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SunnysideA Sociolinguistic History of British House Names$

Laura Wright

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266557

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266557.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 13 June 2021

The Earliest London House Names

The Earliest London House Names

Chapter:
(p.12) 1 The Earliest London House Names
Source:
(p.iii) Sunnyside
Author(s):

Laura Wright

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266557.003.0002

Abstract and Keywords

294 pre-1400 London house names given in Appendix 1 are analysed as to meaning and structure. Before 1300 haw, bury, seld, hall and house were the predominant medieval house-naming nouns, but haw, bury and seld dropped out around the Norman Conquest. Modifiers were limited to the householders’ name, the householders’ occupation, and the appearance of the house. From the 1320s heraldic names became common for commercial premises, adopting the emblems used by chivalric knights. Commercial premises also used synecdoche to signal their wares (such as the Cock referencing the stopcock on a barrel), and double meanings were exploited visually on signage. Cock seems to have been the first (literal meaning ‘tap’, punning meaning ‘fowl’), starting a fashion for bird names. By the 1700s an extensive informal code of trade signs had evolved, such as a rainbow to signify a dyer. From 1762 numbering replaced urban building signs, with the exception of bookshops and pubs.

Keywords:   medieval house-names, heraldic names, commercial premises, synecdoche

I begin with a survey of the earliest London house names, which were quite unlike Fernlea, Wee Neste, and Dunroamin, and also quite unlike Holkham Hall and Chatham House. Evidence for the earliest London house names is taken from early wills and deeds and presented in Appendix 1, which contains 294 house names from before 1400 (excluding religious houses, abbeys, churches, monasteries, convents, almshouses and the like, and also excluding livery company halls). Such early wills and deeds were written in Medieval Latin and, to a lesser extent, Anglo-Norman French, although house names began to be written in English in such documents long before the convention of writing the rest of the text in monolingual English. The earliest names are Ceolmundingchaga (‘Ceolmund’s haw’) 857, Hϸ‎ætmundes stan (‘Hwætmund’s stone (house)’) 889, Paules byri ((St) Paul’s dwelling house’) 900s, and Wermanecher (‘Wærman’s block’) 1044, but these are all copies found in documents written several centuries later. It is not until Stæninga haga (‘people of Staines’ haw’) in a document written between 1051 and 1056, that a contemporary witness occurs. The earliest London house names therefore date, strictly speaking, to the eleventh century, but there is no reason to doubt our earliest witnesses.

Garrioch (1994: 21–2), surveying what he calls the ‘meagre literature’ on the subject, says that the earliest northern European evidence of building names dates from the thirteenth century (I say ‘building’ rather than ‘house’ because people lived where they worked, which in an urban environment was above and behind the seld, shop, brewhouse, inn, bakery, mill, tavern, or other commercial premises). Haslam however disagrees, showing that in an English urban context, names crystalised earlier. He demonstrates with Wermanecher, which Eilert Ekwall, the great Swedish place-name scholar, assumed was agricultural:

Ekwall’s interpretation of the meaning of Wermanecher as the ‘field, arable land’ of Wærman (Ekwall 1954, 38) … is open to doubt. It had shops and stalls, and was connected to a wharf … and was described as a soke (soca) in the 13th century … The connotation of ‘soke’ in this case … is supported by several instances in Domesday where various tenants-in-chief held ‘acres’ in Wallingford … all of which contained a number of tenements. In these instances these ‘acres’ can best be interpreted as high status sokes, and clearly had nothing to do with agricultural activities.

(Haslam 2010: 120)

(p.13) Wermanecher was the designation of a number of buildings – holdings or ‘tenements’ – forming a specific commercial unit. But such names are rare. In early wills and deeds the main way of identifying property was by name of the householder and parish alone rather than by name of the house:

Roƀ to de Lintodomū suam cū omībz ꝑ tinent̄ q m ħuit ī ꝑochia scī Albade Wudestrate

1252, HR 1/8

‘Robert of Linton his house with all belongings which he has owned in the parish of St Alban Wood Street’

Roƀto le Wirdrawere totamra suam cū domibz suedificat &tinent̄ qThe Earliest London House Namesm habuerunt in Sopereslane in parochia scī Pancracij

1252, HR 1/21

‘to Robert the Wiredrawer all his land with the houses built on it and the belongings which they (Sir John and Cristina his wife – LCW) have owned in Sopers Lane in the parish of St Pancras’

Together, citizens’ place of origin and occupation were productive in forming thirteenth-century surnames; where they were from and what they did was what was needed for ascertaining rights of ownership:

in venella que vocatThe Earliest London House Names Cockeslane inocħ scī Sepulcri extThe Earliest London House Names Neugate Londo… do lego Wiłło filio meo domū illam cū ꝑ tinent̄ suis in Cockeslana qThe Earliest London House Names m Egelina la wympel wasshestere qondam de me tenuit

1301, HR 30/20

‘in the lane which is called Cocks Lane in the parish of St Sepulchre without Newgate London … I give and bequeath to William my son that house with its belongings in Cocks Lane which Egelina the wimple washer lately held from me’

Robert and Egelina’s forenames and their occupations as wiredrawer and wimple washer, together with the name of the street and parish, were the legal requirements for identifying the house in question. The combination of tenant’s name, street and parish remained default for several centuries, with the name of the householder and the parish the primary identifiers, the street less essential. In some cases, the name of the dwelling place shifted into becoming the name of the householder:

matiłł atte vine vx quondam Joħis atte Rose de Londo… lego matilThe Earliest London House Names Nepote mee relicte Joħis Ram oia & singła temea cū gardinis venellis & cū omibz alijs suisti… que ħeo tam in The Earliest London House Namesdcȃ ꝑocħ scī Edmundi de Lumbardestrete qThe Earliest London House Names m inochia scī Benedicti de Grēschircħ London

1349, HR 76/201

‘Matilda at the Vine late wife of John at the Rose of London … I leave to Matilda my niece widow of John Ram each and every one of my tenements with gardens, lanes and with all their other belongings … which I have both in the aforesaid parish of St Edmund Lombard Street and in the parish of St Benet Gracechurch London’

(p.14) In early deeds and wills, the main terms for buildings that people dwelt in were Latin domus ‘house’, tenementum ‘freehold house + appurtenances (belongings)’, aula ‘hall’; Anglo-Norman French messuage ‘house + appurtenances’, rent ‘house + appurtenances yielding income’; Old English burh, byrig ‘bury, manor house + appurtenances’, heall ‘hall’, haga ‘house + appurtenances’, hus ‘house’, seld ‘bazaar, shop containing multiple retailers’, sceoppa ‘shop’.1 The Anglo-Norman term manor seems to have been a later usage. It occurs with property in rural Westminster rather than the built-up City of London, and is only found in monolingual English contexts after 1300, although it was used earlier in Latin contexts and so this perception might just be due to lack of evidence. The City was an urban environment by the twelfth century but most of Westminster was still agricultural – I have included the Westminster manors of Eybury, La Neytħ, le Hyde and Rosemond, which lie under present-day Victoria and Pimlico. I have deemed relevant everything that was indicated as residential either in the source document or in historians’ assessment of a source document, including shops, selds, mills, brewhouses and taverns, as these were also people’s homes. It would be anachronistic to exclude la StoorhouThe Earliest London House Names, le Forge, Mewes, on the grounds that the name expressed a function, or Peinteselde, la Cornereschoppe, Drinkewaterestauerne, on the grounds that the name expressed a commercial activity, or Castle Baynard, Tower of Monfychet, la Tour Servat, on the grounds that castles and towers were not for commoners, or Kote, Loge, le Posternehawe on the grounds that such buildings were subsidiary to the main event (the lodge protecting another building, the back garden having a more important building in front of it). Haws are particularly problematical as they signified ground space as well as the buildings on them, so I have included haws only if a house is mentioned. This has led me to include ‘illud tequod ħeo in le Portehawe’, for example, but to exclude haws such as ‘suū curtilagiū qui Iacet int <…> de la maderhawe’ (HR 16/111 1285–6). This may lead to the exclusion of haws that did in fact have houses, and there are, inevitably, inconsistencies. The requirement that a house be mentioned (or a historian opine that a house was present, as is the case with the early haws) has led to the inclusion of just eight haws, although there were many more in both Westminster and the City.2

(p.15) Of the earliest pre-1200 London house names, which are Ceolmundingchaga, HThe Earliest London House Namesætmundes stan, Paules byri, Wermanecher, Stæninga haga, Aldremanesberi, Bassingeshage, BlanckesapeltunThe Earliest London House Names, Musterlingebur, Lodebure, Prestbure, three are haws and five are buries.3 All eleven pre-1200 house names are qualified by the names of their owners, Ceolmund, Hwætmund, St Paul’s Cathedral, Wærman, the people of Staines, an Alderman, the people of Basing, Blanck, someone from the little monastery at Mouster in Brittany, Hlotha, and a priest. The formula [owner’s name + haw/bury] was the predominant way of naming London houses before 1200, so far as can be deduced from the data. The other names conveyed a description of the house (stan), the activity conducted there (apeltun), and the rank of the owner (aldreman, prest). After the haws and buries came halls and selds: la Blakehalle, Stapledehalle, Redehalle, la Coppedhalle, le Hoppindehalle, la Ledenehalle; Andoureselde, TanThe Earliest London House Namesselde, Peinteselde, Wyncestre selde, Depeselde, Brantefeld selde, all attested before 1300. Keene, reconstructing the thirteenth-century shop frontages on Cheapside, defines selds as bazaars behind the shopfronts in which individual traders kept benches, cupboards, and chests from which they displayed their wares.4 Like the haws and buries, early seld names record the name of the owner, the appearance of the seld, and the activity carried out at the seld.5 Old English hus ‘house’ occurs as the name of three buildings before 1300, all dating from the 1290s: Wolhous, Stonhus, le Taninghus. Shops as such are rarely named but La Corner schoppe occurs in a manuscript of 1278–9 and is relatively common thereafter. Although numbers are low, the picture is steady: haw, bury, seld, hall and house were the predominant early house-naming nouns, with haw, bury and seld ceasing to be productive at the end of the Old English period.

