Category Archives: Virtual Tours

A Virtual Tour of Early Modern London, Part Two.

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19 – Bell Inn Yard (off Gracechurch Street)

19

The site of the “Cross Keys Inn”, built in the fourteenth century, and burned down in the Great Fire of the seventeenth.   Plays were performed here at least as long ago as 1576.

20 – Royal Exchange

20bOriginally built by Thomas Gresham between 1566-9, as a rival to the bourse in Antwerp, and burned down in the Great Fire of 1666.  Subsequently rebuilt in 1669, and again in 1842-4.

21 – 80B Cheapside

21a

21b

The site of the Cheapside Conduit, a part of the Medieval water supply system.  The water supply was considerably improved by the construction of the “New River” by Hugh Myddelton in the seventeenth century.

22 – St Mary-le-Bow, or Bow Church, Cheapside

22

In the churchyard here is a – modern – statue to Captain John Smith, parishioner and merchant-adventurer, “first among the leaders of the settlement at Jamestown in Virginia [in 1607] from which began the overseas expansion of the English-speaking peoples”.

23 – Bread Street

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The site of the Mermaid Tavern, where Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and Christopher Marlowe  were wont to gather, Francis Beaumont memorably  writing of their encounters: “What things have we seen|Done at the Mermaid!|Heard words that have been|So nimble, and so full of subtle flame|As if that every one from whence they came|Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest|And had resolv’d to life a fool the rest|Of his dull  life”.  Also of the  birthplace of John Milton (at the sign of the “Spread Eagle”).

24 – Cheapside/Wood Street

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The site of the Cheapside Cross, demolished by “furious and zealous” Parliamentarians during the Civil War.  The Cheapside Hoard, the greatest collection of Elizabethan and Stuart jewellery ever found, was buried nearby, on the eve of the war.

25 – Milk Street

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The site of the birthplace of the Renaissance Man and “Man For All Seasons” Thomas More.

26 – Guildhall, Guildhall Yard

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The site of a number of important trials in the post-Medieval period, including those of Anne Askew in 1546, Nicholas Throckmorton, Lady Jane Grey and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1554, and Father Henry Garnet in 1606.

27 – Masons Avenue, off Basinghall Street

27

The site of a row of houses built in 1928  in the “Mock Tudor” or “Tudor Revival” style, and giving some sense of how much  of pre-Great Fire London might have looked.  The architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner evidently rather disapproved of the quality of the twentieth-century craftsmanship, and the “flimsy applied half-timbering”.

28  – Aldermanbury Square

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The site of a bust of Shakespeare,  also commemorating his fellow-actors John Heminge and Henry Condell, who, on his death, gathered together all his unpublished manuscripts, and had them published, by Edward Blount and Isaac and William Jaggard, in the “First Folio”, in 1623.   The inscription on the bust reads, in part, “They alone collected his dramatic writings regardless of pecuniary loss and without the hope of any and gave them to the world.  They thus merited  the gratitude of mankind”.

29 – Site of St Olave Silver Street

29a

Originally built in around 1181, and burned down in the Great Fire of 1666.

29b

Silver Street itself was destroyed during the Blitz.  Shakespeare once lodged here, with a family of Huguenots.

30 – St Paul’s Churchyard

30a

The site of Paul’s Cross, a sort of open-air pulpit, where one Dr Beal incited the “Evil May Day” riots in 1517, and Dean John Donne gave his famous “Gunpowder Sermon” in 1622.

30b

Mary Frith, aka Moll Cut-purse, the model for Dekker and Middleton’s “Roaringe Girle”, was brought here for punishment in 1612.

31 – St Paul’s Cathedral

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“Old”  St Paul’s was built beginning in  1087 by Bishop Maurice, and extended in succeeding centuries, before being  burned down in the Great Fire of 1666 (image, Museum of London).

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The memorial to John Donne survived the fire, although, if you look carefully, you can still see scorch-marks around its base.

32 – St Andrew’s Hill

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The site of “Shakespeare’s House” – the former gate-house of the dissolved Blackfriars Priory.  According to the Deed of Conveyance in the London Metropolitan Archives, it cost him £140, at a time when the annual salary for a teacher was £20.

