The Marian Survey of St Albans

The so-called Marian survey (in the reign of Queen Mary) was conducted in 1556 on behalf of the Court of Augmentations, which was set up to raise money from the property formerly of dissolved monasteries. This article, by William Page, was first published in the Society’s Transactions of 1893-94

The interest in a neighbourhood is enormously enhanced by a knowledge of its association with the past, of the men and women who have lived and died there, of their dwellings and manner of living and of the good and evil deeds they have done. The hope of being able to add something to that knowledge as to  St. Albans must be my apology for reading this paper before you to-night. The observations I propose to make have been principally founded upon a Survey of St. Albans dated 13 August 1556, which is preserved amongst the Augmentation Office Records at the Public Record Office [1]; but I have also examined various contemporary and earlier documents at the Public Record Office relating to St. Albans to obtain further light on the ancient topography of this City.

Report for the Court of Augmentations

First as to the Survey itself; it is not exactly what we should now describe as a survey, but is a report which was handed in to the Court of the Augmentations of the Revenues of the Crown by certain commissioners appointed to take this and other like surveys, and it sets out the names of the tenants of the Crown within the Town, the premises they held, and the yearly rent paid.

Almost the whole of the Town, previous to the dissolution of the Abbey, had been apportioned out to the various offices in the Monastery, such as the offices of kitchener, of spicer, of almoner, of sacristan, of cellarer, and the rest, and the rents from the lands so apportioned were used for the support of such offices respectively.

Apparently for the sake of convenience, the Crown at the Dissolution appointed separate collectors of the rents formerly belonging to each of these offices, and this system of apportionment of the lands and rents continued for some time after the Monastery was swept away.

The Survey now dealt with is arranged in this manner, with the addition of some other sub-headings, such as the demesne lands of the Abbey, the lauds leased by the Crown, and the possessions of Chantries, Guilds, obits, etc. It is written in the usual abbreviated Latin; I have therefore made a full abstract of it in English. [2] As you may imagine, it would be somewhat monotonous and uninteresting to read you a Survey like this.

A walk through 16th century St Albans

I propose therefore to ask you to accompany me in an imaginary walk through St. Albans, and will endeavour to point out to you the position of some of the streets and buildings, which were in existence in the reign of Philip and Mary [1553 to 1558].

I think I may safely say that the town of St. Albans has altered more in the last 30 years than it had done in the previous 300. Old houses are being pulled down and acres of what was agricultural land are being built upon. There yet remain to us many old houses, most, of which, however, have undergone the process of being refronted, and, therefore, unlike the human race, we can tell their ages generally, better from a back view than a front one.

Nearly all of the inhabitants of St. Albans at the time this Survey was taken could recollect the Abbot’s jurisdiction in the town and the surrender of the monastery, and all of them probably remembered the dissolution of the Chantries and Guilds by Edward VI, the grant of the charter of incorporation to the town by the same King, the brief reign of the Lady Jane Gray, and the accession and marriage of Queen Mary.

The reign of Edward VI had been disastrous to agriculture and commerce; the lay successors to the possessions of the monasteries, for the most part, cared little for their tenants; in many instances the lands had been bought by wealthy merchants, who looked upon their purchases entirely as a speculation, much in the same way as stocks and shares are dealt in at the present day.

Sir Richard Lee, who obtained grants from the Crown of a great part of the possessions of the Abbey of St. Albans, re-sold at a profit much of what he had bought almost immediately he had purchased it. Sir Thomas Smith, Thomas Reve, Roger Taverner, and other Crown grantees did the like. Many, therefore, from a commercial point of view, if not from any other, looked with favour on the proposed refounding of the Abbey by Queen Mary.

