College Street
   East out of College Hill, at No.17, to 13 Dowgate Hill (P.O. Directory). In Dowgate and Vintry Wards.
   First mention: Elmes, 1831.
   Former names : "Les Arches," 1276-7 (Anc. Deeds, A. 7823). A little lane called "Le Arche" upon Walbrok, 1298-9 (Cal. L. Bk. C. p. 35). "Paternostercherche lane," 1313-14 (Ct. H.W. I. 244). "Paternoster lane," 1341 (ib. 451) and 1385 (Cal. P.R. Rich. II. 1381-5, p. 574). "Eldebowelane," 17 Ed. III. (Lib. Cust. II. 450). "Bow Lane," 39 Ed. III. (Anc. Deeds, A. 2387). "Church Lane," 3 H. VI. (Cal. P.R. H. VI. pp. 215-16). "Elbow Lane" and "Little Elbow Lane" (S. 233-Lockie, 1816). "Great Elbow Lane" (Strype, ed. 1720, I. ii. 208).
   Stow describes the lane as running west and then suddenly south into "Tames streete" and from this remark and from the various descriptions of property given at the references set out above, it is evident that Elbow Lane originally comprised the streets now known as College Street and Little College Street, and that they were named successively : "Les Arches" or "Le Arche" ; "Bow Lane" ; "Elbow Lane" and "Little Elbow Lane" ; "College Street" and "Little College Street."
   The portion running east to west from Little College Street to College Hill seems to have been known as "Church Lane," "Paternosterchurch lane," and "Paternoster Lane," after St. Michael's Paternoster Church.
   There was an "Eldebowe lane" erected by Galfridus le Botiller, draper, 17 Ed. III. (Lib. Cust. II. 450).
   The varying designations of this street in times past, as indicated above, offer the most interesting evidence as to the rapid changes that took place in topographical names in early times, and as to the constant variations in street nomenclature brought about by changes of ownership or occupations in particular localities.
   The earliest name set out above, "Les Arches," suggests an "arch," "arc," or arches, possibly over the Walbrook, of which the later name, "Bow," would be the translation, as "St. Mary de Arcubus" became "St. Mary le Bow."
   Stow suggests that the name "Elbow lane," in use in his day, was given on account of the bending of the lane, but if the earlier form set out above, "Eldebowelane," can be taken to apply to this street, as seems probable from the description, "near Dowgate," the original name would seem to have been "Elde" or "Old Bow lane," of which the later form, "Elbow Lane," was merely a corruption.
   The name "Paternostercherche lane" was of course from the church of St. Michael Paternoster Royal.
   The modern name commemorates the famous foundation of Whittington College, as in College Hill (q.v.).

A Dictionary of London. . 1918.

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