People Property and Charity

The Clothworkers' Company 1500-1688

Lothbury (including Throgmorton Street and Copthall Alley)

Thomas Ormeston's Will, Book of Deeds and Wills, 1556Thomas Ormeston (d. c.1557), Citizen and Clothworker, bequeathed property in Lothbury (in the parish of St. Margaret) to The Clothworkers’ Company in his will dated 24 February 1556.[1]  In his will, Ormeston originally bequeathed the properties to his wife Eleanor. On her death, he stipulated that the lands would pass to his nephew, Robert Ormeston and his heirs. He included the clause that should Robert die without issue, the properties would pass to The Clothworkers’ Company. It was not until 1592 that the properties passed to the Company on the death of Robert’s son.[2] Thomas Ormeston instructed the Company to pay annuities to the churchwardens of St. Bartholomew the Little and Christ’s Hospital. He also gave orders that they should pay £6 in total to three newly-built hospitals within the city.[3] The remainder of the monies derived from the lands should then be used to keep the properties in good repair and pay any costs accrued by the Company in dealing with the estates.[4] The property originally comprised a large house, which was later expanded to include a garden, which were entered from Throgmorton Street and three tenements in Copthall Alley.[5]

The first reference to the property at Lothbury in the Company Court Orders came in June 1596, when Richard Sentman made suit for a lease of a property, most likely, at Copthall Alley.[6] The Company offered him a lease, if he would pay a fine of £30 and undertake to complete all reparations on the property.[7] Sentman accepted a lease on the property, but later received a 5s. abatement on his rent of £6, as one room in the messuage was occuped by a Mr. Bramley, who paid the 5s. himself.[8] Sentman’s lease was for twenty-one years.[9] In January 1598, the Company received a request from Mr. Anthony Key for a lease in reversion of the property leased to Richard Sentman, which was now in the hands of his wife, Mrs. Sentman.[10] It was not until October 1599, however, that the Company offered Key a formal lease of the property, and even then, only after the death of Mrs. Sentman.[11]

In July 1600, the Company increased their holdings at Lothbury by the purchase of a small garden from Mrs. Sara Pigott.[12] This garden was adjacent to the main house at Lothbury. In July 1601, Mrs. Keys, the widow of Anthony Keys, made suit for a grant of a property at Copthall Alley, Lothbury following the death of Mrs. Sentman. The Company responded that his grant stood on two provisos ‘one that they should themselves dwell in it and the other that Mrs. Keye should pay such interest money as is due from her and Christopher Hayward to the Company, and for John Humfrey, the Company clerk in charges, which amounts to £40 and upwards’.[13] In August 1601, Mr. Fishe, who had been a tenant of Mrs. Sentman’s at Lothbury made suit to the Court for a lease of her Copthall Alley property asking for  a lease for the term of his life and his wifes, for which he gave £20 a lease thereof, 21 years, for which he would give £30’.[14] The Company, however, refused his terms and offered him ‘a lease for a £60 fine, for 21 years at the accustomed rent, keeping the same in good repair’.[15] Fishe refused the lease and asked for some compensation for, or return of, the goods that he had already placed in the house.[16] The Company decided on foot of his request to offer him continued residency in the property until Midsummer at the same rent and ensuring that the tenement would be kept in a good state of repair.[17] On the same day, the lease was taken over by John Baysworth for a period of twenty-one years, at £5 annual rent and a £60 fine. Baysworth promised to keep the property in good repair.[18]

It was the transfer of the lease, however, to Baysworth that created one of the largest controversies for the Company. In August 1602, the Court Orders recorded a case in front of Dr. Cesar, one of the Masters of Request, where Mr. Fishe had formally brought a complaint against the Company for issuing a lease to Baysworth despite his agreement to continue as resident of the property.[19] Fishe was requesting that Baysworth lease be cancelled, and the option to obtain a lease be taken by him.[20] The Court asked the Company to cancel Baysworth lease, and allow Fishe to have a lease under the same terms, owing to his prior tenancy agreement.[21]  Fishe received a twenty-one year lease, to begin at the following Michaelmas, for which he promised to pay £5 in rent annually and a £50 fine.[22]