From Childwickbury to Batchwood …

Let us, however, commence our peregrination, and approach the City from the north along the Harpenden Road, or Luton Highway, as it was called. Passing ” Childwick,” so named, we are told, because the rents and profits from it were appropriated for the nourishment of the younger monks with milk, and which at the time of this Survey was held by Thomas Rowse, we come in sight of Batch wood or Batchworth, where there was a house, then occupied by one Edward Smith, who held it under a lease from Richard Weste, gentleman, a large property holder in St. Albans.

… and on to Bernard’s Heath

Coming to Bernard’s Heath, which was known as Barnet Wood or Barnet Heath, we pass on our right “Oyster Hill”, so called, we are also told in the Gesta, from the quantity of marine remains found there! This was in the tenure of Henry Bestney, who appears to have held a considerable amount of land between Oster Hill and St. Michaels.

Crossing the Heath to the Sandridge Road we should pass, at one side or the other of the road, about where the engine house of the Waterworks now is, the site of a cross, called the Stone Cross, which besides its devotional purpose, was also used as a boundary mark of the borough.

The piece of roadway from Bernard’s Heath to the Cricketers’ Arms was called Luton Lane, and from the Cricketers’ Arms at the junction of the Harpenden and Sandridge Roads to St. Peter’s Churchyard was called Bowgate or Boroughgate, being the nortnow is but with a chancel extending some thirty feet further to the east, and with transepts as shown in the sketches with which Mr. Tarte has illustrated his article in the “Hertfordshire Magazine.”

The Charnel (or Charnell) Brotherhood

In the Churchyard was a chapel called the Charnell Chapel, the position of which is very uncertain; there are remains of some old masonry in the south-west corner of the Churchyard wall, and the Sexton tells me he has come across foundations of a building on the north side of where the chancel formerly stood.

The Chapel was used by the Guild of All Saints or the Charnell Brotherhood, which at the time of this Survey had only lately been dissolved; the fraternity was founded in the reign of Edward IV, and was, comparatively speaking, wealthy, for belonging to it were several houses in St. Peter’s Street, Holywell Street, Market Street, and Fishpool Street, and also a considerable amount of land. It supported two chaplains, one of whom assisted at St. Andrew’s Church and the other served at St. Peter’s; after paying for the support of the Guild the surplus revenue was given to the poor. [4]

St. Peter’s Street

There were several charities belonging to St. Peter’s:—Alice Hawes left land called Thorpes in Sandridge Parish for an obit and the use of the church; Richard Clopcote left a tenement called the Lamb in St. Peter’s Street, for the same purposes; Nicholas Gefferey left three tenements in St. Peter’s Street, for finding the rood light, for mending the roadway in St. Peter’s Street, and the repair of the Church. [5]  At a later date there were some houses facing St. Peter’s Green in the Churchyard, but whether they were there at the time of the Marian Survey I do not know.

We now come to St. Peter’s Street, the line of the roadway of which has probably altered little since the first Battle of St. Albans was fought there. On the site of Mr. Debenham’s office, near to Spencer Street, was, I think, a house called Stone Hall [6], which at the time of this Survey was held by one Francis, but afterwards was the home of the Pemberton family. St. Peter’s Green was probably very like what it now is, except that there was a duck pond there.

The Tonman Dyke (or Townsmandike)

The Hatfield Road was called Cock Lane, and at the corner of what is now St. Peter’s Road, which is on the site of a portion of Tonman’s Dyke, the borough boundary, was the parish pound, and where the Marlborough Almshouses now are, stood the manor house of the Manor of Newland Squillers.

At the south corner of St. Peter’s Street and Katherine Lane, on the site of the Painter’s Arms, was a tenement with some land attached to it called “the Lamb,” which, as before stated, belonged to St. Peter’s Church. There were many houses along Katherine Lane, and on the south side, a little way down the lane, were 20 acres of land called “Gumbedes,” which were granted in 1544 to John Maynard.

Behind the houses on the east side of St. Peter’s Street following the line of what is now St. Peter’s Road and Marlborough Road was a lane, called Houndspath, and adjoining this lane was Townmansdike before mentioned, to which lane and ditch the gardens of the houses in St. Peter’s Street mostly extended.

