(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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