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The London Wards - Cordwainers 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.

Its Name. Bounds. Extent. Modern State. Aldermen and Common Council. Parishes Churches. Roman Causeway.

Cordwainers street Ward takes its Name from the Occupation of its principal Inhabitants, who were Cordwainers, or Shoemakers, Curriers and other Workers of Leather.
It is bounded on the East by Walbrook Ward ; on the North by Cheapside Ward, on the South by Vintry Ward ; on the West by Bread street Ward.
This Ward begins in the East, on the West Side of Wallbrook, and runs West towards Budge row (a Street so called from the Budge Furr; and Skinners dwelling there ;) then up by St. Antholin's Church, through Aetheling, or Noble street, as Leyland terms it, commonly called Wating street, to Red lyon court, where once stood a great Lion of Timber, at a Gate entering to a large Court, wherein were divert handsome and large Shops, well furnished with Broad Cloths, and other Draperies of all Sorts to be sold : This is the farthest West Part of this Ward.

On the South Side of this Street, from Budge row, lieth a Lane turning down by which the West Gate of the Tower Royal stood, and to the South End of the Stone Wall beyond the said Gate ; which is of this Ward, and is accounted a Part of the Royal street.
Against this West Gate of the Tower Royal was another Lane, that runs West to Cordwainers street ; and this is called Turnbase lane on the South Side whereof was a Piece of Wring wren lane, to the North West Corner of St. Thomas the Apostles. Then again out of the High street, called Watling, is another Street which runs Cross the same ; and this is Cordwainers street ; whereof the whole Ward takes its Name.
This Street begins by Westcheap ; and St. Mary le Bow Church is the Head thereof on the West Side ; and it runs down South through that Part, which of latter Time was called Hosier lane, now Bow lane ; and then by the West End of Aldermary Church, to the new built houses in place of Ormond house, and so to Garlick hill or hithe to St. James's Church.
The upper Part of this Street towards Cheap was called Hosier lane, from Hosiers dwelling there, in the Place of Shoemakers : But now those Hosiers being worn out by Men of other Trades, (as the Hosiers had worn out the Shoe makers) the same is called Bow lane, from Bow Church.
On the West Side of Cordwainers street, is Basing lane, right over against Turnbase lane. This Basing lane, West, to the back Gate of the Red lion in Watling street, is of this Cordwainers street Ward.
Again, on the North Side of the high Street, in Budge row, by the East End of St. Anthony's Church, is St. Sithe' s lane, so called from St. tithe's Church, (which stood against the North End of that Lane) and this Place is wholly of Cordwainers street Ward : And also the South Side of Needlers lane, which reacheth from the North End of St. Sithe's lane, West to Soper's lane. Somewhat West from St. Anthony's Church is the South End of Soper's lane, which took that Name, not from making Soap there, as some have supposed, but from one Alleyne le Soper, in the 9th of Edward II. For there was no Soap made in this City, till one John Lambe, dwelling in the Grays street, fet up a Boiling house about 280 Years ago. For this City, in former Times, was served with White Soap in hard Cakes, called Castile Soap, and other, from beyond Sea, and with Grey Soap, speckled with White, from Bristol; sold here for a Penny a Pound, and never above a Penny Farthing, and Black Soap for an Halfpenny the Pound.
In this Sopers lane the Pepperers anciently dwelt, wealthy Tradesmen, who dealt in Spices and Drugs.

The Modern State of this Ward is thus described.
The principal Streets and Lanes in it, are Bow lane, new Queen street, Budge row, Little St. Thomas Apostles, Pancras Iane, with a small Part of Watling street, and Basing lane.

Watling street hath its greatest Part in Bread street Ward, what lies in this Ward begins on the East Side of Red lion court, and so goeth to Budge row. This Court is square and large, well built and inhabited ; having a Passage into Basing lane. Cross keys court, a handsome Place, with a Free stone Pavement. St. Mary Aldermary Church yard, a large Place, with an open Passage for Coach or Cart into Bow lane ; being a Place very well inhabited by Merchants, and Persons of good Repute. In this Church yard, at the End towards Bow lane, is seated St. Mary Aldermary Church.
Basing lane hath but a small Part in this Ward.
Bow lane begins at Trinity lane, and falls into Cheapside, by St. Mary le Bow Church. The Part of this Lane, in this Ward, begins about 50 Feet from Cheapside, on both Sides the Way ; and 60 Feet beyond Basing lane; and then, on the West Side, only to Trinity lane. This was anciently called Cordwainers street, being well inhabited and built. In this Lane are these Courts
and Places of Name, viz. Half moon court, by some called Lugg yard, a Place something open, but ordinary, it is likewise, by some, called Whalebone court, from one that there used to boil Whalebone. Taylor' s court, a handsome open Place. Robin hood court, indifferent long, and well built. New court, a handsome genteel Place, with a Door next the Street, to shut up at Night. Goose alley, but ordinary ; at the upper End of which is Twelve bell court, which is but small and narrow. It hath a Passage thro' Compter's alley into Bow Church yard, both Places of small Account. George alley, or yard, but narrow, hath a Passage into New Queen street, through Weld court. Rose court but mean and ordinary.

New Queen street, built in the Place where Sopers lane was, and now made an open Street, (before the great Fire very narrow) with very good houses, well inhabited ; it fronts King street, which is Opposite to Guildhall, and in a strait Line runneth down to the Thames, at the Three Cranes ; but the Part of this Street, in this Ward, goeth no farther than St. Thomas Apostle's. In this Street is Weld court, a handsome square Place, with well built and inhabited houses : This Court hath a Passage into George yard, which falls into Bow lane.

