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repaire to his said howse. There was a schole howse sett upp to learn younge boyes to cutt purses. There were hung up two devices, the one was a pockett, the other was a purse.
The pocket had in yt certen cownters and was hunge abowte with hawkes bells, and over the toppe did hangge a little scaring bell ; and he that could take owt a counter without any noyse was allowed to be a publique Hoyster ; and he that could take a piece of sylver owt of the purse without the noyse of any of the bells, he was adjudged a judiciall Nypper. Nota, that a Hoister is a Pick-pockett, and a Nypper is termed a Pickpurse or a Cutpurse.
Memorand. That in Wotton's howse at Smart's keye are wryten in a table divers Poysies, and among the rest one is this
“Si spie sporte, si non spie, tunc steale." Another is thus
“Si spie, si non spie, Hoyste, nyppe, lyfte, shave and spare not.” Note, that Hoyste is to cutt a pockett, nyppe is to cutt a purse, lyft is to robbe a shoppe or a gentilman's chamber, shave is to take a cloake, a sword, a sylver spoone, or such like that is negligentlie looked unto.—Fleetwood (the Recorder) to Lord Burghley, July 7, 1585 (Ellis, vol. ii. p. 298).
Smithfield, or, SMOOTHFIELD, the “campus planus re et nomine" of Fitzstephen, an open area in the form of an irregular polygon containing 5 acres, for centuries, and until 1855, used as a market for sheep, horses, cattle and hay. It is sometimes called West Smithfield, to distinguish it from a place of smaller consequence of the same name in the east of London.
Est ibi extra unam portarum, statim in suburbio, quidam planus campus, re et nomine.-Fitzstephen (temp. Henry II.)
And this Sommer, 1615,2 the Citty of London reduced the rude vast place of Smithfield into a faire and comely order, which formerly was neuer held possible to be done, and paved it all ouer, and made diuers sewers to conuey the water from the new channels which were made by reason of the new pauement: they also made strong rayles round about Smithfield, and sequestred the middle part of the said Smithfield into a very faire and ciuill walk, and rayled it round about with strong rayles to defend the place from annoyance and danger, as well from carts as all manner of cattell, because it was intended hereafter, that in time it might proue a faire and peaceable Market Place, by reason that Newgate Market, Cheapside, Leadenhall, and Gracechurche Street, were unmeasurably pestred with the unimaginable increase and multiplicity of market-folkes. And this field, commonly called West Smithfield, was for many yeares called “Ruffian's Hall,” by reason it was the usual place of Frayes and common fighting during the time that sword and bucklers were in use. But the ensuing deadly fight of Rapier and Dagger suddenly suppressed the fighting with Sword and Buckler.—Howes, ed. 1631, p. 1023.
Falstaff. Where's Bardolph ?
. I bought him in Paul's, and he'll buy me a horse in Smithfield : an I could get me but a wife in the Stews, I were manned, horsed, and wived. Second Part of Henry IV., Act i. Sc. 2.
This town two bargains has not worth one farthing,
Epilogue to Dryden's Limberham. And if some Smithfield Ruffian take up some strange going : some new mowing with the mouth ; some wrinching with the shoulder; some brave proverb; some
1 Answer 1372 to Question of Committee of House of Commons on Smithfield Enquiry, 1849-1850.
• The work began, Antony Munday informs
us, on February 4, 1614-1615. “The citizens charge thereof (as I have been credibly told by Master Arthur Strangewaies) amounting well near to sixteen hundred pounds."
fresh new oath that is not stale but will run round in the mouth; some new disguised garment, or desperate hat, fond in fashion, or garish in colour, whatsoever it cost, how small soever his living be, by what shift soever it be gotten, gotten must it be, and used with the first, or else the grace of it is stale and gone. — Roger Ascham's Scholemaster, 1570 (Arber, p. 54).
December 4, 1668.- Mr. Pickering meets me at Smithfield, and I, and W. Hewer and a friend of his, a jockey, did go about to see several pairs of horses, for my coach; but it was late and we agreed on none, but left it to another time : but here I do see instances of a piece of craft and cunning that I never dreamed of, concerning the buying and choosing of horses. - Pepys.
Smithfield is famous in history for its jousts, tournaments, executions and burnings, and until 1855 for its market, the great cattle market of the largest city in the world. Here Wallace and the gentle Mortimer were executed. [See The Elms.] Here, on Saturday, June 15, 1381, Sir William Walworth slew Wat Tyler. “ The King,” says Stow, "stood towards the east near St. Bartholomew's Priory, and the Commons towards the west in form of battle.” 1
1357.—In the winter following [the Battle of Poictiers) were great and royall justs, holden in Smithfield, where many knightly feats of armes were done, to the great honour of the king and realme, at the which were present the kings of England, France, and Scotland, with many noble estates of all those kingdomes, whereof the more part of the strangers were prisoners.--Stow, by Howes, p. 263.
