In the mid-13th century 16-18 formed a single property, which was probably bounded by 105/16 on the E. 16 appears to have been in separate ownership by the early 14th century, but soon afterwards was acquired by the owner of 105/16 and both properties have since passed through the same succession of owners. From the 14th century onwards 16 was bounded by 15 on the N. and by 17 on the S., and on its S. side incorporated a gateway leading from Ironmonger Lane into the rear of 105/16.
In 1858 the property was part of Mercers' Hall.
In 1206-7 16 or 16-18 was described as the land which had belonged to Arnold the saddler, and by the mid-13th century the same property was described as the land of the canons of Merton. About 1220 the property on the E. side of Ironmonger Lane at the Cheapside end, and probably corresponding to 16-18, was described as the former land of Robert le Bel. (fn. 1) In 1246-7 the prior and convent of Merton granted to Peter de Frowik, goldsmith and son of Adam, all their land with houses on it on the E. side of Ironmonger Lane in the parish of St. Martin and occupying the site of 16-18 between the land of Thomas Aswy on the E. and N. (cf. 13-15 and 105/16) and Cheapside on the S. Peter and his heirs or assigns were to pay £5. 6s. 8d. p.a. rent, and Merton Priory was to acquit the property against the king and his baliffs for the service of landgable. At his death, probably during the 1250s, Peter de Frowik was in possession of the whole of 16-18, which is described in an undated inquisition. The property consisted of 13 shops with an upper storey (unum solium) and a cellar. The upper storey was divided into at least 9 separate rooms which were occupied either on their own, or with shops below. Quit-rents totalling £6. 5s. 4d. were due. These comprised a rent of £2 to Merton Priory, due in the 16th century from 18A, B and D (q.v.); a rent of £3. 6s. 8d. to St. Bartholomew's Priory, which in the 16th century was in possession of the shop and cellar on the corner of Ironmonger Lane and Cheapside (18C, q.v.) and received £3 rent from letting it; a rent of 5s. 4d. to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, which in the early 13th century was due from a shop on the Ironmonger Lane corner and later in the century was due from shops on the Cheapside frontage (see 18); and a rent of 13s. 4d. to St. Katharine's Hospital, which in both the 13th and the early 16th century had an interest in the part of 18 which occupied the E. part of the Cheapside frontage. Peter de Frowyk had a total of £8. 16s. 8d. from the property, paid by 10 tenants. John de Budele held the cellar (probably on the site later identifiable as 18) for £1. 6s. 8d. rent. On the Cheapside frontage (part of 18) there were 4 shops held by Elias de Prato, who paid £1. 8s. rent for two of them and £1. 12s. rent for the other two. The remaining nine shops were presumably ranged along the Ironmonger Lane frontage. In their probable order from N. to S. they were: two shops held by Reginald son of Roger, fishmonger (pisconarius), for £1. 4s. rent; a shop with a solar held by Ralph Fuluis, fishmonger, for 8s. rent; a shop with a solar held by a woman called Margery (Margeria mulier) for 8s. rent; a shop with a solar held by Richard Blakeman for 8s. rent; a shop with a solar held by Mabel Ling(er)e for 8s. rent; a shop with a solar held by Walter Leuerer for 8s. rent; and two shops with solars held by Thomas Kaisere for 16s. rent. The seven shops with solars each let for 8s. rent were perhaps units in a single structure erected as a speculative development. The arrangement of the list of tenants suggests that the entry to the cellar was at the S. end of this row of shops and that in about the same place was a way in to two solars held by Cecilia Bere for 10s. rent. These solars may have been over the shops on the Cheapside frontage. (fn. 2)
The evidence of this organization suggests that in the mid 13th century, when 10 tenants held 15 units of occupation, the site of 16-18 was as intensively occupied as at any other time before 1666. In the late 14th and early 15th centuries these properties were probably held by 8 tenants and there may have been 9 units of occupation. In the early 16th century there appear to have been 7 units of occupation; in the early 17th century there were 5 or 7 units; and in the mid-17th century there were 7 or 9. The later tenants would probably thus have enjoyed considerably more space than their predecessors. There may also have been a greater total area of accommodation available on the site in the 16th and 17th centuries than earlier. At the later date the site appears to have been cellared throughout, but this may not have been the case earlier. The 17th-century buildings, perhaps all with 2 storeys and an attic or garret above ground (cf. 18D), were probably no higher than those of the 13th century, although the earlier houses may not have had garrets separated from the upper storey.
