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Time-honoured Lancaster ... Historic notes on the ancient borough of Lancaster online

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repairing the passenger carriages. The wooden goods shed and
offices were a little higher up than Mrs. Roper's dwelling. The
old engine shed is still standing."

The Midland Railway Company's appearance in Lancaster
dates from October 31st, 1849. Their station is the Green Area


Station, and from it passengers may book to Leeds or Carlisle and
Scotland. The Hornby line has during 1888-9 been doubled. The
scenery through which the route passes between Lancaster and
Skipton is extremely attractive ; and the rich valleys in the neigh-
bourhood of Halton, Caton, Claughton, Hornby and Wennington
are sure to evoke admiration. LIntil lately the most direct line to
Morecambe was that of the Midland, but now the London and
North-Western have completed a branch which will enable
passengers from north or south to go to that seaport without
changing at the Hest Bank Station. This latter company has a
beautiful, indeed model, station recently completed at Morecambe.
Returning for a moment to the question of commerce in Lancaster,
and especially the shipping element, I cannot help believing that if
the people of Lancaster had gone in for modern dock making 20
years ago they would have reaped untold advantage, since the
Lune offers facilities the Ribble at Preston never possessed and
never will possess. It has been pointed out incidentally, at an
earlier stage, that the boroug - h of Lancaster did not anciently
occupy the site of the present labyrinth of streets and houses.




Lancaster Thoroughfares Origins ov Names <>i Several— Ancient
Structures— The Consecrated Well -Lambert Simnel -Lancaster
and the Knights Hospitali ers Wars of the Roses.

AINES remarks that "Many of the streets
and places in Lancaster discover their
antiquity in their present appellations. At
the time of the Domesday Survey Lancaster
consisted of two hamlets or villages : l.oii-
castre, which seems to have been the site of
^ the lower part of the present town ; and
Ckercalovcastre, the upper part, comprising
the castle and church of St. Mary. This
distinction appears to have existed some
time afterwards. By a deed without date a
plot of land given to the priory is described as situated in the
territorv of Old Lancaster, lying on the north part of the fort,
spring, or well of Old Lancaster, following the brook of the same
spring towards the north of the common pasture of Lancaster, and
ascending towards Swartemore until two acres be completed.
Register S. Murine, MS fol. 45. These boundaries seem to he
those of the land now called Green Area, which is in fact north of
the Stone Well. By a deed dated 1215, some burgages with three
acres of land are given to the priory in Hefeld, in Lancaster, which,
perhaps, may be the High Field. By another deed, which is
without date, Adam FitzHarold gives to Roger the Chaplain, son
of Cassand of Lancaster, an acre and a half of land in the territory
of Lancaster, lying in the cultura (probably enclosure) called the
Milnefeld, between Gerard the Chaplain's land and the royal high-
way leading to Gargotra. — Register, S. Marine, fol. 47. The
milne stood in the reign of Elizabeth at no great distance from the


bank. Gargotra is probably the Garth Gutter, the Wear Stream,
and the highway may be Damside Street. By a .singular deed,
William, son of Roger de Crofter, gives to the priory a portion of
his land in the territory of the town of Lancaster, from one
extremity of which runs the road leading to Penny-Ston, while the
other extremity lies towards the Depecar, which was probably the

present Usher's Meadow William Fitz Roger de

Lancaster gives to the priory, by a deed also without date, a
portion of his land in the territory of Lancaster, lying upon Kare-
furlong, and one acre of land lying between Mabbeswalesicke and
the land of John Abbot, which abuts on the Castle Marsh. The
Deepcar and Karfurlong being in the territory of Lancaster, it
would seem to have been absorbed in some of the streets erected
there. The term, Mabbe's Wall Sike, points clearly to the Werry
Wall, which at this part had a ditch, and by its proximity to the
Castle Marsh, of which traces are preserved in the name of Marsh
Lane, must have been near the Castle Hill, where the sike partly
existed a few vears ago, and where it seems the ancient wall of
the town bore a different name from that in the vicarage fields.
By another undated deed, Robert Fitz Ine gives to the priory a
burgage in the street called St. Leonard's rendering one penny to
the chief lord. In the 28th Edward 1, Simon de Lancaster,
chaplain, gives a burgage (a tenure proper to cities and borough
towns wherebv lands are held of the king or some lord at a certain
yearly rent) with a garden in St. Mary's Street. The latter is

probably the modern Church Street A house standing

before the castle ' Domum ante Castrum, is mentioned in a royal
writ to John Travers, keeper of the castle, directing him to seize
the rent, two shillings and other moneys, of Thomas, Earl of
Lancaster, and other rebels in the 15th Edward II., 1322. — Register
S. Marine, fol. jy."

