Preston Street Names – Prologue

See also: Stand Prick Lane – the forgotten Preston street name

Preston in the 17th-Century: from a manuscript compiled by Dr Kuerden 1684

Enumeration refers to Annotations below

The antient Burrough is very pleasantly seated upon a high or riseing ground, more especially from the south or west; such a situation as the Britains or Romans in antient time either prefixed or annexed a Dunum or Duno to the names of towns so seated in this Burrough. In those days by Ptolemy it was styled Tibo Dunum or Tigo Dunum, from the British word Dun 1, a hill or elevated situation; as may appear in many towns in Gaul and Britain; as formerly hath been hinted at, as well as on the sight of this Burrough of Preston which southward for many miles yeilding forth a very fayre and pleasant prospect, as upon London Road as far as Chernoc green distant some 6 or 7 miles, and by the Lirpole road from Ormeschurch more 12 customary miles at least. * * *. This Burrough from the entrance thereunto, upon south to the townsend on the north, being a full statute mile in length 2, though’d be not altogether so much from the eastern part to the west thereof.

This Burrough is much adorned with its large square or market place, as likewise with the streets thereof, which are so spacious from one end thereof to the other, that few of the corporations of England exceed the same, either for streets or market place. In the middle of the Burrough is placed an ample antient yet well beautifyed gylde or town hall 3 or toll bothe, to which is annexed, at the end thereof a counsell chamber for the capitall burgesses or jurors at their court days to retire for consultation, or secretly to retire themselves from the common burgesses or the publiq root of people as occasion shall require. * * *

Under this hall are arranged two rows of butchers shopps 4 on either side, and a row at either end, where victualls are exposed dayly for the use of man, excepting Sundays, as also weekly on the public market dayes (etc) Wednesday and Saturday, and Friday being ever a market for fish, butter, and cheese, as likewise in the evening for yarn; Wednesday likewise being a market for fish, butter, and cheese; And Upon Saturday, as soon as light appears, is the market bell for linnen cloth; which ended, yarn appears, bread and fish of all sorts butter and cheese, as formerly, the fish all in a row upon the fish stones and places adjacent; their butter and cheese, and pullen, and potters about the butter crosse, in the end of Cheapside market; and bread nere unto the fish-market.

The cattell market, ordinarily in Church-street, and upon Saturday only; their horse market in Fishergate, and begins about the ending of their market for cattell. The swyne market over against the church; their sheep early on the west side of the Market-square above the shoomakers stalls; and the leather cutters’ earthern vessells in Cheepside, and wooden vessell in the west end of Market-place, below the barley market The upper corn market 5 beginning at one of the clock, upon the corn bell ringing; here standeth for sale rowes of wheat, rye, groates in their distinct fyles and orders, below them to the west is the barley and bean market, places in distinct and well ordered rowes, in which place before the corn comes into town, was hydes and skins exposed for sale until 9 or 10 aclock. Below the ,fish stones 6 standeth the stalls of hardwaremen, with all sort of iron instruments; in the midst of the Market-place aside the barley market, are the stalls for brass and pewter; and higher above them ranges of stalls for pedlars and cloth cutters, hosiers and the like; yet notwithstanding all these varetys of wares and mechandizes thus exposed, most of the burgesses or inhabitants of the Burrough, have shops about the Market-place and in other streets, in their houses or nere unto their lodgings, were the several companyes of tradesmen dayly expose wares for sale.

