People Property and Charity

The Clothworkers' Company 1500-1688

Bartholomew Lane

Edward Pilsworth's Will, Book of Deeds and Wills, 1603In his will of 1603, Edward Pilsworth left instructions that on the death of his wife Margery, four messuages and tenements in Bartholomew Lane should pass to The Clothworkers’ Company. The properties were already in good condition having been extensively rebuilt by Pilsworth and were occupied by tenants.[1] From the rental income generated by these properties, Pilsworth left specific instructions that the Company should pay an annual stipend of £12 14s. to the parish of Shitlington and an exhibition in his name at Magdalen College, Oxford worth £5.[2]

The first reference to the Bartholomew Lane properties in the Company Court Orders comes in April 1613. The Company sent three representatives – Mr. Morall, Mr. Walton and Mr. Pynder – to talk with Mrs. Pilsworth about giving all evidence surrounding the bequest made by her husband to the Company, or a nominated individual, for safekeeping.[3] Little appears to have been resolved at this stage, as by August 1615, the Company had re-appointed Walton, along with Mr. Gaylor to speak to Mrs. Pilsworth about bringing the deeds and evidence for the property to the Company Hall.[4] By December 1615, the Company had full possession of the property and were already drawing up a lease with William Crackplace. Crackplace gained a lease of one property for a twenty-one year term, at a rent of £6 a year and a £100 fine.[5] In January 1616, however, the Company had issued a warning to Crackplace to pay a £50 parcel or £95 towards his fine, which he promised to do within fourteen days.[6]

In March 1616, the Company appointed two Wardens, a bricklayer and a carpenter to view one of the tenements in Bartholomew Lane, which was in the tenure of Richard Chapman, who had been tenant to Pilsworth. This viewing came in response to complaints by Chapman regarding an adjoining vault in Dibble Alley, which was in the hands of a Mr. Vernon.[7] By July 1616, both Crackplace and another tenant, Richard Chapman (who was tenant to the Pilsworths) had lodged a complaint with the Company about problems they were experiencing with the vaults of their properties due to the tenants of two small adjoining tenements in Dibble Alley. All four properties shared the vaults, which could only be emptied through the Bartholomew Lane properties. This meant that the tenants in Dibble Alley were refusing to pay towards the cost of their emptying. The Company acknowledged the problem and ‘ordered that there will be vaults made in the said small tenements in Dibble Alley at the charge of Chapman and Crackplace, 40s. a peece to be allowed’.[8]

In 1618, several lease changes took place for the Bartholomew Lane properties. The two tenants, who were already in place, Mr. Parker and Mr. Jackson, sought permission from the Company to be allowed to let their tenements for five years in order to recover some of the money that they had paid to repair it.[9] The lease was taken by Mr. Chapman.[10] By January 1620, the property held by Crackplace had been granted to Thomas Hughes, Clothworker, who petitioned the Court to be allowed to transfer the property to his son William Hughes.[11] The Company declined his petition and ordered the payment of his £30 fine. His request to transfer the property was to be considered at the next Court.[12] No official entry regarding the petition itself appeared in the Court Orders again, but a transfer of the property to William Hughes was noted in the Court Orders of the 21 March 1620.[13] In 1626, the Court Orders recorded the granting of a new lease to a Richard Chapman, Scrivener, of a tenement in Bartholomew Lane. The property was occupied by Anne Chapman, possibly his mother and wife of the original Pilsworth leaseholder.[14] In 1638, the Court Orders noted the assignment of Chapman’s lease to William Selwood, Clothworker.[15]

In October 1647, the Company appointed eight surveyors to view a property at Bartholomew Lane, a lease of which was being sought by Mr. Maslyn.[16] By November, he had received a lease for twenty-one years, beginning at Michaelmas.[17] Under its terms, Maslyn undertook to pay a fine of £80 and an annual rent of £6.[18] In May 1652, Mr. Selwood made suit for a new lease of his tenement at Bartholomew Lane.[19] He renewed his lease for a twenty-four year term from Our Lady Day 1652, at an annual rent of £6 and a fine of £80.[20]  By April 1659, Selwood had died and the Company was petitioned by his executors, John and Sarah Chambers, to be allowed to assign his lease to John Whitehorne, Cheesemonger.[21] The Company granted the request on condition that 20s. be paid to the Company poor box.[22]

