Sunday, February 17, 2013

Stony Stratford's Old Street and Alley Names

Stony Stratford was essentially built along the Watling Street, which became the High Street once it was given a name. Most houses and inns backed off the High Street in long strips of land, either one acre or half an acre. After 1194 a market was founded on the Calverton side. It seems pretty clear that this became the Market Square.

As the town developed, alleys and lanes came off the High Street or developed beyond the Market Square on the east side. Many names have either been lost or have changed. Here is a list.

Cow Fair

This is now Silver Street. As the original name suggest this was the area for the cattle market. Horse Fair still survives as Horse Fair Green. Cow Fair was renamed Silver Street on the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935.

Horn Lane

Horn Lane originally branched off Cow Fair (Silver Street) and had a "L" shape. The first part of it was renamed Oxford Street.

Chapel Street

This was probably the first part of the Wolverton Road. There were 8 dwellings recorded in 1851. including a pub and a few shops. By 1861 it had changed to Wolverton Road.

Ram Alley

This followed the course of New Street. All these properties were acquired by the Reverend William Sankey, a man of considerable personal wealth who spent a great deal of it improving Stony Stratford. New Street, the Vicarage and St Paul's College were all built at his expense.

Claridge's Lane

This was probably at the northern end of town and might be identified with the older Pudding Bag Lane.  It appears as Claridge's Lane in the 1851 and 1861 Censuses and it is quite possible that it was called Claridge's Lane in order to spruce up its image. I don't know who this Claridge was. It was probably pulled down when the land was cleared to build St Pauls School.

Pudding Bag Lane

It is mentioned by Sir Frank Markham as being in the St Paul's area. Quite how it acquired its characterful name is not known.

Coach and Horse's Lane

There was an inn called The Coach and Horses. Markham doesn't identify it in his History of Stony Stratford, but it is definitely in the censuses of 1851 and 1861. Judging by its location it was likely a descendant of The Horseshoe Inn. The 1841 Census identifies Coach and Horses Lane as formerly Malletts Lane. This lane disappeared when St Pauls was built.

Back Way

Here's an original name! The Back Way eventually became Russell Street and Vicarage Road in the 19th century but for centuries was the back lane bordering all the burgage plots on the High Street.

Here are the old names that have survived without change.

High Street

Older documents usually refer to it as the Watling Street, so it is unclear when the term High Street came into being - possibly in the 18th century when the road was built up and became "higher".

Church Street

Plainly, when street names became desirable, this name was applied and stuck.

Market Square

This appears as the Market Place in some earlier documents, but by the19th century Market Square is well established.

Mill Lane

Must date from medieval times because a mill has been there for at least 1000 years.

Horse Fair

This appears in late medieval times, named for the business that was conducted there. As houses developed around it the name Horse Fair Green was applied.

Harlot's Path

From Mill Lane the Harlot's Walk or Path skirted the back of all the High Street plots and came out by the Barley Mow. Obviously this was never an official name but one that pretty much defined what you could expect to find there after dark.

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