33 – Playhouse Yard (off Blackfriars Lane)

The site of the Blackfriars Theatres.  The first was built by Richard Farrant in 1576 on the site of the Great Hall of the dissolved Blackfriars Priory;  and the second by James Burbage in 1596-1600 on the site of the Parliament Hall (in which, incidentally, the Legatine Court had met in 1529 to discuss the proposed annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon).

33a

The “Second Blackfriars” was an indoor theatre, capable of being used throughout the year, and both during daytime and after dark, when it was lit by candles, and it was also an “all-seater”, seating some 6-700 in some – although not  much – comfort, at a cost of 6d a head.  In time, it became extremely popular with the fashionable set, and equally profitable.

33b

33c

The “Wanamaker” on Bankside is a modern replica of a Jacobean indoor  theatre,  and its interior conveys a real sense of what an indoor theatre     such as the “Second Blackfriars” would have been like.  A   sense of enclosed space, of intimacy, of proximity to the players, of exclusiveness perhaps.  Of  being surrounded by the shadowy  light of dancing candles, and the reflecting costumes and  jewellery of the actors and audience, “So  Glisterd in the Torchy Fryers”.  And, perhaps even more particularly,  of being surrounded by sound; and in enforced interludes in which the wicks of the lighting-candles are trimmed, by the sound of music.  Note in this context that the music in certain of Shakespeare’s later  plays, such as   “Cymbeline”, “The Winter’s Tale” and “The Tempest”, was not only well suited to, but probably also  specifically written for, performance in the indoor arena of the “Second Blackfriars”.

34 – Apothecaries’ Hall, Blackfriars Lane

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Originally built in 1633, and burned down in the Great Fire of 1666.  Subsequently rebuilt in 1668.

35 – New Bridge Street

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The site of Bridewell Palace, originally built by Henry VIII in 1520, and granted by his son, Edward VI, to the City of London in 1533, and burned down in the Great Fire of 1666.

36 – Queen Victoria Street

36a

The site of the Second  Baynard’s Castle, built in 1338, rebuilt in 1428, and burned down in the Great Fire of 1666.  Lady Jane Grey and, nine days later, Mary (Tudor) were proclaimed Queen here in 1533.

 

A Virtual Tour of Early Modern London, Part One.

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1 – Monument, Monument Street

1

Built by Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke as a  monument to the Great Fire of 1666.  Archaeological excavations at Monument House uncovered a layer of debris from the fire, including charred imported Dutch and Spanish tiles – and a waffle iron!

2 – Old London Bridge

2

“Old  London Bridge” was finally demolished, after having stood for over six hundred years,  in 1831.  One of its most famous buildings was the palatial residence known as Nonsuch House, built between 1577-9.

The Port of London lay to either side of the bridge.

3 – Eastcheap

3

The site of the “Boar’s Head”, where, in Shakespeare, Falstaff frolicked with Mistress Quickly.

4 – Custom House, Thames Street

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The site of the original Custom House, built at least as long ago as 1377, close to the centre of activity on the waterfront, and burned down in the Great Fire of 1666.

5 – All Hallows Barking, Byward Street

5

This church survived the Great Fire (although it was badly damaged during the Blitz).  The diarist Samuel Pepys watched  the progress of the fire from the church, and noted how it “burned the dyall [of the clock]”, but “was there quenched”.

6 – Tower Hill

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6c

The site of the executions of, among others, John Fisher, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Wyatt, Robert Devereux, Thomas Wentworth, William Laud and – regicide – Harry Vane.

7 – Tower of London

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Used in the post-Medieval period less as a royal residence and more as a secure store and a prison.

8 – Seething Lane

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The site  of a mansion owned by Elizabeth I’s spymaster Francis Walsingham in the Tudor period, and of the Navy Office in the Stuart period.   The Navy Office survived the Great Fire of 1666, but burned down in another fire in 1673.

9 – St Olave Hart Street

9a

This church survived the Great Fire (although it was badly damaged during the Blitz).

9b

Among those buried here are the Florentine merchant – and supposed spy – Piero Capponi, who died of the plague in 1582, …

9c

… and Samuel Pepys, who died in 1703.

10 – All Hallows Staining, Mark Lane

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This  church survived the Great Fire of 1666, but its nave collapsed in 1671, due to undermining of the foundations by Great Plague burials.

