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.
What this revealed was that the British Government borrowed money (from Rothschild which they only paid back recently) some £20m if I remember correctly. We have the list of the beneficiaries of compensation for their loss of OWNERSHIP of human beings. So we, the people, funded compensation of exploiters of human misery.
£20m is perhaps £16 billion in today’s money.
So what would be so terrible about, we, the people, setting up a charitable fund with £16billion capital to fund, say, the removal of barriers to equal opportunity in Britain, the West Indies and Africa.
Funded by Government borrowing.
As to Statues. Case by Case examination of the issues, by citizens panel guided by expert opinions.
Options to include:
1. Removal to a museum display where contextual information can be clearly displayed.
2. Erection of new plinth with appropriate information
3. Creation of a new statue nearby to make a suitable display representing the issues
The discovery of a dismantled Stone Circle, the same size as the Aubrey Holes Circle at Stonehenge, near to the Quarry that modern science has identified as the source of the Bluestones at Stonehenge, has validated what Geoffrey of Monmouth said in the 12th Century.
That is that Stonehenge was second hand and was brought from the West. (OK he said Ireland and the newly discovered Henge is in West Wales, and everything else he said seems to be wrong). But at least it would seem Geoffrey didn’t just make up it all up, which is what I have been saying for many years.
Anyway the point of this post is to direct you to this article which is the definitive word on the new discovery by Mike Parker Pearson and his colleagues.
The Walk creates a portrait of London in the early 16th Century. It has a particular emphasis on the life and times of Thomas Cromwell and Thomas More who feature in Wolf Hall, the novel by Hilary Mantel.
The Virtual Tour will start with a boat tour from Hampton Court, via Chelsea to the City, and then a Walk around the City.
More and Cromwell had much in common, both lawyers, commoners, who rose to be Lord Chancellor to Henry VIII and they both ended their career on the block at Tower Hill. But they found themselves on the other side of the gulf that suddenly opened with the religious ferment that accompanied Henry’s obsession with Anne Bolyen.
The Walk will include visits to the sites of More’s and Cromwell’s town houses and then walk through the market streets of Tudor London, to Cheapside and the Guildhall, St Pauls and outside the Walls to Smithfield where most of the religious executions took place. We visit Charter House where More took a break from the stress of public office, and whose Prior, Cromwell had hanged, drawn and quartered. We exit via the plaque pits, and finish off with a walk around the City Walls until we come to Tower Hill where both men ended their lives on the scaffold.
Saint or Sinner? What better place to ponder that question that the streets of Wolf Hall London?
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
ROMAN LONDON – A LITERARY & ARCHAEOLOGICAL VIRTUAL WALK
Sunday 17th Jan 2021 6.30pm
The virtual walk looks at the amazing archaeological discoveries of Roman London, and an attempt to bring to life through archaeology and Roman literary sources what it was like to live in a provincial Roman Capital.
THE REBIRTH OF SAXON LONDON ARCHAEOLOGY VIRTUAL WALK
Sunday 24th Jan 2021 6.30pm
An exploration of what happened following the Roman Period. How did a Celtic speaking Latin educated Roman City become, first deserted, then recovered to become the leading City in a germanic speaking Kingdom?