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Milk Street, located in Cripplegate Ward, began on the north side of Cheapside, and ran north to a square formed at the intersection of Milk Street, Cat Street (Lothbury), Lad Lane, and Aldermanbury.
Located in this square "was of old time a fayre Well with two Buckets, of late yeares converted to a Pumpe" (Stow 1:292). Milk Street, "so called as early as 1140, was the section of Cheapside market where milk was sold" (Bebbington 220). Stow’s account of the name’s origin concurs (Stow 1:295).
Stow also notes that "there bee many fayre houses for wealthy Marchantes and other" (Stow 1:295). Milk Street was the home of Sir Thomas Gresham, who was Royal Agent to Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth I, and builder of the Royal Exchange. It was also the birthplace of Utopia author Sir Thomas More, who was born in February 1478 (Weinreb and Hibbert 533).
St. Mary Magdalene’s church, dating from the twelfth century, was located in Milk Street. It burned in the Great Fire of 1666 and was never rebuilt.
See also: Chalfant 128.
- 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.