Pancras lane comes out of New Queen street, and falls into Bucklersbury ; the South Side is in this Ward, and the North in Cheap Ward. This Lane is but ordinarily built and inhabited, except one large House, the Dwelling of a Merchant, on the South Side ; and on the North, before the Fire of London, stood two Churches, viz. St. Pancras's Soper lane, and St. Bennet's Sherehog. Adjoining to St. Pancras's Church is a small Court, but no fixed Name is given to it.

St. Sithe' s lane comes out of Pancras lane, and falls into Budge row, by St. Anthony's Church, a Lane well built, and inhabited by Merchants.

Budge row takes its Rise from Watling street, and runs Eastward to Canon street ; from which it is severed by Wallbrook on the North, and Dowgate on the South. The houses are good, and taken up by good Tradesmen, being so great a Thoroughfare. In this Street is Dodsons court, a large Place, well built and inhabited and hath a Passage into Cloak lane : On the South Side, is a Passage into Tower royal street.

Tower royal street, but short, comes out of Budge row, and falls into St. Thomas Apostle's. In this Street is a handsome small Court, which bears the Name of that Street : Straw berry court but small. For what more relates to this Street, see in Vintry Ward.

St. Thomas Apostle's, the Fore Street, or Great St. Thomas Apostle's ; so called, to distinguish it from little St. Thomas Apostle's, or the Back side of St. Thomas Apostle's; and both Streets run Westwards, eroding New Queen street, and falling into Bow lane. But the Street of Great St. Thomas Apostle's is in Vintry Ward.
In little St. Thomas are these Courts : Cross keys court, which is but small : Key court, also small and ordinary : Eagle ourt, pretty open, and indifferent well built and inhabited, with a Free stone Pavement.

There are placed at the several Stands in this Ward, that watch every Night, a Constable, a Beadle, and twenty four Watchmen.

The Jurymen returned by the Wardmote Inquest, for this Ward, are to serve in the several Courts in Guildhall in the Month of December.

This Ward hath an Alderman, and nine Common Council Men ; Constables eight, Scavengers eight, Wardmote Inquest Men fourteen, and a Beadle.
It stands taxed to the Fifteenth in London at 52 l. 16 s. in the Exchequer at 52 l. 6 s.

The Alderman of this Ward is William Alexander, Esq. The Common Councilmen are, Mr. William Reynold:, Deputy, Mr. George Hayter, Mr. John Lewis Paulhan, Mr. William Blunt, Mr. George Hooker, Mr. Jofiab Colebrook, Mr. Richard Lodge, and Mr. Richard Blunt .

The remarkable Things in this Ward are three Parish Churches : (1) St. Anthony's, commonly called St. Antholinh, or AntliiCs , (2) St. Mary Aldermary's ; and (3) St. Mary le Bow : Of which more particularly in our Parochial Hiltory.

Here we may properly add Sir Christopher Wrens Observations on the Roman Causeway discovered by him at the rebuilding of the Church of St. Mary le Bow :

" The parochial Church of St. Mary le Bow, in Cheapside, required to be rebuilt after the great fire: The Building had been mean and low, with one Corner taken out for a Tower ; but, upen restoring, that the new Church could be rendered square. Upon opening the Ground, a Foundation was discerned firm enough for the new intended Fabrick, which (on further Inspection, after digging down sufficiently, and removing what Earth or Rubbish lay in the Way) appeared to be the Walls, with the Windows also, and the Pavement of a Temple or Church, of Roman Workmanship, intirely buried under the Level of the present Street. Hereupon, he determined to erect his new Church over the old, and in order to the necessary Regularity and Square of the new Design, restored the Corner ; but then another Place was to be found for the Steeple : The Church stood about 40 Feet backwards from the high Street, and by purchasing the Ground of one private house not yet rebuilt, he was enabled to bring the Steeple forward so as to range with the Street houses in Cheapside. Here, to his Surprise, he sunk about 18 Feet deep through made Ground, and then imagined he was come to the natural Soil, and hard Gravel; but upon full Examination, it appeared to be a Roman Causeway of rough Stone, close and well rammed, with Roman Brick and Rubbish at the Bottom, for a Foundation, and all firmly cemented. This Causeway was four Feet thick [the Thickness of the via Appia ; according as Monf. Montfaucon measured, it was about three Parisian Feet, or three Feet two Inches and a half English.'] Underneath this Causeway lay the natural Clay, over which that Part of the City stands, and which descends at least forty Feet lower. He concluded then to lay the Foundation of the Tower upon the very Roman Causeway, as most proper to bear what he had designed, a weighty and lofty Structure.
He was of Opinion, for divers Reasons, that this High way ran along the North Boundary of the Colony. The Breadth then North and South, was from the Causeway, now Cheapside, to the River Thames ; the Extent East and West, from Tower hill to Ludgate ; and the principal middle Street, or Pretorian Way, was Watling street.
The Colony was walled next the Thames, and had a Gate there, called Dowgate, but anciently Dour gate, which Signified the Watergate. On the North Side, beyond the Causeway, was a great Fen, or Morass, in those Times; which the Surveyor discovered more particularly when he had Occasion to build a new East Front to the parochial Church of St. Laurence new Guildhall ; for the Foundation of which, after sinking seven Feet, he was obliged to pile twelve Feet deeper ; and if there was no Causeway over the Bog, there could be no Reason for a Gate that Way."

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