ALMONRY (THE), or, THE ELEEMOSYNARY; corruptly called, in Stow's time and in our own, THE AMBRY. A low rookery of houses off Tothill-street, Westminster, where the alms of the adjoining Abbey were wont ot be distributed. The first printing-press ever seen in England was set up in this Almonry under the patronage of Esteney, Abbot of Westminster, by William Caxton, citizen and mercer (d. 1483). His Game of Chess, without a date, but referred to 1474, is supposed to have been the first specimen of English typography. The house in which he is said to have lived, called "The Reed Pale," and long an object of attraction, is described by Bagford as a brick building with the sign of the King's Head. It stood on the north side of the Almonry, with its back to the back of those on the south side of Tothill-street, and fell down, from sheer neglect, in November 1845.
Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850