London was founded by the Romans, but after their soldiers were recalled to Rome in 410AD, London was overrun by Anglo-Saxon tribes. As farming folk, the gaunt and towering buildings of the City did not attract, and they settled outside the City in today’s Covent Garden area. Retreating behind the Wall when danger from Viking tribes threatened, they rebuilt and the City was inhabited once again. Little remains from the Anglo-Saxon period, but here and there we see a Saxon arch, decorated carvings, and, though long gone, a Cathedral built in 604. And here we have the big names of Alfred the Great, King Edgar, King of all England in the 900s, the religious fraternities which gave rise to the trade guilds and the beginning of the administration of the City which remains in place to this day: the Wards, the Aldermen, the Sheriffs. The Normans, conquering this country in 1066, acquired an organized and powerful City, conscious of its rights and privileges.
Our walk takes us from the Mediaeval Tower of London built for defence, and as a royal palace, complete with moat, past nearby churches which survived the Great Fire of 1666, and alongside the river, the very lifeblood of the City. We pass the halls of the Livery Companies which controlled trade in the City, the main shopping street which doubled up as a ceremonial route and on to St Paul’s Cathedral. Here the citizens gathered to hear the latest proclamations and get the latest gossip. Although the forest of spires has been replaced by a forest of sky-scraper offices, the City still stands on the Mediaeval street plan; the events and elections of the City year are still pinned to the great dates of the Liturgy, its administration changed little since the Middle Ages, the ancient ceremonies and traditions still played out as they have been for hundreds of years.
Meet Tower Hill tube station (Victoria, Circle and District lines).
Cost: £10 per adult, £8 concessions (seniors over 65, full-time students, Walkabout Card holders). Children under 15 go free if accompanied by their parent(s).
This walk is not part of my scheduled itinerary for Winter 2016/17.