Bredstreete warde

A Survey of London. Reprinted From the Text of 1603. Originally published by Clarendon, Oxford, 1908.

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John Stow, 'Bredstreete warde', in A Survey of London. Reprinted From the Text of 1603, (Oxford, 1908) pp. 344-352. British History Online [accessed 20 May 2024].

John Stow. "Bredstreete warde", in A Survey of London. Reprinted From the Text of 1603, (Oxford, 1908) 344-352. British History Online, accessed May 20, 2024,

Stow, John. "Bredstreete warde", A Survey of London. Reprinted From the Text of 1603, (Oxford, 1908). 344-352. British History Online. Web. 20 May 2024,

Bredstreete warde

Bredstreete ward.; Bredstrecte

Bredstreete Ward beginneth in the high streete of west Cheape, to wit, on the south side, from the Standard to the great Crosse. Then is also a part of Watheling streete of this ward, to wit, from ouer against the Red Lion on the North side vp almost to Powles gate, for it lacketh but one house of S. Augustines church. And on the south side from the red Lion gate to the Old Exchange, and downe the same Exchange on the East side, by the west end of Mayden lane, or Distar lane, to Knightriders streete, or as they call that part thereof, Old Fishstreet. And all the north side of the said old Fishstreete, to the South ende of Bredstreete, and by that still in Knightriders streete, till ouer against the Trinitie Church, and Trinitie lane. Then is Bredstreet it selfe, so called of bread in olde time there sold: for it appeareth by recordes, that in the yeare 1302. which was the 30. of E. first, the Bakers of London were bounden to sell no bread in their shops or houses, but in the market, and that they should haue 4. Hall motes in the yeare, at foure seuerall terms, to determine of enormities belonging to the said Company.

This streete giuing the name to the whole warde, beginneth in west Chepe, almost by the Standarde, and runneth downe south, through or thwart Watheling street, to Knightriders street aforesaide, where it endeth. This Bredstreet is wholy on both sides of this warde. Out of the which street on the East side is Basing lane, a peece whereof, to wit, to and ouer against the backe gate of the Red Lion in Watheling streete, is of this Bredstreete ward.

Friday streete.

Then is Fryday streete beginning also in west Cheape, and runneth downe South through Watheling street to Knightrider streete, or olde Fishstreet. This Friday streete is of Bredstreet ward, on the east side from over against the northeast corner of S. Mathewes church, and on the west side from the south corner of the said church, down as aforesaid.

In this Fryday streete on the west side thereof is a Lane, commonly called Mayden Lane, or Distaffe Lane, corruptly for Distar lane, which runneth west into the old Exchange: and in this lane is also one other lane, on the south side thereof, likewise called Distar lane, which runneth downe to Knightriders street, or olde Fishstreete: and so be the boundes of this whole ward.

A fayre paued way found, 15 foote deepe in Cheape streete.

Monumentes to be noted here, first at Breadstreet corner the north East end, 1595. of Thomas Tomlinson causing in the high streete of Cheape a Vaulte to be digged, and made, there was found at fifteene foote deepe, a fayre pauement like vnto that aboue ground, and at the further end at the chanell, was founde a tree sawed into fiue steppes, which was to steppe ouer some brooke running out of the west towardes Walbrooke, and vpon the edge of the saide Brooke, as it seemeth, there were found lying along the bodies of two great trees, the endes whereof were then sawed off, and firme timber as at the first when they fell, parte of the sayde trees remayne yet in the ground vndigged. It was all forced ground, vntill they went past the trees afore sayde, which was about seuenteene foote deepe or better, thus much hath the grounde of this Cittie in that place beene raysed from the mayne.

Goldsmithes row in Chepe.

Next to be noted, the most beautiful frame of fayre houses and shoppes, that bee within the Walles of London, or else where in England, commonly called Goldsmithes Rowe, betwixt Bredstreet end & the Crosse in Cheape, but is within this Bredstreete warde, the same was builded by Thomas Wood Goldsmith, one of the shiriffes of London, in the yeare 1491. It contayneth in number tenne fayre dwelling houses, and foureteene shoppes, all in one frame, vniformely builded foure stories high, bewtified towardes the streete with the Goldsmithes armes and the likenes of woodmen, in memory of his name, riding on monstrous beasts, all which is cast in lead, richly painted ouer and gilt, these he gaue to the Goldsmithes with stockes of money to be lent to yong men, hauing those shops, &c. This saide Front was againe new painted and guilt ouer, in the yeare 1594. Sir Richard Martin being then Mayor, and keeping his Mayoralty in one of them, seruing out the time of Cutbert Buckle from the second of July, till the 28. of October.

Watheling streete.

