St. Peters Street

The triangular Market Place extended into the wide St. Peters Street, described in 1245 as the "great street" (magno vico) which goes to the church of St. Peter. To the north of the churchyard the street was known as Bowgate. Below Newlane the properties on the eastern side of the street generally stretched originally, back to the defense of earthen bank and ditch known as Tonman Ditch or Monk Ditch, but in the later Middle Ages those at the north of this frontage stretched to the Manor of Newlane (situated in Newlane). On the western side of the street the properties immediately above the Market place backed onto the northern side of Dagnall street; further north they stretched originally to Tonman Ditch on the western boundary of the town.
The situation above the Catherine Lane/Newlane cross roads is less certain. Some properties, on both sides of the street, stretched back to the 1327 boundary line, although this does not seem to have been defined by a ditch. There were properties in Newlane by the fifteenth century which will have effected things on the east but I am not sure what the situation was in respect to Catherine Lane. In the early years of the sixteenth century Nicholas Geffrey provided for the repair of the " cawsey in St. Peters Streate " in other words for a paved or surfaced footpath.

Like other street the limits of this street seem to have varied. Some properties described as being in St. peters street being in the present Chequer Street.

In 1444/5 the tenement known as "le Fyshh" was being repaired and other named tenements are "le Wolsack" (1446), "le Castell" and "Le Lambe" (1473). "Bromleys" (1496/7) and the "Leyden Porch" (1496/7). The Castle stood on the northern corner with Shropshire Lane and it was here that the Duke of Somerset died during the First Battle of St. Albans in 1455.

This street has seen much redevelopment and today few medieval buildings survive.


St. Peters Church

click for information on the church

The Charnel Chapel

In the south west comer of the churchyard, its position still marked by some ancient masonry in the base of the churchyard wall, was the chapel of the guild known as the Fraternity of All Saints. This was also known as the Charnel Brotherhood and its chapel as the Charnel Chapel because of its position in the church yard.

St. Peters Church before the 1893 restoration


The Queen Adelaide

One of the few medieval buildings to survive in the street this building was more recently the Queen Adelaide public House. It has a two storey cross wing on the street with a hall behind

The former Queen Adelaide

The Cock

Dragon Beam to support jetty around the corner of the building

Carpenters Mark
on principal joist

"Scar" on joists of former beam supporting jetty


Built as a house in the Fifteenth century, the Cock still retains the two storey wing on the corner of St. Peters Street and Newlane (Hatfield Road). This was originally jettied along both streets fronts and the "dragon beam" essential in such a construction is visible. Also visible are the joists for the upper floor on which a fine series of carpenters marks are visible and the position of the original stair well can be determined from the pattern of empty mortises. (So it's possible to enjoy a drink and study this detail at the same time!) The hall range which once stretched along Newlane was rebuilt in the Seventeenth century.

The Mansion House

In 1496/7 Roger Porter left to his wife Alice the remaining years of his lease on the tenement called "the Mansion" in St. Peters Street which he held of the master and bretheren of St. Julian's Hospital. After the Dissolution the Mansion House came into the possession of Sir Richard Lee and there is a building in the street which still bears this name. However I do not know if any medieval structure remains.


The Mansion House in the Late Ninetenth Century

St. Peters Green

St. Peters Green


Set by the entrance to the churchyard is a row of buildings some of which date from the fifteenth century.


Now Hatfield Rd. and once Cock Lane, named after the Cock (see above), it is not certain when this lane was "new". It was certainly so called in 1381 but is not mentioned in the 1327 perambulation of the town boundary which is described as running from Stonecross to the corner to the corner of St. Peters Churchyard, thence to the Grange of John, son of Richard Baldewyn and thence by Tonman Ditch to Sopwell Lane. However a Robert of New Lane (Nova Venella) paid tax in 1307. John's grange would have needed access so perhaps the lane was formed to provide this and later extended beyond the town. The way to Hatfield appears to have been via the present Sandpit Lane

In 1426 Abbot Wheathamstead obtained a license in Mortmain for the possession of 'unum messuagium vocatum Newlane ' and the substantial estate that went with it. This was given by John Bernewell, Edmund Westby & Matthew Bepset. In 1429 the new post of Master of Works was to be supported from revenues including those from 'Squylers et de Newlane ', and later these two estates became known as the manor of Newlane (or Newland) Squillers. Squylers was granted a license in Mortmain in 1429 and was granted to the Abbey by deed of gift by Roger Husewyffe and Richard Bingham in 1430. It seems likely that John's Grange recorded in 1327 was the predecessor of the later "Newlane". The site of the manor of Newlane was "redeveloped" in 1733 when the present Marlborough Almshouses were built.

In his will of 1437 John Bernewell left to his wife a croft called Dovehouse croft and a croft "in front of the one belonging to the lord Abbot, called Newlane, facing it from the other side of the street ". Perhaps this Dovehouse croft was where a Dovecot still stood in the C17. (see map on right). Another 3 crofts in Newlane where left by Edmund Westby in 1471.

At some time in the early C15 John Ferrers, steward to Henry Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, gave ten shillings of annual rent arising out of 4 tofts in Newlane to St. Peters church.


The Manor House of Newlane in 1634 with a dovecot in its grounds and another on the opposite side of the street

Catherine Lane

Now known as Catherine Street this is not mentioned in the 1327 perambulation of the town boundary. Its present course is much straighter than it was in earlier times. The 1634 map of the town shows no buildings here. It was by this route that Queen Margaret''s troops reached the top end of St. Albans to attack Warwick's Yorkist forces in the Second Battle of St. Albans in 1461

On the southern corner of the Lane, fronting onto St. Peters Street, was a property known as the Lamb. This was recorded in the will of John Wangford in 1473 and that of Robert Clothman in 1497/8 when it was described as a meadow and tenement in St. Peters Street. In later times this property belonged to St. Peters Church and the churchwardens accounts suggest that Lamb close ran along the southern side of the lane, the property being bounded on the west by Houndspath. In more recent times the building was a Public House with the sign of the Painters Arms.