A Dictionary of London. Originally published by H Jenkins LTD, London, 1918.
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Other forms of name : "La Cosyneslane," 1305-6 (Ct. H.W. I. 175). "Cosyngeslane," 1321 (Cal. L. Bk. E. p. 144). "Cosineslane," 1338 (Ct. H.W. I. 430). " Cosynes lane," 1345 (ib. 479). "Cosynlane," 1379 (Cal. L. Bk. II. p. 136). "Cuflyn lane," 1510 (Lond. I. p.m. H. VIII. I. p. 74). "Cossen Lane," I and 2 P. and M. (1554) (ib. 133). "Cosin Lane" (S. 234), 1603. "Couzens Lane," "Cousens Lane" (Strype, ed. 1720, I. ii. 207). "Cousens Lane" (Rocque, 1746).
Stow says that this lane was named after "William Cosin that dwelled there in the fourth of Richard the second, as divers his predecessors...had done before him. William Cosin was one of the sheriffs in the yeare 1306." These could hardly have been the same persons.
Cousin Lane Stairs
Covent Garden, East Smithfield
Not mentioned in any of the old maps, etc., but probably erected on the site of the Convent garden of St. Mary Graces mentioned in the grant to Sir Arthur Darcy in 1542 (ib. Hen. VIII. Dom. S. XVIII. Pt. 1, p. 446).
Covent Rentes, East Smithfield
Cow Cross, Cow Cross Street
Stow identifies this lane with Cowbridge Street (q.v.), but Cow Lane is shown in all the old maps as meeting Snow Hill at Holborn Conduit, and unless its course had been diverted it could never have touched the "River of Wells."
The maps show the Chick Lane bridge as the next bridge northward of Holborn Bridge, and no street or lane between the two, where a bridge could have been. It is difficult therefore to see where the Cow Bridge could have been situated, unless it was identical with the Chick Lane bridge, or stood further north. It seems more likely that Chick Lane was identical with Cowbridge Street, not Cow Lane.
Mentioned in the Register of Clerkenwell Priory. (Cott. MSS. Faust, A. III. fo. 104). Some land described as "versus pontem de Holburne," et extendit se in longitudine a vico regio usque ad aquam currentem per 'Cubreg.'"
In O. and M. and other maps Cow Lane meets Snow Hill at right angles with the continuation of Holborn, one hundred yards east of Holborn Bridge. Unless therefore the course of Cow Lane was diverted, it never touched the Fleet, so could hardly be described as "by the bridge." Possibly Cowbridge Street was distinct from Cow Lane.
The eastern continuation to Cross Key Square was, until 1899, called Montague Place, but in that year the name "Montague Place" was abolished, and the whole street from Little Britain to Cross Key Square is now called Cox's Court.
Apparently two mills so called belonging first to the Priory of Holy Trinity and afterwards to the Abbey of Grace on the Thames' bank, on the boundary of the parishes of St. Botolph Aldgate and St. Mary Whitechapel, near the Swan's Nest, a hermitage in East Smithfield.
The earliest mention of them appears to be under the name "mill of Crassenie lane" in a dispute concerning tithes between the Convent of Holy Trinity and the Rector of Stepney in 1233 (H. MSS. Com. 9th Rep. App. p. 49), when it is described as on the borders of the parishes of St. Botolph Aldgate and Stepney.
In 49 Ed. III the mills were in the possession of John de Peckebrigg, and were specifically excepted from a grant of land in Eastsmithfield made by him at that time to the abbot and convent of the new abbey de Gracus (Cal. Anc. Deeds, A. 2559).
The Swan's Nest was a hermitage in 49 Ed. III. (Anc. Deeds, A. 2559), and may well have been The Hermitage, from which the Bridge derived its name. This would correspond with the position of the mills as set out in the documents quoted above.
In the Middlesex Sessions' Rolls they are described as divers mills called "crash milles" belonging to the Lord King in the two parishes of St. Botolph without Aldgate, and Whitechapel through which water ran from the Thames, 5 and 6 Jas. I. (II. 32 and 40).