The History of London - Notes



Æneas: a Trojan prince who escaped from Troy when it was destroyed by the Greeks.

Venus: the Roman Goddess of Love and Beauty, was the mother of Æneas.

Troy: a famous city in the north-west corner of Asia Minor. It was destroyed by Greek invaders about 1,000 years before Christ, and the stories connected with it form one of the chief subjects of Greek and Latin poets.

Troynovant means New Troy.

Constantine the Great was Emperor of Rome, that is, of all the then known world from 305 to 337 A.D. He was the first Roman Emperor to adopt and favour Christianity. Constantinople is named after him, and was made by him the capital of the Empire.

Geoffrey of Monmouth was a British historian of the twelfth century. He was made Bishop of St. Asaph in 1152. His 'histories' are largely made up of stories, such as that about Brutus, which nobody believes now.

historical document: a piece of writing that can be used to prove some event in the history of past times.

architecture: the art of building; the style in which houses are built.

Cornhill: a street in the City of London running west to east from the Royal Exchange into Leadenhall Street. It was probably named after a family of that name, and not from any corn market on the site.

bastion: a strong turret or tower at the corner of a fortified building.

Walbrook: a small stream that crossed the City from north to south. It flowed near where the Mansion House now stands (Walbrook is a street at the side of the Mansion House), and fell into the Thames at Dowgate, near where Cannon Street Railway Station now stands.

Fleet River: a small stream which fell into the Thames near where Blackfriars Railway Station now stands.

Moorfields was a piece of moor land lying to the north of the City, outside the walls. The City gate which led to this district was the Moorgate, a name which still survives in Moorgate Street.

Ken Wood, in Hampstead, Hainault Forest, a small piece of wood in Essex, about eight miles north-east of London, and Epping Forest, a larger portion, also in Essex, to the west of Hainault Forest, are all remaining portions of a great forest that once stretched away from London far into the country.

Chelsea, Bermondsey: in all such words ea or ey is an old word for island. In this way are formed Winchelsea, Battersea, &c.; Thorney (where Westminster is now) is the Island of Thorns; and Jersey, Cæsar's Island.

Southwark: a district of London opposite the City, on the south side of the Thames. It was the South work, or fort, and is spoken of as a village as late as 1327, the accession of Edward III.{236}


Malarious: causing the air to be bad, and so giving rise to fevers; unhealthy. (Latin malus, bad; aer, air.)

Weybridge, in Surrey, near where the river Wey, after flowing past Godalming and Guildford, falls into the Thames.

entrenching: making a trench or ditch. The earth dug out was formed into a mound. The mound and ditch, together with the stockade, protected the place.

stockade: a barrier made of stakes stuck in the ground.

Gaul: the old name for the country now called France—the land of the Galli, or Celts. Gaelic is the language still spoken by the Celts in Scotland.

Thanet: a district in the north-east of Kent, containing Ramsgate, Margate, and Broadstairs. The river Stour parts it from the rest of Kent, so that it is still an 'island,' though the channel was formerly much wider and deeper.

Captain Cook: a famous sailor born 1728, murdered in the Sandwich Islands 1779. He was among the first to visit Australia and New Zealand, and made many discoveries in the Pacific.

Polynesians: the natives of Polynesia, or the smaller islands in the South Pacific. They are brown-skinned, and akin in race to the Maories of New Zealand and the Malays.

Brythonic: that portion of the Celts whose descendants are now the Welsh, Bretons: (in Bretagne, on the west coast of France), and Cornishmen.

Basques: the natives of a part of northern Spain, near the Pyrenees. Their language is unconnected with any other, except perhaps that of the Finns. The Province and Bay of Biscay is named after them.

Finns: the natives of Finland in Russia. Like the Basques, they are the remains of a nation which once spread over all Europe, and has now nearly disappeared.

barrow: a mound raised over a grave.

Verulam: an old British, and then a Roman town, on the site of which is now St. Albans, in Hertfordshire.


Stationary camp: a fixed or permanent camp; a fort. A Roman army on the march constructed a camp if it only spent one night in a place. Such camps were not stationary.

Porchester: a small town on the north side of Portsmouth Harbour. Chester is the Latin castra, a camp, and occurs in Leicester, Colchester, Chester, Silchester, &c.

rubble: small rough stones often used inside piles of masonry.

Silchester: a place near Reading at which remains of old Roman buildings have been dug out.

Mincing Lane: a narrow street in the east part of the City.

tribunal: the place where judges sit to administer justice.

Exchange: the place where merchants meet and carry on their business.

stevedores: those engaged in the work of loading and unloading ships.


Tesselated: formed of small pieces of stone or tile of various colours arranged to form a pattern, like mosaic work.

Diana: the Roman Goddess of Hunting; also of the Moon.{237}

Apollo: the Roman God of Poetry, Music, and Prophecy.

Guildhall: the hall of the Guild or Corporation of the City of London, near Cheapside.

usurper: one who by force seizes and holds a position which does not belong to him.

Picts: wild savages from the country which we call Scotland; Scots, also savage men, who, though they afterwards gave their name to Scotland, at that time came from Ireland.

Hong Kong: an island off the coast of China; Singapore, a large British seaport on an island of the same name off the south end of the Malay Peninsula; West Indies, a number of islands to the east of Central America in the Atlantic: of those belonging to Great Britain Jamaica is the largest.


East Saxons were those who dwelt in Essex, the county named after them.

Crayford: on the river Cray in north Kent. Here the Saxons under Hengist totally defeated the Britons under Vortimer in 457 A.D.

Canterbury is the burgh, borough, or fortified place of the men of Kent.

Pulborough, in Sussex, gives us another form of the suffix.

chronicler: a historian, particularly one living in early times.

Saxons: German tribes from the district by the mouth of the Elbe; Jutes, from a part of Denmark which still preserves their name, Jutland; Angles, from what is now Schleswig and Holstein.

Count of the Saxon Shore: the Roman admiral set to defend the southern parts of the English coast, which were called 'Saxon Shore,' because most liable to attack from the Saxons.

mercenaries: soldiers who do not fight for the safety and glory of their own country, but for hire.


Blackfriars, at the eastern end of the Thames Embankment, derives its name from a monastery or house of Black Friars which stood there.

Watling Street, Ermyn Street, Vicinal Way: made by the Romans, who were famous makers of high roads, many of which are still in use. (See map on p. 15.)

