Tag Archives: Whitefriars

Charles II’s Coronation Cavalcade (1661)

Charles II's coronation procession

On this day in 1661, the day before his formal coronation, Charles II ceremonially processed  on horseback through the City of London to Westminster.  The ceremonial route passed  through four specially-constructed allegorically-themed triumphal arches: one on Leadenhall Street; one at the Royal Exchange on Cornhill; one on Cheapside; and one in Whitefriars (*).

The event was captured on canvas by the Dutch artist Dir(c)k Stoop.  The associated lavish entertainments  were described in detail in print by the Scots stage-manager John Ogilby, in a book entitled, in part (!),  “The entertainment of His Most Excellent Majestie Charles II, in his passage through the city of London to his coronation containing an exact accompt of the whole solemnity, the triumphal arches, and cavalcade … ”.

(*) The arches are thought to have been inspired by those designed by  Rubens for the triumphal entry of Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria into Antwerp in 1635.

Walking in Chilly Weather

Today Bob discovered that it is difficult to hand around his laminated illustrations when his bare hands are numb with cold!

It really was horribly chilly today. Fortunately everyone was well wrapped up (apart from Bob’s hands, that is!)

Highlights of today’s Tower to Temple walk included:

– a helpful explanatory compass just outside Tower Hill station, giving a good preliminary over-view of the sights to come

– the Whitefriars monastery: tucked away where you’d never expect to find it!

– the London stone (hidden in clear view)

-the Monument (some decided to make a return visit after the walk finished, to climb up to the top for the excellent views!)

– exploring inside the Inns of Court

Unfortunately the Roman Amphitheatre, under the Guildhall Art Gallery, was unexpectedly closed to visitors today, due to a rehearsal of some kind (not mentioned on their website – grrrrr!) Everyone strained for a glimpse through the glass doors to the Amphitheatre basement, and had to make do with that for today. Such a shame. Here’s hoping those on today’s walk will take the opportunity to make a return visit another time.

A running joke with today’s group was the plethora of vanished churches along the route – marked only by plaques or parish boundary markers. That’s the Great Fire for you – it really did wipe out a lot of buildings!

But various street names, many surviving from medieval times, did provide interesting glimpses of that long-gone London. For example, today’s group were interested to learn that Cannon Street’s name has nothing to do with artillery, stemming instead from the name of the local trade conducted there way back in 1183…. Any guesses?