The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from:


Pepys and his wife lived in a house on this street, just south of modern-day Downing Street, in Westminster, from August 1658 to July 1660.

See here for the house itself.

1893 text

Pepys’s house was on the south side of King Street, Westminster; it is singular that when he removed to a residence in the city, he should have settled close to another Axe Yard. Fludyer Street stands on the site of Axe Yard, which derived its name from a great messuage or brewhouse on the west side of King Street, called “The Axe,” and referred to in a document of the 23rd of Henry VIII — B.

13 Annotations

language hat   Link to this

Axe Yard, about where King Charles Street meets Parliament Street, in 1658-1660 (Parliament Street is the south end of Whitehall)


language hat   Link to this

The paragraph defining Axe Yard is confusing.
In the first place, there is no Fludyer St. any more, and I don't think there was when the paragraph was written (from the Diary Introduction: "...lived in Axe Yard, close by King Street, Westminster, a place on the site of which was built Fludyer Street. This, too, was swept away for the Government offices in 1864-65.); its location (just south of Downing St., which of course also didn't exist in Pepys' time) can be seen on this 1859 London map:

Another confusing factor is that the "King Street" mentioned in the paragraph has nothing to do with the current street of that name north of Pall Mall; it was the main north-south street running through Westminster towards London, in roughly the same location as modern Parliament St. and Whitehall (which of course in Pepys' day meant the royal palace, more or less across the street from Axe Yard). It therefore didn't have a "south side"; I presume "off the west side" is meant, and the writer was led astray by the fact that the King St. extant in his day (as in ours) was east-west.

I hope all this doesn't simply introduce more confusion! Anyone who wants to be clear about the geography should consult the Latham-Matthews edition (vol. 1, 1970), which has an excellent map of Westminster on p. xxv showing every last alley.

Phil   Link to this

The Axe Yard footnote is tagged 'B', which signifies it was written by Lord Braybrooke, who produced editions of Pepys' Diary in earlier parts of the 19th century, so I assume Fludyer St still existed when he wrote this footnote. The Diary Introduction page was written by Wheatley in 1893. The map link indicates the modern equivalent location of Axe Yard, now Downing St, which hopefully makes things a little clearer.

Thanks for the comments 'language hat'.

Phil   Link to this

I've altered the location on the map link slightly so it now correctly points to the old location of Axe Yard/Fludyer Street, rather than Downing Street.

Susanna   Link to this

Another Map with Ax Yard

This is part of a map of London from 1746, showing the area around Westminster, including Ax Yard and King Street:

The whole map is available here, organized by street name:

Phil   Link to this

Wow, that's a great map, thanks Susanna. A shame there isn't anything similar for before the Great Fire.

language hat   Link to this

I add my thanks.
People are turning up some great resources!

maureen   Link to this

I discovered by accident that Axe Yard was named for the Axe Brewery on the site of present Downing Street. Quite a bit of history on and elsewhere on the No 10 website.

vincent   Link to this

Downing and his street and his forsight:this from
Helps to explain SP's insight in to the Man:

David Quidnunc   Link to this

Residents of Axe Yard & Valentine Vanley:

Mr. (Henry?) Adams
friend of Shepley

Francis Beale (at the Axe Tavern by 1660)
Pepys's landlord

Dr. Frederick Clodius

Mrs. Crisp
lived close to Pepys

Laud Crisp
Mrs. Crisp's son

Richard Dalton
Sergeant to the wine cellar for the King, buys Pepys's lease

Mr. (John?) Hill

Elizabeth Hunt
wife of John Hunt

John Hunt
clerk in the Excise Office

Kate Sterpin Petit
at one time maid to Elizabeth Pye

Valentine Vanley (Wanley, NOT an Axe Yard resident)
of Lambeth; owns the freehold on the house Pepys rented

Thomas Wade
officer of the Commonwealth victualling commission

David Quidnunc   Link to this

More Axe Yard residents

Samuel Hartlib, Senior
Polish/Prussian refugee; friend of John Milton's

Samuel Hartlib, Junior (POSSIBLE resident)
underclerk: Council of State; Privy Council; Hearth Office

Anne Hartlib Rothe
daughter of Hartlib Senior & Junior's sister

Edward Widdrington, related to
Thomas Widdrington
and Ralph Widdrington

G Coldham   Link to this

I am seeking information about a medieval Tavern called the Ax(e) adjacent to St Mary-atte-Axe.

I found an internet reference of a fine Roll mentionin "asce de coleman"
(Acse? de Coleman)..
I somehow doubt it was called (orginally) The Axe of Coleman but rather something like the axe of Colone, Cologne, colonia??--due to legend thereof.
Any ideas,please???


CGS   Link to this

two meanings as cleaved from the OED, one to lop off, a tool to fell a tree, the other meaning was an axle for wheels to rotate on , so it might be possible that Ax yard be an old site for making axles and installing wheels, like a forge, close to the major customer for wheeled chariots, and other jobs to keep the powers to be, mobile, horses shoed etc.,

just tort?

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