On this day in 1558, Henry Machyn wrote in his diary:
“The 28th day of November the queen removed to the Tower from the Lord North’s palace, [which] was the Charterhouse. All the streets unto the Tower … new gravelled. Her Grace rode through Barbican and Cripplegate, by London Wall unto Bishopsgate, and up to Leadenhall and through Gracechurch Street and Fenchurch Street; and afore rode gentlemen and many knights and lords, and after came all the trumpets blowing, and then came all the heralds in array; and my Lord of Pembroke bore the queen’s sword; and then came her Grace on horseback, apparelled in purple velvet with a scarf about her neck, and the sergeants of arms about her Grace; and next after her rode Sir Robert Dudley the Master of her Horse; and so the guard with halberds. And there was such shooting of guns as never was heard afore; so to the Tower, with all the nobles … ”.
On this day in 1012, Elfeah, the Saxon Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered by Vikings, who had held him hostage for some time and not received the ransom that they had demanded for his release. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, “they overwhelmed him with bones of horns of oxen; and one of them smote him with an axe-iron on the head; so that he sunk downwards with the blow; and his holy blood fell on the earth, whilst his sacred soul was sent to the realm of God”. His last words were “the gold I give you is the Word of God”. Elfeah’s body was laid to rest in St Paul’s Cathedral in London, and later, in 1023, moved by the then-Viking King, Cnut, to Canterbury Cathedral. He was canonised in 1078
A church dedicated to him – St Alfege – stands on the spot where he was killed in Greenwich.
Another church dedicated to him – St Alphage – stands on London Wall.
Today I went on a one of the Museum of London’s periodic tours of the most substantial surviving part of Cripplegate Roman Fort, preserved in the modern underground car park on London Wall. The fort was originally built in around 120AD, and housed a garrison of perhaps as many as 1000 or more troops, including cavalry, on a 12-acre site to the north-west of the Roman city of Londinium. Its west and north walls were subsequently incorporated into the City Wall in around 200. Part of the west wall, gate, and gate-house complete with guard-rooms and turrets, can still be seen in the modern car park, together with a fine reconstruction making sense of things.