11 – Lloyd’s of London Building, Fenchurch Street

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The site of East India House, the London headquarters of the East India Company, built in 1648, and demolished in 1861.  Image, National Maritime Museum.

12 – St Andrew Undershaft, Leadenhall Street/St Mary Axe

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Among the memorials here is one to the amateur antiquarian John Stow, the author of “A Survay of London”, who died in 1605.

13   – St Katharine Cree, Leadenhall Street

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13b

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Originally built in the Medieval period, in the Gothic style, and subsequently partially rebuilt in the post-Medieval, in 1628-31, in the Renaissance style.

Contains a memorial to the Merchant-Adventurer and sometime Mayor John Gayer, who died in 1649, and each year houses the “Lion Sermon” in remembrance of his having being spared by a lion in Syria in 1643.

14 –  Creechurch Lane/Bury Street

14

The site of the first synagogue after the Jewish resettlement in 1656.  The synagogue was demolished in 1701, and replaced by a larger one on an adjacent site just off Bevis Marks, which still stands.

15 – Bishopsgate

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The site of one  of the gates in the Medieval city wall.  Through the gate to the north is Shoreditch, the site of ”The Theatre”, built in 1576, on the site of the dissolved Holywell Priory.

16 – Bishopsgate/Old Broad Street

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Tower 42 now stands on what was the original site of Gresham College, founded through the bequest of the financier Thomas Gresham in 1597.

17 – Austin Friars, off Old Broad Street

17

The site of Thomas Cromwell’s lodgings from the 1520s until his execution in 1540.  Many of the scenes in Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” trilogy, fictionalising  Cromwell’s life, are set here.

18 – St Michael’s Alley (off Cornhill)

18

The site of “Pasqua Rosee’s Head”, the first coffee-house in the City, established in 1652, burned down in the Great Fire of 1666, and rebuilt as the “Jamaica” in the 1670s (the site is marked by a “Blue Plaque” on the present “Jamaica Wine House”).

A Virtual Tour of Medieval London, Part Three.

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35 – Cheapside

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35b

First recorded – as Westceap – in c. 1100, although evidently already in existence earlier.  Takes its name from the Old English ceap, meaning market.

36 – 80B Cheapside

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36b

The site of the Cheapside Conduit, a part of the Medieval water supply system.

37 – Ironmonger Lane

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The site of the birthplace of Thomas Becket.

38 – Old Jewry

Takes its name from the Jewish community established hereabouts in the late eleventh to twelfth centuries, and expelled in the thirteenth.

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38b

The site of a number of synagogues, and of the discovery of the remains of ritual baths or mikva’ot.

39 – Guildhall Yard

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The site of the Medieval Guildhall, built by Master Mason John Croxton between 1411-30.  Also of Blackwell Hall, the centre of the important  wool trade.

40 –Aldermanbury Square

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The site of the Aldermanbury Conduit,  another  part of the Medieval water supply system.

41 – Ruins of St Alphage London Wall

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Originally a chapel attached to  Elsing Spital, a – priory – hospital specialising in the treatment of blind persons.  Became a parish church after the Dissolution.

42 – St Alphage Gardens

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The site of a section of city wall.  The lower part is Roman; the middle – stone – part, thirteenth-century; the upper – brick – part fifteenth-century.

43 – Noble Street

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The site of another  section of city wall.

43b

The prominent bastions to the north are thirteenth-century.

44 – St Mary-le-Bow, or Bow Church, Cheapside

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Originally built in c. 1077-87, by Archbishop Lanfranc.  Rebuilt in 1091, 1196 and 1271 (and again after the Great Fire and after the Blitz).   The crypt survives  from the eleventh century.

45 – Site of Cheapside Cross, Cheapside/Wood Street

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Built by Edward I to commemorate his queen, Eleanor of Castile, who died in 1290.

46 – St Paul’s Churchyard

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The site of Paul’s Cross, built in c. 1191, and used as a sort of open-air pulpit in the Middle Ages.

47 – St Paul’s Cathedral

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“Old”  St Paul’s was built beginning in  1087 by Bishop Maurice, and extended in succeeding centuries, before being  burned down in the Great Fire of 1666 (image, Museum of London).

47b

47c

The outline of the fourteenth-century Chapter House may be made out  to the  south of the present building.