By 1609, the Company’s attention had turned to the land adjoining their house at Lothbury, which they had purchased from Sara Pigott.[23] They undertook a survey of the land to determine whether to build on it. In 1613, the Company’s property at Copthall Alley fell into dispute, as the ‘by Sir Thomas Hewett by erecting a chimney upon part of a garden belonging to this company at Copthall Alley and to use their best meanes and indeavours to reforme the same’.[24] By 1618, the Company were again considering the expansion of the property. Mr. Browne and Mr. Fishborne petitioned the Court to be allowed to build at Copthall Alley in Lothbury, which was part of the lands granted by Ormeston. They were seeking to to build a building from which ‘they would make a jutty over a little garden belonging to the Company lyeing near the said hall’.[25] The Company appointed several men to survey the land, after which they granted permission to continue ‘in their building intended and are about to make & erect at Copthall Alley in Lothbury set their frame there intended to be erected three foot of assize into the garden’.[26] Both men petitioned for a new lease in July 1619, which they were granted on condition that they surrender their old lease and pay a fine of £250.[27] In November 1620, they made suit for, and were granted, a reduction in their fine. [28] In February 1621, a new lease of a tenement at Lothbury, formerly held by George Fish,  was granted to John Cooke for twenty-one years at a fine of £60.[29]Lothbury, Copthall Alley, Throgmorton Street, Treswell Street, 1612

By 1622, the new building had led to problems for the Company, as they ended up in dispute with The Haberdashers’ Company ‘regarding an encroachment on lands of the company by Sir Thomas Hewett at Copthall Alley at the time of the building of a new house there’.[30] In March 1630, the new property at Copthall Alley, Lothbury was assigned to Henry Gardener, who agreed to hold it for the remaining time granted to Fishborne and Browne and to pay 20s. to the Company poor.[31] Gardener, in turn, petitioned the Court for permission to assign his lease again in Janaury 1631.[32] The final reference to the property in the Court Orders comes in 1641, when the Company received a payment of a fine of £100 from The Haberdashers’ Company, presumably for a lease of the property at Copthall Alley.[33]

After 1641, the property at Lothbury appears to be described entirely as Throgmorton Street within the Company Court Orders. The first lease granted for a house (presumably the main house in Lothbury) on Throgmorton Street is noted in the Court Orders in October 1641.[34] The lease, granted to Jeremy Jones, was for twenty-one years, at an annual rent of £5 and a fine of £60.[35] One condition was attached ‘to commence after the expiration of previous lease’.[36] By December 1648, Jones was petitioning the Court to allow him to assign his lease to Thomas Freeman.[37]

In March 1656, the Company’s property at Throgmorton Street became embroiled in dispute.[38] This related to a claim by a Mr. Lawson to the passage and pavements in a small alley that ran adjacent to the property, near Copthall Alley. In this initial entry, the Company sent a number of appointees to treat with Lawson. In April, the Company undertook a survey of the property at the centre of dispute.[39] The dispute raged for over five years. By 1661, the dispute had escalated. Lawson continued to claim the passage. The Court Orders described how Lawson had ‘erected two lions on the head of the posts of the entrance whereby it is called Red Lyon Alley’.[40] The Company determined ‘to cut down the posts and erect the Company arms instead’.[41] In January 1662, the Company sent ‘appointees to view the passage and to examine the writings, deeds and evidences concerning the same in order for the Company to determine its claim to the lands’.[42]

By March 1664, the Company’s dealings with the property at Throgmorton Street had returned to the day-to-day management of the property with the granting of a lease to Thomas Marishal.[43] The lease was granted for a twenty-one year period, at an annual rent of £5 and with a fine of £100.[44] The lease contained two clauses: that it would begin at the expiration of the old lease and that Marishal would pay all taxes associated with it.[45] It was not long, however, before Marishal found himself at the centre of a complaint to the Company by his neighbour, Sir Stephen White.[46] In April 1666, White complained to the Court about a sink of Mr. Marshall’s, which he described as ‘over part of St. Stephen's yard and is very defective and out of repair’.[47] The Company ordered that Thomas Dutton, the clerk, to ‘deliver a note to the said Marshall to put his house in repair but in particular that sink according to the covenants and conditions of his lease’.[48]

The properties at Throgmorton Street and Copthall Alley were destroyed during the Great Fire of London. In the aftermath of the Fire, the Company negotiated with their tenants and suitors regarding their leases. One such suitor was a Mr. Lawson, who was offered a lease of land at Throgmorton Street for sixty-one years, at £30 a year and a £400 fine.[49] The conditions of the lease were quite extensive with the Company including clauses that he must pay the arrears of rent from the previous Christmas; pay all taxes; and build three houses on the ground according to the draught shown to him.[50] Given the dispute between Lawson and the Company at the turn of the 1660s, the lease also contained a wider condition that company appointees would consult with ‘a counsellor regarding Lawson's interest in the ground adjoining to the company  ground in order to set forth his interest and title to the same’.[51] By 1688, the Company were also offering extensive leases at Copthall Alley. Mr. Lawson and Mr. Richardson, for example, were offered a new lease for their holdings at £10 annual rent and £140 fine.