The Townmansdike, which at one time existed right round St. Albans, can still be traced in many places and is clearly shown in an old map; whether it formed any sort of fortification or was simply the boundary mark is uncertain. It appears, however, that at one time St. Albans was surrounded by some kind of defence, as it is stated in the Gesta that in the 13th century so well was it guarded with locks and bars that it was called Little London; and later we find that Abbot Whethamsted added to the defences of the town. Mr. Fowler tells me that the remains of what is supposed to have been a town wall have been found.

The east side of St Peter’s Street

One of the houses on the east side of St. Peter’s Street was evidently of considerable size. It is described as the mansion house of Thomas Skipwith, and I would offer as a suggestion that it was on the site of Mr. Hopkinson’s house; next to this were what are described as three tenements under one roof ” between the mansion house of Thomas Skipwith on the north, and a tenement of the same Thomas Skipwith on the south, in which three tenements Roland le Joynour now (that is, in 1545) lives, with gardens containing in length from St. Peter’s Street to a lane, called Houndspath, towards the east, 320 feet, and in width at the upper end of the same tenements, at the lower end 54 feet.” [7]

These, with two other tenements on the same side of St. Peter’s Street, were granted to John Burges and Edward Wotton after the Dissolution. At the north corner of St. Peter’s Street and Victoria Street, which at the time of this Survey was called Shropshire Lane, was apparently a tenement of some size, called the Castle, and behind here was another ditch which seems to have gone in an irregular line down Holywell Hill, called Monk ditch, and which is constantly mentioned as the boundary of tenements at the south end of St, Peter’s Street, Chequer Street, and Holywell Street; it seems to have been between the Townmansdike and the houses on the highway, and in this ditch archery butts were erected.

At the south end of St. Peter’s Street, apparently somewhere near to where the cattle market is now held, was the Fish shambles or Fish market. [8] I have also found mention of tenements in St. Peter’s Street called ” The Doble Stage,” ” The Pye,” and ” The Horsehead,” the position of which I have failed to identify. Turning now into Chequer Street, where was formerly the Malt Cheaping or Malt Market, the house now called the Queen’s Hotel is on the site of an ancient hostel, called the Chequers, and contains possibly some remains of the inn which stood there in the 16th century.

As you are all probably aware, the New London Road was not made till 1794 and before that date there was no roadway off the east side of Chequer Street and Holywell Hill between Victoria Street or Shropshire Lane (or as it was lately called, Sweet Briar Lane) and Sopwell Lane. On the site of the London Road facing Holywell Hill or Chequer Street was the Crosskeys or Peter Keys Inn, behind which, extending some way down the hill, was the famous Keyfield, where the first battle of St. Albans was begun, and where sometimes the fair was held. I am told that the present public house called the Cross Keys formed no part of the old inn. A tenement to the north of the Cross Keys, probably Battlefield House, was at the time of the dissolution in the tenure of the widow of Thomas Robyns, and was afterwards granted to John Burgess and Edward Wotton.

On the west side of Chequer Street stood the house of the the house of the Master of the Spicery of the Abbey and also the house of the Keeper of the Abbot’s Hostry, or Guest House, which we shall come to later on, and behind these were some houses belonging to the office of Sub-Cellarer.

Market Street, French Row and Dagnall Street

Before proceeding down Holywell Hill let us explore Market Street, French Row, and Dagnall Street. At the north-east corner of Dagnall Street, where Messrs. Gibbs and Bamforth have their shop and printing establishment, stood the old Moot or Guild Hall. Mr. Fowler, in his ” Notes on the Mediaeval Moot Hall of St. Albans,” has traced this very interesting house back to 1412, and suggests a very much earlier existence. Here was the meeting-place of the trade guilds, and of the Mayor and aldermen after the Charter of Incorporation by Edward VI, when it was granted to the town.

