Great Cock Alley - Great Fryers Gate


Centre for Metropolitan History



Henry A Harben

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'Great Cock Alley - Great Fryers Gate', A Dictionary of London (1918). URL: Date accessed: 24 November 2014.


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Great Cock Alley

North out of Fore Street, in Cripplegate Ward Without, and east to White Cross Street (Rocque, 1746-Strype, ed. 1755).

Called "Cock Alley," "Cock Yard" (O. and M. 1677, and Boyle, 1799). "New Court" in Horwood.

Site now occupied by Midland Railway goods' station and offices.

Great Conduit (The) in Westcheap

At the eastern end of Cheapside in the parish of St. Mary Colechurch, opposite the Hospital of St. Thomas of Acons, or Mercers' Chapel.

Shown on Leake's map 1666.

Earliest mention : Stow says it was begun to be made in 1285 (S. 17, 267, 511) ; but in the Chron. of London (1189-1485) under the date 12 Ed. I. is the entry, that "in this yere the grete conduyt in Chepe was newe begonne to maken," whilst in a deed of 1268 in the cartulary of the Hospital of St. Thomas of Acon preserved amongst the archives of the Mercers' Company, the hospital is described as near the conduit (Mercer's Co. p. 250).

In the Cal. Charter Rolls, II. 38. under date 1261, some houses are described as in the parish of St. Mary Colechurch in Westchepe opposite the conduit.

Pink, in his History of Clerkenwell (p. 441), says that nine conduits were erected in 1238 to supply the City with water, and that the conduit in Cheapside, which had been 50 years in building, was completed in 1285.

This would seem to be a possible explanation, for the grant of the fountain head in Tyburn for the supply of water was made in 1237 (Cal. L. Bk. A. p. 14) and the erection of the conduit commenced in 1245 (Ann. Lond. 44). It is reasonable to suppose that the conduits which were to receive and preserve the water for the use of the citizens would be erected as soon as possible after 1237. The supply seems to have been brought from Tybum by way of Constitution Hill, the Mews at Charing Cross, through the Strand and Fleet Street to Cheapside (Riley's Mem. 503-4).

Certain citizens were elected from time to time to see to the repair and upkeep of the conduits (Lib. Albus, I. 581-2, 685, 693, 700, 730), and bequests were made sometimes by citizens in their wills for the purpose (Ct. Hust. W. II. 201, 218.)

In 2 Rich. II. (1378) the conduit in Chepe was repaired and the water carried up to the crossways on the top of Cornhill (Cal. L. Bk. II. p. 108).

Brewers, cooks and fishmongers were specially assessed to contribute to these repairs on account of the amount of water they used for the purposes of their trades (Riley's Mem. p. 107), and in 1337 orders were made to restrain the waste of water of the conduit (ib. 200), while in 1345 it was further represented that the conduit being built for the use of rich and middling persons in the midst of the City, the water was not to be wasted by the brewers (ib. 225).

The conduit was rebuilt by Thos. Ilam about 1480 (Grafton II. 70).

Removed after the Great Fire and not rebuilt (Strype, ed. 1720, I. iii. 49), as being in the middle of the street it interfered with the traffic.

The conduits seem to have been well and strongly built of stone, castellated and ornamented, so that they were notable objects in the City, and on occasions of importance and rejoicing they were often gaily decorated and were made to run with wine instead of water, as in 1273-4 (Fr. Ch. p. 13), 1312 (Riley's Mem. pp. 106-7).

Great Cross in Cheapside

In West Cheap in the parish of St. Peter West Cheap, in the ward of Farringdon Within, opposite the southern end of Wood Street (S. 268-9, 316).

Erected by Edward I. in memory of his Queen Eleanor in 1296.

First mention : Rents in Chepe by the New Cross, 1322 (Ct. H.W. I. 297).

New built 1441, finished 1486. Gilded 1522, 1553, 1554.

Seems to be called the "Stone Cross" in 1349 (Ct. H.W. I. 587) ; "High Cross" in 1379 (Cat. L. Bk. H. p. 131).

It was a place of importance in early times, stations round it were leased to different people and false wares, etc., were publicly burnt at the Cross (Cal. L. Bk. E. p. 223 and H. 131). It was a notable ornament to the street.

Defaced 1581 and taken down 1599. Restored 1600. Threatened 1641-2. Finally removed 1643.

Great Dean's Court, St. Martin's Le Grand

See Dean's Court.

Great Dice Key

It occupies the site of Smart's Key in O. and M. 1677, and Rocque, 1746, but in Strype it is shown between Little Dice Key and Smart's Key.

See Smart's Key.

Great Distaff Lane

West out of Friday Street to Old Change, in Bread Street Ward, and Farringdon Ward Within (O.S. 1848-51).

First mention : Horwood, 1799.

Former name and forms : "Distauelana," 12th century (Harl. Ch. 84, H. 31). "Distave lane," 1258-9 (Ct. H.W. I. 2). "Distaflane," 54 H. III. A. 1590). "Distafes lane," 33 Ed. I. (Cal. Close R. Ed. I. 1302-5, p. 330).

"Mayden lane" or "Distaffe lane," corruptly for "Distar lane," as I read in record of a brewhouse, called the Lamb in Distar lane, 16 H. VI. (S. 353 and 347).

The earliest form, as shown above, is Distaue, not Distar, and Stow is in error as to this.

Haliwell says that the day after Twelfth Day was jocularly called "St. Distaff's day" ; perhaps this street name was connected with the popular saint in some way.

Cordwainers' Hall was in this street, now No. 7 Cannon Street.

Absorbed into Cannon Street, when that street was extended and widened in 1853-4.

The name survives in Little Distaff Lane (q.v.).

Great Eastcheap

See Eastcheap.

Great Eastern Railway Goods' Receiving Office

On the west side of Laurence Lane at No. 23, in Cheap Ward, on the western boundary of the ward (P.O. Directory).

First mention : O.S. 1875.

The office is in Blossom Inn Yard and occupies the site of Blossoms' Inn (q.v.).

Great Elbow Lane

See College Street.

Great Fryers Gate

South out of Fleet Street to Silver Street, White Friars, in Farringdon Ward Without (Rocque, 1746-L. Guide, 1758).

Commemorated one of the gates enclosing the precinct of the Whitefriars monastery.

Site now covered by Bouverie Street (q.v.).