Leather Lane, EC1N

Place Name

Given its proximity to Smithfield and its market you may have expected this to be a reference to leather goods sold or made here, but in fact, it comes from a personal name. It was first recoded as Le Vrunelone in 1233, whereupon it became Leueronlane by 1306, Liveronelane in 1331 and Lither alias Liver Lane by 1604. It is believed to have come from a local merchant whose name had been corrupted down the years from the Old English name Lēofrūn, which A D Mills in A Dictionary of London Place Names says belonged to a woman. Gillian Bebbington in London Street Names takes a different tact: “The most plausible explanation is ‘Soke Lane’, i.e, ‘the lane leading to the Soke of Portpool’ from Flemish ‘Vroon’, a Soke or Manor. At that period the land here was held by a man of Flemish origin, and it seems that the lane was formed and named during his occupation.” John Stow in his 1598 Survey of London described it as still surrounded by fields but development was coming having been “lately replenished with houses built.”

 

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