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- London in 1731 - 3/22 -
as privy-seals in several reigns, bills, answers, and depositions in chancery, in the reigns of Queen Elizabeth, King James I., and King Charles I., writs of distringas, supersedeas, de excommunicato capiendo, and other writs relating to the courts of law; but the records of the greatest importance are lodged in the Tower called Wakefield Tower, consisting of statute rolls from the 6th of Edward I. to the 8th of Edward III.
Parliament rolls beginning anno 5 of Edward II. and ending with the reign of Edward IV.
Patent rolls beginning anno 3 of John, and ending with the reign of Edward IV. In these are contained grants of offices, hands, tenements, temporalities, &c., passing under the great seal.
Charter rolls, from the 1st of King John to the end of Edward IV. in which are enrolments of grants, and confirmations of liberties and privileges to cities and towns corporate, and to private persons, as markets, fairs, free warren, common of pasture, waifs, strays, felons' goods, &c.
The foundations of abbeys and priories, of colleges and schools, together with lands and privileges granted to them.
The patents of creation of noblemen.
Close rolls, from the 6th of King John, to the end of Edward IV., in which are writs of various kinds, but more especially on the back of the roll are entered the writs of summons to parliament, both to the lords and commons, and of the bishops and inferior clergy to convocations. There are also proclamations, and enrolments of deeds between party and party.
French rolls, beginning anno 1 of Edward II. and ending with Edward IV., in which are leagues and treaties with the kings of France, and other matters relating to that kingdom.
Scotch rolls, containing transactions with that kingdom.
Rome, touching the affairs of that see.
Vascon rolls, relating to Gascoign.
There are also other rolls and records of different natures.
In this tower are also kept the inquisitions post mortem, from the first year of King Henry III., to the third year of Richard III.
The inquisitions ad quod damnum, from the first of Edward II. to the end of Henry V.
Writs of summons, and returns to Parliament, from the reign of Edward I. to the 17th of Edward IV.
Popes' bulls, and original letters from foreign princes.
All which were put into order, and secured in excellent wainscot presses, by order of the house of peers, in the year 1719 and 1720. Attendance is given at this office, and searches may be made from seven o'clock in the morning to eleven, and from one to five in the afternoon, unless in December, January, and February, when the office is open only from eight to eleven in the morning, and from one to four, except holidays.
The next office I shall mention is the Mint, where, at present, all the money in the kingdom is coined. This makes a considerable street in the Tower, wherein are apartments for the officers belonging to it. The principal officers are:- l. The warden, who receives the gold and silver bullion, and pays the full value for it, the charge being defrayed by a small duty on wines. 2. The master and worker, who takes the bullion from the warden, causes it to be melted, delivers it to the moneyers, and when it is minted receives it from them again. 3. The comptroller, who sees that the money be made according to the just assize, overlooks the officers and controls them. 4. The assay-master, who sees that the money be according to the standard of fineness. 5. The auditor, who takes the accounts, and makes them up. 6. The surveyor-general, who takes care that the fineness be not altered in the melting. And, 7, the weigher and teller.
The Jewel-office, where the regalia are reposited, stands near the east end of the Armoury. A list is usually given to those who come daily to see these curiosities in the Jewel-house, a copy whereof follows, viz.:
A list of his Majesty's regalia, besides plate, and other rich things, at the Jewel-house in the Tower of London.
1. The imperial crown, which all the kings of England have been crowned with, ever since Edward the Confessor's time.
2. The orb, or globe, held in the king's left hand at the coronation; on the top of which is a jewel near an inch and half in height.
3. The royal sceptre with the cross, which has another jewel of great value under it.
4. The sceptre with the dove, being the emblem of peace.
5. St. Edward's staff, all beaten gold, carried before the king at the coronation.
6. A rich salt-cellar of state, the figure of the Tower, used on the king's table at the coronation.
7. Curtana, or the sword of mercy, borne between the two swords of justice, the spiritual and temporal, at the coronation.