Newgate was a gate on the west of the walls which enclosed the City; Bishopsgate, on the north-east.

victualling: providing food for.

emergencies: times of difficulty and danger.

Isle of Thanet: it must be remembered that the Stour, at the back of Thanet, was once much wider and deeper than it is now. In fact, it was the general route for vessels coming up the Thames.

appointments: furniture, fittings.

mimics: actors who played in farces, like our pantomimes.

scribes: among the Romans, clerks in public offices.


Alaric, king of a German tribe called the Visigoths (West Goths) invaded Greece and Italy, and after several defeats finally took and sacked Rome in 410 A.D. It was this state of thing which compelled the Romans to withdraw their troops from Britain.{238}

The West where the Britons still held their own: Wales and Cornwall were never occupied by the invading Saxons: Welsh and Cornishmen are Celts, with a language of their own in Wales, while the Cornish language has only disappeared during the last hundred years.

Wessex: the land of the West Saxons corresponds roughly to England south of the Thames.

oblivion: being forgotten.

The river Lea rises in Bedfordshire, near Luton, passes Hertford and Ware, forms the boundary between Middlesex and Essex, and falls into the Thames at Blackwall, after a course of forty miles.

quagmires: marshy, boggy ground that quakes under the feet (quake, mire).


Ecclesiastic: connected with the Church. For many centuries Rome was the centre of Christian influence, and is so still to all Roman Catholics.

ritual: the customs and ceremonies employed in performing service in a church.

Gregory I. or the Great was Pope from 590-604 A.D. He it was who sent Augustine to attempt the conversion of the English in the year 597.

kinglet: a petty king. England was then divided among many kings, so that the realm of each was necessarily very small.

crucifix: a figure of Christ fixed to the cross.

Bede: a monk and Church historian who lived and died at Jarrow in county Durham in 735 A.D.

Lindesfarne, or Holy Island, off the coast of Northumberland.

Northumbrians: the men of Northumbria—that is, Yorkshire, Durham, and Northumberland.

Mercians: the men of Mercia, or land of the Middle English.

supremacy: Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, were separate kingdoms which were successively, in the order in which they are given, strong enough to overawe or exercise supremacy over the others. The king of Wessex eventually became king of England.

Witan, or in its fuller form wit-an-a-ge-mote, the 'meeting of wise men,' was the national council which afterwards grew up into our modern parliament.


Pagan: heathen, not yet converted to Christianity.

King Alfred, called the Great, was king of England from 871-901 A.D.

Alderman in early England meant the ruler of a large district, such as a shire or kingdom. When Mercia became subject to Wessex it was ruled by an alderman.

Benfleet: a place in Essex, on the north bank of the Thames, not far from Southend.

Brunanburgh was the scene of a defeat of the Danes by Athelstan in 937 A.D.; the place cannot now be identified.

Sweyn, King of Denmark, invaded England with his son Canute in 1013 A.D.

Redriff is now called Rotherhithe, south of the Thames.

King Ethelred II., called the Unredig, or lacking in counsel, reigned 979-1013 A.D.

Olave or Olaf and Magnus are Scandinavian names: there were early kings of Norway so called.{239}

The Portreeve: the reeve or governor of London was a chief magistrate or mayor of the City.

The 'Staller' or Marshal led the men of London to battle.

The Knighten Guild was the ruling council of London: they were not chosen by election, but were the chief owners of property, and, like their land, the office was handed down from father to son.

mote: meeting.

hustings: a general meeting of the citizens held every week; later on the word came to mean the platform whence candidates for parliament addressed their constituents.


Athelstan (925-940), the grandson of Alfred the Great, and Etheldred II. (979-1013) were kings of England.

earl or eorl was what we should now call a gentleman of good family; thanes: nobles who for the most part acquired their titles from the king as rewards for services.

municipal: having to do with the municipality or city.

French: Norman-French was the language spoken by the Normans.

the meat and fish were salted: in the absence of root-crops it was found difficult to keep animals through the winter. Hence much salt meat and fish were stored up.

embroidery: the art of working designs on cloth in needlework.

spinster: an unmarried woman; so called because unmarried daughters worked at spinning and weaving for the household, making 'homespun' cloth for them.

marauding: roving about for plunder.

solar: in early houses the chamber over the hall, used as the bedroom for the master and mistress of the house. (See picture on p. 73.)

tapestry: thick hangings or curtains with figures worked on them.

mead: a fermented drink made of honey: metheglin is another form of the word.

wattle: flexible twigs, withies, or osier rods: daub, mud.

turbulent: disorderly, riotous.

Thames Street: a very narrow street running along the bank of the Thames between Blackfriars and the Tower.

ward: a division of the City. The ward mote or ward meeting still exists, and elects the alderman or representative of the ward on the City Council.


The White Tower is the 'keep' or central part of the Tower of London, begun by William the Conqueror and finished by the Red King. It is 92 feet high and the walls are 17 feet thick.

Dowgate: the site of one of the gates of Old London Wall is near where Cannon Street Railway Station now stands: here the Walbrook fell into the Thames.

Queen Hithe: 'The Queen's Landing Place.' Merchants were compelled to land their goods here so that the dues paid should go to the Queen.

confluence: a flowing together, the place where two rivers meet. The Fleet fell into the Thames at Blackfriars. (Latin cum, with, together; fluo, to flow. Compare, fluid, fluent.)

Montfichet's Tower was near Baynard's Castle, at the south-west corner of the old walls in Blackfriars. Both were named after the Norman tenants who occupied them.{240}

Houndsditch is now a cross street joining Bishopgate Street and Aldgate, with a Church of St. Botolph at each end of it. It adjoined the moat or ditch round the City wall.

Allhallows: the same as All Saints—all the saints to whom churches were often dedicated, and whose memory is celebrated on November 1, which is All Saints' Day.

St. Giles, Cripplegate, contains in its churchyard part of London Wall. Milton was buried here in 1674.


Bishop and Portreeve: the two chief officers of the City, one ruling for the Church, the other a civil ruler.

charter: a writing confirming or granting privileges.

burghers or burgesses: citizens of a borough.

Guildhall contains the necessary offices and accommodation for the guild or corporation, town clerk, etc., the City library, museum and law courts, and a great hall that will hold 7,000 persons.

feudal claims: demands made on their tenants by owners under the feudal system. Such demands were usually for military service or something equivalent.

