Natural and Political Observations Made upon the Bills of Mortality (Graunt 1676)/Chapter 9

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Of the growth of the City.


1.  IN the year 1593 there died in the ninety seven Parishes within the walls, and the sixteen without the walls (besides 421 of the Plague) 3508. And the next year 3478, besides 29 of the Plague: in both years 6986. Twenty years after there died in the same ninety seven, and sixteen Parishes, 12110, viz. Anno 1614, 5873; and Anno 1615, 6237: so as the said Parishes are increased, in the said time, from seven to twelve, or very near thereabouts.

2. Moreover, the Burials within the like space of the next twenty years, viz. Anno 1634 and 1635, were 15625, viz. as about twenty four to thirty one: the which last of the three numbers, 15625, is much more than double to the first 6986; viz. the said Parishes have in fourty years increased from twenty three to fifty two.

3. Where is to be noted, That although we were necessitated to compound the said |73| ninety seven with the sixteen Parishes, yet the sixteen Parishes have increased faster than the ninety seven. For. in the year 1620, there died within the walls 2726, and in 1660 there died but 3098 (both years being clear of the Plague:) so as in this fourty years the said ninety seven Parishes have increased but from nine to ten, or thereabouts, because the Housing of the said ninety seven Parishes could be no otherwise increased, than by turning great Houses into Tenements, and building upon a few Gardens.

4. In the year 1604 there died in the ninety seven Parishes 1518, and of the Plague 280. And in the year 1660, 3098, and none of the Plague; so as in fifty six years the said Parishes have doubled. Where note, That forasmuch as in the said year 1604 was the very next year after the great Plague 1603 (when the City was not yet re-peopled) we shall rather make the comparison between 2014, which died Anno 1605, and 3431 Anno 1659 choosing rather from hence to assert, That the said ninety seven and sixteen Parishes increased from twenty to thirty four, or from ten to seventeen in fifty four years, than from one to two in fifty six, as in the last aforegoing Paragraph is set down. |74|

5 Anno 1605 there died in the sixteen Out-Parishes 2974, and Anno 1659, 6988: so as in the fifty four years the said Parishes have increased from three to seven.

6. Anno 1605 there died in the eight Out-Parishes 960, Anno 1659 there died in the same scope of Ground, although called now ten Parishes (the Savoy and Covent-Garden[1] being added) 4301: so as the said Parishes have increased, within the said fifty four years, more than from one to four.

7. Moreover, there were Buried in all, Anno 1605, 5948, and Anno 1659, 14720, viz. about two to five.

8. Having set down the proportions, wherein we find the said three great Divisions of the whole Pyle, called London, to have increased; we come next to shew what particular Parishes have had the most remarkable share in these Augmentations. Viz. of the ninety seven Parishes within the Walls the increase is not discernible, but where great Houses, formerly belonging to Noblemen, before they built others near White-hall, have been turned into Tenements; upon which Account Alhallows upon the Wall is increased by the conversion of the Marquess of Winchester's House, lately the Spanish Embassadour's, into a new Street; the like of Alder-|75|man Freeman's, and La Motte's near the Exchange; the like of the Earl of Arundel's in Loth-bury; the like of the Bishop of London's Palace, the Dean of Paul's, and the Lord River's House now in hand; as also of the Duke's-Place, and others heretofore.

9. Of the sixteen Parishes, next without the Walls, Saint Giles Cripplegate hath been most enlarged, next to that Saint Olaves Southwark, then Saint Andrew's Holborn, then White-Chappel, the difference in the rest not being considerable.

10. Of the Out-Parishes, now called ten, formerly nine, and before that eight, Saint Giles's and Saint Martin's in the Fields are most increased, notwithstanding Saint Paul's Covent-Garden was taken out of them both.

11. The general Observation, which arises from hence, is, That the City of London gradually removes Westward, and did not the Royal Exchange and London-Bridg stay the Trade, it would remove much faster: for Leaden-Hall-street, Bishop's-Gate, and part of Fen-Church-street, have lost their Ancient Trade; Grace-Church-street indeed keeping it self yet entire, by reason of its conjunction with, and relation to London-Bridg. |76|

12. Again, Canning-street and Watlin-street, have lost their Trade of Woollen-Drapery to Paul's Church-Yard, Ludgate hill, and Fleet-street: the Mercery is gone from out of Lumbard-street and Cheap-side into Pater-Noster-Row and Fleet-street.

13. The reasons whereof are, That the King's Court (in old times frequently kept in the City) is now always at Westminster. Secondly, the use of Coaches, whereunto the narrow Streets of the old City are unfit, hath caused the building of those broader Streets in Covent-Garden, &c.

14. Thirdly, where the Consumption of a Commodity is, viz. among the Gentry, the Venders of the same must seat themselves.

15. Fourthly, the cramming up of the void spaces and Gardens within the Walls with Houses, to the prejudice of Light and Air, have made men build new ones, where they less fear those inconveniencies.

16. Conformity in Building to other civil Nations hath disposed us to let our old Wooden dark Houses fall to decay, and to build new ones, whereby to answer all the ends above-mentioned.

17. Where note, That when Lud-gate was the only Western Gate of the City, little |77| Building was Westward thereof: but, when Holborn began to increase, New-gate was made. But now both these Gates are not sufficient for the Communication between the Walled City, and its enlarged Western Suburbs, as daily appears by the intolerable stops and embarasses of Coaches near both these Gates, especially Lud-gate.


  1. St Mary, Savoy, was erected a parish in 1606, St Paul, Covent Garden, in 1645. See Introduction, also p. 345, note.