Botolph's Wharf

Botolph's Wharf
   On the south side of Lower Thames Street at Nos. 12 to 14, to the west of Nicholson's Wharf (P.O. Directory). In Billingsgate Ward.
   It seems to have been originally called "Botolph's Gate," and Stow says it was confirmed to the Monks of Westminster by William I. in 1067.
   The charters containing the confirmation are in Cott. MS. Faust, A. III. f. 64, and in Cott Charter VI. 3. In these charters the name of the wharf is not given, only its description "ad caput pontis" and the name of the original donor, "Aluuoldus de porta sancti botulfi." The gift would appear to have been made in the time of King Edward, who is mentioned in the charter, but whether it actually relates to St. Botolph's Gate or not, the early mention of the name in these charters is of great interest, as evidence of the gate at that date.
   If the wharf referred to in the charters was St. Botolph's Gate, then in later times it had, by some means or other, passed out of the possession of the abbey, for in the numerous entries relating to the wharf in later records, no mention is ever made of the ownership of the abbey, but it seems to have been at one time in the hands of the Crown and to have been restored to the Commonalty of London 26 Ed. I. 1297 (Cal. L. Bk. B. p. 243), at which time it is described as in a ruinous condition. There are frequent references to it in the Letter Books, showing that it was let out by the City to private persons for fixed periods at an annual rent.
   In 1559 it was made by Act of Parliament a general place for lading and discharging goods (Strype, ed. 1720, I. ii. 49).
   It is difficult to determine whether the gate was in existence first and gave its name to the church, or whether it was named after the church. The latter view would seem to be the more natural, although there does not appear to be any record of the existence of the church prior to the 12th century.
   There is an interesting record relating to the church and wharf in the will of William Stafford, who in 1480-1 left to the church of St. Botolph near Billyngesgate a piece of land, described as parcel of the said church, on which at one time stood a house, parcel of a wharf called "Botolphiswharf" (Ct. H.W. II. 581).
   It may be noted in this connection that the gift of Aluuoldus mentioned above included "curiam suam dominicam cum domibus suis et unum wearf quod est ad capud pontis london."
   The wharf has been rebuilt from time to time and is somewhat wider in extent than it appears to be in the maps of the 17th and 18th centuries. The removal of London Bridge further west has also altered the present position of the wharf in relation to the Bridge, so that it could no longer be described as at the head of the Bridge, although not very far to the eastward from it.

A Dictionary of London. . 1918.

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