PODCAST FOR A VIRTUAL TOUR THROUGH THE WHOLE ISLAND OF GREAT BRITAIN. NO.5 EDINBURGH

View From Edinburgh Castle
View From Edinburgh Castle

This is the Podcast for the Virtual Tour of Edinburgh

To find out or book for the Edinburgh walk and other walks this week end click here

A Virtual Tour Through The Whole Island Of Great Britain. No.5 Edinburgh

Monday 2 May 2022 7 pm

A Virtual Walk Through the Athens of the North

Borrowing my title from Daniel Defoe’s early chorography, my first Circuit is from Chester to Edinburgh. Now on the last stop on this first circuit we are taking a virtual tour of the most extraordinary City – Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is a very unusual City as it was built on the saddle of a hill so its main street runs down the ridge of a hill and the City falls away on either side. This lack of flat land and restricted space led to the City growing upwards. This gave the City an extraordinary density and an unique atmosphere that we will be exploring.

In the Georgian period the City was extended with the addition of a new town quarter which was rationally planned and made a marked contrast on the old Town. Together it gives the Capital of Scotland, a combination of atmospheric and claustrophobic town planning with the elegance of a City that was one of the great Cities of the Enlightenment.

We will begin the virtual walk in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat at the shiny new Scottish Parliament and walk up the Royal Mile from Holyrood to Tollboth, to the Netherbow and onto the Castle at the pinnacle of the City

To Book:

BIG WEEKEND OF WALKS (2)

Painting of the Roman Forum of London from the air
Painting of the Roman Forum of London from the air

So on Saturday the 30th I am doing 2 guided walks and one Virtual Walk.

ROMAN LONDON – A LITERARY & ARCHAEOLOGICAL WALK

Saturday 30 April 20/22 11.30 am Monument Underground Station

This is a walking tour features the amazing archaeological discoveries of Roman London, and looks at life in the provincial Roman capital of Londinium.

We disembark at the Roman Waterfront by the Roman Bridge, and then explore the lives of the citizens as we walk up to the site of the Roman Town Hall, and discuss Roman politics. We proceed through the streets of Roman London, with its vivid and cosmopolitan street life via the Temple of Mithras to finish with Bread and Circus at the Roman Amphitheatre.

Publius Ovidius Naso and Marcus Valerius Martialis will be helped by Kevin Flude, former Museum of London Archaeologist, Museum Curator and Lecturer.

This is a London Walks Guided Walk

To book  https://www.walks.com/our-walks/roman-london-a-literary-archaeological-virtual-tour/

Myths, Legends, May Eve London Guided Walk

Sunday 30th April  2022  2.30pm  

The walk tells the story of London’s myths and legends and the Celtic Festival of Beltane.

The walk begins with the tale of London’s legendary origins in the Bronze Age by an exiled Trojan called Brutus. Stories of Bladud, Bellinus, Bran and Arthur will be interspersed with how they fit in with archaeological discoveries. As we explore the City we also look at evidence for ‘Celtic’ origins of London and how Imbolc may have been celebrated in early London.

The virtual route starts at Tower Hill, then down to the River Thames at Billingsgate, to London Bridge and Southwark Cathedral, to the Roman Forum at the top of Cornhill, into the valley of the River Walbrook, passed the Temple of Mithras, along Cheapside to the Roman Amphitheatre, and finishing up in the shadow of St Pauls

This is a London Walks Virtual Walk. Look at their web site for a list of other of their amazing walks.

To book https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/253596322427

This weekend I am also doing two Virtual tours

:
Myths, Legends, May Eve London Virtual Walk

Sunday  30th April  2022  7.30pm  

The walk tells the story of London’s myths and legends and the Celtic Festival of Beltane

To book  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/myths-legends-may-day-london-virtual-walk-tickets-251923047617

And on Monday evening

A Virtual Tour Through The Whole Island Of Great Britain.  No.5 Edinburgh

 Monday  2 May 2022 7 pm

A Virtual Walk Through the Athens of the North

To book  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/256923664597

Hope to see you this weekend.

ARCHIVES OF EVENTS & WALKS (2022)

ARCHAEOLOGY OF LONDON – every Thursday 6.30 PM Click here for details and how to book.

