NEW BROOMS & MAY GIFTS

May – Hawthorn Flowers

Its bad luck to buy, make or use a new broom in May.

Sweep with a broom that is cut in May
You’ll sweep the head of the house away.

To give good luck to a friend leaving a branch of hawthorn flowers on the doorstep. Other woody messages were not so friendly according to traditional verses.

Alder for a scrowler; pear for the fair

Nut for a Slut; plum for the glum
Bramble if she ramble; gorse for the whores

Not sure quite how some of the rhymes work, and it does seem rather at the expense of women.

I’m taking groups around Britain for much of the summer, and separated from my books will not be posting so frequently, which you might already have noticed.

MAY DAY 1

Bringing the Maypole, Bedfordshire. Image from ‘Romantic Britain’

Maypoles were often stored during the year. They were then repainted, and bedecked with May Garlands – mostly made from Hawthorn. The Maypole used in London in 1660 was 134 feet high. Tall straight trees were used, sometimes of Larch, and they might be spliced together to get the requisite height. John Stow says that each parish in London had their own Maypole, or combined with a neighbouring Parish. The main Maypole was on the top of the Cornhill, in Leadenhall Street, and it was stored under the eves of St Andrew’s Church which became known as St Andrew’s Undershaft as a result.

The celebrations begin on May Eve because the Celtic calendar starts the day at Dusk. This seems strange to us even though we perversely ‘start’ our day at Midnight just after everyone has gone to bed! The other choice, and maybe the most logical is, Dawn. Midnight was chosen by Julius Caesar when he created the Julian Calendar. Midnight has the virtue of being a fixed metric. Dawn and Dusk vary and are difficult to precisely fix. Midnight is half way between Dawn and Dusk, and a fixed point.

Celebrations centred around the Bonfire, and for the Celts was sacred to the fire God Belinus, and May Day was called Beltane. Bonfires continued to be a part of the celebration into the 16th Century. According to folklore tradition, the bonfire should be made of nine types of wood, collected by nine teams of married men (or first born men). They must not carry any metal with them and the fire has to be lit by rubbing oak sticks together or a wooden awl twisted in a wooden log. The people have to run sunwise around the fire, and oatcakes are distributed with one being marked with a black spot. The one who collects it has to jump through the fire three times. Bonfires would have been on the top of hills, or in the streets in London.

May celebrations have a similarity of Halloween which was also a fire festival and both are uncanny times when sprites and spirits abound. Hawthorn was a favoured wood not only because of its beautiful may flowers but also because it was said to be the wood the crown of thorns was made from. It had the power of resisting supernatural forces, so was used to protect doors, cribs, cow sheds and other places from witches. Witches, it was said, got their power to fly from potions made from infants. The best protection was christening and the custom was that christening took place as early as possible and normally three days after birth. Shakespeare was baptised on 26th April 1564, so we celebrate his birthday on 23rd April. Cribs would be bedecked with Hawthorn and protection might be helped by a bible, rowan, and garlic. Babies born between May 1 and 8 were thought to be special children destined to have power over man and beast. Weddings were frowned upon in Lent and in May, so a lot of people married in April.

After celebrations in the evening of April 30th, women would go out in the woods to collect May, and to wash their faces in May Dew preferable from the leaves of Hawthorn, or beneath an oak tree. Thinking of one’s lover might bring marriage within the year.

May morning would commence with dancing around the Maypole, followed by feasting, and summer games.

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.

MISUNDERSTANDING THE ROMAN WALL AT TOWER HILL

Roman and Medieval Town Wall at Tower Hill, London
Roman and Medieval Town Wall at Tower Hill, London

Yesterday I had a meeting with a couple of archaeologists at Tower Hill to discuss my recent letter to the London Archaeologist which suggests a piece of conservation of the wall was wrong and based on an misunderstanding of the physical remains. To my relief they agreed with my assessment of the wall and we agreed to follow it up.

It is a complex issue and I will try to upload a copy of the report at the bottom of this page. But briefly. at some point in the past the inner face of part of the wall collapsed (the piece closest to the camera). You can see that only the bottom Roman tile courses continue to the camera end of the wall – the ones above were swept away in the collapse on the inner face, they survived on the outer face.

The section just visible at the front used to show this collapse graphically because only half of the width of the tile courses survived (i.e. on the outer face not the inner face.) At some point someone in the 1980s picked up some fragments of the tile and stuck them superficially on the wall to complete the tile courses. This shows a complete lack of understanding of the archaeology of the wall and ignores the collapse. You can just see the end of that false tile course a few feet above the bottom genuine Roman tile course.

