Home   eBooks   London Miscellany   Maps   View Cart   How to Buy

London Street Names  —  £ 3.99

Go to the eBook Shop 500 street names, "Their Origin, Signification, and Historic value; with divers Notes and Observations." The whole City and west as far as Fleet Street, the Strand and Holborn, followed by almost 100 churches. The final part being a short but fascinating essay on "Names of the past," with some wonderful extinct place names.

Mr. Habben relies heavily on the work done by John Stow almost exactly 300 years earlier, but mentions many other sources. This was the first alphabetical list concentrating on London street name origins; many followed. They all make a few statements that do not meet with universal approval. I leave it up to you to decide which to believe.

This eBook version contains the entire text, as originally published in 1896. Please see the extract below for a selection of the entries.

To buy this book for your eBook reader visit the shop or

  2 files, mobi for any Kindle and epub for all other eReaders

Notes

The cover is a scan of the original.

Extract

The text below is identical to the eBook; however, depending on the typeface, etc., that you select, it may not display here exactly as it will on your eReader. Also, pages turn as normal, rather than the scrolling effect seen here.

 

Contents

Title Page

Preliminary

London Street Names

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W XYZ

Appendix I
Our City Church Names

Appendix II
Religious Houses

Appendix III
Names of the Past

A

Abchurch Lane derives its name from the adjacent St. Mary Abchurch, originally Upchurch, from its position on rising ground. It may be observed that St. Mary-at-Hill was so named from a similar circumstance. Its exterior is plain, but its interior well repays inspection. The cupola, the altar-piece, and the carved oak are calculated to excite the admiration of the appreciative and well-ordered mind.

Acorn Street, Bishopsgate, is named from an old tavern sign. An acorn was one of the badges of the Arundel family; which, however, does not imply that they had any connection with this neighbourhood.

Adams Court, Old Broad Street, probably bears the name of a former owner of the property. Sir Thomas Adams was Lord Mayor in 1645, and may have been the man.

Addle Hill, Carter Lane. - On a token (see Tokenhouse Yard) of the seventeenth century, this is called Adlin Hill (O.E. Ætheling, or nobleman). It was probably the site of the residence of a Saxon noble.

Addle Street, Wood Street. - It is a little doubtful whether we should assign the origin of this name to Adelstan (Athelstan), who is believed to have had a palace here; or, as in Addle Hill, to the Saxon nobles who, it is known, resided here. In either case, it originated in the nobility of the residents. In certain ancient records the name is written King Adel Street, but this does not necessarily prove regal occupation.

Alderman's Walk, Bishopsgate, is the passage on the north side of Bishopsgate Church, leading to Dashwood House. I have in vain sought a connection with some illustrious alderman, whose dignified office, if not the man, it might perpetuate. The name appears to have been bestowed as one of civic appropriateness, with no special personal reference; but the Corporation have bestowed several favours in connection with the church and churchyard.

Aldermanbury is the site of the old Court Hall of the aldermen, the first meeting-place of the civic fathers, termed by Stow "an old little cottage." The Guildhall, he records, was built by Thomas Knowles, Grocer, mayor in 1400, who, in conjunction with his brethren the aldermen, made "a fair and goodly house near unto St. Lawrence Church in the Jewry." The old Court had its entrance from the present Aldermanbury, and was situated due west, on a spot almost contiguous to that of the present Guildhall.

Aldermanbury Postern. - Here, in the time of the London Wall (which see), was a small postern, to enable the residents in Aldermanbury and thereabouts to pass out beyond the wall.

Aldersgate Street. (See Gates.)

Aldgate. (See Gates.)

Allhallows Lane, Upper Thames Street, marks the western boundary of Allhallows Church, recently removed, of which it remains - and should be allowed to remain - in name a memorial, It is somewhat melancholy to mark the removal, one by one, of so many of our old city churches, which stand like hoary monarchs, replete with so many associations of the past. Neither their comparative desuetude, nor the need of their sites for improvements, real or supposed, quite reconciles one to their disappearance. We can but sigh Sic transit, and pass on.