In the old name of Cassand I observe the origin of the well-
known Lancaster name of Casson still met with.

The marsh rangfer is said to have lived on Castle Hill, on



the site of Mr. Swainson's garden, where an old lintel was to he
seen on which was the date 1687.

By the kind permission of Mr. Stork, collector of rates for
the Lancaster Union I have been able to ascertain a few particulars
concerning' our grandsires or great grandsires of eighty-six years
ago. I learn that including the Quay and Golgotha there were about
thirty-eight streets, lanes, roads and thoroughfares in Lancaster and
suburbs. In the rate book for 1804-5, tne same are classified thus :
"Church Street, Little John Street, Chapel Row, Rosemary Lane,
Anchor Street, Market Street, Fenton Street, Castle Hill, China
Lane, Sun Street, New Street, Pudding Lane, Nicholas Street
Penny Street, Back Lane, Queen Square, Queen Street, White Cross
Street, Henry Street, Spring Garden Street, Common Garden Street,
James Street, Great John Street, Fryerage, Brock Street, Moor Lane,
Golgotha, St. Leonardgate, Damside, Union Square, Wood Street,
Dyehouse Lane, Chapel Street, Cable Street, Bridge Lane, Lune
Street, and the Quay." Many people do not know — do not want to
know the origin of some of our street names, but 1 will give the origin
of a few. The list will include Rosemary Lane. Anchor Street,
Pudding Lane, St. Nicholas Street, White Cross Street, Common
Garden Street, Brock Street, Dyehouse Lane, King Street, Penny
Street, Golgotha, and Scotforth. First let me remark that every
town has its Market Street. Well, what is the derivation of market ?
It is an Anglican representation of the Saxon mearc, Teutonic markt
German mark. Markt denotes the same as market, et signifying
literallv head as in place-names generally. Rosemary Lane may
date from the growth oi the herb Rosemary in its vicinity ; and the
virtues of this aromatic herb may have been known to the inmates
o\ the hospital of St. Leonard. This Lane was once called Stinking
Lane. Anchor really means an angle, or that which has an angle.
But Anchor Lane probably took its name from the Blue Anchor Inn.
Pudding Lane, alias Butchers' Row puts me in mind of Pudding
Chare in the City of Newcastle-on- Tyne. In that city the name
Pudding or Puddynge Chare, can be traced back as far as 1463. 1
do not for a moment think that our quondam Pudding Lane, has


anything to do with the French Poiuhn, a surname, nor yet with the
edible made of flour, milk, and eggs. In the time of Henry III. a
lady lived whose name was certainly Pudding —Matilda Puddinge,
and a Walter Pudding appears later on. As a street it is a term
equal to yenetto, a narrow path. But our old Pudding Lane received its
name owing to the garbage continually lying in it. In the old name
of Calkeld we have Celtic Cat for crooked, and Norse Keld for water,
place of crooked water. Cat also signifies cold. Common Garden
Street perpetuates the common gardens of the town, often let to the
burgesses as are modern allotments to-day. Brock Street, after
the Brockholes family who had a house there. Brock in Brock-
well, a surname, signifies strong. A dictionary of surnames tells us
that it is a Celtic term. But Monsignor Gradwell and others give
us brock, Saxon Brae, for badger. As for Dyehouse Lane, I can
only remark that it seems to have been so called owing to its close
proximity to Mr. David Wane's Dyehouse. Only the title deeds of
this dyehouse or an old predecessor could set this matter at rest, if
such deed or person exist. The lane certainly appears ancient but
I do not think it is really so. As for King Street, most towns boast
a thoroughfare of this appellation and King Street comes unquestion-
ablv from King's Strata the King's high road. Nip Hill probably
received its odd appellation owing to the " near cut " the path afforded
to persons going from Church Street towards the Castle. It has
been said that Nip Hill originated from the fact of Mr. Joseph Bryer
purchasing it from Mr. Smith and adding to it by " nips " from the
adjoining waste land.

