Leadenhall.-Before this property came into the hands of the Mayor and Commonalty and was converted into a market it had formed a considerable estate in private ownership, and was for some years in the possession of the Nevill family, although it seems probable that the hall may have been leased to the City authorities from an early period.
The earliest mention of it seems to be in 1296, when it is referred to in a will as "La Ledenehalle " (Ct. H. Wills, I. 128).
In 1315, 8 Ed. II., it was in possession of Dame Margaret de Neuill, licence being then given to her, to grant to her son Hugh de Nevill her hostell and "maysonns que le Gardyn rentes" and all other things belonging to the said hostel in the city of Loundr' "q'est appelle la sale de plum suz Cornhulle" saving to the said Margaret "les auouesons de les eglises en ladyte ville de Loundr' a tote sa uie qe sunt porcin3 al dyst hostel."
If Hugh die before Margaret right of re-entry is reserved to her for life, after her death the hostel, advowsons, etc., to go to the heirs of Hugh (Campbell Charter, XXIII. 16, B.M.).
In 1320 the rent of a small garden adjoining the Leadenhall (aule plumbi) opposite the choir of St. Peter's Cornhill was taken by the Mayor for completion of the pavement appertaining to the court (curia) of the Leadenhall (Cal. L. Bk. E. p. 119).
In 1343 the garden of Sir John Neville is called "Ledenhalle Gardyn" (ib. F. p. 86).
In 1379-80 the estate was granted to Alice, widow of Sir John de Nevyle for life, she having previously given the fee simple to Thos. de Coggeshale and others (Cal. L. Bk. I. p. 92, note).
In 1404 a share of it, described as "the great place called 'le ledynhalle' with 'advowsons,'" etc., belonged to Robert Lyndeseye, draper.
By 1411 it had passed into other hands and licence was given to Richard Whityngtone and others to assign to the Mayor and Commonalty the manor and place called "le ledenhalle" together with the advowsons of the churches of St. Peter de Cornhull and St. Margaret Patyns (Cal. L. Bk. I. p. 92, and Cal. P.R. 12 H. IV. 1408-13, p. 292).
In 1444, Katherine, late wife of John Carpenter, granted a right of way through a hostel and garden in the parish of St. Peter Cornhill to a Garner about to be erected by Simon Eyre, in exchange for a garden situate east of the ancient chapel adjoining. Sharpe says she held a lease of the property from the Mayor and Commonalty (Cal. L. Bk. K. p. 294 and note).
The garner was erected in 1446 (S. 156-8) and the tronage of wool was appointed to be at Ledenhall, 3 Ed. IV. (Cal. P.R. Ed. IV. 1461-7, p. 285).
With reference to the suggestion that the hall may have been in the hands of the City authorities and may have been made use of for public purposes before the estate came into their possession, it is to be noted that in 1300-1 the Justices adjourned from the Guildhall to the "Sale de plom" to hear a suit of "oyer and terminer" there (Lib. de Antiquis Legibus, p. 249), and that the Commons assembled there armed ("atte Ledenhalle sure Cornhille"), 20 Ed. II. after the flight of the king, to make terms with the constable of the Tower (French Chr. of London, p. 54).
It is not clear from the references to the sale of Poultry at the Leadenhall in Liber Albus, I. p. 465, in Lib. Cust. I. 305, or in the Letter Books whether the market was held outside or inside the Leadenhall, indeed the references in the Liber Albus suggest that it was held outside, viz. at the "Carfukes" and at the "corner" of Leadenhall, but the Ordinance of the Cheesemongers in 1377 providing that foreigners bringing cheese and butter into the City should take them into the market of the Ledenhalle suggests that the market at that date may have been held inside the Hall as well as outside (L. Bk. H. f. lxii.), set out in Riley's Mem., p. 405.
In 1463 it was ordained that lead, nails and cloth called worstedes, hitherto housed at "Bosomysyn" should be weighed, housed and sold at the "Ledenhall" (Cal. L. Bk. L. p. 36).
It is possible that in earlier times the Hall itself may have been leased to the City for long periods and used for public purposes, although the fee simple of the whole estate remained in private hands.
For the later history See Leadenhall Market.