I now propose to give some particulars respecting Chandlers' Lane, which many of my old fellow citizens will still remember. The earliest reference to it, which I have noticed, is in the Records, vol. i., page 430—A.D. 1366. In the Date Book, 1862, March 25th, page 519, we are informed that "The demolition of the buildings in Chandlers' Lane, and Bottle Lane (both) to form Victoria Street, commenced." A wide avenue for traffic had long been required in this part, but especially before the upper end of Pelham Street was nearly doubled in width; and after the little foot-road termed Queen Street was much enlarged, probably about 1855, for an addition would be caused in that part to the stream of traffic through or near the Market Place.
At their upper ends Chandlers' Lane and Bottle Lane were entirely distinct, but connected by little Queen Street, which, according to my large scale unique plan, was about thirty-two yards in length. As the making of a large new street in such a position was certain to create very valuable frontages, the Corporation wisely obtained power to purchase the whole of the buildings on each side of Chandlers' Lane, to and including the north side of Bottle Lane, thus enabling the town in a certain degree to recoup itself for the cost. Anyone passing up Bottle Lane may soon perceive that the whole of the buildings to the left are practically new. The two lanes though unconnected at the top were joined about seventeen or eighteen yards from the bottom, according to my large unique plan, and then by the same outlet each led into the north end of Bridlesmith Gate. I have various other plans confirming this, in addition to that of Deering, to whose plan I refer my readers for explanation.
Anyone towards the bottom of the Poultry who was looking eastward, when close to the outer side of the pillars carrying the fronts of the shops (south side) would, in 1861, be unable to see the outlet from the two lanes mentioned; and the lower end of Victoria Street was formed through property to the north of, and quite unconnected with, either of the lanes. One of the shops pulled down at the top of the Poultry when making the street through that part, was once occupied by Mr. Josiah Corbett, a dealer in toys, and then by Mr. Beecroft. It was a pretty Elizabethan structure, with steep roofs, wood framed, &c., two storeys high, and having two gables facing the Poultry. According to a recent plan of the town, the south side of Victoria Street and the shop pillars in the Poultry appear to be nearly in a line.
I have given a few additional details, that to a certain extent they may explain some remarks in the Records respecting Chandler or Chandlers' Lane. In vol. i., page 430, there is as follows:—"Chandlers' Lane . . . enlarged and called 'Victoria Street,' A.D. 1862." As Victoria Street is to a considerable extent formed of ground which never belonged to Chandlers' Lane, and its lower end completely separated from it, and running into the Poultry, while the two old lanes ran into Bridlesmith Gate (see large photograph Directories, &c.), it would be incorrect to say that the above extract properly explains the case. In vol. v., page 448, may be found as follows:— "Chandlers' Lane, . . . now Victoria Street," which is doubtless misleading, for it merely denotes an alteration of name, which, considering the great changes really carried out, is doubtless inaccurate, and it must be remembered that many are still left who have a full knowledge of the transformation.
Warser Gate will now be brought under consideration. This road has, I believe, as many, if not more, ancient names than others amongst the old streets of Nottingham. The oldest is probably Walsete, then Wallesete, Walsetgate, Walleshedgate, Wallsergate, Walsergate, Whorsegate, and Warsargate. The earliest reference to it I have noticed in the Records is vol. i., page 441, and A.D. 1331 as Walsete, but from another source it is probable that I may be enabled to date back fully 100 years earlier.
As many will be aware, the Jews were expelled from England in 1290 by Edward I., and from what I am proposing to introduce shortly, there can be no doubt that in or near this street (Walsete), and before that date, the chief location of the Jews in Nottingham was to be found. I am also convinced that at the same time some of them were residing in or close to Jew Lane (St. Nicholas Street), and so originated that name. There is also full evidence in the Records of their close connection (as will shortly be shown) with Seynt Peterlayne, now Church Gate.
I have been favoured with a book entitled, "Hebrew Deeds of English Jews before 1290,—Edited by M. D. Davis," and from it I propose to give a few extracts relating to Nottingham, but specially in some cases to Wall Street (Walsete). In the book there is a reference to Jews in Norwich, Nottingham, Lincoln, Canterbury, London, York, Colchester, and Oxford, and chiefly in relation to deeds or property, and money matters at Nottingham, of which there appear to be fifty-one cases. The first, on page 219, is respecting the settlement of a bond for twenty shillings, and half a measure of wheat, which in these days would probably be equivalent to nearly thirty pounds. In connection with the case, "David le Lumbard," entitled " Ballivus Judasorum de Nottingham," is referred to, and is mentioned on page 277 as "the most eminent of the Jews in Nottingham." This is dated Nottingham, 1230, and appears to be extracted at Westminster.
