The Streets of Netherford

Written By: Stephen Dove - Mar• 10•14

I’ve just realised that I’ve never put the map of Netherford up with the streets, wards and features named on it; so here it is!

Netherford_legend12

The Wards or Districts of the City are:

1) The Sacred Precinct, where St Basil’s Cathedral and the Abbey of St Peter are located. Also here are the law courts, where disputes that require the attention of the Lord High Sherriff are decided; usually these disputes involve the Church against powerful noble families or the most heinous of crimes, like treason. Most of the Sacred Precinct lies outside the normal conventions of civic law, for the precinct is considered a part of the Bishops’ personal domain and offenders are dealt with by the Cathedral Proctors and are subject to Canon and Church law. The City Watch have no power in this area. It is also home to Clerkly, where those secular students, who attend the law courts to learn to be clerks, live. Knowing that they are protected by Canon law, many students drink, get into fights with townsfolk and generally behave reprehensibly.

2) Nethermere Ward, where the well to do and many of theĀ  Guildmasters reside. This area is heavily patrolled and the King’s Crowner himself lives here and administers civic justice that is not important enough to need the attention of the Lord High Sheriff; who is largely a tax collector in Vindashire. Unless of course, he wants to get involved.

3) Seagarth Ward; the home of the fisherfolk of Netherford, and also a fair few seamen who work for the Guilds and ply their wares to other ports on the coast that are less hazardous to shipping from other ports. Seagarth is also home to the Fishmarket and the Nantgate, that leads out onto the old river port, and also a lot of Guild warehouses and City granaries.

4) Weavering District; the home of Netherford’s many weavers and spinners, who turn the vast cartloads of sheep’s wool that trundles into Netherford every year, into woolen cloth and garments.

5) Fayrefield; also known as the Pilgrims’ or Inn District, this is where the bulk of the City’s stables, Inns and hostels for travellers can be found. It is named for a large field where the townsfolk are now permitted to hold their own fayre during the Martinmass and Michaelmass feasts. This development is much to the displeasure of the Bishop, who petitioned the King to stop this practice, but sadly paid lower bribes than the Burghers of the City. This area of the City is a notorious haunt of pickpockets and Knaves of all stripes; looking to fleece unwary pilgrims out of their hard earned coin.

6) Pottersbridge is a ward of the City on the west side of the so-called Pottersdyke; a stinking drain that smells even worse than the town ditch if that’s possible. The prevailing wind blows from the North in this part of Vindashire, and it is as well that it does, for the stench from this area is formidable even in winter. It comes from the many tanners’ shops and dyers and fullers workshops that abound on the eastern side of the Potterdyke (in the Nantwell district of Netherford); and from the smoke and ash from the brick, pot and tile kilns that line Kiln Lane on the western side of the dyke. The only people who live in Pottersbridge are those who work here; and that is mainly guildsmen.

7) Nantwell shares the Pottersdyke with Potterbridge and creates twice the smell because of all the tanneries, and also the chandlers, who render down animal fats to make candles. Only those who are sufficiently disliked or shunned that they have to live in this place do so; so this area is home to whores, vagabonds, soldiers and madmen as well as the aforementioned guildsmen, apprentices and journeymen. It can be one of the more dangerous areas after dark, as there are a number of businesses that double as dicing halls, brothels and illegal taverns come nightfall. It is also often awash with off-duty soldiers and the off-duty watch as many of them live in the area close to St Stephen’s Church. Most are capable of violent excesses when they are deep in their cups and so most murders occur in this area of the Netherford; and nearly always after dark.

8) The Shambles; this area nominally includes the Horse-Fayre, the slaughterhouses, the Cattlemarkets and also many businesses associated with animals or their hides, skins or meat. It is usually awash with animal blood and dung and is not the sort of place to attract pilgrims or the curious. Every morning, a vast number of animals are lead into the City by drovers. The sheep are sheared and their wool sold, the cattle may be sold or slaughtered and the geese and chickens end up in pies before noon, as feeding a City this size in a time without any real way of preserving meat requires a constant supply of live animals, day in and day out. The Horse-Fayre is where the best brood mares and stallions in Vindashire are sold; as well as the usual clapped out old nags that the wily Horse-traders attempt to foist on unsuspecting pilgrims. The Shambles can be a dangerous place after dark, because few people actually live in this area and so it is often the haunt of drunks who stagger out of Nantwell and sing and parade around the deserted cattle-markets until the City Watch appear. This is an area where most fights occur; sometimes between students from Clerkly and Journeymen and apprentices from Nantwell, Weavering and Pottersbridge.

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