(p.16) The present-day notion of a house does not correspond well to early London building names, where the named unit could be larger or smaller than a single dwelling. Those larger than a single dwelling, of which the most frequent is tenementum, are perhaps best translated as a block, a group of contiguous buildings consisting of commercial premises at ground floor and cellar level with dwellings above. Accordingly it is not contradictory to find in a deed of 1331 that le Brokeneselde was a tavern, or that in 1399 le Wellehous was a brewhouse, or that in 1311–12 Kote was a shop, as the tavern, brewhouse and shop in question belonged to larger units. Units smaller than a house were also named, Rosemunde being the name of a chamber in the City in 1309 as well as a manor in Westminster in 1333. Cellars (le Depeceler, Helle, le Holceler), solars (le Wynsoler), garrets (la WesThe Earliest London House Namesne Garite) and lofts (la Blakelofte, le Webbeloft) received names. Indeed the bottoms (cellars), ground floors (shops, selds), middles (solars, cameras), and tops (garrets, lofts) of houses can all be found named in early wills and deeds. Different parts of a holding could be known by separate names, or have alternative names:

totū tenementū nrcū oībz suistinent̄ quod vocatThe Earliest London House Names Eldehalle cum tribz shopis inte occidentali dĉi tenementi et qThe Earliest London House Names tuor solaria cū duobz Celarijs cū ꝑtinentijs que vocantThe Earliest London House Names le Scot inochia sĉi Micħis ad Ripȃ Regine London

1335 HR 63/80

‘the whole of our tenement with all its belongings which is called Eldehalle with three shops in the western part of the said tenement and four solars with two cellars with belongings which are called le Scot in the parish of St Michael Queenhithe London’

totū illud temeū vocatū le Depeceler siue le Melle atte hope … in vico vocaThe Earliest London House Names TamysestreThe Earliest London House Names inochia sĉi Micħis apud Ripam Regine

1355–6 HR 83/58

‘the whole of my tenement called le Depeceler or le Melle atte hope … in the street called Thames Street in the parish of St Michael Queenhithe’

in venella &ochia sĉi Laurencij in Iudaismo Londo. videłt de tecum suistiquodaliquos vocatThe Earliest London House Names la Redebrewehous &aliquos vocatThe Earliest London House Names la Rededore

1377 HR 106/142

‘in the lane and parish of St Lawrence Jewry London, to wit a tenement with its belongings which by some is called la Redebrewehous and by others is called la Rededore’

The name of the tavern part of a holding often dominated over the whole:

totam illam taƀ nam cum omībz suistivocatThe Earliest London House Names le Holceler inochia sĉe Margarete de Breggestrete London

1371–2 HR 98/51

‘the whole of that tavern with all its belongings called le Holceler in the parish of St Margaret Bridge Street London’

(p.17) & in vno tecum shopis , celaThe Earliest London House Names solar & suistivocato CherchegatestaThe Earliest London House Namesne situato inochia sĉi Leonardi de Estchep London

1369–70 HR 97/173

‘and in one tenement with shops, cellars solars and their belongings called Cherchegatestauerne situated in the parish of St Leonard Eastcheap London’

It is not until well on into the seventeenth century that evidence for shop names becomes as plentiful as that for tavern names.

Name elements

In terms of internal structure, the earliest house names consisted of a compound of two elements, a personal name + haw or bury. Pre-thirteenth century compound house-name second elements reference both the construction: bury (manor house) (12 examples), stan (1) (a stone house), and the plot: haw (8), acre (1) (a block), appleton (1) (an apple orchard). Examples with these second elements in the database of house names before 1400 in Appendix 1 are as follows:6

bury:

haw:

Paules byri [3]

Ceolmundingchaga [1]

Aldremanesberi [6]

Stæninga haga [5]

Musterlingebur [9]

Bassingeshage [7]

Lodebure [10]

la Bordhawe [17]

Prestebure [11]

Barndehaw [21]

Achiesburia [12]

Northbī [16]

acre:

SabelinesbiThe Earliest London House Names [18]

Wermanecher [4]

Bokerelesberi [26]

apple orchard:

Blemondisberi [31]

BlanckesapeltunThe Earliest London House Names [8]

stone:

HThe Earliest London House Namestætmundes stan [2]

The main thirteenth-century second elements in house-name compounds are house (34), seld (21), hall (21), rent (8), door (5). Examples with these second elements in Appendix 1 are: (p.18)

house:

Depeselde [42]

Wolhous [43]

Brantefeld selde [47]

le Taninghus [48]

Seyntemartynseld [53]

Stonhus [50]

Fridayselde [64]

la Monetere House [60]

la Brodeselde [78]

Bonsieshous or Bousieshous [61]

Hauerilleselde [94]

la TaThe Earliest London House Namesnehous [68]

Whitawyeresselde [101]

Bordenhous [75]

le Brokenselde [107]

Bruggehous [82]

Gerdleresselde [109]

zylynghous [93]

Berneselde [119]

le Stufhous [95]

Arraces selde [133]

Gladewyneshouse [100]

Aerneselde [148]

la Redebakhous [102]

Anketynesselde [169]

le Tawynghous [105]

le Whiteselde [179]

le Crokedhous [113]

le Crowneselde [247]

le Wellehous [116]

Godschepsceld [263]

Crouchehous [123]

hall:

la Newewodehous [130]

la Blakehalle [14]

la Longehous [141]

Stapledehalle [33]

le ColebrewouThe Earliest London House Names [145]

Redehalle [34]

Tymbirhous [150]

Coppedhalle [38]

la Scholdynghous [151]

le Hoppindehalle [41]

le Brewehous [153]

la Ledenehalle [45]

le Wachouce [158]

Audeleeshalle [55]

Beuereshous [163]

la fflint halle [66]

le Stuwehous [174]

Heyroneshalle [70]

la Weyhous [176]

Dyneshemanhalle [74]

le Tanhous [178]

Cokedonhalle [76]

le Heghehous [181]

la Ryngedehalle [110]

le ffishous [201]

Eldehalle [114]

le Thoroughous [224]

Giffardeshalle [138]

la Redebrewehous [225]

le Yuyhalle [147]

Tylhous [244]

Seint Nicholas Halle [154]

Deyhous [246]

Pauedehalle [157]

la StoorhouThe Earliest London House Names [280]

Gysors Halle [160]

seld:

Bakkewellehalle [172]

seldThe Earliest London House Names de AndoueThe Earliest London House Names [27]

ffeytishalle [174]

TanThe Earliest London House Namesselde [30]

le Cornerhalle [256]

Peinteselde [36]

rent:

le Seelde [37]

la Newerente [25]

Wyncestre selde [39]

Prestenerente [125]

(p.19) Pecokkesrente [136]

le Isnendore [73]

PaThe Earliest London House Namesnostrent [210]

le Ernedore [88]

la Olderente [241]

le Rededore [124]

le Walsherente [257]

The Earliest London House Namese lyoun atte Dore [189]

le Blakerente [275]

shop:

Stonerente [290]

la Corner<schoppe> [28]

door:

repair (AN, ‘home’):

le Brodedore [44]

Beaurepair [49]

By contrast with the older second-element nouns, only inn ‘private residence’ (10) and tavern (4) showed much productivity:

inn:

cellar:

Topfeldes In [83]

le Holceler [111]

Pulteneys In [194]

le Depeceler [167]

le Newin [198]

Blosmeshyn [213]

tenement:

Bacūnysyn [222]

Roustenēmt [134]

lawestenemēt [234]

Lyncolnesynne [232]

Trompouresynne [262]

mill:

Montieofysyn [266]

Horsmelle [46]

Topclyuesyn [279]

Crachemille [219]

Greysyn [284]

alley:

tavern:

Leggesaleye [271]

Drinkewat̄estauerne [99]

le Kyngesaleye (the name of

le Newetauerne [191]

tenements) [278]

CherchegatestaThe Earliest London House Namesne [202]

[248] ColchestrestaThe Earliest London House Namesne

harbour:

Coldha<bber> [56]

porch:

garret:

le Ledeneporche [146]

la WesThe Earliest London House Namesne Garite [63]

le Longeporche [209]

Spaldyngporche [293]

salle (‘hall’):

le Rouge Sale [89]

gate:

le Blakegate [144]

court:

le Brodegate [152]

la Bas Court [104]

le Grenegate [294]

tower:

loft:

Suruetistour [195]

la Blakelofte [67]

pentice (‘lean-to, porch’):

le Webbeloft [77]

Ye Ledenpentitz [129]

(p.20) solar (‘upper room’):

abbey:

le Wynsoler [184]

le Coldabbeye (the name of The Earliest London House Names

entry:

tenement) [187]

Longeentre [182]

brewern (‘brewery’):

Powlesbrewerne [206]

Compound house names in London house names before 1400 followed one of four templates:

1. Name of householder + type of house (whether the name of an individual, or groups of individuals such as priests, merchants from Andover or Winchester, or corporate owners such as St Paul’s Cathedral): 55

Ceolmundingchaga [1]

Gladewyneshouse [100]

HThe Earliest London House Namestætmundes stan [2]

Prestenerente [125]

Paules byri [3]

Arraces selde [133]

Wermanecher [4]

Roustenēmt [134]

Stæninga haga [5]

Pecokkesrente [136]

Aldremanesberi [6]

Eltammismes [137]

Bassingeshage [7]

Giffardeshalle [138]

BlanckesapeltunThe Earliest London House Names [8]

Gysors Halle [160]

Musterlingebur [9]

Beuereshous [163]

Lodebure [10]

Anketynesselde [169]

Prestebure [11]

Bakkewellehalle [172]

Achiesburia [12]

Pulteneys In [194]

SabelinesbiThe Earliest London House Names [18]

Suruetistour [195]

Castrum de Baynard [22]

Powlesbrewerne [206]

TThe Earliest London House Namesris de Monfychet [24]

PaThe Earliest London House Namesnostrent [210]

Bokerelesberi [26]

Blosmeshyn [213]

seldThe Earliest London House Names de AndoueThe Earliest London House Names [27]

Bacūnysyn [222]

Blemondisberi [31]

Lyncolnesynne [232]

Wyncestre selde [39]

Lawestenemēt [234]

Brantefeld selde [47]

ColchestrestaThe Earliest London House Namesne [248]

Seyntemartynseld [53]

le Walsherente [257]

Audeleeshalle [55]

Trumpouresynne [262]

Heyroneshalle [70]

Godschepsceld [263]

Dyneshemanhalle [74]

Montieofysyn [266]

Cokedonhalle [76]

Topclyuesyn [279]

Topfeldes In [83]

Greysyn [284]

Hauerilleselde [94]

Spaldyngporche [293]

Drinkewat̄estauerne [99]

(p.21) 2. Visual descriptor + type of house: 49

la Blakehalle [14]

la Newewodehous [130]

la Newerente [25]

la Longehous [141]

Stapledehalle [33]

le Blakegate [144]

Redehalle [34]

le Ledeneporche [146]

Coppedhalle [38]

le Yuyhalle [147]

Depeselde [42]

Aerneselde [148]

le Brodedore [44]

Tymbirhous [150]

la Ledenehalle [45]

le Brodegate [152]

Beaurepair [49]

Pauedehalle [157]

Stonhus [50]

le Depeceler [167]

la fflint Halle [66]

ffeytishalle [174]

la Blakelofte [67]

le Whiteselde [179]

le Isnendore [73]

le Heghehous [181]

Bordenhous [75]

Longeentre [182]

la Brodeselde [78]

le Wynsoler [184]

le Ernedore [88]

le Newetauerne [191]

le Rouge Sale [89]

le Newin [198]

la Redebakhous [102]

le Longeporche [209]

le Brokeneselde [107]

