The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 51.524679, -0.103726


Bottle of Hay Yard can be seen at the top of this 17th century map.

“Bottle of hay” was apparently used in the phrase “Like looking for a needle in a bottle of hay”. “Bottle was an old word for a bundle of hay or straw, from the Old French botel, a diminutive form of bottle, meaning ‘a bundle’.”

3 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Bottle of Hay

A tavern in St. John St., London, surely named after an old saying

"Looking for a needle in a bottle of hay. "

Looking for a very small article amidst a mass of other things. Bottle is a diminutive of the French botte, a bundle; as botte de foin, a bundle of hay.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.…

JWB  •  Link

'A Midsummer Nights Dream'

Bottom: "Truely, a peck of provender; I could munch your good dry oats, Methinks I have agreat desire to a bottle of hay; good hay, sweet hay, hath a fellow.'

Mary  •  Link

"...good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow."

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.


  • Aug