(London). For 200 years after the Conquest London was watered on the west by “the river of Wells,” afterwards called “Fleet dyke, because (Stowe says) it runneth past the Fleete.” In the middle of the city and falling into the Thames was Wellbrooke; on the east side, Langbourne; and in the western suburbs, Oldbourne. Along the Fleete and Oldbourne “ships” used to ply with merchandise. These four, together with the Roding, the Lea, the Ravensbourne, and the Wandle, now serve as sewers to the great metropolis.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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