Fetter Lane ran north-south between Holborn and Fleet Streets, in the ward of Farringdon Without, past the east side of the church of Saint Dunstan’s in the West. Stow consistently called this street "Fewtars Lane," "Fewter Lane," or "Fewters Lane" (2:21, 2:22), and claimed that it was "so called of Fewters (or idle people) lying there" (2:39). The OED defines "faitour" as "[a]n impostor, cheat; esp. a vagrant who shams illness or pretends to tell fortunes" (OED "faitour" 1.a), and notes that the word was obsolete by 1568, which may explain why Stow needed to gloss the term.
Kingsford notes that Fetter Lane "is probably the Viter Lane without Newgate which occurs in 1294 and 1299" (2:363).
See also: Chalfant 76.
- Chalfant, Fran C. Ben Jonson’s London: A Jacobean Placename Dictionary. Athens, GA: U of Georgia P, 1978. Print.
- Kingsford, Charles Lethbridge, ed. A Survey of London by John Stow. Reprinted from the Text of 1603. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1908. Print. A searchable transcription of this text is available at BHO.
- Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. Web. Subscr. OED.
- 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.]
Last modification: 2014-02-03 15:57:23 -0800 (Mon, 03 Feb 2014) (mholmes)