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The London Wards - Walbrook Ward in 1756

Walbrook Ward in 1756 neatly engraved from a New Survey

Walbrook Ward in 1756 neatly engraved from a New Survey

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Index of London wards in 1756 by William Maitland

Chap. XXIX.

Walbrook Ward.

With a Plan, neatly engraved from a New Survey.

The Name. Bounds. Extent. Modern State. Government. Alderman and Common Councilmen. Parishes and Churches.

This Ward takes its Name from a Street which runs up from Canon street, near London Stone, to the South West Corner of the City Mansion house, built upon the Site of Stocks market, which Street was so called from a Brook, which ran down on the West Side thereof.

It is bounded on the East by Langbourn Ward, on the South by Dowgate Ward, on the West by Cordwainers Ward, and on the North by Cheap Ward; whose Extent and modern State is thus described :

The Streets and Lanes in this Ward are, Walbrook, as far as Bucklersbury, on both Sides.

Bucklersbury, the East End on both Sides, about eighty Feet.
Budge row, the East End on both Sides for about seventy Feet.
Dowgate, the North End on the West Side as far as Cloak lane, and on the East Side as far as against TallowChandlers Hall.
Canon street, on both Sides as far as Green Lettice lane on the South Side, and to Abchurch lane on the North Side.
St. Swithin's lane, on both Sides the Way almost as far as Bearbinder lane.
Bearbinder lane, the whole, except about thirty five Feet at the East End.
Lombard street, about an hundred and seventy five Feet on both Sides of next the Mansion house, which takes in.

Sherborn lane, the South End on both Sides for about an hundred and twenty Feet.
Bush lane, from Canon street Southwards on both Sides as far as Cross lane, which hath the North Side in this Ward.
Suffolk street, the West Side at the North End for about eighty five Feet downwards.
Green Lettice lane, only the West Side.
Abchurch lane, the West Side as far as the Church.
Walbrook. This Street of Walbrook is well built, and inhabited by Merchants and Tradesmen, especially Furriers, for which it is of Note. On the East Side is Bond court, which is large and open, the Turning at the upper End having good houses, and a Free stone Pavement, and the Entrance into this Court being broad for Coach or Cart. On the West Side is the Bell inn, which is but indifferent.

St. Stephen's Walbrook Church, seated on the East Side, and on the South Side of the Mansion house.
This Church was destroyed in the Fire of London; and since its rebuilding, which is very ornamental, having a Cupola in or about the Middle of it, to it the Parish of St. Bennet Sherehog, not rebuilt, is united.

Up farther North once stood the Stocks market, out of which is an Entrance into Lombard street. But there is but little of the Street in this Ward, except towards this End, formerly very narrow, but lately widened, by lessening the house at the South West Corner : The reft being in Langbourn Ward is there treated of.

Bearbinder lane, a Place of no great Account, as to Trade ; it comes out of the Stocks market, and falls into St. Swithens lane, which is well inhabited by Merchants and others. This Lane comes out of Lombard street by St. Mary Wolnoth Church, and passing by Dove court and Bearbinder lane, (both which have some small Part in this Ward, but the greatest in Langbourn Ward, have been there mentioned) falls into Canon street by St. Swithenss Church. In this Lane are these Places :
Brites alley, formerly called Horshoe alley, is both narrow and small, having but one house, with a Passage into Sherbom lane.
New court, a very handsome, large Place, with an open Passage into it for Coach or Cart. Here are very good Buildings, with Inhabitants answerable.
Salters hall, a very good Building, seated in a good Court, with a Free stone Pavement, and good built houses. Out of this Court is a Passage into the back Side of St. Swithens Church, which falls into Canon street. In this Passage is Whistlers court, which is pretty large, well built and inhabited, having a Free stone Pavement.

More towards Canon street is Oxford court, which is pretty large and open, especially the upper End, where are good houses : And in this Place anciently stood the house of the Prior of Tortington in Sussex, which afterwards fell to the Earls of Oxford, and in Process of Time, from one to another, at Length it was converted into Buildings, as now it is, and yet retains the Name of Oxford court.

Sherborn lane begins at the Corner of Swithens lane, by the Sign of the Cock against the back Gate of the Poft Office, and, with a turning Passage by St. Mary Abchurch, falls into Canon street.
Canon street begins in the West by the Corner of Dowgate hill on the South, and Walbrook on the North, and runs Eastward into Great Eastcheap, a Street well built, and inhabited by good Tradesmen, and is a great Thoroughfare ; but the Part in this Ward goeth but to Green Lettice lane, which hath the West Side in this Ward, the East being in Candlewick Ward, where it is spoken of.
In this Street is St. Swithens Church, seated on the West Side and at the South East Corner of St. Swithens lane.
Over against St. Swithen's Church is the famous old Stone called London Stone.