Crachemille [219]

la Ryngedehalle [110]

le Thoroughous [224]

le Crokedhous [113]

la Redebrewehous [225]

Eldehalle [114]

la Olderente [241]

Crouchehous [123]

le Blakerente [275]

la Rededore [124]

Stonerente [290]

Ye Ledenpentitz [129]

le Grenegate [294]

In this second group, the following subdivisions are apparent:

2a. ‘approach to the house’:

le Brodedore, le Isnendore, le Ernedore, le Rededore, le Blakegate, le Brodegate, le Grenegate, le Ledeneporche, le Longeporche, Spaldyngporche, Longeentre (and The Earliest London House Namese lyoun atte Dore belongs to this group for semantic reasons, although it is not a compound noun): 12

2b. ‘building material’:

la Ledenehalle, ye Ledenpentitz, le Ledeneporche, Stonhus, la fflint Halle, Stonerente, Pauedehalle, Bordenhous, la Newewodehous, Tymbirhous, le Isnendore: 11

2c. ‘coloured’:

Redehalle, la Redebakhous, le Rouge Sale, le Rededore, la Redebrewehous, la Blakehalle, la Blakelofte, le Blakegate, le Blakerente, le Whiteselde, le Grenegate: 11

(p.22) 2d: ‘praise’:

Beaurepair (AND bel a.1 ‘beautiful’ + repair s.2 ‘home’), ffeytishalle (MED fetis (adj.) ‘elegant’), le Wynsoler: either Old English wyn ‘delightful’ (MED win (adj.)), or possibly Old Welsh gwyn, which undergoes frontal mutation to wyn ‘white’7: 3

3. Occupation of householder/purpose of building + type of house: 26

TanThe Earliest London House Namesselde [30]

le Wachouce [158]

Wolhous [43]

Horsmelle [46]

le Taninghus [48]

la Weyhous [176]

la Monetere House [60]

le ffishous [201]

la TaThe Earliest London House Namesnehous [68]

le Brewehous [155]

le Webbeloft [77]

Tylhous [244]

le Stufhous [95]

Deyhous [246]

zylynghous [93]

le Seelde [37]

Whitawyeresselde [101]

le Tanhous [178]

le Tawynghous [105]

le Stuwehous [274]

Gerdleresselde [109]

la StoorhouThe Earliest London House Names [280]

le Wellehous [116]

le Steelyerde (German merchants’

la Scholdynghous [151]

stahlhof ‘sample-yard’) [249]

4. Locative descriptor relative to something else + type of house: 8

Northbī [16]

la Bas Court [104]

la Corner<schoppe> [28]

le PosThe Earliest London House Namesnehawe [108]

la WesThe Earliest London House Namesne Garite [63]

CherchegatestaThe Earliest London House Namesne [202]

Fridayselde [64]

le Cornerhalle [256]

The compound names in group 2 (visual descriptor + type of house), together with the compound names in group 4 (locative descriptor relative to something else + type of house), make it likely that this sort of visual-descriptor naming came about by public consensus rather than by householder’s individual choice. A hall covered with ivy known as Yuyhalle, a house with a broad door known as le Brodedore, a seld that was deep known as Depeselde, a house with a leaden pentice called Ye Ledenpentitz – these names served as directive addresses and were comprehensible as such to everyone looking at the premises.8 Only the three names in (p.23) group 2d might convey a more personal subjectivity, expressing the point of view of the owner.

Simplex names

Single-element house names are not found until 1220–2, ‘ipsam terram et domum que fuit Diane’, also recorded as 1407–8 ‘hospiciū Deane’, 1452 ‘Camera Diane’:

Diane, Grangia (a messuage rather than a barn), Saueye, Wyuelastone, la Burgate (I interpret both of these as placename/ surnames, rather than as two-element compounds), Helle, le Halles, Mewes, Herlewyne, Rosemunde, Stoples, Kote, le Stokkes, Loge, la Hole, Viene, de Bethlehem, le Bretasse, la Goutere, le Hyde, atte Vine, la Pirie (a tenement as well as a street), la fforge, BekenhThe Earliest London House Namesm, Littel Watte, le Cage, La Neytħ, Parys, Estlandia, Gascoign, Halstede (I interpret this as a placename/surname), le Seelde, le Mot, le Caban, le Voute: (36)

1a. Place-names, either the surname of the householder or a group of merchants hailing therefrom (9):

Saueye (Savoy), Wyuelastone (Woollaston, Staffordshire), Parys (Paris), la Burgate (Burgate, Surrey), Viene (Vienna), de Bethlehem, BekenhThe Earliest London House Namesm (Beckenham, Kent), Estlandia (Eastland, the Baltic), Gascoign (Gascony, France), Halstede (there were Halstedes in Essex, Kent and Leicestershire)

1b. Other surnames (1):

Herlewyne

1c. Forenames (3):

Diane, Rosemunde, Litel Watte

2. Visual descriptor of building (14):

Helle, Stoples, la Hole, le Bretasse, la Goutere, atte Vine, la Pirie, le Cage, le Mot, Kote, Loge, le Caban, le Voute

3. Occupation of householder/purpose of building (4):

Grangia, Mewes, la fforge, le Seelde

Simplex house names expressed the same information as compound ones: personal name of householder, visual descriptors, and occupational terms.

(p.24) Punctuated equilibrium: a new development in house naming

However this name-stock was to change radically in the fourteenth century, not because the three main categories of householder, house appearance and house usage fell out of use – they did not, but because another category accelerated. Between 1100 and 1300 London grew from being two times more populous than the next city in the kingdom to three or four times greater, and by the early sixteenth century, four or five times more populous. Late thirteenth-century London is estimated at having 80,000 or more inhabitants (Keene 2006: 125; 1995: 12), so it is not surprising that this naming change, which was an expansion of an already-existing low-frequency name pattern, should be visible in its buildings. I have already mentioned the meadhall in Beowulf named Heorot ‘hart’. In eleventh-century Winchester there was a house named Hauoc ‘hawk’, which von Feilitzen notes ‘is the earliest example of the name on independent record’ (that is, as a simplex name, rather than as one element of a compound place-name such as in Hawkley, Hants).9 Heorot and Hauoc align with a category not seen in London until the 1320s, which is houses named after the earthly, celestial and fabulous devices of heraldry. Prior to this date heraldry was the preserve of the nobility, and although the nobility were householders, they constituted a minority of the population. It is therefore to be expected that houses bearing the names of heraldic devices should have been infrequent. Yet fourteenth-century London examples of house names reflecting the sort of emblems found on heraldic devices went from none before 1320 to four in the 1320s: Croweonethehop 1323 (‘Crow on the Hoop’, the barrel-hoop surrounding the inn-sign), le Kok 1325 (‘the Cock’), le Meire 1327–8 (kind of garment used in heraldry), la Mariole 1328–9 (figure of the Virgin Mary), with surnames presupposing a heraldically-named house a little earlier: Atecok (1282–3), ate Sterre, atte Swan, atte Ramme, atte Rose (1319).10 This fourth category of heraldic names neither replaced the earlier personal, visually descriptive and occupational naming categories nor did it spread to all kinds of dwellings, as I shall show.

Here are the London heraldic house names from the database of pre- 1400 house names in Appendix 1, starting from 1323 (79):11 (p.25)

Croweonethehop [91]

le Ship on the Hope [200]

le Kok [32]

la Rauen [218]

le Meire [97]

la Worm on the hope [216]

la Mariole [98]

le Harowe on ye houpe [211]

le George on the hoe [292]

le Irenhope [215]

Scotothehop [115]

le Pecok on the houp [230]

atte Got [122]

le Vernycle [223]

le Bere toumbeth [128]

le Mechele [223]

le Hors atte hope [132]

le Hood on the Hoop [229]

la Lyoun [139]

le Mayde on the Hop [227]

la Cardinaleshat [143]

le Swerd on the hop̂ [231]

ye Hert on ze hop̂ [156]

Tabard [207]

Aerneselde [148]

le Glene on the hoop̂ [233]

le Horssho [149]

Sadel [238]

Mayden en la Hope [159]

Boor[239]

le Lamb atte Hoope [161]

le Chercħ on the hop̂ [236]

le Bele on the Hop [162]

le Croune [237]

le Ram onthehope [86]

le Tonne [252]

le Taborer [164]

le Herteshed on the hoop [251]

le Harpe [166]

le Bere on the hoop̂ [253]

le Sterre [80]

the Cheker on the hope [254]

le Melle atte Hope [168]

le Potte on the hope [255]

Horshed [170]

lez Thre Nonnes [272]

Sarazineshed [171]

le Vnicorne [264]

la Bole [173]

le Crane [268]

le Catfithele [212]

the Cristofre on ye hope [260]

the Keye of the Hoōp [177]

le Garland on the hoop̂ [259]

le Boreshede [190]

le Walssheman sur le hoop̂ [267]

la Dragoun [188]

le Sonne on the Hoop̂ [269]

le Helm on ye Hoope [183]

le Griffon̄ [270]

le Thre legges [186]

le Lampe on the hoop̂ [273]

le Whitehors [180]

le Herteshorne [286]

le Castel atte hoop̂ [135]

le Crowneselde [247]

le Swan othe Hop [85]

le panyer del hoop̂ [281]

le Culuer on the hope [217]

le Blakehors on the hope [282]

le fflourdelys [291]

le Holebole [283]

le Horn in the Hop [192]

le Katerine on the hope [285]

Pye on the hope [126]

le Wollesak onthehop̂ [289]

le Bal on the hop [199]

(p.26) Personal names constitute further evidence for heraldic house names. The names of Matilda’s tenements in 1349 mentioned earlier (p. 13), if they had names, are not recorded, but her name, Matilda atte Vine, her late husband’s name, John atte Rose, and the name of her niece’s husband, John Ram, all reference house names. There was a London house named atte Vyne in 1346–7, a house named le Ram onthehope in 1353–4, and a house named The Earliest London House Namese Rose in 1422. Lucie and Rađi Atecok 1282–3 predate le Kok 1325; Tħom atte Ramme 1319 predates le Ram onthehope 1353–4; Wills atte Redecok 1343 predates atte Rede Cok yn the pultrie 1418–40; HenThe Earliest London House Names atte Swan 1319 predates le Swan othe Hop 1363; Rico ate Sterre 1319 predates le Sterre 1354–5; Alicia atte Harpe 1355 predates le Harpe 1384–5. Further surnames presuppose house names that I have not found attested in London before 1400, such as Wiłłm atte Redehop̂ 1343, Thomas atte Hoke, butcher, 1349 (Plea & Mem).

