An exploration of what happened at the end of the Roman Period, and how the City became first deserted, and then a Saxon, German speaking English City.
The first British Brexit? The Roman Britons kicked out the Romans in 407AD, and, soon, asked them to come back after a catastrophic collapse. Faced with plaque, civil war, invasion, mass immigration, industrial decline, reversion to barter; the authorities struggled against anarchy and descent into a Dark Age.
But was that how it was? Wasn’t it a rather a transition into the Late Antique period in which life for most people went on much as before except paying taxes to local rulers rather than distant Romans? This virtual walk explores why the Roman system in London broke down, and what really was the impact of the end of the Roman system in London? What is the evidence? and can we trust it? Or can we really do nothing much more than guess?
We tramp the virtual streets of London in search of light to shine on the Dark Ages in London.
This is a London Walks event by Kevin Flude, ex Museum of London Archaeology and Museum Curator
The good news is that I am starting doing real physical Guided Walks again at the end of May. We are going to start giving an Archaeology walk every Thursday evening at 6.30. I am sharing them with a colleague, Leo Heaton. She is doing the first on on the 20th May, and I am doing the second on the 27th May. Later we plan to do another walk in the afternoon. I am also putting together a series of special, repertory walks for London walks running throughout the summer. To book click here
In researching my Prehistoric Virtual Walk (Sunday 25/04/21 Details) I came across many great sites of interest. Here are a few
Barn Elms – London’s Oppidum?
This is a lecture by Alex Barnes – only 15 minutes, long and about a site in South West London that just might be an important Iron Age centre of power, which might explain all that great metalwork found in the River Thames over the centuries.
I don’t know how I missed this site, as it was reported in archaeological magazines I read, but it is an amazing multi-period site in the Thames Valley. Excavations before gravel extraction have shown a particularly amazing sequence of Neolithic and Bronze Age discoveries.
They found 4 or 5 early Neolithic Houses, about 15% of those that have been found in the entire UK, and an amazing placed deposit, which contained a collection of objects dating back thousands of years. In effect, a ‘museum’ collection.
I’ll let you read it from the horse’s mouth. To read click here.
ZEPPELIN NIGHTS – A VIRTUAL WALK FOLLOWING THE 1915 BOMBING RAID THROUGH WW1 LONDON
Sunday 14 March 2021 6.30pm
8th of September 1915, the Zeppelin dropped its first bombs near Russell Square and we follow it to its last bomb at Liverpool Street. On the way we discover London in World War 1
On the night of September 8th Kapitanleutnant Henreich Mathy pilotted Zeppelin L 13 across Central London dropping bombs as they went. The trail of destruction lead from University College London, via Russell Sq. to Gray’s Inn Farringdon, Smithfield and out past Liverpool Street to the East End. The walk follows the route taken by the Zeppelin and looks at Central London during the World War 1.
Before World War One London was the centre of the largest Empire the world had ever known. It was the first great era of globalisation; international trade and Finance was booming. London was full of the mega-rich but poverty and sub-standard housing was extensive. Inner London was still the home of Industry, and home to large immigrant communities. Political dissent was widespread with the Labour Party beginning to erode the Liberal Party’s power base, and the issue of Female Suffragette was rocking society. Then, catastrophe as ‘the lights went out all over Europe’.
How would the War affect London? How would Londoners cope with this terrifying new form of warfare – death from above?
We begin our virtual tour at Russell Square Tube and follow the path of the bombing raid to Liverpool Street, looking at London, before, during and after World War One.
A Virtual Walk around Medieval London following in the footsteps of its resident medieval poet – Geoffrey Chaucer
One of the spectators at the Peasants Revolt was Geoffrey Chaucer, born in the Vintry area of London, who rose to be a diplomat, a Courtier and London’s Customs Officer. He lived with his wife in the Chamber above the Gate in the City Wall at Aldgate. His poetry shows a rugged, joyous medieval England including many scenes reflecting life in London. His stories document the ending of the feudal system, growing dissatisfaction with the corruption in the Church, and shows the robust independence with which the English led their lives.
His work helped change the fashion from poetry in French or Latin to acceptance of the English language as suitable literary language. This was helped by the growth of literacy in London as its Merchants and Guildsmen became increasingly successful. In 1422, for example, the Brewers decided to keep their records in English ‘as there are many of our craft who have the knowledge of reading and writing in the English idiom.’
Chaucer and other poets such as Langland give a vivid portrait of Medieval London which was dynamic, successful but also torn by crisis such as the Lollard challenge to Catholic hegemony, and the Peasants who revolted against oppression as the ruling classes struggled to resist the increased independence of the working people following the Black Death.
A walk which explores London in the Middle Ages, We begin at Aldgate, and follow Chaucer from his home to his place of work at the Customs House, and then to St Thomas Chapel on London Bridge, and through London to Poultry, Bucklersbury and Cheapside before visiting the Guildhall and St Pauls. We will walk in the muddy City Streets, exploring the unhealthy conditions and poverty amidst great riches and pageantry.
The Walk explores the Palaces along the Thames and then takes a walk around the City charting the life and deaths of Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell, which are so vividly depicted in Hilary Mantel’s books in the Wolf Hall series.