Bran's head taken to Tower Hill
King Bran’s head buried at Tower Hill

A Virtual Tour Through The Whole Island Of Great Britain. No.5 Edinburgh

View From Edinburgh Castle
View From Edinburgh Castle

Monday 2 May 2022 7 pm

A Virtual Walk Through the Athens of the North

Borrowing my title from Daniel Defoe’s early chorography, my first Circuit is from Chester to Edinburgh. Now on the last stop on this first circuit we are taking a virtual tour of the most extraordinary City – Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is a very unusual City as it was built on the saddle of a hill so its main street runs down the ridge of a hill and the City falls away on either side. This lack of flat land and restricted space led to the City growing upwards. This gave the City an extraordinary density and an unique atmosphere that we will be exploring.

In the Georgian period the City was extended with the addition of a new town quarter which was rationally planned and made a marked contrast on the old Town. Together it gives the Capital of Scotland, a combination of atmospheric and claustrophobic town planning with the elegance of a City that was one of the great Cities of the Enlightenment.

We will begin the virtual walk in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat at the shiny new Scottish Parliament and walk up the Royal Mile from Holyrood to Tollboth, to the Netherbow and onto the Castle at the pinnacle of the City


Painting of the Roman Forum of London from the air
Painting of the Roman Forum of London from the air

ROMAN LONDON – A LITERARY & ARCHAEOLOGICAL WALK

Saturday 30 April 20/22 11.30 am Monument Underground Station

This is a walking tour features the amazing archaeological discoveries of Roman London, and looks at life in the provincial Roman capital of Londinium.

Our Guides will be Publius Ovidius Naso and Marcus Valerius Martialis who will be helped by Kevin Flude, former Museum of London Archaeologist, Museum Curator and Lecturer.

We disembark at the Roman Waterfront by the Roman Bridge, and then explore the lives of the citizens as we walk up to the site of the Roman Town Hall, and discuss Roman politics. We proceed through the streets of Roman London, with its vivid and cosmopolitan street life via the Temple of Mithras to finish with Bread and Circus at the Roman Amphitheatre.

This is a London Walks Guided Walk. Look at their web site for a list of other of their amazing walks.

REVIEWS (from London Walks website)
“Kevin, I just wanted to drop you a quick email to thank you ever so much for your archaeological tours of London! I am so thrilled to have stumbled upon your tours! I look forward to them more than you can imagine! They’re the best 2 hours of my week! 🙂 Best, Sue



MYTHS, LEGENDS, MAY EVE LONDON GUIDED WALK

Saturday 30th April 2022 2.30pm Tower Hill Underground

The walk tells the story of London’s myths and legends and the Celtic Festival of Beltane

The walk is led by Kevin Flude, a former archaeologist at the Museum of London, who has an interest both in the archaeological evidence as well as the myths and legends of London’s origin.

The guided walk is one of a series about London’s Myths and Legends which take place on or around one of the significant festivals of the Celtic calendar. On this tour we celebrate May Day, or Beltane – the celebration of the coming of Summer.

The walk begins with the tale of London’s legendary origins in the Bronze Age by an exiled Trojan called Brutus. Stories of Bladud, Bellinus, Bran and Arthur will be interspersed with how they fit in with archaeological discoveries. As we explore the City we also look at evidence for ‘Celtic’ origins of London and how Imbolc may have been celebrated in early London.

The virtual route starts at Tower Hill, then down to the River Thames at Billingsgate, to London Bridge and Southwark Cathedral, to the Roman Forum at the top of Cornhill, into the valley of the River Walbrook, passed the Temple of Mithras, along Cheapside to the Roman Amphitheatre, and finishing up in the shadow of St Pauls

This is a London Walks guided walk. Look at their web site for a list of other of their amazing walks.


MYTHS, LEGENDS, MAY EVE LONDON VIRTUAL WALK

SATURDAY 30th April 2022 7.30pm

The virtual version of the walk route starts at Tower Hill, then down to the River Thames at Billingsgate, to London Bridge and Southwark Cathedral, to the Roman Forum at the top of Cornhill, into the valley of the River Walbrook, passed the Temple of Mithras, along Cheapside to the Roman Amphitheatre, and finishing up in the shadow of St PaulsThis is a London Walks Virtual Walk. Look at their web site for a list of other of their amazing walks.