Matilda, daughter of Henry I., and mother of Henry II., and widow of the Emperor Henry V. of Germany, was the opponent of Stephen (1100-1135) in the civil war of his reign. She gave London as 'a demesne' to the Earl of Essex, with the Tower as his castle.

Danegeld, or Dane money: a tax raised to buy off the Danes.

Sheriff, or shire-reeve, governor of a shire, was the king's representative in each shire: he collected the revenue, called out and led the soldiers, and administered justice.

Justiciar: judge. It was one of the privileges of the City to have a judge of its own to try cases within its own limits.

stipulated: bargained for.

constitution: form of government.

priory: a house for monks or nuns under the rule of a prior or prioress.

St. Katherine Cree: this church is in Leadenhall Street, near Aldgate. Cree in this name is for Christ.

Portsoken is one of the City wards near Aldgate and the Minories.


St. Bartholomew the Great in Smithfield is part of St. Bartholomew's Hospital.

St. Ethelburga is in Bishopsgate Street, not far from Liverpool Street Railway Station.

crypt is a chapel or vault underground.

St. Swithin's Church is near Cannon Street Railway Station. 'London Stone,' supposed to be a Roman milestone, is let into the wall of this church. St. Swithin, to whom the church is dedicated, was a Saxon Bishop of Winchester, under whose care the youth of Alfred was spent at Winchester.

Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered in his own cathedral by four knights, who thought they were executing the wishes of Henry II. (1170 A.D.).

conventual: attached to convents.{241}

Palatine usually means 'held by a nobleman who has had royal powers given him.'

Westminster is named after a minster first erected there of wood about 604 A.D.: it was thus distinguished from St. Paul's, which was the 'East Minster.' The site was a marshy spot, then called Thorney, or Thorn Island.

Charing Cross is named from the memorial cross built there by Edward I. in 1294 in honour of his queen, Eleanor, who was brought for burial from Lincoln to Westminster, and each place (nine) where her body rested was marked by a similar cross. ('Charing' is a corruption of the French chère reine, dear queen.)

Cheapside: the important street running between St. Paul's and the Mansion House is so called because its site was the side—the south side—of the Chepe, or old London market.

East Chepe, or the East Market, has given its name to Eastcheap, a street running from the City towards the Tower.

mercer: a merchant selling woollens and silks.

folkmotes: the meetings of the folk or tribe: they met in arms in the Saxon times, and were presided over by the alderman.


Tyburn: a brook which gave its name to the place Tyburn, where the Marble Arch now stands.

Westbourne: this brook has given its name to Westbourne Park, in Paddington.

Holywell may be remembered by Holywell Street, in the Strand.

Clerkenwell is named after the Parish Clerks' Well, round which they used to perform their 'mysteries.'

quarterstaff: a long staff used as a weapon of defence, and held in the middle and also one quarter way from the end.

tabor: a kind of small drum beaten with one drumstick.

consuls: the chief magistrates of Rome: two of them with equal power came into office every year.

senatorial: appointed and controlled by the senate or governing council of Rome.

venison (pronounced ven´-zon): the flesh of deer.

cleric: a clergyman.

abbot: the head of an abbey or monastery.

magnate: a great man, a man of great wealth and rank. (Latin magnus, great.)

metropolitan: the bishop of a metropolis or chief cathedral city, as Canterbury is the metropolis of England in this sense.

ordinances: laws, commands.


Architect: one who designs buildings and superintends the building of them.

Jewry: the district in a town inhabited by the Jews; for in early times the Jews were not allowed to live where they liked, but only in quarters assigned to them. The street now called Old Jewry turns out of the Poultry, on the north side.

essential: something very important and that cannot be done without.

intercommunication: intercourse; dealings between people which are made much easier by having good roads and bridges to travel on.{242}

La Rochelle: a seaport in France on the Atlantic, some distance north of Bordeaux.

Saintes: a French town about thirty-eight miles from La Rochelle.

St. Thomas Becket, the murdered Archbishop of Canterbury, who was canonised, that is, named a saint after his death.

titular: giving his name to the bridge.

crypt: an underground or lower room used as a chapel or burying-place.


King Edward I: 1272-1307 A.D.

haberdashers: dealers in 'small wares' such as cotton, tape, needles, and pins.

Hans Holbein: a celebrated German painter who came to live in England and was introduced to Henry VIII.

marine painters: artists who excel in painting boats, ships, and sea scenes. (Latin mare, the sea.)

'shooting' the bridge: passing through the arches in a boat.

Queen Henrietta was the queen of Charles I. of England. After the Civil War she withdrew to France, where she died in 1669.

Rubens: a very celebrated Flemish painter, born in 1577, died at Antwerp in 1640.

Sir Thomas Wyatt headed a rebellion in Kent, which was provoked by Mary's marriage with Philip of Spain and the restoration of Roman Catholicism. He was about to cross London Bridge, but finding this impossible crossed the Thames at Kingston. The rising was a failure, and Wyatt was executed, 1554.

Sir William Wallace: a brave Scotch gentleman who led the Scotch against Edward I., who was trying to deprive Scotland of its independence. Wallace was finally taken and executed as a traitor at Tyburn, 1305.

Jack Cade headed a rebellion in Kent in 1450 through dissatisfaction with the government of Henry VI.: 30,000 rebels gathered on Blackheath, but the movement ended in failure and Cade was slain.

Sir Thomas More: the good and learned chancellor of Henry VIII., and author of a famous book called 'Utopia.' He was executed as a traitor in 1535.

St. Thomas-on-the-Bridge: that is, Thomas Becket, to whom the bridge was dedicated.

pageant: a splendid show or procession.

ex-apprentice: one who has been once an apprentice.


Dominate: to lord over, to overawe, to be master of. (Latin dominus, a master, lord.)

Crusade: an expedition under the banner of the Cross to recover the Holy Land from the Turks. Richard I. went on the third Crusade in 1191.

antiquaries: people who study ancient things.

mediæval: made during the middle ages; the period, roughly speaking, between the time of the Romans and the reign of Henry VII. (400-1485).

lieutenant: an officer in command of the Tower.

keep: the strongest part of a fortress or castle.

insignia: the badges of any office.

menagerie: a collection of wild animals.{243}

Queen Anne Boleyn, to marry whom, Henry VIII. divorced Catherine of Aragon. She was the mother of Queen Elizabeth.

Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed Queen by the Duke of Northumberland on the death of Edward VI., but the attempt to prevent Mary's accession was a failure, and Lady Jane Grey was executed in 1554.

Guy Fawkes: a conspirator who tried to blow up the King and Parliament in 1605.

The unfortunate princes were Edward V., son of Edward IV., and the rightful king, and Richard Duke of York, his younger brother, murdered in the Tower by the usurper Richard III., 1483.


Allegiance: the duty due from a subject to his liege the sovereign.

Lord Hastings was executed by order of the Duke of Gloucester, afterwards Richard III., in 1483 for supporting the side of Edward V. and his relations.

ordnance: artillery, cannon, big guns.

antipast: aftertaste.

clerk: a clergyman, a scholar, because in early times all learning was confined to the clergy.


ague: a fever coming on at intervals, with fits of shivering.

isolation: living away from outside communication, a lonely position like that of men on an island cut off from the rest of the world.

Flemings: the people of Flanders, a district now comprising parts of Belgium, South Holland, and North France.

Walsingham: a place in the north of Norfolk, where was a famous shrine.

Glastonbury: a small town near Wells, in Somersetshire.

Compostella: a place in Spain where is the shrine of St. James, the patron saint of Spain.

Chaucer: the great early English poet, born in London 1328, died 1400.

expiation: making amends for, atonement.

Holy Sepulchre: the burial place of our Lord at Jerusalem, to rescue which from the Turks was the object of the Crusades.


Endowment: money given for the permanent support of an institution, such as a church, hospital, or school.

Hospitaller: one in charge of a hospital. The term is generally applied to the Knights of St. John, who built a hospital for sick Crusaders at Jerusalem.

shambles: a slaughter-house.

Whittington, originally an apprentice in London, became a wealthy mercer, thrice Lord Mayor, and knighted. He died in 1423, without children, and left his wealth for public objects, such as the one in the text.

Dissolution of the religious houses, carried out by Henry VIII. in 1536-1540 for the sake of the plunder they afforded.

Chloroform: a colourless liquid which when inhaled produces complete insensibility to pain.

Norman windows: that is, built in a style introduced by the Normans. The rounded tops of doors and windows maybe seen in the illustration on p. 44.

lanthorn: a raised construction on the roof, with horn or glass sides to give light.{244}

clinical: in attendance at the bedside of patients.

residential college: where they reside or dwell.

convalescent hospital: where those who have had some illness may get quite well and strong again.


Leprosy: a terrible disease of the skin and blood, once prevalent in Europe, now mostly confined to the East.

lazar: a leper; one suffering from a foul disease like Lazarus in St. Luke xvi.

congregate: flock together, crowd with.

stringent: strict.

statutes: rules or laws.

Book of the Jewish Law: that is, the book Leviticus.

ulcerates: is afflicted with ulcers or sores.

Mass: the celebration of the Lord's Supper in the Roman Catholic Church.

Burton Lazars: a village one mile from Melton Mowbray, in Leicestershire. Here, on account of its excellent sulphur springs, the chief leper-hospital was established in the reign of Stephen.

hereditary: transmitted from parents to children.


24 shillings a quarter: this is not far from the present price of wheat, which gives us cheap bread. But in 1257 24s. would be equivalent to at least 20l. in our money.

retainers: those in the service of a nobleman and wearing his livery and badge.

Hanseatic merchants: merchants trading with the Hanse cities in Germany (among which was Hamburg) who had formed a league for self-protection about the twelfth century.

granary: a place for storing up grain or corn.


460 feet: the loftiest spire in England, that of Salisbury Cathedral, is about 404 feet.

its length was at least 600 feet: the present cathedral, the third on the site, is 500 feet long.

shrine: a receptacle for relics and other sacred things. (The word means a 'chest.')

aisle (pronounced île) is the side or wing of a church.

scribe: a writer. In those early times so few people could read or write that men often had to have recourse to professional writers.

deed: a written document relating to some legal transaction.

conveyance: a writing legally transferring from one person to another property, especially houses and land.

Humphrey Duke of Gloucester was the youngest brother of Henry V., on whose death he was made regent in England in 1422. He died in 1447.

St. Cuthbert was a monk, missionary, and bishop of Lindesfarne, an island off the coast of Northumberland, where he died in 687 A.D., and was buried in Durham Cathedral.

sacristy: a room adjoining a church where sacred vessels, vestments, &c. are kept.{245}


Inigo Jones (born 1572, died 1652) was a celebrated architect.

Portico: a row of columns in front of a building.

Exchange: a building where merchants meet to transact business.

nave: the main body of a church, the aisles being on each side of the nave.

King Charles II. returned at the Restoration in 1660.

Sir Christopher Wren (born 1632, died 1723): the greatest English architect. After the great fire he rebuilt St. Paul's Cathedral, fifty London churches, and many public buildings. Over his tomb in St. Paul's is the inscription in Latin: 'If you seek for his monument, look round about you.'

The Peace of Ryswick, 1697, made by England, Spain, and Holland with Louis XIV. of France.

Dr. Johnson (born 1709, died 1784): one of the great names in English literature, and author of a celebrated dictionary.

oriental scholar, or orientalist, is a man who studies Eastern or Indian languages, such as Persian, Arabic, Hindi, Sanskrit, etc.

sarcophagus: a stone chest for holding a corpse.

porphyry: a hard kind of stone coloured purple and white.

Battle of the Nile, 1798; Cape St. Vincent, 1797; Camperdown, 1797.

Lord Almoner: the official who dispenses the royal charities and bounties.

Slavonic: a group of kindred languages, including Russian, Polish, and Bulgarian.


Embattled: built with battlements.

minor canons: clergy of the cathedral who intone the services and look after the music.

charnel: containing the bones of the dead.

Finsbury Fields: the fenny or marshy ground lying north of the Moorgate of the old City walls.

Papal Bulls: decrees and orders issued by the Pope, so called from the seal attached to them.

Latimer (born 1470, died 1555), Bishop of Worcester, burnt at the stake for his Protestant opinions together with Ridley, Bishop of London.

chapter house: the building where the chapter or clergy belonging to the cathedral meet.

Sacrist: the official in a cathedral who copied and took care of the music and books.

Paul's Chain: so called because traffic was stopped by a chain during the hours of service.


