FEBRUARY 14TH – SEYNT VALENTYNES DAY

For this was on Seynt Valentynes day,
Whan every foul cometh ther to chese his make,
Of every kinde, that men thynke may;
And that so huge a noyse gan they make,
That erthe and see, and tree, and every lake
So ful was, that unnethe was ther space
For me to stonde, so ful was al the place.
Parliament of Fowls Geoffrey Chaucer

This is the first reference to St Valentines as a romantic day. There are at least three Saint Valentines who were martyred in the Roman period and their relics are scattered around Europe (have a look at this National Geographic article for the full S.P.) But until Chaucer no one seemed to link any of them with love.

Chaucer’s poem suggests one possible route to the link with romance. This is about the time when birds pair off – if they want to have their chicks at optimal time, then they need to get going before spring has really sprung.

This is my translation.

For this was St. Valentine’s Day
When every bird came there to chose their mate.
Of every type that men think may
And that so huge a noise did they make
That earth and see and tree and every lake
So full was, that hardly was there space
For to stand so full was the place.

Magpies are my favourite love bird, because you see one, and then look around and you soon seen the pair. There is an old tradition that you are supposed to say

‘Hello, Mr Magpie! How’s your wife’

and its good luck if you see her and not if you don’t. But I normally do. As to the seven, ten, or thirteen magpie in various versions. They always seem in pairs to me.

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten a surprise you should be careful not to miss,
Eleven for health,
Twelve for wealth,
Thirteen beware it’s the devil himself.

For details of the versions of this poem click here:

VIRTUAL GUIDED WALKS COMING UP

THE REBIRTH OF SAXON LONDON ARCHAEOLOGY VIRTUAL WALK

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

Sunday 4th July 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?

To book

THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON ANNIVERSARY VIRTUAL WALK

Virtual Zoom Walk on Sunday Sept 5th 6.30pm

On the Anniversary of the Great Fire of London we retrace the route of the fire of 1666 from Pudding Lane to Smithfield.

To book

RING IN THE EQUINOX VIRTUAL WALK

Tuesday 21st September 2021 7.30pm

On this walk we look at London at the Equinox, its calendars, folklore and events associated with the beginning of Autumn

To book

MYTHS, LEGENDS, & HALLOWEEN VIRTUAL WALK

SUNDAY 31st October 2021 6.30pm

The walk tells the story of London’s myths and legends and the celtic origins of Halloween. .

To book

ZEPPELIN NIGHTS – A VIRTUAL WALK FOR REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY

Sunday 14 November 2021 6.30pm

We follow the route of a Zeppelin Raid through London. On the way we discover London in World War 1

To book

FLOWER OF CITIES ALL – THE CITY OF LONDON FROM CHAUCER TO SHAKESPEARE

Every Thursday (from Jan 7th 2021) at 6.30pm Exit 2 Bank Underground Station

A walk which explores the City of London that was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666. By 1400 London was dominating the affairs of the Kingdom in spectacular fashion and had grown into a sophisticated medieval Capital, competing against the great capitals of Europe.

We will walk in the footsteps of Geffrey Chaucer, in the muddy City Streets, exploring the unhealthy conditions and poverty amidst great riches and pageantry. It was a cosmopolitan City with colonies of Italians, Germans, Dutch, and French who lived cheek by jowl with native Londoners.

By the 16th Century despite repeated visitations of plague, the huge influx of newcomers created non-stop growth in London. There was a corresponding increase in trade, in crime, in violence, and in creativity.
There were riots against foreigners, riots against May Revels, and burnings at the stake of both protestants and catholics as society struggled to cope with the impact of religious change.

With so many young people drawn into the City to work in its expanding industries, entertainment grew more sophisticated and poets could make a living penning entertainments to the masses. The London landscape changed dramatically as new renaissance inspired architecture began to replace the medieval timber framed buildings and the old medieval monasteries were pulled down.

We explore London in one of its greatest periods of change. The walk is given alternately by Kevin Flude & Leo Heaton

This is a walk for London Walks

Flower Of Cities All – Medieval London History & Archaeology Virtual Walk.

Sunday 22nd November 2020

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

A walk which explores London in the Middle Ages, from 1066 to the end of the 15th Century. In 1066 London was not yet the formal capital but as London expanded it took over from Winchester. By 1400 London was dominating the affairs of the Kingdom in spectacular fashion and had grown into a sophisticated medieval Capital. The Walk takes us from Westminster to Bishopsgate. and to the site of one of the few remaining medieval Churches at St Helens. We follow the route of the 15th Century London Lickpenny poem and look at everyday life in the City in the main markets streets of Cornhill, Poultry, Bucklersbury and Cheapside. We also visit the Guildhall and the City Wall. We will walk in the footsteps of Geoffrey Chaucer, in the muddy City Streets, exploring the unhealthy conditions and poverty amidst great riches and pageantry. We will see where the Italians, the German, the Dutch, the Jews, and the French lived cheek by jowl with native Londoners and immigrants from the Midlands.

This is a London Walks event. Look at their web site (www.walks.com) for a list of other of their amazing walks.


TO BUY TICKETS CLICK HERE:

Here is a short podcast to go with the walk.

This is a London Walks event by Kevin Flude

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