Trig Lane was the lane leading down from Thames Street (now called Upper Thames Street) to the river landing place called Trig Stairs on the north bank of the Thames. See the river chase sequence in Middleton’s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (4.2.6ff), which takes place here. Going east from Trig Lane along the Thames were Wheatsheaf Wharf, Paul’s Pier Wharf, and Puddle Wharf, this last landing about a quarter-mile (.4 km) away. Trig Lane, then, was in a fairly rowdy area full of water traffic, sailors, and porters, with a lot of other rough trade as well: in the puppet play in Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair, Leander, a young ruffian, falls in love with Hero, a prostitute, when she lands at Trig Stairs. Her boatman was Old Cole, who carried her across the river from Southwark and Bankside, places famous for the whores who spread syphilitic sores known as Winchester geese among their customers. According to Thomas Cooper, Thesaurus Linguae Romanae et Britannicae (1584),
Pudendagra [is] A disease about the priuie members like that we cal a Winchester goose(qtd. in LEME,
pudendagra). The same definition appears in John Florio’s Italian-English dictionary, A World of Words (1598), along with other more explicit descriptions (LEME). The brothels in this area were in the Bishop of Winchester’s neighbourhood, and prostitutes arrested in that area ended up in the Clink, the prison at one time under the Bishop’s jurisdiction, now a museum.
[Additional Source(s): Ben Jonson’s London.]
- Chalfant, Fran C. Ben Jonson’s London: A Jacobean Placename Dictionary. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1978.
- Cooper, Thomas. Thesaurus linguae Romanae et Britannicae. London, 1565. LEME. Subscription. STC 5686.
- Florio, John. A worlde of wordes, or, Most copious and exact dictionarie in Italian and English. London, 1598. LEME. Subscription. STC 11098.
- Jonson, Ben. Bartholomew Fair. 1614. Ed. E.A. Horsman. Revels Plays. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1960, 1979.
- Lexicons of Early Modern English (LEME). Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2006. Subscription.
- Middleton, Thomas. A Chaste Maid in Cheapside. Ed. Alan Brissenden. 2nd ed. New Mermaids. London: Benn, 2002.
Last modification: 2016-05-27 14:37:29 -0700 (Fri, 27 May 2016) (tlandels)