A Virtual Tour Through The Whole Island Of Great Britain. No.4 Stratford

New Place, Shakespeare’s prestigious home in Stratford

Saturday 16 Apr 2022 7.00 pm

A Virtual Walk Through Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-on-Avon

Borrowing my title from Daniel Defoe’s early chorography, my first Circuit is from Chester to Edinburgh. Now on our fourth stop we are taking a virtual tour of the capital of English Literature – Stratford-on-Avon.

We will be taking an in-depth walk around Shakespeare’s Birthday, visiting the sites in the market town associated with his history. We will look for his neighbours, friends and acquaintances to get an insight into life in a Tudor Town and find out how a provincial boy became London’s greatest playwright revered around the world as one of the most significant writers.
Our walk will begin at the Birthplace, from here to the Market Cross and the shop ran by his daughter’s wayward husband.

We then walk past the house associated with John Harvard to the Guild Chapel where Shakespeare’s father had the Doomsday paintings whitewashed out. Shakespeare would have attended here when at the local school next door.
Over the road is the site of the greatest house in Stratford, New Place, which Shakespeare purchased when at the height of his earnings as playwright.

We continue to the house of his first born daughter and her husband, the Doctor John Hall and examine his medical books. We finish across the road from his friend and money lender, John Combe at the Church where Shakespeare was buried.

Shakespeare’s London – Life & Work Virtual Tour
Saturday 23rd April 2022 7.00 pm

St George’s Day Special

On , St George’s Day, said to be the Anniversary of Shakespeare birth as well as his death we take a long walk around Shakespeare’s London. Although many choose to take a pilgrimage to Stratford, London, his workplace is the right place to worship at the font of his genius.

We don’t know how Shakespeare got to London or began his involvement as a playwright, but we do have a lot of biographical details so that we can trace his life and career in London.

We will start at Liverpool Street and explore late 16th Century Shoreditch where the early Theatres – the Theatre and the Curtain were built. We then walk through Bishopsgate into St Helens where he lived and located scenes in his plays.

From there we explore the City of London which was in the midst of a massive population explosion and was full of young people shaking off their traditional lives to find a new one in the fleshpots of London.
We walk through the French Quarter to the house where he lodged, near the Museum of London and to the ruins of St Mary. Here two of his fellow actors were church wardens and it was they who saved for posterity his plays and published the First Folio.

We go past the Guildhall where Jewish Doctor Lopez was found guilty of plotting to poison Queen Elizabeth a few years before the writing of the Merchant of Venice. At St Pauls we discover where Falstaff obtained his untrustworthy servant Bardolph. Then to Carter Lane, where the only letter that survives to Shakespeare was written. Around the corner, was the ruined Blackfriars where Shakespeare’s company set up their winter theatre.

We then cross the river to explore the Southbank and Theatres where Shakespeare found the height of his fame, before retiring to an early death in Stratford on Avon.

A VIRTUAL TOUR THROUGH THE WHOLE ISLAND OF GREAT BRITAIN. NO. 3 YORK

Saturday, March 19, 2022 7:00 pm

From Legionary Fortress to Medieval Castle

Borrowing my title from Daniel Defoe’s early chorography, my first Circuit is from Chester to Edinburgh. Now on our third stop we are taking a virtual tour of the capital of the North – the historic City of York.

One of Britain’s most important and, certainly, one of its most atmospheric Cities, York has everything a lover of history could want. Founded as a legionary Fortress as the Roman invasion proceeded northwards. Its strategic situation soon facilitated an expansion beyond the circuit of the military fort. The City survived into the Anglian period before becoming the centre of Viking operations.

Following the Norman Invasion, the people of the North attacked William the Conqueror’s two new Castles, and destroyed them. In 1069 William spent Christmas in York and used it as his base to ‘harry’ the North one of the most devastating massacres Britain has seen. But York survived and eventually flourished as the bastion of the English Monarch’s power, and was an important factor in the rivalry between England and Scotland.

