Silver Street

roseAgas Map
roseList documents mentioning Silver Street
roseList variant names and spellings
Silver Street was a small but historically significant street that ran east-west, emerging out of Noble Street in the west and merging into Addle Street in the east. Monkwell Street (labelled Muggle St. on the Agas map) lay to the north of Silver Street and seems to have marked its westernmost point, and Little Wood Street, also to the north, marked its easternmost point. Silver Street ran through Cripplegate Ward and Farringdon Ward Within. It is labelled as Syluer Str. on the Agas map and is drawn correctly.
The name Silver Street comes from the Old English Selvernestrate meaning of silver and, indeed, Stow remarks that Silver Street is so named because of siluer smithes dwelling there (Ekwall 76; Stow 1:299). The connection between Silver Street and the metal silver seems to have been well known to early modern Londoners. For example, Ben Jonson’s The Staple of News cites Silver Street as the region of money, a good seat for a usurer (Jonson 3.Int.1-4). Important sites on Silver Street included Windsor House, a great house builded of stone and timber, and St Olave, Silver Street church, a small thing, and without any noteworthy monuments (Stow 1:315; 1:306). Perhaps the most noteworthy historical fact about Silver Street is that it was the location of a house in which William Shakespeare dwelled during his time in London.
Shakespeare lived in one of what Stow calls the diuers fayre houses on the street (Stow 1:299), in particular, above the Mountjoys’ head-dress shop. The Mountjoys’ business was nestled, as Charles Nicholl argues, on the eastern corner of Monkwell Street and Silver Street1 (ShaLT; Nicholl 47). Depositions from the Bellott-Mountjoy Dowry Lawsuit of 1612 indicate that Shakespeare laye in the house of the Mountjoys, a French Huguenot family whom he had known for the space of tenne yeres or thereaboutes (Nicholl 288-89). Shakespeare’s deposition from 11 May 1612 affords us two remarkable historical artifacts: a transcription of words known to have been spoken by one Mr. Shakespeare, and one of the few surviving examples of his signature.
Silver Street no longer exist in modern London. While many sites, including the Mountjoys’ shop and St. Olave, Silver Street, were decimated by the Great Fire of London in 1666, Silver Street itself was dealt a final death-blow during the expansion of the busy traffic-road called London Wall in the early 1960s (Nicholl 49-50; Weinreb, Hibbert, Keay, and Keay 838).
For a detailed analysis of Shakespeare’s life on Silver Street, see the biography, The Lodger: His Life on Silver Street, written by Charles Nicholl.

Notes

  1. To see Nicholl’s conjectured location of Shakespeare’s residence on the Agas map, click here. (JT)

References

Last modification: 2017-03-15 17:14:07 -0400 (Wed, 15 Mar 2017) (mholmes)
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MLA citation:

Takeda, Joey, and Kim McLean-Fiander. “Silver Street.” The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Web. 11 December 2017. <http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/SILV1.htm>.

Chicago citation:

Takeda, Joey, and Kim McLean-Fiander. n.d. “Silver Street.” The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed December 11, 2017. http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/SILV1.htm.

APA citation:

Takeda J., & K. McLean-Fiander. (n.d.). Silver Street. In J. Jenstad (Ed.), The Map of Early Modern London. Retrieved December 11, 2017, from http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/SILV1.htm

TEI citation:

<bibl> <author><persName><surname>Takeda</surname>, <forename>Joey</forename></persName></author>, & <author><persName><forename>Kim</forename> <surname>McLean-Fiander</surname></persName></author>. (<date>n.d.</date>). <title level="a">Silver Street</title>. In <editor><persName><forename>J.</forename> <surname>Jenstad</surname></persName></editor> (Ed.), <title level="m">The Map of Early Modern London</title>. Retrieved <date when="2017-12-11">December 11, 2017</date>, from <ref target="http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/SILV1.htm">http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/SILV1.htm</ref> </bibl>