The Lothbury properties were noted extensively in the Company accounts. Taken at twenty year intervals the monies accrued from the property can be noted. In 1600, the Company received a rental income of £26 15s. from Lothbury, with expenditure of £9.[52] In 1620, the annual rental income from Lothbury was £13 15s., while £9.[53] By 1640, the annual income from Lothbury had risen to £30 3s. 9d.[54] By 1660, the annual income was £33 12s. 6d., with expenditure reaching £9.[55] By 1680, the Company were receiving £31 annually from the Lothbury properties.[56] Their annual Lothbury expenses in this year amounted to £3.[57]



[1] TNA PROB/11/41, ‘Will of Thomas Ormeston’, 24 February 1556.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] ‘Timeline of the History of The Clothworkers’ Company’ [available:

[6] The Clothworkers’ Company Archive (hereafter CCA), CL/B/1/3, f. 154v, Suit by Richard Sentman for lease, 10 June 1596

[7] Ibid.

[8] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 159r, Lease to Richard Sentman, 20 October 1596.

[9] Ibid.

[10] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 174r, Suit for a lease in reversion by Anthony Keys, 24 January 1598.

[11] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 192v, Lease offered to Key, 23 October 1599.

[12] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 196v and CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 197v, Purchase of small garden from Sara Pigott, 13 August 1600.

[13] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 205r, Suit for a grant of property at Lothbury, 6 July 1601.

[14] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 207r, Suit for a lease by Mr. Fishe, 11 August 1601.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 207r, Lease to John Baysworth, 11 August 1601.

[19] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, ff 218v-219r, Dispute with Mr. Fishe, 27 August 1602.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid.

[23] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 42v, Survey of property at Lothburye, 24 April 1609.

[24] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 150r, Encrochment on lands at Lothbury, 16 July 1613

[25] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 255r, Petition to build on land, 11 March 1618.

[26] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 259r, Permission to build on land, 30 March 1618.

[27] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 299v, Lease to Fishburne and Browne, 19 July 1619.

[28] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/4, f. 234r, Petition for a fine reduction, 22 November 1620.

[29] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/4, f. 237v, Lease granted to Cooke, 20 February 1621.

[30] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/4, f. 257v, Dispute with the Haberdashers, 7 August 1622.

[31] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/6, f. 96r, Lease assigned to Henry Gardener, 17 March 1630.

[32] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/6, f. 107v, Gardener seeks permission to assign lease, 12 January 1631.

[33] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/8, f. 29av, Payment by the Haberdashers, 13 January 1641.

[34] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/8, f. 45r, Lease to Jeremy Jones, 13 October 1641.


[36] Ibid.

[37] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/8, f. 198v, Lease assigned to Freeman, 19 December 1648.

[38] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/9, ff 72v-73r, Dispute between Lawson and the Company, 11 March 1656.

[39] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/9, f. 74v, Survey of lane at Throgmorton Street, 16 April 1656.

[40] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/9, f. 178v, Dispute relating to a passage at Copthall Alley, Throgmorton Street, 7 October 1661.

[41] Ibid.

[42] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/9, f. 185r, Company to examine deeds to the disputed property, 21 January 1662.

[43] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/9, f. 248r, Lease to Marishal, f. 248r.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Ibid.

[46] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/10, p. 5, Dispute between White and Marshall, 11 April 1666.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Ibid.

[49] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/10, pp 132-133, Lease to Lawson, 23 September 1668.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Ibid.

[52] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/4, Section 6, The Renter Warden accounts of Anthony Fawlkes, 1600, f. 3r and f. 7r.

[53] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/5, Section 16, The Renter Warden accounts of Daniel Hall, 1620, f. 4v and 10r.

[54] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/8, Section 4, The Renter Warden accounts of William Harris, 1640, f. 6v.

[55] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/10, The Renter Warden accounts of Dennis Gawden, 1660, f. 7 and f. 18.

[56] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/12, The Renter Warden accounts of Robert Stevenson, 1680, f. 6.

[57] Ibid., f. 15.