Birchin (later and now Birchen) Lane runs thru between Cornhill and Lombard St., east of Exchange Alley and west of Grace Church Street.
Bircbin Lane, from CORNHILL, opposite the east end of the Royal Exchange, to Lombard Street.
Then have ye Birchover Lane, so called of Birchover, the first builder and owner thereof, now corruptly called Birchin Lane. . . . This lane and the high street near adjoining hath been inhabited for the most part with wealthy drapers.— Stow, p. 75.
As is frequently the case, Stow appears to be wrong in his etymology. The earliest known mention of the place is in a Record of 1301, where it is called Bercheneres Lane on Cornhill. In 19 Edward III. (1345), one "Byndo of Florence, a Lombard, was taken at the suit of John de Croydone, servant of John atte Bell, vintner, with the mainour of six silver cups, and half of a broken cup, stolen in Berchemers Lane in the ward of Langebourne in London. . . . The jury say, upon their oath, that the said Byndo is guilty of the felony aforesaid. Therefore he is to be hanged" The original name was, no doubt, Birchener's and not Birchover's Lane. In a document of the 15th century it is written Berchers Lane. Ascham speaks of "a common proverb of Birching Lane." To send a person to Birching Lane has an obvious meaning; and to "return by Weeping Cross" was a joke of kindred origin.
Birchin Lane is a place of considerable trade, especially for men's apparel, the greatest part of the shopkeepers being salesmen.—R.B., in Strype, B. ii. p. 150.
It was a great mart for ready-made clothes as early as the end of the 16th century.
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.