The streets belonging to this town or burrough are very spacious, good handsome on either side, here and there interwoven with stately fabricks of brickbuilding after the Modish manner, extraordinarily addorning the streets which they belong unto. The first street as you enter upon the south side from the bridge 7 is Fenkell-street, unto the barrs; and from the barrs proceeding to the town’s hall is styled the Church-street (8), all though the other part below the barrs hath been, and is, vulgarly taken for a part thereof. From the Church-street, in a straight line proceeding westward, the whole street is called the Fishergate-street. And over against the church, proceeding northward to Salter-lane, was esteemed to be the Vicar or Vicarage-street 9 or alley, by reason that at the end thereof, the antient vicarage stood before delapidation, and the tithebarn were adjacent. From the end of Vicarage-street or lane, a spacious street passed westward, and this is called St. John-street (10), (now called Lord-street) and from thence a back lan 11 passing beside the town, falling into Fryergate barrs . . . And from the west end of St. John’s-street, and the little short street or alley passing southerly into the lower end of Market-place, this is called Fryer’s Weend 12. And likewise from the midst of St. John’s-street, passing by the horsemill southward into another square 13 with a draw well in the midst thereof, into which square the mayor and counsell did intend to translate their fish stones or fish market, out of the larger market place.

And from this lesser square is another alley lately adorned with new building, passing into the Market-place, at the upper end of the come market; and this alley or passage from the aforesaid lesser square hath been antiently called Gin Bow Entry 14.

There is likewise below the Churchgate barrs another public footway southward, leading to the bridge over the Ribble into London-road; and this passage at it entrance out of the town was called Cockerholem 15.

Another remarkable foot pasage toward Ribble Bridge is through the Churchyard southward, by the publiq schoole and antient place called Chappel of Avenam, over the Swillbrook southward, by West-feld to the aforesaid Bridge of Rible; and this passage is called Stonygate, being the greatest foot tract to the Burrough of Preston.

Another passage southward, about the midst of Church-street, more privatly passing either to the bridge or bote, – and is at present styled the passage through Cockshutt’s back side 16.

Another passage southward, is over against the Shambles or Town Hall, and leadeth by the Minspitt well, and over Avenam to Rible side, passing along the river to the boate or ferry of Penwortham, and this is called Minspitt-lane 17 or Pettycoat-ally, by reason of the-frequent carrying of water by Women, and the milkmaids bringing their dayly milk and butter this way, from beyond the river Rible.

At the west end of the Fishergate, there is one lane or footpath, likewise leading over Avenham, from the Almes-house to the aforesaid boat at Penwortham, and this is called the Almes-house-lane or Passage to the boat 18.

From the Church-street or Town Hall westward, in a direct line, continues another spacious street leading towards the river of Rible, or Broadgate (19), as they call it; and this street as far as the buildings extend, is called Fishergate-street, and the end thereof, at the ford of the Rible or the horseway to the boat, when the river is not fordable, is called Broadgate, from whence going southerly they pass over the river, there divided by three streams (20), a very secure passage if the water be not too deep by fresh or flood; in such cases when they come to the riverside at the aforesaid Broadgate, they must follow the river eastward, about a quarter of a mile, untill they arrive at the key or wharf over against the boat house, where diverse boats are ready, as occasion may require, for horse or foot to waft them over to the other side, from thence to pass through Leyland Lane to Eccleston; and from thence to passe to Wigan by Standish, or by Maudsley to Ormschurch, and so to Liverpole; or westward unto Croston; or when over the ford or boat, upon the right hand road, through Penwortham, Longton, Hoole, Ormschurch, and so to Liverpoole.

Now from the corner end of the Market-street or square passing by the northwest through a fayre long and spacious street cal’d the Fryergate-street, by reason upon that side of the town was formerly a larg and sumptuous building, former belonging to the Fryers Minor or Gray Fryers 21, but now only reserved for the reforming of vagabonds, surly beggars, and petty larcenary thieves, and other people wanting of good behaviour; is now the country prison to entertain such person with hard work, spare dyet, and whipping, and it is cal’d the House of Correction. At the upper end of this street without the barrs, is a passage westward, either for horse or foot by this Fryery or House of Correction, to the upper end of the Marsh, where there is a lower ford to passe over the water to the Church or Hall of Penwortham, although not altogether so safe as the aforesaid Upper Ford; and this passage betwixt the Burrough and the said Pryory is styled the Fryerss’-wind (22).