“Sir William Chatris, otherwise called Santre, parish priest of the church of St. Scithe (Osyth] the Virgin in London,” was the first person burned for heresy in England. The decree of Henry IV., dated February 26, 1400-1401, directs that he shall be "put into the fire in some public or open place within the liberties of your City." There can be no doubt that Smithfield was the place selected. The next victim (March 1609) was John Badley, a tailor in the diocese of Rochester. According to Foxe Prince Henry (Henry V.) was present at Smithfield and did his best to save him, going so far even as to have the fire extinguished for a time.
1410 (uth Henry IV.)—This same yere there was a clerk that beleved nought on the sacrament of the Auter, that is to seye, Godes body, which was dampned and brought into Smythfield to be brent, and was bounde to a stake where as he schulde be brent. And Henry, prynce of Walys, thanne the kynge's eldest sone, consailed hym for to forsake his heresye and holde the righte wey of holy chirche. And the prior of seynt Bertelmewes in Smythfeld broughte the holy sacrament of Godes body, with xij torches lyght before, and in this wyse cam to this cursed heretyk: and it was asked hym how he beleved ; and he ansuerde, that he beleved well that it was halowed bred and nought Godes body; and thanne was the toune put over hym, and fyre kyndled therein : and whanne the wrecche felte the fyre he cryed mercy ; and anon the prynce comanded to take awey the toune and to quenche the fyre, the whiche was don anon at his comandement: and thanne the prynce asked hym if he wolde forsake his heresye and taken hym to the feith of holy chirche, whiche if he wolde don, he schulde have hys lyf and good ynow to liven by: and the cursed shrewe wold nought, but contynued forth in his heresye ; wherefore he was brent. A Chronicle of London from 1089 to 1483, p. 92, edited by Sir N. H. Nicolas.
In May 1538 Forrest, the Prior of the Observant Convent at Greenwich, was burnt for denying the King's (Henry VIII.'s] supremacy; and for some reason his punishment was made to differ from the usual form. A wooden image of a Welsh saint which had been regarded with peculiar reverence throughout North Wales had recently been brought to London, and was hewed into billets to serve as fuel for the occasion. Forrest was suspended over the fire in an iron cage and roasted to death. On July 28, 1540, three eminent Protestant divines, Barnes, Garret and Jerome, were burnt at Smithfield for heresy; and three papists, Powel, Fetherstone and Abel, were, at the same time and place hanged, drawn and quartered, for denying the King's supremacy. The Marian burnings, some 270 in all, were too numerous to particularise. 'The last of the burnings for heresy in Smithfield was in the reign of James I., when, on March 25, 1612, ' Bartholomew Legate, the Arian so suffered. For other crimes Smithfield witnessed burnings, at least occasionally, for many years longer.
1 Stow's Annals, by Howes, ed. 1631, p. 288.
May 10, 1652.- Passing by Smithfield, I saw a miserable creature burning who had murdered her husband.--Evelyn.
In March 1849, during excavations necessary for a new sewer, and at a depth of 3 feet below the surface, immediately opposite the entrance to the church of St. Bartholomew the Great, the workmen laid open a mass of unhewn stones, blackened as if by fire, and covered with ashes and human bones charred and partially consumed. This was doubtless the spot generally used for the Smithfield burnings —the face of the sufferer being turned to the east and to the great gate of St. Bartholomew, the prior of which was generally present on such occasions. Many bones were carried away as relics. The spot is indicated by a granite memorial with a suitable inscription placed (1870) in the wall of St. Bartholomew's Hospital (on the left of the entrance), nearly opposite the above site. A “Smithfield Martyrs' Memorial Church " was about the same time erected in St. John's Street Road, the nearest site available. In the first English edition of Foxe's Acts and Monuments there is a view, accurate enough as to the locality, representing the burning of Anne Askew and her two companions. The market-place was paved, drained and railed in 1685.
The sharp practices in the horse and cattle markets early made Smithfield bargains a byword.
He (Gay) had made a pretty good bargain (that is a Smithfield) for a little pace in the Custom House. --Swift to Arbuthnot, November 30, 1727.
Shall I stand still and tamely see
H. Carey, The Honest Yorkshireman. The inconvenience of holding the great horse and cattle market of the metropolis within the City was every year more obvious. The space was insufficient to meet the ever increasing growth of the trade, and the interference with the ordinary traffic and the public comfort had become almost intolerable. The place itself had, moreover, come to be a moral and physical nuisance. It was surrounded by bonehouses, cat-gut manufactures, slaughter-houses, and knackers' yards, and of the sixty-seven houses about it thirteen were public-houses. On market-days it was dangerous to pass and painful to witness. None too dark for the latter years of its existence was Dickens's sketch of Smithfield Market in 1838:
It was market morning. The ground was covered, nearly ankle-deep, with filth and mire ; a thick steam perpetually rising from the reeking bodies of the cattle, and mingling with the fog, which seemed to rest upon the chimney-tops, hung heavily above. All the pens in the centre of the large area, and as many temporary pens as could be crowded into the vacant space, were filled with sheep; tied up to posts by the gutter side were long lines of beasts and oxen, three or four deep. Countrymen, butchers, drovers, hawkers, boys, thieves, idlers and vagabonds of every low grade, were mingled together in a mass; the whistling of drovers, the barking of dogs, the bellowing and plunging of oxen, the bleating of sheep, the grunting and squeaking of pigs, the cries of hawkers, the shouts, oaths, and quarrelling on all sides; the ringing of bells and roar of voices, that issued from every public-house ; the crowding, pushing, driving, beating, whooping and yelling ; the hideous and discordant din that resounded from every corner of the market ; and the unwashed, unshaven, squalid, and dirty figures constantly running to and fro, and bursting in and out of the throng ; rendered it a stunning and bewildering scene, which quite confounded the senses.—Oliver Twist, chap. xxi.
