Esoteric London

No. 934: Strand, WC2

Posted in Events, Political London, Pubs, Street Furniture by esotericlondon on September 26, 2013

© Roger Dean RED_4237 copy

Strand, London, WC2. Photo © Roger Dean 2013

The Inns and Taverns of Old London, Setting forth the Historical and Literary Associations of Those Ancient Hostelries, Together with an Account of the Most Notable Coffee-houses, Clubs, and Pleasure Gardens of the British Metropolis – Henry C. Shelley, 1923:

[…] it is interesting to recall that it was in the yard of the Belle Sauvage Sir Thomas Wyatt’s rebellion came to an inglorious end. That rising was ostensibly aimed at the prevention of Queen Mary’s marriage with a prince of Spain, and for that reason won a large measure of support from the men of Kent, at whose head Wyatt marched on the capital. At London Bridge, however, his way was blocked, and he was obliged to make a détour by way of Kingston, in the hope of entering the city by Lud Gate. But his men became disorganized on the long march, and at each stage more and more were cut off from the main body by the queen’s forces, until, by the time he reached Fleet Street, the rebel had only some three hundred followers. “He passed Temple Bar,” wrote Froude, “along Fleet Street, and reached Ludgate. The gate was open as he approached, when some one seeing a number of men coming up, exclaimed, ‘These be Wyatt’s antients.’ Muttered curses were heard among the by-standers; but Lord Howard was on the spot; the gates, notwithstanding the murmurs, were instantly closed; and when Wyatt knocked, Howard’s voice answered, ‘Avaunt! traitor; thou shalt not come in here.’ ‘I have kept touch,’ Wyatt exclaimed; but his enterprise was hopeless now. He sat down upon a bench outside the Belle Sauvage yard.” That was the end.

[The Belle Sauvage inn stood on the north side of what is now Ludgate Hill in the City of London from at least 1420. Unfortunately no sign of the inn can be seen today, the building that housed it having been demolished in 1873, there is, however, a painting of the exterior of the building by John Charles Maggs in the collection of the British Postal Museum. R.D.]

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