The properties were destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666. In its aftermath, a number of petitions were made to the Court regarding leases of property at Bartholomew Lane. In February 1668, the Court Orders noted the surrender of a lease by John Whitehorne.[23] He appears to have been issued with a new lease, as by May 1668, Whitethorne was in dispute with a Mr. Culter, about a wall adjoining his property.[24] The Court Orders described the dispute acknowledging that ‘should be made a party wall’, but ‘that the said Cutler threatened to arrest the said Whitehorne's workmen if they meddled with the same & that it was a great prejudice & hinderance to the said Whitehorne in order to the rebuilding of his house’.[25] Whitehorne sought advice from the Company, and was advised by Mr. Gawden to petition the Court or Aldermen about it.[26] In June, the Company appointed Mr. Gawden to discuss the issues with Mr. Culter on behalf of the Company.[27]

In August 1668, Whitethorne petitioned the Court for a new lease of a plot of land at Bartholomew Lane.[28] His request for a fifty-one year lease was granted on the basis that he surrender his old lease. The Court agreed to quash his arrears, if he did so. They also offered him an alternative payment of £6, which would be the rent for the following year.[29] His lease would also only be valid, if he agreed to build a house on the plot, in line with the instructions of parliament in the aftermath of the Fire.[30] By November 1668, Whitehorne was also petitioning the Company for a lease of lands, which were formerly held under lease by Mr. Maslyn and a Mr. Wells.  He offered to pay £10 a year and the rent arrears, but his offer was rejected. The Court offered another agreement, which would see him pay £11 a year for a fifty-one year lease, but he refused to accept it. By 1870, the Bartholomew Lane properties had become Bartholomew House, and were retained by the Company until their sale in 1907.

The Bartholomew Lane properties were noted extensively in the Company accounts. Taken at twenty year intervals the monies accrued from the property can be noted. In 1620, the annual rental income from Bartholomew Lane was £20, while £17 was spent on annuities from the property rents.[31] By 1640, the annual income from Bartholomew Lane was c.£16, with the annual expenditure noted as £17 14s.[32] By 1660, the annual income was £27 10s. with expenditure reaching £1 13s. 4d.[33] By 1680, in the aftermath of the Great Fire, the Company were receiving £21 from the Bartholomew Lane properties. Their annual expenses in this year amounted £1 5s.[34]


[1] TNA PROB 11/101, The will of Edward Pilsworth, 7 July 1603.

[2] Ibid.

[3] The Clothworkers’ Company Archive (hereafter CCA), Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 143v, Nominees appointed to speak to Mrs. Pilsworth, 26 April 1613

[4] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 203r, Nominees appointed to speak to Mrs. Pilsworth, 22 August 1613.

[5] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 207r, Lease to William Crackplace, 5 December 1615.

[6] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 211r, Warning to Crackplace to pay his fine, 25 January 1616.

[7] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 213r, Complaint by Chapman regarding vaults at Dibble Alley, 22 March 1616.

[8] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, ff 221v-222r, Complaint by Chapman and Crackplace regarding vaults, 24 July 1616

[9] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 259r, Lease from Parker and Jackson to Mr. Chapman, 22 April 1618

[10] Ibid.

[11] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 290v, Crackplace’s lease transferred to Thomas Hughes, 18 January 1620.

[12] Ibid.

[13] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 294v, Lease transferred to William Hughes, 21 March 1620.

[14] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/6, f. 35r, Lease to Richard Chapman, 13 February 1626.

[15] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/7, f. 136r, Assignment of Chapman’s lease to William Selwood, 12 December 1638.

[16] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/8, f. 174v, Survey of a tenement at Bartholomew  Lane, 26 October 1647.

[17] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/8, ff 176v-177r, Lease to Mr. Maslyn, 12 November 1647.

[18] Ibid.

[19] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/9, f. 27r, Lease to Mr. Selwood, 5 May 1652.

[20] Ibid.

[21] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/9, f. 124r, Assignment of lease to Mr. Whitehorne, 12 April 1659. 

[22] Ibid.

[23] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/10, p. 87, Surrender of lease by Whitehorne, 26 February 1668.

[24] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/10, p. 104, Dispute regarding property at Bartholomew Lane, 20 May 1668.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/10, pp 106-107, Gawden appointed to negotiate on behalf of the Company regarding a dispute, 26 June 1668.

[28] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/10, p. 119, Suit for Whitehorne for a new lease, 12 August 1668.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid.

[31] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/5, Section 16, The Renter Warden accounts of Daniel Hall, 1620, f. 5v and 13r.

[32] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts,  CL/D/5/8, Section 4, The Renter Warden accounts of William Harris, 1640, f. 37r and f. 13r. The  income figures cannot be accurately calculated due to damage to the originals.

[33] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/10, The Renter Warden accounts of Dennis Gawden, 1660, f. 3 and f. 12.

[34] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/12, The Renter Warden accounts of Robert Stevenson, 1680, f.23 and f. 9a.