Forester: one who has charge of a forest to cut wood, plant new trees, &c.

vicar: one who acts in place of another; hence a priest who on behalf of his monastery conducted services in a parish church.

orders: the different brotherhoods into which monks were divided.

indiscriminate charity: giving without thinking, whether the charity is well or ill bestowed.

Minorites: monks or nuns belonging to the Franciscan Order, who in their humility called themselves the 'lesser' (minores) brethren, or sisters.

Blackfriars were the Dominicans; Whitefriars were the Carmelites; Greyfriars were Franciscans, from the colour of their respective dresses.{246}

Charter House: the house of the Carthusian monks.

Temple: once the house of the Templars, an order of knights whose duty it was to protect the Holy Sepulchre.

part of the church ... still to be seen: at Clerkenwell the gate of the priory of St. John's is still standing.


Indiscriminately: without making any distinctions between them.

hermit, from the Greek, and solitary, from the Latin, mean the same thing - one who retires from the world and lives in a lonely place.

Monte Casino, in Campania, near Naples, where St. Benedict established his monastery in 529 A.D.

St. Benedict is often shortened to Benet, as in the name of several London churches.

austerities: severe rules of life and conduct.

Friars, or brethren (French frères,Latin fratres): those orders that went forth to the people.

Assisi: a town in Central Italy where St. Francis was born.

St. Dominic: born in Castile, in Spain, 1170, died 1221; founded his order to convert 'heretics', and procured the establishment of the Inquisition, or court for punishing heretics.

Sanctuary: a refuge where criminals were safe from the law. Sir W. Scott in the 'Fortunes of Nigel' well describes the lawless character of this district in the reign of James I.

St. Bernard: a celebrated brother of the Cistercian Order (born 1091, died 1153).


St. Augustine was sent by Pope Gregory the Great in 597 to convert the heathen English: he was the 'Apostle of the English,' and first Archbishop of Canterbury.

St. Dunstan, who became Archbishop of Canterbury and died in 988, was not only a zealous priest but a great statesman and ruler.

St. Alphege: an Archbishop of Canterbury murdered by the Danes in 1012 A.D.

Sise Lane: a lane in the City, near Cannon Street.

The Basings: an old City family whose name also survives in the 'Bassishaw' ward of the City, and in Basinghall Street.

Bread Street, turning out of Cheapside, shows where the bakers chiefly dwelt in Old London.

John Milton (born 1608, died 1674) wrote 'Paradise Lost,' 'Paradise Regained,' and some beautiful shorter pieces.

Three Poets: i. the Greek Homer, reputed author of those noble epics the 'Iliad' and 'Odyssey' (about 1000 B.C.); ii. the Roman Virgil, who wrote the 'Æneid' (born 70 B.C.); iii. the English Milton. The famous epitaph was written by John Dryden.

William Tyndal assisted the Reformation by translating the New Testament into English (1526), and part of the Old Testament. He was burnt as a heretic at Vilvoorde, near Brussels, in 1536.

William Cowper (born 1731, died 1800), the author of 'The Task' and other beautiful poems.{247}


Plantagenet: Henry II., 1154-1189, was the first of the line of kings bearing this name, so called from the badge worn by Henry's father, a sprig of broom.

Chesel was the Anglo-Saxon for pebble, and Kiesel is the German for the same. The Chesil Beach, near Weymouth, is a remarkable bank of shingle joining Portland Bill to the mainland.

Somerset House, in the Strand: the palace of the Protector Somerset has been pulled down, and public offices erected on its site.

Northumberland House, now demolished, has given its name to Northumberland Avenue, near Charing Cross.

Southwark ... many Inns: in particular the Tabard, where Chaucer's pilgrims assembled.

mediæval: living in the middle ages, that is, some time before about 1500 A.D.

ironmongers in their Lane: that is, Ironmonger Lane, turning out of Cheapside.


Mercer: a merchant who sells silken or woollen goods.

executors: those who are appointed to carry out the last will and testament of a dead man.

Levantine, in the Levant, or eastern part of the Mediterranean.

Guinea, on the west coast of Africa.

Pizarro: a Spanish adventurer who conquered Peru from its native rulers or Incas, and was murdered in his palace at Lima in 1541.

a piece of eight (dollars), that is, about 30s.

assessment: the value put upon house or property in order to fix the amount of taxes to be paid.


Vintner: a wine-seller.

Wycliffe, born about 1324, was a learned theologian and rector of Lutterworth, in Leicestershire. For preaching Protestant doctrines he was summoned to appear at St. Paul's to answer a charge of heresy in 1377.

John of Gaunt thus made the second attempt to deprive London of its liberties and charter; Matilda, the opponent of Stephen, had tried long before, but it ended in her overthrow (see p. 45).

The Marshal was the commander of the Royal forces. To put London under him was to destroy its liberty. This office is hereditary in the family of the Duke of Norfolk, and like other royal offices became unimportant when it became hereditary.

rebellion of the peasants, 1381, against over-taxation and being bound to the soil as serfs by their landlords. John Ball, the popular preacher, used to ask:

'When Adam delved and Eve span,
Who was then a gentleman?'

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Simon of Sudbury, had as chancellor proposed the taxes complained of; therefore the peasants murdered him.

rescinding: repealing of a law.{248}


Burning of heretics and Lollards: in 1401, in the reign of Henry IV., an Act of Parliament was passed for burning heretics.

Lollards were those who differed from the Church before the Reformation. The name comes from a German word lollen, to sing—from the custom of these reformers.

Mansion House: the official home of the Lord Mayor. The present building was begun in 1739; previously a house in Cheapside was used for the purpose.

bond: a written obligation binding someone to pay a sum of money. When money was needed the King used to borrow from wealthy citizens and give a bond or promise to repay.

St. Michael's Paternoster Royal is in College Hill, near Cannon Street. The church was so called from the Tower Royal given by Edward III. in 1331 to his queen, Philippa, for her wardrobe.


Mark: a coin, now obsolete, worth 13s. 4d.

interdicted: forbidden, prevented.

technical school: where useful and practical arts and trades are taught.

aqueduct: an artificial channel for water.

Sevenoaks, in Kent.

Higham Ferrers is a small town in Northamptonshire.