When you pass through the barrs towards the Townsend Hall now belonging-to Mr. Rigby, of Paternoster-rowe, upon the left hand westward lyeth the publiq road by Preston Marsh unto the Fyld Country 23, or the plain and westron part of the said Amounderness hundred, followeing allong the side to the river of Rible towards the market town of Kirkham, and toward that of Poulton. But upon the right hand northerly, lyes the great road 24 towards Lancaster by way of Garstang

There is likewise when you enter the town upon the south or eastern side, a way to pass by the body of the town over Preston More and Fulwood by Broughton northward, by Garstang aforesaid, towards the burrough of Lancaster. This burrough is likewise adorned with spacious wel built or rather re-edified church 26, for the decent and more commodious solemnization of religious rytes and instruction of the people in sound and healthful Christian doctrines, and hereunto this church is built a large and hansom schoole house 27 for the better education of their children, and bringing them up in humane learning, making them fitter for trade or other better preferment in the world 28. Adjacent unto which is lately raised a publiq workhouse 29, to employ the poorer sort of people especially women and children in a worsted trade of yarn, thereby better to maintain their family from begging. And there are likewise 3 other hospitalls or publiq alms houses 30 erected for the habitation of many old, impotant, decrepid, and other of the most needy persons, to preserve them with charity from starveing and extreme necessityes; and these and many familyes apeece, are placed at the ends of three severall streets for the more ‘commodious assistance.


The bondary confining the franchises and libertyes of this burrough of Preston, beginneth upon the south side, at the much famed river of Rible, at a place cal’d the washing stood 31, and from thence ascend up, easterly, by a little rill or rivulet called the Swill-brooke, crossing the London-road and passing upward to the head thereof, till you come over against the town of Fishwick (32), from which the brooke parteth this burrough aforesaid; and from thence the bonds pass the norward, to the entrance close upon Ribbleton more, nere if not close by, the crosse upon the highway a little above Ribchester 33, toward the citty of York; and from this crosse, passing by the west side of that more, still northward, through some closes unto Eavs brook, and thus it is seperated from the village of Ribbleton; upon the east from thence, passing down the Eavs brook untill it fallith into the water of Savock, and thus it is parted from the forest of Fullwood and Cadily more; so descending the water Savock to a certain old ditch which is the bondry betwixt Preston and Tulketh; soe following that old ditch southward, by Lancaster-lane, untill you arrive to Preston Marsh, a little west from the water Milne; and so following the milne stream westward, after the north side of the marsh, untill it crosse up southward towards Rible, but following that stream to Rible water; and so following Rible eastward, by midst of that water, until it come past to boat over against Preston, to the afore mentioned washing steeds, into the Swillbrook.


Kuerden’s description of Preston was published in 1818 with notes by John Taylor. The original manuscript, now in Cheetham’s Hospital Library, was written about 1684.

The annotations below are by Charles Hardwick in his book The History of Preston and its Environs, published in 1857 by John Worthington & Co, of Preston.


