mansion-house in Bishopsgatestreet by the wardens of the twelve principal companies, who had been summoned for the express purpose of entering into arrangements for facilitating the erection of the Burse. In the December following, the benevolence and aid of the Merchants Adventurers and Merchants of the Staple beyond the sea was solicited with the same object. The sum required was specified, namely 400 marks; to be paid within two months.
“At Christmas, lä65, warning was given to the inhabitants of the houses which it was proposed to remove in order to erect the Burse, to vacate their dwellings before the ensuing 25th of March, that is to say, before New Year's day, old style; Jeoffrey Walkeden and Thomas Banister being appointed to negotiate with the several householders, and talk with them. Precepts were issued in the mean time to the wardens of the several companies, for levying contributions in aid of the purchase of the intended site. Mr. Alderman Jakeman was chosen Treasurer; and Sir Thomas White, Sir William Garrard, Sir William Chester, Sir John White, and Alderman Rowe, Commissioners for the undertaking. It was settled that by the ensuing month of May, 1566, all should be ready for the workmen ‘to fall in hand with the foundation thereof;’ and that the Burse was to be 55 yards in length, and 45 in breadth; to extend from Walkeden's Alley to Jaques' house, a “litle old house in Cornehill,’ inhabited by a widow, which “the cytie was driven to bye' for 100 marks. “These arrangements bear date 7th January, 1565-6. On the 9th of February following, Sir Thomas Gresham being at the house of Mr. John Ryvers, alderman, in company with Sir William Garrard, Sir William Chester, Thomas Rowe, Lionel Duckett, German Ciol, and Thomas Bannister, most frankly and lovingly promised, that within a month after the Burse should be fully finished, he would present it, in equal moieties, to the City and Mercers' Company." In token of his sincerity, he thereupon gave his hand to Sir William Garrard ; and in the presence of his assembled friends, drank a carouse to his kinsman Thomas Rowe. “Thirty-eight houses, of which some seem to have been cottages, a storehouse, and two gardens, were demolished in order to make room for the Burse; and of these, thirteen tenements, the storehouse, and one of the gardens, which was called Canterbury Garden, belonged to the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, and was purchased for 600l. The City finally paid to the proprietors of the soil for the whole number of houses, 2,2081.6s. 8d. to the tenants, for their leases, 1,2221.14s. and in legal and other expenses, 101l. 16s. 6d. making in all 3,5321. 17s. 2d. When the site had been made clear, the length of the area from east to west on the Corn
* Sir Thomas Gresham and his widow appear, however, to have retained some interest in it but immediately after the death of the Lady Gresham, the Royal Exchange, of which the revenues amounted to the clear yearly value of 75ll, 5s. reverted to the Corporation of the City of London and the Mercers' Company; a patent from the Crown, bearing date the 3rd Feb. 1614, (12 James I.) confirming them in their possession of this property.
hill side was found to be 161 feet 6 inches, and on the Broad Street side 118 feet 6 inches. From Cornhill to Broad Street on the Swan Alley side was 198 feet; and on the New Alley side, 149 feet 6 inches.
“The materials of the old houses were sold for 478l. 3s. 4d. ; and twenty of the principal companies contributed 1,685l. 9s. 7d. The list is preserved of 738 persons by whom this amount was subscribed, in sums varying between 10s. and 131.6s. 8d.
“The foundation-stone Gresham laid with his own hands on the 7th June 1566 : on the 13th it was resolved by the alder. men to petition him in favour of the English workmen. Whether they were successful in their suit does not appear; but it probably did not much dispose Gresham in favour of the candidates for the employment, that one William Crow, apparently a bricklayer, had been guilty of ‘very lewde demeanour towards Henrick, the said Sir Thomas Gresham's chief workman.” ??
Of this Heinrich, the architect of the first Royal Exchange, Mr. Burgon states that his Christian name nowhere transpires, but that in Gresham's correspondence with his agent Clough he is invariably termed ‘’Henryke.” It may be doubtful whether it is his baptismal or his surname that is actually deficient. He paid occasional visits to the works in London, and in the intervals, it may be supposed, was engaged in superintending those which were prepared in Flanders. By way of episode he constructed a gateway (probably in the Strand) for Secretary Cecill (Lord Burghley), to whom Sir T. Gresham thus writes Dec. 26, 1567 : “Henricke, my workman, dothe pretende after the hollidays to go over sea, and not to be heere again before Aprill. Therefore I desire to know youre honnor's pleasure bie this bringer, whether you will have your port [gate] set up before his departure, or els at his return.”
