THE TRVE REPORT of the burnyng of the Steple and Churche of Poules in London.

Ieremy. [...].iii.

I wyll speake suddenlye agaynst a nati­on, or agaynste a kyngedome, to plucke it vp, and to roote it out, and distroye it. But yf that nation, agaynste whome I haue pronounced, turne from their wickednes, I wyll re­pent of the plage that I thought to brynge vppon them.

Imprynted at London, at the west ende of Paules Church, at the sygne of the Hedghogge by Wyllyam Seres. Cum priuilegio ad imprimendum solum. Anno. 1561. The. x of Iune.

¶The true reporte of the burninge of the Steple and Church of Paules in London.

ON Wednesday beinge the fourthe daye of June, in the yeare of our Lord. 1561. and in the thyrde yeare of the reigne of our soueraygne Ladye Elizabeth by the grace of God, Queene of Englande, Fraunce and Ireland, defender of the faith. &c. betweene one and two of the clocke at after Noone, was seene a marueilous great fyrie lightning, and imme­diately insued a most terrible hy­deous cracke of thunder, suche as seldom hath been heard, and that by estimacion of sense, directlye o­uer the Citie of London. At which instante the corner of a turret of ye steple of saint Martins Churche within Ludgate was torne, and [Page] diuers great stones casten down, and a hole broken throughe the roofe & timber of the said church, by the fall of the same stones.

For diuers persones in tyme of the saide tempest being on the riuer of Thamys, and others be­yng in the fieldes nere adioyning to ye Citie, affirmed that thei saw a long and a speare pointed flame of fier (as it were) runne through the toppe of the Broche or Shaft of Paules Steple▪ from the Easte Westwarde. And some of the pa­rish of saint Martins then being in the streate, dyd feele a maruey­lous strong ayre or whorlewynd, with a smel lyke Brimstone, com­ming from Paules Churche, and withal heard the rushe of ye stones which fell frō their steple into the churche. Betwene .iiii. and fiue of [Page] the clocke a smoke was espied by diuers to breake oute vnder the bowle of the said shaf of Paules, & namely by Peter Johnson prin­cipall Registrer to the Bishop of Londō, who immediatly brought worde to the Bishops house. But sodeinly after, as it wer in a mo­mente, the flame brake furth in a circle like a garlande rounde a­bout the broche, about two yards to the stimacion of sight vnder the bowle of the said shaft, & increased in suche wise, that within a quar­ter of an howre, or litle more, the crosse & the Egle on the toppe fell downe vpon the south crosse Ile. The Lord Maior being sent for, & his brethren, came with all spede possible, & had a short consultaciō as in such a case might be, with y Bishop of London and others, for [Page] ye best way of remedy. And thither came also ye Lord keper of ye great Seale, & the Lord Treasorer, who by their wisedom and authoritie dyrected as good order, as in so great a confusiō could possible be.

Some there wer, pretēding ex­perience in warres, that coūceled the remanente of the steple to bee shot down with Canons, whiche counsel was not liked, as most pe­rilous both for the dispersing the fire, and destructiō of houses and people, other perceiuing the steple to be past al recouery, considering the hugenes of the fier, & the drop­ping of the lead, thought beste to geat ladders & scale the churche, & with axes to hew down a space of the roofe of the Churche, to stay the fier, at the leaste to saue some part of the saide churche, whiche [Page] was concluded. But before ye lad­ders & buckets could be brought, & things put in any order, and es­pecially because the churche was of such height, that thei could not skale it, & no sufficiente nomber of axes could be had, ye laborers also being troubled with ye multitude of ydle gasers, the moste parte of the higheste roofe of the Churche was on fier.

Fyrst the fall of the Crosse and Egle fired the southe crosse Ile, whiche Ile was firste consumed, the beames & brands of the steple fell down on euery side, & fired the other thre partes, that is to saye, the Chauncel or Quier, the north Ile, & the body of the church. So that in one howres space ye broch of the steple was brent downe to ye battlementes, & the most part of y [Page] highest roofe of the churche, like­wise consumed. The state of the steple & churche seming both des­perate: my Lord Mayor was ad­uised by one maister Winter of ye admiraltie, to conuerte the moste part of his care & prouisiō to pre­serue the Bishops palace adioy­nyng to the Northwest end of the church: least frō that house beinge large, the fier might sprede to the stretes adioyning. Wherupon the ladders, buckets, & laborers, were commaunded thither, & by greate labor & diligente, a piece of ye roofe of the Northe Ile was cut down, & the fier so stayed, and by muche water, that parte quenched, and ye said Bishops house preserued. It pleased god also at the same tyme bothe to turne & calme the winde, which afore was vehemēt, & con­tinued [Page] stil high & greate in other partes without ye citie. There wer abouee .v. C. persons y laboured in carying & fillīg water &c. Diuers substancial Citizens toke paynes as if thei had bene laborers, so did also diuers & sondrye gentlemen, whose names wer not knowen to the writer hereof, but amongst o­ther, the said M. Winter, & one. M Stranguish, did both take nota­ble paines in their own persons, & also much directed & encouraged other, and that not without great daūger to thēselues. In ye euening came the Lord Clinton, Lord ad­miral frō ye court at Grenewiche, whō the Queenes maiesty assone as the rage of the fier was espied by her maiestye and others in the court, of the pitifull inclinacion & loue that her gracious highnesse [Page] dyd beare both to ye said church & the citie, sente to assyst my Lorde Mayor for the suppressyng of the fyre, who with his wysdome, au­thority & diligēt trauayl did very much good therin. About .x. of the clocke the fyercenes of the fyre was past, the tymbre being fallen and lyinge brenninge vppon the vaultes of stone, the vaultes yet god be thanked) standynge vnpe­rished: so as onelye the tymbre of the hole church was consumed, & the lead molten, sauyng the most parte of the two lowe Iles of the Queare, and a piece of the north Ile, and an other smal piece of ye southe Ile, in the bodye of the churche. Notwithstandynge all which, it pleased the merciful god in his wrath to remēbre his mer­cie, and to enclose the harme of [Page] this most fyerce and terrible fyre, wythin the walles of thys one church, not extending any part of his wrath in this fyre vppon the rest of the Citie, whiche to all rea­son and sence of man was subiect to vtter distruction. For in the hole city without the churche no stycke was kyndled surelye.

