Historical references to London's sounds

A database of several hundred historical descriptions and references to London's sounds. They're drawn mainly from primary sources such as autobiographies, diaries and statutes, as well as novels written around the times they depict.

11th to
16th to
18th Early
 General sounds of street and town   1 9 2 3 20 13 7
 Open-air markets     1   2 2    
 Road traffic         1 3    
 Communal living and confinement     1 1   2 3  
 River traffic and related sounds     5     2 3  
 Plague, war and disaster   1 6 2   2 4  
 Sound qualities of buildings     1          
 Sounds of crowds   1       1    

Period referred to: 1322

Sound category: Ambient > General sounds of street and town

Title of work: Calendar of City Coroners' Rolls

Type of publication: Administrative record

Author: Unknown

Year of publication: 1321-22

Page/volume number: Roll B, 14

A medieval home owner attacks drunken revellers

Tuesday after the Purification B.V. Mary [2 Feb.] the year aforesaid [1321-22], it happened that certain Reginald de Freestone, settere, lay dead of a death other than his rightful death in the street called Bradstrete, near the fate of the tenement held by Juliana de Bromforde of Jordan de Langeleye in the parish of St. Peter de Bradstrete. On hearing this, the said Coroner and Sheriffs proceeded thither and having summoned good men of Bradstrete Ward and of the three nearest Wards, viz. Bisshopesgate, Cornhulle and Colmanstrete, they diligently enquired how it happened. The jurors say that on the preceding Tuesday at midnight the said Reginald de Freestone, John Bocche, Waler le Skynnere, and eleven others whose names are unknown were passing the door of the shop tenanted by William de Grymysby under Roger, son of Robert Osekyn, in the parish of St. Benedict Fynk in the Ward of Bradstrete, singing and shouting, as they often did at night, [when] the said William de Grymysby who was in the shop, besought the said Reginald and his companions to allow him and his neighbours to sleep and rest in peace. Whereupon, the said Reginald de Freestone, John Bocche, Walter le Skynnere and the rest of their companions, unknown, invited the said William de Grymysby to come out of his shop if he dared. At length, the said William de Grymysby seizing a staff called 'Balstaf', left his shop, and running after the said Reginald, Walter and his other companions smote the said Reginald with the staff on the left side of the head and smashed the whole of his head therewith, so that he fell to the ground at the entrance of the tenement of Jordan de Langelagh aforesaid and there lingered without speaking until break of day on the aforesaid Tuesday when he died of the blow and no other felony. Being asked who were present when this happened the jurors say the said William, Reginald, John, Walter and their eleven companions, unknown, and no one else; and the said William de Grymysby forthwith fled, but whither he went and who harboured him they know not, nor do they suspect any one else of the death. Alice de Breynford first discovered the said Reginald, dead, and she raised the cry so that the country came.