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Bull baiting (Samuel Pepys, 1666) 

14 Aug 18

On this day in 1666, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary (see also July 12th posting on “Bear-baiting”): “[A]fter dinner, with my wife and Mercer to the Beare-garden [in Southwark], where I have not been, I think, of many years, and saw some good …


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NEW WALK – Chaucer’s London 

7 Aug 18

We are pleased to announce the launch of another new walk – Chaucer’s London … The walk starts in the area around Baynard’s Castle and the King’s Wardrobe in Blackfriars, with views up the Thames towards Westminster.


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Celebrating Sir Francis Drake 

4 Aug 18

  On this day in 1586, Sir Francis Drake was feted in the Middle Temple on his return from the New World – where he had been busy “privateering” (plundering Spanish possessions).


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Roman London – Londinium (c. 47/8) 

1 Aug 18

Rome under Claudius invaded Britain in 43AD, and Roman London, or Londinium, was founded in c.


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NEW WALK – Shakespeare’s London 

31 Jul 18

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new walk – Shakespeare’s London … The walk starts at the “Actors’ Church” in Shoreditch, and proceeds to the sites of the Shoreditch playhouses of the 1570s, and through the Liberty of Norton …


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The execution of Thomas Cromwell (1540) 

28 Jul 18

On this day in 1540, Henry VIII’s Chief Minister Thomas Cromwell was beheaded at Tower Hill on trumped-up charges of treason and heresy, having earlier been attainted, or  in other words essentially found guilty without trial.


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Burnt for her beliefs (Anne Askew, 1546) 

16 Jul 18

On this day in 1546, in the final full year of Henry VIII’s reign, 25-year-old Anne Askew was burnt at the stake at West Smithfield for heresy, for preaching against the then still orthodox  belief in transubstantiation (see also June 18th and …


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The Great Fire of 1212 

10 Jul 18

On this day in 1212, there was a great fire in Southwark that reportedly killed thousands of people, many of them trapped on London Bridge.


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The execution of Sir Thomas More (1535) 

6 Jul 18

On this day in 1535, the former Lord Chancellor, also lawyer, humanist, social philosopher, author (of “Utopia”) and “Man for All Seasons” Sir, now Saint,  Thomas More was beheaded on  Tower Hill  for High Treason,  for refusing to take …


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London’s Inns of Court and the Founding of the United States of America 

4 Jul 18

London’s Inns of Court The right of Englishmen to trial by jury was  established in the late twelfth century, and  codified in the  Magna Carta in  the early thirteenth; and the right to legal counsel and representation, by attorneys (…


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Jack Cade’s rebellion (1450) 

3 Jul 18

On this day in 1450 Jack Cade, alias Mortimer,  and thousands of armed supporters entered London “to punish evil ministers and procure a redress of grievances”.


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Incident at Blackfriars (1322) 

3 Jul 18

On this day in 1322, a large number (tens to hundreds) of needy poor people were crushed to death in a rush to beg food and money at the gates of Blackfriars’ (Dominican) Priory.


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Be of good comfort, brother 

27 Jun 18

On this day in 1556, during the Counter-Reformation, some 20000 people gathered in Stratford to witness the burning at the stake by the Catholic Queen Mary Tudor of thirteen Protestants (eleven men and two women) accused of  heresy.


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Election of Sheriffs 

25 Jun 18

At noon today, according to a   custom “of immemorial use”,  two new Sheriffs of the City of London will be elected by the City Livery Companies, in the so-called Midsummer Common Hall (in the Guildhall).


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Summer of Blood (1381) 

15 Jun 18

On this day in 1381, the so-called Peasants’ Revolt came to an end when one of its leaders  was killed at West Smithfield (*).


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The execution of Harry Vane (Samuel Pepys, 1662) 

14 Jun 18

On this day in 1662, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary: “[A]bout eleven o’clock, … we all went out to the Tower-hill; and there, over against the scaffold, made on purpose this day, saw Sir Harry Vane brought.


