To return again to the High street on the northern side of which opposite to St Margaret s street is a narrow lane called Mercery lane anciently Le Mercerie no doubt from that trade having been principally carried forward in it Before the time of the great rebellion there was a colonade on each side of it like that formerly on London Bridge The houses in it are the most ancient of any in the city each story projecting upwards so as almost to meet at the top There has however been a considerable improvement in this lane like the rest of the city many houses have been new fronted The south west corner of it is the site of one of those ancient inns which Chaucer mentions as being frequented by the pilgrims in his time and the inner part of the adjoining premises where every information can be obtained for the stranger and traveller gives some idea still of the manner in which these sort of receptacles for travellers were built This lane leads to the entrance into the precincts of the Cathedral the principal gate of which is opposite to it
“Canterbury Guide”, Henry Ward, 1843, p 24
One of the most famous of all hostelries used to be the “Chequers of the Hope” at the angle of Mercery Lane with the main street, the exact corner where the crowd of pilgrims that had entered by the West Gate turned aside to gain Prior Goldstone’s entrance to the cathedral precincts. But, alas! though the name remains, the building was almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1865. . . . Mercery Lane the name (like that of Butchery Lane, the next narrow turning to the cathedral) reminding us of the days when all of one trade congregated together has a peculiar charm from its very narrowness and lack of straight lines, as well as from the projecting character of most of the houses, several of which are certainly of fourteenth-century building, though altered much in Tudor, Elizabethan, or Stuart times.
“Canterbury, a historical and topographical account of the city”, J. Charles Cox, 1905, pp 280-1