Dagnall Street or Lane, otherwise Bothel Street, formerly extended down to Fishpool Street by the roadway now called Well Close Street; there seems to have been a good number of houses in this street. College Street was not built till the end of the last or beginning of the present century, being so named from the celebrated Collegium Insanorum of Dr. Cotton, a part of which still stands. It was at this house or college that the poet Cowper was in 1763 for a time confined.

Market Place

Somewhere about Market Place—or, as I have also found it called, the Flesh market, Flesh Cheaping, the Shambles, and the Butchery—was, in the reign of Edward III, a vacant piece of ground called Puddingshamel and a lane called le Puddynglane; [9] and between the top of French Row and Dagnall Street were the Wheat Cheaping or Corn Market, and the Leather Market or Leather Shambles. The Bullring, reference to which I have come upon, I am told was in Market Place, although it does not seem that there could have been much room here for our ancestors to have amused themselves in the sport of bull baiting. In 1545, I find mention of eight messuages and a garden, called “le Merkett Place,” which were granted to Henry Audley and John Maynard. [10]

There is nothing in the Survey as to the Clock Tower, but the Market Cross, called also the Great Cross, the Eleanor Cross and Queen Cross, is mentioned several times there and in other documents of the sixteenth century. The origin of the name French Row has, I believe, not been discovered. Vicus Francorum occurs many times in the 14th century, so that it cannot take its name from having been the site of a colony of French religious refugees, as I have heard suggested; it was also known as Cordwainers’ Row, and wras probably the same as Coblers’ Row, which I have come across. Here the Nuns of Pre had a walled garden and one or two houses. At the south end was the well-known Christopher Inn, part of which still remains. Next to the Christopher is the Fleur de Lys, or, as it was formerly called, the Fleur de Luce, which at the time of the Dissolution was undergoing repairs, being then in lease to Robert Brand. It was afterwards, in 1545, granted to John Maynard and William Breton.

Inns on Holywell Hill

We will now return to Holywell Hill, or Halliwell Street, in which, during the 16th century and later, were very many inns. Of the 16th century inns I find mention of the following:—Next to where the Cross Keys stood is and was the Peahen, and next to that was the Wool Pack, or Wool Sack, the site of which is now occupied by an extension of the premises of the Peahen. The two houses next below Dr. Lipscomb’s occupy the site of the Dolphin, below that again is the Saracen’s Head and below that was the Hartshorn, now called the White Hart. This last inn was in 1535 leased by the Abbot of St. Albans to John Broke and Elizabeth, his wife, ” with a brewing leede, one growte leede, one tabyll with a peyer of trescelles standing in the hall, and in the parlour one tabyll with a peyer of trescells, and ten bedstedds.”

The premises of all these inns extended down to Houndspath or Monk ditch. The amount of traffic passing through St. Albans in the 16th century must have been very considerable to have supported so many inns. The spacious inn yards, now dirty and deserted, must then have been scenes of life and activity, the nobility and gentry with their families and attendants, on their way to and from the north and the midlands, the merchant with his sumpter horses, the waggoner with his carts, would be constantly arriving and departing.

The tenements on the west side of Holywell Hill extended back to the Sextry or Sacristan’s garden wall. We come a little lower down the hill to Sopwell Lane, which, as I have before pointed out, was the old entrance to the town from London. Most of the houses here had belonged to the Priory of Sopwell, and at the dissolution of that monastery all its possessions were at first leased and afterwards granted to Sir Richard Lee. There was a tenement in Sopwell Lane at the time of this Survey called the Ram, but its position I have been unable to identify.