Lillywhite (1972: xvi) notes that many of these emblems have remained constant over long periods of time, and overlap domains. Emblems featured in coinage and medallions, royal insignia and heraldic blazonment, seals, watermarks, book and manuscript decorations, stained glass, masonry, tombs and monuments, furniture, jewellery, pilgrim’s souvenirs, tapestry, fabric, weaponry, and ships’ names as well as house names. What kind of house took a heraldic name in fourteenth-century London? (See Table 1.1)

Fourteenth-century heraldic names pertained to the overall scope of the holding, the block (domus, tenementum, messuage), also specifically to the commercial part of the holding (selda), and especially also to the brewhouse/alehouse/tavern part of the holding (bracinum, taberna, hospitium). These last terms were not interchangeable: the hospitium or inn provided refreshment for travellers; the taberna or tavern served wine, which was comparatively expensive; the tenementum bracinum or brewhouse brewed and sold ale but not wine; and the domus bracinus or alehouse was a humbler establishment that sold ale by the jug or cup, often in a shop or cellar (Carlin 2013: 460). Tellingly, heraldic names, and only heraldic names, took the prepositional phrase ‘on the hoop’: *le Brodedore on the hoop, *le Stonhus on the hoop and the like are not attested. Missing from the heraldic column are names for rooms within a house, and I have not noted any pre-fourteenth century halls or houses named [heraldic name + haw, bury, house, hall]: *Lionhaw, *Unicornbury, *Worm House, *Dragon Hall and the like are not attested. These absences may be due a to a paucity of data, but it is more likely that they are significant, given events in the late eighteenth century when the heraldic names dropped out of use on all buildings except for pubs. Heraldic names, then, coupled with commercial premises only.

Barron may hold the explanation as to why houses with signs of the same animals, artifacts and earthly and heavenly bodies of heraldry increased at this point in time:

In the fourteenth century the London merchants seem to have been a class apart: men who dressed in the long robes of clerics rather than the tunics and armour of knights, and

(p.27)

Table 1.1 Types of heraldic and non-heraldic fourteenth-century London premises

Head noun

Non-heraldic

Heraldic

domus (‘house’)

domo vocaThe Earliest London House Names le Tannereselde

domū cū shopa & suistinent̄ que vocatur la Mariole

house

Stonhus

tenementum (‘freehold house’)

temeū cū celar solar shopis & omībz suistivocaThe Earliest London House Names Gysors halle

vno tenemento vocaThe Earliest London House Names le Lamb atte Hoope

messuagium (‘house + appurtenances’)

mesuagiū meū vocatū la Ryngedehalle

mesuagio … vocaThe Earliest London House Names le Bere on the hoo

aula (‘hall’)

aulam vocatam Dyneshemanhalle

hall

la Blakehalle

bury (‘manor house’)

Paules byri

haw (‘enclosure’)

Ceolmundingchaga

mansio (‘mansion, house’)

vnȃ mansionȇ … in le Walsherente

te… vocaThe Earliest London House Names le lyon on the hope cū aleya shopis & alijs mansionibz eidem ten̄ ꝑ tinent̄ (indirect evidence)

manerium (‘town house’)

ad MaThe Earliest London House Namesiū de Eybury

rent

Stonerente

selda (‘kiosk’)

selda que vocatThe Earliest London House Names Peinteselde

selda meam vocatam le huse

pistrina (‘bakery’)

pistrina vocata la Redebakhous

bracina (‘brewhouse’)

domū bracineam vocatam le Burgate

domū meam bracivocatam le horn in the ho

taberna (‘tavern’)

Taƀ na cū ꝑ tique vocatThe Earliest London House Names le Brokeneselde

Taƀ ne vocaThe Earliest London House Names la Cardinaleshat

tavern

CherchegatestaThe Earliest London House Namesne

TaThe Earliest London House Namesne apelle la Bole

inn

Blosmeshyn

hospitium (‘inn’)

hospitium eoThe Earliest London House Names vocat̄ Camera Diane alŝ Segraue

hospiciū vocatū le Katerine on the hope

camera (‘room’)

hospitium eoThe Earliest London House Names vocat̄ Camera Diane alŝ Segraue

cellarium (‘cellar’)

Celario vocato le Holceler

garita (‘garret’)

vnam de īll duabz garitas videlicet la WesThe Earliest London House Namesne Garite

solarium (‘upper room’)

magno Solar vocatThe Earliest London House Names le Wynsoler

(p.28) who eschewed tournaments and did not fight. They were distinguished by their merchant marks and by their seals which displayed mottos and flora and fauna. … In the fifteenth century things began to change: the London aldermen seem to have aspired to gentry status: they adopted coats of arms.

(Barron 2000: 411)

Over the century certain merchants who had hitherto not aspired to gentry status prospered and entered the City administration, becoming aldermen. Lending credence to Barron’s observation about merchants, their seals and their social status aspirations is the direct correlation between merchants’ and craftspeople’s seals and house names.12 Table 1.2 shows the devices that make up the London heraldic house names listed in Appendix 1.

The lower-register artifacts were to burgeon in following centuries as shop names reflected the trade practised within. One name in this group warrants discussion, partly because it was common in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in London and elsewhere but dropped out of use thereafter, and partly because it has been misinterpreted. This is Tabard, the name of a large inn in Southwark in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales where the pilgrims met before setting out on their adventure.13 There were fourteenth- and fifteenth-century buildings named Tabard in Bread Street, Wood Street, Watling Street; in the parishes of Farringdon Without, St Michael Paternoster Royal, St Benet Gracechurch; outside the City in Southwark and Tothill Street Westminster; and there were further nearby Tabards in the London environs of Acton and Tottenham.14 Tabard was not a rare tenement (p.29)

Table 1.2 Heraldic devices included in fourteenth-century London house names

Heraldic devices

House names

birds

Croweonethehop, le Kok, le Swan othe hop, Pye on the hope, la Rauen, le Culuer on the hope, le Pecok on the houp, le Crane

mammals

atte Gotħ, la Lyoun, Hert on ze hop̂, le Lamb atte hoope, le Ram onthehope, Horshed, le Holebole, le Catfithele, le Boreshede, le Whitehors, le Bere on the hoop̂, le Herteshorne, le Blakehors on the hope, le Dolfyn on the ho

plants

la Pirie, le fflourdelys, le Glene on the hoop̂, le Garland on the hoo

people and parts thereof

Scotothehop, Mayden en la Hope, le Taborer, Sarazineshed, le Thre Legges, lez Thre Nonnes, Mayde on the Hop̂, le Walssheman sur le hoo

clothing and armour

le Huse, la Cardinaleshat, le Helm on ye Hoope, le Hood on the hoop, le Swerd on the ho

heavenly beings, saints and their symbols

le George on the hoe, le Katerine on the hope, le Vernycle, le Mechele, the Cristofre on ye hope, the Keye of the hoōp, le Harpe

the heavens

le Sonne on the hoop̂, le Sterre

fabulous beasts

le Griffon̄, la Dragoun, la Worm on the hope, le Vnicorne

buildings

le castel atte hoop, le Cherch on the hop

occupations

le Harowe on ye houpe, le Horssho, le Melle atte hope, le panyer del hoop, le wollesak onthehop

higher-register artifacts

le Croune, le ship onthehop

lower-register artifacts

le Kok, le Irenhope, le Bele on the hop, le Horn in the hop, le Potte on the hope, le Lampe on the Hoop, Tabard

(p.30) name in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century London, nor indeed elsewhere.15 It signified some sort of accoutrement for a barrel or tank, as is apparent in the following accounts entries (see Wright 1992 for further illustration):

ffor iij Tabardes for the tonnes atte Crowne ayenst the Briggehous gate

ffor a tabard to a kechySesteratte signe of the iij bonettes vpothe Brigge

ffor a tabard of lede to paynes hous Glover atte Standard in chepe

ffor ij tabards to the kechyCesterne in maist gaddThe Earliest London House Names hous

1482/3 LMA CLA/007/FN/02/003, fo 370, 370v, 371

In the accounts of London Bridge, tabards occurred in the context of cisterns and tuns used in brewing, kitchens, waterdraughts (privies), window-sills and roofs, signifying either a lid, or some other piece of kit for a tank, cistern or tun. The Anglo-Norman word tabard meaning a poor person’s overgarment is attested in English from around 1300, and is attested as a tenement name from the 1360s in Winchester and 1370s in London. However, tabard meaning ‘heraldic surcoat’ is not attested until the second half of the fifteenth century, making it unlikely that all these earlier inns and tenements primarily referenced chivalric knighthood.16 I suggest that the original use of the term was metaphorical, the earliest meaning of tabard in English being a sleeveless overgarment worn outdoors by the poor, similar to the present-day metaphor of lagging a cistern with a jacket.17 Houses named le Tabard signalled their commercial function via synecdoche, the use of the part for the whole, as did buildings in Appendix 1 named atte Basket, le Tonne, le Potte on the hope, and further fifteenth-century London house names the Pewter Potte, le Pewter Dyshe, the Cup, the Platter.

The other early heraldic name to do something similar was the Cock. The holding expressed as ‘apd le Kok in vico Tothull’ in a document of 1325 was also recorded as ‘vocat le Cocke vel Tabard in vico de Tothull’ in a document of 1381, and there were tenements called both the Coke on the Hope and the Tabard on the Hope at Acton in the 1380s. Cock signified both a fowl (OED cock, n.1), and also a tap, as in present-day stopcock (OED cock, n.1 IV. 12. a. ‘spout or short pipe serving as a (p.31) channel for passing liquids through’, first attested as a noun 1481–90). Thus the inn name referenced the cock in the tun through which the ale or wine was drawn, but the inn sign displayed the cockerel, according to canting rebus interpretation, as was common practice with names and their punning visual representations in the fourteenth century.18 The Tabard inn-name originally referenced the tabard around or above the tank in which the ale was stored, but the sign displayed a heraldic surcoat once that meaning had developed in the later fifteenth century, as a rebus. It is noticeable that early heraldic house names reference birds: once the cockerel was on display as a tenement sign, the way was opened for depiction of all kinds of birds – and from birds, to animals, plants, and onwards to the whole panoply of heraldic devices.

