1547 - 1558

Lambeth Hill, or Lambart Hill, as it was originally named, according to Stow, “of one Lambert, “owner thereof” was in Queenhithe Ward. The Salvation Army Headquarters now covers the site of Blacksmiths’ Hall, which was on the west side of the hill. The Hall was not far from the church of St Mary Somerset, destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666 and rebuilt, of which Wren’s tower is still standing. The Hall was somewhat nearer to the small church of St Mary Monthaw; but the parish church of the Blacksmiths was St Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, destroyed in the Great Fire, rebuilt by Wren (1685) and again burnt in 1886. The parish is now united to St Martin, Ludgate.

Other buildings in the vicinity were the great Priory of the Dominicans or Black Friars, which was on Puddle Dock Hill, (now St Andrew’s Hill) from the top of which the beautiful Gothic spire of Old St Paul’s rose more than five hundred feet from the surrounding buildings. Baynard’s Castle was not far from the Hall and near the river. The Steelyard on the site of Cannon Street railway station was a short distance to the east.

The reign of Edward VI could not have been a happy time for the respectable citizens of London for there was much rioting and universal destruction of historic monuments and works of art. Insurrections in various parts of the country produced insecurity. Reformers had not yet developed their new teaching to replace the moral discipline of the old religion so this led to much licence and dissipation. Unfortunately, this is reflected in the Company’s accounts which show adverse balances, largely due to extravagant expenditure on eating and drinking.

Throughout the reigns of Edward VI and Mary, the Company was poorer than at any other time in its history but the early years of the reign of Elizabeth showed a decided improvement. Under the Tudor sovereigns, the City Companies were called upon to spend large sums of money on arming and equipping soldiers and also for the provision of ships of war. These payments are an arresting feature of our accounts and occasionally information is given as to the particular purpose for which these troops or ships were required.