It appears that for many years previous to 1345 the gardeners of the earls, barons, bishops, and citizens of London were accustomed to sell their " pulse, cherries, vegetables, and other wares to their trade pertaining," on a piece of ground "opposite to the church of S. Austin near the gate of S. Paul's churchyard." By 1345, however, this fruit and vegetable market had grown to such an extent, and had become so crowded as to hinder "persons passing both on foot and on horseback," and the " scurrility, clamour, and nuisance of the gardeners and their servants" had become so obnoxious "to the people dwelling in the houses of reputable persons there," and " such a nuisance to the priests who are singing matins and mass in the church of S. Austin, and to others, both clerks and laymen, in prayers and orisons there serving God," that the mayor and aldermen were petitioned to interfere, and to remove the market to some more suitable place. The result of this petition was a meeting of the mayor and aldermen, and an order "given to the said gardeners and their servants, that they should no longer expose their wares aforesaid, for sale in that place, on peril which awaits the same." But the gardeners were not to be so easily defeated. They, in their turn, petitioned the mayor to reverse his sentence, and their petition runs thus:—"Unto the Mayor of London, shew and pray the gardeners of the earls, barons, and bishops, and of the citizens of the same city, may it please you, sire, seeing that you are the chief guardian of the said city, and of the ancient usages therein established, to suffer and to maintain that the said gardeners may stand in peace in the same place where they have been wont in times of old, in front of the church of S. Austin, at the side of the gate of S. Paul's churchyard, in London, there to sell the garden produce of their said masters, and make their profits as heretofore they have been wont to do, seeing that they have heretofore been in the said place unmolested, and that as they assert they cannot serve the commonalty, nor yet their masters, as they were wont to do. As to which they pray for redress." But the mayor would not give way at first, though it appears that he afterwards held "a conference between his aldermen," at which it was agreed that "all the gardeners of the city, as well aliens as freemen, who sell their pulse, cherries, vegetables, and other wares aforesaid in the city, should have as their place the space between the south gate of the churchyard of S. Austin's, and the garden wall of the Friar's Preachers at Baynard's Castle, in the same city, that so they should sell their wares aforesaid in the place by the said mayor and aldermen thus appointed for them, and nowhere else." *
* Letter Book F, fol. cxi, of the Guildhall, and Riley's Memorials of London Life.