Gray’s Inn Road, EC1N

Place Name

A corruption, for it is named after the lords Grey of Wilton. In 1294 Reginald de Grey (c. 1240 – April 5, 1308) acquired part of the Soke of Portpool. A soke being a judicial area that granted certain rights and freedoms immediately outside a port, or in this case the gates to the City of London. With this came a palatial manor house, with chantry, dove house, and windmill, known as Purtepole in 1203 and by 1240, Portepole. The road from Holborn to Highgate that ran past it was called Purtepolestrate in 1234. By 1370 the house – or inn – was leased out to law students, and from 1396 became known as Grays Inn. Purtepolestrate became known as Greys Ynne Lane from 1419.

Grays Inn Road, 1561
Gray’s Inn Lane is featured in the Agas Map of 1561, the inn was then in the countryside, surrounded by fields

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