York did not become a powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution but retained a regional importance and attracted industries such as chocolate manufacturing, becoming the ‘Home of Chocolate’ hosting Rowntrees and Terry’s.

Our walk will take us around the Medieval Walls, to the Castle and the site of the Roman Fortress, through the streets, alleys and snickets to one of the great Churches of Great Britain, the York Minister.

ROMAN LONDON – A LITERARY & ARCHAEOLOGICAL WALK

Sunday 20th March 20/22 11.30 am Monument Underground Station

This is a walking tour features the amazing archaeological discoveries of Roman London, and looks at life in the provincial Roman capital of Londinium.

Our Guides will be Publius Ovidius Naso and Marcus Valerius Martialis who will be helped by Kevin Flude, former Museum of London Archaeologist, Museum Curator and Lecturer.

We disembark at the Roman Waterfront by the Roman Bridge, and then explore the lives of the citizens as we walk up to the site of the Roman Town Hall, and discuss Roman politics. We proceed through the streets of Roman London, with its vivid and cosmopolitan street life via the Temple of Mithras to finish with Bread and Circus at the Roman Amphitheatre.

This is a London Walks Guided Walk. Look at their web site for a list of other of their amazing walks.

REVIEWS (from London Walks website)
“Kevin, I just wanted to drop you a quick email to thank you ever so much for your archaeological tours of London! I am so thrilled to have stumbled upon your tours! I look forward to them more than you can imagine! They’re the best 2 hours of my week! 🙂 Best, Sue

The London Spring Equinox Walk
Sunday 20 March 2022 2.30 pm Tower Hill Underground


Tailored to each season we explore London’s History through its celebrations, festivals, calendars and almanacs

As the Sun and Moon move around our skies we look at how Londoners organised and celebrated their year throughout history.

The tour is led by Kevin Flude, a former archaeologist at the Museum of London, Curator and Lecturer

One of the most popular forms of publication in London was the Almanac. It was full of seasonal advice, of prophecy, traditional wisdom, and important events past and future. Different cultures, religions and institutions had their own methods of organisation and celebrations. We explore the varied calendars that ruled people’s lives from the prehistoric period to the present.

On the way we look at customs, and folklore of the Celts, Romans, Saxons, and into the Medieval and Modern period. We look at different calendars such as the Pagan year, the Egyptian year, the Roman, Christian, Jewish, Church and Financial years.

On the route we discover the people who lived in London and walk through fascinating areas with their deep histories. Each walk will be customised to fit the particular Solstice or Equinox they fall on.

This is a London Walks Guided Walk. Look at their web site for a list of other of their amazing walks

THE SPRING EQUINOX LONDON VIRTUAL TOUR
Sunday 20 March 2022 6.30 pm

In the spirit of the old almanacs we take a seasonal look at London at the Equinox, its calendars, folklore and the beginning of Spring

The tour is led by Kevin Flude, a former archaeologist at the Museum of London, Curator and Lecturer

One of the most popular forms of publication in London was the Almanac. It was full of seasonal advice, of prophecy, traditional wisdom, and remembering important events to mark in the year. So we tour London to create our own Spring Equinox Almanac looking at the Equinox and the various calendars associated with the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring, from the prehistoric period to the present.

On the way we look at customs of the Celts, Romans, Saxons, and into the Medieval and Modern period.
We look around the City of London in search of evidence of how the celestial bodies and the calendar affect our legal, financial, religious, educational, political, agricultural and human systems.

We look at different calendars such as the Pagan year, the Egyptian year, the Roman year, the Christian year, the Jewish year, as well as the various secular years, and explore how they began and how they relate to each other.

On the route we examine folk traditions & customs, spring & Easter Festivals and events. We find interesting and historic places in the City of London to link to our stories of the Equinox.

This is a London Walks Virtual Tour. . Look at their web site for a list of other of their amazing walks

Conwy View from the Castle – photo by Kevin Flude

A VIRTUAL TOUR THROUGH THE WHOLE ISLAND OF GREAT BRITAIN. NO. 2 CONWY

Monday 7th March 2022 7.00 pm

See the gateway to Snowdonia and its magnificent Medieval Castle, Town and Bridges

Borrowing my title from Daniel Defoe’s early chorography, my first circuit is from Chester to Edinburgh. Now on our second stop we are taking a virtual tour of the gateway to North Wales – the delightful town of Conwy.

