People Property and Charity

The Clothworkers' Company 1500-1688

Mark Lane

Oliver Claymond's Arms, Angell PapersOliver Claymond bequeathed property in Mark Lane to The Clothworkers’ Company. These properties are now 62-63 Mark Lane.  In return for Claymond’ grant of the properties (including property in Abchurch Lane, Cornhill and St. Nicholas Lane, also), the Company undertook to pay an annuity of £4 to his daughter, Thomasine and to fund a Pascal light and sepulchre at Easter in the church of All Hallows Staining in London and four staff torches and twenty four other torches on the feast of Corpus Christi.[1] For much of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the property seemed to comprise four tenements. The first reference to the Mark Lane properties comes in an agreement in 1550 between the Company and John Clerke, Claymond’s son-in-law.[2] Clerke argued that he had received a grant of one of the tenements from Claymond during his life and continued to claim title to the lands. The Company negotiated with him for the surrender of his title in return for 20s. out of the company annually.[3]

The first recorded lease of a Mark Lane property came in 1550 when Mr. Ravensbe received a lease of a house there.[4] Repairs and rebuilding dominated the history of these properties in the late 1550s and early 1560s. In February 1559, Mr. Heywarde and Mr. James Hawes came to Court and petitioned for a collection to be raised for a loan to them of £800.[5] They promised that within five years they would repay every contributor his money, but also offered the incentive that they would rebuild the old houses at Mark Lane and the Stocks, without any cost to the Company.[6] It is not known if their petition was successful, but it seems unlikely, as by July of that year, the Company seemed to be moving towards their own repairs in Mark Lane. In July, the Company entered negotiations with Mr. Altham for the purchase of wood to furnish the houses at Mark Lane, paying 20s.[7] By 1562, Company surveyors had initiated the demolishing and rebuilding of the Mark Lane properties.[8]

By 1563, the Company had moved ahead with rebuilding the properties. In August, Humphrey Furnes, the carpenter working on the rebuilding, agreed to make a frame for kitchens of two storeys in all four properties.[9]  In October, he came to Court and was paid £10 for his work in making new house frames.[10] Throughout 1563, the Company received several suits for new leases of the houses from John Lute and Mr. Wygge.[11] In January 1564, the first lease of one of the newly built tenements was granted to Mr. Clerke.[12] Under the terms of his lease, Clerke was to pay £5 a year in rent, and a £5 fine. He also had to bear all repairs for the property.[13] In February, John Lute received a lease for twenty-one years of the Great House at Mark Lane.[14] The annual rent for the great house was £6 14s. 4d. and Lute paid a fine of £6 13s. 4d.. He also took responsibility for all repairs to the property. In December of the same year, a lease, formally granted to Edward Trenche, was transferred to Edward Dycher at a rent of 20 nobles per annum and a £10 fine.[15]

Following the rebuilding, the Company surveyed the properties at Mark Lane in every annual viewing. In March 1566, the Company reported that the Great Oliver Claymond's Will, Book of Deeds and Wills, 1540House at Mark Lane was already in need of repair, as water ran through the pavement in the yard and was rotting the principals of the cellar below.[16] Similarly, Edward Trenche’s house had a chimney ready to fall down, while Whitlock’s house needed its southside plastered and weather boarded. By 1568, other problems had arisen, with surveyors noting that Wood and Trenche’s houses lacked tiling.[17]  By 1569, further issues had been found during the annual survey. The surveyors described that ‘Wood’s house at the corner laks a ruff tyle. All the tenement lak grates in the ketchen. Warnyng geven to Trenches wyffe to make a grate before Whitloks Kytchen. And also amend the pavement in the yarde over the vawte’.[18] Such problems also continued to be recorded throughout the annual surveys in the 1570s. In 1574, for example, the surveyors noted how water continued to leak through into Mr. Daniels’ cellar and in turn, rotting it.[19]