Amen Corner. - Like Paternoster Row (which see), this is one of the ecclesiastical names of the neighbourhood. There seems to be reason in Stow when he notes that the short lane is "closed up with a gate into a great house, so that it is rightly called Amen Lane," connoting a conclusion or full stop.

Anchor Alley, Upper Thames Street, formerly Palmer's Lane. Anchor appears to have been capriciously substituted, probably as having a river connection, or it may be in honour of a tavern sign no longer existing. Palmer was probably the owner of the property, and has modestly retired into obscurity. Now the lane simply gives access to a wharf.

Angel Alley, Court, etc. - Of these we find several still existent. In olden times it was a favourite name for courts and alleys, there being close upon forty, the majority probably from shop or tavern signs. In most, at the present day, there is nothing angelic beyond the name. In some, indeed, the name is antithetical.

Artillery Street, Lane, Passage, mark the ground of the old London Artillery Company - temp. Henry VIII. - an extra parochial royalty of the Tower of London. Gun Street and Fort Street in the same neighbourhood are cognate names. Here the bowyers found a market for their bows, and the fletchers (Fr. fléchier, an arrow-maker) for their "clothyard shafts." It may be noted how the word "artillery," once signifying bows and arrows, as in 1 Sam. xx., has transferred its meaning entirely to cannon. Of course its original application was to an offensive weapon made by art, and bows and arrows were the principal offensive weapons.

Arundel Street, Strand. - Here dwelt the Howards, the Earls of Arundel, in Arundel House.

Austin Friars marks the site of the convent of the St. Augustines or Friars Eremites (i.e. Hermits) of the order of St. Augustin. The priory was founded in 1243, "spacious and magnificent," occupying the area between Throgmorton Street, Broad Street, and London Wall. The house and gardens became the property of the first Marquis of Winchester (son of Sir William Paulet, Treasurer of Henry VIII., to whom they were granted upon the Dissolution), who has left his name in the adjacent Winchester House, and Great and Little Winchester Streets. The church was given by Edward VI. to the Dutch residents of London, and has been by them well preserved and worthily used. (Consult Note on Blackfriars.)

Ave Maria Lane. - A memento of the rosary, breviary, and other ecclesiastical manufacturers and vendors gathering about St. Paul's Cathedral. (For further particulars see Paternoster Row.)

Aylesbury Street, Clerkenwell. - A reminiscence of the town house and gardens of the Earls of Aylesbury.

B

Ball Alley, Lombard Street, - From an old and common sign. The alley is very nearly built out of existence, and would, without doubt, be quite so, if the contiguous encroaching property dared to do it. Allhallows Churchyard is the alley's only refuge.

Ball Court, Cornhill, also from an old sign. The Court is now devoted to a popular restaurant.

Barbican marks the site of a speculum, or watch-tower, built by the Romans adjacent to the northern wall (Low Lat. barbacana, probably from Persian bala-khaneh, an upper chamber, from which "balcony" also is derived). Our friend Stow says: "The same being placed on a high ground, and also built of some good height, was in old time as a watch-tower for the city, from whence a man might behold and view the whole city towards the south, and also into Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, and likewise every other way, east, north, or west."

Barge Yard, Bucklersbury. - Hereby stood, according to Stow, "one great house, built of stone and timber, called the Old Barge, because barges from the River Thames were rowed up so far into this brook," i.e. the Wall Brook; and this is by him conjectured to have been the manor house of the Buckle, or Boukerel family, the founders of Bucklersbury (which see). It has been asserted by some that the stream was navigated as high as Coleman Street, on the strength of a Roman boat-hook having been found there. This evidence is, however, hardly conclusive, I think, for a boat-hook does not necessarily imply navigation at the spot where it is found.

Barnard's Inn. (See Inns of Court.)

