Clere Street, EC2A

Place name

This was originally Paradise Street (Paradise is frequently used for roads on the south side of churches) from around 1792 until it adopted its present name in 1938, when London County Council was busy renaming roads to avoid confusion with similar sounding places. Like the adjoining Clere Place, it is named after either the well of St Agnes-le-Claire or le Clere.¬†John Stow writing in his Survey of London in 1598 noted: “Somewhat North from Holywell, is one other well, curbed square with stone, and is called Dame Annis the Cleare.” St Agnes is the patron saint of those seeking chastity and, more pertinently, purity. Agnes is also the patron saint of young girls on account of her martyrdom, after she refused to submit to pagans and was sentenced to death.

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