College Street Gloucester
By Geraldine Walters
College Street is a short street that gives access to Gloucester cathedral from
Westgate St.Although it is less than 100 meters long it contains many attractive features,
and has a long and interesting history. We shall begin with a brief look at that history
and then move on to discover how college St looks today.
College Street has had many different names over the centuries. The earliest record of the street was in 1139, when it was known as " Lychlone". The word "Lich" was used to describe a roofed gateway to a churchyard. This was quite fitting as the lane ran opposite the porch of Holy Trinity Church ( in what is now Westgate St. ) to the Abbey gate called St. Edwards Tower, or the Lich Gate. Since then , this little lane has been variously known as Saint or King Edwards Lane, The little street of the Holy Trinity , Turries ( Tower ) Lane , Craftislone ( Craft Lane ) , Iron mongers Row , Peters Lane and Lower College Lane. The latter was used in the 18th century changing to college street in 1780. The name King Edwards Lane was used later ( 1826 ) for an alley, also called Upper George Passage, on the east side of college street which is still there today.
An interesting fact is that when Henry V111 and Anne Boleyn visited Gloucester on July 31st 1535, they entered the grounds of St Peters Abbey ( Gloucester Cathedral ) not by the main gateway in St. Mary's Street, but by " Seynt Edwardes Lane " ( college St )
Apart from it's use as an access to the Abbey, College Street was initially residential. In 1455, Robert Cole, then Canon of Llanthony Priory compiled a list of Rentals of the Houses in Gloucester. This shows that on both sides of Lich Lane ( as it was then known were tenements with vacant land to the rear. It also gives details of those people who held the tenancy at that time. ( This list was issued in 1890 under the authority of the Corporation of Gloucester ).
As the population of the city and it's trade grew, some of the properties in the lane became commercial. This may also account for various name changes such as Ironmongers row. This can be seen here
This photograph shows ho narrow college street was; it was originally only 10 feet and 9 inches wide. It was widened by the Gloucester Cathedral Approaches Company in the 1890's. This was to provide a ceremonial access to the Cathedral.
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