Bars of London. - The City Bars were six in number, namely, Holborn and Temple on the west, Whitechapel on the east, Norton Folgate, Smithfield, and Aldersgate on the north. They marked the limits of the city liberties after it had been found necessary, in consequence of the city's growth, to extend them beyond the walls and gates, and tolls were levied upon conveyances not belonging to the freemen, passing within these boundaries. The Temple Bar's removal is comparatively recent, and its site is still indicated by a monument which is an admirable work of art, let critics (envious and otherwise) say what they will. The sites of the Bars of Holborn and Aldersgate (by Fann Street) are marked by granite obelisks, those of the former being adorned with the city arms, and the latter with fountains.

Bartholomew Close, Smithfield, indicates the site of the enclosed precincts of the Priory of St. Bartholomew Benedictines, a fraternity which from such small beginnings acquired considerable notoriety. Founded by Rahere, a pleasant-witted gentleman, says Stow, known as the King's minstrel, about 1102. During a serious attack of fever he saw a vision of St. Bartholomew; was stricken with remorse for his former frivolous life; and the founding of the Priory was the result. A comprehensive and interesting history of the Priory and the Fair is given by Mr Henry Morley in his memorials of the latter. The church is one of the most worthy sights of London. (See work by Mr A. E. Daniell.)

Bartholomew Lane, Bank, is a memento of the church of St. Bartholomew Exchange, whose site is now occupied by the Sun Fire Office, known as Bartholomew the Little, to distinguish it from Bartholomew the Great and Bartholomew the Less, both in Smithfield.

Basinghall Street marks the site of the mansion and grounds of the Basing family. Solomon Basing was mayor in 1216, and his descendants for several generations occupied important municipal positions; but Stow says that in his time (circa 1600) the family was "worn out," presumably by its civic labours. The hall afterwards fell into the hands of the Bakewell family, who endowed it with their own name, and subsequently became a Cloth Exchange. The present Bankruptcy Court occupies the site of the ancient house.

Baynard's Castle. - Although no street preserves its name, one may well care to know something about it, for the wharf not far from its site, now occupied by St. Paul's Railway Station, meets our eye and serves to keep the castle's memory green. It was the residence of many illustrious men, even of royalty; the scene of many important historical events; and had altogether an interesting career; for an account of which the reader is referred to Stow, who has a succinct summary of its good and evil fortunes, or to any of the many other works devoted to the history of our city. Baynard was a Norman noble, who came over with the Conqueror, and settled himself in this snug corner. The castle, after many vicissitudes, was destroyed in the great fire, and was the last city palace inhabited as such.

Beech Street, Barbican. - Stow ascribes the name probably to Nicholas de la Beech, Lieutenant of the Tower in the time of Edward III., but his connection with the locality is not discoverable. He may have been owner of the property.

Beer Lane, Great Tower Street, was in Stow's time Beare Lane. Great Beare Key (Quay) and Little Beare Key occupied the site of our Custom House. These and Beare Lane owed their names to the fact that King Henry III.�s White Bear, a present from Norway, was accustomed to be brought from the Tower, muzzled and chained, and taken to the river at this spot to catch fish, in accordance with the royal mandate, which imposed the observance of the ceremony upon the Sheriffs of London. The Tower Menagerie, famous in early times, appears to have been a source of much trouble and care to the Sheriffs. Hatton, another worthy antiquary, states that Bear Key was a great market for wheat and other grain, and I am therefore inclined to connect the name with O.E. Bere, barley or grain, from which we have beer, barn (i.e. a grain-house), Bere-tun = Barton, and Bere-wic = Berwick, a corn village, etc. Key, the original spelling of Quay, arose from the idea of a space compacted or locked together by beams and planks, as it were by keys. The modern form is an adaptation of the French quai. In Welsh, cae signifies an enclosure or reserved place.

Beehive Passage, Leadenhall Market, is indebted for its name to the old Beehive Tavern, now supplanted, for some inscrutable reason, by the Bunch of Grapes.

Bell Alley, Moorgate Street. - Bell, like Angel, was a favourite London name. This may be attributable to a former shop or tavern sign, but there is no distinct evidence.