Then for Watheling streete, which Leyland calleth Atheling or Noble streete: but since he sheweth no reason why, I rather take it to be so named of the great high way of the same calling. True it is, that at this present, the inhabitants thereof are wealthy Drapers, retailors of woollen cloathes both broad and narrow, of all sorts, more then in any one streete of this citie.

Knightriders streete.

Of the old Exchaunge, I haue noted in Faringdon Warde: wherefore I passe downe to Knightrider street, whereof I haue also spoken in Cordwainer streete Warde, but in this part of the said Knightriders streete is a fishmarket kept, and therefore called old Fishstreet, for a difference from new Fishstreete.

Fishmarket called old Fish streete.

In this old Fishstreete, is one row of small houses, placed along in the middest of Knightriders streete, which rowe is also of Bredstreete Warde: these houses now possessed by Fishmongers, were at the first but moueable boordes (or stalles) set out on market daies, to shew their fish there to be sold: but procuring license to set up sheds, they grew to shops, and by little and little, to tall houses, of three or foure stories in height, and now are called Fishstreete. Walter Turke Fishmonger, Mayor 1349. had two shops in old Fishstreete, ouer against saint Nicholas church, the one rented v.s. the yeere, the other iiii. s.

Bred streete.

Bredstreete, so called of bread sold there (as I said) is now wholy inhabited by rich Marchants, and diuers faire Innes bee there, for good receipt of Carriers, and other trauellers to the city.

Parish church of Alhallowes Bredstreete.

On the East side of this streete, at the corner of Watheling streete, is the proper church of Alhallowes in Bredstreete, wherein are the Monuments of Iames Thame Goldsmith, Iohn Walpole Goldsmith, 1349. Thomas Beamount Alderman, one of the Shiriffes, 1442. Robert Basset, Salter, Mayor 1476. Sir Richard Chaury, Salter, Mayor 1509. Sir Thomas Pargitar, Salter, Mayor 1530. Henry Sucley, Merchant Taylor, one of the Shiriffes 1541. Richard Reade Alderman, that serued and was taken prisoner in Scotland, 1542. Robert House one of the Shiriffes, 1589. William Albany, Richard May, and Roger Abdy, Merchant Taylors.

Church suspended.

In the 23. of Henry the eight, the seuenteenth of August, two preists of this church fell at variance, that the one drew bloud of the other, wherefore the same church was suspended, and no seruice sung or sayd therein for the space of one month after, the priestes were committed to prison, and the fifteenth of October being inioyned penance, went before a generall procession, bare headed, bare footed, and bare legged, before the children, with beades and bookes in their hands, from Paules through Cheape, Cornehill &c. More to be noted of this church, which had sometime a fayre spired steeple of stone.

Spire of Alhallowes steeple smitten by tempest.; Salters Hall.

In the yeare 1559. the fift of September, about mid day, fell a great tempest of lightning, with a terrible clap of thunder, which stroke the sayd spire about nine or ten foote beneath the top: out of the which place fell a stone that slew a dog, and ouerthrew a man that was playing with the dogge. The same spire being but little damnified thereby, was shortly after taken downe, for sparing the charges of reparation. On the same side is Salters Hall, with sixe almes houses in number, builded for poore decayed brethren of that company: This Hall was burned in the yeare 1539. and againe reedified.

Parish church of S. Mildred in Bredstreet.; Parson of S. Mildred and his man burned.

Lower downe on the same side, is the parish church of Saint Mildred the Virgine. The monuments in this church be of the Lord Trenchaunt, of Saint Albons, knight, who was supposed to be either the new builder of this church, or best benefactor to the works thereof, about the yeare 1300. and odde; (fn. 1)Cornish gentleman, 1312. William Palmer, Blader, a great benefactor also, 1356. Iohn Shadworth Mayor 1401. who gaue the parsonage house, a reuestry, and Churchyard to that parish, in the yeare 1428. Notwithstanding, his monument is pulled downe. Stephen Bugge Gent. his Armes be three water bugges, 1419. Henry Bugge founded a chauntrie there, 1419. Roger Forde Vintoner, 1440. Thomas Barnwell Fishmonger, one of the shiriffes, 1434; Sir Iohn Hawlen Clarke, Parson of that Church, who built the parsonage house newly, after the same had beene burned to the ground, together with the parson and his man also, burned in that fire, 1485. Iohn Parnell 1510. William Hurstwaight Pewterer to the King, 1526. Christopher Turner Chirurgian to King Henry the eight, 1530: Raph Simonds Fishmonger, one of the Shiriffes, in the yeare 1527. Thomas Langham gaue to the poore of that parish foure tenements, 1575. Thomas Hall Salter, 1582. Thomas Collins Salter, Alderman. Sir Ambrose Nicholas Salter, Mayor 1575, was buried in sir Iohn Shadworths vault.

Basing lane called the bakehouse.

