Sneaking Alley - Sopemakers

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

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Sneaking Alley

In the Tower (P.C. 1732).

Not named in the maps.

Snow Hill

North-west out of Holborn Viaduct to the Central Meat Market in Smithfield, and to Farringdon Street (P.O. Directory).

This street has been entirely reconstructed, and though retainlng its old name it occupies a wholly different site.

Prior to the formation of Skinner Street in 1802 it ran east from Fleet Market, afterwards Farringdon Street, at Holborn Bridge to Cow Lane, then south into Holborn and east to the Old Bailey, thus forming the highway between Holborn and Newgate Street, and being considerably greater in extent and importance than at the present time. It was narrow, steep and circuitous, and so remained until 1867, when it was removed for the construction of Holborn Viaduct and its approaches.

The construction of Skinner Street in 1802 had deprived it of much of its importance as a thoroughfare.

After 1867 it was rebuilt in the direction set out above and made wider than the old street so named.

First mention: "Snowre Hill," I H. VIII. (L. and P. H. VIII. I. p.73).

Other forms : "Snourehilstreete," " Snourehyll," 36 H. VIII. (ib. XIX. (I), p.624). Snow hill," 4 Ed. VI. (Lond. I. p.m. I. 136-7). " Snower hill," 16 Eliz. (ib. II. 175). Snore hill," 19 Eliz. (L.C.C. Deeds, Harben Coll. 1500-1600, No.25).

It is suggested by a writer in N. and Q. 8th 5. XII. pp.23-4 that the name is derived from the Erse word "snuadh "=a brook, the street leading at one end to the Fleet.

Snuff Yard, Houndsditch

See Fleur de Lis Court.

Soaper's Alley, Bishopsgate Without

See Sweet Apple Court.

Soaper's Yard, St, Mary Axe

See Soper's Yard.


Plough service, a tenure inferior to tenure by knight service. In London in later times it seems to have been a payment arising out of a tenement or holding in a soke, due to the owner in respect of such holding.

There are references to such payments in the Ancient Deeds and other London records.


Seems to have been the officer of the soke.

Gilbert the Moneyer is described as "socnere" of the Bishop of London in a grant of rent from land in the parish of St. Botolph, Bissopesgate (Anc. Deeds, A. 1623).

The usual term would be "sokerevus."


Although London has been generally regarded as exempt from feudal tenures, there is abundant evidence in old deeds and records relating to the City to prove that it contained within its limits several " sokes," or privileged areas, exempt from the jurisdiction of the City, in addition to those within the Liberties, but without the Walls.

Queen Matilda had a soke in the City at Aldgate (Cal. L. Bk. C. p.224).

Soke of "Aldresmaneberi" and soke of the Earl of Gloucester mentioned III 5-30 (MS. D. and C. St. Paul's, Liber L.).

The Archbishop of Canterbury had his soke in or near the parish of St. Mary Somerset (Anc. Deeds, A. 1803).

"Blanchesapeltuna" lay in the soke of Robert de Valonus, 1177 (ib. A. 7295).

A number of religious houses held their "sokas" in London, but by whose warrant is not known, 3 Ed. I. (Rot. Hund. I. 404).

The Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's had sokes at Cornhill, in Bysshopesgate and Holeburn and held Courts there, 14 Ed. II. (Quo. Warr. p.456).

There is a long list of sokes in London, issuing from various tenements, etc., in MSS. D. and C. St. Paul's, W.D. 9, fo. 5, MS. temp. Ric. II.

In the terms "sac" and "soc," "sac" was the power and privilege of hearing and determining causes and disputes, levying of forfeitures and fines, executing laws and administering justice within a certain precinct (See Ellis, Introduction to Domesday Book, I. 273). " Soc " or " socn " was strictly the right of investigating, or seeking, or, as Spelman defines it, "Cognitio quam dominus habet in curia sua de causis litibusque inter vassallos suos ex orientibus." It was also the territory or precinct in which the sacu and other privileges were exercised (Thorpe's Diplomatarium, Glossary, p.394).

Stubbs is of opinion that the form is an alliterative jingle which will not bear close analysis (Const. Hist. I. 73).

Soldiers' Court, Grub Street, Cripplegate

See Nag's Head Inn.

Somar's Key

On the south side of Thames Street, fronting the river, next to Billingsgate west (S. 44).

Belonged to the Mayor John Reynard in 1622. Left to the City to relieve the inhabitants of some of the toll of London Bridge (H. MSS. Corn. 4th Rep. p.312).

Made a general place for the lading and discharging goods 1559 by Act of Parliament (Strype, 1720, I. ii. 49).

"Sommer's Key " (S. 208).

The site was occupied later by "Dark House Lane" and "Great Somers Key" (q.v.) and now by Billingsgate Market.

Named of one Sommer dwelling there (S. 208).

Somer's Key Gateway

Leading to Somars Key (P.C. 1732).

Not named in the maps.

Somer's Quay Stairs

At the south end of Dark House Lane, formerly Somer's Key (O.S, 1880).

Site rebuilt for the extension of Billingsgate Market and the jetties there.

Somerset Buildings

On the north side of Upper Thames Street, at Fyefoot Lane in Queenhithe Ward (P.O. Directory).

First mention: L.C.C. List. 1901.

Somerset Court

North out of Little Somerset Street. In Portsoken Ward (Lockie, 1810-Collingridge, 1908).

Somerset Inn

A tenement so called next Baynard Castle, worth £9 6s. 8d., belonging Eleanor, late Duchess of Somerset, daughter of Richard Beauchamp, formerly Earl of Warwick, 7 Ed. IV. (Lond. I. p.m. 21 H. VII. I. 21).

No later reference.

Somerset Street

See Mansell Street.

Sommer's Key

See Somar's Key.

Sondaye Wharf

King Henry VIII was seised of the wharf, called" Sondaye Wharf" and of houses of Thomas Sterre in parish of St. Andrew at Baynard's Castle, and he granted the premises to Lady Ann Cleve, by whom they descended to Q. Mary, 4 and 5 P. and M. (Lond. I. p.m. I. 161).

Given to her probably as appertaining to Baynard's Castle (q.v.).

He had previously granted the wharf to Bysham Priory (Dugdale, VI.).

Further described as a wharf called" Sondayes wharf'" lying in the west part of the common water called the Common Watering place in the parish of St. Andrew at Baynard's Castle described as "Powyls Wharffe" alias "Sondayes Wharffe," held of the Queen in free burgage, 3 Eliz. 1561 (Lond. I. p.m. I. 220-1).

Named after the owner.

See Paul's Wharf.

Sondayes Alley

On the west side of Abchurch Lane, in Langbourn Ward, in parish of St. Mary Abchurch.

Tavern called the White Horse in parish of St. Mary Woolnoth in Lumbarde strete, St. Mary Abchurch, and in Abbechurche lane in the ward of Langbourne, one end abutting south on land of prioress and convent of Clerkenwell called "Sondayes Aley" in Abbechurche lane in parish of St. Mary Abbechurche and ward of Langborn, lately belonging to the abbey called "lez Mynores" without Algate, granted to Sir Martin Bowes 31 H. VIII. 1539 (L. and P. H. VIII. Vol. XIV. Pt. I, p.591).

Must have been on the boundary of the ward and parish.


Incorporated 1638.