Bell Yard, Carter Lane. - This hands down the sign of a very old notable inn, which stood on the site.

Bell Yard, Gracechurch Street, also owes its name to an old tavern sign. The tavern, or rather its successor, is extant to this day.

Bell Savage Yard has been the subject of much speculation and ingenious conjecture. The name had its origin as an inn sign, the earliest form of which appears to have been a bell on a hoop, and the doubt was, or is, what this symbolised. According to Stow, the earliest occupant of the inn was Arabella Savage, and the painter of the sign, obviously a man endowed with imagination and poetic faculty, depicted the landlady as a bell and a human savage, which was more ingenious than complimentary; and why he hung the bell on a hoop nobody knows. The old Spectator of the Addisonian era proposed to assign the origin of the name to La Belle Sauvage, the beautiful heroine of a French romance. But the simplest and most probable explanation is that the family of Savage kept the inn, and its sign was "The Bell," by Savage. Alderman Treloar, in his exceedingly interesting book, "The History of Ludgate Hill," suggests a connection between Bell and Bail, or Bailey, not far distant; but there does not appear to be sufficient ground to establish any such connection.

Bennet's Hill derives its name from the church of St. Benedict, commonly called St. Bennet Paul's Wharf. The ecclesiastical connection of Paul's "Wharf is shown under that name.

Bevis Marks signifies Bury's Limits, and indicates the borders of the territory pertaining to the town-house of the Abbots of Bury St. Edmunds. "Bury's" has become "Bevis" by the mutation of u into v, and the reader will bear in mind that to use u and v interchangeably was a custom which survived in occasional instances until quite recently, and that in old lettering v is used almost invariably for u. "Marks" is a word full of interest if followed through all its forms and significations. For instance, we find it with the meaning of bordering or limiting in the Scotch and Welsh Marches, separating those nationalities from English territory; in Mercia (Myrcna ric) the Saxon kingdom bordering on North Wales; in margin and in demarcation. Letters of marque permit the holders to harass their country's enemy beyond the frontier or borderland. So a margrave (mark graf) is the lord or keeper of the marches or country borders, and the office of a marquis, or our Earl of Marches, was to defend the frontier against aggressive neighbours. As forests served so often as boundaries, we find the Scandinavian mörk, or forest, in our epithet "murky," suggesting the gloom and obscurity of a wood. For further most interesting explication of this word, the reader may consult Taylor's "Words and Places," to which I am indebted for most of the above information.

Bevois Court, Basinghall Street. - A comparatively modern name, probably that of an owner of the property. It may be a corruption of "Bevoy's," or even "Bel voir," as there is no beauty to see.

Billingsgate. (See Gates.)

Billiter Street. - One authority asserts that here the bell founders plied their vocation, whence "bell-yeter," or "bell-hitter," but there is no confirmatory record. Stow derives the name from Belzettar, the builder, and, I suppose, owner, and this derivation is at present accepted. Strype notes that the lane, as it was then called (1720), was a very poor and squalid place, although Billiter Square contained houses of some pretension.

Birchin Lane, originally Burcham, hands down the virtues, if there be any virtue in a name, of its builder. Stow says Birchover was the builder, but modern researches, as well as the name itself, point to Burcham as more probable.

Bird-in-Hand Court, Cheapside. - Formerly Bird-in-Hand Alley. An old sign of the past; supplemented by the Queen's Arms, better known, perhaps, as "Simpson's." The royal escutcheon proudly guards the entrance to the court.

Bishop's Court, Old Bailey, has reference to the neighbouring cathedral and its dignitaries. There is nothing suggestive of episcopacy now. There is also a Dean's Court in the Old Bailey, and the adjacent Warwick Lane was formerly Old Dean Street.

Bishopsgate Street. (See Gates.)