For a small town Conwy has everything – an absolutely magnificent Medieval Castle, a City Wall that is still intact around the entire Circuit. Some of the great feats of bridge and tunnel engineering, and a pocket sized town containing historic buildings, nice pubs, and the ‘smallest house in Great Britain.’

It is not only picturesque but was a settlement of enormous strategic importance in the invasions by the Romans and the English. And to finish the tour we will take a small excursion into Snowdonia to see what it guarded.

A VIRTUAL TOUR THROUGH THE WHOLE ISLAND OF GREAT BRITAIN. NO. 1 – CHESTER

Chester City Wall and the Shropshire Union Canal

Sunday 20th February 2022 7.30pm

A Virtual Walk Through Chester from Amphitheatre to Canal

Borrowing my title from Daniel Defoe’s early chorography, my first Circuit is from Chester to Edinburgh. We begin with a virtual walk around Chester.

Chester is one of Britain’s best known historic Cities. One of those places where the history of Britain can be told in one town. It was founded as a Legionary Fortress when the Romans sought to expand their imperium into the North and West of Britain. It remained an important military town with a thriving port. It is not clear exactly what happened in the centuries following the Roman withdrawal from Britannia but it retained its importance in the Saxon and Medieval periods before being besieged by the King’s Forces in the English Civil War.

The Industrial Revolution largely by-passed Chester but helped bring on the decline of its traditional industries, and soon it was relegated to a secondary status to Liverpool and Manchester in the North West. However, this meant the City retained much of its historic character, and we will enjoy the surviving Wall circuit, the timber framed shops and houses as we walk from the Station to the Amphitheatre, through the Roman town and into the Medieval Cathedral, before leaving by the Canal.

THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF LONDON BRIDGE, SOUTHWARK & BANKSIDE GUIDED WALK

Reconstruction of Dark Age London Bridge
London in the 5th Century Reconstruction painting.


Sunday 6 February 2022 2.30pm Monument Underground

The walk explores the area around the Bridge and London Bridge’s history

London Bridge is not only an iconic part of London’s history but it is also the key to much of the History of London. On this walk we explore the area around the Bridge.

On the north side we explore evidence for the origins of the Bridge, and the early Roman Port of London. We then cross the Bridge discovering the many rebuilds and the wonder of the famous London Bridge with all its houses along it. On the south side we explore the Historic Borough of Southwark which, archaeology has revealed, is very much more than just the first suburb of London.

We range from the prehistoric finds in the River, to the excavation of the Theatres of Shakespeare’s London on Bankside.

This is a London Walks Guided Walk. Look at their web site for a list of other of their amazing walks. The walk needs to be booked via this London Walk link. To Book:

London Bridge

THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF LONDON BRIDGE, SOUTHWARK & BANKSIDE VIRTUAL WALK

Sunday 6 February 2022 7.30pm

The virtual version of the London Bridge Walk.

To book

MYTHS, LEGENDS, & CELTIC FESTIVALS LONDON GUIDED WALK

Sunday30th January 2022 2.30pm Tower Hill Underground

The walk tells the story of London’s myths and legends and the Celtic Festival of Imbolc.

The guided walk is led by Kevin Flude, a former archaeologist at the Museum of London, who has an interest both in the archaeological evidence as well as the myths and legends of London’s origin.

The walk is one of a series about London’s Myths and Legends which take place on or around one of the significant festivals of the Celtic calendar. On this tour we celebrate Imbolc, the festival half way between the winter and the Summer Solstice that celebrates the first signs of the coming of spring. The day is also dedicated to St Bridget, or St Bride.

The walk begins with the tale of London’s legendary origins in the Bronze Age by an exiled Trojan called Brutus. Stories of Bladud, Bellinus, Bran and Arthur will be interspersed with how they fit in with archaeological discoveries. As we explore the City we also look at evidence for ‘Celtic’ origins of London and how Imbolc may have been celebrated in early London.