On the South Side of this Street, and almost against St. Swithens Church, is Turnwheel lane, which runs up to Dowgate hill, being a Place well inhabited.

The Parish Church of St. Mary Bothaw stood in these Parts, burnt in the great Fire, not rebuilt, but the Parish is united to St. Swithen's.
Bucklersbury falls into Walbrook almost against St. Stephen's Walbrook Church. It is a Place well built and inhabited, particularly by Druggists and Furriers. But in this Ward there is no great Part, the most being in Cordwainers Ward.
Near this Street, more Southward, stood the Church of St. John Baptist, which being destroyed by the Fire, is now enclosed for a
Church yard, and the Parish united to St. Antholin's.

In this Ward these following Lanes have some small Part, the greatest Parts lying in other Wards, namely, Budge row and Cloak lane in Vintry Ward, Bush lane and Suffolk lane in Dowgate Ward, and Green Lettice lane in Langbourn Ward.
There are to watch at the several Places or Stands in this Ward every Night, one Constable, a Beadle, and twenty Watchmen.
The Jurymen returned by the Wardmote Inquest for this Ward are to serve in the several Courts holden at Guildhall in the Month of October.
Its Government is under an Alderman, who at present is Slingsby Bethell, Esq; and eight Common Councilmen, who are, Mr. James Ennis, Deputy, Mr. Joseph Blandford, Mr. William Whipham, Mr. Basil Browne, Mr. William Walter, Mr. Jonathan Weeble, Mr. Nathan Thomas, and Mr. Robert Norris.

The most remarkable Things in this Ward are, three Parishes, and but two Churches.

First, (1.) The Parish Church of St. Swithen, (2.) of St. Stephen Walbrook, and (3.) the Parish of St. Mary Bothaw : Of which in our Parochial History.

Secondly, The Mansion house, for the Residence of the Lord Mayors of this City for the Time being. It is built on the Ground which was formerly the Stocks market. This Edifice is all of Portland Stone, very capacious within, and well provided for the Entertainment of the chief Magistrate and his Officers ; but too much confined by the Contiguity of the neighbouring Buildings, by which the Grandeur of so magnificent a Structure is intercepted from the curious Spectator. See the Elevation of this Mansion annexed.

Thirdly, On the South Side of Canon street, close under the South Wall of St. Swithens Church, stands upright a great Stone called London Stone. It, till of late Years, was pitched near the Channel, facing the same Place, and fixed in the Ground very deep, fastened with Bars of Iron, and otherwise so ftrongly set, that if Carts did run against it through Negligence, the Wheels were broken, and the Stone itself unshaken.

The Cause why this Stone was set up, the very Time when, or other Memory hereof, is uncertain ; but that the same hath been long continued there is manifest; for, in the End of a fair written Gospel Book, given to Christ Church in Canterbury by Ethelstane, King of the West Saxons, I find noted of Lands or Rents in London belonging to the said Church, whereof one Parcel is described to lie near unto London Stone. Of later Time we read, that, in the Year of Christ 1135, the first of King Stephen, a Fire, which began in the house of one Ailward, near unto London Stone, consumed all East to Aldgale: In which Fire the Priory of the Holy Trinity was burnt ; and West to St. Erkenwald's Shrine in St. Paul's Church.

Some have said this Stone to have been set as a Mark in the Middle of the City within the Wall; but it standeth nearer to the River of Thames than to the Wall of the City.

Others have said the same to be fet for the tendering and making of Payment by Debtors to their Creditors, at their appointed Days and Times, till of later Time Payments were more usually made at the Font in St. Paul's Church, and at the Royal Exchange. Some again have imagined the same to be set up by one John or Thomas Londonstone, dwelling there against it.
But more likely it is that such Men have taken Name of the Stone, than the Stone of them.

Some of our Forefathers had a Conceit, that London Stone was set up in Signification of the City's Devotion towards Christ, and his Care and Protection of the City, under the Notion of a Stone, on which it was founded, and by his Favour so long preserved ; for that Way those Rhimes of Fabian in the Praise of London seem to look:

" It is so fure a Stone that that is upon fette,
For though some have it thrette
With Manafes grym and grette,
Yet Hurte had it none :
Cryft is the very Stone
That the Citie is fet uppon,
Which from al hys Foone
Hath ever preserved yt."'