By March 1582, the problems with Mr. Daniels’ Great House had become so severe that they warranted a special repair. The surveyors described how water gathering in a gutter at Widow Wood’s house needed to be fixed as it rotted Daniels’ cellars.[20] By October of the same year, repairs had begun at the property. These included the casting over of the yard with an arch ‘to stop the rain from rotting the foundations’.[21] This repair appears to have solved the problem, as the Court Orders contain no reference to it in the 1584 and 1585 surveys at Mark Lane.[22] In 1585, John Lute received a lease of the Great House, formerly Mr. Daniels’ lease holding, for twenty-one years.[23] He agreed to pay £6 13s. 4d. in rent, and to bear the cost of all repairs to the property. Daniels, in turn, received a lease of the tenement formerly granted to Mr. Whitlock.[24] Further leases were granted to Richard Edwards, of Osborne’s former tenement, and to Thomas Willett, of Widow Wood’s former tenement, in January 1586 and February 1587, respectively.[25] By October 1591, Mr. Daniels was dead. His wife’s new husband, Mr. Wood, petitioned the Court for a new lease of his tenement.[26] The Company granted him a twenty-one year lease in November 1591.[27]

In 1601, a dispute erupted regarding Mr. Wood’s tenement in Mark Lane. In May, an order was made in the Court of Chancery that the Company were to make answer to the Court as to whether they had ever offered a lease of Wood’s tenement to a Mr. Robothom, who laid claim to it. The Company replied that they had never made any such offer or grant to Robothom.[28] The case ended in arbitration by the Company, who determined that Robothom must pay Wood 53s. 4d. within ten days, for all debts owing between them.[29] In return, Wood was to allow Robothom to dwell in a house or tenement in Mark Lane, during all his term there. Robothom had to enter a bond of £50 for maintaining the property and undertaking any repairs during his dwelling there. If he defaulted on the payment, he was to be evicted from the house.[30]

In 1605, the Company conducted a large survey of all their properties, issuing warnings for the properties to be repaired. The surveyors warned Richard Wood to ‘amend his house in Marke Lane in playsteringe to scowre the sincke & cleanse the privie & to make the pipe in the yarde lower’.[31] They informed the Court that they had delivered the note of the necessary repairs to the tenant there, presumably Robothom.[32] In 1607, Richard Wood’s tenancy in Mark Lane had come to an end, and he entered negotiations regarding the fixtures and fittings of his property.[33]  The Company agreed to give Wood 40s. in respect of his interest in the wainscot and other fittings in the house. They acknowledged that he could take the cloth hanging and a back of iron used in the chimney from the house, but that he had to leave the remainder of the goods behind.[34]

In 1611, the Company faced a suit by the King, who had claimed an interest in the corner tenement at Mark Lane, which was leased to Mr. Rymell. The KingMark Lane and Harte Street, Treswell Survey, 1612 claimed a quit rent of £3 6s. 8d.[35] Following the suit, the Company requested that the Master, Wardens and other Court officers, should examine the writings relating to the property and take legal advice. They pointed out that the King had previously made no claim against them, and they felt his sudden claim to be unjust.[36] In April 1612, the Company concluded that the tenement to which the King actually had claim was that on the corner of the north end of Mark Lane next Fenchurch Street, and four other tenements in Fenchurch Street. They planned to meet with their lawyer to resolve the dispute.[37] Treswell described the Company’s four tenements at Mark Lane in his 1612 Survey. All four tenements had a similar design and shape, and consisted of four storeys with shops, garrets and cellars in place.[38]

By 1618, the state of the tenements had again become a concern for the Company. In April, the Company reprimanded their tenant, Thomas Gamble, for failure to maintain his tenement, despite the reparations clause in his lease.[39] Gamble apologised to the Company, and offered to repair the tenement in accordance with the wishes of the surveyors who had visited the property in April 1617. The Company agreed to let him proceed with the repairs, and fined him 10s. for his previous failure.

Throughout the 1630s, 1640s and 1650s, the tenements at Mark Lane became subject to multiple lease renewals, agreements and transfers. At each lease change, the Company surveyed the properties, but no reports of any major defects were recorded in the Court Orders. The properties at Mark Lane appear to have survived during the Great Fire with damage mainly confined to their roofs. These were fixed over the ensuing years. The Company exchanged their properties in Mark Lane for 131-132 Fenchurch Street in 1954. This is now part of Fountain House, and remains in the Company property portfolio.[40]

The Mark Lane 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 £18 from Mark Lane, with expenditure recorded as ‘nil’.[41] In 1620, the annual rental income from Mark Lane was £18.[42]  By 1640, the annual income from Mark Lane was still £18.[43] By 1660, the annual income was c.£22 6s.[44] By 1680, the Company were receiving £10 rental income from the Mark Lane properties.[45]


[1] TNA PROB 11/28, The Will of Oliver Claymond, 28 February 1540.