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The execution of Lord Chamberlain Hastings (1483) 

13 Jun 18

On this day in 1483, Lord Chamberlain Hastings was summarily beheaded in the Tower of London on the orders of the Duke of Gloucester, purportedly for plotting to kill him.


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The “Knollys Rose” ceremony 

13 Jun 18

The annual “Knollys Rose” ceremony will take place a week today, on Wednesday 20th June, at 10:45.


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“The plague is come to the City” (Samuel Pepys, 1665) 

10 Jun 18

On this day in 1665, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary: “[T]o my great trouble, hear that the plague is come to the City, though it hath … since its beginning, been wholly out of the City; but where should it begin but in my good friend and …


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The Royal Exchange 

7 Jun 18

On this day in 1566, the first stone of the original Royal Exchange was laid (*).


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“In magnificent fashion his majesty entered … the city of London” (Anonymous, 1660) 

29 May 18

Another in the occasional series on contemporary accounts of events in the history of London, this one of  the return to the City  of Prince Charles in 1660 (see also April 25th and May 8th postings),  from an unnamed source: “On Tuesday, May …


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A voice from the past (Samuel Pepys) 

26 May 18

On this day in 1703 Samuel Pepys died.


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The martyrdom of John Forest (1538) 

22 May 18

On this day in 1538, the Franciscan Friar John Forest was burned at the stake in Smithfield for refusing to take an oath acknowledging the King – Henry VIII – as the Supreme Head of the Church in England (it is said that fuel for the fire was …


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“O put not your trust in princes” 

12 May 18

On this day in 1641, Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford and Lord Deputy of Ireland, an ardent supporter of the King, Charles I, in his power struggle with Parliament in the period leading up to the Civil War, was executed for high treason on Tower …


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That’s the way to do it (Samuel Pepys, 1662) 

9 May 18

On this day in 1662, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary: “Thence … into Covent Garden to an alehouse … and … to see an Italian Puppet Play, that is within the rayles there, which is very pretty, the best that ever I saw … .


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Oh, divine chocolate 

3 May 18

On this day in 1664, according to the entry in his diary, Samuel Pepys “went to Mr Bland’s and there drank my morning’s draft in chocolate”.


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Evil May Day (1517) 

1 May 18

The so-called “Evil May Day” riots, marked by attacks on foreigners and on their places of residence and of business, took place in the City of London on and around May Day 1517, following an inflammatory speech by a Dr Beal or Bell at St Paul…


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Coronacon Day (1661) 

23 Apr 18

On this  day in 1661, Charles II was formally crowned king at Westminster Abbey.


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William Shakespeare (1564-1616) 

23 Apr 18

William Shakespeare was born on or around this day in 1564, and died on this day in 1616.


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English Pride Dented On St George’s Day (1390) 

23 Apr 18

On this day, St George’s Day, in 1390, English pride was  dented by the defeat of the Englishman Lord Welles by the Scotsman Sir David Lindsay in a friendly joust in front of King Richard (II) – on London Bridge!  As Gordon Home put it in his …


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Charles II’s Coronation Cavalcade (1661) 

22 Apr 18

On this day in 1661, the day before his formal coronation (see tomorrow’s posting on “Coronacon Day”), Charles II ceremonially processed  on horseback through the City of London to Westminster.


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St Magnus the Martyr 

16 Apr 18

On this day in either 1115, 1116, 1117 or 1118 (sources differ), Magnus Erlendssen, the piously Christian Earl of Orkney, was murdered on the island of Egilsay.


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Wyatt’s Rebellion (1554) 

11 Apr 18

On this day in 1554, on Tower Hill, Sir Thomas Wyatt was beheaded and quartered for high treason for his part in “Wyatt’s rebellion”  against the Queen, Mary, and in particular her plan  to marry the Catholic King of Spain, Philip (*).


