The historical City of London


Last Monday, I took a walk from my office down Fleet Street to St Paul’s Cathedral and was struck as ever by just how much history we have around us in London. It’s just everywhere and covers all periods. It was a gorgeous spring day and I just reached for my iPhone and started snapping. This was just a 15 minute walk but it explains why I’m a Londoner born, bred and likely to die here too!

First I stopped by St Mary le Strand which was originally the Strand Cross in medieval times, possibly a market place. The south side of the Strand was originally a line of bishops’ palaces going all the way down to Whitehall. One nearby palace was built by the Count of Savoy (the hotel still bears the name) and later was owned by John of Gaunt, who let Chaucer stay. Gaunt was hated by the ordinary people and his palace was burnt down in the Peasants Revolt.

Further down the road is St Clement Danes which was built by the Danish settlers/invaders in the 9th century. The Danes ended up ruling England in the early 11th century and King Harold Harefoot was buried there – regrettably his brother dug him up and threw his body in marshes next to the Thames but he was eventually put back in the ground.

St Paul’s cathedral needs no introduction and it’s believed that a place of worship has been on this hill since Roman times – possibly a temple to the goddess Diana. And speaking of Diana – Princess Di was married there in 1981.

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5 thoughts on “The historical City of London

  1. Great shots! as an author setting a book in historical London, I envy you your home. Question: is there a standard or expected layout for a Templars temple? I’ve visited the temple in London, but expect it’s different from how it might have been. Any pointers to Temple architecture or interiors would be appreciated!

    1. Many Templar churches were supposed to be based on the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem but if you compare, say, the Temple church in London with the Charola at Tomar or the church of the Vera Cruz in Segovia – they’re so different. Either memories of Jerusalem were fuzzy or the builders had never been there. In my book – Quest for the True Cross – I mention the Templar church in London but I’m referring to an earlier church that stood near what’s now Chancery Lane tube station. As I’m sure you know, the church you now see in London was built in the late 12th century and unfortunately was heavily damaged in the Second World War. But it’s still got enough of its original medieval structure to give you a good idea of what a Templar church looked like.

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