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sister's business was to seize the clothes of the lads who trespassed on their premises to bathe.”*
In Bolton House, formerly the corner-house of Russell Square turning into Guildford Street, resided Lord Chancellor Loughborough. The residence of Sir Thomas Lawrence was on the east side of Russell Square, No. 65, four doors from that of Lord Loughborough. In this square, at No. 21, Sir Samuel Romilly destroyed himself, in 1818.
In 1815, No. 6, Bedford Square was the residence of Lord Eldon. In Store Street, Bedford Square, the celebrated actor, Thomas King, breathed his last in December 1805.
Before quitting this neighbourhood, let us mention that in Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square, lived John George Morland and Richard Wilson, the painters, and that at No. 17, Buckingham Street, Fitzroy Square, John Flaxman, the sculptor, breathed his last. Let us not forget also the residence of the delightful actor, Jack Banister, who lived and died in Gower Street. He entertained a superstitious notion that he should die at the age of sixty-five, the number of his house, but he lived, we believe, several years afterwards.
* Smith's “Book for a Rainy Day,” p. 23.
CHEAPSIDE AT AN EARLY PERIOD CALLED THE
TOURNAMENTS HELD THERE. PERSONS EXECUTED AT THE STANDARD IN CHEAPSIDE.—“EVIL MAY-DAY.”—- ELIZABETH'S CORONATION
DENTS IN CHEAPSIDE. -STREETS IN THE VICINITY. MERMAID TAVERN.”
GUILDHALL. TRIAL-SCENES, AND ENTERTAINMENTS THERE. ST. MARY-LE-BOW." CROWN-SELD.” WATLING STREET.
GOLDSMITHS' AND COACHMAKERS' HALL.
LET us retrace our steps into Cheapside. This celebrated street, which derives its name from chepe, a market, was, in the middle of the thirteenth century, an open space called the “Crown Field,” from the Crown Inn, which stood at the east end of it. In the reign of Edward the Fourth, the sign of the “Crown,” in Cheapside, was kept by one Walter Walker. This person had observed in joke that he would make his son “heir to the crown." ” The words reached the jealous ears of royalty ; the foolish equivoque was construed into the crime of high treason, and the man was hanged opposite to his own door.
In the days of our Norman sovereigns, when Cheapside was still the “ Crown Field,” it shared with Smithfield the honour of witnessing those gorgeous tournaments of which the old chroniclers have given us such vivid descriptions. There is, in fact, no street in London more intimately associated with the romantic history of the past. Here, in 1329, between Wood Street and Queen Street, Edward the Third held a solemn tournament in honour of the French Ambassadors. The street was covered with sand, to prevent the horses from slipping ; and across it was erected a scaffold, richly decorated, in which sat Queen Philippa and her ladies, in all the blaze of beauty and precious stones. The King was present, surrounded by the chivalry of the land; and apart sat the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council, in their scarlet robes, and chains of massive gold. Suddenly, in the midst of the tilting, the gallery on which the Queen and her ladies sat gave way, “whereby,” says, Stow, “they were, with some shame, forced to fall down.” Some injuries occurred to the knights and others who were standing close to the gallery, but fortunately the ladies escaped unhurt. The King was in the highest degree exasperated against the master-carpenter who had erected the scaffolding, and ordered him to be led forth with to the gallows. The Queen, however, threw herself on her knees, and so pathetically pleaded to the King to save the life of the offender, that with some difficulty he consented; and Philippa was rewarded for her generous interference by an unanimous burst of applause from the surrounding multitude.*
* In consequence of this accident, “the King,” says Stow, “caused a shed to be strongly made of stone, for himself, the Queen, and other estates to stand on, and there to behold the joustings and other shows, at their pleasure, by the church of St. Mary, Bow, as is showed in Cordwainer Street Ward.”_STOW's Survey,” p. 101. Ed. 1842.
In the same reign (1339) we find Cheapside the scene of a sanguinary encounter between the rival companies of the Skinners and Fishmongers. In the heat of the fray, the Lord Mayor arrived on the spot with a band of armed citizens, and attempted to separate them, on which the rival factions made common cause, and drove the Lord Mayor and his men-at-arms from the field. Subsequently, however, the Sheriffs made their appearance with a large reinforcement; the ringleaders were seized, and seven of them hanged the following day in Cheapside, without even the pretence of a trial.
Edward the Third died in 1377, and, shortly afterwards, his grandson, Richard the Second, proceeded in great state through Cheapside in his way from the Tower to his coronation at Westminster. The young King, clad in white robes, rode in the centre of a brilliant assemblage of peers, knights, and esquires, accompanied by the sound of trumpets and other instruments. Thus, , we are told, he rode solemnly through the “public ways” till he came “ to the noble street called the Chepe,” the houses of which were hung with tapestry and cloth of arras, and thence to “Fletestrete,” and so direct to the royal palace of Westminster.
During Wat Tyler's insurrection, we find several persons beheaded by the infuriated mob at the Standard in Cheapside. Here, also, in 1450, when Jack Cade made himself master of the metropolis, Lord Say, High Treasurer of England, was put to death by the insurgents. In vain did he claim the privilege of being tried by his peers. He was dragged from the officers of justice, and hurried to the Standard at Cheapside, where, having been decapitated, his head was carried in triumph through the streets of London. Shakespeare has immortalised the scene in the Second Part of “ King Henry VI.”
Say.—Tell me wherein I have offended most ?
Have I affected wealth or honour; speak ?
O let me live!
it ; he shall die, an it be but for pleading so well for his life. Away with him! he has a familiar under his tongue ; he speaks not o' God's name. Go, take him away, I say, and strike off his head presently: and then break into his son-in-law's house, Sir James Cromer, and strike off his head, and bring them both upon two poles
God should be so obstinate as yourselves,
And, therefore, yet relent, and save my life !
Act iv. sc. 7.