We all know England is a picturesque country but not many know that the country preserves some of its historical medieval streets which have not lost its glory by time. The streets are as picturesque as its new and modern streets. From the Roman age to the Tudor, these streets are the most significant and historically important in England.
The Shambles; York
This is one of the Britain’s most preserved medieval streets, perhaps the best preserved. The street even awarded the title of the most picturesque street in Europe in the Google Street View Award after more than 11,000 cast their vote.
Some overhanging timber-framed buildings beside the street are dating back to the fourteenth century. The words Shamble actually comes from the medieval word Shamel which means ‘Slaughterhouse’. The Shambles were also known as “The Great Flesh Shambles”. Historically, the street was surrounded by the butchers’ shops and houses.
The word Shambles was used for the shelves that the butchers used to display their meat. The pavements on the either side of the streets are raised up. It was created to make a channel which the butchers would wash away the waste through. The butchers are history now, today there are many shops in the place of the slaughterhouses. But if you visit this street you can still notice the original butcher’s meat hook attached to the shop fronts.
Steep Hill, Lincoln
This is located in the history city of Lincoln. It dates back to the Roman era when the top of the hill was chosen for the strategic military fort at around AD 60. The cobble-stoned street has significant architectural structures. The timber-framed houses are dating back to the medieval period.
You can see two Norman houses on the street. One is the England’s most notable structure, The3 Jew’s House, one of the earliest inhabited town houses in England. The other is the Norman House, previously known as “Aaron the Jew’s House”. At the top of the hill, there is the entrance to the Lincoln Cathedral. In 2011, Academy of Urbanism named the Steep Hill the “Britain’s Best Place”.
King’s Parade, Cambridge
The historical street in central Cambridge is a major tourist area and most photographed street in Cambridge. The historical King’s College is located on the west side of the street, the college’s large chapel is on the east side of the street. The University of Cambridge Senate House is on the north side and it is used for the degree ceremonies. This area is known as the Senate House Hill, opposite the Senate House is Great St Mary’s, the historic University Church.
Yet, when the King’s College was founded in the fifteenth century, this part of the village of Cambridge was the industrial centre by the river.
Petticoat Lane Market; London
The official name of this street is Middlesex Street. It is known as Petticoat Lane for its association with clothes selling. This market is one of the oldest markets in England.
In Tudor period the Middlesex Street was known as Hogs Lane. The city bakers were allowed to store their pigs in this lane outside the city wall. At the beginning of the 17th century, the street became a commercial district and second-hand clothes were sold and exchanged.
The Street; Castle Combe
Castle Combe is one of the most picturesque and loveliest villages in England. In 1962, it was first named as the prettiest village in the country. Still today, it maintains its image by prohibiting external wires, TV dishes, and any modern attachments to the exterior of the cottages. The village gets its name from the 12th-century castle which stood 600 metres to the north.
Gold Hill; Shaftesbury
The steep cobbled street in the town of Shaftsbury of Dorset has been described as “one of the romantic sights of England”. The beautiful image of the lane can be often found on the covers of many books, calendars and countless chocolate boxes. The steep street was also featured in a Hovis bread TV ad which has been voted as the Britain’s favourite advertisement of all time.
At the top of the street is the 14th century St. Peter’s Church. The street runs beside the Grade I listed walls of the ancient Shaftesbury Abbey built by King Alfred the Great.
Elm Hill; Norwich
The cobbled street in Norwich dates back to Tudor period. The historic street got its name from an elm tree that stood in the square since the 16th century at the time of Henry VIII. The street features Briton’s Arms coffee house, The Stranger’s Club, he Dormouse Bookshop and The Tea House.
Downing Street, London
Downing Street is the most well-known street. 10, Downing Street is the residence of the British Prime Minister. But the street is not only famous for 10, Downing Street, the history of this place offers more than that. The street has connections to the Romans, Tudor kings and a deceitful man who gave the street its name.
In the 1680s, the street was built by Sir George Downing. The houses on the south side of the street were destroyed in the 19th century to build government offices now occupied by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Church Row; Hampstead
It is commonly referred to as “the handsomest street in Hampstead”. It is still considered one of the best examples of surviving eighteenth-century town houses, not only in London but across the country.
Eastgate Street; Chester
Eastgate Street along with Bridge Street, Northgate Street and Watergate Street, is one of the four original streets of the Roman town and fortress of Deva Victrix which was established in AD 75. All the four original streets meet at the High Cross and each contains part of The Rows. It is a central street for markets and merchants.
So if you have plans to visit England, then must visit these historic streets.