People Property and Charity

The Clothworkers' Company 1500-1688

Mincing Lane

Exterior of Mincing Lane Properties, probably 18th centuryIn addition to the Company Hall, The Clothworkers’ Company also held two houses on Mincing Lane. On the Treswell plans, the houses sit either side of the Hall gate, with one standing alone and the other adjoining the Hall. The origin of these houses is not known, but it would appear that they were in place prior to the building of the second Hall on the Mincing Lane site. A 1538 reference to a house at the Hall gate records the granting of a lease of the house to John Halliday, the Mayor’s Officer. John  Gyle was noted as the previous tenant in the property.[1] It is most likely that these houses came into the possession of the newly formed Clothworkers’ Company from the estate of their predecessor, The Shearmen Company. The houses do not appear to have been rebuilt at the same time as the Hall in 1548.

The properties and the cellars beneath them were constantly in demand for rental purposes, and the Court Orders record a significant turnover of leaseholders for both houses during the early modern period. The Company ensured the privacy of the Hall throughout, issuing specific orders for the restricting of access from these houses into the Company Hall yard.  In 1551, the Hall Gate property was occupied by Dunston Ann. The Company agreed with Ann to undertake repairs to the house, which included the closing of two doors from the property into the hall yard.[2] In 1552, the Company struck an agreement with Ann that he would pay half the cost of these repairs, in exchange for a new lease of the property for six years.[3] Similarly, in 1556, the Company made a similar repair to the house leased to Mr. Holte, but occupied by Richard Gardiner, to ensure that his property only exited onto Mincing Lane.[4]

Treswell described both properties in his 1612 survey.[5] The property adjoining the Hall was by this time occupied by Thomas Holt, the Beadle of The Clothworkers’ Company. It consisted of four storeys, with a cellar underneath. The first story served as his shop and workshop. The Hall Gate tenement was occupied by John Domlawe, and was also four storeys in height, with a shop on the ground floor. The house stood on top of a large vault, which extended under the Hall courtyard, and joined up with the cellars underneath Clothworkers’ Hall.[6]Mincing Lane, Treswell Survey, 1612

By the 1620s and 1630s, the two houses had become properties occupied by Company officials. In the 1620s and early 1630s, the Domelawe family remained as occupants of the Hall Gate tenement. Elizabeth Domelawe, the widow of John Domelawe, retained the lease of the house and the cellar below until 1638. At this point, Elizabeth Domelawe was succeeded by Thomas Rogers, who gained a lease of the property, with Elizabeth as a resident.[7] By 1642, the property had come into the possession of the Company Clerk, Mr. Blount, who received a lease at the will of the Company at an annual rent of £12.[8] Repairs were carried out intermittingly during their history, and additions such as new lights were made to surrounding lands in the 1660s.[9]  The properties appear to have been retained for use by Company officers for the remainder of the seventeenth-century.

The Mincing 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 £7 10s. from Mincing Lane, with expenditure of £203 17s. 6d.[10]  In 1620, the annual rental income from Mincing Lane was £10, while £180 8s. 11d.[11] By 1640, the annual income from Mincing Lane had risen to £12 10s., with the annual expenditure noted as £125 1s. 3d.[12] By 1660, the annual income was £20, with expenditure reaching £193 15s. 4d.[13] By 1680, in the aftermath of the Great Fire, the Company were receiving c.£45 annually from the Mincing Lane properties.[14] Their annual Mincing Lane expenses in this year amounted to £54 19s.[15]

[1] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/1, f. 42r, Lease to John Halliday, 23 October 1538.

[2] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/1, f. 176r, Repairs to the house at the Hall Gate, 24 November 1551.

[3] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/1, f. 182r, Agreement with Dunston Ann 13 October 1552.

[4] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/1, f. 214v, Repairs to the house adjoining the Company Hall, 21 April 1556.

[5] CCA, The Treswell Survey, 1612.

[6] Ibid.

[7] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/7, f. 126r, Lease to Thomas Rogers, 18 July 1638.

[8] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/8, f. 58r, Lease to Mr. Blount, 22 April 1642.

[9] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/7, f. 99v, Defects at the hall gate properties to be amended, 7 June 1637; CCA, Court Orders, CL B/1/8, f. 47v, Repairs to the Hall Gate house to be undertaken, 16 November 1641; CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/10, p. 114, Petitiion by Mr. Parker to erect lighting in the company yard, 8 July 1668.

[10] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/4, Section 6, The Renter Warden accounts of Anthony Fawlkes, 1600, f. 1r and ff 7v-8r.

[11] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/5, Section 16, The Renter Warden accounts of Daniel Hall, 1620, f. 2r and ff 11r-12v.

[12] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/8, Section 4, The Renter Warden accounts of William Harris, 1640, f. 3r and ff11v-12v.

[13] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/10, The Renter Warden accounts of Dennis Gawden, 1660, f. 8 and ff 19-20.

[14] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/12, The Renter Warden accounts of Robert Stevenson, 1680, f. 7.

[15] Ibid., f. 16.