Blackfriars marks the region of the settlement of the Mendicant Friars of this Order upon their removal from Holborn, where they had been located from 1221 to 1285, to accommodate whom, within the city, the wall at this point was removed and re-erected further west, close to the Fleet. Their monastery occupied the spot where now the busy Ludgate Hill Station stands - a vast leap from quiet seclusion to teeming crowds.
The Mendicant Orders were founded to counteract the disrepute into which the ancient monastic fraternities had fallen by their accumulation and enjoyment of wealth, proving that they were not above or really removed from ordinary human desires, passions, and weaknesses. A lucid summary of their origin, ratio and modus Vivendi, their waxing and their waning, may be found in Hallam's "Europe in the Middle Ages." The most celebrated were the Dominicans, or Black Friars, and the Franciscans, or Grey; then the Augustines and the Carmelites, or White Friars. After them ranked the Priory of Holy Trinity at Aldgate; St. Bartholomew's Priory; St. John the Baptist's Benedictine Nunnery near Houndsditch; the Knights Templars, and the Crutched Friars; the whole occupying a considerable area, consequently leaving numerous records in street names, under which they have received due attention. (See also Appendix II.)

Black Raven Alley, Upper Thames Street, owes its name to the sign of an old departed hostelry. The Raven was a badge of the old Scotch kings, and is supposed to have been a kind of Jacobite symbol. In Scandinavia it was sacred to Odin, and formed the national emblem. In many countries it was regarded as a bird of ill omen.

Black Swan Alley, London Wall. - Judging from the several courts and alleys which once existed bearing this name, the rara avis in terra was deemed worthy of much honour as a tavern sign, whence the names of the thoroughfares originated.

Black Swan Alley, St. Paul's Churchyard. - The sign still exists.

Bleeding Heart Yard. (See Hatton Garden.)

Blomfield Street, London Wall, commemorates a London worthy, Charles James Blomfield, incumbent of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate, in 1819, and Bishop of London in 1828. London churches owe much to his energetic enterprise.

Blue Boar Court, Friday Street.- From an old sign. The Boar was a badge of the House of York. (See remarks on Signs in Preliminary.)

Bolt Court, Fleet Street. - Over against the Bolt-in-Tun, the noted coach-office of olden times. Bolt-in-Tun (an arrow or bolt-head through a cask) is a rebus expansion of Bolton, the name of the family who owned the property. At one time puerilities of this kind were much in fashion. They were termed "rebus names," and may be found on the title-pages of many old books. This particular device may be seen beneath Prior Bolton's window in St. Bartholomew's Church.

Bond Court, Walbrook. - Formerly Bond's Court. The possessive indicates a surname, probably that of the owner. William Bond was alderman in 1567, and Sir George Bond mayor in 1587; but whether either of these was connected with the property I cannot ascertain.

Boss Court, Upper Thames Street, is indebted for its name to the "boss," or conduit erected here in accordance with the Will of Whittington. Stow calls this and other conduits "bosses of water," boss being obviously connected with the French bouche, a mouth or opening from which the water flowed.

Boswell Court, Fleet Street, was not connected with the great biographer. It was the site of Boswell House, the residence of an Elizabethan gentleman, of whom nothing more is known.

Botolph Lane is so named from the parish church which formerly stood in Thames Street, and said to be of Saxon foundation. The church, which was St. Botolph, Billingsgate, is now united with St. George, Botolph Lane. The wharf at the bottom of the lane, known, it is stated, in the Conqueror's time as Botolph's Gate, marks the site of the foot of the original London Bridge (which see).

Bow Lane. - From the Church of St. Mary-le-Bow or de Arcubus. (See Churches, Appendix I.)

Boy Court, Ludgate Hill. - Formerly Naked Boy Court, from an old sign, but we are somewhat more modest nowadays. (See Horseshoe Court.)

Brabant Court, Philpot Lane, probably marks the site of a settlement of immigrants from the Low Country province. John, Duke of Brabant, temp. Edward I., granted great privileges to the Merchant Adventurers, one of our earliest mercantile corporations; and the fourteenth century was marked by a considerable trade with Brabant. The court has a very strong old city flavour. There is a weird look about the place; and it always appears to be beyond "the busy hum of men."