On page 222 is a memorandum respecting a debt of 100 shillings, dated Nottingham, 1233 (? and extracted at the) Public Record Office. On page 221 a deed is referred to, dated 1231, and "Selden's Titles of Honour" (Revised) is mentioned in connection with it. In 1250, there was a surrender of property to a son-in-law, and it is described as "situate in the parish of St. Mary, Wall Street, Nottingham; "and appears to be extracted at " Westminster."
On page 239 "Amios ben David Lumbard of Nottingham subscribes his signature before two witnesses, and acknowledges that Thomas Brien of Radcliffe on Soar, has settled accounts with him and his father David. . . ." 1255. This is the more interesting from being told that " the Bonds are in the Nottingham depository."
Page 241. Isaac ben Diaia acknowledges "that he has released Richard, Prior of Nottingham (?) from a debt payable on the Morrow of Candlemas," 1256. On page 244—1257, "the Synagogue with Cellar below" is referred to. In the Records, vol. i., page 430, is the following: "A.D. 1391, cottage of Henry Plumptre, formerly the Jews Synagogue ('Schola Judaeorum'), in the Street leading from the Church of St. Peter to the Friars Minor. . . ." This is now called Church Gate. On page 249, 1259, we are told respecting an acquittance of a debt, "the counterpart not being forthcoming this document is delivered to the Nottingham authorities." In this case the town authorities are expressly mentioned as custodians.
Page 244. In payment by Jacob ben Menahem, 1257, when purchasing a house, it is said, " he lays down as an equivalent the sum of one hundred 'genuine' shillings." Page 252, 1261, "Abraham ben Crespin acquires a house situate in Wallstreete, Nottingham, the vendor being Felia daughter of Meshullam. Forty 'genuine' shillings is the consideration." Pages 255-6 in the same year, and to the same purchaser, "Belia daughter of R. Moses, yields possession of a house in Wall Street. . . ." Pages 258-59, "The Vendor in the present instance is Abraham ben Joseph. Abraham Crespin, the elder thus acquires three properties in Wall-strete Nottingham, . . ." in 1261.
On an occasion or two the name of a martyred Jew is given, and at various times there are entries as on page 272, in effect, as follows: "The deed is accompanied with the usual order directed to the Nottingham cofferers, desiring them to withdraw the Bond from the Chest, the Creditor having lost his counterpart." Or as on page 242, where there is reference to "an authorisation directed to the Chirographers of Nottingham, to remove from the local coffer a deed, embracing the names of Jacob ben Jacob, and John de Sanville." We must not forget that these matters relating to Nottingham Jews on an average date back about 650 years.
I propose next to consider Beck Lane, and also the line of way now known as Beck Street, &c. The former is much the older title, and the first allusion to it which I have noticed is in the Records, vol. i., page 428, 1387. On page 433, vol. iv., it is said, "Beck Lane. See preceding volumes. Beck Street." This is an error which I cannot account for. The northern or lower end of Beck Lane, and the southern or higher end of Beck Street were divided by a main road of fair width at that part, termed St. John Street. A large official plan of Nottingham, brought out in 1829 by Messrs. Stavely (the Town Surveyor) and Wood, shows that Beck Street was then entitled Beck Barn, and I am fully aware that its name was changed in my time to Beck Street, also that Beck Lane, and Beck Street, or older names were always unconnected, and necessarily so, for Beck Lane was within the town walls, and Beck Barn or Lamleygate without. Lameleigate is the old title, and I find it referred to on old plans, and in the Records, vol. i., page 125, in 1335.
When the roadway was called Beck Street, in 1830, it included the part only which was known as Beck Barn, and there has been no change or addition to it since, except by increasing its width as opportunity offered. Under such conditions, it is more than strange to find in the Records, vol. iii., page 476, the statement, "Sandy Lane recently renamed Beck Street," which is inexplicable, for as a designation Sandy Lane was officially abolished more than seventy, but probably exceeding eighty years previous to the third volume of the Records being issued; and many years before Beck Street was adopted as a title. The two streets also run in different directions. Such being the case, there will be no surprise that Sandy Lane is unmentioned by Blackner in his list of streets in 1815, and also in White's Directory of 1832, and Dearden's of 1834. Still it is a name which is very hard to kill, for on various occasions quite recently I have heard elderly people use it in conversation.
There is in the Records, vol. v., page 447, the following reference:—"Beck Lane, . . . now Heath-cote Street," which is misleading, and likely with most to give a wrong impression respecting the facts. Commencing at the upper or Goose Gate end, the narrow lane was flagged for a distance and a mere footpath, a portion of which was little more than 2 yards wide, but at the lower end, and until a little above Highcross Street, it was possible to pass along with a conveyance.