The Great Fire of 1212

London Bridge

London Bridge

July 10th  – On this day in 1212, there was a great fire in Southwark that reportedly killed thousands of people, many of them trapped on London Bridge.  According to a near-contemporary account:

“An exceeding great multitude of people passing the Bridge, either to extinguish or quench it, or else to gaze at and behold it, suddenly the north part, by blowing of the south wind, was also set on fire, and the people which were even now passing the Bridge, perceiving the same, would have returned, but were stopped by the fire.”

Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral

The fire badly damaged the recently-built bridge, leaving it only partially usable for years afterwards, and necessitating a partial rebuild.  It also damaged  Southwark Cathedral, necessitating a partial rebuild.  Some of the masonry  used in the rebuilding of the cathedral  was salvaged from the fire debris and shows signs of fire damage.

London Bridge and Southwark Cathedral are visited on our standard “Historic Southwark” walk and on our “Medieval London” and “Post-Medieval (Tudor and Stuart) London” themed specials.

2 thoughts on “The Great Fire of 1212

  1. rafterd1972

    Fires are a great tragedy, no matter what the age, but think of trying to fight one with the primitive machines available in the 13th Century, You must have an endless library of English history. Thank you.

    Reply

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