The East Smithfield and St Katharine’s Company

Photo: John Beardsworth

Ensign Thomas Teare

Identifying the company’s ensign, Thomas Teare, is more problematic as there were two men of the same name living in the parish of St Botolph without Aldgate during this period. The first was a smith, who was married to Margrett Teare and lived on Tower Hill; the second was a miller, married to Joan Teare and lived in East Smithfield.

Since the Reformation, St Botolph’s comprised an Upper End, made up of the four precincts of Houndsditch, ‘next unto Aldgate’, ‘next to the Barrs’ and ‘next the Tower hill’, and a Lower End which was the Liberty of East Smithfield, formerly monastic land owned by the Abbey of St Mary Graces. It seems likely that Thomas Teare the miller was the Hamleteer as the Upper End provided trained band soldiers for the City of London Red Regiment rather than the Tower Hamlets Trained Bands.

Little is known of Thomas. He was living in Nightingale Lane in East Smithfield in 1646 when his daughter, Marie, was buried, although the family appear to have moved into the liberty from the neighbouring parish of St Dunstan Stepney sometime after a son, Thomas, was baptised there in 1637.

Photo: John Beardsworth

He is not listed in the 1642 Assessment, for which the exemption limits were set at £1 in land, £3 in goods and £10 in wages, and he is not recorded as making a contribution for Distressed Protestants in Ireland, so he may not have had much in the way of ready money.

When Christopher Gore was promoted to captain in May 1644 while the regiment was at Farnham, Thomas Teare received his own step to lieutenant and Edward Amery, the senior sergeant, to Thomas’ vacated rank of ensign. This was still the position in the summer of 1645 when Thomas added ‘Lieut’ after his signature on a petition from members of the regiment and citizens of the Tower Hamlets, calling for the release of Sergeant-Major Abraham Woodroffe from the King’s Bench debtors’ prison.

Thomas did not survive his service with the regiment in the Oxford campaign very long as he died in October 1648.

Sources for the Trayned Bandes in 1644:

  • SP28/121A, parts 3 and 4: Tower Hamlets Trayned Bandes muster rolls, April 1644
  • Parish registers of St Botolph without Aldgate and St Katharine by the Tower
  • St Botolph without Aldgate Vestry Accounts
  • St Katharine by the Tower Constables’ Accounts
  • Wills
  • 1634 Visitation of London
  • Collection for Distressed Protestants in Ireland 1642
  • 1642 Assessment Roll
  • Calendar of State Papers, Domestic
  • Victoria County History, Middlesex
  • T.C. Dale, The Inhabitants of London in 1638
  • Lien Bich Luu, Immigrants and the Industries of London, 1500-1700