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My next day in London was a biggie. Talk about ramble. I walked miles. Looking back at my notes and plans, I now remember how worried I was about the volcano in Iceland. Anyone remember that? I was on tenterhooks for weeks wondering if we would actually make it across the pond. Oh, now we have taken a side turn. Back onto the main path. That particular day, I took the underground to Tower station, where I met my fellow ramblers. Our first stop was a church
All Hallows by the Tower
London has many many churches, but this one calls itself the oldest one in the city of London. I am hedging my bets a bit here, because I did not do the research and merely accept what they say.
The Saxon Abbey of Barking founded the church of All Hallows by the Tower in 675 AD. An arch from the original Saxon church remains. Beneath the arch is a Roman pavement, discovered in 1926, evidence of city life on this site for the best part of two thousand years.
Following their execution on Tower Hill, numerous beheaded bodies were brought into the church including those of Thomas More, Bishop John Fisher and Archbishop Laud.
William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, was baptised in the church and educated in the schoolroom (now the Parish Room). In 1666 the Great Fire of London started in Pudding Lane, a few hundred yards from the church, and All Hallows survived through the efforts of Admiral Penn, William Penn's father. Apparently Samuel Pepys watched the fire from its tower.
John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the USA, was married in All Hallows in 1797.
After the bombings of World War II, only the tower remains of that old church. The church continues its old medieval custom of "beating the bounds" basically walking the boundaries of the parish and whacking the ground along the line at intervals with sticks. I guess this prevents some other church from claiming their parishioners? Since one of the boundaries actually runs down the center of the River Thames they all get on a boat to observe this part of the custom. Now I do not know if they did this during the Regency, or if this was revived more recently, but it is just interesting.
This picture shows part of the Roman street found beneath the Church in the early 20th century.
Don't forget to look out for my new short story e-book Undone out this month.
Unmasking Lady Innocent
This day was a long one and there is much more to come. Until then, Happy Rambles.