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London and the Kingdom - Volume I   By: (1848-1925)

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First Page:

[Illustration: CHARTER OF WILLIAM I TO THE CITIZENS OF LONDON.]

CHARTER OF WILLIAM I TO THE CITIZENS OF LONDON.

[Illustration: CHARTER OF WILLIAM I GRANTING LANDS TO DEORMAN.]

CHARTER OF WILLIAM I GRANTING LANDS TO DEORMAN.

London and the Kingdom

A HISTORY DERIVED MAINLY FROM THE ARCHIVES AT GUILDHALL IN THE CUSTODY OF THE CORPORATION OF THE CITY OF LONDON.

By REGINALD R. SHARPE, D.C.L., RECORDS CLERK IN THE OFFICE OF THE TOWN CLERK OF THE CITY OF LONDON; EDITOR OF "CALENDAR OF WILLS ENROLLED IN THE COURT OF HUSTING," ETC.

IN THREE VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE CORPORATION UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE LIBRARY COMMITTEE.

London LONGMANS, GREEN & Co. AND NEW YORK: 15 EAST 16TH STREET.

1894

LONDON: PRINTED BY BLADES, EAST & BLADES, 23, ABCHURCH LANE, E.C.

PREFACE.

Of the numerous works that have been written on London, by which I mean more especially the City of London, few have been devoted to an adequate, if indeed any, consideration of its political importance in the history of the Kingdom. The history of the City is so many sided that writers have to be content with the study of some particular phase or some special epoch. Thus we have those who have concentrated their efforts to evolving out of the remote past the municipal organization of the City. Their task has been to unfold the origin and institution of the Mayoralty and Shrievalty of London, the division of the City into wards with Aldermen at their head, the development of the various trade and craft guilds, and the respective powers and duties of the Courts of Aldermen and Common Council, and of the Livery of London assembled in their Common Hall. Others have devoted themselves to the study of the ecclesiastical and monastic side of the City's history its Cathedral, its religious houses, and hundred and more parish churches, which occupied so large an extent of the City's area. The ecclesiastical importance of the City, however, is too often ignored. "We are prone," writes Bishop Stubbs, "in examining into the municipal and mercantile history of London, to forget that it was a very great ecclesiastical centre." Others, again, have confined themselves to depicting the every day life of the City burgess, his social condition, his commercial pursuits, his amusements; whilst others have been content to perpetuate the memory of streets and houses long since lost to the eye, and thus to keep alive an interest in scenes and places which otherwise would be forgotten.

The political aspect of the City's history has rarely been touched by writers, and yet its geographical position combined with the innate courage and enterprise of its citizens served to give it no small political power and no insignificant place in the history of the Kingdom. This being the case, the Corporation resolved to fill the void, and in view of the year 1889 being the 700th Anniversary of the Mayoralty of London according to popular tradition instructed the Library Committee to prepare a work showing "the pre eminent position occupied by the City of London and the important function it exercised in the shaping and making of England."

It is in accordance with these instructions that this and succeeding volumes have been compiled. As the title of the work has been taken from a chapter in Mr. Loftie's book on London ("Historic Towns" series, chap. ix), so its main features are delineated in that chapter. "It would be interesting" writes Mr. Loftie "to go over all the recorded instances in which the City of London interfered directly in the affairs of the Kingdom. Such a survey would be the history of England as seen from the windows of the Guildhall." No words could better describe the character of the work now submitted to the public. It has been compiled mainly from the City's own archives. The City has been allowed to tell its own story. If, therefore, its pages should appear to be too much taken up with accounts of loans advanced by the City to impecunious monarchs or with wearisome repetition of calls for troops to be raised in the City for foreign service, it is because the City's records of the day are chiefly if not wholly concerned with these matters... Continue reading book >>


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