Not a great nor important bit of history but the Wall Walk plaque is wrong on this matter too so it would be good to get that changed.

Its difficult to date the original collapse but the wall at the top looks clearly medieval.

What was even more exciting is that while waiting for the archaeologists to turn up I was looking from afar at the section above. If you look very carefully at the wall nearest the camera you will see a few feet above the bottom of the wall a string of stones which are aligned to the Roman tile course and it seems that whoever recreated this section of the Roman wall after the collapse tried to copy the Roman wall but did not have any tiles so did it in stone. This part of the ‘repair’ is clearly different in style to the medieval repair above (although I had not noticed the difference in 40 years of looking at this wall).

I was very excited about this and thought maybe this is Post Roman work, because it is different to the section above which is medieval, and mimicking or continuing the Roman design the Roman. Identifying a pre-Medieval repair to the wall would be, I think, unique.

I pointed it out to Jane Sidell and Jenny Hall, and they were also interested in this finding. Jane pointed out that it seems that whoever did this seems to have been copying the Roman core of the wall just to the left, rather than copying the original Roman inner face which you can see at the end of the wall away from the camera. She thought it was more likely to have been a 19th or 20th Century repair. But we are following it up.

Here is the letter as published in London Archaeologist Vol.16 No. 2 / Autumn 2020

A longer and more extensively illustrated version is available to see here:

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!

CROSSWALL – REDISPLAY OF THE ROMAN BASTION

The City Wall and Bastion at Crosswall awaiting an information panel

I often walk past Crosswall; a street in the east of the City of London that cuts right across the line of the Roman and Medieval City Wall from Aldgate to the Thames at the Tower of London. Several sections of the wall are still standing in this section – in Cooper’s Row and Tower Gardens behind Tower Hill Tube station, but this is the only Roman Bastion on display.

I, briefly, worked on the site in Crosswall that uncovered this Bastion. It was in the 1970’s in an excavation led by John Maloney. I remember, particularly, the entertaining tea breaks which John led. At the end of the excavation the developers decided to keep the remains and put them on display. This is quite unusual sadly. I visited the remains once or twice or my guided walks and always mention them but it never seemed an absolute necessity to visit probably because the display was not so inspiring or difficult to access. I can’t remember in fact how accessible the remains were.

A couple of months ago I found myself in Vine Street and was surprised to see the bastion through a clear plate glass window. This week I went again for a proper look and was really pleased to see what a great job has been made of the redisplay. The building that was put up after our excavation has been pulled down and a modern new glass building stands in its stead. When I visited they were hoovering it and preparing the display – not yet having put in the information in the information holders, but obviously soon to be launched to the world.

Now you can see the Chalk Bastion foundations and also a good section of the Roman City Wall. But not only from one side but both inside and outside the City. The Wall was built around 200 AD, the Bastion was added in the late Roman Period in the late 4th Century. Romans used them to place a catapult called a Balista. The Crosswall excavation was, I think, the first modern (post 1970s) excavation of a Bastion. You can find it between Crutched Friars and Vine Street north of Crosswall.

Drawing of the Roman Wall and bastion
Roman Bastion
Druids at All Hallows, by the Tower

My next walks – virtual and guided are here:

MARCH 1ST – THE MONTH OF NEW LIFE

The Kalendar of Shepherds – French 15th Century

Named after Mars, the God of War, March was the beginning of the campaign season, and the army was prepared, and ceremonies held to Mars. The Salii, twelve youths dressed in archaic fighting costumes led a procession singing the Carmen Saliare. Ovid reports in his poem Fasti (3.259–392).

The illustration shows that in Pisces and early Ares preparation was still the main order of the farming day, clearing out the moats, and preparing the fruit trees. Lambing is also increasing in number.

It is also the Feast of St David, the patron saint of Wales, who lived in the sixth century AD. Little that is known about him is contemporary but he was an abbot-bishop and important for the independence of the Welsh Christian tradition.

This year it is also Shrove Tuesday, the day we eat up all our surplus food so that we can begin out lenten fast and turn out mind to repentance. Traditionally, pancakes with lemon and sugar but a day of excess before the 40 days of restraint.

Kalendar of Shepherds.

Shrove Tuesday was traditional for football games in the days before football had any rules to speak of. It was a wild game in which teams tried to get a bladder from one end of town to the other, or one side of a field to the other. At Chester the Mayor created the Chester Races on the Roodee, the island where the Shrove Tuesday game was held , specifically to stop the rowdy game.

Royal Asbourne Shrovetide Football
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