- John Stow
- The great antiquary and historian of London, born 1525, died 1605, buried in St. Andrew Undershaft.His Survey of London, first published in 1598, 2nd ed. 1603, has remained the standard work on the subject, and no historian of London can afford to neglect the storehouse of learning accumulated by John Stow to illustrate the history of the Great City, forming an indestructible link in the chain of its past history before it had been devastated by the Great Fire of 1666, which obliterated so many of the old landmarks. Besides the Survey of London, his Annals and Chronicles of England contain much useful and reliable information.The fruit to himself of his years of patient labour and research was an authority from King James I., who prided himself on his learning and erudition, to beg for his bread in the City!Stow had to collect all the materials for his survey out of the original manuscripts and records, which he could unearth from various repositories, or which were to be found in private hands, and the difficulties in the way of obtaining and deciphering such documents must have been very great. His was, for the most part, original work, and he had no Calendars of Records at hand to assist him or to lighten his labours.That he should, in these circumstances, have fallen into serious errors is not a matter for surprise, but it is a matter for regret that his successors, with so many added opportunities for original research, do not emulate his patience and industry, and endeavour to crown his labours by the elilcidation of difficulties, which, within the limited span of his life, it was impossible for him to overcome or correct.His great work has been successively re-edited and enlarged : In 1618, 1633 Strype's editions of the Survey, 1720 and 1755; Thom's edition of Stow, 1875 Morley's edition of Stow; Kingsford's edition, 1908.
A Dictionary of London. Henry A Harben. 1918.