The route starts at Tower Hill, then down to the River Thames at Billingsgate, to London Bridge and Southwark Cathedral, to the Roman Forum at the top of Cornhill, into the valley of the River Walbrook, passed the Temple of Mithras, along Cheapside to the Roman Amphitheatre, and finishing up at St Brides.

This is a London Walks Walk. Look at their web site for a list of other of their amazing walks.

To Book:

MYTHS, LEGENDS, & CELTIC FESTIVALS LONDON VIRTUAL WALK

Sunday 30th January 2022 7.30pm

The virtual version of the walk starts at Tower Hill, then down to the River Thames at Billingsgate, to London Bridge and Southwark Cathedral, to the Roman Forum at the top of Cornhill, into the valley of the River Walbrook, passed the Temple of Mithras, along Cheapside to the Roman Amphitheatre, and finishing up at St Brides.This is a London Walks Virtual Walk. Look at their web site for a list of other of their amazing walks.

To Book:

LONDON. 1066 AND ALL THAT VIRTUAL WALK

Reading museum's copy of the Bayeaux tapestry showing King Edward in the Palace, the new Westminster Abbey and Edward's funeral procession.
Westminster & Edward the Confessor on Reading Museum’s copy of the Bayeaux Tapestry


Virtual Zoom Walk 7.30pm on Sunday 9th January 2022

The Archaeological Walk that explores London at the end of the Saxon period and at the beginning of the Norman.

The Norman Conquest of 1066 defines Britain in a way unmatched by any other event. And on this walk we explore the London that William conquered and how he changed England for all time.

London was England’s most important City but not yet the capital. It was crucial to William in his attempt to conquer the realm but he failed to capture London. He failed to push his army across the heavily defended London Bridge after the defeat of the English King at the Battle of Hastings.

The future of the country was in the balance as he sought to find a way across the river and to persuade the English that resistance was hopeless. Eventually, the English leaders sued for peace, and William was crowned at the newly built Westminster Abbey. But as the Saxons acclaimed the new King, his guards became alarmed and slaughtered the Saxons.

He then set about making sure he kept hold of his new Kingdom and its most important City. He and his sons not only transformed London that dealt a death blow to Anglo-Saxon culture.

This walks begins at Westminster Abbey, explores Late Saxon and Norman London and ends at the Tower of London

Walk is by Kevin Flude, former Archaeologist at the Museum of London

RING IN THE NEW YEAR VIRTUAL WALK

Druids at All Hallows, by the Tower
Druids at All Hallows, by the Tower

On this walk we look at how London has celebrated the New Year over the past 2000 years, and using our crystal ball look forward to what will befall London in 2022

Sunday January 2nd 2022 7.30pm

We look at London’s past to see where and how the Solstice might be celebrated. We also explore the different New Years we use and their associated Calendars – the Pagan year, the Christian year, the Roman year, the Jewish year, the Financial year, the Academic year and we reveal how these began. We look at folk traditions, Medieval Christmas Festivals, Boy Bishops, Distaff Sunday and Plough Monday, and other New Year London tradition and folklore.

At the end we use ancient methods to divine what is in store for us in 2022.

The walk finds interesting and historic places in the City of London to link to our stories of Past New Year’s Days. We begin, virtually, at Barbican Underground and continue to the Museum of London, the Roman Fort; Noble Street, Goldsmiths Hall, Foster Lane, St Pauls, Dr Commons, St. Nicholas Colechurch and on towards the River.

Archive for 2021 can be seen here:

2019-21 here



BIG WEEKEND OF WALKS!

Bootham Bar with York Minter in the background
Bootham Bar with York Minter in the background photo Kevin Flude

I’m doing a virtual tour of York tonight at 7pm.

Then, tomorrow, two proper real walks in the fresh air:

a Literary and Archaeological walk of Roman London at 11.30

a Spring Equinox Walk at 2.30.

and I then dash hope to repeat the Equinox Walk as a virtual tour.

Links to the walks here:

And the Sunday was ruined bt the taxi driver who knocked me off my bike!

