Wards


Wards
   The wards seem generally to have grown along the line of a main street and often about a main crossing. The street which forms the main artery of the Ward generally gives it its name.
   1. Each of the principal gates gives or has given its name to a ward, which was formed about the main street leading to the gate.
   Aldgate: Aldgate and the eastern parts of Leadenhall and Fenchurch Streets.
   Bishopsgate: Bishopsgate Street and north part of Gracechurch Street.
   Cripplegate: Wood Street.
   Aldersgate: St. Martin le Grand-which, however, is not the axis of the ward.
   Newgate: Newgate Street.
   Ludgate: Ludgate Hill, formerly Ludgate Street, and before that Bowyer Row. At present very short, but did it join Watling Street and did Castle Baynard Ward encroach?
   From Strype's account of the enclosing of St Paul's Churchyard, ed. 1720, I. iii. 143, the high street of Ludgate seems to have extended at that time to Watling Street at St. Augustine's Gate.
   Newgate and Ludgate continued as Farringdon Within
   2. Other Wards having a main artery or Crossing
   Bridge: Fish Street Hill, formerly Bridge Street, crossed by Eastcheap.
   Broad Street: Broad Street. Not very central at present, but probably the north-western part of the ward was little better than a swamp.
   Candlewick: East part of Cannon Street and west part of Eastcheap.
   Walbrook: West part of Cannon Street. Walbrook and Candlewick Wards seem both formed about the same axis and may possibly have once formed a single ward.
   Cornhill: Cornhill.
   Langbourn: Lombard Street (sometimes called Langbourn Street) and Fenchurch Street.
   (This, like Bishopsgate Ward, forms an isthmus at a main crossing and then expands again. This tends to negative any theory that the wards were formed about a crossing, unless the present wards represent the breaking up of larger wards.)
   Tower: Tower Street. Coleman Street.
   Bread Street: Bread Street and Watling Street.
   Cordwainer: Watling Street.
   These latter two wards may have formed one, having Watling Street as their axis. Bread Street is not axial to the ward, though it gives it its present name. Only the southern part of Bow Lane (formerly Cordwainer Street) is in Cordwainer Ward. It may probably have taken its name from the Cordwainery, but the earliest list of wards gives the name Cordwanerstrete Ward.
   3. The following seem to have taken their names from districts rather than from thoroughfares:
   Bassishaw: Bassing Hall or Bassies haw.
   Vintry: The Vintry.
   4.The southern wards seem to have been formed on a different principle to the others. Thames Street at present runs through them all. Castle Baynard suggests encroachment and may originally have extended only to Knightrider Street or Carter Lane. Some of these wards, as Queenhithe, Dowgate, seem to have been named from the ports or wharfs on the river side.
   Cheap: The great thoroughfare now Cheapside which gives it its name is not axial. Only the eastern portion is in the ward, which includes also the Poultry. This suggests rearrangement.
   Lime Street : Is anomalous, as the street so named is the boundary of the ward. It may have been cut off from Bishopsgate Ward or Aldgate Ward, probably the latter, as Lime Street is the only street which for any considerable length forms a ward boundary. The portion of Leadenhall Street included in Lime Street was formerly called Cornhill.
   Billingsgate: Is formed round the crossing made by Botolph Lane, Philpot Lane, Little Eastcheap, and Smithers Street. Its formation suggests what seems for other reasons likely that the gate called Billingsgate was at the south end of Botolph Lane.
   It is interesting to note that all the ward boundaries running up from the river coincide for some distance with parish boundaries.
   The division into wards preceded the division into parishes, and the parochial boundaries are independent of the municipal boundaries.
   The wards were known originally for the most part by the names of their respective Aldermen, and in the earliest records, with one or two exceptions, they are referred to in this way, and not by their present topographical designations.
   It has been suggested that the wards represented in many instances the estates of the Aldermen who presided over them, or at least that they possessed very considerable property in them, and that the succession to them was hereditary.
   The earliest list of wards seems to be that contained in the MS. D. and C. of St. Paul's, Liber L. ff. 47-50, a facsimile of which is given in Price's Guildhall, p. 16. The date is about 1130. There are twenty wards included in this list, but as it is not intended to be an enumeration of the wards, but of the property possessed by the church of St. Paul in London, it is not possible to deduce any argument from this as to the actual number of wards into which the City was divided at that time.
   With two exceptions the wards in this MS. are named after the Aldermen and not by their topographical designations. The two exceptions are: "Fori " = Cheap, and "Alegate " = Aldgate.
   It is possible to identify some of the other wards by the streets or churches alluded to in the descriptions of the property, and these identifications have been attempted by the Rev. W. J. Loftie in his "London" (Hist. Towns Series), and in Beavan's "Aldermen of London," I. 363.
   These identifications have been made as follows:
   Warda Episcopi = Castle BaynardWarda Haconis = Broad StreetWarda Aiwoldi = CripplegateWarda Fori = CheapWarda Edwardi Parole = BishopsgateWarda Algar Manningestepesun = CandlewickWarda Rudulfi filii Liuiue = CornhillWarda Alegate = AldgateWarda Godwini filii Esgari = TowerWarda Brichman Borlain = BassishawWarda Brichman Monetarii = AldersgateWarda Sperlingi = BillingsgateWarda Herberti = WalbrookWardsa Osberti Dringepinn = VintryWarda Liuredi = Cordwainer.Warda Brocesgange = Dowgate.Warda Hugonis filii Ulgari = Queenhithe.Warda Reimundi = Coleman Street.Warda Radulfi filii Algodi = Bread Street.Warda Eilwardi filii Wizeli = Not identified.
   Farringdon Ward or Ludgate and Newgate, Langbourn-Portsoken-and Bridge Wards not included, or three of them. "Warde Haconis" may be Coleman Street Ward.
   See Harconis (Warda)
   The earliest authentic list of wards in City and Public Records occur in the Rotuli Hundredorum 3 Ed. I. p.423, and in Cal. L. Bk. A. p.228, c:. 1285-6. In the former they are enumerated under the names of the Aldermen, in the latter under their topographical names. In both lists the number of wards is 24.
   This number remained unaltered until 17 Rich. II., when the formal division of Farringdon into the Wards Within and Without the Walls took place.
   In 1550 the number was further increased to 26 owing to the purchase by the Mayor and Commonalty of the City of the Liberties of the Borough of Southwark, forming Bridge Ward Without.
   In early times the defence of the City Gates, etc., was undertaken by the wards adjacent to them.
   An indication of the condition of the wards in respect to material prosperity may be obtained from the assessments to the fifteenths or other taxes levied on the City from time to time as recorded in the City Letter Books.

A Dictionary of London. . 1918.

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