Bread Street. - The quarter assigned to bakers in olden time for the disposal of their wares. Until the reign of Edward L, bread was made mostly at Bromley and Stratford, or elsewhere without the city, and could be sold within the city only at or adjacent to the market here, at the market price. The reason of the restriction as regards locality is not clear, unless it was to prevent confusion and variation as to price. Stow informs us that the bread brought into the city was "two ounces in the penny wheat loaf heavier than the penny wheat loaf baked in the city, the same to be sold in Cheap"; and as evidence of the paternal solicitude with which the welfare of the citizens was guarded, and honesty enforced, we read: "Richard Reffeham being mayor, a baker named John of Stratford, for making bread less than the assize, was, with a fool's hood on his head, and loaves of bread about his neck, drawn on a hurdle through the streets of the city."

Brewers Lane, Upper Thames Street. - A reference to the brewing interest, which was well represented in Thames Street even in Stow's time, as it is now.

Brickhill Lane, Upper Thames Street, was originally Breikels' Lane, being so named from one John Breikels, sometime owner thereof. He left an annual sum of �9 to keep an "obit," a form of prayer to be read on the anniversary of his death for the repose of his soul. He evidently had ground for doubt respecting his posthumous peace.

Bride Street Lane, Court, etc., commemorate Bride Well, a fount sacred to St. Brigit, or Bridget, of which Bride is an abbreviation. Brigit was a king's daughter, and the only Irish female saint honoured in our city, or indeed, as it is said, in the whole country. The site of the old well was until recently indicated by a pump on the east side of the church wall in Bride Lane, but is now boarded up, exhibiting its spout only, as an interesting memento to the enthusiastic antiquary. Between the well and the river was a castle and royal residence from the days of William the Conqueror. On its site a palace was built by Henry VIII. in 1522; given by Edward VI., in 1553, to the Mayor of London for the commonalty and citizens as a "Workhouse for the poor, and as a house of correction for the strumpet and idle person; for the rioter that consumeth all; and for the vagabond that will abide in no place." It subsequently became a prison only, and so remained until its demolition in 1864.

Bridgewater Street, Barbican, records the site of a residence of the Earls of Bridgewater.

Broad Street was so named at the time of its reconstruction as a recognition of its superior width. Previously it was known by the much less euphonious title of Pig Street, in honour of the porcine property of the Hospitallers of St. Anthony, which roamed hereabout.

Broken Wharf, Upper Thames Street, curiously took its name from a Watergate or quay, the apparently chronic condition of which was that of being broken and falling down towards or into the river. This dilapidated condition is said to have been of such long continuance as to have become an inseparable characteristic of the wharf. We cannot do otherwise than accept the statement as correct.

Bucklersbury does not, as one might at first suppose, indicate the locality of the buckler-makers' business. It was the site of the residence of the Bukerels, a family of considerable repute. Andrew Bukerel was a pepperer, i.e. a druggist, mayor 1231 to 1237; and other members of the family appear in the list of sheriffs. As regards the signification of "bury," it is of interest to note that its ordinary locative meaning is an earthwork, hence a fortified town (O.E. burh or byrig, from beorgan, to hide, indicating shelter). Its application in London appears to signify a residence, as in the present instance, and in Lothbury and Aldermanbury (which see). Broad Street, too, was once Lodingberi, the residence of Albert Lotering, a Saxon. In all derivations from this root there is the fundamental idea of hiding, and so sheltering, or protecting. Thus in a barrow were hidden the ashes of the dead; a burrow is the hiding-place of rabbits (we have the surname Conybeare, a rabbit-burrow, as Mr Bardsley has pointed out in his entertaining volume on surnames); and bury, borough, brough, burgh, originally applied to a raised mound for the biding or security of men, now indicate a town for the same purpose. The extension of meaning to a single residence is, I think, traceable to the nascent idea that an Englishman's house was his castle, or bury, i.e. his place of retreat and security.

