St. Laurence Lane (Guildhall)

In early modern London, there were two Laurence Lanes: St. Lawrence Poultney Lane, which served as the boundary between Downgate and Candlewick wards, and St. Laurence Lane, Guildhall which was in Cheap ward (Harben). The latter Laurence Lane, to which this page refers, held great importance in the procession of mayoral pageants. It ran north-south, connecting Cheapside at the south and Cateaton Street (labelled on the Agas map as Ketton St.) in the north. It ran parallel between Milk Street to the west and Ironmonger Lane to the east. It is drawn correctly on the Agas map and is labelled as S. Laurence lane.
St. Laurence Lane, Stow tells us, is so called of S. Laurence church, which standeth directly ouer against the north end thereof (270. Harben’s research confirms this; former names included: Street of St. Laurence in the Jewry (1108-30) and Lane of S. Laurence Jewry (1273-4). Stow explains that this church, so called because of olde time many Iewes inhabited there about, was fayre and large (1:275). In regards to antiquities in this lane, Stow finds none other, then Gap in transcription. Reason: Editorial omission for reasons of length or relevance. Use only in quotations in born-digital documents. (KL)[…] one large Inne for receipt of trauelers, called Blossoms Inne, but corruptly Bosoms Inne (1:270-71).
St. Laurence Lane held great importance in the processional route of mayoral pageants. Once the barges returned from Westminster and disembarked at Barnard’s Castle or Paul’s Stairs, the procession moved from Paul’s Churchyard to Cheapside, where pageant stations tended to be placed at the Little Conduit and at the end of Lawrence Lane (Hill 3). These stations often staged emblematic pageants comprised of allegorical speeches and songs. Squire’s Tes Irenes Trophæa, or the Triumphs of Peace, for example, details how the ſhew paſſed along till the Lord Maior came to Saint Laurence lane end, where Peace began to ſpeake thus (sig. B4v). However, as Hill remarks, it is important to note that these shows did not follow the same format every time, but they were broadly similar from year to year (2). For another example of St. Laurence Lane’s role in mayoral pageants, see MoEML’s Critical Companion to The Triumphs of Truth.
While Laurence Lane does survive in modern London, it has been significantly shortened: the north and south ends are now culs-de-sac and the lane no longer serves as a passage to the Guildhall. Additionally, the lane no longer holds the same importance in the modern Lord Mayor’s shows. In 2013, for example, the mayoral procession did not even venture into Cheap ward, as evidenced by the 2013 processional map. After the Great Fire of London, King Street (built between Ironmonger Lane and St. Laurence Lane) and Queen Street were constructed as a thoroughfare between the Thames and the Guildhall, effectively replacing St. Laurence Lane as the main passage to the Guildhall.


Cite this page

MLA citation

Takeda, Joey. St. Laurence Lane (Guildhall) The Map of Early Modern London, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 26 Jun. 2020,

Chicago citation

Takeda, Joey. St. Laurence Lane (Guildhall) The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed June 26, 2020.

APA citation

Takeda, J. 2020. St. Laurence Lane (Guildhall) In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London. Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from

RIS file (for RefMan, EndNote etc.)

Provider: University of Victoria
Database: The Map of Early Modern London
Content: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

A1  - Takeda, Joey
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - St. Laurence Lane (Guildhall)
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
PY  - 2020
DA  - 2020/06/26
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  -
UR  -
ER  - 


RT Web Page
SR Electronic(1)
A1 Takeda, Joey
A6 Jenstad, Janelle
T1 St. Laurence Lane (Guildhall)
T2 The Map of Early Modern London
WP 2020
FD 2020/06/26
RD 2020/06/26
PP Victoria
PB University of Victoria
LA English
OL English

TEI citation

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