Lombard Street

Lombard Street
   West from Gracechurch Street, at No. 23, to Mansion House (P.O. Directory). In Langbourn, Bridge Within and Walbrook Wards.
   Earliest mention: "Lumbardstret," 1319 (Cal. L. Bk. E. p. 96).
   The Lansdowne MS. quoted below may follow the spelling of the 12th Century, which would make the earliest mention of the name 1108-18.
   Referred to elsewhere as : "Langburnestrate," 14 Ed. I. (Ct. H.W. I. 74). "Langebournestrete," 5 Ed. II. (Cal. L. Bk. D. p. 249). "Longbord strete," 14th cent. (Lansd. MS. 448, F. 8). "in vico Lumbardorum," 6 Rich. II. (Harl. Ch. 56, F. 18).
   Whether the street actually gave its name to Langbourn Ward or not, it is certain that both the names are traceable to a common origin, and that they are derived from the Lombards, a Germanic race originally settled in the district of the Lower Elbe, who extended their borders from time to time and even penetrated as far south as Northern Italy.
   The early forms of the name were : "Langobardi," "Longobardus," "Lombardo," and the name has been variously described as compounded of "longus" and "bardus" = long beard ; "Lange Borde" = a long fertile plain beside a river, the word "borde" being used in this sense in the Lower Elbe district. "Longa parta" or" barta" = "long battle-axe."
   In the 12th century the ward of Langbourn is called "Ward of Langebord," and the names "Langebord" and "Longebrod" occur more than once in early records in the description of property in this neighbourhood.
   These Langobards or Lombards early distinguished themselves as merchants and traders, and came over to England in considerable numbers, settling in London and elsewhere not later than the 12th century and carrying on a thriving business as bankers and moneylenders.
   Many of them, as for instance the Society of the Bardi (q.v.), had their houses in and around the present Lombard Street, and in these circumstances it is not surprising that the street and district in which so many of them resided and carried on their business should have been named after them.
   In the course of digging for a sewer in 1786 a Roman pavement was found under Nos. 82-85, near Sherbourn Lane, 12 ft. from the surface, measuring 20 ft. from east to west, and a pavement of small rough stones at a depth of 9 ft. A Roman wall was also found near the pavement eastward, 10 ft. high and 18 ft. long, the top of the wall being 10 ft. below the surface of the street (Arch. VIII. 118, XXXIX. 492). Pavements were also found under Nos. 72 and 82 in 1786, and another Roman wall near the Post Office, 14 ft. below the surface (ib. VIII. 127) and under other houses in the street.
   The soil under Lombard Street seems to consist of four strata : Uppermost, 13 ft. 6 in. of made ground ; second layer, 2 ft. of brick, apparently ruins ; third layer, 3 in. of wood ashes, having the appearance of the remains of a town built of wood and destroyed by fire ; below is the Roman pavement at a depth of 13 ft. 6 in. (ib. XXXVI. 206, VIII. 132. R. Smith, 59).

A Dictionary of London. . 1918.

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