THE OLD SWAN THAMES-STREET
Was more than five hundred years ago a house for public entertainment: for, in 1323, 16 Edw. II., Rose Wrytell bequeathed "the tenement of olde tyme called the Swanne on the Hope in Thames-street," in the parish of St. Mary-at-hill, to maintain a priest at the altar of St. Edmund, King and Martyr, "for her soul, and the souls of her husband, her father, and mother:" and the purposes of her bequest were established; for, in the parish book, in 1499, is entered a disbursement of fourpence, "for a cresset to Rose Wrytell's chantry." Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester, in 1440, in her public penance for witchcraft and treason, landed at Old Swan, bearing a large taper, her feet bare, etc.
Stow, in 1598, mentions the Old Swan as a great brew-house. Taylor, the Water-poet, advertised the professor and author of the Barmoodo and Vtopian tongues, dwelling "at the Old Swanne, neare London Bridge, who will teach them at are willing to learne, with agility and facility."
In the scurrilous Cavalier ballad of Admiral Deane's Funeral, by water, from Greenwich to Westminster, in June, 1653, it is said:—
"The Old Swan, as he passed by,
Said she would sing him a dirge, lye down and die:
Wilt thou sing to a bit of a body? quoth I,
Which nobody can deny."
The Old Swan Tavern and its landing-stairs were destroyed in the Great Fire; but rebuilt. Its Token, in the Beaufoy Collection, is one of the rarest, of large size.
Club Life of London Vol. II