The King Maker: Warwick was so called because he helped Edward IV. to become king in 1461, and restored Henry VI. for a time in 1470. He was slain at the battle of Barnet, 1471.

quadrangle: an open court, square, with buildings all round it.

College of Heralds: a Government office under the Earl Marshal which looks after pedigrees and armorial bearings.

Hampton Court: a Royal palace begun by Cardinal Wolsey.

St. James's Palace: the official residence of the Queen in London, Buckingham Palace being her private residence.

buttery: a storeroom where liquors and other provisions were kept.

Baynard's Castle has given its name to one of the City wards.

The Duke of Buckingham secured the crown for Richard III., and then being insufficiently rewarded rebelled against him, and was executed in 1483.

George, Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV., first sided with his father-in-law, the Earl of Warwick, then joined his brother in 1471. With justice, therefore, Shakespeare called him 'false, fleeting, perjured Clarence.' He was accused of treason and found dead in the Tower in 1478.


Tournament: a sham fight at which knights, mostly on horseback, used to show their skill.

Twelfth Day: twelve days after Christmas, formerly an occasion of great festivities, which have now nearly died out.

Morris-dance: a Moorish dance to an accompaniment of bells and tambourines.{249}

cresset: a kind of lantern formed of an open brazier filled with combustible materials.

demilance: a kind of horse-soldier armed with a short lance.

mummeries: entertainments performed by men in masks.

Curfew: the bell rung at eight o'clock at night as a sign to put out all lights. Ancient towns having much wood were liable to serious fires.


Thorney, Isle of Thorns; ey and ea meaning island, as in Anglesey, Chelsea, Winchelsea.

precinct: the limit of the ground belonging to a church or other institution.

commissioner: appointed to see that the work was carried out.

Sir G. Gilbert Scott, born 1811, died 1878, was the greatest modern English architect.

took sanctuary: fled for shelter to the abbey, whence she could not be taken without violating the privileges of the Church.

William Caxton set up in 1476 the first printing press in England.

coronation chair: under this is the famous stone brought from Scone by Edward I., over which all the Scottish kings had been crowned since about 800 A.D.


Star Chamber Court, in which cases were tried before some members of the Privy Council and two judges without a jury. This was established in 1487 to restore order because great lords and landowners used to frighten juries from giving true verdicts.

bear and ragged staff: the arms of the Earl of Warwick consisted of a bear erect and hugging a rough stake. (See pictures on pp. 111, 113.)

arras: tapestry for hanging; so called from Arras, in the north of France, where it was made.

refectory: the hall where the monks or nuns took their meals.


executive officers: those whose duty it is to enforce the law.

contrition: repentance.

securities: stocks and shares; papers which can be of no use to the ordinary thief.

Bridewell: the site of a prison, now demolished. It adjoined Whitefriars, and may be seen in the map to the west of Blackfriars.

amende honorable (French): when one who has done wrong gives satisfaction without loss of honour.

pillory: a framework supported by an upright pillar. In it were holes through which the head and hands of offenders were thrust. In this uncomfortable position they had to stand exposed to the insults of the mob.

cogged: loaded so as always to fall in a certain way.

title deeds: writings drawn up in proper legal form to prove the possession of property.


Froissart: an early French chronicler or historian who visited England in the reigns of Edward III. and Richard II., and died in 1401.

besotted with: stupidly and excessively fond of.{250}

commonalty: the common people.

Berkeley Castle, in Gloucestershire, where Edward II. was murdered in 1327.

a son was born: Edward, Prince of Wales, born in 1453. After the Yorkist victory of Northampton in 1460 Edward's claim to the throne was set aside in favour of Richard, Duke of York, father of Edward IV. The Prince was slain at the battle of Tewkesbury, 1471.

benevolences: loans of money, supposed to be voluntary, really compulsory, made by merchants and other rich men to the king.

charts: papers; blank cheques: orders on the bank for money with all except the amount required filled up and properly signed.

factor: if 2 × 3 makes six, 2 and 3 are each factors of 6; hence it is something which helps to bring about some result.


Stow (born 1525, died 1605): a famous writer in Queen Elizabeth's reign on the antiquities of London and other places.

Whitechapel takes its name from a white chapel-of-ease built to relieve Stepney, in which parish this district was till 1763.

tenters: pegs for stretching cloth. Sometimes hooks were used, from which we get the phrase 'to be on tenter hooks'—to be on a stretch with anxiety.

St. Katharine's has given its name to the great docks east of the Tower.

bull-, bear-baiting: the sport of setting dogs to worry bulls or bears.

Alsatia: for a vivid picture of this haunt of rogues in the reign of James I. the reader is referred to Sir W. Scott's 'Fortunes of Nigel.'

Austin Friars: the space known as Drapers' Gardens (because the hall of the Drapers' Company is adjoining) in Throgmorton Street is on the site of this monastery.

Canwicke (now Cannon) Street was so called because the wax-chandlers and candle-makers lived in that part.


William Shakespeare (born 1564, died 1616): the prince of poets, who lived in the reigns of Elizabeth and James I.

ruins of the monasteries which had been suppressed by Henry VIII. in 1536-1540.

Cold Harbour: a merchant's mansion once standing on the bank of the Thames in Thames Street.

Genevan bands: a kind of collar worn by Protestant clergymen, so called because Geneva, the home of Calvin, was the centre of Protestantism.

palaces along the Strand: if you walk along the Strand you will notice that many of the short streets leading down to the river bear the names of noblemen, such as Arundel Street, Norfolk Street, Salisbury Street, etc. from the old palaces which once stood there.

Staples Inn: a picturesque group of old houses in Holborn was formerly a wool-market (staple means a fixed market). Wych Street is near Holywell Street in the Strand.

Cloth Fair is now a poor neighbourhood near Smithfield.


Impressment: in the absence of some orderly arrangement, such as conscription (where all serve) or a voluntary system (like our own), the press-gang used to kidnap people and force them to serve.{251}

animosity: anger, ill feeling against.

The Steelyard, on the site of which Cannon Street railway station now stands, was the house of the Hanse merchants (see note on Chapter XXII.).

John Colet, Dean of St. Paul's (born 1466, died 1519), was one of the leaders of the revival of learning in England. St. Paul's School, which he founded in 1512, has been moved to Hammersmith.


Forestall their market: that is, to buy things before they arrived at the market, so as to sell them at a higher price.

