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Index to Stow's original Survey of London written in 1598


The ancient division of this city was into wards or aldermanries. And therefore I will begin at the east, and so proceed through the high and most principal street of the city to the west, after this manner.

First, through Aldgate street to the west corner of St. Andrewe’s church, called Undershaft, on the right hand, and Lyme street corner on the left; all which is of Aldgate ward; from thence through Cornhill street to the west corner of Leaden hall; all which is of Lyme street ward. From thence, leaving the street that leadeth to Bishopsgate on the right hand, and the way that leadeth into Grasse street on the left, still through Cornhill street, by the conduit to the west corner against the Stocks; all which is in Cornhill ward. Then by the said Stocks (a market-place both of fish and flesh standing in the midst of the city) through the Poultry (a street so called) to the great conduit in West Cheape, and so through Cheape to the standard, which is of Cheape ward, except on the south side from Bow-lane to the said standard, which is of Cordwayner street ward. Then by the standard to the great cross, which is in Cripplegate ward on the north side, and in Bred street ward on the south side. And to the little conduit by Paule’s gate, from whence of old time the said high street stretched straight to Ludgate, all in the ward of Faringdon within, then divided truly from east to west,[108] but since by means of the burning of Paule’s church, which was in the reign of William I., Mauricius, then bishop of London, laid the foundation of a new church, so far in largeness exceeding the old, that the way towards Ludgate was thereby greatly straitened, as before I have discoursed.

Now from the north to the south this city was of old time divided, not by a large highway or street, as from east to west, but by a fair brook of sweet water, which came from out the north fields through the wall, and midst of the city, into the river of Thames; which division is till this day constantly and without change maintained. This water was called (as I have said) Walbrooke, not Galus brook of a Roman captain slain by Asclepiodatus, and thrown therein, as some have fabled, but of running through, and from the wall of this city; the course whereof, to prosecute it particularly, was and is from the said wall to St. Margaret’s church in Lothberrie; 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 Stockes’ market; from thence through Buckles berry, by one great house built of stone and timber called the Old Barge, because barges out of the river of Thames were rowed up so far into this brook, on the backside of the houses in Walbrooke street (which street taketh the name of the said brook) by the west end of St. John’s church upon Walbrooke, under Horseshew bridge, by the west side of Tallowchandler’s hall, and of the Skinner’s hall, and so behind the other houses to Elbow lane, and by a part thereof down Greenewitch lane, into the river of Thames.

This is the course of Walbrooke, 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 straitened, and other noyances 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.

This city was divided from east to west, and from north to south. I am further to show how the same was of old time broken into divers parts called wards, whereof Fitzstephen, more than four hundred years since, writeth thus:—“This city, (saith he) even as Rome, is divided into wards; it hath yearly sheriffs instead of consuls. It hath the dignity of senators in[109] aldermen,” etc. The number of these wards in London was, both before and in the reign of Henry III., twenty-four in all; whereof thirteen lay on the east side of the said Walbrooke, and eleven on the west. Notwithstanding these eleven grew much more large than those of the east; and therefore in the year of Christ 1393, in the 17th of Richard II., Faringdon ward, which was then one entire ward, but mightily increased of buildings without the gates, was by act of parliament appointed to be divided into twain, and to have two aldermen, to wit, Faringdon within, and Faringdon without, which made up the number of twelve wards on the west side of Walbrooke, and so the whole number of twenty-five on both sides. Moreover, in the year 1550, the mayor, commonalty, and citizens of London, purchasing the liberties of the borough of Southwark, appointed the same to be a ward of London, and so became the number of thirteen wards on the east, twelve on the west, and one south of the river Thames, in the said borough of Southwark, in the county of Surrey, which in all arise to the number of twenty-six wards, and twenty-six aldermen of London.

Wards on the east part of Walbrooke are these:—

1 Portsoken ward without the walls.

2 Tower street ward.

3 Ealdegate ward.

4 Lime street ward.

5 Bishopsgate ward, within the walls and without.

6 Brod street ward.

7 Cornehil ward.

8 Langbourne ward.

9 Billingsgate ward.

10 Bridge ward within.

11 Candlewick street ward.

12 Walbrooke ward.

13 Downgate ward.

Wards on the west side of Walbrooke are these:

14 Vintry ward.

15 Cordwainer street ward.

16 Cheape ward.

17 Colman street warde.

18 Basinghall warde.

19 Cripplegate ward, within and without.

20 Aldersgate ward, within and without.

21 Farringdon ward within.

22 Bread street ward.

23 Queenhithe ward.

24 Castle Baynard ward.

25 Farringdon ward without the walls.

One ward south the river Thames, in the borough of Southwark, by the name of

26 Bridge ward without.