Budge Row indicates the locality of the dealers in "budge," a fine lambs'-skin fur, formerly used for the edging of scholastic gowns. Readers of Milton (I assume that even in these degenerate days, when we are overwhelmed by a flood of light, and in some respects, questionable literature, there are a few) may remember how Comus in his crafty philosophy refers to

"The foolishness of men that lend their ears
To those budge doctors of the stoic fur."*

Budget, in its original meaning, is a bag made from lambs'-skin or leather; now applied to the contents, or prospective revenue which might be collected therein - an instance of transfer of meaning.

[* i.e. wearing academical cloaks.]

Bull-and-Mouth Street, Aldersgate, is the anglicised rendering of Boulogne Mouth, or Harbour, a name bestowed in honour of the capture of Boulogne by Henry VIII. in 1544. Bowl-and-Mouth has also been suggested, but has no shadow of fact. These linguistic corruptions are somewhat curious, illustrating the difficulty we English once had in adopting foreign nomenclature. Thus Tour de la Riole is stated, although with almost complete doubt, to have become transmuted into Tower Royal (which see); the Pige Was-hael or the Virgin's Greeting (O.E. wassail, whence the wassail bowl) was transposed into Pig and Whistle; and Hangman's Gains, once a Wapping demesne within the Tower precincts, was considered good English for Hammes et Guynes, a district near Calais, whence refugees found retreat in this neighbourhood upon the loss of that dependency by Mary. Bull Wharf Lane, Upper Thames Street. - From the relative position of the words "wharf" and "lane," it is obvious the lane has been named from the wharf, which is probably the relic of an ancient sign. The Bull was a badge of the Neville family.

Bunhill Fields, - A modern rendering of Bone Hill, probably from the sepultures which there took place. Many urns, stone coffins, and other similar relics have been found on the spot. It was supposed that this was the site of the Great Plague pit, in Finsbury, described by De Foe in his celebrated "Journal of the Plague," a book full of gruesome horrors, most graphically and flesh-creepily depicted, but modern researches appear to prove otherwise. In sober fact, it was the depository of over a thousand cartloads of bones, removed in 1549 from the charnel-house of Old St. Paul's.

Burleigh Street, Strand, is the site of the house of the great Lord Burleigh.

Bury Street, Bevis Marks, occupies the site of the Abbot's House, referred to in Bevis Marks.

Bush Lane, Cannon Street. - Once famous as the locality of the needle trade in London, which, however, does not assist us as regards the origin of the name; nor does anything else with certainty; but it may probably be ascribed to an old tavern sign, the bush being equivalent to ivy, the crown of Bacchus. There was an old Roman saying, Vino vendibili hedera non est opus - Good wine needs no ivy, or bush, or Bacchanalian sign to attract customers - but we may suppose the tavern in question determined to demonstrate that the two might be co-existent.

Butler Street, Milton Street, worthily honours the author of "Hudibras." Here are two contemporary poets, of a very different stamp, however, associated by the connecting-link of street names.

etc.

Our City Church Names

Several of these have been necessarily explained in considering those streets which are by name connected with or dependent upon them. It appears desirable to supplement these with those remaining unexplained, and so to complete the list; dealing not only with churches still existent materially, but with those of the past also, living in name or memory only; for in many cases, although the churches themselves have disappeared, and their functions have been transferred to others, their names, giving title to the ancient parishes, remain as an enduring memorial. Intimately associated, as most of them are, with the streets in which some did stand, and some, like hoary sentinels brooding over the past, still do stand, they are not beyond the scope of our explorations.

Were a further justification required for introducing them, it might surely be found in the fact that, as we travel through our streets, there meet us at so many turns the quiet resting-places of past illustrious citizens, some with the church and some without; some entire, and some a fragmentary relic; and our thoughts must advert to the holy fabric which gives or gave name and consecration to the spot. To quote from Longfellow's "Evangeline," as he so powerfully and pathetically writes of Gabriel and his beloved, so may we say and think of our old citizens sleeping in our midst

"In the heart of the city they lie, unknown and unnoticed,
Daily the tides of life go ebbing and flowing beside them,
Thousands of throbbing hearts, where theirs are at rest and for ever;
Thousands of aching brains, where theirs no longer are busy;
Thousands of toiling hands, where theirs have ceased from their labours;
Thousands of weary feet, where theirs have completed their journey!"