A word or two concerning the origin of Penny Street, at the
south end of which the White Cross once stood. Many people
think that this thoroughfare is named Penny Street in honour
of Alderman Penny and his charitable bequest to the town. It is
nothing of the kind. There was a street bearing this name long
before William Penny's time. Speed mentions it in his map. temp.
Elizabeth ; and it is just possible that there was a penny-stone in
the neighbourhood, such as existed near Blackpool, and, like a
sort of obelisk, marked the spot where in former days "a tankard


of strong beer sold for one penny." I associate the term penny
stone with the Anglo-Saxon pening, or Icelandic peningr cattle, and
consider that a penny-stone was the rendezvous where cattle
dealers met and paid for their cattle.

The property in Dalton Square belonged to the Dalton
family of Thurnham. In 1784 an Act was obtained " to explain
and amend a power vested in John Dalton, Esq., to grant leases so
far as concern certain lands and hereditaments within the town
and precincts of Lancaster, called the Eryerage, and for other
purposes mentioned." The Eryerage land was stated to be
15a. 2r. jp. statute measure. Mr. Dalton purchased an old house
and garden fronting Penny Street, from the representatives of
James Brockholes, Esq., and this was removed in order to make
an opening from Penny Street into the Fryerage. Brock Street
derives its name from this circumstance. He also purchased the
estate and interest of Mary Bryer, of Preston, in the Eryerage, for
an annual payment of ^77 per year, and also a small house front-
ing Moor Lane, belonging to the same Mary Bryer, this transaction
being perpetuated in Bryer Street. Mary Bryer, it appears, was a
descendant of Joshua Bryer, of Lancaster, merchant, living in 1753,
and who was twice Mayor of Lancaster. William, another member
of the same house, was likewise mayor of the borough on two
different occasions. He married Elizabeth Johnson, of Caton,
second daughter and co-heiress of Michael Johnson, of Twyzell
Hall, County Durham. Joshua Bryer died in 1764, his widow
Rebecca surviving him some time. His eldest son John was a

Mr. Dalton seems to have remembered his own family in
naming the streets. John Street and Dalton Square are after
himself; Mary Street and Gage Street after his wife, one of the
daughters of Sir Thomas Gage ; Lucy Street, Bridget Street, and
Charlotte Street after his daughters; Robert Street after his father;
Sulyard Street after his brother-in-law ; while Thurnham Street
and Bulk Street represent the two estates of the family.


The word Sulyard means furrowed, grooved, or sulcated yard
from sulcus, a furrow. The term yard, would imply garden, Ice-
landic gardr, Welsh gardd, Norse garth. Another street called
Nelson Street was formerly known as Allan Penny's Lane. There
was a Mr. Allan Penny, who died in January, 1795, and the lane would
probably receive its name from him. I have heard one or two strange
stories as to the origin of " Bashful alley," but having no faith in
them think it best to believe what " the oldest inhabitant" tells me
viz. : that it was formerly a place where sailors courted their girls.
The most likely derivation of Bashful Alley is to this effect. When
the Post Office used to be near the site of Mr. Seward's shop in
Market Street, young females coming to post letters from King
Street neighbourhood were often subjected to some unnecesary
attentions on the part of young men who were in the habit of con-
gregating at the corner of King Street and Market Street. They
therefore began to patronise the Alley in order to escape their
banter. It has been said that the Merchants who often stood about
the " Blue Posts " as the Coffee House was called, used to pass
remarks about them. Ffrances Passage took its name from the
Ffrances Family of Rawcliffe.

In Speed's map there is no communication between Market
Street and Church Street from China Lane (then Kelne Lane) and
Cheapside (then known as Butcher's Street, Pudding Lane, and
Shambles). The first break was made by the formation of New-
Street in 1748. We find that prior to that date there was in Market
Street an ancient messuage or tenement with gardens to the same,
in the occupation of Mr. Joshua Whalley, grocer, and John Bryer,
gentleman, both of Lancaster. Behind this to the north was other
ground, called Tomlinson's gardens. The whole of this property
belonged to Mr. Lytton, of Knebworth, now represented by Lord
Lvtton, and was doubtless obtained by marriage into the well-
known Lancaster family of the Heyshams. This fact corroborates
the tradition that the ancient tenement upon which the present
Town Hall Offices were built, and which was approached by a
courtway from New Street, was the residence of the Heyshams.


