We run to London, whether for business of pleasure, and we see the London Tower and Westminster Abbey and we are impressed. And well we should be, for we feel the centuries past roll into the present, and feel they will continue forever. All this is good but how many of us have visited the London Stone?
“And here, sitting upon London-stone, I charge and command that, of the city’s cost, the pissing-conduit run nothing but claret wine this first year of our reign. And now henceforward it shall be treason for any that calls me other than Lord Mortimer.”
Shakespeare: Henry VI, Part II, Act VI, Scene 6. London, Cannon Street
While the London Stone has been moved several times, it always seems to have been in the same stretch of Cannon Street opposite St Swithin’s church. No one really knows what it is but it seems to have been around since the beginnings of London. It has survived the Anglo Saxon invasion, the London fire of 1666, and the Nazi bombers of World War II. Some think it was a Roman mile market but no one really knows. Jack Cade, in the English revolution of 1450 is said to have sat on the London Stone while he proclaiming himself Lord Mayor of London and the eyeglass makers guide used to break faulty eyeglasses against it in the 1700’s. There are rumors that while the London Stone stands, so will London.
The next time you are in London, come see the London Stone. It has seen more history than just about everything else in London.