Despite appearances to the contrary this is not named after a steelyard. The name is a corruption from the Middle Low German word Stalhof or Stilliarde, which was a self-governing enclave run by a powerful group of medieval German merchants. Known as the Hanseatic League, they were granted certain privileges and were exempt from customs duties and some taxes. This walled community had its own warehouses on the river, its own weighing house, chapel, counting houses, a guildhall, cloth halls, wine cellars, kitchens, and residential quarters. The Germans used the former All-Hallows-the-Great Church, since there was only a small chapel on their own premises. Despite operating here for nearly 200 years the traders only purchased the property in 1475, when it became universally known as the Steelyard.
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