- because Roman prostitutes satisfied their clients in the open air under arches (fornices) the practice became known as fornication which became the Germanic fokken which led to another word
- wed means payment; Saxon wives were bought by their husband; the payment being symbolised by a ring
- gay was the street slang for prostitute in Victorian days
Other discoveries included:
- Gropecunt Lane was the haunt of cheaper prostitutes, It was later changed into Grape Street and later Grub Street "reminding all those who live by the pen that there is more than one way to prostitute oneself".
- The mistress of Edward IV, Jane Shore, survived both Richard III and Henry VII and is buried in Hinxworth Church.
My only criticism is that Arnold's historical research is sometimes suspect. She repeats urban myths as more or less true. She also dwells overlong on familiar stories such as Oscar Wilde and the Profumo Affair.
Well written, interesting and a real page-turner.
May 2012; 333 pages