- Two passages called " alleys " in parish of St. Botolph Without Aldrychgate 3 and 4 Philip and Mary (Cal. L. and M. Ft. of Fines, II. 101).See Le Aleye.In the Burial Registers of St. Olave Hart Street, 1597-8, the words " ally," "allye," and "alley" are all used as the equivalent of our modern " aisle."The word " alley" in the N.E.D. is derived from the O.F. " alee " = passage, walk.It is defined as-I. a walk, a passage,II. a bordered walk or passage, as a walk in a garden, a passage between buildings, a narrow street, a lane. A long narrow enclosure for bowls. A passage between rows of pews, now called " aisles."In M.E. it was spelt " allure " = a place to walk in, a gallery, a walk by the parapets of a castle, a cloister. Low Latin " alature" from " aler," to go.The word occurs very frequently in early documents, and from the descriptions given the houses seem often to have been built out so as to project over these alleys or passages, which appertained to the owners or occupiers of the respective houses and were in no sense streets as they are to-day. The term "alley" was in use in its modern signification in Stow's time, but the original alleys were for the most part unnamed.
A Dictionary of London. Henry A Harben. 1918.