I stated earlier that as heraldry was the preserve of the nobility and they formed a minority, heraldic house names might be expected to have been low-frequency items. My claim about the progress of heraldic house names from noble to non-noble needs to be substantiated. Just before the Norman Conquest, the ‘nobiliary knighthood’ emerged in France and was brought to England by the Anglo-Norman administration; that is, the chivalric, courtly culture of knighthood for noble-born men, at the expense of practical military prowess (Boulton 1987, 1995). Members adopted the chivalric code of honour, together with the virtues and duties associated with knightliness, which had previously been the province of princes. Boulton says it was virtually a new status: ‘partly semantic, partly symbolic, partly ideological, and partly economic’ (Boulton 1995: 58). The distinctive symbols of most Latin nobilities – castle, surname, seal, arms – which had codified in the century and a half before 1180, were now expressed outwardly from around 1225 by knights’ personal heraldic arms on shield, lance-pennon, and horse-trapper. This was a significant change, because heraldic devices previously conferred by birth and shared by all members of the dynasty now also became symbolic of individual knights – and by association, their heraldic devices became invested with their glamour. Chivalric orders were created in the fourteenth century: the Society of St George, or Order of the Garter (1344/9), the Company of the Star (1344/52), the Order of the Sword (1347/59), the Order of the Ship (1381–6).19 To be elected to these chivalric orders was a high honour, and it is these same emblems that begin to appear on fourteenth-century London taverns and brewhouses: le George on the hoē, le Huse, le Sterre, le Swerd on the hop̂, le Shipp on the hope – all were to become common and long-lasting house names. Thus there were two routes of adoption for heraldic house names: via synecdochal canting interpretation of trading (p.32) equipment, acting as an amusing kind of advertisement for the wares within; and via prosperous craftsmen and merchants’ borrowing of knightly emblems for reasons of social cachet.

So there was an overlap, as it were, between aspirational names such as le George, le Sterre, le Swerd, and the synecdochal names such as le Kok and le Tabard. Not surprisingly, given the mercantile and brewing occupations of their bestowers, these heraldic house names remained within the realm of commercial property. There is a parallel here with the Victorian faux-authentic place-name house names such as Fernlea, in that Fernlea sounded as though it had a long English ancestry although it did not, conferring a soupçon of landed-gentry prestige on the householder. In the fourteenth century, houses named le Hert, le Sterre, le Swan did not signify noble ancestry, since dynastic usage remained the preserve of the nobility. Nevertheless such names would have implicitly conveyed an air of social privilege, however inauthentic.

Fifteenth-century commercial premises

One of the most remarkable facts to emerge from this assemblage of early London house names is the speed and consistency with which heraldic names were adopted on commercial premises. London heraldic building names date from the 1320s, appearing a little earlier as part of people’s names in tax lists (Lucie and Rađi Atecok 1282–3, Hugo ate Cocke 1319). A hundred years later (1418–40), the Brewers’ Livery Company clerk William Porlond kept a memorandum book in which he recorded the names of alehouses. I have culled 136 house names from his book, all of which bar 4 per cent are either synecdochal or heraldic, and these are given in Table 1.3. The numbers in brackets after each name indicate the number of locations bearing that name, e.g. Angel (3) indicates that there were three premises named atte Aungełł in William Porlond’s Book: in the parish of St Michael Queenhithe, in Fleet Street, and in the parish of St Ethelburga Bishopsgate. As these names have multiple spellings in Porlond’s Book I have given their modern equivalents. See Appendix 2 for details.

The borders between the categories are not entirely clear-cut; I have placed the Cock under synecdoche but the White Cock, Red Cock and compound Cock names in the heraldic column; similarly the Ax and the Hammer could equally be placed in the heraldic column along with the Dagger. But the weight of distribution at 93 per cent is clear: by the early fifteenth century, heraldic and synecdochal names together had come to dominate the nomenclature of commercial premises selling ale, wine and beer.

I hypothesised above that Cock was a synecdochal name for the tap of an ale-tun, with a canting interpretation of a cockerel depicted on the house sign. There were 36 individual London premises named the Cock in William Porlond’s Book, and a (p.33)

Table 1.3 London inn names: 378 premises with a name-stock of 136 names, taken from William Porlond’s Book

Heraldic

Synecdochal/Occupational

Appearance

Personal name

Angel (3), Ball (3), Bear (3), Bell (13), Bell Crowned (1), Bell & Dolphin (1), Bell & St Peter (1), Bishop (1), Black Horse (1), Bull (3), Cardinal’s Hat (2), Castle (5), Chequer (2), Chequer & Lamb (1), Chough (1), Christopher (9), Cock & Bell (2), Cock & Star (1), Cony (2), Cow Head (1), Crane (2), Cross (1), Crown (5), Culver (1), Dagger (1), Dolphin (4), Dragon (6), Eagle (3), Eagle & Garland (1), Ewe & Lamb (1), Falcon (1), Fleur de Lys (5), Garland (4), George (7), George & Horn (1), Glene (3), Goat (1), Golden Hart (1), Greyhound (3), Hand (1), Harp (6), Hart (3), Hart’s Head (1), Hart’s Horn (9), Helm (2), Hind (2), Horn (5), Horse (3), Horse Head (6), Horse Shoe (1), Katherine Wheel (3), Key (12), King’s Head (1), Lamb (10), Lily (2), Lion (6), Maid (3), Maiden (1), Maiden Head (1), Mermaid (1), Mill (3), Mitre (1), Moon (1), Nun (2), New Lion (1), Paul’s Head (1), Peacock (3), Peahen (2), Peter & Paul (1), Pie (5), Popinjay (1), Ram (4), Ram’s Head (2), Red Cock (1), Red Lion (2), Rose (1), St Julian (1), Saracen’s Head (5), Saracen’s Head & One Maid (1), Scot (1), Seven Stars (1), Ship (6), Snipe (1), Squirrel (1), Star (6), Star & Moon (1), Swan (25), Swan & Ship (1), Three Kings (1), Three Legs (1), Three Nuns (1), Trump (1), Two Keys (1), Two Nuns (1), Unicorn (2), Vernacle (3), Welsh Man (1), White Bear (1), White Bull (1), White Cock (1), White Cross (1), White Culver (1), White Hart (2), White Leg (1), White Lion (3), Whole Bull (1)

Ax (4), Basket (3), Black Hoop (1), Bolt & Tun (1), Cock (36), Coop (6), ad fontem cū ij bokettThe Earliest London House Names (1), Hammer (2), Iron (1), Pannier (3), Pewter Pot (2), Purse (1), Round Hoop (1), Scummer (1), Sickle (1), Tabard (1), Tankard (1), Vine (3), Woolsack (2)

Cellar (4), Corner Cellar (1), Green Gate (1), Lamp (4), Lattice (1), Leaden Porch (1), Long Entry (1), Two Stulps (1)

atte belle voThe Earliest London House Names Savagis Inne (1), Copedon Hall (1)

N = 291 premises (77%), 107 names (79%)

N = 71 premises (19%), 19 names (14%)

N = 14 premises (3.5%), 8 names (6%)

N = 2 premises (0.5%), 2 names (1%)

Source: Brewers’ Livery Company, 1418–40, London Guildhall Library CLC/L/BF/A/021/MS05440.

(p.34) further two named the Cock & Bell and Cock & Star, making Cock the single most productive alehouse name, followed by Swan (25 premises, plus one Swan & Ship). Collectively, fowl account for 80 (21 per cent) of the premises in William Porlond’s Book: Chough, Cock, Cock & Bell, Cock & Star, Crane, Crow, Culver, Eagle, Eagle & Garland, Erne, Falcon, Peacock, Peahen, Pie, Popinjay, Raven, Red Cock, Snipe, Swan, Swan & Ship, White Cock, White Culver. The synecdochal field of ‘receptacle for containing or carrying’ is also prominent: Basket, Bolt & Tun, Coop, ad Fontem cū ij BokettThe Earliest London House Names, Pannier, Pewter Pot, Pot on the Hoop, Purse, Scummer, Tabard, Tankard, Tun, Woolsack. The doublet Bolt & Tun (‘atte bolt and The Earliest London House Namese tonne yn ffletestrete’) is a reparsing of the brewer’s bolting tun.20 This could only have happened once two-element names had become commonplace, and William Porlond’s Book shows that this had occurred over the course of the fourteenth century. Essentially all the naming developments with regard to heraldic names had been completed well within the century after their introduction, the only exceptions being names to do with legendary characters, and names with Arms as a second element.

Here is a list of house names on London Bridge in the 1480s. The only new developments are names of legendary characters (Robin Hood), and an increase in occupational terms (Chapman, Milkwife, Shepherd) and low-register artifacts (Three Bonnets, Bottle, Top & Scourge). McEwan (2016: no. 234) portrays an image of the seal of Bartholomew de Capella, glover, dated 1276x1277, which depicts a glove, and the seal of Robert le Buckle-maker (764), dated 1300x1301, which depicts a buckle, so the linking of occupation and image (the chapman, the shepherd, the milkwife) had been familiar for centuries by the 1480s.

  • atte signe of the Cornysshe Chougħ vpon the Brigge
  • at signe of the Crane vpon the Brigge
  • atte signe of the Chapman vpon the Brigge
  • a tent vpon the Brigge atte signe of the goote
  • a tent vpon the Brigge at signe of the Castell
  • atte signe of the dolfyn vpon the brigge

1481–2, London Metropolitan Archives, CLA/007/FN/02/003, fos 350v, 351

  • atte signe of the iij bonettes vpon the Brigge
  • atte signe of the Rose vpon the Brigge
  • atte signe of the sarsens hede on the Brigge
  • the tent called the Nonhede at london Brigge
  • atte signe of the Rammes hede vppon the Brigge
  • atte signe of the ffloure delice on the brigge
  • atte signe of Robyn hode vpon the brigge
  • (p.35) atte signe of the Trinite vpon the brigge
  • atte Signe of the George vpon the Brigge
  • atte signe of the iij Shepard vppon the brigge
  • atte signe of the bottell vpon the brigge
  • atte signe of the horshede vpon the brigge
  • atte Signe of the Ravyns hede vpon the brigge
  • atte signe of the belle vpon the Brigge
  • atte signe of the Toppe and George vpon the brigge
  • atte signe of the bore vpon the brigge
  • atte signe of the Cheker vpon the brigge

1482–3, London Metropolitan Archives, CLA/007/FN/02/003, fos 370v, 371

  • at Signe of the trever vppon the Brigge
  • next the Signe of the Ball vppon the Brigge
  • the Signe of the Mylk Wife of london Brigge
  • at Signe of oure lady vppon london Brigge
  • at Signe of the blac Bull vppon the Brigge
  • att Signe of the Toppe and the Scourge vppon the Brigge
  • at the Signe of the Maremaid vppon ye brigge
  • at the Signe of the Whyle horne vpon the Brygge
  • at the Signe of the Whyte horse vpon the Brygge

1483–4, London Metropolitan Archives, CLA/007/FN/02/003, fos 390, 390v21

These tenements on London Bridge show that shops bore the same heraldic names as the ale-sellers’ premises in William Porlond’s Book. Heraldic names therefore signified commerce in general from their first adoption.

