Gropecunt Lane

Addle Street
Gropecunt Lane was a street name found in English towns and cities during the Middle Ages, believed to be a reference to the prostitution centred on those areas; it was normal practice for a medieval street name to reflect the street's function or the economic activity taking place within it.wikipedia
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Cunt

C wordCuntsThe "c" word
Gropecunt, the earliest known use of which is in about 1230, appears to have been derived as a compound of the words grope and cunt.
The earliest known use of the word, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, was as part of a placename of a London street, Gropecunt Lane, c.

Magpie Lane, Oxford

Magpie LaneKybald Street
In 1230 Oxford's Magpie Lane was known as Gropecunt Lane, renamed Grope or Grape Lane in the 13th century, and then Magpie Lane in the mid-17th century.
In the 13th century, Magpie Lane was known as Gropecunt Lane or Grope Lane, as it was an area where prostitutes plied their trade.

Street or road name

street nameavenuestreet names
Gropecunt Lane was a street name found in English towns and cities during the Middle Ages, believed to be a reference to the prostitution centred on those areas; it was normal practice for a medieval street name to reflect the street's function or the economic activity taking place within it.

Middle Ages

medievalmediaevalmedieval Europe
Gropecunt Lane was a street name found in English towns and cities during the Middle Ages, believed to be a reference to the prostitution centred on those areas; it was normal practice for a medieval street name to reflect the street's function or the economic activity taking place within it. It was normal practice for medieval street names to reflect their function, or the economic activity taking place within them (especially the commodities available for sale), hence the frequency of names such as The Shambles, Silver Street, Fish Street, and Swinegate (pork butchers) in cities with a medieval history.

Groping

gropedfondlinggrope
Gropecunt, the earliest known use of which is in about 1230, appears to have been derived as a compound of the words grope and cunt.

Expurgation

bowdlerizedbowdlerisedexpurgated
There were once many such street names in England, but all have now been bowdlerised.

York

City of YorkYork, EnglandYork, North Yorkshire
In the city of York, for instance, Grapcunt Lane—grāp is the Old English word for grope —was renamed as the more acceptable Grape Lane.

Old English

Anglo-SaxonSaxonAnglo Saxon
In the city of York, for instance, Grapcunt Lane—grāp is the Old English word for grope —was renamed as the more acceptable Grape Lane.

Snickelways of York

SnickelwaysA Walk around the Snickelways of YorkGrape Lane
In the city of York, for instance, Grapcunt Lane—grāp is the Old English word for grope —was renamed as the more acceptable Grape Lane.

Vulva

pudendal cleftexternal female genitaliacunnus
The first record of the word grope being used in the sense of sexual touching appears in 1380; cunt has been used to describe the vulva since at least 1230, and corresponds to the Old Norse kunta, although its precise etymology is uncertain.

Old Norse

NorseOld IcelandicOld West Norse
The first record of the word grope being used in the sense of sexual touching appears in 1380; cunt has been used to describe the vulva since at least 1230, and corresponds to the Old Norse kunta, although its precise etymology is uncertain.

Etymology

etymologicaletymologicallyetymologies
The first record of the word grope being used in the sense of sexual touching appears in 1380; cunt has been used to describe the vulva since at least 1230, and corresponds to the Old Norse kunta, although its precise etymology is uncertain.

Oxford English Dictionary

OEDOxford DictionaryThe Oxford English Dictionary
Under its entry for the word cunt, the Oxford English Dictionary reports that a street was listed as Gropecuntlane in about 1230, the first appearance of that name.

Southwark

The BoroughBoroughSouthwark, London
According to author Angus McIntyre, organised prostitution was well established in London by the middle of the 12th century, initially mainly confined to Southwark in the southeast, but later spreading to other areas such as Smithfield, Shoreditch, Clerkenwell, and Westminster.

Smithfield, London

SmithfieldSmithfield MarketSmithfield Meat Market
According to author Angus McIntyre, organised prostitution was well established in London by the middle of the 12th century, initially mainly confined to Southwark in the southeast, but later spreading to other areas such as Smithfield, Shoreditch, Clerkenwell, and Westminster.

Shoreditch

Shoreditch, LondonGreat Eastern StreetSt Leonards, Shoreditch
According to author Angus McIntyre, organised prostitution was well established in London by the middle of the 12th century, initially mainly confined to Southwark in the southeast, but later spreading to other areas such as Smithfield, Shoreditch, Clerkenwell, and Westminster.

Clerkenwell

Clerkenwell GreenClerkenwell, LondonSt James Clerkenwell
According to author Angus McIntyre, organised prostitution was well established in London by the middle of the 12th century, initially mainly confined to Southwark in the southeast, but later spreading to other areas such as Smithfield, Shoreditch, Clerkenwell, and Westminster.

Westminster

Westminster, LondonWestminster, EnglandA part of Central London, England
According to author Angus McIntyre, organised prostitution was well established in London by the middle of the 12th century, initially mainly confined to Southwark in the southeast, but later spreading to other areas such as Smithfield, Shoreditch, Clerkenwell, and Westminster.

Cock Lane

The practice was often tolerated by the authorities, and there are many historical examples of it being dealt with by regulation rather than by censure: in 1393 the authorities in London allowed prostitutes to work only in Cokkes Lane (now known as Cock Lane) and in 1285 French prostitutes in Montpellier were confined to a single street.

Montpellier

Montpellier, FranceMontpelierMontpellier, Hérault
The practice was often tolerated by the authorities, and there are many historical examples of it being dealt with by regulation rather than by censure: in 1393 the authorities in London allowed prostitutes to work only in Cokkes Lane (now known as Cock Lane) and in 1285 French prostitutes in Montpellier were confined to a single street.

The Shambles

Shambles
It was normal practice for medieval street names to reflect their function, or the economic activity taking place within them (especially the commodities available for sale), hence the frequency of names such as The Shambles, Silver Street, Fish Street, and Swinegate (pork butchers) in cities with a medieval history.

Urban culture

urbanurban lifecity life
Prostitution may well have been a normal aspect of medieval urban life; in A survey of London (1598) John Stow describes Love Lane as "so called of Wantons".

John Stow

StowSurvey of LondonA Survey of London
Prostitution may well have been a normal aspect of medieval urban life; in A survey of London (1598) John Stow describes Love Lane as "so called of Wantons".

The Miller's Tale

MillerMiller's TaleThe Miller
In The Miller's Tale, Geoffrey Chaucer writes "And prively he caughte hire by the queynte" (and intimately he caught her by her crotch), and Philotus (1603) mentions "put doun thy hand and graip hir cunt."