A VIRTUAL TOUR THROUGH THE WHOLE ISLAND OF GREAT BRITAIN. NO. 2 CONWY

Conwy Estuary from the Castle, looking towards Deganwy to the North

Monday 7th March 2022 7.00 pm

See the gateway to Snowdonia and its magnificent Medieval Castle, Town and Bridges

Borrowing my title from Daniel Defoe’s early chorography, my first circuit is from Chester to Edinburgh. Now on our second stop we are taking a virtual tour of the gateway to North Wales – the delightful town of Conwy.

For a small town Conwy has everything – an absolutely magnificent Medieval Castle, a City Wall that is still intact around the entire Circuit. Some of the great feats of bridge and tunnel engineering, and a pocket sized town containing historic buildings, nice pubs, and the ‘smallest house in Great Britain.’

It is not only picturesque but was a settlement of enormous strategic importance in the invasions by the Romans and the English. And to finish the tour we will take a small excursion into Snowdonia to see what it guarded

To Book:

Podcast

BWALCH-Y-DDEUFAEN -GIANTS, COBBLERS & THE TEARDROP EXPLODES

Giants from a medieval illustration

Julian Cope, of the Teardrop Explodes, wrote a wonderfully illustrated guide book of the megalithic sites in the UK. While you read why don’t you listen to the wonderful ‘When I dream.’

I lent the Modern Antiquarian to someone so have to use the website to share what he said about the standing stones of Bwalch-y-DDeufaen, near Conwy.

‘I’m really taken with these stones. The sense of deep time seems to hang around them, from the ageless mountains, through the monument builders, the tramp of Roman soldiers, into a hinterland of iron and wire. Rather than detracting, the pylons add to this sense that we’re standing in the midst of a palimpsest, layers of time and people still there, just below the surface. And perhaps we’re a shadowy presence in earlier and later times, too.

Julian Cope www.themodernantiquarian

Terry Hughes Wikipedia  / Bwlch y Ddeufaen Northwest Standing Stone / CC BY-SA 2.05

I’m working on a virtual tour of Conwy (Monday 7th March 7pm) and I remember a wonderful story from my several visits to Conwy pre-Covid. So, in my own words:

A Cobbler with a string of old shoes to be repaired hanging on a string around his neck, came upon a Giant carrying two huge stones in his hands. Behind him walked his wife carrying smaller stones in her apron. They were struggling over the Pass with the weight of the stones, and asked the Cobbler anxiously how far it was to the the Island of Anglesey? The Cobbler asked why they wanted to know and the Giant answered. ‘We plan to settle there and these stones are to build a bridge across the Menai Straits’.

The Cobbler came from Anglesey and was alarmed by the idea of the havoc a couple of Giants would cause. So he replied ‘ I don’t know how far it is but I have worn out all these shoes on the way.’

The Giant looked at the string of worn out shoes, looked at his wife and they decided to abandon their journey. He threw the two standing stones in the air and they landed in the ground where they have stood ever since, and his wife threw her smaller stones away too.

This is an explanation of the 2 large standing stones and two smaller ones at Bwalch-y-Ddeufane. They are either Neolithic or Bronze Age. Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote, int eh Twelfth Century, that the indigenous inhabitants of Britain were giants, descended from Poseidon, and the daughters of Albion. They were wiped out by King Brutus, the Trojan (for that tale come to my Myths and Legends of London Walks).

Bwalch means gap or pass and the track here was the prehistoric track and Roman Road that lead to Mona from Conwy and Chester. In fact they even considered it as a possible route for Euroroute 22, before deciding to continue the route along the A55 through Conwy. It was a massive construction project costing £200 million pounds and only made possible by European money as it was a strategic route to Holyhead and Ireland.

Below Bwalch-y-Ddeufane at Caerhun was the Roman Auxiliary Fortress that controlled this vital crossing of the Conwy. It is thought that this became the Civitas Capital of the Deceangli, who controlled the land from the Conwy to the Dee Estuary before and during the Roman period.

