Page:Chronicle of the Grey friars of London.djvu/34

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PREFACE.

as the "admirable description of the scene, preserved by one who was no doubt an eye-witness—the great painter Holbein,"—has already passed forth into our popular literature.[1] But still let us preserve our faith in the interesting anecdote related by Grafton and Stowe, that when the scheme for the endowment of the royal hospitals was placed before the pious prince, and, according to the usual practice, a blank had been left for the amount of property which it should be lawful for the city to hold in mortmain for this object, Edward with his own hand wrote in the sum, "four thousand marks by the year,"[2] and then exclaimed, in the hearing of his council, "Lord, I yield thee most hearty thanks that thou hast given me life thus long, to finish this work, to the glory of thy name!"[3]

Some of the buildings of the ancient convent, including the Fratry and Refectory, were standing in the early part of the present century.[4] The walls and windows of Whittington's Library were to be seen in a mutilated state on the north side of the cloisters, and there are many engravings which represent them.[5] Even now the southern walk of the friars' cloisters remains, and its pointed arches and buttresses may be seen from the exterior. The western walk of

  1. London, edited by Charles Knight, 1842, 8vo. vol. ii. p. 334. An expression of opinion follows that the scene is a real representation of the old palace at Westminster.
  2. King Henry's grant had limited the amount in the same place to one thousand marks.
  3. After which foundation established, adds Grafton, "he lived not above two days." This is probably a misprint for ten days. Edward lived exactly ten days after the date of the letters patent; but it would be to some earlier stage of the business that the anecdote (if literally true) would belong. It appears that the letters patent were preceded by an indenture between the King and the City, as in the case of the former royal grant. This indenture escaped the researches of Mr. Trollope; but Strype says it bore date in June, and he has given an abstract of it, from the register of the privy council, in his amplification of Stowe's Survey, (edit. 1720,) vol. i. p. 177; and also in his Ecclesiastical Memorials, vol. i. 425.
  4. Trollope, p. 105.
  5. Mr. Trollope's print, opposite p. 105, represents them restored.