Notwithstanding that in diuerse partes, & stretes, and within the houses bothe adioyninge and of a good distaunce, as in fletestrete, & newgate market, by the violence of fyre, burninge coles of greate bignesse, fell downe almoost as thicke as haylstones, and flawes of lead were blowen abrode into the gardins without ye Citie, like flawes of snow in bredthe wtoute hurt, god be thanked, to any house or persō. Many fond talkes goe a­brode [Page] of the original cause of this fier. Some say, it was negligence of plumbers, whereas by due examinacion it is proued that no plumbers or other workemen la­bored in the churche for sixe mo­nethes before. Other suspect it was done by som wicked practise of wildfyer or gunpouder but no iust suspicious therof by any exa­minacion can be founde hitherto. Some suspect coniurers & sorce­rers, wherof there is also no great likelyhode. And if it hadde bene wrought yt waie, yet could not the deuil haue done it, without Gods permissiō, & to som purpose of his vnsercheable iudgemēts, as appe­reth in the story of Job. The true cause as it semeth, was the tēpest by gods suffrance: for it cannot be otherwise gathered, but that at ye said great & terrible thunderclap, [Page] when sainte Martins steple was [...]orne, the lightning which by na­tural order smiteth ye highest, did first smite ye top of Paules steple, and entring in at the small holes which haue alwaies remained o­pen for building skaffoldes to the works & finding the timber very olde & drie, did kindle ye same, & so ye fier increasing grew to a flame & wrought ye effecte which folow­ed most terrible then to behold, & now most lamentable to looke on.

On Sonday folowyng beynge the .viii. day of June, the reuerend in god, the Bishop of Duresme, at Paules crosse made a learned & fruitful sermon, exhorting the au­ditory to a general repentance, & namely to humble obediēce of the lawes & superior powers, whiche vertue is muche decayed in these our daies: seming to haue intelly­gēce [Page] from the Queenes highnes that her maiestie intendeth tha [...] more seueritie of lawes shalbe executed against persons disobedyent, aswell in causes of religiō, as ciuil, to the great reioysing of his auditours. He exhorted also hys audiēce to take this as a generall warninge to the whole realme, & namelye to the citie of London, of some greater plage to folow, if a­mendmente of lyfe in all states did not ensue: He muche reproued those persons whiche woulde as­signe the cause of this wrathe of god to any perticular state of mē, or that were diligent to loke into other mens lyues, & coulde see no faultes in themselfes: but wished that euery man wold descend in­to himselfe and say with Dauid [...] I am he that hathe sinned, and so furth to that effect [Page] [...]erye godlye. He also not onely re­proued the prophanatyon of the said Churche of Paules of longe time hertofore abused by walkīg, [...]angling, brawling, fighting, bargaining. &c. namely in Sermons & seruice time: but also aūswered by the way to the obiectiōs of such euil tunged persōs, which do im­pute this token of gods deserued ire, to alteraciō, or rather reformaciō of religiō, declaring out of aūcient records & histories, y like, yea & greater maters had befallen in y time of supersticiō & ignorance. For in ye first yere of king Stephā not only ye said church of Paules was brēt, but also a great part of ye city, yt is to say, frō Londō bridge vnto S. Clemēts without Tēple bar, was by fier cōsumed. And in ye daies of king Hēry ye .vi. y steple of Paules was also fired by light­ning, [Page] although it was then staidi by diligēce of ye Citizens, ye fier be­ing thē by likelyhode not so fierce. Many other suche like cōmon ca­lamities he rehersed, whiche had happened in other coūtreis, both nigh to this realm & far of, where ye church of Rome hath most auc­thority, & therefore cōcluded ye su­rest way to be, yt euery man should iudge, examin, & amēd himselfe, & embrace, beleue, and truely folow ye word of god, & earnestly to pray to god to turn away frō vs his de­serued wrath & indignaciō, wher­of this his terrible work is a most certein warning, if we repent not vnfeinedly. The whiche god grāt maye come to passe in all estates & degrees, to ye glory of his name and to oure endelesse comforte in Christ our sauiour. Amen.

God saue the Queene.

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