Long Acre, WC2E

Place Name

Agricultural heritage. This was originally a field owned by Westminster Abbey but had, at the time of development, come into possession of the Duke of Bedford, it having been sold to John Russell, First Earl of Bedford in 1552. The name itself derived from the Middle English word aker, which came from the Old English aecer and which was probably introduced by the Romans with the Latin word ager, meaning field. An acre was typically an area that could be plowed in one day with a yoke of oxen pulling a wooden plow. During the reign of Edward VI it was named in a Patent Roll of AD1547 as a “pasture called Longeacre” which then lent its name to the path that ran along its edge. The road itself was laid out in AD1615 when Bedford and a speculator Sir William Slingsby who owned adjoining land decided to develop it despite a Royal Proclamation banning new buildings in the area surrounding the capital.


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