It continued in the Whalley family until the property was con-
demned as unsafe some twenty years ago. Mr. Thomas Kendall,
of Lancaster, flaxdresser, in 1747, contracted to buy Mr. Lytton's
property for ,£. 200, a new street having been planned through it
from Market Street to Church Street, to be called Charles Street.
Tomlinson's Garden did not run through, but was fronted on the
Church Street side by land belonging to the Daltons and to Mr.
William Batty. This must have been secured to complete the
street. A corporation minute, dated 30th June, 1748, reads to this
effect : — " Agreed that the new street betwixt Market Street and
Church Street be paved at the Corporation expense, and be called
for the future Duke Street or New Street and not Charles Street.''
Probably the reason for not calling the street Charles Street was
attributable to the fear oi' being considered disloyal, since the
second rebellion had only taken place three years previous. In
1752 it was decided to give better access to the Green Area, and a
minute of the 2nd October, 1752, states that it is "agreed that
;£ 180 be given to Mr. Bowes for an old house and garden for a
new street betwixt Church Street and the road at the foot oi' the
gardens leading alongside the mill race." Notes from the late Mr.
T. Cleminson's papers.

North Road might very easily have been called Lower Cheap-
side, as the choice lay between this name and the one the thorough-
fare now bears. This new street cost ^.2,368 2s. 4d., of which
sum ,£,2,160 had been expended in purchase and removal of

Chancery Lane is probably named after the old Court of
Chancery, which is believed to have stood at the lower end oi this
street. The Duke of Lancaster obtained a charter from the king
in reward for his military exploits, empowering him to have a
chancery in the county of Lancaster, and to issue out the writs
under his own seal. The charter is dated bth March, 1351.

But in the earl}- childhood of Lancaster, what was the


character of the thoroughfares then ? If the stranger ask for
Bridge Lane and China Lane lie will soon obtain an idea. In a
lecture delivered by Dr. Harker on the "Consecrated Well,'' before
the Lancaster Literary and Philosophical Society, Bridge Lane is
shown to have been the most important highway of ancient times in
the county town, and was styled Brigg Lane, on account o\~ the old
and picturesque bridge, first erected near this lane by King- Knut or
Canute, as the finding of a pot of coins of that monarch's reign some
years ago abundantly testified. In this same narrow thoroughfare,
adjacent to a close of land, termed in ancient deeds " Blackey
Garth,"' is a dwelling situate at the left hand side going towards the
Lune. There is a beautifully carved lintel over the door of this
house bearing the words " Keep thyself pure," a motto which is
somewhat misleading in that many would imagine that it is an
ancient inscription, whereas it is perfectly modern dating only a few
years back. It was erected on account of the historic interest at-
taching to the hinder aspect of the house, as, we may presume, a
sort of yaiide to the remnants still extant of Roman Lancaster. At
the back of the house " the rocky eastern face of the lofty knoll of
Lone-castre is very well seen, and likewise a portion, the only por-
tion of an ancient wall of the camp of surprising thickness and
density, to which the curious name of Wery Wall is attached, a
wall made by the Romans. There is also here issuing in trickling
streams and drops from the lines of stratification and surface of the
millstone grit rock (which here forms the basis of the hill of drift
constituting the Castle Hill), the little well called by the old inhabi-
tants of Lancaster, 'The Consecrated Well'." Dr. Marker has
entered into the nature of the hill. After remarking "that it has
hitherto been regarded as a mere mammelon, an undulation or
upward swelling breast in the plain, a hill, although no more notice-
able in character than scores of other green hills of drift that is of
water worn boulders, gravel, sand, and clay of the character of the
neighbouring rocks deposited by water " —he expresses his belief
that it is something more than this, "that it is a rocky eminence of
millstone grit bedded in layers, as in the case of the rock on Lan
caster Moor. The face of the rock as seen on these premises, shows


