Lombard Lane, EC4Y

Place Name

Sheila Fairfield in The Streets of London suggests it could come from a personal name. However, more likely it is a relic of the neighbourhood’s former notoriety. In the 14thCentury Lombard became a slang term for those who were heavily in debt to moneylenders. Following the expulsion of the Jews in 1290, the Lombards, originally from Lombardy in North Italy, had become the main moneylenders and bankers in medieval England. According to Walter Thornbury in Old and New London from as early as the reign of Edward III, the holy friars were complaining about the gross temptations of Lombard Lane. The area had become crammed with debtors and fugitives from the law since the precinct of the White Friars Priory had the privilege of granting religious sanctuary. It was recorded as Lumbardstret in 1318 and Lumbardestrete in 1321 and recorded in 1732 as Lombard Street although it was later altered to avoid confusion with Lombard Street.

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