September 17th – On this day in 1091, a 200mph tornado hit London, destroying 600 houses and damaging the church of St Mary-le-Bow on Cheapside.
The church went on to be substantially burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666, with only the crypt surviving, and to be subsequently rebuilt by Christopher Wren.
It is passed on our Friday afternoon “Tower to Temple – The Heart of the City” walk.
|View of St Mary-le-Bow from coffee shop opposite|
|Dragon weather vane a-top St Mary-le-Bow|
Please note that any of our walks can also be booked at any other time, subject to prior agreement (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 020-8998-3051).
There is a statue of Citizen and Cordwainer Captain John Smith (1580-1631) in Bow Churchyard, adjoining St Mary’s. Smith sailed on the “Susan Constant” from Blackwall to found the first permanent English settlement in America, in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1606, “from which began the overseas expansion of the English-speaking peoples” (a plaque on what is now Virginia Quay in Blackwall commemorates the event). He is buried in the church of St Sepulchre, Newgate Street.
Incidentally, the Algonquin princess Pocahontas, who famously saved Smith’s life in America in 1607, visited London in 1616-17, with her by-then husband the tobacco planter John Rolfe, staying at the Bell Savage Inn off Ludgate Hill. She died in Gravesend in 1617.
|Statue of John Smith at Bow churchyard adjoining St Mary’s|