Heinrich was probably a builder at Antwerp ; the bourse itself imitated the bourse in that city in structure as well as object. “No one,” Mr. Burgon remarks, “can have compared the view of the Exchange at Cornhillt
t Mr. Burgon has given copies of two old and rare prints, engraved in 1569, and probably for Gresham himself, representing the original appearance of the Exchange. In one of these a lofty Corinthian pillar, surmounted by a grasshopper, ap
with that of the Burse at Antwerp, without being struck with the extraordinary resemblance which those edifices bore to one another.” Even the stone was brought from Antwerp,” as was the wainscot,t the iron, and the slate.: Holinshed (or rather Harrison) states, in fact, that Gresham “bargained for the whole mould and substance of his workmanship in Flanders.” This is confirmed not only by the general tenour of Clough's letters, but by one remarkable passage, § the date of which is Dec. 5, 1566; “And as touching the Bourse, we do now begyn to shippe some part thereof, and before Easter we trust all shall be shipped from hence.” The timber was chiefly brought from one of Gresham's manors in Suffolk. He speaks in one of his letters of “my house at Rinxhall, where I make all my provision for my timber for my Bourse ;” and five or six saw-pits which he used are still discernible on Battisford Tye, a common between Ringshall and Battisford. Another passage mentions the making of the queen’s “picture,” a word then used for a carved statue, but it does not describe very clearly the business to which it refers. “I have received,” says Clough, “the pictures you wryte of, whereof I wyll cause the Queenes majestie to be made, and wyll sende you the rest back again with that, so soone as yt ys done.” Mr. Burgon supposed, from this passage, that the statues were all made in England, with the exception of Queen Elizabeth's, and that some of the others were sent to Antwerp to show the artist in what style and of what size he was to produce the statue of her Majesty. It is
pears rising on the north side of the building. The same is brought into perspective, but of dimensions scarcely if at all inferior to the new Nelson Column at Charing Cross, in a view in Knight's London, derived from the same source. It is obvious that if such a pillar ever existed,—and there is no other view or mention of it, it is vastly exaggerated in appearance; but we are rather inclined to regard it as a mere ornament to the engraving, like the shields of arms, &c. .* , Burgon, ii. 118, 120; though Gresham (ib. 107) intended at least to have had some from Norfolk.
+ Ib. 117. i Ib. 120. - $ Ib. 118.
possible, certainly, if heavy materials were shipped one way, they might be transported backwards and forwards, but, perhaps, in this instance the “pictures” were really the drawings or patterns. The Burse being finished, the merchants began to hold their meetings within its walls on the 22d Dec. 1563. “The form of the building,” says Norden, a contemporary, “is quadrate, with walks round the mayne building supported with pillars of marble, over which walkes is a place for the sale of all kinde of wares, richely stored with varietie of all sorts.” There were, in fact, walks above as well as below; the upper part of the building being divided into no less than one hundred small shops, from the rents of which Gresham proposed, in part, to reimburse himself for his outlay in its erection. An equal number of vaults were also dug beneath, adapted for the reception of merchandise; but these were found to be so dark and damp that they soon became of little value. Desirable for the display of wares as a shop must have been in a place of so much resort as the Burse, we learn from the chronicler who interested himself most in the history of the city, that for two or three years after its erection the shops remained “in a manner empty.” Queen Elizabeth, however, having signified her intention of visiting the founder, and inspecting his edifice, Gresham naturally became anxious to improve its appearance, and render it fitter for the reception of his royal guest. “He went, in consequence,” says Stowe, “twice in one day round about the upper pawne, || and besought those few shoppe-keepers then present that they would furnish and adorne with wares and waxe lights as many shops as they either could or would, and they should have all those shops so furnished rent-free that yeere, which other-wayes at that time was forty shillings a shoppe by the yeere;
|| This word, which is not admitted into Johnson's Dictionary, and the application of which was not apparent to Archdeacon Nares when quoting a poetical passage in his Glossary, is supposed to be the same as the German bahn, a road or path, and which has recently entered into a new compound, the eisenbahn, i.e. via ferrea, a railroad.
and within two yeres after hee raised that rent unto foure marks a yeere, and within a while after that hee raised his rent of every shoppe unto soure pounds tenne shillings a yeere, and then all shoppes were well furnished according to that time; for then the milliners or haberdashers in that place solde mouse-trappes, bird-cages, shooing-horns, lanthorns, and Jewestrumpes, &c. There were also at that time that kept shoppes in the upper pawne of the Royall Exchange, armourers, that sold both olde and new armour, apothecaries, booke-sellers, goldsmiths, and glasse-sellers; although now it is as plenteously stored with all kinde of rich wares and fine commodities as any particular place in Europe. Unto which place many sorraine princes dayly send to be served of the best sort.” It was in consequence of the season of the year at which Queen Elizabeth made her progress into the city that Gresham required the aid of illumination to set off the Burse to advantage. Stowe relates, that on the 23rd of January, 1570-1, “the Queenes majesty, attended with her nobility, came from her house at the Strand, called Somerset House, and entred the citie by Temple-bar, through Fleete-street, Cheap, and so by the north side of the . Burse, to Sir Thomas Gresham's in Bishopsgate-strete, where she dined....
After dinner, her Majestie returning through Cornhill, entered the Burse on the south side; and after that she had viewed every part thereof above the ground, especially the pawne, which was richly furnished with all sorts of the finest wares in the city, she caused the same Burse by an herralde and a trompetto be proclaimed THE Roy AL Exchange, and so to be called from thenceforth, and not otherwise.” Such is the brief account which has been transmitted to us of the events from which the Burse, as it was till then called, dates its present name, by one who was probably an eye-witness of the scene he describes. A bas-relief representing the Queen’s visit was placed over the entrance through which she had passed. Sir Thomas Gresham's structure stood for exactly a century. In the great fire of 1666 it shared the general destruction. “The Royal Exchange itself, (says one of the narratives,) the glory of the merchants, is now invaded with much violence. When the fire was entered, how quickly did it run round the galleries, filling them with flames; then descending the stairs, compasseth the walks, giving forth flaming volleys, and filling the court with sheets of fire. By and by the Kings fell all down on theirsaces, and the greater part of the stone building after them, the Founder’s statue alone