Lübeck: a large port in north Germany in the Baltic.

staples, originally all kinds of raw produce, came to be applied only to wool. Staples Inn was once a wool-market.

instead of selling our wool: Edward III. brought Flemish weavers into England to encourage manufactures. Till then England produced and exported wool to Antwerp and other manufacturing centres, but did not make it into cloth.

Hamburg was a member of the Hanseatic League.

The screen was presented to the Church of All Hallows the Great, Thames Street, in 1710, by the Hanseatic merchants.


Incubus: something that weighs down and hinders.

religious wars in the Netherlands: between the Protestant Dutch and the Catholic Spaniards, who were oppressing the country through great part of the sixteenth century.

Bourse: the same as Exchange, where merchants meet to transact their business.

English wool in Bruges, because it was much exported thither from England before the growth of home manufactures.

Flemings: the natives of Flanders; who were the chief manufacturers of Europe long before England took the lead.

14 per cent.: the height of this rate may be seen by comparing it with the 2½ per cent., which is all England now pays as interest upon her debt.

Bethlehem Hospital, corrupted into Bedlam, is still a hospital, but only for the insane.


Bruges ... civil wars: that is, the religious wars referred to in Chapter XLIV.

Venetians: before the discovery of the sea route to India and the East Venice was the first maritime and commercial power in the world. The route round the Cape of Good Hope was discovered by Vasco de Gama in 1497.

Moluccas: a group of tropical islands between Celebes and New Guinea, rich in pearls, spices, and precious woods.

Calicut: the port in Madras, where Vasco de Gama first landed in May 1498. The cotton cloth called calico was first brought thence.

Moorish pirates: North Africa has always been a haunt of pirates. In 1816 Lord Exmouth had to bombard Algiers, and even as late as 1860 the European Powers had to suppress piracy in Morocco.{252}

Dordrecht: a commercial town in the south of Holland, near Rotterdam.

The South Sea Company is celebrated above the other trading companies for the great speculation in its shares called the South Sea bubble in 1720.


Mummers: men who played in entertainments masked and in various disguises.

masque: a kind of play in which the actors wore masks. Milton's 'Comus' is a well-known masque of high character.

mystery: a name for a religious play representing some scene from the Bible or scenes from the life of a saint.

admonition: warning.

frescoes: paintings on a wall covered with plaster—done while the plaster is still wet or fresh.

sequence: that is, the connection of one event with another.

properties: the articles used in the play, scenery, dress, etc.

realistic: looking as though they really were the persons represented.

tableau: scene.

lessee: one who rents a theatre or holds it on a lease from the owner.


Pageants: grand shows, processions.

censers: vessels for burning incense.

conduit: a pipe or channel for leading or conducting water.

Cross of Chepe: a memorial erected in the centre of the chepe, or market, in memory of Queen Eleanor.

jerkins: a kind of jacket often made of leather.

panoply: full armour.

banneret: a little banner.

blackjacks: leather vessels for holding liquor.

malmsey: a strong sweet wine.

marshal: draw up and arrange.

Lord Mayor's Show: on November 9—when the people have an opportunity of welcoming the new Lord Mayor on his entering into office.


libretto: the words of a masque or play set to music.

scenic: on the stage.

Ben Jonson (born 1574, died 1637): a great English play writer and poet, and a friend of Shakespeare.

Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam (born 1561, died 1626), was Lord Chancellor and a great writer on philosophical subjects.

Oberon: the king of the fairies and husband of Titania, as in Shakespeare's 'Midsummer Night's Dream.'

save James: that is, King James I.; a piece of courtly flattery due to Jonson's connection with the court.

Prince Henry, who is meant by Oberon in the masque, died in 1612, to the great regret of the people.

Phosphorus: Lucifer, the morning star that brings the day.{253}


Gammer (i.e. Old Mother) Gurton's Needle is a very rough old play about an old woman who lost her needle while mending a pair of breeches, and, after accusing everyone of stealing it, finds it after all in the garment itself. It was written some time before 1560. ('Gammer,' the French grand'-mère, grandmother, contracted into 'ganmer,' and then 'gammer.')

contortionist: one who twists himself into extraordinary attitudes to amuse the public.

octagonal: with eight sides.

prologue: the verses spoken before a play to introduce it to the audience.

Golden Lane: a street near the Barbican, turning out of Aldersgate Street.

Bankside, in Southwark, on the southern side of the Thames.


Pretensions: ambitious claims.

Wars of the Roses: a civil war lasting 1455-1485. In thinking of the loss of life occasioned by this war, it must be remembered that such loss fell most heavily on the noble families; the mass of the population was not so much disturbed by it.

Long Acre: a street near Drury Lane, now chiefly occupied by carriage-makers.

delirium: a wandering in the mind caused by fever.


Registers: a record of names of persons who have died. Such records are now accurately kept by the registrars of births, deaths, and marriages.

The King: Charles II., who, whatever his faults may have been, was at least good-natured and averse to suffering.

Samuel Pepys (born 1632, died 1703) was Secretary to the Admiralty in the reigns of Charles II. and James II. His famous diary gives a graphic picture of life during these reigns.


Coleman Street runs northward from Lothbury (behind the Bank of England) to Moorgate. The name goes back even to Saxon times, and probably comes from one Ceolmund, who had a farm near.

St. Erkinwald: an early Saxon Bishop of London, who encouraged the citizens to restore their ruined city, and himself built the Bishop's Gate (named after him). His shrine in St. Paul's was long an object of reverence.

Paternoster Row: always a great centre of the book trade: it was a row immediately adjoining the precincts of the Cathedral before encroachments were made. Naturally much of the booksellers' wares was religious - paternosters, aves, credos, etc.

chancel: the east end of a church in which is the altar, separated from the rest of the church by a screen or railings. (Latin cancelli, a grating.)

transept: the part of a cathedral projecting on either side. Cathedrals are generally built in the shape of a cross; the transept is the arms of the cross in the ground plan.{254}


Astronomer: one who studies the stars or heavenly bodies.

John Evelyn (born 1620, died 1706), a gentleman of the reign of Charles II., was made one of the commissioners for the restoration of London after the Great Fire. He wrote a diary, which is not so amusing as that of Pepys (see Chapter LI.)

St. Dunstan-in-the-East, in Tower Street, was the first church restored by Wren after the fire.

John Dryden (born 1631, died 1700): one of the greatest English poets. He was a supporter of the house of Stuart, and was made poet laureate.

obnoxious: exposed to.