thai it has been upheaved from the continuous bed to which it has
belonged, and now is deeply buried at a lower level beneath it. The
rocky escarpment rises finely west of the old Bridge Lane house, for
this ancient thoroughfare has been built at its base, and hides it
from view ; accumulations of rubbish at the base of the rock, and
this densely built street of Saxon times so hiding it that it has been
overlooked. From the surface of the rock slopes upward the drift-
deposit, with a rapid gradient to form the Castle Hill. In ancient
times, the whole surroundings would be of the highest importance
during warfare. The wall, a vestige of which is only to be seen at
this spot, ran west of the Castle and Church towards Bridge Lane,
pointing directly to the river. The water of the well is hard and
clear." It appears that " a well sunk through the drift deposit at the
east of the well-tower of the Castle part of the camp to the deep
water supply, continuous with this part of the well, was found to
yield a water bright and delicious looking, but highly impure as
shown by analysis. The contamination was evidently due to the
close proximity of the Church-yard of St. Mary, which was at that
time in use ; it is also adjacent to the Castle and on a higher level
than the water of the Castle wells, and, therefore, the water was
strongly tainted. Now that the burial ground is quite disused, the
conditions are different, and the water is probably as sweet as in the
time of the Romans. The dungeon well of the Castle reaches the
same deep water supply as the consecrated well. The cool water of
the latter well has a considerable reputation, and is reputable as an eye
water, and it is possible that it may on account of its alkaline pro-
perties have some slightly beneficial eilect when applied to sore
eyes." The doctor's paper was a very able one, in every way worthy
of one of the most accomplished of the Lancaster medical fraternity.
I may be pardoned for saying that to my mind the best antiquarian
students are those well grounded in chemistry, geology, and architec-
ture. A knowledge of this trinity of sciences is indispensable to
success. And now as to China Lane, which runs south from Bridge
lane after crossing" Church Street, we learn that it is a corruption of
Channel Lane, the channel being evidently from the Danish word
keln, allied to Saxon keldiox water, (there is still a Kiln, or Keln.


Lane in Skerton). Both Bridge Lane and China Lane are so narrow
that a couple of two-wheeled-vehicles of modern description could
not possibly pass each other if meeting' in them. I noticed one
very old house in Bridge Lane bearing the date 1624, and on it the
remains of the words " Best London Porter." This house has
evidently been an ancient hostelry, though the words like the drink
mentioned, are of more recent date.

China Lane has long been a notorious neighbourhood. In
casually looking up the past of this locality 1 found that on the 12th
of April, 1828, at the house of one Robert Simpson, Sarah Parker
cut her throat and that of her daughter, aged 12. In the July of
the same year a man, named William Casson, hanged himself in
the Lord Nelson public house. Some strange rows are not un-
common in this shady lane even in this year of grace, i8gj. But,
listen'China Lane has been the scene of an inventive genius, for
in 1818 Charles Kirby, of Ovenhouse Gates, in the said lane,
invented the chimney sweeping machine.

Pot-houses, on the Quay, indicates a potter) or pot manu-
facturing house. Pitt Street is so named from the tan pits sunk
in the localitv. There are some tine old houses about the Green
Ayre and in Parliament Street, all the way up to the pathway
known as "The Ladies' Walk." It can only be a probability that
when Henry IV. held his court at Lancaster, that that court would
be somewhat of the nature o\' a parliament, as Parliaments went in
those times, hence the name of Parliament Street. But I can find
no record of such Parliaments being held here as were held in York
and elsewhere.

The old city suffered immensely at the period of the Scottish
invasion ; it was burnt down in 13 14, 1322, and again in 1389, by
the same race of invaders. The first time after the defeat of
Edward II. at Bannockburn, and the second time after the battle
of Otterburn, in which young Percy, surnamed Hotspur, was taken
prisoner and Douglas slain. The War of the Roses deluged the


country with blood, but strange to state, the actual ravages of war
did not extend in any one instance to Lancaster, though the fictitious
Yorkist, Lambert Simnel, landed at the Pile of Fouldrey in the Bay
of Morecambe, and on his march from Furness passed through the
even then "Time-Honoured Lancaster."

1 have been very anxious to ascertain how Germany Street
and Germany Bridge obtained their foreign appellation, but no one
can enlighten me. 1 am, therefore, led to venture on a conjecture of
my own to the effect that when Lambert Simnel landed in Lancaster
he had with him several Germans, one of whom was a commander,
named Martin Swartz, from whom we have the term Swartzmoor. It
is just possible that this German chief with others of Simnel's mongrel
army would bivouac in this neighbourhood.

Their passage through Lancaster took place in the year 1487.
Lambert Simnel was the son of a baker, and was marching on this
occasion to Coventry. He was simply the tool of a priest anxious
to make himself popular at someone else's expense.

Concerning the Horse Shoe Corner there is a tradition to
this effect : — When the Duke of Lancaster entered the town upon
his noble steed it is said that his horse cast a shoe at this place and
that the people who had welcomed the prince vociferously seized it
and had it fixed upon the spot where it fell off the hoof as near as

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