48 – Wardrobe Place, off Carter Lane

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The site of the Royal Wardrobe, built during the reign of Edward III in c. 1361, and burned down in the Great Fire of 1666.

49 – St Andrew’s Hill

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The site of the First Baynard’s Castle, built by Ralph Baynard in the late eleventh century, and demolished in the early thirteenth (after the baronial conspiracy against King John in 1212).  Blackfriars Priory was built on the site in 1278.

50 – Ireland Yard

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50b

50c

The site of some surviving remains from Blackfriars Priory, dissolved in 1538, and substantially destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666.  Probably part of the Provincial Prior’s house.

51 – Queen Victoria Street

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51b

The site of the Second  Baynard’s Castle, built in 1338, rebuilt in 1428, and burned down in the Great Fire of 1666.  The London Headquarters of the House of York during the Wars of the Roses.

A Virtual Tour of Medieval London, Part Two.

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18 – St Helen Bishopsgate, Great St Helens

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18b

Dates back in part to the eleventh century, although the bulk of the standing structure is thirteenth, and in the Early Gothic style.

18c

18d

Dubbed “The Westminster Abbey” of the City because of the beauty of the interior and richness of its memorials, including those of John Oteswich and John Crosby. Crosby was knighted for his role in the defence of the City during the Bastard Fauconberg’s assault (Wars of the Roses).

19 – Site of Crosby Hall, Crosby Place

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Originally built for John Crosby in 1466-75, and described by John Stow as “very large and beautiful”.  Relocated stone-by-stone to Cheyne Walk in Chelsea in 1909.

20 – St Ethelburga Bishopsgate

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Originally built in the early Medieval period, and rebuilt in the late, and again after having been severely damaged by an IRA bomb in 1993.

21 – Bishopsgate

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The site of another of the gates in the Medieval city wall.  It was through this gate that Edward IV left the city on his way to the Battle of Barnet (Wars of the Roses).

22 – Austin Friars, off Old Broad Street

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22b

The site of an Augustinian Priory built in the thirteenth century (and dissolved in the sixteenth).  Many of the knights killed in the Battle of Barnet were buried here.

23 – Threadneedle Street

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First recorded in the post-Medieval period,  although evidently already in existence in the Medieval.  Possibly takes its name from the arms of the Merchant Taylors, whose Hall is here.

24 –53 Threadneedle Street

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The site of St Anthony’s Hospital, founded in 1242 for the treatment of sufferers from St Anthony’s Fire or ergotism, a disease caused by eating cereals contaminated by an alkaloid-secreting fungus.

25 – Merchant Taylors’ Hall, 30 Threadneedle Street

25a

Originally built in the late fourteenth century, and damaged, but not destroyed, during the Great Fire of 1666.

25b

Parts of a Medieval Great Kitchen still survive (alongside a chapel crypt).

26 – Royal Exchange Avenue

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The site of the church of St Benet Fink, built in c. 1216.   There was an  anchorhold here in the Medieval period.

27 – Cornhill

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First recorded in c. 1100,  although evidently already in existence earlier.  Thought to take its name from “a corn market out of time there holden” (Stow).

28 – St Michael Cornhill

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Originally built in the Medieval period, and rebuilt, incorporating much Medieval fabric, after the Great Fire of 1666.

29 – Lombard Street

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First recorded as such in 1318,  although evidently already in existence earlier.  Takes its name from the Lombards who assumed the roles of bankers after the expulsion of the Jews in 1290.

30 – Cannon Street

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First recorded as Candelewrihtstret (Candlewright Street) in 1183,  although evidently already in existence earlier.

31 – 111 Cannon Street

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The site of the “London Stone”, that stood in the middle of the street in the Middle Ages, and was apparently used as a place from which to make important public proclamations.

32 –  St Swithun’s Church Garden

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The site of a – modern – memorial to Catrin ferch Owain Glyndwr, who was surreptitiously buried here after dying under suspicious circumstances in  the Tower of London in 1413.

33 – Walbrook

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First recorded in the late thirteenth century.  Takes its name from the Walbrook, a now-lost tributary of the Thames that in the Middle Ages entered the City at Moorgate and exited into the Thames at Dowgate.

34 – Poultry

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First recorded in the early fourteenth century,  although evidently already in existence earlier.

A Virtual Tour of Medieval London, Part One.