8. A noble silver font, double gilt, that the kings and royal family were christened in.
9. A large silver fountain, presented to King Charles II. by the town of Plymouth.
10. Queen Anne's diadem, or circlet which her majesty wore in proceeding to her coronation.
11. The coronation crown made for the late Queen Mary.
12. The rich crown of state that his majesty wears on his throne in parliament, in which is a large emerald seven inches round, a pearl the finest in the world, and a ruby of inestimable value.
13. A globe and sceptre made for the late Queen Mary.
14. An ivory sceptre with a dove, made for the late King James's queen.
15. The golden spurs and the armillas that are worn at the coronation.
There is also an apartment in the Tower where noble prisoners used to be confined, but of late years some of less quality have been sent thither.
The Tower where the lions and other savage animals are kept is on the right hand, on the outside the ditch, as we enter the fortress. These consist of lions, leopards, tigers, eagles, vultures, and such other wild creatures as foreign princes or sea-officers have presented to the British kings and queens.
Not far from the Tower stands London Bridge. This bridge has nineteen arches besides the drawbridge, and is built with hewn stone, being one thousand two hundred feet in length, and seventy- four in breadth, whereof the houses built on each side take up twenty-seven feet, and the street between the houses twenty feet; there being only three vacancies about the middle of the bridge where there are no houses, but a low stone wall, with an iron palisade, through which is a fine view of the shipping and vessels in the river. This street over the bridge is as much thronged, and has as brisk a trade as any street in the city; and the perpetual passage of coaches and carriages makes it troublesome walking on it, there being no posts to keep off carriages as in other streets. The middle vacancy was left for a drawbridge, which used formerly to be drawn up when shipping passed that way; but no vessels come above the bridge at this day but such as can strike their masts, and pass under the arches. Four of the arches on the north side of the bridge are now taken up with mills and engines, that raise the water to a great height, for the supply of the city; this brings in a large revenue which, with the rents of the houses on the bridge, and other houses and lands that belong to it, are applied as far as is necessary to the repair of it by the officers appointed for that service, who are, a comptroller and two bridge-masters, with their subordinate officers; and in some years, it is said, not less than three thousand pounds are laid out in repairing and supporting this mighty fabric, though it be never suffered to run much to decay.
I come next to describe that circuit of ground which lies without the walls, but within the freedom and jurisdiction of the City of London. And this is bounded by a line which begins at Temple Bar, and extends itself by many turnings and windings through part of Shear Lane, Bell Yard, Chancery Lane, by the Rolls Liberty, &c., into Holborn, almost against Gray's-Inn Lane, where there is a bar (consisting of posts, rails, and a chain) usually called Holborn Bars; from whence it passes with many turnings and windings by the south end of Brook Street, Furnival's Inn, Leather Lane, the south end of Hatton Garden, Ely House, Field Lane, and Chick Lane, to the common sewer; then to Cow Cross, and so to Smithfield Bars; from whence it runs with several windings between Long Lane and Charterhouse Lane to Goswell Street, and so up that street northward to the Bars.
From these Bars in Goswell Street, where the manor of Finsbury begins, the line extends by Golden Lane to the posts and chain in Whitecross Street, and from thence to the posts and chain in Grub Street; and then runs through Ropemakers Alley to the posts and chain in the highway from Moorgate, and from thence by the north side of Moorfields; after which it runs northwards to Nortonfalgate, meeting with the bars in Bishopsgate Street, and from thence runs eastward into Spittlefields, abutting all along upon Nortonfalgate.
From Nortonfalgate it returns southwards by Spittlefields, and then south-east by Wentworth Street, to the bars in Whitechapel. From hence it inclines more southerly to the Little Minories and Goodman's Fields: from whence it returns westward to the posts and chain in the Minories, and so on more westerly till it comes to London Wall, abutting on the Tower Liberty, and there it ends. The
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