The Goat, which now stands on the north side of the lane, I find in the Survey of St. Albans of 1649. Somewhere in the direction of Sopwell was a cross called the Cross with the Hand, but its exact position I do not know. There was another cross, apparently at the corner of the London Road and the lane leading to Cellbarns, called the Red Cross. Returning to Holywell Hill, probably near to the Holy Well was the Well House, which was given for the support of the Guild of All Saints in St. Peter’s Churchyard. Another house somewhere in Holywell Street, belonging to the same Guild, was Lymberies, but there is nothing to lead me to its position.

As you are all aware, probably, Holywell Street did not, till quite recently, run straight down the hill, but turned off to the right just after passing Ivy House. About the middle of this just after passing Ivy House. About the middle of this bend is the entrance to Lady Spencer’s Grove. I have found in a document, dated 1549,[11] mention of Mary Magdaleyn Grove on the north of Long Mead. Possibly Lady Spencer’s Grove replaced this earlier one. The present road at the bottom of the hill is about the site of Holywell House, the mansion of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, and in the 16th century the house of Sir Ralph Rowlett.

Out at St. Stephens is the King Harry public-house, which was given by Nicholas Geffre apparently in the early part of the 16th century for the support of certain lights in St. Stephen’s and St. Michael’s Churches. In returning to St. Albans round by the Verulam Woods, we pass through a district the most interesting part of whose history is of a very much earlier date than that with which we are now dealing. Near here stood the chapels of Mary Mawdeleyn and St. Germain, which were on 10 July, 1547, granted to Sir Richard Lee.

Passing over the ancient causeway, called Mereden Causeway, from the manor of Mereden, which comprised the lands to the south of the Abbey, and crossing the river we enter the Abbey Precincts. The Abbey buildings have been so ably and carefully set down, so far as our information at the present time allows, by Mr. Fowler, that it is needless for me to do more than mention such of the buildings and their condition as are shown by this Survey and contemporary documents.

After the Dissolution of the Abbey, the Crown officers made what profit they could by leasing out portions of the Abbey buildings and grounds. The mills, of course, were let out, and the chapel of St. Andrew adjoining on the northwest corner of the Abbey, and then the parish church for what is now the Abbey parish was in 1542 let out to William Bolton, clerk, who had allowance made to him by the Crown minister out of his rent, for bread and wine used in the chapel, and also for divers repairs which had to be carried out on it.[12]

In the certificate of Chantries, Chapels, Guilds, etc.,[13] of 1549, it is stated that the King’s Majesty since the dissolution of the monastery of St. Albans ” is patron of the chapel of St. Andrews, otherwise called the parish of St. Albans, which was appropriated to the said monastery, and always the Abbot and Convent were charged with a priest which served the cure there. The ‘ hostling people’ (i.e., those who received the Sacrament) belonging to the said chapel are estimated at the number of 1000 and above, having but one only priest to attend upon the same. The said chapel is let to farm to one Thomas Chadsley of the town of St. Albans, for the annual sum of 13li. 6s. 8d., and he findeth also the priest. Which, said Thomas, for as much as the whole profits belonging to the said benefice consisteth only of privy tithes, which by the poverty of the people or else by the coldness of their devotions, as it is alleged, amounteth to so small a portion that it will scantly pay the wages of the priest, being but the sum of 20 nobles by the year, wherefore it is to be referred to the good consideration of your masterships.”

This report ” to their masterships,” who were, apparently, the officers of the Court of Augmentations, had some result, for shortly afterwards, in 1554, the Abbey Church was sold to the parishioners, after which the chapel of St. Andrew was allowed to fall into ruin. In 1549 commissioners were appointed to inquire as to the value of the stone, wood, lead, and other materials of the monastery, evidently with the idea of pulling down the buildings and selling the materials. The report of these commissioners, which is among the Exchequer Augmentation Office Records, has been printed by Mr. Mackenzie Walcott, and it gives some idea of the extent of the Abbey buildings.

