For some time I’ve been trying to find the origin of the ‘Rents’. I could find only scant reference to them in books and nothing on the web. Even the seminal London Encyclopaedia only makes scant reference to them.
The obvious answer is that the relevant area was owned by a titled gentleman who derived an income from collecting the dues owed to him by his tenants, or quite possibly the name comes from the landlord or even rent collector.
[T]he oldest Chichester Rents close by Chancery Lane takes its name from Ralph Neville the then Bishop of Chichester in the early 13th century.
Baker’s Rents just off Hackney Road carries a possessive apostrophe, so there possibly could have been a Mr Baker who owned, or collected rent from properties there.
Wild’s Rents near Long Lane, SE1 is probably named after someone, in fact, a Paul Wild http://www.london-se1.co.uk/forum/read/1/73478 Making enquiries upon the origin of his namesake received some pretty unhelpful replies.
A Mr Perkins possibly had a road named after his rent collecting activities. Perkin’s Rents originally built social housing where the slums of Westminster once stood. The tenements were later sold to the Peabody Trust, so at least he had cause to have a street named after his rent collecting days.
Poor old Mr Greenhill [featured image] isn’t even given credit by the Borough of Finsbury for his contribution to collecting revenue, or could it be a pastoral hill upon which dues are collected?
If anyone has more information upon London’s ‘Rents’ I would be grateful.