Love Lane is in the centre of Salisbury, close to Brown Street.
It’s been called ‘Love Lane’ for at least 500 years. According to the Victoria County History:
The names of Gigant Street and Love Lane
both occur in the 15th century. In Gigant Street are various commercial
premises, including the Anchor Brewery dating partly from the 18th or early 19th century. In 1751 the bishop’s pound stood in Love Lane, but 100 years later a block of eight cottages stood on the site. 
There are three or four obvious possible derivations of the name ‘Love Lane’, although it’s possible that they are all wrong.
The first is that ‘Love’ here is a reference to prostitution.
This explanation would be supported by the fact that prostitutes did work in this area of Salisbury. Agnes Bottenham, the founder of the Trinity Hospital is believed to have owned a brothel both on the site of the restaurant the ‘Raie d’Or’ in Brown Street (which I would recommend both as a pub and as a Thai restaurant), and on the site of the Trinity Hospital (which is adjacent to Love Lane) itself:
This charity [the hospital] was founded in 1379 by brothel-keeper Agnes Bottenham. As an act of penitance she opened the hospital on the site of the brothel to provide for 12 poor residents, give temporary shelter for 12 poor visitors and care for the sick. It was among the charities brought under corporation control by the city charter of 1612. The current building dates from 1702 and is built around a courtyard, with its own chapel. 
There are references, too, to prostitutes in the 14th Century working in Culver Street, one chequer across from Love Lane .
Further, other ‘Love Lanes’ have derived their names from prostitution. John Stow wrote in 1603 :
for so I find it of Record, in the parrish of S. Michaell Woodstreete, and beneath that is Loue lane, so called of wantons 
The surname ‘Love’
So John Stow attributes the name of London’s ‘Love Lane’ to prostitution, but the author of the 1918 ‘Dictionary of London’ protests that it could just as easily have been named after a landowner called ‘Love’.
In ‘A Dictionary of London’ it says that Love Lane is:
So called of wantons, Stow says (ed. 1603, p. 298). But why not after an owner named “Love”? 
How likely is it that Salisbury’s Love Lane is simply named after a Mr or Ms Love?
It’s certainly possible, but there are a couple of reasons why I would tend to think it’s unlikely:
- First, it’s a fairly unusual name. Currently there are 220 people in a million called ‘Love’. Geographically they don’t particularly tend to be based in Wiltshire either
- Second, there don’t seem to be any references to a Mr or Ms Love in the literature of Salisbury’s history. I’ve checked a few books, including the Victoria County History, and not found anything. In comparison it’s easy to find Richard Payne (Payne’s Hill), the de Bernewell family (Barnard Street) or Christopher Eyre (Eyres Way)
Faith, hope and love
A third explanation for the name ‘Love Lane’ is that it is a reference to the ‘Trinity’ of ‘Faith, Hope and Love’. This would ‘fit in’ with the adjacent Trinity Street and Trinity Hospital.
The word for ‘Love’ is often translated as ‘Charity’:
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the
greatest of these is charity. 
However, this seems to be a recently adopted translation. Wikipedia says:
The English word love for the third and greatest of the virtues, agape, was used by all of the English translators of the Bible in the 16th Century, including Tyndale (1534), the Bishops’ Bible (1568) and the Geneva Bible (1560). It is also used by almost all current translations of the Bible, including the New King James Version, the New American Standard Bible, and the New International Version.
The King James Version (1611) and the Challoner Douay Rheims Bible (1752) prefer the more theological term Charity for the same idea of specifically Christian love.
How likely is it that the name of Love Lane is derived from the trinity of faith, hope and love?
I think I would have to say that it’s fairly unlikely. If there was ever a Faith Street and a Hope Street, then that would be different, but I don’t believe there ever were.
It is possible that an owner or developer named the road ‘Love Lane’ simply because they were in love.
It is probably more likely that the developer would have named the road after the person they loved. For example, in Laverstock there is a Vanessa Avenue and near where I used to live in South East London there were a series of road names created by concatenating two girl’s names together making for example Elsiemaud Road and Amyruth Road 
It is also possible that the owner or developer just thought it was a sweet name for a road – or possibly even an ironic name for a road.
My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that the road is probably not called Love Lane because an owner or developer thought it was a romantic name. Firstly because Love is too abstract for a 15th Century road name, and secondly because I don’t believe the names of roads in the 15th Century were necessarily ‘decided upon’ by owners or developers.
So, road names in the area, which dates back to the founding of the city, are usually functional. Some relate to ownership, for example Paynes Hill. Others relate to trades that were plied on that road, for example Catherine (from Carter’s) Street. Some were named ‘directionally’ (Winchester Street) and others were named for local landmarks (St Ann Street, after St Ann’s Gate).
Moreover I think road names tended to ‘evolve’ rather than be decided by one person or group of persons. So Exeter Street was known as variously, High Street, Drakehall Street, Dragon Street and Dragall Street. My feeling is that an abstract name like ‘Love’ would tend to be the product of a single person or a committee making a positive decision. I don’t think roads were named in that way until the 19th or 20th century.
Love Lane – A conclusion
My ‘favourite’ of the possible derivations of the name ‘Love Lane’ is that it was named in reference to the trinity of ‘faith, hope and love’. However without a corresponding Faith Street and Hope Street, this isn’t very likely.
The other three definitions are all possible, but because I can’t find a Salisbury landowner called Love and because road names of that era tended to be functional rather than abstract I would say, somewhat sadly, that it seems likely to me that ‘Love Lane’ is a reference to prostitution.
- ‘Salisbury: St Martin’s parish’, A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 6 (1962), pp. 79-81. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41784 Date accessed: 21 May 2010 [↩]
- Trinity Hospital in Salisbury – UK Attraction [↩]
- The Pleasures and Treasures of Britain: a discerning traveller’s companion, David Kemp, page 52 and also English parish drama By Alexandra F. Johnston, Wim N. M. HÃ¼sken page 62 [↩]
- ‘Cripplegate warde’, A Survey of London, by John Stow: Reprinted from the text of 1603 (1908), pp. 290-303. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=60047 (Cripplegate warde | British History Online) Date accessed: 19 May 2010. [↩]
- ‘Love Lane – Lucas Lane’, A Dictionary of London (1918). URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=63213 Date accessed: 18 April 2010. [↩]
- LOVE: Surname Data Summary | British Surnames, Surname Distribution and Surname Profiles [↩]
- Corinthians:13:13 [↩]
- Theological virtues – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [↩]
- http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=elsiemaud+road+london&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=22.014656,56.425781&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Elsiemaud+Rd,+London+SE4,+United+Kingdom&z=15 [↩]