A virtual tour of “Dark Age” London …
1 – St Paul’s Cathedral
There have been five cathedrals on the site of the present, post-Great Fire one. The first was built in 604, by the King of Kent, Ethelburg, for the Bishop of London, Mellitus; the second, in 675, by Bishop Erkenwald; the third, in 961; and the fourth in 1087.
An eleventh-century grave-slab decorated in the Viking Ringerike style and bearing a Viking Runic inscription has been found in the graveyard.
2 – Paul’s Cross
The Medieval Paul’s Cross was built in 1191 on the site where the Saxons held their folkmoot, or outdoor assembly. It was demolished in 1643, and the present one was built in 1910.
3 – Cheapside
First recorded – as Westceap – in around 1100, although likely already in existence in the late ninth to tenth centuries. Takes its name from the Old English ceap, meaning market.
At the eastern end, Cornhill and Leadenhall Street, also in existence in Saxon times, swing to the north, and Lombard Street and Fenchurch Street to the south, of the Roman Basilica and Forum.
4 – St Alban Wood Street
Originally built in the eleventh century, on the site of a chapel believed to have been part of the eighth-century palace of the Mercian King Offa. Subsequently rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666, and substantially destroyed during the Blitz.
5 – Aldermanbury
First recorded 1124 as Aldresmanesburi, from the Old English ealdorman, meaning, originally, shire officer eleigible to take part in Parliament, or Witan, and burh, meaning manor, in reference to this being the place where the Saxons held their husting, or indoor assembly. One of the postulated locations was in the eastern gate-house of the Roman Cripplegate Fort on Aldermanbury, another in the Roman amphitheatre in Guildhall Yard (image, Museum of London)
6 – Guildhall
Originally built sometime before 1128, possibly on the site of an even older building, where the Saxons held their husting (?in the Roman amphitheatre). The bulk of the present building dates back to the early fifteenth century.
7 – St Lawrence Jewry, Gresham Street
Originally built in the Saxon period, wood from a coffin in the churchyard having yielded a dendrochronological date of 1046 (image, Museum of London). Subsequently rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666.
8 – St Olave Jewry, Ironmonger Lane
Probably originally built in the eleventh century (Olaf Haraldsson was killed in 1030, and made a saint in 1031). Subsequently rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666.
9 – St Mary Aldermary, Watling Street
Originally built at least as long ago as the late eleventh century, being older than the church of St Mary-le-Bow, which was completed in 1087 (hence the name). Subsequently rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666.
10 – Queenhithe
First recorded in 898 as Aetheredes hyd, Ethered being Alfred the Great’s son-in-law (image, Museum of London).
The site of the “Alfred Plaque” …
… and of the discovery of a timber evidently from an arcaded aisled hall – or royal palace – dendro dated to 956-79.
11 – London Bridge
According to one interpretation, destroyed, along with a Danish Viking army assembled on it, by the Norwegian Viking Olaf Haraldsson, an ally of the English King, Ethelred, in 1014 (image, “Look and Learn”). Olaf went on to be killed in 1030, and made a saint by the Bishop of Selsey in 1031. A number of churches were dedicated to him in London.
12 – St Magnus the Martyr, Thames Street
Probably originally built in the twelfth century (Magnus Erlendsson, the piously Christian Viking Earl of Orkney, was murdered by pagan Vikings in c. 1115, and made a saint in 1135). Subsequently rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666.
13 – Eastcheap
First recorded – as Estcep – on a Harold I “Jewel Cross” penny made by the moneyer Eadwold most likely sometime between 1035-7, although likely already in existence in the late ninth to tenth centuries.
14 – St Dunstan-in-the-East, St Dunstan’s Hill (off Great Tower Street)
Originally built at least as long ago as the twelfth century (the sometime Bishop of London Dunstan, who founded Westminster Abbey in 960, died in 988, and was made a saint in 1029). Subsequently rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666, and substantially destroyed during the Blitz.
15 – All Hallows Barking, Byward Street
Originally built by Ethelburga, Abbess of Barking, in c. 675, and rebuilt in the later Medieval and post-Medieval periods, and again after the Second World War.
A stone arch possibly of the seventh century survives in the nave.
Two stone crosses survive in the crypt: one, of c. 900, bearing a Saxon Runic inscription; …
… the other , of c. 1000, an intricate carving of Christ over beasts, a characteristic of Dark Age iconography.
16 – St Olave Hart Street
Probably originally built in wood in the eleventh century (sometime after Olaf’s canonisation in 1031), and subsequently rebuilt in stone in the later Medieval period. Survived the Great Fire of 1666.