People Property and Charity

The Clothworkers' Company 1500-1688

Thames Street

William Franckland's gift, Book of Deeds and WillsWilliam Franckland (d.c.1567), Citizen and Clothworker, bequeathed two tenements in Thames Street, near Friar Lane, in the parish of All Hallows to The Clothworkers’ Company.[1] These were situated at 174, Upper Thames Street.[2] He left specific instructions that from the rental income, the Company should use 20s. to purchase coals for distribution amongst the poor of the parish of All Hallows at the feast of All Saints. He noted that this was the intention of his late wife, Margery. Furthermore, he instructed the Company to pay £3 a year to the poor in Somerscale, Heslewood and the Storys in the parish of Skipton in Craven, Yorkshire, where his family lived.[3] He appointed his son, William and nephew, Hugh as his executors.[4]

The first reference to the Thames Street properties in the Company Court Orders comes in 1577, when the properties were included in the annual Company survey of their properties. The tenements were noted as ‘lacking tiling’.[5] Following this early record, the Company’s day-to-day management of the Thames Street tenements was recorded in the Court Orders. In 1580, the Company was in dispute with the parish of Skipton in Craven, Yorkshire. Under the terms of Franckland’s will, the Company were obliged to pay £3 to the poor of the parish on an annual basis from the rental incomes accrued at Thames Street. In the early years of the Company’s ownership of the properties, however, they failed to make these payments. The Court Orders noted the petition of Hugh Franckland, a nephew of William, who brought both a copy of his uncle’s will and a letter of attorney from the parish of Skipton to the Court. He ‘demanded debts and arrears due to them from Thames Street’.[6] By the following year, the Company’s attention had turned to the offering of leases for the tenements. Edward Chapman, Dyer, petitioned for, and received a lease of the two tenements at Thames Street for forty years.[7] He undertook to pay £6 rent a year and a £30 fine.[8] The lease also made him solely responsible for repairs at the properties.[9] Chapman was held to this repair clause when, in 1583, the Company conducted their annual survey. The survey noted that ‘the Joiners [lacked] a window in the upper room to be by the dyer [Chapman] provided’.[10]

The properties were again embroiled in dispute in 1611, when the Court Orders noted how the neighbouring tenant had actually broken ‘down an oven and a Thames Street, Treswell Surveyfunnel of a vault’, which belonged to Widow Chapman’s tenements at Thames Street.[11] The damage caused by the neighbour, however, was not the Company’s only concern regarding the tenements. In March 1612, the annual survey warned Mr. Chaundler, the under tenant to Widow Chapman, about the need to repair the tenement.[12] In the same year, both tenements were recorded in the Treswell Survey. The first tenement, leased to Widow Chapman, but noted in the tenure of Christopher Robotham, was described as a three-story building.[13] The tenement contained a shop at lower level; a hall or chamber with a chimney and closet on the second floor; a chamber over the coalhouse and kitchen on the second floor; and a chamber or garret over the chambers on the third story.[14]  The second tenement, also leased to Widow Chapman, was in the tenure of Ferdinando Boate.[15] This tenement again comprised three floors. The ground floor was a shop, with a second story containing a chamber and another room and a third story comprising two garrets.[16]

By 1622, Christopher Robotham held the lease of his tenement at Thames Street. In this year, he informed the Court that he had rebuilt the tenement over the previous three years.[17] He described the rebuilding as consisting of ‘the forepart of the messuage of brick and stone and hath repaired the back according to the form prescribed for the new building’.[18] He had spent £120 on the rebuilding to date, and agreed to spend a further sum of £60 ‘to new build the tenement in his lease’. [19] In 1624, the Court granted an an addition of ten years to his lease.[20] Robotham became the Company’s main tenant at Thames Street in 1626, when Anne Bantam, the daughter of Joan Boate, the late leaseholder, requested permission to assign the lease to Robotham.[21] Permission seems to have been granted, as in 1628, Robotham was back at Court ‘seeking an addition of years to his lease in order to undertake repairs to the second tenement at Thames Street’.[22]

The Thames Street properties were retained by the Robothams until the 1650s. In 1655, Elizabeth Robotham, Christopher’s widow, petitioned the Court to allow a new lease for one of the tenements at Thames Street to be granted to Mr. Nuce, Baker, who resided in the property.[23] The Company offered a lease to Nuce for twenty-one years, beginning on 29 September 1656. He undertook to pay £4 a year in rent and to pay a £95 fine.[24] The Thames Street properties were destroyed during the Great Fire of London. In its aftermath, the Company offered a lease of the properties for fifty-five years to John White.[25] White undertook to pay £6 annually in rent, and to pay all taxes and arrears of rent on the property.[26] The Company retained the Thames Street properties until 1897, when they were exchanged for 7, Mark Lane.[27]

The Thames Street 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 £6.[28] In the same year, the expenditure from the rental income amounted to £4.[29] In 1620, the annual rental income from Thames Street was £6, while the annual expenditure was £4.[30] By 1640, the annual income from Thames Street had risen to £6 with an expenditure of £4.[31] By 1660, the annual income was £6 with expenditure reaching £1.[32] By 1680, the Company was still receiving £6 annually from the Thames Street properties, with expenditure consistently at £4.[33]


[1] TNA PROB 11/59, ‘Will of William Franckland’

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

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] The Clothworkers’ Company Archive (hereafter CCA), Court Orders, CL/B/1/2, ff 215v-216r, Survey of tenements at Thames Street, 11 March 1577.

[6] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/2, f. 247r, Dispute with the people of Skipton, Craven, Yorkshire, 18 November 1580.

[7] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, f. 3r, Lease to Edward Chapman, 10 November 1581.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/3, ff 24r-24v, Survey of Thames Street properties, 22 March 1583.

[11] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 76r, Dispute with neighbours at Thames Street, 6 February 1611.

[12] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 106v, Repairs needed at Thames Street, 17 March 1612.

[13] CCA, Treswell Survey, 1612.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/4, f.259v, Rebuilding of the tenement by Christopher Robotham, 8 October 1622.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/6, f.12v, Addition of years to Robotham’s lease, 7 April 1624.

[21] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/6, f. 49r, Assigning of lease to Robotham, 16 January 1626.

[22] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/6, f. 73r, Robotham seeking an addition of years to his lease, 2 July 1628.

[23] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 65v, Lease to Mr. Nuce, 29 August 1655.

[24] Ibid.

[25] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/10, p. 192, Lease to White, 21 July 1669.

[26] Ibid.

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

[28] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/4, Section 6, The Renter Warden accounts of Anthony Fawlkes, 1600, f. 2v.

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

[30] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/5, Section 16, The Renter Warden accounts of Daniel Hall, 1620, f. 4r and 8v.

[31] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts,  CL/D/5/8, Section 4, The Renter Warden accounts of William Harris, 1640, f. 4r and f. 9v.

[32] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/10, The Renter Warden accounts of Dennis Gawden, 1660, f. 9 and f. 22.

[33] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/12, The Renter Warden accounts of Robert Stevenson, 1680, f. 7 and f. 17.