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SOME ACCOUNT OF FLEET STREET,
PARISHES OF ST. DUNSTAN AND ST. BRIDE,
Chiefly derived from Ancient Records and Original Sources.
By T. C. NOBLE,
AUTHOR OF "
SOUTH LONDON ; ETO., ETC., ETC.
LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS.
THE RIGHT HON. JAMES CLARKE LAWRENCE, M.P.,
LORD MAYOR OF LONDON;
PRESIDENT OF THE ROYAL HOSPITALS OF BRIDEWELL & BETHLEM,
IN WHOSE MAYORALTY
HAVE BEEN OPENED THREE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PUBLIC BUILDINGS EVER ERECTED
IN THE METROPOLIS : THE NEW MEAT MARKET, IN SMITHFIELD; THE HOLBORN
HISTORICAL AND DESCRIPTIVE ACCOUNT OF THE WESTERN BOUNDARY OF HIS LORDSHIP'S
JURISDICTION, WITHIN OUR ANCIENT CITY,
By Special permission,
MOST HUMBLY AND RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED,
BY HIS LORDSHIP'S GREATLY OBLIGED SERVANT AND FELLOW-CITIZEN,
Τ Η Ε
November 6th, 1869.
It is somewhat remarkable that Temple Bar, with all its historical recollections, and Fleet Street, with all its interesting associations, should have hitherto escaped the historian's
pen; and this is the more surprising because there is no street in the City of London-perhaps in the world—which can boast of such a store of “time honoured” reminiscences. Antiquarians have regretted that the citizens, with all their love for ancient institutions, should have allowed so remarkable a locality to remain so long without its chronicle; especially, if nothing else were wanting to make its history renowned, that in it, nearly four centuries ago, lived, printed, died, and was buried, the second printer in the Metropolis, and that in Fleet Street, the Printing Press has flourished ever since.
Honest John Stow, who has told his readers that his Chronicle cost him “ many a weary mile's travel, many a hard-earned penny and pound, and many a hard winter's night study,” has curiously enough made little mention of the City Gate and the City street-in fact in his original “ Survey,” 1598, he only notices Temple Bar as adjoining Shire Lane ; leaving us to find out that it was then a building. Many histories and local works upon London, some of rarity and value, have been published since then, but it has been left to the present writer, himself a native of Fleet Street, to be the first to launch a separate work upon its General History. Every library likely to give information has been looked into, and many musty documents turned over, but his only fear is that the matter will probably be found“ dry”—perhaps more so than ordinary historical works of the present age; but this failing in a sensational period is the result of his desire to give as many facts in a cheap and collected form, so as to be within the reach of every Citizen of London.
But I must acknowledge that without great assistance, even this humble attempt would have proved a failure. My friends have been most numerous and kind, as will be found throughout the pages of these “Memorials.” Yet I cannot refrain from tendering, in this place, my best thanks to the Rev. Canon Auriol, M.A., Rector of St. Dunstan's; the Rev. Canon Marshall, M.A., Vicar of St. Bride's; the Masters of the Bench of the Hon. Society of the Inner Temple; F. Woodthorpe, Esq., Town Clerk of the City; W. H. Overall, Esq., F.S.A., Librarian at Guildhall, and his assistant,
Mr. Welch ; Samuel Tisley, Esq., Vestry Clerk of St. Dunstan's; John Bullock, Esq.; John Diprose, Esq.; and the late E. J. Wood, Esq. —the latter having untimely passed from our midst, in the height of an active literary career, during the progress of the present work.
I would but remark that Temple Bar and Fleet Street are worthy of a better history. I have collected for many years upon the subject, and my collections are consequently numerous and interesting, so much so, that I yet entertain a hope to be able to publish a more worthy work hereafter, should the present humble publication meet with my friends' approbation. In the meantime, I have to ask my fellow-citizens to kindly remember me if they come across any curious scraps and documents, and if they will enclose them for me to the care of Messrs. C. & G. Noble, Booksellers, 312, Strand, they may rest assured I shall not be backward in expressing my grateful and hearty thanks for such kindness.
T. C. NOBLE.
November 6th, 1869.
THE GREAT HIGHWAY THROUGH TEMPLE BAR.
LONDON, a great city upon a small island, having been founded at a period “beyond memory,” has caused our antiquaries and our forefathers many a sore dispute. Antiquity is pardonable, says Livy, and hath an especial privilege, by interlacing Divine matters with human, to make the first foundations of cities more honorable, more sacred, and, as it were, of greater majesty. And thus it is with the origin of “ still increasing London;" which, whether actually founded by Brute (lineally descended om Æneas,
he son of Venus, about the year of the world 2855, and 1108 years before the Nativity of Christ) who, it is affirmed, built a city after the likeness of Troy, and thus procured it the rights and privileges like that ancient city; or whether to the Romans, after the defeat of Boadicea, A.D. 61, the rise of the “Modern Babylon ” must ever remain to the wise a vexed question.
The Welsh historian has told us that about 1060 years after Brute had founded this place, King Lud repaired and walled the city, built a great west gate, which in memory thereof was called Lud's Gate, and the city “ Caire Lud,” or Lud's Townsince corrupted into London. Though I do not intend to launch out into an enquiry as to the truth of this assertion, it is yet worthy of note that Geoffrey of Monmouth's story has found a place in the ancient records of our city, so carefully preserved at Guildhall, and that to this day the highway eastward of Fleet Street is known far and near as Ludgate Hill.
Bishop Gibson's edition of Camden tells us the name is derived from Llong-dinas an harbour, or city of ships; and other authorities find derivations by no means without their value; but to the name of Trinovantum, or Trinobantum of the British period, and Londinium of the Roman, all writers agree, for early titles to the present London, Among the
many who favor the idea that London was a British city is Mr. Lewin, who asks whether it was possible that during the brief period of nineteen years which elapsed between the first arrival of the Romans in A.D. 42, and the defeat of Boadicea in A.D. 61, London should have grown to such a magnitude as to provide, say at least half of the seventy to eighty thousand of the victims of that battle ? Upon that ground alone he considers the foundation of the city was of an earlier date. * Sir Christopher Wren's examination of the soil when rebuilding St. Paul's Cathedral after the Great Fire led him to the conclusion that the valley between the Surrey and northern hills was anciently an arm of the sea, rendered by time into a river by sandhills thrown up on each side by the tide, and assisted by the embankments which the Romans made, and to this day remaining on portions of the river banks. Two running streams prevented the sand hill on the north becoming of great
“Archælogia” xl., 61. For a full account of the Battle of A.D. 61, see Wood and Pink's“History of Clerkenwell,” published in 1865.