Candlewick, or Candlewright Street as it was sometimes called, ran east-west from Walbrook in the west to the beginning of Eastcheap at its eastern terminus. Candlewick became Eastcheap somewhere around St. Clements Lane, and led into a great meat market (Stow 1:217). Together with streets such as Budge Row, Watling Street, and Tower Street, which all joined into each other, Candlewick formed the main east-west road through London between Ludgate and Posterngate.
The name of the street is believed to originate from candle makers who practiced their trade there. This supposition is confirmed by Stow, who writes that it
tooke that name (as may bee supposed) either of Chandlers, or makers of Candles, both of waxe and tallow: for Candlewright is a maker of Candles, or of Weeke, which is the cotton or yarne used to worke them(Stow 1:218). A note in the margin of Stow’s Survey explains that a
wike is a working place(Stow 1:218).
Stow also mentions that the street was home to many drapers, who relocated to Candlewick from Lombard Street and Cornhill (Stow 1:81). He also states that the street was once home to weavers:
There dwelled also of old time divers Weavers of woollen clothes, brought in by Edward the third. [...] These Weavers of Candlewright street being in short time worne out, their place is now possessed by rich Drapers, sellers of woollen cloth, &c(Stow 1:218). Isabella Whitney confirms the trade of fabrics in Candlewick in The Will and Testament of Isabella Whitney:
Watling Street, and Canwick Street,/ I full of woolen leave(77–78).
Other items of interest in Candlewick Street were London Stone, located on the south side of the street, St. Swithins church, on the north side at the corner of Candlewick and St. Swithins Lane, and a grammar school. This school was called the Manor of the Rose, or alternatively, Duke of Buckingham’s, and was founded by the Merchant Taylors’ Company in 1561 (Stow 1:74).
- Stow, John. A Survey of London. Reprinted from the Text of 1603. Ed. Charles Lethbridge Kingsford. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1908. [Also available as a reprint from Elibron Classics (2001). Articles written before 2011 cite from the print edition by volume and page number.]
The Manner of Her Will.The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt. 7th ed. 2 vols. New York: Norton, 2000. 1.606–14.
Last modification: 2016-05-27 14:37:29 -0700 (Fri, 27 May 2016) (tlandels)