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Colchester Street Names.
The history of some local street names. Information taken from Alderman Alec Blaxill's booklet on Colchester street names published in 1936, available in the Local History section of Colchester library book reference E.COL1.929-4..

High Street
First called High Street in 1470 it has also been called The Market, Cornhill (west end), King Street (the section from Museum Street to Queen Street) and Frere Street (east end).

Crouch Street
Crouch was an old word for cross and the street was named after a religious order, the Crouched Friars, who occupied a house on the south side of the street from 1244 to 1538.

Culver Street
Culver was an old word for a dove or pigeon and the street was probably named after a dovecote that stood there in the Middle Ages. The the middle section of the street was demolished to make way for the Lion Walk shopping centre in the 1970s.

Greenstead Road
Greenstead, meaning the green place, was first recorded about 950, making it one of the oldest surviving place names in Colchester.

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  Magdalen Street
Pronounced "Maudlin" until the late 1700s, the street was named after St Mary Magdalen leper hospital and church which were built there in the early 1100s. Previously it had been known as Heth (Hythe) Street.

Stanwell Street
Named after one of the town's public wells, Stone Well, first recorded in 1180. The southern end of the street was demolished in the 1970s to make way for Southway.

Compton Road
Named after Sir William Compton, one of the Royalist officers during the Siege of Colchester in 1648. The road was built in about 1933.

St John's Street
Although it takes its name from the mediaeval St John's Abbey this is a relatively recent name. Until the early 1800s it was called Gutter Street or Gutter Lane after an open ditch that ran down the middle of the street.

Hythe Hill
Takes its name from "heth" the Saxon word for haven or harbour to which it leads. In 1311 it was called Newhethe to distinguish it from Old Heath.

Long Wyre Street
The origin of Wyre is uncertain, possibly it is someone's name, but it could be because it is narrow and winds into Short Wyre Street. "Wirstrate" is first recorded in 1277.

St Botolph's Corner
Now part of the approach to the Southway roundabout at the bottom of St Botolph's Street. It used to be known as Plough Corner after an inn that stood there and earlier still as Grub Street from the Norse word for low-lying.

Vineyard Street
Given this name in about 1854 after a vineyard that was supposed to have been nearby. The street had originally been called Bere Lane, which meant that it led to the fields, and later as Black Boy Lane after a public house on the street.

Butt Road
Takes its name from the mediaeval archery targets, known as butts, that used to be there when every community was expected to provide trained archers in time of war. It has also been known as Lyerd Lane, Holmers Lane and Mill Street.

Barrack Street
Named after the military barracks that were built here between 1794 and 1800 during the Napoleonic War. Before then the road was part of Magdalen Street.

Lincoln Way
Named in 1976 after the city of Lincoln. All the roads on the riverside estate are named after cathedral cities. Part of the road however, is much older and was an extension of Land Lane which was so called because it led to riverside fields known in the Middle Ages as Castle Lands.

 

 

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