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Ironmonger Lane

Ironmonger Lane, located directly north of Eastcheap in Cheap Ward, ran north-south between Cateaton Street and Cheapside Street. The lane’s name has undergone a number of spelling changes over the years—on the Agas map, it is labelled as Iremonger lane, but it has also been written as Ismonger Lane, Ismongeres Lane, or Ysmongeres Lane, with records of the last spelling dating back to 1213 (Harben). Ironmonger is a combination of the Old Saxon terms īsarn—meaning iron (OED iron, n.1), and mongari—meaning merchant (OED monger, n.1). The lane was so called of Ironmongers dwelling there (Stow 1598, sig. P3v) until the fifteenth century, when the iron merchants relocated to Fenchurch Street (Weinreb, Hibbert, Keay, and Keay, Ironmonger Lane 435).
St. Thomas Becket, who was Chancellor of England to Henry II and Archbishop of Canterbury, was reportedly born in a house on the corner of Ironmonger Lane and Cheapside Street in either 1118 (Weinreb, Hibbert, Keay, and Keay, Cheapside 153) or 1119 (Weinreb, Hibbert, Keay, and Keay, Ironmonger Lane 435). After his murder and canonization, Becket’s sister founded a hospital there in his honour and called it the Hospital of St. Thomas of Acon (Stow 1598, sig. P3r). It served multiple purposes; it functioned as both a hospital and a church, and from 1347 to 1517 it was the meeting place for members of the Mercers guild (Weinreb, Hibbert, Keay, and Keay, Mercers’ Hall 542), of which St. Thomas Becket’s father had been an influential member (Weinreb, Hibbert, Keay, and Keay, Hospital of St Thomas of Acon 473). The guild met at the hospital until they purchased the property in the sixteenth century and officially created the Mercers’ Hall (Weinreb, Hibbert, Keay, and Keay, Mercers’ Hall 542). The Great Fire of 1666 destroyed all the buildings on the Mercers’ property, but the hall was rebuilt over a span of ten years, and completed in 1682 (Weinreb, Hibbert, Keay, and Keay, Mercers’ Hall 542).
St. Martin Pomary was a small parish church (Stow 1598, sig. P3v) on Ironmonger Lane that was also consumed by the fire; rather than rebuilding by itself, the church amalgamated with the nearby St. Olave Old Jewry (Weinreb, Hibbert, Keay, and Keay, St Martin Pomeroy 785) to rebuild jointly. In 1888, the Union of City Benefices Act ordered the Old Jewry demolished; only the tower and parts of the west and northwest walls remain (Weinreb, Hibbert, Keay, and Keay, St Olave Old Jewry or Upwell Old Jewry 803).
Ironmonger Lane still exists today. The Mercers’ Hall was destroyed for the second time in World War II, but the hall and chapel were rebuilt using some of the original materials from the seventeenth-century building (Weinreb, Hibbert, Keay, and Keay, Mercers’ Hall 542).


Cite this page

MLA citation

Findlay-Mitchell, Brittany. Ironmonger Lane. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 05 May 2022, mapoflondon.uvic.ca/edition/7.0/IRON1.htm.

Chicago citation

Findlay-Mitchell, Brittany. Ironmonger Lane. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed May 05, 2022. mapoflondon.uvic.ca/edition/7.0/IRON1.htm.

APA citation

Findlay-Mitchell, B. 2022. Ironmonger Lane. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London (Edition 7.0). Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/editions/7.0/IRON1.htm.

RIS file (for RefMan, RefWorks, EndNote etc.)

Provider: University of Victoria
Database: The Map of Early Modern London
Content: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

A1  - Findlay-Mitchell, Brittany
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - Ironmonger Lane
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
ET  - 7.0
PY  - 2022
DA  - 2022/05/05
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  - https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/edition/7.0/IRON1.htm
UR  - https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/edition/7.0/xml/standalone/IRON1.xml
ER  - 

TEI citation

<bibl type="mla"><author><name ref="#FIND1"><surname>Findlay-Mitchell</surname>, <forename>Brittany</forename></name></author>. <title level="a">Ironmonger Lane</title>. <title level="m">The Map of Early Modern London</title>, Edition <edition>7.0</edition>, edited by <editor><name ref="#JENS1"><forename>Janelle</forename> <surname>Jenstad</surname></name></editor>, <publisher>U of Victoria</publisher>, <date when="2022-05-05">05 May 2022</date>, <ref target="https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/edition/7.0/IRON1.htm">mapoflondon.uvic.ca/edition/7.0/IRON1.htm</ref>.</bibl>




Variant spellings