Google Satellite image showing Bwalch-y-Ddeufane, the Roman site of Caerhun, the river crossing at Tal-y-Cafn, Conwy and the A55 (the yellow coast road).Euro route 22

PLOWONIDA – LONDON’S ORIGINAL NAME & THE LONDON ‘RITUAL LANDSCAPE’

https://www.etymonline.com/word/*pleu-

Definition of the proto-indo-european route "pleu
https://www.etymonline.com/word/*pleu-

Richard Coates in a ground breaking article ‘A New Explanation Of The Name Of London’ Transactions Of The Philological Society Volume 96:2 (1998) Pgs 203 – 229 suggested the original name of London was Plowonida – or settlement by the wide flowing river. He deduces its name by comparing different versions of ‘London’ in different Celtic dialects and traces them back to what he believes is the common origin. This is the root *pleu meaning fleet flowing river, and onida which means ‘settlement by the’.

So, in the 2nd Millennia BC – the Bronze Age, there was a settlement by the flowing River. He thinks the Thames was the name for the river upstream of the Pool of London, and where it widened into an estuary it was called the Pleu. Etymonline.com says of the name Thames:

Thames – River through London, Old English Temese, from Latin Tamesis (51 B.C.E.), from British Tamesa, an ancient Celtic river name perhaps meaning “the dark one.” The -h- is unetymological (see th).

https://www.etymonline.com/word/thames

So, in the Bronze Age there must have been a small settlement probably in the area of the City or on the south bank in Southwark. It’s possible we have already found it in the occasional findings of post-holes, gullies, plough marks, brushwood platforms and burial mounds (particularly in Southwark) that have been found or we may be yet to find it. Or we may never find it. And if we do, unless it is significant in some way or has a signpost on it saying (“You are entering Plowonida”) we will never know.

Of course Coates may be wrong, but he is the most distinguished linguist of recent years to put his head about a dangerous parapet. Antiquarian journals were full of suggestions for the name of London. Previous suggestions include Lake Side Town, Lud’s Castle, Londinos’s settlement. None have survived scrutiny, and very few people were willing to make a guess after the late 70s, until 1998 and Richard Coates. However they all seem to accept that the name is pre-Roman in origin.

Archaeologists since the 1970s have been completely convinced there was no City before the arrival of the Romans. So, why bother finding the original name of a place that did not exist? However, last year in an excavation underneath Amazon’s new HQ, Principle Place, just north of Liverpool Street station, was found over 400 pieces of neolithic pottery, and evidence of extensive feasting. If you put this together with the burials found in the water margins of the River Thames, and the incredible finds of prestige metal objects: helmets, shields, swords, cauldrons, etc. from the River a case is beginning to be made (by David Keys in the Independent for example) that the area of the City of London might have been an important place for gatherings. So is it possible that the origins of London are as part of a ritual landscape?

If this is taken seriously it has a lot of implications for received opinion.

I discuss this and other issues in my Myths and Legends Guided Walks for London Walks. Click here to see the details

Bran's head taken to Tower Hill
King Bran’s head buried at Tower Hill

CHESTER – VIRTUAL TOUR & PODCAST

Chester City Walls and the Shropshire Union Canal (River Dee can just be seen at the back)

Sunday I am doing a Virtual tour of Chester. Here is a podcast as an introduction.

A VIRTUAL TOUR THROUGH THE WHOLE ISLAND OF GREAT BRITAIN. NO. 1 – CHESTER

Sunday 20th February 2022 7.30pm

A Virtual Walk Through Chester from Amphitheatre to Canal

Borrowing my title from Daniel Defoe’s early chorography, my first Circuit is from Chester to Edinburgh. We begin with a virtual walk around Chester.

Chester is one of Britain’s best known historic Cities. One of those places where the history of Britain can be told in one town. It was founded as a Legionary Fortress when the Romans sought to expand their imperium into the North and West of Britain. It remained an important military town with a thriving port. It is not clear exactly what happened in the centuries following the Roman withdrawal from Britannia but it retained its importance in the Saxon and Medieval periods before being besieged by the King’s Forces in the English Civil War.

The Industrial Revolution largely by-passed Chester but helped bring on the decline of its traditional industries, and soon it was relegated to a secondary status to Liverpool and Manchester in the North West. However, this meant the City retained much of its historic character, and we will enjoy the surviving Wall circuit, the timber framed shops and houses as we walk from the Station to the Amphitheatre, through the Roman town and into the Medieval Cathedral, before leaving by the Canal.

To Book:

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