Distaff Lane

Distaff Lane was in Bread Street Ward. It is not to be confused with Great Distaff Street, the street which crossed the northernmost end of Distaff Lane. There is some discrepancy in the exact length of Distaff Lane between the Agas Map and the information in Survey of London. On the Agas Map, Distaff Lane (labelled Diſtaf la.) appears to run south off Great Distaff Street, labelled Maidenhed lane, terminating before it reaches Knightrider Street. Stow tells us, in his delineation of the bounds of Bread Street Ward, that Distaff Lane runneth downe to Knightriders street, or olde Fishstreete (Stow 1:345). Our map truncates Distaff Lane before Knightrider Street.
Stow’s Survey also suggests some ambiguity about which street was properly known as Distaff Lane, using the same name for both Distaff Lane and Great Distaff Street, as can be seen here: In this Fryday streete on the west side thereof is a Lane, commonly called Mayden Lane, or Distaffe Lane, corruptly for Distar Lane, which runneth west into the old Exchange: and in this lane is also one other lane, on the south side thereof, likewise called Distar Lane (Stow 1:345). Slightly later in his description of Bread Street Ward, Stow reiterates and augments this information though, in this section, he is only referring to Great Distaff Street: On the west side of this Fryday Street, is Mayden lane, so named of such a signe, or Distaffe lane, for Distar lane, as I reade in record of a brewhouse, called the Lamb in Distar lane, the sixteenth of H. the sixt [1437 or 1438]. In this Distar lane, on the north side thereof, is the Cordwayners or Shoomakers hall (Stow 1.351). Kingsford’s note on this passage explains that Stow misread Distaflane as Distarlane. Kingsford also notes mentions of Distavlane in wills of 1260 and 1295. After 1301, the spelling was consistently Distaflane (Stow 2.356n.).
On the south side of Knightrider Street, opposite Distaff Lane, stood the church of St. Nicholas Cole Abbey. According to Stow, in 1396 or 1397 (20 Richard II), Thomas Barnard, Caſtle Clerke. Iohn Sonderaſh, Clerke, and Iohn Nouncy, gave to the Parſon and Church-wardens of the ſaid Church and their ſucceſſors, one Meſſuage and one Shop, with the appurtenances in Diſtaffe lane, and Old Fiſhſtreet, for the reparation of the body of the late Church, the Belfrey or Steeple, and Ornaments. (Stow 1633, sig. 2M1v).
See also: Chalfant 67.


Cite this page

MLA citation

Jenstad, Janelle, and Melanie Chernyk. Distaff 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/DIST1.htm.

Chicago citation

Jenstad, Janelle, and Melanie Chernyk. Distaff 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/DIST1.htm.

APA citation

Jenstad, J., & Chernyk, M. 2022. Distaff 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/DIST1.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  - Jenstad, Janelle
A1  - Chernyk, Melanie
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - Distaff 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/DIST1.htm
UR  - https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/edition/7.0/xml/standalone/DIST1.xml
ER  - 

TEI citation

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Documents relating to Great Distaff Street



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