Map1 – St Magnus the Martyr

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Among the many treasures here  is a modern scale model of “Old London Bridge” as it would have looked in its Medieval heyday.

2 – “Old London Bridge” (and Port of London)

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“Old  London Bridge”  was built by Peter, chaplain of St Mary Colechurch, between 1176-1209.  There were scores of buildings on the bridge, including a chapel dedicated to St Thomas Becket (it was on the pilgrimage route to Canterbury).

The Medieval Port of London lay to either side of the bridge.

3 – Eastcheap

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The site of one of the principal markets of the City in the Middle Ages, where livestock was  brought for slaughter.  The street would have been evil-smelling, and exceedingly unpleasant underfoot – whence the invention of the “patten” (recalled in the name of the church of St Margaret Pattens).

4 – Custom House, Thames Street

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4b

The site of the original Custom House, built at least as long ago as 1377, close to the centre of activity on the waterfront.  Geoffrey Chaucer once worked here as a “Comptroller of the Customes and Subside of Wools, Skins and Tanned Hides.

5 – All Hallows Barking, Byward Street

Among the Medieval features here are:

5a

an altar table of stone salvaged by the Knights Templar from a Crusader castle in the Holy Land;

5b

a Flemish altar-piece known as the “Tate Panel”;

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and the  canopied tomb of one John Croke.

6 – Tower Hill

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6b

The site of the executions of Robert Hales, the Lord High Treasurer, and Simon of Sudbury, the Archbishop of Canterbury, during the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381.

Somewhat to the east, in East Smithfield, is a recently-excavated “plague pit” in which victims of the “Black Death” of 1348-9 were buried.

7 – Tower of London

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Originally built by William I, William II and Henry I in the late eleventh to early  twelfth centuries (keep), and extended by Henry III in the mid  thirteenth (inner curtain wall) and Edward I in the late thirteenth to early fourteenth (outer curtain wall).

8 – St Olave Hart Street

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Originally built in wood in the eleventh century, and subsequently  rebuilt in stone in the late twelfth to early thirteenth, and again in the mid fifteenth, around 1450.

9 – Crutched Friars

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The site of one of the many monastic houses in Medieval London, founded by the crossed,  crouched or crutched friars in the late thirteenth century.

10 – All Hallows Staining, Mark Lane

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Originally built in the early Medieval period, and rebuilt in the late.  The fourteenth- or fifteenth- century tower still stands.

11 – Fenchurch Street

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First recorded in 1283, although evidently already in existence earlier.  Takes its name from St Gabriel Fenchurch, and the “fen” or marshy ground surrounding the Langborne, a lost tributary of the Thames.

12 – Aldgate

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The site of one of the seven gates in the Medieval city wall.  Geoffrey Chaucer lodged in the gate-house while working in the Custom House in Billingsgate.

13 – Leadenhall Street

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First recorded in the post-Medieval period,  although evidently already in existence in the Medieval.  Takes its name from a  lead-roofed manor-house converted into a market in 1309, given to the City – by Dick Whittington – in 1411, and rebuilt – by John Croxton – between 1440-55.

14 – 76 Leadenhall Street

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The site of the remains of Holy Trinity Priory, founded by Augustinian canons in 1108, and extended and rebuilt in the later Medieval period.

15 – St Katharine Cree, Leadenhall Street

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Originally built at the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and rebuilt in the early sixteenth (and again in the early seventeenth).  The surviving  tower dates to 1500-4.

16 – St Andrew Undershaft, Leadenhall Street/St Mary Axe

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Originally built in the twelfth century, and rebuilt in the fourteenth, and again in the sixteenth, between 1530-2.

17 –  St Mary Axe

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The site of the church of St Mary Axe, originally built in the twelfth century, and suppressed as idolatrous in 1561.  The church purportedly  housed one of the axes that St Ursula and her accompanying  “eleven thousand Virgins”  were beheaded with, possibly by Attila the Hun.

A Virtual Tour Of “Dark Age” London

MapA virtual tour of “Dark Age” London …

1 – St Paul’s Cathedral

1a

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.

1b

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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First recorded in 898 as Aetheredes hyd, Ethered being Alfred the Great’s son-in-law (image, Museum of London).