Vagabonds: wanderers who have no settled home.

Wapping: called Wapping Wash (or Marsh) in the time of Queen Elizabeth, when it was first drained and banked in, lies on the north bank of the Thames, in Middlesex, near the Thames Tunnel.

Lambeth, facing Westminster, on the south bank of the river, is low-lying, and was called in Saxon times Lambhythe, meaning loamy or muddy landing place.

Bermondsey (ey—island), on the south bank of the Thames, one mile S.E. of St. Paul's, is a centre of the leather and wool trade.

Rotherhithe (or Redriff), on the south bank of the Thames, lies east of Bermondsey and faces Wapping. The south end of the Thames Tunnel is in Rotherhithe.

stringent: strict.

impotent: powerless, unable to work.

stocks: a wooden frame in which the legs of criminals were confined.

The Barbican: a street near the site of the old Aldersgate. Barbican means defensive works for a gate. Turnmill Street is near Farringdon railway station.


Essayists: people who write essays; that is, short compositions on any subject.

picturesqueness: beauty and grace; qualities which might be supposed to make anything a good subject for a picture.

ruffles: pieces of some white material plaited and attached as a frill to the collar and sleeves of garments.

ostentation: making a great show.

Puritanism: the more sober style of life and thought introduced by the Puritans, who were a religious party in the times of Elizabeth and the Stuarts, and were desirous of a purer and simpler doctrine and mode of living.


Predecessors: those that went before them.

cruciform: in the form of a cross. The ground plan of many churches is shaped like a cross.

St. Stephen's, Walbrook, stands behind the Mansion House, where the Walbrook used to flow.{255}

lectureship: the office of a lecturer, one who gives lectures, discourses, or (as in this case) sermons. Money was left to pay for these sermons, that is, the lectureships were endowed.

harbouring: sheltering.

organisers: those who get up and arrange anything.

Haymarket (obviously once a hay market) is near Trafalgar Square, and Coventry Street near Leicester Square.

innovations: novelties, new things.


Broad Street: between the Royal Exchange and Liverpool Street.

Whitecross Street is near the Barbican, Aldersgate Street; Whitechapel, in which is Middlesex Street (commonly known as Petticoat Lane), is reached through Aldgate.

Hogarth (born 1697, died 1764): a celebrated English painter, chiefly famous for moral, satirical and humorous pictures drawn from everyday life.

asphalt: a kind of mineral pitchy substance which melts in heat and can be laid down so as to form a hard, smooth roadway.

Vauxhall: in Surrey, in the parish of Lambeth, on the south of the Thames. There was once an old manor house here called Faukes or Fox Hall.

Bermondsey Spa: so called from a mineral spring discovered there in 1770. (Spa, a place where there is a mineral spring, gets its name from a celebrated watering-place in Belgium of that name.)

punch: a drink containing five ingredients—water, spirits, sugar, lemon-juice, spice.


Decorous: behaving in a decent and respectable way.

appreciation: estimate, judgment about.

congregation: gathering together.

Benjamin Franklin (born 1706, died 1790): a native of Boston, U.S.A., who lived for some time in England. As a scientist he is famous for electrical experiments; as a politician, for the share he took in upholding the independence of the American States.

transmission: handing down from father to son.

externally: outwardly.

St. Katharine's, Ratcliff, Shadwell, Stepney, are all in the East End of London.

jurisdiction: legal authority.


Lighters: large boats or barges used in unloading ships.

bleaching-grounds: where cloth was laid out to be bleached or whitened by the wind and sun.

hopbines: the stalks of hop plants.

transportation: conveying convicted criminals abroad. Till 1869 convicts were sent to Australia; now they are kept in convict prisons at home.

classification: dividing and arranging into classes.

embezzle: to steal something entrusted to one's care.{256}

press-gang: a party of sailors under an officer who forcibly took men to serve in the Royal Navy.

anarchy: absence of rule, disorder.

Gordon Riots: in 1780, led by the fanatic Lord George Gordon. The mob raised the cry of 'No Popery' on account of a law then proposing to remove hardships from Roman Catholics. Riot and plunder were the real object of the mob. The disorder had to be suppressed by military force.

Police: organised in 1829 by Sir Robert Peel, after whom the members of the force were called 'bobbies' and 'peelers.'


Denominations: religious bodies or sects, the members of which are all called by the same name. (Latin nomen, a name.)

every conceivable topic: every subject you can think of.

community: a people, the public.

achieved: won by effort.


Symbol of: the representative of; the presence of a policeman is the outward form taken by the law in the eyes of the people.

mote: meeting; hence folks' mote, meeting of the folk or people; ward mote, meeting of those living in the same ward or city division.

The Companies: such as those of the Goldsmiths, Merchant Taylors, Drapers, &c.

Quarter Sessions: the sessions or sittings of the Law Courts in a county or city held every quarter.

archives: public records.

sergeant means 'servant,' 'officer'—here of the law. Ordinarily it is a rank in the army.


Advocate: argue in favour of.

tenacity: perseverance, holding on. (Latin teneo, to hold.)

livery: because the members of the different trade companies used to wear a distinguishing uniform or livery.

fletchers: arrow-makers. (French flèche, an arrow.)

trust-money: money entrusted for a certain purpose for which alone it can be used.

technical: where useful trades and sciences are taught.


Conservative: preserving, so far as convenient, the present state of things.

functions: powers and duties.

reformatory schools: where boys and girls who have committed some crime are sent to be reformed to better ways.

assets: property actually held, so that it can be set off against a debt.

democratic: giving power and influence to the people.

oligarchic: giving power and influence to the few.

'law worthiness': right to assist in the making of laws.

Spottiswoode & Co. Printers, New-street Square, London

[Transcriber's Note: The following errors have been corrected in this text:

Page 6: Fitzstephen's to FitzStephen's

Page 68: fiteenth to fifteenth


Page 135: Westminter to Westminster

Page 223: alway to always

Page 246: Archishop to Archbishop

Page 256: supressed to suppressed

The following words are inconsistently hyphenated in the original text: folk-mote, folkmote; Lud-gate, Ludgate; pack-horse, packhorse; river-side, riverside.]

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Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

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Hyde Park

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Royal Observatory, Greenwich

The West End

Trafalgar Square

Westminster Abbey



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