  1. This name is doubtful.
  2. From Church Street to Friargate, the latter at the time was the principal-road to the north.
  3. The roof and the greater part of the walls of this building fell in 1780. The present edifice was erected shortly afterwards upon the site of the ancient town hall.
  4. The butchers’ shops were not incorporated into the new edifice, but the narrow street leading into the market place still retains the name of the Old Shambles. The New Shambles, built in 1715, is speedily to follow the fate of its predecessor, the improvements now in progress by the Earl of Derby in Lancaster Road include the removal of the rude piazza, and the erection of handsome shops upon the site.
  5. The Corn Market was removed to Lune Street in 1824 on the erection of the present Corn Exchange. (Later known as the Public Hall -. J.B.).
  6. The Fishstones were removed by order of the Corporation from the Market-place in 1853 and established in one of the large rooms in the Corn Exchange. There is, however, no regular fish market at the present time, the removal to the Corn Exchange not conducing to the interest of the trade.
  7. The old bridge at Walton. The other bridges over the Ribble were not built at the time Kuerden’s manuscript was written.
  8. The entire length from the Town Hall to the House of Correction is now called Church Street. “One of the Church Street bar posts, the editor well remembers standing close to the house on the site of which now stands the house and shop occupied by Mr. Yates the grocer at the corner of Cocker Hole, now Water Street.” – Taylor’s notes.
  9. The present St. John Street and Tithebarn Street.
  10. Now named Lord Street. The present St. John Street leading from the church to Tithebarn Street was till a few years ago called the Church Weend.
  11. This street retains the name Back Lane (Now called Market Street – J.B.).
  12. Now Anchor Wiend because the house opposite the south end was formerly a public house known by the sign of the Anchor. (The continuation of the street across Friargate is now known as Anchor Court. – J.B.).
  13. Molyneux Square, the Earl of Derby’s improvements will erase this little square from the map of Preston. The site will form part of the new Lancaster Road.
  14. Gin Bow Entry still rejoices in its ancient patronymic, but the “adornment effected by the new building,” has followed in the wake of terrestrical beauty and succumbed to the in fluence of time. (The site is now occupied by the Harris Free Library and Museum. – J.B.).
  15. Water Street is generally considered to be the ancient Coker Hole, although from a verdict recorded in the ‘Court Leet Book’ and quoted on page 33 of the present work (page 88 in Hewitson’s ‘Preston Court Leet’) it would appear that the deep gully by which the Roman Road descended to the ford over the Ribble was the true Cocker Hole. Some people still call Water Street Cocker Hole Lane. More than one passage led to the Ribble via this hollow. The path described by Kuerden passed most probably over the Roman Road which crossed Church Street next to the Blue Bell Inn. Another footpath may have joined this road from near to the present Water Street, which appears to be a more modern thoroughfare opened about the time of the closing of the old footpath.
  16. The present Turk’s Head Court.
  17. In 1729a large circular well was sunk by Mr. Robert Abbott and a Mr. Woodcock upon the site of the “Min Spit Well” and portions of the town supplied with water by means of pipes and forcing engine. These early “waterworks” were popularly styled the Folly, from the supposed Quixotism of the innovation! A public well however, remained near the end of the “Main Sprit Wiend” till the Gas Company, having previously purchased the property, erected in 1850, a large gas holder upon the site. In 1774, the alley was called “Mid Spit Weint”.
  18. Since called Brewery Lane; now Mount Street. The almshouses were situated at the north west corner of this lane.
  19. The beautiful terrace to the left, when passing from the bottom of Fishergate to Penwortham Bridge, is erected upon this Broadgate which still retains its ancient name.
  20. In the early part of this present century, the “Holm” was a single island, the middle stream having disappeared. The Southern channel which passed below Penwortham Wood was sufficiently deep to permit small vessels to discharge their cargoes at the foot of Penwortham Brow. Through the influence of an artificial “caul” or weir, this southern channel is now totally blocked up. The “Holm” has therefore ceased to be an island and the river now flows in a single stream. The three channels are visible upon a “South Prospect of Preston”, drawn and engraved by S. and N. Buck in 1728. On a plan published in 1738 by Robert P. Porter of Goosnargh, two large islands and three smaller ones are distinctly marked. The largest is called the “Holme”. The present Penwortham Bridge was built in the year 1759, on the site of one which fell shortly after its erection. It is situated midway between the old ford and the ferry. (This is now known as Old Penwortham Bridge, the New Penwortham Bridge, built lower down the river at the foot of Fishergate Hill, was opened in 1915. Another road bridge, crossing the river near the old Victoria Quay, was opened in 1986 – J.B.). The boat house and landing stairs remain to this day, the former, which has been somewhat modernised, was a few years ago used as a public house. A sculptured stone in the front wall of the building exhibits the arms of the Fleetwood family, and the date 1626.