Out of this Bredstreet on the same side, is Basing lane, a part whereof (as is afore shewed) is of this Warde, but how it tooke the name of Basing I haue not red. In the twenteeth yeare of Richard the second, the same was called the Bakehouse: whether ment for the Kings bakehouse, or of bakers dwelling there, and baking bread to serue the market in Bredstreete, where the bread was sold, I know not: but sure I am, I haue not red of Basing, or of Gerrarde the Gyant, to haue any thing there to doe.

A pole of 40. foote long, & 15. inches about, fabuled to be the iusting staffe of Gerrard a Giant.; R. G. saw a stone & said the same to be tooth, but being by my self proued a stone there fayled both scull and shank bone, & followed a cluster of lies together yet since increased by another. Gerrards hall restored to his old name.

On the South side of this Lane, is one great house, of old time builded vpon Arched Vaultes, and with Arched Gates of stone, brought from Cane in Normandy. The same is now a common Ostrey for receipt of trauellers, commonly and corruptly called Gerrardes hall, of a Gyant sayd to haue dwelled there. In the high rooffed Hall of this house, sometime stoode a large Firre Pole, which reached to the roofe thereof, and was sayd to bee one of the staues that Gerrarde the Gyant vsed in the warres to runne withall. There stoode also a ladder of the same length, which (as they say) serued to ascend to the toppe of the Staffe. Of later yeares this Hall is altered in building, & diuers roomes are made in it. Notwithstanding the Pole is remooued to one corner of the Hall, and the ladder hanged broken, vpon a wall in the yarde. The Hostelar of that house sayde to me, the Pole lacked halfe a foote of fortie in length: I measured the compasse thereof and found it fifteene inches. Reason of the Pole, could the master of the Hostrey giue me none, but bade me reade the great Chronicles, for there he heard of it: Which aunswere seemed to me insufficient, for he meant the description of Britaine, for the most part drawne out of Iohn Leyland his Comentaries, (borrowed of myselfe) and placed before Reyn Wolfes Chronicle, as the labours of another (who was forced to confesse he neuer trauelled further, then from London to the Vniuersity of Oxford) he writing a chapter of giants or monstrous men, hath set down more matter then troth, as partly against my will, I am enforced here to touch. R. G. in his briefe collection of Histories (as he tearmeth it) hath these words. 'I the writer hereof, did see the 10. day of March, in the yeare of our Lord 1564. & had the same in my hand, the tooth of a man, which weighed ten ounces of Trou weight: and the scull of the same man is extant & to be seene, which will hold fiue pecks of wheat: and the shin bone of the same man is 6. foote in length and of a meruelous greatnes.' Thus farre R. G. The errour thereof is thus, he affirmeth a stone to be the tooth of a man, which stone (so proued) hauing no shape of a tooth, had neither scull or shin bone. Notwithstanding, it is added, in the sayd description, that by coniecturall simetery of those parts, the body to be 28. foote long or more. From this he goeth to another like matter, of a man with a mouth sixteene foote wide, and so to Gerrard the Gyant, & his staffe. But to leaue these fables, & returne where I left, I will note what my selfe hath obserued concerning that house.

Gerrards Hall ouerthrowne with Gerrard the Giant, and his great spear.; Euery mans house of old time was decked with holly and ijy in the winter, especially at Christmas.

I reade, that Iohn Gisors Mayor of London, in the yeare 1245. was owner thereof, and that Sir Iohn Gisors knight, Mayor of London, and Constable of the Tower, 1311. and diuers others of that name and family since that time owed it. William Gisors was one of the Shiriffes, 1329. More, Iohn Gisors had issue, Henry and Iohn: which Iohn had issue, Thomas. Which Thomas deceasing in the yeare 1350. left vnto his sonne Thomas, his messuage called Gysors Hall, in the parish of S. Mildred in Bredstreet: Iohn Gisors made a Feoffment thereof 1386. &c. So it appeareth that this Gisors Hall, of late time by corruption hath bin called Gerrards hall, for Gisors hall: as Bosomes Inne, for Blossoms Inne, Beuis marks, for Buries markes, Marke Lane, for Marte lane: belliter lane, for belsetters lane: gutter lane, for guthuruns lane: Cry church for Christs church: S. Mihel in the quern, for S. Mihel at corne, and sundry such others. Out of this Gisors hall, at the first building thereof, were made diuers arched doors, yet to be seene, which seeme not sufficient for any great monster, or other then men of common stature to passe through, the pole in the hall might be vsed of old time (as then the custome was in euery parish) to be set vp in the Summer as May-Pole, before the principall house in the Parrish or Streete, and to stand in the hall before the scrine, decked with holme & Iuy, all the feast of Christmas. The ladder serued for the decking of the may-pole, and roofe of the hall. Thus much for Gisors hall, & for that side of Bredstreet, may suffice.