[2] The Clothworkers’ Company Archive (hereafter CCA), Court Orders, CL/B/1/1, f. 166r, Agreement with John Clerke, 9 October 1550.

[3] Ibid.

[4] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/1, f. 224r, Grant to Mr. Ravensbe, 10 November 1557.

[5] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/2, f. 3r, Petition by Heywarde and Hawes, 27 February 1559.

[6] Ibid.

[7] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/2, f. 6r, Repairs in Mark Lane, 12 July 1559.

[8] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/2, f. 39v, Demolition of houses in Mark Lane, 22 September 1562.

[9] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/2, f. 56v, Frames for the properties at Mark Lane to be built, 19 August 1563.

[10] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/2, f. 56v, Payment fo Humphrey Furnes, 29 October 1563.

[11] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/2, f. 55v, Petition and grant of a preferment to Mr. Lute, 27 July 1563 and CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/2, f. 55v, Petition and grant of a preferment to Mr. Wygge, 27 July 1563.

[12] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/2, f. 59r, Lease to Clerke, 11 January 1564.

[13] Ibid.

[14] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/2, f. 60v, Lease to John Lute, 1 February 1564.

[15] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1, f. 66r, Lease to Edward Dycher, 4 June 1564.

[16] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/2, f. 87r, Survey at Mark Lane, 20 March 1566.

[17] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/2, f. 115v, Survey at Mark Lane, 30 March 1568.

[18] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/2, ff 128r-128v, Survey at Mark Lane, 3 March 1569.

[19] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/2, ff 180v-181r, Survey at Mark Lane, 29 March 1574.

[20] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 11r, Survey at Mark Lane, 13 March 1582

[21] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 29r, Repairs at Mr. Daniel’s house, 24 September 1583.

[22] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 36r, Survey at Mark Lane, 23 March 1584 and CL/B/1/3, f. 45v-46r, Survey at Mark Lane, 22 March 1585.

[23] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 51v, Lease granted to Mr. Lute, 4 October 1585.

[24] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 52r, Lease to Mr. Daniels, 4 October 1585.

[25] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 55r, Lease to Edwards, 18 January 1586 and CL/B/1/3, f. 71v, Lease to Willett, 21 February 1587.

[26] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 110v, Suit for a lease by Mr. Wood, 7 October 1591.

[27] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 112r, Lease granted to Mr. Wood, 16 November 1591.

[28] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 203v,  Court of Chancery request relating to dispute beween Wood and Robothom, 10 June 1601.

[29] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 203r, Company’s arbitration of the dispute between Wood and Robothom,  17 June 1601.

[30] Ibid.

[31] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3 f. 245r, Survey at Mark Lane, 10 June 1605.

[32] Ibid.

[33] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5,  f. 16r, Agreement with Wood regarding the fixtures and fittings in his former tenement at Mark Lane, 19 October 1607.

[34] Ibid.

[35] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 85r, The King’s Claim, 23 July 1611,

[36] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 83v, The King’s Claim, 25 June 1611.

[37] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, ff 109r-109v, The King’s Claim, 20 April 1612.

[38] CCA, Court Orders, Treswell Survey.

[39] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, ff 258v-259r,  Company reprimand Gamble, 22 April 1618.

[40] A. Buchanan, ‘The Sources of the Wealth of The Clothworkers’ Company’, unpublished paper.

[41] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/4, Section 6, The Renter Warden accounts of Anthony Fawlkes, 1600, f. 1v and f. 3av

[42] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/5, Section 16, The Renter Warden accounts of Daniel Hall, 1620, f. 2v.

[43] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/8, Section 4, The Renter Warden accounts of William Harris, 1640, f. 2r

[44] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/10, The Renter Warden accounts of Dennis Gawden, 1660, f. 8 and f. 8.

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