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The site of the “Alfred Plaque” …

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… and of the discovery of a timber evidently from an arcaded aisled hall – or royal palace – dendro dated to 956-79.

11 – London Bridge

London Bridge being pulled down in the Viking attack led by Olaf The Norseman in 1014

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

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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

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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)

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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.

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A stone arch possibly of the seventh century  survives in the nave.

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Two stone crosses survive in the crypt: one, of c. 900, bearing  a Saxon Runic inscription; …

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… the other , of c. 1000,  an intricate  carving of Christ over beasts, a characteristic of Dark Age iconography.

16 – St Olave Hart Street

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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.

 

 

 

A Virtual Tour of Roman London

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A virtual tour of Roman London …

1 – Blackfriars

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The site of the discovery of the remains of a frame-first carvel-built barge known as the “Blackfriars I” ship, dendrochronologically dated to the late second century.  The ship contained an intact  cargo of  Kentish Ragstone, possibly intended for use in the construction of the Roman city wall at the turn of the second and third centuries.  The wall ran from Blackfriars in the west by way of Ludgate, Newgate, Aldersgate, Cripplegate, Moorgate, Bishopsgate and Aldgate to Tower Hill in the east.

2 – Ludgate

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The site of one of the gates in the Roman city wall.  Part of the wall is preserved in the church of St Martin within Ludgate.  The wall was originally built at the turn of the second and third centuries, that is, around the time of the rival emperorships of and power-struggle between Clodius Albinus and Septimius Severus.    It was subsequently extended and reinforced  in the late  third, when a river wall was added, and again in the mid fourth, when bastions were added, as defences against Saxon raids. It  was twenty feet high, six to eight feet thick, and two miles long. There being no local source of stone, the wall was  built out of Kentish Rag – an estimated 85000 tons of it – quarried near Maidstone and transported down the Medway and up the Thames to London on barges (see above).

3 – Old Bailey

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Another part of the Roman city wall is preserved in the Central Criminal Court.

4 – Giltspur Street

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Yet another part of the Roman city wall is preserved in the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch Building.  The bastion is Medieval.

5 – Newgate Street

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Newgate Street follows part of  the line of the Roman Watling Street, running from the east to the west of Britain.   A section of the Roman road is preserved in earthwork form in Greenwich Park.

6 – Newgate

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The site of another one of the gates in the Roman city wall (image, Museum of London).  Outside the gate was a large cemetery.

7 – Foster Lane

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A fragment of Roman tessellated pavement found 18’ beneath the church of St Matthew Friday Street in the nineteenth century  is now on display in the churchyard of St Vedast-alias-Foster.  Street level has risen by an average of about 1’ every 100 years since Roman times.

8 – Noble Street (near Cripplegate)

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Part of a  Roman fort dating to the early second century is preserved in Noble Street.

8bFurther parts of the fort, in the underground car park at the northern end, may be viewed by arrangement with the Museum of London.

The fort was incorporated into the Roman city wall at the turn of the second and third centuries.

9 – London Wall

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Part of the Roman city wall is preserved in St Alphage Gardens/Salters’ Hall Gardens.  The middle part  of the wall  is thirteenth-century, the upper – brick – part fifteenth-century.

10 – Guildhall Yard

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The site of the discovery of the remains of the Roman amphitheatre, surviving parts of which may be viewed in the basement of the Guildhall Art Gallery.  The Amphitheatre was originally built in timber in c. 75, rebuilt in stone in the second century, and renovated in the late second to early fourth, before falling into disuse, and eventually being substantially demolished, in the late fourth, possibly around 365,  the remains coming to light again during   excavations on the site of the Medieval Guildhall in 1987.

11 – Gresham Street

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The site of the discovery of a number of Romano-British “round houses” (image, Museum of London).

12 – Moorgate

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The point at which the Walbrook stream entered the Roman city of London.

13 – Poultry and Walbrook (“The Pompeii of the North”)

The location of a section of the Walbrook stream, now underground.

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Here also have been uncovered an entire  Roman waterfront development, entire streets of houses of various status, and    many, many thousands of artefacts – including, importantly, many made  of organic materials that would normally have perished but that were preserved in the abnormal anaerobic conditions of the waterlogged deposits of the river Walbrook, such as  wooden writing tablets (image, Museum of London).

