Heathen Court - Helmet Court, East Smithfield

A Dictionary of London. Originally published by H Jenkins LTD, London, 1918.

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Heathen Court

Out of Red Gate Court, Minories (Strype, ed. 1720, I. ii. 28).

Captain George Legge, a groom of the Bedchamber, was at Heathen House in the Minories in 1670 (H. MSS. Com. Dartmouth, III. 114).

The court was probably erected on the site of the house and named after it.

The site seems to be now occupied by "Morley's Court" (q.v.).

Hede House (The)

A messuage so called in Smythfield in parish of St. Sepulchre without Newgate, 23 H. VII. (Anc. Deeds, D. 808), and 6 H. VIII. (ib. D. 1060).

Not further identified.


See Royal Mint Street.

Heghwarf (le)

See Haywarf.


Mentioned 14 Ed. II. (Plac. de Quo Warranto, p. 459). See Spytell Wharf.

Helen (St.) Churchyard

On the west and south-west of the church (O.S.).

Strype describes it as planted with trees and very pleasant in the summer (Ed. 1720, I. ii. 107).

Helen, Priory of Crossed Freers

See Crutched Friars.

Helen's (St.)

At the north-east corner of the northern portion of Great St. Helens. In Bishopsgate Ward Within (P.O. Directory).

First mention in records : In 1010, when the remains of St. Edmund were removed to this church (Cox, p. 4).

In 1162 it is mentioned in a grant of land made by Peter Merewin and Goldeburg his wife to the church of St. Mary of Southwark, the land being "ante ecclam sancte Elene" (Cott. Charter, XXVII. 100).

In 1212, after the Priory of St. Helens was founded, the Church became the Priory Church and was used both as a parish church and for the nuns (S. 173).

It seems to have been rebuilt during the 13th century by Thos. Basing and his brother, William (Ct. H.W. I. 147).

The church is said to have been originally founded by Constantine, and to have been named by him after his mother the Empress, afterwards St. Helen (Cox, p. 4), but there does not seem to be any historical foundation for this statement.

There was a Chapel "Sci Spus" in the church 49 Ed. III. mentioned in will of Adam Francis (Cox, 362).

The living is a Vicarage, and the patronage in early times belonged to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's (MSS. D. and C. in Hist. MSS. Com. 9th Rep.), but when the Priory was founded the advowson was given to the Nuns (Dugdale, IV. 553), and remained in their hands (Lib. Cust. I. 236) until the Dissolution, when it passed to the Crown. It now again belongs to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's (Newcourt, I. 364).

The double use of the Church by the Nuns and by the parishioners is well illustrated in its structure, as it consists of two parallel naves, 122 feet long, the southern one having been appropriated to the use of the parish, and the northern to the Nuns. Divided by 15th century arcade (Godfrey, 355).

The church was repaired in 1631 and 1633. It was not destroyed in the Great Fire, and the openings into the refectory and cloisters still remain. Restored 1865-8, 1874-6, and in 1891 (St. Paul's Ece. Soc. I. 173).

13th and 14th century windows remain (Godfrey, 355).

The church and parish of St. Martin Outwich were united to St. Helen's in 1873 (Cox, 378).

Helen's (St.) Gate

The great Gate of the Priory, called "Saint Elyns gate," on the common way leading to Crosbyes Place, 30 H. VIII. 1539 (L. and P. H. VIII. Dom. S. XIV. 1, p. 419).

It is frequently referred to in the parish records, as for example in 1696, Vestry Minutes (Cox, 112), and there seem also to have been gates from St. Helen's into St. Mary Axe, 1698 (ib. 117).

Helen's (St.) Place

East out of Bishopsgate at No. 58 (P.O. Directory). In Bishopsgate Ward Within.

Erected on the site of the old Hall of the Priory purchased by the Leathersellers for their Hall after the dissolution of the Priory, the Hall being taken down in 1799.

It also occupied the site of Little St. Helen's (q.v.), which was more irregularly built than the present street.

Helen's (St.) Priory of

A Priory of Benedictine Nuns founded in 1212 in St. Helen's Bishopsgate, by William, son of William, goldsmith, and the patronage of St. Helen's Church given to them at the same time (Dugdale, IV. 553).

The house was a wealthy one, and the nuns possessed a great deal of property in London. The Priory occupied the site of Great St. Helen's, Little St. Helen's, St. Helen's Place, etc., according to a Survey made of it 33 Hen. VIII. and set out in the Archaeologia XVI. pp. 29 and 31. The site of the Priory is shown on O.S. 1875. There is a good description of it in Trans. L. and M. Arch. Soc. I. 59, etc., and II. 169, and New Series, II. (1), 137.

The Priory was dissolved 30 H. VIII. and the site was given to Richard Cromwell.

The Hall and other buildings were sold to the Leathersellers' Company, and the Hall being taken down in 1799, St. Helen's Place was erected on the site. The refectory and cloisters were demolished in 1789.

It has been suggested from the discovery of Roman remains, pavements, etc., in the neighbourhood that the site of a considerable portion of the Priory had been occupied by an extensive Roman building (Gent. Mag. Lib. XV. pp. 42, 45).


Rents and shops called "Helle" in Fletestrate and others in "Hollebourne strate," etc., belonging to Adam Wade in 1310 (Ct. H.W. I. 212).

Not further identified.

"Helle" probably ="Hall."


A big stone hall and little stone hall so called with a wharf in the lane called "Fatteslane" in parish of St. James in the Vintry, 1295 (Ct. H.W. I. 122).

Another tenement so called in the parish of All Hallows the Great, 1339 (ib. 435).

Apparently the word ="Hall" with a somewhat different pronunciation from that in use at the present day.

Helm on ye Hoope

Tenement of Thomas de Lillyngston so called in parish of St. Peter de Cornhull, 1361 (Ct. H.W. II. 30).

In 1490 part of the rents or profits were appropriated to the poor of that parish (Strype, ed. 1720, I. ii. 139).

Not further identified.

For the origin of the expression-"on ye hoope," See Hoop Yard.

Helmet Alley, Court

South out of Fore Street, in Cripplegate Ward Without (Rocque, 1746-Boyle, 1799).

Called "Helmet Court" in Rocque and "Helmet Alley" in Boyle.

The site has been rebuilt and is now occupied by offices and business houses.

Name derived from the sign.

Helmet Court

Land purchased in Helmet Court near Billingsgate for the poor of the parish of St. Olave Hart Street (Strype, ed. 1720, I. ii. 40).

Not named in the maps and not identified.

Helmet Court

South out of London Wall at No. 25 east of Basinghall Street, in Cripplegate Ward Within (O. and M. 1677-Elmes, 1831).

The site is now covered by offices and business houses.

Helmet Court

North out of Upper Thames Street at 230, in Castle Baynard Ward, east of Addle Hill (O. and M. 1677-Elmes, 1831).

The site has been rebuilt for the formation of Queen Victoria Street and is now occupied by offices and business houses.

Helmet Court, Bishopsgate

East out of Bishopsgate Street. In Bishopsgate Ward Within (P.C. 1732-Horwood, 1799).

The site is now occupied by offices and business houses.

Helmet Court, East Smithfield

A small court west out of Butcher Row, at No. 31, by Helmet Steps (Hatton, 1708-Lockie, 1810).

In Strype, ed. 1720, Vol. 1, p. 64, the street is more extensive, running from St. Katherine's lane to Butcher Row, being the one called "Great Garden" (q.v.) in the map, Vol. II.

Removed for the construction of St. Katherine Docks and the adjacent warehouses in 1827.