Can personal stance or attitude be inferred from any of these early names?22 The very earliest house names record householder, house usage, and house appearance, (p.36) all of which are factual. But the heraldic names encoded a social distinction, signal-ling both an allusion to the new societal class of chivalric knights, and a commercial function. Those early birds, Croweonethehop of 1323 and le Kok of 1325, may have simply been immediately obvious signifiers of a place of business, as distinct from noblemen’s residences. Or they may have been in contradistinction to the more patrician fauna of lions, dragons, unicorns and eagles. Just as late Victorian Wee Neste poked fun at aspirational names such as Holkham Hall, Croweonethehop and le Kok may have poked fun at aspirational heraldic names. Certainly a stance of pejorative affection can be posited for the Order of the Garter becoming known as le Hose and le Leg, just as seventeenth-century names in Horse shifted to Nag, with a semantic direction of movement from higher register to lower register.23 Along with drinking goes an increase in merriment, and Croweonethehop and le Kok may have been not just word-play but possibly also sarcasm lobbed by the lower orders at the higher.

Movement and naming change

William Porlond’s Book of 1418–40 shows that certain districts were especially populated with heraldic and synecdochally-named buildings selling ale, beer and wine. Table 1.4 shows some of these.

Table 1.4 gives evidence not only of where Londoners slaked their thirst but also where they met in order to travel to other parts of the country. Whether travel-ling by horse and coach or by boat, coachmen needed somewhere to change, feed, water and stable their horses; boatmen needed somewhere to wait out the tides; and passengers needed designated places to board and alight. These clusters along the main roads out of town show that inns were already serving these functions in the early fifteenth century. Organised travel around the country is not directly evidenced until the sixteenth, with the flying posts of 1548, ‘mail travelling across the country by relays of horses’ (OED flying, adj. 4. b), and the word stagecoach, meaning ‘a coach that runs daily or on specified days between two places for the conveyance of passengers, parcels, etc.’, not attested until as late as 1649, although the ferrying of passengers back and forth is described slightly earlier:

There is of late such an admirable commodiousness, both for men and women, to travel from London to the principal towns of the country that the like hath not been known in the world, and that is by stage coaches, wherein anyone may be transported to any place sheltered from foul weather and foul ways, free from endamaging one’s health and one’s body by hard jogging or over violent motion on horseback, and this not only at the low

(p.37)

Table 1.4 London inn names (modern spelling) from three arterial roads and two hithes taken from William Porlond’s Book,1418–40

Aldersgate

Aldgate

Bishopsgate

Billingsgate & Queenhithe

Bear

Ax

Angel

Angel

Bell

Bear

Bell

Basket

Christopher

Bell

Bell & Dolphin

Bell

Cock

Cock

Cardinal’s Hat

Bull

Dolphin

George

Castle

Cardinal’s Hat

Eagle

Hammer

Cock

Chough

Falcon

Hartshorn

Crown

Christopher

George

Horse

Dragon

Cock

Horn

Horse Head

Garland

Fleur de Lys

Horse

Horseshoe

Hart’s Head

Glene

Lion

Key

Helm

Lion

New Lion

Nun

Lamp

Pannier

Peacock

Peacock

Lion

Pie

Rose

Peahen

Moon

Ship

St Julian

Saracen’s Head

Peahen

Swan

Swan

Swan

Scott

Three Kings

Swan

Two Nuns

Two Keys

Woolsack

Vine

Source: London Guildhall Library CLC/L/BF/A/021/MS05440

price of about a shilling for every five miles, but with such velocity and speed in one hour as the foreign post can make but in one day.

1649. Chamberlayne. The Present State of Great Britain24

The carriers of St Albans do come every Friday to the sign of the ‘Peacock’ in Aldersgate Street; on which days also cometh a coach from St Albans, to the ‘Bell’ in the same street. The like coach is also there for the carriage of passengers every Tuesday.

1637. John Taylor. The Carrier’s Cosmography. 229

The Bell and the Peacock in Aldersgate are both listed in William Porland’s early fifteenth-century manuscript, so the carriers of St Albans had been ferrying passengers into London long before the seventeenth century. That these inn names were highly salient to the local population in earlier times is evidenced by the fact that some of them went on to have a considerably wider currency at a later date. The district of Islington known nowadays as the Angel is named after one of the several coaching inns servicing (p.38) coaches heading northwards out of Aldersgate and Newgate. World’s End, the name of the district at the end of the King’s Road in Chelsea, is mentioned in Congreve’s Love for Love of 1695, the inn then being the only building in the vicinity. Nunhead, with a zero genitive marker, was a relatively common shop and inn name and is the name of part of the borough of Southwark. Tally Ho Corner in the Finchley Road is named after the Tally Ho coach which called there. A semantic grouping of coach names reveals the mechanism by which names spread from coach to inn and inn to coach and around the country. Appendix 3 presents 279 stagecoach names taken from directories of the 1830s, the decade when the coaching system was at its height immediately prior to coming of the railways, serving 151 inns countrywide. Many of these coach names advertised speed: the Rocket out of Stratford, the Dart and the Express out of Sutton Coldfield, the Vivid out of Oakhampton, the Celerity out of Bristol, the Flycatcher out of Bolton. A subset of these ‘speed’ names invoked the alarm of the hunt (see Table 1.5).

‘Tally-ho’, ‘tantivy’ and ‘hark forward’ were hunting cries. The various Tally-ho coaches along with the other hunt-referencing names conveyed not only extreme rapidity but also competition, as carriers on the same route raced each other from stage to stage, from inn to inn. Another frequently attested hunting alarm was so-ho. There is evidence of so-ho as a cry in texts from every century from 1300 to the mid-1800s in works by popular authors with large readerships, such as Shakespeare, Bunyan, Shelley and Dickens. Soho in London is the area bounded by Charing Cross Road to the east and Wardour Street to the west. It has been known as Soho since at least 1636, where it occurs as a heading in a list of ratepayers indicating that twenty people were living in the vicinity in the parish of St Martin in the Fields. The dwellings in the area are grouped under the headings ‘Little Church Lane, Mewes, St Martin’s Lane, Millitary Street, Long Acre, Drury Lane, Russell streete, White hart yard, Covent garden, Brick Kills neare Sohoe’.25

Table 1.5 Coach names 1828–44

Scheduled stop

Coach

Rose & Crown, Tamworth

the Tally-ho

Packwood’s General Coach and Waggon Offices, Coventry

the Patent Safety Tally-ho

Dolphin Inn, Cross Cheaping

the Independent Tally-ho

Chapel House, Chipping Norton

the Tantivy

Jones & Herbert’s Office, Chester

the Hark Forward

Bear, Crickhowell

the Monmouth Hunt

Bath

the Beaufort Hunt

Berkeley

the Berkeley Hunt

Sources: directories at http://specialcollections.le.ac.uk, and Corbett (1891: 300–1)

(p.39) In 1641 Anna Clerke was bound over to keep the peace after ‘threteninge to burne the houses at So: ho’. These houses stood on the east side of the modern Wardour Street, to the north of Bourchier Street. The word Soho is an ancient hunting call, and there is evidence that hunting took place over the lands to the west of Wardour Street. With the passage of time what had originally been the name of a group of wayside cottages in the open country was extended to denote the streets and squares of the whole parish of St. Anne, which had been formed out of the parish of St. Martin in the Fields in 1686.

(Sheppard 1966: 1)

It is held that Soho took its name from the hunting-call so-ho, but the mechanism of transfer from cry to district has not yet been explained. The lands lying west of Wardour Street towards Hyde Park were hunting grounds in earlier centuries, but those to the east were not; that is, there is no evidence that hunting occurred where Soho is situated. None of the locations taxed along with ‘Brick Kills neare Sohoe’ lie to the west of Wardour Street. Yet there is another Soho, Soho Warren, known from 1757 in Handsworth, Birmingham, with an inn depicted there on a map considerably before its name is on record as ‘The Soho’ in 1817.26 The London Stage Coach Directory printed in Cary’s New Itinerary of 1828 shows that daily London– Birmingham coaches left from London coaching-inns the Saracen’s Head at Snow Hill, Bolt in Tun in Fleet Street, and Belle Sauvage at Ludgate Hill: Birmingham also has locations named Snow Hill, Fleet Street and Ludgate Hill, so-called ‘from a desire of imitating the metropolis’ (Hutton 1835: 92–3). I hypothesise that the mechanism of transfer from London street name to Birmingham street name stems from coaching termini, and I infer that Soho in London and Soho in Birmingham marked the starting and ending inns, named after a London to Birmingham stagecoach Soho, which was named as an advertisement for its speed. I can find no direct record of an earlier coach named Soho (evidence of coach names prior to the nineteenth century is scarce) but a century later, from about 1823, there were London to Birmingham coaches named Tally-Ho, the Independent Tally-Ho, the Eclipse Tally-Ho, the Patent Tally-Ho, the Safety Tally-Ho.27 If John Taylor’s Carrier’s Cosmography of 1637 is taken as the date when the stagecoach system began, then this hypothesis fails because Soho in London was already so-called by that year. But if the clustering of inns along arterial and main roads in William Porlond’s Book of 1418–40 is taken as evidence of organised coaching at that date, then coach names are just as likely to have been in use too.

(p.40) Golden Tea Kettle and Speaking Trumpet

Shop names were not recorded in medieval deeds and wills, and only become apparent in any number with the advent of trade-cards, but their names were also transferred from place to place. Trade-cards were not quite what they sound: they did indeed advertise the name of the shop and sometimes the wares, but they were far larger than a present-day business card. They were printed on sheets of paper and they often also acted as a receipt, with spaces left blank for the date, the customer’s name, and the goods they bought. Trade-cards show that the linking of heraldic names together with synecdochal names had become the norm by the seventeenth century. From a handful of trade-cards, here are the inscriptions that sit underneath the engraving of the shop sign:28

Willm Boyce Coffinmaker at ye Whight Hart & Coffin in ye Grate Ould Bayley Near Newgeat

Thomas Jemmit, Ye Blackmoors-Head & Golden Sugar-Loaf against Fetter Lane in Fleet Street

Ann Coleman, At the Sign of the Porter and Dwarfe, Hand and Shears and Queen’s Head, upon the Common-Shore, in Houndsditch, London

John Brown at the Three Cover’d Chairs & Walnut-Tree, the East Side of St Paul’s Church Yard, near the School, London

Willm Browne, Stay-maker & Mercer, At the Golden-Stays and Hoop-Coat, in the Borough, near the Bridge-foot, Southwark, London

Edward Chandler Coffin Maker and Undertaker (from the Corner of Fleet Lane) At the Naked Boy & Coffin, the Corner of Turnagain Lane, by the Fleet Market near Holborn Bridge, London

John Cotterell at the Indian Queen and Tea Cannister against Stocks Markett Ann Hebert a Coat shop at the Black Moors head & Pine Apple, in Fenchurch Street

Mary & Ann Hogarth from the old Frock-shop the corner of the Long Walk facing the Cloysters, Removed to ye Kings Arms joyning to ye Little Britain-gate, near Long Walk

Doublet names expressed either existing house name + synecdochal trade, or trade + trade:

Will. Mendham, at the Wheatsheaf and Boddice, against Gutter Lane, Cheapside

Tompson Davis, at the Cross Guns and Pheasant, High Holborn

Samuel Bevington, at the Golden Tea Kettle and Speaking Trumpet, in Lombard Street

