Close at hand, too, in Old Jewry, was that Windmill tavern, of which Stow wrote that it was “sometime the Jews’ synagogue, since a house of friars, then a nobleman’s house, after that a merchant’s house, wherein mayoralties have been kept, and now a wine tavern.” It must have been a fairly spacious hostelry, for on the occasion of the visit of the Emperor Charles V in 1522 the house is noted as being able to provide fourteen feather-beds, and stabling for twenty horses.
From the fact that one of the characters in “Every Man in His Humour” dates a letter from the Windmill, and that two of the scenes in that comedy take place in a room of the tavern, it is obvious that it also must be numbered among the many houses frequented by Jonson.
One dramatic episode is connected with the history of the Windmill. In the early years of the seventeenth century considerable excitement was aroused in Worcestershire by the doings of John Lambe, who indulged in magical arts and crystal glass enchantments. By 1622 he was in London, and numbered the king’s favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, among his clients.
That was sufficient to set the populace against him, an enmity which was greatly intensified by strange atmospheric disturbances which visited London in June, 1628. All this was attributed to Lambe’s conjuring, and the popular fury came to a climax a day or two later, when Lambe, as he was leaving the Fortune Theatre, was attacked by a mob of apprentices. He fled towards the city and finally took refuge in the Windmill. After affording the hunted man haven for a few hours the host, in view of the tumult outside, at length turned him into the street again, where he was so severely beaten that he died the following morning. A crystal ball and other conjuring implements were found on his person.