This page offers a diplomatic transcription of the opening section of John Stow’s 1603 description of Aldgate Ward. In this section, Stow traces the jurisdictional boundaries of the ward, indicating where it abuts other wards. It is Stow’s general habit to map out each ward before he begins his detailed street-by-street description of its history and features. Aldgate Ward was home to three halls: Bricklayers’ Hall, Ironmongers’ Hall, and Fletchers’ Hall  (Stow 1.50). The ward also contained a pump located in the yard of the priory of Holy Trinity Church (Stow 1.138). Residents drew their drinking water from this pump.
The ſecond ward within the wall on the eaſt part is called Aldgate ward, as taking name of the ſame Gate: the principall ſtreet of this warde beginneth at Aldgate, ſtretching well to ſometime a fayre Well, where now a pumpe is placed: from thence the way being diuided into twain, the firſt & principall ſtreet caled Aldgate ſtreet, runneth on the ſouthſide to Limeſtreet corner and halfe that ſtreete downe on the left hand, is alſo of that warde. In the mid way on that South ſide, betwixt Aldgate and Limeſtreet, is Hart horne Alley, a way that goeth through into Fenchurch ſtreete ouer againſt Northumberland houſe. Then haue ye the Bricklayers hall and an other Alley called Sprinckle Alley, now named Sugar-loafe Alley, of the like ſigne. Then is there a faire houſe, with diuerſe tenements neare adioyning, ſometime belonging to a late diſſolued Priorie ſince poſſeſſed by Miſtreſſe Cornewallies, widow, and her heyres, by the gift of king Henry the eight, in reward of fine puddings (as it was commonly ſayd) by hir made, wherewith ſhe had preſented him. Such was the princely liberalyty of thoſe times. Of later time, Sir Nicholas Throgmorton knight, was lodged there. Then ſomewhat more Weſt is Belzettars lane, ſo called of the firſt builder and owner thereof, no corruptly called Billitar lane, betwixt this Belzettars lane, and Limeſtreete, was of later time a frame of three fayre houſes, ſet up in the yeare 1590. in place where before was a large Garden plot incloſed from the highſtreete with a Bricke wall, which wall being taken downe, and the ground digged deepe for Cellerage, there was found right under the ſayd Bricke wall an other wall of ſtone, with a gate arched of ſtone, and Gates of Timber, to be cloſed in the midſt towards the ſtreete, the tymber of the Gates was conſumed, but the Hinges of yron ſtill remayned on their ſtaples on both the ſides. Moreouer in that wall were ſquare windowes with bars of yron on either ſide the gate, this wall was under ground about two fathomes deepe, as I then eſteemed it, and ſeemeth to bee the ruines of ſome houſe burned in the raigne of king Stephen, when the fire began in the houſe of one Alewarde neare London ſtone, and conſumed Eaſt to Aldgate, whereby it appeareth how greatly the ground of this Citie hath beene in that place rayſed.
On the North ſide this principall ſtreet ſtretcheth to the weſt corner of Saint Andrewes Church, and then the ward turneth towards the North by S. Marie ſtreete, on the Eaſt ſide to Saint Auguſtines Church in the wall, and ſo by Buries markes [Bevis Marks] again, or about by the wall to Aldgate.
The ſecond way from aldgate more towards the South from the pumpe aforesaid is called Fenchurch ſtreete, and is of Aldgate warde till ye come to Culuer Alley, on the weſt ſide of Ironmongers hall, where ſometime was a lane which went out of Fenchurch ſtreete to the middeſt of Limeſtreete, but this lane was ſtopped up, for ſuſpition of theeues that lurked there by night. Againe to Aldgate out of the principall ſtreete, euen by the gate, and wall of the Citie, runneth a lane South to Crowched Friers, and then Woodroffe lane to the Tower hill, and out fo this lane weſt, a ſtreete called Hartſtreete, which of that warde ſtretcheth to Sydon lane by Saint Olaues Church. One other lane more weſt from Aldgate goeth by Northumberland houſe toward the Croſſed Friers: then haue ye on the ſame ſide the North end of Martlane, and Blanch Arleton, where that ward endeth.
- 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.]
- A fletcher is someone who makes arrows. (LM)
This project is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
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