Grub Street could be found outside the walled city of London. It ran north-south, between Everades Well Street in the north and Fore Lane in the south. Grub Street was partially in Cripplegate ward, and partially outside the limits of the city of London.
Though Stow offers no explanation of the street’s name, some scholars suggest that it
possibly meant a street infested with worms, or more probably it was named after a man called Grubbe(Weinreb and Hibbert 353). One of the street’s famous denizens was John Foxe, author of The Book of Martyrs, who lived there from 1571 until his death in 1587 (Weinreb and Hibbert 353).
In London: The Biography of a City, Christopher Hibbert writes that Grub Street was where bowyers, fletchers, and bowstring-makers practiced their trades (Weinreb and Hibbert 37). This source of this information is likely Stow, who admits that the area had fallen into ill repute by his day. He says of Grub Street that it was
of late yeares inhabited for the most part by Bowyers, Fletchers, and bowstring makers, and such like, now little occupied, Archerie giving place to a number of bowling Allies, and Dicing houses, which in al places are increased and too much frequented(Stow 2:79). Kingsford offers an explanation of the archery trades locating themselves in Grub Street:
It was convenient for bowyers, since it lay near the Archery-butts in Finsbury Fields(Kingsford 2:370).
Grub Street is now known as Milton Street; it was renamed in 1830 (Weinreb and Hibbert 353).
- Kingsford, Charles Lethbridge, ed. A Survey of London by John Stow. Reprinted from the Text of 1603. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1908. A searchable transcription of this text is available at BHO.
- 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.]
- Weinreb, Ben, and Christopher Hibbert, eds. The London Encyclopaedia. New York: St. Martin’s, 1983. [You may also wish to consult the 3rd edition, published in 2008.]
Last modification: 2016-05-27 14:37:29 -0700 (Fri, 27 May 2016) (tlandels)