950670. Stephen Foster & 950671. Agnes ?
Stephen of London.
Stephen was a prisoner in Ludgate prison for his debts. Prisoners were allowed to beg at the gate. “As he was doing his doleful Office, a rich Widow of London hearing his Complaint, enquired of him, what would release him? To which he answered, Twenty Pound, which she in Charity expended ; and, clearing him out of Prison, entertained him in her Service ; who, afterward, falling into the Way of Merchandize, and increasing as well in Wealth as Courage, wooed his Mistress, Dame Agnes, and married her. Her Riches and his Industry brought him both great Wealth and Honour, being afterwards no less than Sir Stephen Foster, Lord Mayor of the Honourable City of London : Yet whilst he lived in this great Honour and Dignity, he forgat not the Place of his Captivity, but, mindful of the sad and irksome Place wherein poor Men were imprisoned, bethought himself of enlarging it, to make it a little more delightful and pleasant for those who in after Times should be imprisoned and shut up therein. And, in order thereunto, acquainted his Lady with this his pious Purpose and Intention ; in whom likewise he found so affable and willing a Mind to do Good to the Poor, that she promised to expend as much as he should do for the carrying on of the Work.” [This is based on a play – the truth of the story is unknown.]
1444, Stephen Sheriff of London.
1454, a chapel was added for inmates, which Stephen and Agnes endowed.
1454, Stephen Lord Mayor of London.
Stephen provided that the prison “should be free for all Freemen, and the they, providing their own Bedding, should pay nothing at their Departure for Lodging.” Water was also supplied free to the all in residence.
Stephen died, Agnes surviving. Both are buried in the Church of St. Botolph, Billingsgate.
(S) Magna Carta Ancestry, P329. (S) The Fleet, Ashton, 1889, P204.
Child of Stephen and Agnes:
i. Agnes Foster (475334), born ~1450 in England.