At length the Corporation decided to remove the market. The necessary Parliamentary powers were obtained. A site of about 30 acres was obtained in what was known as the Copenhagen Fields and a new market constructed. On June 11, 1855, the last market for horses, cattle and sheep was held, and Smithfield Market finally closed; and two days later, June 13, the New Smithfield or Metropolitan Cattle Market was opened in Copenhagen Fields. (See Metropolitan Cattle Market. On January 19, 1857, a large meeting of unemployed workmen of London was held in Smithfield. It was stated that the numbers were : carpenters, 9000; plasterers, 4000; painters, 4000; stone masons, 1000; bricklayers and labourers, 15,000; smiths, moulding decorators, etc., 2000, making a total of 35,000 men.
The general aspect of Smithfield has since greatly changed. It is still preserved as an open space, the hay market being still held here ; but the area has been contracted by the appropriation of that portion of it lying north of Long Lane to the construction of the Central Meat, Poultry, and Provision Markets, a very remarkable structure described elsewhere. [See London Central Markets.] The centre of Smithfield has been laid out as a garden, with a handsome drinking fountain, etc. The greater part of the public-houses have been cleared away ; a bank and other good buildings have been erected, and the approaches improved.
Smithfield Bars, a wooden barrier on the north side of Smithfield, like Holborn Bars, Temple Bar, etc. The name survived till the erection of the new Central Meat Market (1868), but the barrier had long disappeared.
Smithfield Bars, so called from the Bars there set up for the severing of the City Liberty from that of the County. --Strype, B. iii. p. 284.
June 23, 1580.— The French Imbasidore, Mounswer Mouiser (Malvoisier) ridinge to take the ayer, in his returne cam thowrowe Smithfild ; and ther, at the Bars, was steayed by those offisers that sitteth to cut sourds, by reason his raper was longer than the statute. He was in a great feaurie, and dreawe his raper; in the meane season my Lord Henry Seamore cam, and so steayed the matt'. Hir Matie is greatlie ofended wth the ofisers, in that they wanted jugement.-—Letter of Lord Talbot (Lodge, Ill. Br. Hist., vol. ii. p. 228).
Smithfield (East). Spenser, author of The Faerie Queen, is said to have been born here.
On the east and by north of the Tower lieth East Smithfield and Tower Hill, two plots of ground so called without the walls of the city. --Stow, p. 47.
Strype mentions the “lands and mills.” In early times it was a haunt of river-pirates, and very appropriately their place of execution.
Concerning Pyrates : I read, that in the year 1440 in the Lent season, certain persons with six ships brought from beyond the seas fish to victual the City of London ; which fish when they had delivered, and were returning homeward, a number of sea-thieves in a barge, in the night came upon them, when they were asleep in their vessels, riding at anchor on the river Thames, and slew them, cut their throats, cast them over board, took their money, and drowned their ships, for that no one should espy or accuse them. Two of these thieves were after taken and hanged in chains upon a gallows set upon a raised hill, for the purpose made, in the field beyond East Smithfield, so that they might be seen far into the river Thames. -Strype, B. iv. p. 43.
Smith Square, WESTMINSTER, the houses round St. John's Church [which see]. John Fawcett, the actor, was born at No. 5, February 6, 1824.
Smith Street, WESTMINSTER.
Smith Street, a new street of good buildings, so called from Sir James Smith, the ground landlord, who has here a fine house. It is situate in Westminster fronting the Bowling Alley on the west side Peter Street.—Hatton, 1708, p. 76.
From "Smith Street, Westminster, 1707," Steele writes to assure the future Mrs. Steele that he lies down to rest with her image in his thoughts, and awakes in the morning in the same contemplation.1 Thomas Southerne, author of Oroonoko and the Fatal Marriage, died in 1746 at his house in this street. The Westminster Literary, Scientific, and Mechanics Institute was built 1840. It is now a Free Library and School of Art in connection with South Kensington.
Smyrna Coffee-house, a celebrated coffee-house of the time of Queen Anne. It was situated on the north side of Pall Mall, at the corner of Crown Court, over against Marlborough House—where is now No. 59, Messrs. Harrisons, the booksellers.
My brother Isaac designs, for the use of our sex, to give the exact characters of all the chief politicians who frequent any of the coffee-houses from St. James's to the 'Change ; but designs to begin with that cluster of wise-heads, as they are found sitting every evening, from the left side of the fire at the Smyrna to the door.— The Tatler, No. 1o, May 3, 1709.
i Corresp., by Nichols, vol. i. p. 104.