Note also that large numbers of  skulls have been found over the years in the deposits of the river Walbrook.  It is likely that some of the skulls originated in the Roman burial ground north of the City wall in Moorfields, and that they were subsequently naturally transported and deposited to the south by the waters of the Walbrook, in the process becoming hydrodynamically sorted from their skeletons.  Some others, though,  appear to have been deliberately placed in pits, and, moreover, exhibit evidence  of blunt- or sharp- force trauma, and these could be those of victims of gladiatorial combat, or of judicial execution, or perhaps of ritual decapitation, that is, head-hunting.

14 – Bloomberg Building, Walbrook

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The site of the restored Roman Temple of Mithras, which may be viewed in the basement. The  Temple was originally built in the early third century, c. 220-40, and abandoned in the fourth, when Christianity came to replace paganism throughout the Roman Empire, the remains being revealed  during the bombing of  the Blitz of the Second World War.  It  was reconstructed on Queen Victoria Street in 1962, and reconstructed again in the Bloomberg Building on Walbrook in 2017.  Some of the finds from the recent archaeological dig on and around the temple site may also be viewed in the Bloomberg Space.

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Other finds, from the original post-war dig, including a marble bust  of Mithras in his distinctive Phrygian cap, may be viewed in the Roman gallery in the Museum of London.

15 – Cannon Street Station

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The site of the discovery of the remains of the so-called “Governor’s Palace” (image, Museum of London).  The palace was built during the Flavian period of the late first century, c. 69-96, on the then-waterfront, which was much further north in Roman times than it is today, and it remained in use throughout the  second and third, before being substantially demolished at the turn of the third  and fourth, the remains being discovered during   the nineteenth.

The so-called “London Stone”, which presently  stands outside No. 111 Cannon Street, opposite the station,  is believed by some to have been formerly associated in some way with  the “Governor’s Palace”, possibly as a milliarium, or centre-stone, from which Roman roads radiated and distances were measured (it  is carved out of Clipsham Stone from Rutland, which is known to have been used for construction in Roman times).

16 – London Bridge and Port of London

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The Roman London Bridge was   originally built in c. 50, and rebuilt in stone and timber in c. 90 (and in stone many, many times in the succeeding nearly two millennia).

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The embryonic Port of London was located around  the bridge, and was to become an important trading centre (image, Museum of London).

17 – Thames Street

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A section of timber from the Roman waterfront  is  on display in the churchyard of St Magnus the Martyr.  It has been dendrochronologically dated to 62AD, to the period of the reconstruction that followed the destruction of Roman London  in the Boudiccan revolt of the previous year.

18 – Gracechurch Street and Bishopsgate

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Gracechurch Street and Bishopsgate  follow part of  the line of the Roman Ermine Street, running from the south to the north  of Britain.

19 – No. 90 Gracechurch Street

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The site of the discovery of the remains of the first undoubted Roman Basilica and Forum, a surviving pier base from  which may be viewed in the basement of No. 90 Gracechurch Street.

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The Basilica and Forum were built in c. 70, and rebuilt and considerably extended in c. 100-30, before being substantially demolished in c. 300 (image, Museum of London).

20 – Rear of “The Gherkin”, Bury Street

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The site of the discovery of the buried remains of a young Roman girl.  Most burials took place  outside the Roman  city walls.

21 – Plantation Place, Fenchurch Street

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The site of the discovery of the remains of a post-Boudiccan fort (image, Museum of London).

22 – 101 Thames Street

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The site of the discovery of the remains of the so-called “Billingsgate Roman House”, complete with baths, surviving parts of which may be viewed in the basement by  arrangement with the Museum of London.

23 – All Hallows Barking, Byward Street

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The site of an in situ  section of Roman tessellated pavement (in the crypt).

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Also of a fine diorama of Roman London (lacking the amphitheatre, which was still yet to be  discovered at the time of manufacture).

24 – Novotel Building, Pepys Street

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The site of the discovery of the remains of a Roman building variously interpreted as a late   Roman Basilica or – on the basis of similarity to the Basilica di Santa Tecla in Milan – a “palaeo-Christian” church or cathedral.

25 – Cooper’s Row and Tower Hill

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Parts of the Roman city wall are preserved in Cooper’s Row and on Tower Hill.

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A section of the river wall may be viewed inside the Tower of London (admission charge payable).