Friday Street passed south through Bread Street Ward, beginning at the cross in Cheapside and ending at Old Fish Street. It was one of many streets that ran into Cheapside market whose name is believed to originate from the goods that were sold there.
Stow writes of the street’s name: "Fryday streete so called of fishmongers dwelling there, and serving Frydayes market" (Stow 1:351). Modern scholars agree, stating that Friday Street "was probably the market where medieval fishmongers sold their wares on Fridays, when meat was forbidden to Catholic England" (Bebbington 137). Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert, however, suggest that the name may also be a corruption of the old English name Frigdaeges, and the street may have originally have been dedicated to a man so called (Weinreb and Hibbert 302).
Friday Street did not have many sites of historical importance aside from the three churches that stood there. The churches of Friday Street were St. Margaret Moses, St. John the Evangelist, and St. Matthew. Stow catalogues the graves of two aldermen, four sheriffs, five Lord Mayors, and one John Mabbe, once the Chamberlain of London, within these three churches (Stow 1:322, 1:351). The number of powerful men buried here suggests the power wielded by the wealthy merchants operating in London’s great market.
All three of Friday Street’s churches have been destroyed, and today only a small portion of the original street exists. Since the Victorian era, Friday Street has become a small lane that runs from Queen Victoria Street to Cannon Street (Weinreb and Hibbert 303).
See also: Chalfant 84.
- Bebbington, Gillian. London Street Names. London: B.T. Batsford, 1972. Print.
- Chalfant, Fran C. Ben Jonson’s London: A Jacobean Placename Dictionary. Athens, GA: U of Georgia P, 1978. Print.
- Stow, John. A Survey of London. Reprinted from the Text of 1603. Ed. Charles Lethbridge Kingsford. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1908. Print. [Also available as a reprint from Elibron Classics (2001). Articles written before 2011 cite from the print edition by volume and page number.]
- Weinreb, Ben, and Christopher Hibbert, eds. The London Encyclopaedia. New York: St. Martin’s, 1983. Print. [You may also wish to consult the 3rd edition of The London Encyclopedia (2008). Print.]
This project is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
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