John Parry • Link
Named after the Bankers of Lombardy in Italy, still the centre of the banking industry in London, you can see all the old signs still hanging outside the buildings.
The name of Lumbarde Stret occurs in the City books in 1382, and in 1416 the "searchers of wines" report the finding of a "pipe of [unsound] wine in the dwelling-house of William Culver in Lumbard Strete." Many of the merchants who, in the middle of the 13th century, fled from the cities of Italy to escape the strifes of Guelphs and Ghibellines, and the ravages of Frederick II., took refuge in London. The customs of the City and jealousy of foreigners and interlopers prevented them from taking their place as ordinary traders; but their wealth, their readiness to negotiate loans, and business ability, procured them access to the throne and influence at Court, and they obtained a grant of residence in Langbourne Ward, like that already possessed by the Hanse merchants. The confirmation of a grant made by Edward II. in 1318 shows that the street in which they dwelt had for some time been known as Lombard Street. They were goldsmiths, and dealers in money, jewels and other valuables; were our earliest bankers and insurers of shipping; and acted as the agents of great foreign merchants and princes. During the 13th and 14th centuries they supplied many loans to the English sovereigns, and in return received protection and privileges.
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.