Compter in Bredstreet. Prisoners re-moved from the Compter in Bredstreet to a new Compter in woodstreet.; Keeper of the compter sent to Newgate.; Quest of in-quiry indight the keepers of the gayles for dealing hardly with their pri-soners. They indight-ed the bowl-ing alleys, &c

Now on the west side of Bredstreet, amongst diuers faire & large howses for Merchants, and fayre Innes for passengers, had ye one prison house pertayning to the Shiriffes of London, called the compter in Bredstreet: but in the yeare 1555. the prisoners were remoued from thence, to one other new compter in Woodstreet, prouided by the Cities purchase, and builded for that purpose: the cause of which remoue was this. Ri. Husband Pastelar, keeper of this Compter in Bredstreet, being a wilfull and headstrong man, dealt for his owne aduantage, hard with the prisoners vnder his charge, hauing also seruants such as himselfe liked best for their bad vsage, and would not for any complaint be reformed: wherevpon in the yeare 1550. Sir Rowland Hill being Mayor, by the assent of a court of Aldermen he was sent to the gayle of Newgate, for the cruell handling of his prisoners: & it was commaunded to the keeper to set those Irons on his legges, which are called the widdowes almes: These he ware from thursday, till Sunday in the afternoone, and being by a court of Aldermen released, on the tuesday, was bound in an hundred markes, to obserue from thenceforth an act made by the common counsell, for the ordering of prisoners in the Compters: all which notwithstanding, he continued as afore: whereof my selfe am partly a witnesse: for being of a Iury to enquire against a Sessions of Gaile deliuery, in the yeare 1552, we found the prisoners hardly dealt withall, for their achates and otherwise, as also that theeues and strumpets were there lodged for foure pence the night, whereby they might be safe from searches that were made abroad: for the which enormities, and other not needfull to be recited, he was indighted at that Session, but did rub it out, and could not be reformed, til this remoue of ye prisoners, for the house in Bredstreet was his own by lease, or otherwise, so that he could not be put from it. Note that Gaylors buying their offices will deale hardly with pitifull prisoners.

Friday streete.; Parish church of S. Iohn Euangelist.; Sometime of Werbridge.; Parish church of S. Margaret Moyses.

Now in Fryday streete, so called of fishmongers dwelling there, and seruing Frydayes market, on the East side, is a small Parish church, commonly called S. I. Euangelist. The monuments therein, be of Iohn Dogget, Merchant Taylor, one of the Shiriffes in the yeare 1509. Sir Christopher Askew, Draper, Maior 1533. Will. de Auinger, Farrier, was buried there in the 34. of Ed. the 3. Then lower downe, is one other parish church of S. Margaret Moyses, so called (as seemeth) of one Moyses, that was founder or new builder thereof. The monuments there, be of sir Ri. Dobbes, Skinner, Mayor 1551. Wil. Dane Ironmonger, one of the Shiriffes, 1569. Sir Iohn Allot Fishmonger, Mayor, 1591. There was of older time buried, Nicholas Stanes, and Nicholas Braye: they founded chauntries there.

Mayden lane or Distar lane.; Cordwainers Hall.; Longpiked shooes tied to the knees.; Piked shooes forbidden.

On the west side of this Fryday street, is Mayden lane, so named of such a signe, or Distaffe lane, for Distar lane, as I reade in record of a brewhouse, called the Lamb in Distar lane, the sixteenth of H. the sixt. In this Distar lane, on the north side thereof, is the Cordwayners, or Shoomakers hall, which company were made a brotherhood or fraternity, in the eleuenth of Henry the fourth. Of these Cordwayners, I reade, that since the fift of Richard the 2. (when he tooke to wife Anne daughter to Vesalans (fn. 2) King of Bohem) by her example the English people had vsed piked shooes, tied to their knees with silken laces, or chaynes of siluer and gilt, wherefore in the fourth of Ed. the 4. it was ordayned and proclaimed, that beakes of shoone (fn. 3) and bootes should not passe the length of two inches, vpon paine of cursing by the Cleargie, and by Parliament to pay xx. s. for euery payre. And euery Cordwayner that shod any man or woman on the Sunday, to pay xxx. s.

On the south side of this Distar lane, is also one other lane, called Distar lane: which runneth downe to Knightriders streete, or old Fishstreet, and this is the end of Bredstreet Warde: which hath an Alderman, his Deputy, Common counsell 10. Constables 10. Scauengers 8. Wardmote inquest 13. and a Bedle. It standeth taxed to the fifteene in London, at 37. li. and in the Exchequer at 36. li. 18. s. 2.d.


  • 1. odde;] certaine, 1633
  • 2. Vesalans] Wenceslaus 1633; for daughter read sister
  • 3. thin 1603, corrected in' Faultes escaped'; shin 1633