Further grants to Sir Richard Lee

It is pretty clear that a great part of the monastery was at this time destroyed and the materials sold, for in the following year Sir Richard Lee apparently petitioned to purchase the Abbey precincts, and in the “particular” or the report of the Crown Surveyor previous to the grant being made, the precincts are described as the site of the “defaced” house of St. Albans. [14] Sir Richard Lee on 5th March, 1550, received a grant of of the site of the monastery, except the church, the Lady Chapel, and the Abbey Court, a barn called the Smith’s forge, and the gatehouse on the north of the court. There was also granted to him the Kitchener’s Meadow, three meadows lying behind the brasery or brewhouse, a meadow called ” le Pond medowe,” a meadow called ” le Orchard,” the ponds called “le Pondyards” and “les Pond Wykes,” etc.

The parts of the site of the Abbey, excepted out of the grant to Sir Richard Lee, were all, it will be observed, on the west side where the buildings had been appropriated for the royal stables. These buildings were especially reserved in the estimate made of the materials before referred to, and being in the use of the Crown were not destroyed. They consisted of the Great Gate, which was used as the gaol almost immediately after the dissolution, the Amberry or Almonry to the west of it, the Prior of Tynemouth’s lodging, which I think was a part of the Great Gate, the Great Court with the stables on the west side of it, and the Watergate or Hammes Tower; there was  length, the Sadler’s Office, the house of the Master of the Horse, the Forge, and the Great Gate were to be put into repair.

17th century survey of Abbey precincts

Another Survey of the Abbey precincts was taken in 1649, [15] which is to the following effect:—

  • In the Abbey Precincts, or Abbey Court, viz., a tenement consisting of a hall, a parlour, and two butteries below stairs, three chambers above stairs, and a small garden containing 10 poles, on the west side of the court; the stables, built of stone and timber, and covered with tiles, on the west side adjoining the said tenement, length of the said stables 240 feet and breadth 18 feet;
  • a messuage or tenement in the possession of Col. Cox, consisting of a large hall and two rooms below stairs, three fair chambers and one small room above stairs, on the south side; the Barne Close;
  • the Great Gate, built of stone and covered with lead, having over it the gaol and chambers belonging thereto, in the possession of Col. Cox, on the north of the Court, and having a stable on the east side of the said Gate House;
  • at the west end of the said messuage an old large larder, pastry, and other ruinous rooms in the possession of Col. Cox, with two gatehouses having decayed rooms over, fit only to be demolished and valued at 40li.; a small tenement or cottage with a double granary on the south ; and a small tenement on the north-east.
  • Also the corn mill called Abbey Mill in the occupation of John Finch, consisting of a hall, a kitchen, a buttery, and three chambers, with a small garden bounded on the west by a lane leading from the Abbey Court to St. Germains, Merreden Meade alias King’s Meade in the parish of St. Stephens, bounded on the east by the land of William Kentish, on the west by the river, and on the north by Merreden Causeway, containing 10 acres.
  • A piece of ground whereon was formerly a house, against a piece of waste land, called Roome Land, adjoining on the south upon the highway leading to Dunstable, containing 11/2 poles.

The Liberty gaol

There is a note that the lower part of the Great Portal, with a great chamber now divided into three, was, by Letters Patent dated 28 January, 15 [sic] James I, granted to the gaoler of the Liberty of St. Albans for keeping his prisoners, as a common gaol; also that Peregrine Pelham lays claim to the mill.

Of the same date as the last (A.D. 1649) is another Survey of that curious building, the purpose of which seems a mystery, which is now the Fighting Cocks Inn, but was formerly known as the Round House. As the survey appears to be unknown, I give it here [16] :—The Round House—A messuage now divided into two, situate in the Abbey parish, consisting of a cellar, three rooms below stairs, and three above stairs, with a garden and backside adjoining, in the occupation of Mr. William Marston, and compassed about with the common way leading from the town of St. Albans through the Abbey Court to St. Germains, and contains one rood.

The Great Gate, which is the only part of the monastic buildings besides the Church and the Round House now preserved to us intact, has been somewhat altered; the roof was, down to 1789, flat, and the battlements have apparently been altered considerably.

