Named after the thrice married Alice Owen (1547 – October 26, 1613) whose generosity to the poor of Clerkenwell was well-known. The story goes that as a young woman Alice Wilkes, as she was before her marriage, was taking a stroll through a field when she stopped to milk a cow. As she bent down an arrow, fired by an archer practising in the fields, passed through the crown of her hat. As thanks for this divine intervention, she vowed to help the poor. Years passed and when her third husband Thomas Owen died in 1598 she became a wealthy widow. Not forgetting the promise she had made she used her inheritance to found almshouses and a school, which were administered by the Brewers’ Company. This street was laid out over Hermitage Field, the very field that she was crossing when she nearly met her death.
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