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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/218

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210


NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th s. XL MARCH 14, 1903.


SHARPE points out, that statera is the first official word found to have been used to signify this king's beam a statement, of course, applying to the beam itself we are still left in doubt, owing to the conflicting opinions of other London historians, as to the origin of the name of the place where the ttatera was used. With regard to a frequently accepted explanation that the word, as ap- plied to the depdt of the German merchants, is an anglicized corruption of the German Stapel-hof, a sort of goods yard, thus stapel contracted to stael, and Ao/=yard, one may certainly adduce in its favour some respect- able authorities. Among these are Brayley in his 'London and Middlesex,' Herbert's 'Twelve Livery Companies,' Wheatley (and Lambecius, quoted by Wheatley), arid Pen- nant. But they all fail to cite a single docu- ment containing this word. On the other hand, the learned historian Dr. Johann Lap- penberg, in his 'Authentic History of the Steelyard' (' Urkundliche Geschichte des Hansischen Stahlhofes zu London '), con- sistently speaks of the " Stahlhof " or "Stahl- hofe," nowhere, I think, alluding to the "Staelhof." And as to steel being the prin- cipal product in which these merchants trafficked, that article is nowhere commented upon as being the staple commodity imported by the Hanse merchants. On the contrary, if the place had been named after the prin- cipal article of commerce that passed through their hands, either wool or iron would doubt- less have suggested a name, for the gild in its prosperity is said to have exported annually 40,000 pieces of cloth, whilst all the English merchants united exported only 11,000 pieces. And as to imports, Pennant who, while countenancing the "Stapel-hof" notion, says "the name of the wharf is not taken from steel "adds that in his time the place was

" the great repository of the imported iron which furnishes our metropolis with that necessary material. The quantity of bars that fill the yards and warehouses of this quarter strike with astonish- ment the most indifferent beholder." Ed. 1790 p. 306.

So also Thomas Allen in his ' Hist, and An- tiquities of London,' 1828, vol. iii. p. 514. And still less probable is it that in the earliest stages of its history the gild imported steel in sufficient quantities to suggest the name for the depdt, for the great antiquity of the German trade must not be overlooked. Its merchants are known to have settled here before the year 967, a regulation of King Lthelred of that date declaring that " the Emperor's men or Easterlings, coming with their ships to Belin's-gate, shall be accounted


worthy of good laws" (' Histor. Keminiscences of the City of London,' by Thomas Arundell, 1869, p. 22).

Miss Helen Zimmern, in her 'Story of the Hansa Towns,' 1889, states, without, however, citing her authorities, that it has been now pretty well established that the name Steelyard took its rise from the fact that on this spot stood the great balance of the City of London known as the Steelyard, on which all exported or imported merchandise had to be officially weighed. It was after the Treaty of Utrecht in 1474 that the German factory first took its name, from the circumstance that its domain was then greatly enlarged.^

The interesting problem therefore remains without a solution, namely, was the Steelyard mployed by the merchants of Almaine at their depdt in Thames Street made wholly of steel? And if so, was it a yard in length, as the name would certainly seem to indicate 2 Further, when was the name of the weighing instrument transferred to the place where it was used 1 ? and why should not " Steelyard " be a corruption of Easterling-yard for brevity's sake, by trans- posing the first four letters of " Easterling," and adding the letter I ? There is a steel- yard from Caria in the Grseco-Roman Depart- ment of the British Museum which is about 3ft. 4 in. long, English measure; and I myself saw one unearthed on the site of Messrs. Pilkington's glass factory in Upper Thames Street in 1890, which, if I remember rightly, was less than 2 ft. in length, with an incised ornamentation. I believe, though I may be wrong, that no example of the English Steelyard of a yard in length exists in any museum in this country, certainly not in the City and British museums. There is a good account of the Steelyard at the time it was demolished, by T. C. Noble, in the Builder of 5 September, 1863 ; and works on the Hanseatic League which might be use- fully consulted are: ' Histoire^ommerciale de la Ligue Hanseatique,' par Emile Worms, 1864; Mallet, 'La Ligue Hanseatique'; Schlozer, ' Verfall und Untergang der Hansa' ; and McCullough's 'Diet, of Commerce,' 1882.

J. HOLDEN MACMlCHAEL.


ANCIENT DEMESNE on CORNWALL FEE (9 th S x. 443 ; xi. 153). The Hundred Rolls of 3 Edward I. contain many entries such as the following: "The Manor of Sidbury was anciently part of the king's demesne, but the Dean and Chapter now hold the same in regard to the Manor of Nether Ottery." From this it may be gathered that the memory of their origin clung to some estates