In the Survey of Philip and Mary there is mention of a proposed exchange with Sir Richard Lee of the Abbey precincts, and a question appears to have arisen as to what was reserved out of the grant to him. Whether, as was very probable, this was with the idea of refounding the Abbey, there is nothing to show.

Let us now return to the end of High Street abutting upon Holywell Hill. From this point to the Market Cross was called the Vintry, probably because it adjoined on the south side the vineyard of the Abbey, and from the Market Cross to Spicer Street was called Church Street; I find, however, that at the same time the whole of this street was called “le Heigh Strete.”

In the 16th century the line of houses on each side of the road was fairly continuous here, the first place of any particular interest is the Waxhouse Gate at the entrance to the passage now wrongly called the Cloisters, but formerly known as School Lane, as it lead to the Grammar School, then in the Lady Chapel. In the grant to Burges and Wotton in 1545, before referred to, there is mention of a house next the “Wexhouse Gate,” in the tenure of William Grey, which was probably the fine old house now occupied by Messrs. Thorpe and Collings, the ironmongers. This tenement at the time of the Survey here dealt with, was held by William Tytworthe. All the tenements on the south side of Church Street extended down to the wall of the Sextry’s or Sacristan’s garden, where in the 14th century the inhabitants built up against the wall of the garden and made windows and even entrances through the wall. The monks, naturally resenting this invasion of their privacy, allowed the inhabitants a little further space and built a new wall to exclude the trespassers.

Ancient inns

On the opposite side of the way, at the corner of French Row and Church Street or the High Street, stands the ancient inn known in the 16th century as the Lion, but now called the Great Red Lion; next to this, on the west side of it, was the “Pecoke,” another inn. There were houses called ” le Home,” otherwise u le Sterre,” and next but one to it ” le Beare,” [17] near to the Lion, but their exact position in the street I cannot identify. Further down on the north side is the George Inn, also in 1448 called “the George upon the Hupe; ” [18] pertaining to this house was formerly an oratory or chapel, where in 1484 the Abbot gave license to Thomas Hethnes, the proprietor, to have mass celebrated for the benefit of the peers and other guests resorting there.

At the corner of George Street or Church Street and Spicer Street stood the Hostry or Guest House of the Abbey, where was the celebrated Queen’s Chamber. On this spot there afterwards stood the inn called the Tabard which in 1545 was in lease to Nicholas Markis, and was in that year granted by the Crown to John Maynard and William Breton. In 1610 this inn was described as formerly ” le Tabbard ” and now called the Antelope. It was then in the tenure of the Brockett family. [19] Spicer Street is an ancient roadway, so called probably from the rents being appropriated to the office of the Spicer of the Abbey. The only site of a house existing in the 16th century that I can identify in this street is that of the Vine, which Richard Renshawe mentions in his will in 1569, as Mr. Hardy stated in his paper last year.


We now come to Rome land, or Room land, as it was called, probably from being an open space. There are similar pieces of land called Romeland at Waltham and Billingsgate in London. The fair was held here or in Keyfield yearly on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but just at the time of this Survey it gained a less agreeable notoriety as being the place of execution of George Tankerville, who was burnt here in 1556. The north side of Romeland was in early times called Hokurhulle.

Fishpool Street

We now come to Fishpool Street, called after the fishpool to the south of it. Here are many interesting old houses, several of which I have no doubt date back earlier than the time of this Survey. I have been unable to identify the position of any of the tenements mentioned in the Survey in this street ; amongst them was one formerly called the Mawdlyn, then re-christened the Crane, and another called the Dolphin. The tenements on the south side all extended down to the meadow called Kitchener’s Mead, which was between them and the river. Behind the tenements on the north side probably in Mud Lane, about opposite to the garden wall on the east side of the Manor House, stood the Black Cross.[20]

The lower part of Fishpool Street was called Sallypath, possibly, as Mr. Fowler suggests, from its having been the sally from Kingsbury Castle which stood on the north side of it. Here was an ancient tenement called Coppydhall, in ruins at the time of this Survey, but I have found mention of it in an Inquisition Post Mortem on Nicholas Brembre taken in 1388. On the south side of Sallypath was some property of the Priory of St. Bartholomew of West Smithfield, London.