16 was in the same ownership as 105/16 when by 1271 and by 1278 land belonging to Richard le Potyr adjoined both the N. and E. sides of 17-18. In 1309, 1319, and 1326, the tenement on the N. side of 17 was said to belong to Richard atte Roche, who may have been tenant rather than landlord of the property, or alternatively may have been identical with one of the men with the same forename who owned 16 and 105/16. In 1324 and 1330 this tenement belonged to Richard de Betoigne (fn. 3) and thereafter passed through the same succession of owners as 105/16.(q.v.). These two properties were acquired by the hospital of St. Thomas of Acre in 1505. In the later 14th-century and 15th-century deeds 16 is described as being bounded by the messuage or tenement of the hospital on the N. and E. (13-15 and the hospital buildings) and by 17 on the S., and had evidently absorbed the N. part of 105/16. This property is described as a tenement with shops and appurtenances between 1377 and 1398 and as two messuages between 1491 and 1505. (fn. 4) In 1390 William de Thame, citizen and fishmonger, and his wife Juliana, who then owned 16, granted the whole or a part of the property to Thomas Fauconer and his brother Henry, mercers, at farm for a term of 20 years at £2. 6s. 8d. rent. The subject of this grant was a tenement apparently on the N. side of the great gate leading to 105/16 and including houses over the gate; the tenants were to be responsible for repairs. (fn. 5)
A series of deeds concerns a quit-rent of 13s. 4d. from a part of the property of William de Thame. In 1382, when William and his wife Juliana granted the rent to Hugh Bromehill, citizen and pinner, it was due from a tenement and shop measuring 11 3/4 yards (35 ft. 3 in.; 10.74 m.) by 5 3/8 yards (16 ft. 1 1/2 in.; 4.91 m.) between 13-15 on the N., 105/16 on the E. and the gate of 105/16 on the S. Bromehill lived in this parish, possibly in this property, and in 1384 died in his dwelling. The rent passed to Bromehill's nephew and heir John Bromhill, who in 1385 granted it to John Bussheye. In another deed Hugh Bromehill's widow and executrix Margery and his kinsman and heir Robert (sic) Bromehill were said to have granted the rent to Robert (sic) Bussheye, citizen, who in 1387 granted it to Richard Ryuer, citizen and coppersmith. In 1388 Robert (sic) Bromehill quitclaimed to Ryuer, who granted the rent to Roger Haukewelle, chandler, and Thomas Ede, surgeon, both citizens. Ede was also known as Thomas Stodelee, and in 1395-6 granted the rent and other properties as an endowment for a chantry in the chapel of St. Martin le Grand. The dean and chapter of St. Martin le Grand immediately granted these properties to Stodelee and a vicar of the chapel for the term of their lives on condition that they paid the agreed sum to the chantry chaplains. There is no later record of the interest of St. Martin le Grand in this property. (fn. 6)
Before 1517 16 was a tenement held from the hospital of St. Thomas of Acre by William Asshley for £3. 6s. 8d. p.a. rent. Henry FitzHarberd, mercer, was living there in 1514, c. 1522-4, and in 1528, when the house appears to have been recently rebuilt. In 1517-37 FitzHarberd paid £3 rent for the tenement, and in 1529-30 was allowed 15s. of his rent. (fn. 7) In 1537 William Barker, gentleman, began a 30-year lease of the messuage with its cellar(s) and solar(s) at £3 rent; the landlord was to be responsible for repairs except cleansing and paving. The Crown acquired the messuage on the dissolution of the hospital in 1538, and in 1540 granted it with 13 and 14 (q.v.) to Ambrose Barker rent-free for the term of his life. The Mercers' Company acquired 16 in 1542, but received no rent from it until after Ambrose Barker's death in 1561 (cf. 13-15). Ambrose Barker probably leased this tenement along with 18B (q.v.) to his brother Leonard Barker, who at his death in 1551-2 held on lease for a term of years a tenement in Ironmonger Lane inhabited by Richard Cottes, haberdasher. Leonard Barker left the remaining term of the lease to his wife Elizabeth during her widowhood, with remainder to his son Thomas Barker who died while still a child. In 1561 the property was inhabited by Henry Isham, citizen and mercer, with whom the company was able to negotiate a new lease of the messuage with cellars, solars, shops, and warehouses for a term of 30 years from 1561 at the old rent, the tenant now being liable for repairs except to principal timbers. Henry was presumably the younger brother of John Isham, who had married Leonard Barker's widow and had perhaps gained control of the property as trustee on behalf of Leonard's son. William Longe paid the rent to the Mercers as Henry Isham's assign from 1566-7 onwards and John Bourman, mercer, paid it as Isham's assign from 1570-1. In 1594 Bourman was granted a new lease for a term of 21 years for an improved rent of £4 and a fine of £30. The rent was immediately reduced to £3, and by the following year Bourman had been succeeded by his widow, who still held in 1609-10. Roger Boureman then paid the rent and was succeeded in 1614 by William Boureman. In 1615 William took a new lease for a term of 26 years at a rent of £4 and a fine of £100. Thomas Lea paid the rent on his behalf from 1622 onwards and John Awbrey, citizen and girdler paid it between 1634 and 1642. In 1633 Alice Allen, widow, occupied the tenement, presumably as Lea's undertenant. (fn. 8)
In 1635 John Skinner, citizen and mercer, was granted a lease of the tenement then occupied by Aubrey for a term of 21 years to begin in 1641 at £4 rent, without a fine but in consideration of his service as clerk to the Mercers' Company. Aubrey probably inhabited the property in 1638, when he was a tithe-payer for a house worth £20 rent. Skinner died at about the time the new lease was due to commence. Elizabeth Skinner paid the rent in 1642-7 and her administratrix paid it in 1647-9. John Godfrey, mercer, paid the rent in 1649-51 and was dwelling in the tenement in 1650 when he was granted a new lease in his own name with 9 years added to the existing term. Gabriel Marden paid the rent in 1651-7 and Godfrey obtained permission to assign the lease, presumably to Marden, in 1652. John Biggs, gentleman, held the tenement in 1657 and may have lived there, for at his death in 1658 he seems to have been a resident of St. Martin Pomary parish. Between 1657 and the Great Fire John Smart paid the £4 rent to the Mercers' Company as the assign of Gabriel Marden. In 1666 the property was probably occupied by Samuel Bayly, merchant, whose house had 5 hearths. (fn. 9)
After the Great Fire the Mercers' Company considered including the site within its new hall, but in 1669 a private house began to be built there. (fn. 10)