And since others have cast in their Conjectures in a Matter so obfeure, by Reason of the Antiquity of it, let me add one or two of mine own.
The Romans reckoned their Miles from all great Towns and Places by Stones pitched, and so they did in Britain; and perhaps this might be the Stone for London, from which precise Place to measure their Miles from this City towards the other Pares of the Land. And this Street in former Times being the chief Street of London, as Cheapside now is, this London Stone seems to have been the Place (and likely enough upon this Stone) whence Proclamations and publick Notices of Things were given to the Citizens.

There is a Passage in our Chronicles that favours this Conceit. In Henry VI's Time, Anno 1450, when Jack Cade, the Kentish Rebel, who feigned himself the Lord Mortimer, came through Soutbwark into London, he marched to this Stone, where was a great Confluence of People, and the Lord Mayor among the rest : Here he struck his Sword upon it, and said, Now is Mortimer Lord of this City : And there making a formal, but lying Declaration to the Mayor, departed back again to Southwark.

Perhaps this Stone maybe of greater Antiquity than the Times of the Romans, and was an Object or Monument of Heathen Worship; if any be moved so to think, from what an exquisite British Antiquitaiian afferts, that the Britains erected Stones for religious Worship, and that the Druids had Pillars of Stone in Veneration :
"Which Custom, he saith, they borrowed from the Greeks, who, as Paufanias writeth, adored rude and unpolished Stones.

Down West from London Stone is Walbrook Corner, where was a Conduit, new built in the Year 1568, at the City's Charge, but not rebuilt after the Fire of London. From whence runneth up North to Stocks market a Street called Walbrook, because it stood on the East Side of a Brook by the Bank thereof; and the whole Ward taketh its Name from this Street.

This City, of old Time, from North to South, was not divided by a large Highway or Street, as from East to West, but by a Brook of Water which came from out the North Fields through the Wall and Midst of the City into the River Thames. This Water was called Walbrock (not Callus Brook, from a Roman Captain slain by Asclepiadotus, and thrown therein, as some have fabled, but) from running through and from the Wall of the City.

The Course whereof, to prosecute it particularly, was and is from the said Wall to St. Margaret's Church in Lothbury; from thence, beneath the lower Part of the Grocers hall, about the East Part of their Kitchen, under St. Mildred's Church, somewhat West from the said Stocksmarket ; from thence through Bucklersbury, by one great house built of Stone and Timber, called the Old Barge, because Barges out of the River Thames were rowed up so far into this Brook, on the back Side of the houses in Walbrook street, (which Street taketh Name of the said Book) by the West End of St. John's Church upon Walbrook, under horseshoe bridge, by the West Side of Tallow chandlers hall and of the Skinners ball, and so behind the other houses to Elbow lane, and by a Part thereof down Greenwich lane into the River Thames.
This is the Course of Walbrook, which was, of old Time, bridged over in divers Places, for Passage of Horses and Men, as Need required : But since, by Means of Encroachment on the Banks thereof, the Channel being greatly straightned, and other Annoyances done thereunto, at Length the same, by common Consent, was arched over with Brick, and paved with Stone, equal with the Ground where through it passed, and is now in most Places built upon, that no Man may by the Eye discern it ; and therefore the Trace thereof is hardly known to the common People.

Fourthly, The Antiquities in this Ward may Antiquities be reduced to these few Particulars :

(1.) Stocks market, which stood at the North East Corner of Walbrook, and of which we have the following Account :

About the Year of Christ 1282, Henry Wallis, Mayor, caused divers houses in this City to be built towards the Maintenance of London bridge, namely., one void Place near unto the Parish Church called Woolchurch, on the North Side thereof; where some Time (the Way being very large and broad) had stood a fair of Stocks for Punishment of Offenders. This Building took Name of those Stocks, and was appointed by him to be a Market place for Fish and Flesh in the Midst of the City. Other houses he built in other Places, as by Patent of Edward I. doth appear, dated the tenth of his
This Stocks market was some Time belong to the Keepers of the Bridge, of London, and they lett the Shops lor Term of their Lives to the Butchers and Fiihmongers at certain Rents, which were appropriated for the Use of the said Bridge. But afterwards if was concluded, that no Keeper of the said Bridge should lett the laid Shops for Life, without the Concurrence of the Mayor and Commonalty,

(2.) By the stocks was a Stone Conduit fet up by the Inhabitants, where before was only a Pipe of Lead, as appears by an Act of Common Council, viz.

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

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