St Michael’s

The district about St. Michael’s bridge was called Gonnerston, and from the bridge to St. Michael’s Church was called St. Michael’s Street. The old road to Redbourne and the Midlands passed along here up the drive to Gorhambury and followed a roadway which may be traced across the fields, and joined the modern Redbourne Road a little to the St. Albans side of Bow Bridge.

Returning to St. Michael’s Bridge, we will go up what is now called Branch Road but which was formerly Kingsbury Lane or Kingsbury Street. This, before the Verulam Road was made, went through the middle of what is now Kingsbury Brewery and was continuous with Folly Lane, formerly called Clay Pits Lane. There were several houses in Kingsbury Street most of which were granted by Edward VI to Thomas Wendie. The lane down from Oster Hill into the Verulam Road formerly continued on and joined the Branch Road about half-way between the Verulam Road and St. Michael’s Bridge; the line of this lane can be traced across the field on the south side of the Verulam Road. Apparently this lane was called St. John’s Lane from the St. John’s Cross, which seems to have been some little way up it. Adjoining the lane was some land called St. John’s Piece.


In conclusion, I must tender my thanks to the Rev. H. Fowler and Dr. Lipscomb for the information they have given me as to place names, and to Mr. Kinneir Tarte for the kind loan of the 25-inch Ordnance sheets, which have been of great assistance in identifying the position of many places named in the Survey; to Mr. Harding, of St. Peter’s Street, and Rev. C. V. Bicknell, of St. Michaels, for allowing me to see the tithe maps of St. Peter’s and St. Michael’s parishes, and to Mr. A. E. Gibbs for the use of some valuable notes.


A reproduction of the original article published in the Transactions of 1893-94 can be seen here. The article above reproduces the original text, but subtitles have been inserted.  Minor editorial notes are in square brackets.

[1] Aug. Off. Misc. Books, Vol. 391, p. 24d.

[2] As the substance of the abstract is dealt with in this paper, it is not printed here, but it will be kept for reference among the Society’s books and papers.

[3] Pat., 36 Hen. VIII., p. 27.

[4] Chantry Certificates, Herts, Nos. 20 and 27.

[5] Ibid No. 27.

[6] The Stone Hall I have found described as in St. Peter’s Street and in St. Peter’s Ward, so that it cannot be the Stone Hall in Holywell Street marked on Mr. Fowler’s plan of the Monastic buildings. Houndspath

[7] Pat., 36 Hen. VIII., p. 13.

[8] Aug. Off. Leases, Bdle. A. Herts, and Ministers’ Accts., 32-33 Hen. VIII., No. 71.

[9] P.R.O. Ancient Deeds, A 988.

[10] Pat., 36 Hen. VIII., p. 19, in. 5

[11] Particulars for Grants, Edw. VI., Thomas Wendie, Sec. 2.

[12] Mins. Accts., 32-33 Hen. VIII., No. 71.

[13] Chantry Certificate, Herts, No. 27.

[14] Thomas Chadsley appears from the Marian Survey to have been the host of the Fleur de Luce Inn.

[15] Particulars for grants, Edward VI., Sir Rich. Lee, Sect. 1

[16] Pat., 4 Edw. VI., p. 9.

[17] Exchequer Spec. Com. 283.

[18] Parl. Surveys, Herts, No. 5.

[19] I take this to be the position of the Black Cross, as there is a close here called Black Cross Close.

[20] Inq. P. M., 12 Rich. II., No. 90