The White Friars of Farringdon Without and their property in Fleet Street….

A map of Fleet Street at the Reformation, circa 1538-40: the Bolt-in-Tun is shown in orange, the Boar’s Head in dark blue

Whitefriars is in Farringdon Without ward, London, where in medieval times stood a religious house belonging to the Carmelite friars. I came upon it (on-line, not in person) because while researching a certain Sir William de Windsor, a very unpopular and harsh Lieutenant of Ireland in the later reign of King Edward III. He was also married to the king’s notorious mistress, Alice Perrers, who managed to get him off several hooks.

At the height of his notoriety, on 16th August, 1376, Sir William attended a meeting of the king and Council at White Friars. The Carmelite priory fronted Fleet Street, and stretched right back to the Thames, so I imagine old King Edward III went to the meeting by barge. There, Sir William became embroiled in an unseemly quarrel in the king’s presence. It was a crime to behave like that with the king looking on, so he must have legged it, because a warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest. Two days later he turned himself in at the Tower. He didn’t pay much of a price for all his wrongdoings, except to never go back to Ireland, and died naturally in 1384 in his home county of Westmorland.

Anyway, when I read of this incident, I decided to investigate Whitefriars in Fleet Street, and almost immediately came upon the 1540 map above, which shows in detail the religious properties along its length and fronting the Thames. I found it very interesting, and hope you do too.

The map was found at the zythophile website which contains a lot of information about the area in the past…as well as the pubs of the present!

NB: The link enables you to considerably enlarge the map.

1 comment

  1. Viscountessw, I love posts like this! There is an alarming lack of legitimate, accurate information about London, especially in maps, or social history, in accessible (I won’t even presume to ask for easily accessible) locations or all-in-one publications that covers the period of c.1450’s through 1480’s – the researcher must make due with Chaucer’s London or you guessed it, Shakespearean/Tudor London and that all usually refers to maps of post-Reformation London – which is rather different from the London that Richard would have recognized! By the time you get to Stowe (c. 1560’s) even the most iconic the street names changed (seriously, WHY substitute the charm of Candelwykstrete for Cannon Street ???? yuck!)

    So yes, I can well imagine a tavern sign can say whatever they want to claim, and good luck to anyone walking by to contest it!

    Liked by 1 person

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