Tag Archives: Lord Mayor

“Her Majesty departed this life” (John Manningham, 1603)

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On this day in 1603, John Manningham wrote:

“This morning about three at clock her Majesty [Elizabeth I] departed this life, mildly like a lamb, easily like a ripe apple from the tree … .  About ten at clock the Council and divers noblemen having been awhile in consultation, proclaimed James VI, King of Scots, the King of England, France and Ireland, beginning at Whitehall gates, where Sir Robert Cecil read the proclamation which he carried in his hand, and after read again in Cheapside.  Many noblemen, lords spiritual and temporal, knights, five trumpets, many heralds.  The gates at Ludgate and portcullis were shut and down, by the Lord Mayor [Robert Lee]’s command, who was there present, with the Aldermen, etc., and until he had a …  promise … that they would proclaim the King of Scots King of England, he would not open.  Upon the death of a king or queen in London the Lord Mayor of London is the greatest magistrate in England”.

Elizabeth’s reign was  widely, although by no means universally,  regarded as some sort of “Golden Age” of – comparative – stability, peace and prosperity, of exploration and discovery, and of the arts, in particular the performing arts, bringing “Melody and joy and comfort to all true Englishmen and women”.

Election of the Lord Mayor of the City of London

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Today, Michaelmas Day,  is the day of the election of the new Lord Mayor of the City of London, the leader of the City of London Corporation, in the so-called “Common Hall” in the Guildhall (*).  According to equally long-standing tradition, the new Lord Mayor will formally assume office, in the so-called “Silent Ceremony”, on the Friday before the second Saturday in November; and the Lord Mayor’s show will take place on the following day.

(*) The first (Lord) Mayor to be appointed, by King Richard I, was Henry Fitz-Ailwyn de Londonestone, in 1189.  The first to be elected by peers, under the “Mayoral Charter” of King John, was Serlo de Mercer, in 1215.  Such was the prestige of the position that  the by-then Lord Mayor, William Hardel(l), was invited by King John to be  a witness to the sealing of, and an Enforcer or Surety of, the Magna Carta, later in 1215.

Turn again, Whittington

Stained glass window of Whittington and his non-existent cat, St Michael Paternoster Royal

Stained glass window of Whittington and his cat, St Michael Paternoster Royal

October 30th –  On this day in 1397 Dick Whittington became Lord Mayor of London for the first time.  Among the many public works undertaken by Whittington, in or out of public office, were the acquisition and conversion into a Market of the old Leaden Hall, on Leadenhall Street; the establishment of the College of St Spirit and St Mary, on what is now College Street, where he lived; the reconstruction of the church of St Michael Paternoster Royal, also on College Street; the reconstruction of the Guildhall; the reconstruction of Newgate Gaol at the junction of Newgate Street and Old Bailey, which had been damaged during the Peasants’ Revolt (and of which he had written “by reason of the foetid and corrupt atmosphere that is in the heinous gaol … many persons are dead who would have been alive”); and the bequest of a library valued at £400 to Christ Church Newgate Street.  Not to mention the construction of a 128-seater public lavatory!

Whittington House

Whittington plaque, St Michael Paternoster Royal

Whittington plaque, St Michael Paternoster Royal

Unfortunately, most of the sites associated with Whittington were destroyed during the Great Fire of 1666.  However, he is commemorated by a Corporation “Blue Plaque” on the site of his house on College Street, by another outside the church of  St Michael Paternoster Royal,  and  by a stained glass window inside the church, depicting him and the non-existent cat that is nonetheless forever associated with him, through the fable and pantomime. The cat  is commemorated by a statue on Highgate Hill, looking back over its shoulder toward the City paved with gold…..

probably-the-worlds-only-statue-of-a-non-existent-cat-highgate-hill

Probably the world’s only statue of a non-existent cat, Highgate Hill

Probably the world's only piece of topiary in the form of a non-existent cat (looking a bit bedraggled), Whittington Park, Upper Holloway

And this is probably the world’s only piece of topiary in the form of a non-existent cat (looking a bit bedraggled), Whittington Park, Upper Holloway

Turn again, Whittington

 

Stained glass window of Whittington and his non-existent cat, St Michael Paternoster Royal

Stained glass window of Whittington and his cat, St Michael Paternoster Royal

October 30th –  On this day in 1397 Dick Whittington became Lord Mayor of London for the first time (of three).  Among the many public works undertaken by Whittington, in or out of public office, were the acquisition and conversion into a Market of the old Leaden Hall, on Leadenhall Street; the establishment of the College of St Spirit and St Mary, on what is now College Street, where he lived; the reconstruction of the church of St Michael Paternoster Royal, also on College Street; the reconstruction of the Guildhall; the reconstruction of Newgate Gaol at the junction of Newgate Street and Old Bailey, which had been damaged during the Peasants’ Revolt (and of which he had written “by reason of the foetid and corrupt atmosphere that is in the heinous gaol … many persons are dead who would have been alive”); and the bequest of a library valued at £400 to Christ Church Newgate Street.  Not to mention the construction of a 128-seater public lavatory!

Whittington House

Whittington plaque, St Michael Paternoster Royal

Whittington plaque, St Michael Paternoster Royal

Unfortunately, most of the sites associated with Whittington were destroyed during the Great Fire of 1666.  However, he is commemorated by a Corporation “Blue Plaque” on the site of his house on College Street, by another outside the church of  St Michael Paternoster Royal,  and  by a stained glass window inside the church, depicting him and the non-existent cat that is nonetheless forever associated with him, through the fable and pantomime. The cat  is commemorated by a statue on Highgate Hill, looking back over its shoulder toward the City paved with gold…..

probably-the-worlds-only-statue-of-a-non-existent-cat-highgate-hill

Probably the world’s only statue of a non-existent cat, Highgate Hill

Probably the world's only piece of topiary in the form of a non-existent cat (looking a bit bedraggled), Whittington Park, Upper Holloway

And this is probably the world’s only piece of topiary in the form of a non-existent cat (looking a bit bedraggled), Whittington Park, Upper Holloway