As regards the compound form of most of the church names, it may be observed that frequently the primary, or dedicatory title - that derived from apostles, saints, or martyrs - came to be multiplied, in consequence of the subdivision of parishes; and the original dedicatory name being reserved to each, a secondary title, derived from whatever circumstance appeared most eligible, was appended for distinction's sake. In some particular instances, however, where no such division took place, it will be seen that a secondary title was added in commemoration of a benefactors munificence, or of some other notable circumstance.

Allhallows Barking, Tower Street. - No fewer than eight parish churches were thus comprehensively dedicated: Allhallows, being equivalent to All the Hallowed, or Blessed, i.e. All Saints. The great mother parish was Allhallows Barking, which owes its secondary name to Barking Abbey, in Essex, built, as Bede tells us, by Bishop Earconwald (Erkenwald, see Bishopsgate), for his sister Ethelberga, at the place called Bercingum (note c was always hard in Saxon). The church was built by the convent as a connecting-link with the city. It was one of fifteen livings, in various localities, of which the abbess was patroness, and fortunately escaped destruction by the Great Fire of 1666.

Allhallows, Great, and Less, Thames Street, were both situated on the south side of Upper Thames Street, within a short distance of one another, whence the necessity of distinctive names. The latter has only recently been demolished, and ground-rents rise superior to mere barren sentiment and venerable associations of the past.

Allhallows, London Wall, or On-the-Wall, indicating actual contiguity, marked the borderland. None of the old city wall is visible, but doubtless there is some underground.

Allhallows Staining. - It is believed, from the evidence of a Domesday record, that this formed part of an ecclesiastical estate in the city, belonging to the manor of Staines. (But see also St. Mary Staining.)

Allhallows, Bread Street, Allhallows, Honey Lane, and Allhallows, Lombard Street. - These are simply local secondaries.

St. Alban, Wood Street, is dedicated to the British proto-martyr, put to death in the year 304 for refusing to renounce Christianity.

St. Alphage, London Wall. - Alphage, or Elphege, was Archbishop of Canterbury in the reign of Ethelred II. His courage during the siege of Canterbury by the Danes, betrayal, sufferings, and cruel death, form one of the most pathetic episodes in Saxon history.

St. Andrew Hubbard. - Dedicated to St. Andrew the Apostle, who suffered martyrdom about the year 70. In 740 he was chosen as the patron saint of Scotland; and the St. Andrew's Cross saltire represents that on which he is believed to have suffered. The original denomination of St. Andrew Hubbard was St. Andrew's-juxta-Eastcheap, and it is conjectured - for there is no positive record - that Hubbard was a benefactor, whose name was therefore a more eligible secondary.

St. Andrew Undershaft. - Here the secondary name is a memento of the maypole, erst set up in Leadenhall Street, of such height as to overtop the church. In the rear of the church was Shaft Alley, now forming the side avenue of a gorgeous tavern, then consisting of a row of cottages, along the front of which the maypole was suspended when not in use. It was last erected in 1517. In the heat of the Reformation it was denounced by the curate of the neighbouring St. Katharine Cree as an idol, because it had given a name to the parish church, and good old Stow relates how, on that very same afternoon, the people of Shaft Alley, "after they had dined to make themselves strong, gathered more help, and with great labour raising the shaft from the hooks whereon it had rested two and thirty years, they sawed it in pieces, every man taking for his share so much as had lain over his door and stall the length of his house." This is one of the few churches which escaped destruction by the Great Fire.

St. Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe. (See Wardrobe Place.)

etc.

Top

Home   Buy eBooks   London Miscellany   Buy Maps   View Cart

Cookie Policy

Copyright Bruce Hunt

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional    Valid CSS