Free School Lane


Free School Lane Character Area (view detailed map) is situated close to the centre of the city, between High Street to the west and Broadgate to the east. This location between the retail core of the city and one of the major north-south roads has heavily influenced both its development and continuing role as a place for public buildings such as a library, churches, a theatre and several social clubs.

The townscape of the Character Area has developed over an extended period of time, from the Roman Military Era until the Modern Era. Broadgate follows the line of the eastern defensive walls of the lower Roman Colonia [90-410 AD], and Saltergate runs broadly parallel with the southern Roman defences. The pattern of streets also derives from the expansion and reorganisation of the settlement in the High Medieval Era.

A number of markets are likely to have been located within or adjacent to the area during the High Medieval and Early Modern eras. The plot and graveyard of the original St. Swithin’s Church, built during the High Medieval Era, still survive at the corner of Saltergate and Bank Street, as does the Franciscan Friary at Greyfriars. During the Early Modern Era, a cattle market was located in the area until the second St. Swithin’s Church was built on its current site in 1869.
To find out more, search the menu on the left.
View of St. Swithin’s Church from St. Swithin’s Square

Video and Audio

Select a video below or download the related MP3

Key Statistics

Latitude/Longitude: (53.22935, -0.53751)
Character Area Type: Civic
Location: Inner city
Predominant Period: Late Victorian/Edwardian (1869 to 1919 AD)
Secondary Period: Modern (1967 to Current day)
Average Building Type: Attached buildings
Average Building Density: Medium