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The Red Bull, Clerkenwell 

23 Mar 18

On this day in 1661, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary: “To the Red Bull (where I had not been since plays came up again) up to the tireing-room, where strange the confusion and disorder there is among them in fitting themselves, … where the …


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James I’s Triumphal Entry into London (1604) 

15 Mar 18

On this day in 1604, James I, the newly crowned first Stuart King of England, entered  the City of London, and thence processed to  Westminster to attend his first parliament, amid much pomp and pageant.


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Shakespeare buys a house in Blackfriars (1613) 

10 Mar 18

On  this day in 1613, according to the surviving Deed of Conveyance in the London Metropolitan Archives, William Shakespeare bought for £140 a “dwelling house or Tenement with th’appurtenaunces situate and being within the Precinct, circuit and…


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The Spital Sermon 

8 Mar 18

The annual “Spital Sermon”, on the theme of “The Spread Of Truth”, will take place today in the church of St Lawrence Jewry, with the Lord Mayor, the Court of Aldermen, the Common Councilmen, the Governors of the Bridewell and Christ’s …


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The Execution of William Taylor (1423) 

2 Mar 18

On this day in 1423, the Lollard Priest William Taylor was burnt at the stake for heresy  in West Smithfield (see also posting of December 14th).


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Osterley 

25 Feb 18

Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” … Osterley was first recorded in 1274 as Osterle, from the Old English eowestre, meaning sheep-fold, and leah, meaning woodland clearing.


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John Cass (1661-1718) 

20 Feb 18

John Cass (1661-1718) of East Smithfield was at one time or another the Master of the Companies of Carpenters and of Skinners in the City of London, the Alderman of Portsoken Ward, a Sheriff, a Member of Parliament, a Knight, and a noted …


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Bedlam 

19 Feb 18

On this day in 1669, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary: “I to  the office, while the young people went to see Bedlam”.


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“Winde … such as hath not been in memory before” (Samuel Pepys, 1662) 

18 Feb 18

On this day in 1662, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary: “Having agreed with Sir Wm Pen and my wife to meet them at the Opera, and finding by my walking in the streets, which were everywhere full of brick battes and tyeles flung down by the …


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Essex’s rebellion (1601) 

8 Feb 18

On this day in 1601, Robert Devereux, the 2nd Earl of Essex, allegedly led an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the then Queen,  Elizabeth I, and her court, a treasonous act for which he was later tried, convicted and, on February 25th, beheaded (at…


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John Rogers – the first of the “Marian martyrs” – is burned at the stake in Smithfield (1555) 

4 Feb 18

John Rogers, the vicar of the church of St Sepulchre without Newgate, was burned at the stake in Smithfield on this day in 1555.


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The elephant that never remembered (Groundhog Day, 1255) 

2 Feb 18

On this day in 1255 Louis IX of France presented to Henry III one of the wonders of the age, an African elephant, to exhibit in the Royal Menagerie in the Tower of London.


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“The Thames would wash away ten thousand houses” (1524) 

1 Feb 18

Astrologers predicted that on this day in 1524, because of  a  Grand Conjunction of all seven major planets, “the waters of the Thames would swell to such a height as to overflow the whole city of London, and wash away ten thousand houses” (…


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Whose exchange?  The Queen’s Exchange 

23 Jan 18

On this day in 1570/1, Elizabeth I opened the – first – Royal Exchange (see also June 7th posting).


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Robert Hooke and his “Microscopicall Observations” (Samuel Pepys, 1665) 

21 Jan 18

On this day in 1665, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary: “Before I went to bed I sat up till  two o’clock in my chamber reading of Mr Hooke’s Microscopicall Observations [Micrographia], the most  ingenious book that ever I read in my life”.


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The execution of Archbishop William Laud (1645) 

10 Jan 18

On this day in 1645, during the Civil War, Archbishop William Laud was executed on Tower Hill for high treason (see also December 18th posting).


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Pepys’s Diary 

1 Jan 18

On this day in 1660, Samuel Pepys made the first entry in the  diary he was to keep until 1669, when his eyesight finally failed him.







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