  21. The Friary was converted to cottage dwellings after the erection of the House of Correction in Church Street in 1789. Mr. Whittle says the building was used for a time as a cotton factory, some operations in connection to the staple trade may have been carried out within its precincts. It was certainly, as Miller’s map of Preston testifies, for some time used as a barrack, it is now nearly erased. One small part of the wall alone remains, and forms a portion of workshop in connection with Mr. Stevenson’s foundry.
  22. Now Bridge Street and Marsh Lane.
  23. Near Tulketh Hall three distinct roads within a very few yards of each other are still visible. The present highway was made by the Wyre Railway Company, the road previously used turns beneath one of the arches of the viaduct. The old Fylde Road went down to the marsh corner and turned sharply under the brow nearer Tulketh Hall. The remains of this road will be soon erased.
  24. From Fylde Lane beneath the canal aqueduct. This road is now stopped. Small portions of it, however, yet remain.
  25. By St. John Street and Park Lane (formerly Salter Lane) to Gallows Hill etc.
  26. “The roof of this church fell on Wednesday the 7th of February, 1770. The north and south walls were taken down, and the whole rebuilt the following year. The steeple being in a very delapidated state, was taken down in the later end of the year 1811., and the present handsome tower was rebuilt in the year 1816 partly by subscription, and partly out of the regular church leys, through the indefatigable exertions of Mr. John Fallowfield jun., one of the church wardens.” — Taylor’s notes. The whole church, with the exception of the lower portion of the tower, was taken down in 1853. The present handsome structure was completed in 1855.
  27. The old “Free Grammar School” situated at the bottom of Stonygate, near the old “Shepherd’s Library”. Rebuilt for shops last year (1856).
  28. Kuerden’s manuscript in the Heralds’ College further records that, “for the more ease of the people, there had been lately built on the south side of the church, a large spacious and well adorned gallery, for the gentry of the town, who were farmers”. The same document likewise adds, “There has been annexed to it”(the school house) an handsome fabric adjoining to it as a fitting habitation for a schoolmaster, for convenience and ease over the school, a fitting place for the scholars retirement, for making their exercises, as likewise upon occasion, if needful, for a scriviner to make use of with least prejudice to the scholars as to their absence or attendance.” The schoolmasters residence has latterly been converted into an inn or public house and designated the “Arkwrights’ Arms”, from the circumstances that the inventor of the spinning jenny set up one of his earliest machines in this building, whilst in the occupation of his patron, Mr. Smalley.
  29. “This is now occupied as private dwellings, and a large and substantial workhouse has been erected on Preston Moor.” – Taylor’s notes 1818. This building was taken down in 1850. The lodge belonging to the factory of Messrs. Jacson and Co., now occupies a large portion of the site. The old workhouse fronted towards Avenham Lane, at the corner of Bolton’s Court.
  30. The Heralds’ College gives the following further particulars respecting these hospitals or almshouses:- “1st. At the end of the town (Friargate) for eight or ten almspeople. 2nd. Next near the end of Lemon’s Charity. 3rd. At the end of Fishergate, consisting of eight rooms, erected by the widow of Bartho Worthington and Eliz Harrison, widow.”
  31. At the foot of Avenham Walks. The mouth of the brook is now converted into a culvert. The entire streamlet, from London Road, will shortly form one of the main sewers of the town.
  32. The few scattered buildings, between the head of the brook and the Ribble, could scarcely, at the present time, by any stretch of complaisance, be designated a town. The portion of Preston which extends over the brook into the township of Fishwick, has been erected during the present century.
  33. Ribchester is eight miles east of this boundary. The Heralds’ College manuscript, as quoted by Mr. Edward Baines, reads correctly as follows: “nere if not close by, the crosse upon the highway leading to Ribchester.” The pedestal of the stone cross still remains.


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