Edward Smith, Jeweller, the Parrott and Pearl, in Foster Lane against the Church

(p.41) Doublets also expressed continuity from father to child, or master to apprentice:

Samuel Darkin ye Elder, at the sign of the Bleeder, next door to the Cow and Hare, in Church Lane, Whitechappel

Samuel Darkin the Younger, at the sign of the Bleeder and Star, the corner of Adam and Eve Alley, White Chapel facing the Church Yard Gate

Doublet names expressed continuity from old premises to new, such as when John Cotterell moved from the Indian Queen on the corner of Grocers’ Alley in the Poultry to the Indian Queen and Tea Cannister opposite the Stocks Market. A convention of trade-signs consolidated: the rainbow to signal a dyer, the frying pan to signal an ironmonger, the civet cat to signal a perfumer, the sugar loaf to signal a confectioner. But the old style of descriptive names also continued: William Salmon (1644–1713) medical empiric (a scientist who relies on observation) and author, was resident and in practice at the Red Balls tavern in Salisbury Court, Fleet Street, in 1679, from whence he moved to George Yard near Broken Wharf, then to the Blue Balcony by the ditch side near Holborn Bridge in 1684, and to the Great House by Black Friars Stairs in 1698.29 Garrioch (1994: 27–35) reports certain trends: the decrease in saints’ names in buildings occupied by booksellers during the sixteenth century, the mid-seventeenth century trend for London buildings bearing the same names as ships in the navy, reflecting the importance of maritime activity, and the rise of the sign of Britannia in the late seventeenth century. But essentially from the 1320s when they began, to the late 1700s when shop names terminated, heraldic commercial names enjoyed a long period of equilibrium.

The end of shop names

When the Royal Exchange opened in 1569 it became the main trading area for international commodities and shipping, with 120 shops on the upper floor, which was known as the Pawn.30 Shops in the Pawn were more seld than shop – 5 feet wide and 7½ feet deep, with certain trades represented by multiple firms: 55 haberdashers, 25 mercers, 17 merchant taylors, 10 leathersellers.31 Presumably there was no point hanging out, say, the sign of the Indian Queen (to signal mercery) in so cramped a space when there were 54 others nearby in the same business, and so someone – perhaps Thomas Gresham himself – named all the shops after birds and beasts. Not all are known, but there was the Squirrel, the Bull, the Catt and Mouse, the Blewe Boare, the Broode Henne, the Buck, the Owle, the Unicorne, the (p.42) Camellion, the Cockatrice, the Wolf, the Lapwinge, the Cony and Phesant, the White Bull, the Spredd Eagle, the fferitt and Nitingale, the Marten, the Pleasant Lyon, the Male Griffin, the White Boare, the Marmoset, the Grasshopper, the Black Raven and Green Dragon, the Half Moone, the Turkey Henne, the Lyonesse, the Popinjay, and the Black Boare. Some of these were commonly found outside the Royal Exchange; others were more unusual. But the names of both shops in arcades and buildings in streets were signalled by large hanging signs, and by the mid-eighteenth century, London was perceived as being choked. This was an age when plague was thought to be airborne, and such a blockage of signs stultified free passage of air. As a result there was a general tidying up of paving and pavements in which sign-removal was ordered by Act of Parliament in 1762.32 What took their place was numbering. For a while, both the old heraldic/synecdochal system and the new numbering system were used together, but now that the old names were no longer pictorially visible, they became forgotten. Nor was there any longer the need to refer to local landmarks by means of prepositional phrases. The new numbering had the effect of knocking out over against (in the sense of ‘opposite’), under (in the sense of ‘hard by’), the corner of (as opposed to ‘on the corner of), the upper end of, next, the back side of. Rather than throw away hundreds of already-printed trade-cards, ‘the newly acquired street number (was) spatchcocked into the old design’, as twentieth-century trade-card collector Ambrose Heal put it, which helped to prolong the names to the turn of the century.33 But once the old batches had been used up, the traditional names in all their various two-element juxtapositions were forgotten. Grand houses aside – Spencer House, Somerset House – London property became nameless.

Garrioch (1994: 37–8) however does not accept a cause and effect scenario due to the untidy, non-thorough process of signboard removal, with vestigial signs and numbers coexisting as late as the mid-nineteenth century. He suggests that what ultimately caused the medieval system to fall into abeyance was its irrelevance to modern society; that the family dynasty indicated by the passing of sign from father to son no longer had any function following ‘a profound change in family identity and behaviour among the commercial middle classes’. In a study detailing the careers and movements of individual workers within the book trade, Raven (2007) shows that the name of the house in which a family originally worked could symbolise the business over generations: ‘the fourteenth-century Peter et Poule house of Paternoster Row continued to support leading booksellers for the next five (p.43) centuries’ (Raven 2007: 360). But by the early nineteenth century, the primary audience for such signs, the inhabitants of the local neighbourhood who were fluent in interpreting their symbolism, had largely disappeared from major thoroughfares. Symbols of rank, heraldry, coats of arms, the rituals of dominancy and authority, all began to lose their potency. The coming of the glazed shop window with artfully arranged wares, decorated shopfronts and lit interiors visible from the street also rendered the old eye-catching signs obsolete. A further factor was the rise of advertising in the second half of the eighteenth century, which caused trade signs to predominate, so that the medieval naming system, even when descriptive rather than heraldic or synecdochal (the Blue Post, the Dutch House), became commensurate with trade rather than residence. Raven (2007: 275–6) discusses the retention of trade signs post-1762 amongst booksellers (he refers to it as booksellers ‘waging sign warfare’), in particular the use of a notable writer’s head: Seneca’s Head, Cicero’s Head, Horace’s Head, Homer’s Head, Chaucer’s Head, Otway’s Head, Dryden’s Head, Pope’s Head, Tully’s Head, Shakespeare’s Head. Pub signs also remained, because as a different kind of social space their names were high-frequency items kept alive in local speech. But whereas successful early eighteenth-century shopkeepers lived above the shop, their early nineteenth-century equivalents began the move to the suburbs, with wife and children residing away from the commercial premises. This shift in residential circumstances prompted a shift in house naming, which is the subject of the next chapter.

Notes:

(1) MED mesuage (n.) ‘residence, dwelling house’, and see also OED curtilage, n. ‘small piece of ground attached to a dwelling-house; the area attached to and containing a dwelling-house and its outbuildings’; OED haw, n. 1.a. ‘messuage, enclosure’; MED haue (n.(1))(a) ‘enclosure, yard’; Ekwall (1954: 37) translates haga directly as ‘town house’; OED bury, n. ‘a manor house, or large farm’; borough, n. 1. b. ‘a court, a manor-house’; MED burgh (n.(1.)) 3. (b) ‘dwelling, mansion; property within a town’; see also Ekwall (1954: 37 (haw), 194–7 (bury)); MED rent(e (n.) 2a. ‘a dwelling place for which rent is paid, a tenement’; MED maner (n.(1) ‘mansion and estate’.

(2) Similarly, buries proliferated outside the City but I have included only non-Westminster/City buries if they were close by (ffynesbury) or if their precise whereabouts is uncertain (Achiesburia, Musterlingebur, Northbī). From a linguistic point of view ever more distant manorial place-names – Barnsbury, Brondesbury, Canonbury, Gunnersbury, Highbury, leading on to further, non-bury manors on the outskirts such as Ruggemere and Tothale – would have resulted in rather more personal names and landscape descriptors, but their presence would not bring any further naming categories to light.

(3) See Appendix 1 for details of dating; Ekwall (1954: 37, 38, 54, 57).

(4) OED seld, n., metathetic form of setl ‘sitting-place, seat’.

(5) For details of the individual selds, see Keene (1985b: 12–13; 2006: 131–5; 2008: 205, whence the information below is taken); Harding (2008: 26); also Schofield (1994: 55–6). Cheapside selds extended to a depth of 30m from the street frontage and were commonly about 7m wide. Shortly before 1250, a seld on the corner of Cheapside and Soper Lane contained sites for twenty or thirty traders, although this was probably larger than average. By 1300 there were about four hundred shops in Cheapside with perhaps four thousand retail units in selds behind them. The trading area of the shop itself consisted of the window by the door fronting onto the street with a let-down stall in front, and a projecting sloping pentice roof above it. The shopfront was very small, less than 2m wide and 3m front to back, with a street door less than half a metre wide. Shoppers would not customarily have entered the street-front ground-floor room of the house at all, as shopkeepers – especially the female members of the family – sat out by the stall. With regard to the rest of the house, Cheapside’s street-front houses around 1300 consisted of two rooms over a cellar, rising to two or three storeys, with selds and outbuildings such as stables and latrines behind. The ground floor housed the shopfront and workroom, the main living room was on the first floor, and chambers and garrets were above, divided into multiple occupancy.

(6) Compound names are presented in date order as given in the database of house names in Appendix 1, with their database numbers. Ambiguous names are omitted from the analysis.

(7) As in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’s ‘wynne halle’ (see Meecham-Jones 2018:114) – if so, le Wynsoler may be one of the first literary-reference names, or named by someone with Welsh connections.

(8) I have interpreted first elements aerne, erne, as ‘eagle’ (OED erne, n. ‘eagle’) rather than ‘building’ (OED earn, n.1 ‘building, house, dwelling’), even though the spellings allow both interpretations. This is because the reflex of OE earn largely occurred in second-element position in name compounds: ‘In Old English (and Middle English) chiefly as the second element in compounds, as Old English bœcern bakehouse’ (OED earn, n.1), attested in the database in Appendix 1 by Powlesbrewerne, ‘brewhouse belonging to St Paul’s Cathedral’. The erne and lion in question are likely to have surmounted the door ring. This was known as a hagodai ‘have-good-day’, Salzman (1952: 299); MED hagodai (n.) ‘ring forming the handle for raising the latch on a door’, as appears in the list of door-furniture bought by the Merchant Taylor’s Company in 1399: ‘cliefs lacchis cacchis hokis hengis hagodaies’ (Guildhall Library, London, MS 34048/1, 1397–1445, Merchant Taylors’ Company Accounts, fo 7v), presumably so-called after the words said upon opening or closing the door.

(9) Two twelfth-century surveys of Winchester list houses named Godbiete (analysed by Löfvenberg as ‘good bargain’, from OE *seo gode begeate), Merewenehaia, analysed by von Feilitzen as ‘Maerwynn’s haw’, and Hauok (von Feilitzen 1976: 158–9; Biddle and Keene 1976a: 237; Biddle and Keene 1976b:, 337, 340; with onomastic contributions by Mattias Löfvenberg).

(10) OED hoop, n.1., late Old English, ‘circle of wood or flattened metal for binding together the staves of casks, tubs, etc.’ 1.b. ‘in tavern signs’; MED hop (n.) (b) ‘a circular band used to support the sign outside a house or inn’.

