John Stow in his “Survey of London” published in 1598 describes the part of Leadenhall Street between Aldgate Pump and Lime Street, then called Aldgate Street, thus “in the midway on the south side is Hartshorn Alley, a way that goeth through into Fenchurch Street over against Northumberland House. Then have ye Bricklayers Hall, and another alley called Sprinckle Alley, now called Sugarloafe Alley of the like sign”. The Hall lay back from Aldgate Street behind the Cock Tavern which the Company owned, and had two entrances, one cut through the Cock and the other from Sugarloafe Alley – now Fenchurch Buildings. The appearance of the Cock Tavern and the entrance to the Hall from Leadenhall Street had probably changed little when they were shown in a print published in the European Magazine in 1811 which is reproduced in the frontispiece of W. G. Bell’s History. Incidentally, there was an earlier print of better quality which shows not only the Cock but also the other two houses forming the Company’s frontage to Leadenhall Street. This appears in W. G. Bell’s book “The Great Fire of London” but the fact appears not to have been remarked upon by anyone, least of all by W. G. Bell. If a Tyler and Bricklayer of 1598 were to return now to the site of the Hall and stand where the Leadenhall Street entrance was, that is on the pavement opposite the entrance to Creechurch Lane, he would still recognise two buildings. The first would be the early 16th century tower of the Church of St Katherine Cree on the north side just east of Creechurch Lane (the remainder of the Church was rebuilt in 1630) and which survived the Great Fire. The second would be the church of St Andrew Undershaft a hundred yards or so to the west also on the north side of the Street, and this early 16th century church also survived the fire and contains the tomb of John Stow. By the end of the 16th century the buildings of the Priory and its church, which had been among the most splendid ecclesiastical buildings of London, still survived albeit in a dilapidated state. The church had been turned into a human rabbit warren in response to a late Elizabethan housing shortage, and the whole must have presented a strange sight to anyone emerging from the Hall into Aldersgate Street (as it then was) as they loomed up behind and to the East of St Katherine Cree Church.
There being no Company records extant until the end of this period, the names of very few members of the Company are known to us. The names of members of the Company occasionally appear in wills, and in particular in the published ”London Consistory Court Wills” for the period 1492-1547. Among these is the will of Robert Burton ”tyler of London” proved on 6h August 1545. This Will is of interest for several reasons. First there are references to the Testator’s tools of his trade and his apprentices. Secondly there is a reference to the Warden of the Company. Thirdly the Testator possessed a house in “Bysshopsburton at the West end of the toune”. This place is almost certainly “Bishops Burton” which is situated three miles west of Beverly in the East Riding of Yorkshire on the A1079 which runs through it from east to west. This district was notable for the manufacture and use of bricks at this time and in the middle ages, and it seems likely that the Testator came from there, learned his craft there and indeed took his name from the “toune”. Finally, there is a bequest to the “Fraternitie of the Trinity” and this, coupled with the fact that he wished to be buried in the churchyard of “Saynt Butulph” makes it probable that the reference is to the Fraternity of the Holy Trinity in the parish of St Botolph without Aldersgate (there were three churches dedicated to that saint in the city) which is the same fraternity to which Thomas White, master in 1415-16, belonged. It may be that there was some connection between the Fraternity and the Company. The Will reads as follows: