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The London Wards - Bread street in 1756

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Index of London wards in 1756 by William Maitland


With a Plan, neatly engraved from a New Survey.

Bread street and Cordwainers ward in 1756

Bread street and Cordwainers ward in 1756

THIS Ward takes its Name from the principal Street therein, called Bread Street, which, in old Time, was the Bread market.

It appeareth by Records, that in the Year 1302, which was the thirtieth of Edward I. the Bakers of London were bounden to sell no Bread in their Shops or houses, but in the Market : And that they should have four Hallmotes in the Year, at four several Terms, to determine Enormities belonging to the said Company.

Bread street Ward begins in Cheapside on the North, and runs on the South Side from where the Standard to where the great Cross formerly stood. On the South it extends in Watling street up almost to the house next to St. Augustin's Church on the North Side ; and on the South Side, up to the Old Change; and down the same, at the East Side, by the West End of Maiden lane, or Distaff lane, to Knightriders street, or, as they call that Part thereof, Old Fish street and all the North Side of the said Old Fish street, till over against the Trinity church, and Trinity lane.
It is encompassed on the North and North West by the Ward of Farringdon within, on the East by Cordwainers Ward, on the South by Queenhithe Ward, and on the West by Castle Baynard Ward.
Within this Compass is Bread street, which, as said above, begins in Cheapside or West Cheap, and gives Name to the whole Ward. This Street runs from almost where the Standard stood in Cheapside, or facing Wood street, down Southward Cross Watling street to Knightriders street, where it endeth. This Bread street is wholly on both Sides of this Ward, as is also a Part of Basing lane, on the East Side thereof.
From the North West Extremity of this Ward there is another Street, called Friday street. It begins in West Cheap, and runneth down South thro' Watling street to Knightriders street, or Old Fish street. This Friday street is of Bread street Ward, on the East Side, from over against the North East Corner of St. Matthew's Church; and on the West Side, from the South Corner of the said Church, down, as aforesaid, to Old Fish street.
In this Friday street, on the West Side thereof, is a Lane, commonly called Maiden lane, or Distaff lane, corruptly from Distar lane, which runneth West into the "Old Change: And in this Lane is also another Lane, on the South Side thereof, likewife called Distar lane, which runneth down to Knightriders street, or Old Fish street. These are the Bounds of the whole Ward.

Now for the present State of this Ward.
The principal Streets and Places in this Ward are, Watling street, Bread street, Friday street, Distaff lane, Basing lane, with the East Side of the Old Change, from the Corner of St. Austin's Gate to Old Fish street ; and the North Side of Old Fish street and Trinity lane, with Part of the South Side of Cheapside, betwixt Friday street and St. Mary le Bow Church.
Watling street is a great Thorough fare, and has good Buildings in it, which are very well inhabited by great Dealers, chiefly by Wholesale. This Street begins two or three houses beyond St. Austin's Church on the West, and runs Eastward through the Heart of this and Cordwainer Ward, almost to St. Anthony, alias St. Antholine's Church, Wherefore Budge row begins, and runs into Canon street, in Wallbrook Ward. In the Part of this Street belonging to this Ward are these Places, beginning by St. Austin's Church, viz. St. John Evangelist Church yard, seated in the East Side Corner of Friday street, the Church not being rebuilt, but the Parish united to that of Allhallows Bread street ; and the Ground on which this Church flood, being inclosed, serves as a Burying Place for the Inhabitants, and has a handsome Pair of Iron Gates before it.
Bread street is a good open Street, well built, and inhabited by great Dealers, both by wholesale and retail, Hop Merchants, Grocers, and others. It begins at Cheapside on the North, and runs Southwards to Old Fish street, next to Trinity lane, crossing Watling street. The Courts in this Street, beginning next Cheapside, are Black Spread eagle court, but small, with a Free stone Pavement; has a very good house at the upper End. Planners court, indifferent large, but ordinary. Star court, very large, with an open Passage for a Cart, is well built and inhabited. Three Cups Inn, large, well built, and of a great Trade for Country Waggons and Carriers. White cock court, a handsome square Place, well built, and inhabited by Wholesale Dealers.
Basing lane, or Bakeing lane, from having the King's Bakehouse, or some other great Bakehouse, there formerly, in 20 Richard II. a handsome open Street, with good Buildings : Of this Lane about half is in this Ward. In this Lane is Gerard's Hall, now made use of for an Inn.
Red lion court has a Passage into Watling street, already taken Notice of; and near the aforesaid Inn is Horn alley, which is but small and ordinary.
Friday street comes out of Cheapside, and runs South into Old Fish street, and in its Passage crosses Watling street : This Street is well built, and inhabited chiefly by Haberdashers, and other Wholesale Dealers. In this Street are these Places ; White horse Inn, large, and of a good Resort. Bell Inn, of good Resort and Trade. Blue boar court, an open Place, also inhabited by Wholesale Dealers. Angel court, but ordinary, with an open Passage for Carts. Saracen's head Inn, large, and of a great Resort and Trade.
St. Margaret Moses Church was seated on the East Side of this Street, towards Old Fish street, burnt in the Fire of London, not rebuilt, but the Parish is united to St. Mildred's Bread street; and the Place where this Church flood is inclosed for a Burial Place for the Inhabitants.
Great Distaff or Distar lane comes out of the Old Change, and runs up to Bread street, against Bafing lane, crofiing Friday street on the South Side.

Places of Name in this Lane : Buck's head court, a small Place, with a Free stone Pavement. Cordwainers or Shoemakers Hall, a handsome Building, seated opposite to Little Distaff lane, which is of no great Account, and runs into Old Fish street. And in this Lane is Dolphin court, as also Sugar loaf court, both small and ordinary.
Old Fish street has the North Side in this Ward, the other Side in Queenhithe Ward.
Trinity lane has also the North Part in this Ward, the other in Queenhithe Ward.
The Old Change has but a small Part in this Ward, viz. the East Side, from Watling street Corner to Old Fish street, the other Part in the Ward of Faringdon within and Castle Baynard.

There are to watch at the several Stands in this Ward, every Night, a Constable, a Beadle, and thirty Watchmen.
The Jury returned by the Inquest for the Ward are to serve in the several Courts at Guildhall in the Month of April.
This Ward hath an Alderman, his Deputy, and twelve more Common Councilmen, sixteen Constables, eight Scavengers, thirteen Ward mote Inquest Men, and a Beadle. It is taxed to the Fifteenth in London at thirty seven Pounds, and in the Exchequer at thirty eight Pounds eighteen Shillings and two Pence.
The Alderman is the Right Honourable Stephen Theodore Janssen, Esq; Lord Mayor. The Common Councilmen are, Mr. Robert Cadge, Deputy, Mr. John Sedgwick, Mr. Anthony Plank, Mr. William Woolley, Mr. John Moorey, Mr. Thomas Skynner, Mr. William Robinson, Mr. Edward Say, Mr. Thomas Smith, Mr. Jonathan Barnard, Mr. John Twyne, and Mr. Edward Berwick.

The remarkable Things in this Ward are,
First, Four Parishes ; 1. Allhallows Bread street, 2. St. Mildred's Bread street, 3. St. John the Evangelist, and, 4. St. Margaret Moses ; but only two Parish Churches, dedicated, 1. to Allhallows or All Saints, and, 2. the other to St. Mildred:
Of which herafter in the Parochial History.

Secondly, Cordwainers Hall or Shoemakers Hall, situate on the North Side of Great Distaff lane, is a handsome Brick Building, and convenient within. The large Hall is adorned with the Pictures of King William III. and Queen Mary his Consort.
Of these Cordwainers Stow has read, that, since the fifth of Richard II. (when he took to Wife Anne, Daughter to Wenceslaus, King of Bohemia) by her Example the English People had used piked Shoes, tied to their Knees with silken Laces, or Chains of Silver and gilt.
Wherefore in the fourth of Edward IV. it was ordained and proclaimed, That Beaks of Shoes and Boots should not pass the Length of two Inches, upon Pain of Cursing by the Clergy, and by Parliament to pay twenty Shillings for every Pair. And every Cordwainer that shod any Man or Woman on the Sunday, to pay thirty Shillings.
Thirdly, On the South Side of Basing lane is a great house, built of old Time upon arched Vaults, and with arched Gates of Stone, brought from Caen in Normandy. It is now an Inn of good Repute, and the arched Vaults, supported by sixteen Pillars, are a great Curiosity. Stow says, in his time this was a common Hostery, corruptly then and now called Gerard's Hall, from a Giant said to have dwelled there.
In the high roofed Hall of this house some Time flood a large Fir Pole, which reached to the Roof thereof, and was said to be one of the Staves that Gerard the Giant used in the Wars to run withal. There flood also a Ladder of the same Length, which, as they said, served to ascend to the Top of the Staff. But Stow takes all this to be a Fable, as undoubtedly it was ; nor does he believe that any one of the Name of Gerard lived there. " I read, says he,
On the West Side of Bread street, amongst divers fair and large houses for Merchants, and Inns for Passengers, was a Prison house pertaining to the Sheriffs of London, called the Compter in Bread street. But, in the Year 1555, the Prisoners were removed from thence to another new Compter in Wood street, provided by the City's Purchase, and built for that Purpose.
Fourthly, Among the Monuments of Antiquity to be mentioned in this Ward, we must not omit the most beautiful Frame and Front of fair houses and Shops that were within the Walls of London, or elsewhere in England, commonly called Goldsmith's Row, betwixt Bread street End and the Cross in Cheap, but within this Bread street Ward.
The same was built by Thomas Wood, Goldsmith, one of the Sheriffs of London in the Year 1491. It contained in Number ten Dwelling houses and fourteen Shops, all in one Frame, uniformly built four Stories high, beautified towards the Street with the Goldsmiths Arms, and the Likeness of Woodmen, in Memory of his Name, riding on monstrous Beasts ; all which were cast in Lead, richly painted over and gilt. These he gave to the Goldsmiths, with Stocks of Money to be lent to young Men having those Shops, &c. This said Front was again new painted and gilt over in the Year 1594, Sir Richard Martin being then Mayor, and keeping his Mayoralty in one of them, and serving out the Time of Cutbert Buckle, in that Office, from the fecond of July till the twenty eighth of October.
The Goldsmiths kept their Shops and Trade in West Cheap from ancient Times, even before the Days of King Edward III. unto the Times of King Charles I. And the Exchange for the King's Coin was not far off the Place yet called the Old Change, as appears by this Record, shewing not only the Place of the Goldsmiths Habitation, but their Occupation and Business about the Coin and Plate.

And Last updated on: Friday, 15-Sep-2023 12:27:39 BST

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