(11) Caponhors (1258–9) excepted, see discussion in Appendix 1. I have placed le Ernedore (and The Earliest London House Namese lyoun atte Dore) in the ‘visual descriptor’ category but Aerneselde and la Lyoun in the ‘heraldic’ category. This is because the former pair appear to reference door furniture – hagodays – rather than house signs (see fn. 8). Similarly, le Walsherente is in the ‘name of householder’ category, as referencing the rent belonging to a Welshman, but le Walssheman sur le hoop̂ is in the ‘heraldic’ category, along with Scotothehop.

(12) McEwan (2016) catalogues early London craftspeople and merchants’ seals showing images of birds (le Ernedore, Croweonethehop, le Kok, Aerneselde, Pye on the hope, la Rauen, le Swan othe hop, le Pecok on the houp), armed men on horseback (le George on the hoē), lions (la Lyoun), boars’ heads (le Boreshede), wheatsheaves (le Glene on the hoop̂), lambs (le Lamb atte hoope), crenellated buildings (le castel atte hoop̂), unicorns (le Vnicorne), women (Mayde on the Hop̂), lilies (le fflourdelys) and ships (le ship onthehop̂). These are McEwan’s own categories; a scrutiny of the photographs of seals in McEwan (2016) also reveals suns (466, 513) (le Sonne on the hoop̂), legs (530, 531) (le Huse), and harts (1016, 1063) (Hert on The Earliest London House Namese hop̂). New (2008: 247) ‘the design of personal seals seems to have reached its apex in terms both of quality and diversity in the late-thirteenth to early fourteenth centuries’.

(13) For a history and description of the Tabard in Southwark, see Carlin (2013).

(14) Bread Street: 1384 Plea & Mem A27 (i) m 11r ‘Bredstret Joħes hostiller atte Tabard’

Wood Street: 1391 Plea & Mem A 30 m 5v ‘les quatre jurreThe Earliest London House Names mestres des masons & Carpenters ount view la paveye de piere del tenet The Earliest London House Names Robt Lynde<seye> tient en Wodestret al Tabard en la The Earliest London House Namesoche de seint Alban’.

Watling Street: 1463 LMA, Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral MS Press A Box 12 1123 (old ref), CLC/313/L/H/001/MS25121/020 ‘totum illud tetum suum cum shopis solar suThe Earliest London House Namesedificats celar & omnibThe Earliest London House Names alijs suis The Earliest London House Namesti. situaThe Earliest London House Names sup Cornerium vicoThe Earliest London House Names RegioThe Earliest London House Names de Watlyngstrete & ffridaystrete in The Earliest London House Namesochia sci Johannis EuThe Earliest London House Names ngeliste dĉe Ciuitatis Put iacet int vicum Regnum de ffrydaystrete The Earliest London House Namesdict ex parte Occidentłi & tedicThe Earliest London House Names Decani & Capitłi vocaThe Earliest London House Names le Taberd’.

Farringdon Without: 1371 Plea & Mem A 17 m 2 ‘Joħs atte Tabard … de ffarndoextThe Earliest London House Names’, 1384 Plea & Mem A27 (i) m 11v ‘ffarindoexThe Earliest London House Names Joħ lenhmThe Earliest London House Names atte Tabard’; 1411 HR 150/8 ‘Item do & lego Joħi Duk filio meo totū tentū meū cum shopis & omībThe Earliest London House Names alijs The Earliest London House Namestisuis vocatū le Tabard on the hooin The Earliest London House Namesochia sĉe Brigide in ffletestret in suburbijs london̄’; 1433 HR 162/46 ‘tria mesuagia siue tenementa mea in eadem The Earliest London House Namesochia quoThe Earliest London House Names vnū vocatThe Earliest London House Names the Tabard et situatThe Earliest London House Names int tevocaThe Earliest London House Names the Castełł ex The Earliest London House Nameste orientłi & tevocaThe Earliest London House Names le George atte Sholane end cū shopis adiaThe Earliest London House Names ex The Earliest London House Nameste occident’.

St Michael Paternoster Royal: 1396 Calendar of Patent Rolls 19 Richard II part II p. 685, m 24; 1424 HR 152/52 ‘totū illud hospiciū nrThe Earliest London House Names vocat le Tabbard on the hoocū The Earliest London House Namestivna cū quatuor shopis & omībThe Earliest London House Names suis The Earliest London House Namestiad The Earliest London House Namesdcm hospiThe Earliest London House Names The Earliest London House Namestiin The Earliest London House Namesochia scī Micħis de patnosterchirche in Riola in london̄’; 1492 LMA DL/C/A/001/MS09065, fo 104v ‘in hospicȏ ad signȗ le Taƀde in le Ryałł in qThe Earliest London House Names doThe Earliest London House Names manet iste jur’.

St Benet Gracechurch: 1418–40 Lillywhite (1972: 545).

Southwark: late 14th cent. British Library, Harley MS 1758 fo 1 ‘In suthwerk . at the Thabard as I laye’. Tothill Street Westminster: 1381 WAM 17702 ‘vocat le Cocke vel Tabard in vico de Tothull’.

Acton: 1377 Calendar of Close Rolls 51 Ed III, 17 June 1377, m. 4d.

Tottenham: 1411–12 Robinson (1840: 183).

(15) There were fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Tabards in Oxford, York, Chester, Yarmouth, Bokkyng, Notts. and Stylton, Hunts., but as they do not predate the London ones they are not included here. The Tabard of the 1360s in Winchester (Keene 1985a: i 167, ii 501) is earlier, however.

(16) OED tabard, n. 1, n. 2., n. 4, MED tabard(e (n.(1)), tabard(e (n.(2)) (illustrated with quotations taken from Wright 1992). Nevertheless Cox (1994: 12) insists on the ‘heraldic surcoat’ interpretation rather than the ‘tank’ interpretation for the inn name, although seemingly unaware of the dating implications and basing his objection on propriety: ‘a leaden tank seems hardly appropriate in such a visual context. … Nor does “the ale-tank” seem an appropriate name for a large up-market hostelry such as Chaucer’s Tabard’. Actually, ‘receptacle’ nouns were particularly apt for hostelry names, as attested by multiple premises named Panyer, Peauter Pott, Cowpe, Basket, Purs, in William Porlond’s Book of 1418–24 (he was clerk to the Brewers’ Livery Company), and the sign of the Bottle on London Bridge. Carlin (2013: 470) finds Cox’s objection ‘unconvincing’.

(17) Jacket is not attested in English until 1451 (MED jaket (n.)), so it is plausible that cisterns wore tabards before they wore jackets.

(18) Other Germanic and Slavonic languages also have a single word meaning cockerel/tap/penis, see Cooper (2008) and Immonen (2014) for a discussion. My thanks to Jukka Tuominen for this information.

(19) Information on chivalric orders is taken from Boulton (1987), and it should be said that the Orders of Star, Sword and Ship were European rather than specifically English, as the conventions and symbols of knighthood were common to Latin Christianity.

(20) OED bolting, n.1; c.f. buildings named gyle house and gyling house in Appendix 1: ‘domo vocat The Earliest London House Namesylynghous … in vico de Bredstret in The Earliest London House Namesocħ Omi ScōThe Earliest London House Names London’; “tebracineo exceptis cisterna mea magno plumbo … ad Celariū vocatū yilhuys’.

(21) The Toppe and George of 1482–3 is likely to be an error for the Toppe and Scourge of the following year. Suggestions for trever and Whyle horne are AN treveure (AND troveure s. 2. ‘Invention of the True Cross’); OF trouvere (OED trouvère ‘troubadour’) and ‘whorl horn’ with omitted <r> graph, or ‘white horn’ with <l> instead of <t> graph. The Cornish chough featured on the arms of St Thomas a Becket, to whom the chapel on the bridge was dedicated. However it was also the badge of John Trevilian, knight, squire of the Duke of Suffolk and intimate of Henry VI. His was an up and down career, belonging to a group ‘hated beyond any others. … Their greed and the success with which they engrossed the king’s favours explains much of the hatred they incurred.’ His heyday was during the 1440s when he was in the king’s favour. In 1447 he and another squire of the Duke of Suffolk’s forcibly expelled the occupants of the castle of Stone in Kent and held it themselves for the next three years; his ship the Edward of Polruan sacked a Spanish ship. But he was unpopular and named as a traitor in Jack Cade’s rebellion, and lampooned in popular verse. In 1450 he was denounced in parliament, yet by March 1452 he had regained power, being reinstated as Yeoman of the Crown and Keeper of the Armoury in the Tower. Further arrests and pardons were to follow. He died in 1494 (Harvey 1988: 49, 51, 123, 241–3). Although the London Bridge chough references St Thomas, John Trevilian’s exploits kept the symbol before the public eye.

(22) I thank Rik Vosters for raising this possibility.

(23) As a pub carpark child in the 1960s (children outside whilst adults were in the pub) I was unaware that the various riverside Mucky Ducks frequented by my parents, godparents, aunts and uncles were known to the Post Office as the White Swan.

(24) Antedating OED stage-coach, n. 1658.

(25) Westminster City Archives, Parish Records Overseers Accounts, St Martin in the Fields. 29 April 1636–26 April 1637. Microfilm F363 item 13, page 30.

(27) Corbett (1891: 129–30, 172); OED tally-ho, int. and n. 2. a. ‘Originally, the proper name given to a fast day-coach between London and Birmingham, started in 1823; subsequently appropriated by other fast coaches on this and other roads, and treated somewhat as a common noun.’ Poland Street, Soho, was the terminus for the Green Line fleet of coaches as late as 1933 (www.greenline.co.uk/discover/history1/). I boarded and alighted coaches at Tally Ho Corner in the 1960s.

(28) Sources for trade-cards cited here are the collections of Sir Ambrose Heal and Sarah Banks at the British Museum; John Johnson at the Bodleian Library, Oxford; the London Guildhall collection now kept at the London Metropolitan Archives; and trade-cards kept in the archive of Hoare’s Bank, Fleet Street.

(29) Salmon, William (1644–1713): Philip K. Wilson, https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/24559. See also Wright (2006a).

(30) OED pawn, n.4 ‘gallery, colonnade’, from Dutch pand ‘cloister’.

(32) 2 Geo. I 21 London Streets Act 1762, enhanced by 3 Geo. I 23, 4 Geo. I 39, 5 Geo. I 50, and 6 Geo. I 54, House of Commons Journal 29 (15 March 1762: 233–8). The City passed its own comparable act a little later; City of London Commissioners of Sewers and Pavements (1767: 1–69); see Webb and Webb (1922: 276–88). For Westminster street legislation and its effect on paving, lighting and street-name signs, see Ogborn (1998: 91–115).

(33) Heal (1927: 5); OED spatchcock, v. ‘to interpolate’, a usage well on the wane by 1927. Heal was aged 55 at the time.