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religious, or mercantile, fraternity, or of an affluent citizen of the olden time, was utterly unknown. Ages had past away—the building remained—but the memory of its master was lost. Many of the armorial shields were recognised by the heraldist, yet, one coat of arms (impaled with a merchant's mark) remained as a puzzle unto all enquirers—its owner could not be discovered. The arms displayed on this shield, and the merchant's mark, but on separate scutcheons, were again seen to ornament the transom-stone of the chimney-piece, showing thereby, that their honoured owner was, also, the builder of this interesting, ancient, Hall. After much research the author did, by chance, discover, that the arms alluded to were those of Halle of Salisbury. The name met his eye (where he should least have expected to have found it) amongst the “ Additions and Emendations” at the very close of Edmondson’s “Complete Body of Heraldry.” On taking down the description of the arms as given in that work, and comparing it on the spot with those depicted on the, then, unknown shield, he, agreeably, found them to correspond.
Having thus obtained a clue, the author sued, in an ardent chase, his researches; and, thinking it probable, that Aubrey, the Wiltshire Antiquary, (who lived about the middle of the 17th century, midway between the 15th and the 19th centuries—the respective days of John
purHalle, and those of our present times,)-might, possibly, impart to him some useful information, he resolved (with permission, which was kindly granted) to inspect his MSS. in the Library of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, when he had the high gratification to find, not only, that he spoke of John Halle as an eminent merchant at Salisbury, but also that he adds: “his dwelling house, now a Taverne, 1669, was on the Ditch.” From the circumstance, that the street, now known by the name of the New Canal, was called the Ditch, even unto modern days, and that the arms of Halle do adorn the splendid room in question, its identity with the premises alluded to by Aubrey was, thereby, firmly established in the mind of the author. In addition to this evidence, however, the records of the City of Salisbury, written in the 15th century, not only supplied very curious, and interesting, memorials of the worthy John Halle, the affluent merchant of that faire Citie, but, also, the copy of the deed of purchase of the premises transferred to him by William Hore, Senior, Merchant, in the 7th year of Edward, the Fourth, 1467. In this Deed, the locus in quo, or site, of the premises in question is so ininutely described, that the most incredulous cannot but be convinced, that the beautiful room on the New Canal, in the City of Salisbury, in the ownership, and occupation, of Mr. S. Payne, and now fitted up as a show-room for his splendid collection of china, was—the Halle of John Halle.
The copy of the Deed alluded to, which is in Latin, with its translation, (for the benefit of all the readers of this work,) will appear in full in the second volume, and may prove a rich treat for the more refined classic of the present age. The passage of the deed, descriptive of the situation of the premises purchased by John Halle, and which is, in fact, its opening preamble, is as follows : “Sciant presentes et futuri quod Ego Willielmus Hore sen. ciuis ciuitatis Noue Sarum Marchaunt dedi concessi et hac presenti carta mea confirmaui Joh'i Halle de Ciuitate predicta Marchaunt et Johanne uxori eius totum illud mesuagium meum cum Shopis eidem mesuagio annexis et aliis commodis pertinentiis suis que sita sunt conjunctim in Ciuitate Noue Sarum exopposito fori ubi lane venduntur.” These latter words “exopposito fori ubi lane venduntur,” i. e. “opposite the market, where wools are sold,” clearly point out the situation of the mansion of John Halle. The premises of Mr. S. Payne are opposite to the spot, which, it is well known to the inhabitants of Salisbury even of the present day, was the Wool Market of former times. Indeed, within the period of almost recent days, the author of this work remembers, that, on the spot alluded to, there was a board, affixed on the wall of the corner house, inscribed “ The Wool Market.” The author will here in
troduce a further corroborative link (although it be not wanted) in his chain of evidence. Prior to the discovery of this interesting Deed he always held, that the premises of John Halle did not extend to the street-that the front shop of Mr. S. Payne was, originally, a different property; and he drew his inference from the following facts—that ancient Halls are, usually, situate from north to south-that, when so situate, the head of the Halle, containing the dais, or raised floor for the high table, was always at the north end—and that this end was ever enclosed, as no door was permitted to open into it, lest the lord of the mansion, and his guests, should be exposed to the intruding air.
For these reasons the author repeats, that he ever held, that the front shop of Mr. S. Payne was a different property, as otherwise John Halle would have made the north, or enclosed, end of his beautiful room to have abutled on the street, and thus to have preserved the communication between the different parts of his premises ; and, by reference to the Deed, he does accordingly find, that the premises, purchased by John Halle were situate “inter tenementum nuper Willi’. Bowyer ex parte boreali, et tenementum Decani et Capituli Ecclesie Cathedralis Beate Marie Sarum ex parte australi,” i. e. “ between the tenement lately belonging to William Bowyer on the north part, and the tenement of the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral
Church of the Blessed Mary on the south part. The tenement (lately) belonging to William Bowyer was indubitably the front shop of Mr. S. Payne, and the tenement of the Dean and Chapter must allude to the garden in the present occupation (as freehold) of Mr. Trotman, of Catherine-street. So strong, however, is the identity of the Halle of John Halle otherwise established, that the fact of this land not at this time belonging to the Dean and Chapter does not affect the question.*
Thus so strong, and well-combined, are the united proofs, that the splendid room in question was—the Halle of John Halle, that it would be an insult to his reader, if the Author sought by a summary of his arguments further to urge its credence. He, who would disbelieve the past existence of John Halle, and the identity of his splendid banqueting-room, must be an infidel as to all facts of the recorded history of the olden times-a state of mind to be pitied, but not envied.
The Author now begs leave to remark, that, although there exist many fine specimens of
* On the best authority the Author affirms, that the property of the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury has varied in the progress
Their tenure in this property must have at some time been yielded to the Bishop as the superior Lord, (perhaps by exchange,) and he must, under some arrangement, legal or illegal, have granted it in fee. The reader must not forget, that, in the 16th century, Bishop Coldwell alienated the Manor of Sherborne from the episcopal possessions.-E. D.