norman and medieval london


  • [64] When the king briefly recovered the next year, he released Somerset and removed York from the position of regent, so York raised an army against the king’s forces at
    the First Battle of St. Albans, which resulted in the king being arrested and kept imprisoned at the Bishop of London’s house near St. Paul’s Cathedral.

  • However, in the 11th century, there was a great fire in Winchester, and several royal offices decamped to London, never to return.

  • [53] London had declared a Saxon man called Edgar Atheling king, but William arrived in Southwark with his army,[53] According to the writer William of Jumieges, his army
    caused “no little mourning to the City because of the very many deaths of her own sons and citizens”.

  • It was the Great Hall of the Palace of Westminster, originally built as a place for the king to reside rather than a meeting place for Parliament, although it also encompassed
    government meeting rooms and the Royal Courts of Justice.

  • [67] Thomas Neville’s men on ladders beseiging London, while Edward IV’s forces ride out from the city gates By 1470, however, the tide of the war had turned again.

  • York marched on London again, but this time London attempted to remain neutral, and York became the king’s regent, with Somerset thrown in prison.

  • [25] Two years later, a man called William Fitz Osbert alleged that the City authorities had dodged this tax, leaving the burden to fall upon ordinary Londoners.

  • [36] As London became more politically important in this period, it also acquired grand government halls.

  • However, the next year, the investigation was reopened due to a new witness: a young man who had been in the church, but had not previously spoken out.

  • [37] London’s Guildhall existed on its present site from at least 1284,[11] but the current hall dates from 1411, and when it was built, was one of the largest in the country,
    second only to Westminster Hall.

  • For example, London was given a royal warden between 1265 and 1298, after which the city was allowed to purchase its right to elect a mayor again for 2,000 marks.

  • While John was staying at the Tower of London, the city welcomed the barons’ army into the city walls.

  • [29] The largest fire of the period was probably the Great Fire of 1212, which began in Southwark on 10 July.

  • [4] At the beginning of the period, London was governed by an officer of the Crown called a portreeve and the Bishop of London.

  • [67] After 12 years of rule, Edward IV died, leaving his 12-year-old son to become Edward V. The young king and his eight-year-old brother, Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of
    York, moved into the Tower to prepare for a coronation, but the ceremony never took place, and instead, Edward IV’s brother instead crowned himself Richard III.

  • There was a Jewish burial ground at Jewin Street, on the site of the modern-day Barbican Centre, from 1177, Old Jewry was known as the Jewish quarter from 1181,[9] and London’s
    first synagogue is on Ironmonger Lane, being first recorded in 1227 and forced to close in 1285.

  • London officials loaded up carts to head towards her army, but as they were about to leave, they heard news that Richard of York’s son, Edward, had won a victory and was heading
    towards London, and the carts were stopped.

  • [53] In order to ensure the co-operation of the city, William had three castles built around London: Montfichet’s Tower, Baynard’s Castle, and the Tower of London.

  • [57] However, Matilda was not in England at the time of her father’s death, and so her cousin, Stephen, had himself crowned king instead, supported by the citizens of London.

  • [78][39] London had its first public toilet from early 12th century near Queenhithe.

  • In 1452, Richard of York brought an army to London to fight the king’s favourite, Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, only to find that London was backing Somerset and the
    gates were closed to him.

  • [15] Topography The only parts of what is now known as Greater London that were built up were the City of London and Westminster, and indeed the outlying areas were not yet
    considered to be part of London itself.

  • [59] Henry’s army blockaded London with Louis inside, and Louis swiftly negotiated his safe passage to France in return for giving up his claim to the English throne.

  • [41] In 1433, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester began building work on what would become Greenwich Palace.

  • [64] Wars of the Roses[edit] Main article: Wars of the Roses Richard of York, depicted in the Talbot Shrewsbury Book, made in the 1440s In the 1450s, as Henry VI’s mental
    health deteriorated, nobles in his court began fighting for power amongst themselves.

  • During this period, London became the capital of England, as monarchs held Parliament at the Palace of Westminster, beginning in 1265 and increasing over the 14th century.

  • [61] The next year, the king executed Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, who was popular among Londoners.

  • For example, in the 1240s this position was held by a man called Elias of London, who lent over £10,000 to Henry III, advised the king on matters of Jewish law, and was a
    sought-after physician.

  • [46] Governance At the beginning of the period, London was not yet considered the capital of the country, the city of Winchester being more commonly associated with royalty.

  • [17] In 1415, a new gate was added to the northern wall by a marsh, which came to be known as Moorgate.

  • [57] Throughout the following period of civil war known as The Anarchy, London remained loyal to Stephen.

  • [59] They proceeded to attack the homes of the king’s supporters and London’s Jewish population, who were thought to be his financial backers.

  • [86] Edward I banned Jewish people from moneylending in 1275, leaving many unable to make a living, as they were also not allowed to join the city’s trade guilds.

  • On 15 June, the king and the Lord Mayor of London, William Walworth, went to meet one of the rebel leaders, Wat Tyler, at Smithfield.

  • [30] Buildings[edit] This period saw a great deal of new church building and rebuilding of older churches, and by the 12th century there were over 100 churches within the
    city walls alone, one for every 300 inhabitants.

  • The Tower of London was used as a prison from 1100, with its first prisoner, Ranulf Flambard, also becoming the first escapee in 1101.

  • [85][13] Punishments[edit] Memorial to William Wallace, close to the site of his execution in Smithfield The most commonly-used execution ground was Tyburn, where executions
    took place almost every day from 1388 onwards,[88] including the executions of famous traitors such as Roger Mortimer.

  • But from 1225, it was decided that they should remain permanently in Westminster, where the High Court of Justice is still based to this day.

  • [61] The Bishop of Exeter, Walter Stapledon’s head was sent to the queen, and a mob of Londoners attacked the houses of Lombardy merchants and released prisoners from the

  • [55] Large pieces of land were granted to William’s Norman supporters, including Harmondsworth, which was given to Rouen Abbey in 1069.

  • According to one story, the future Henry V was present, and was so horrified by the screams that he ordered the fire to be doused He offered Bradley a pension and a pardon,
    but Bradley rejected these and was burned a short while later.

  • [32] London’s two other castles, Baynard’s Castle and Montfichet’s Tower, may have also been begun under William I.

  • [42] In the 1460s, Crosby Hall was built near Bishopsgate for a London merchant, which has since been moved wholesale to its present site in Chelsea.

  • [3] John promised the City its corporate rights and the status of a “commune”, and in return, the City sided with John.

  • [82] If a person was on the run from the law, one avenue open to them was to claim sanctuary in a church.

  • [52] The first mention of London’s Guildhall is in 1128, and by 1220 a building exists close to its present location in St. Lawrence Jewry.

  • [19] A model of London Bridge as it appeared in 1440 Although a wooden bridge existed prior to this period in the location of today’s London Bridge, a stone version was completed
    in 1209, designed by master builder Peter of Colechurch.

  • [82] From at least 1282, the church at St. Martin’s le Grand rang a curfew bell, upon which all the gates in the city walls and all pubs closed.

  • [1] Henry fled to the Tower while his son, Prince Edward, arrived with an army, looted Temple Church, and stole £10,000 of the City’s money.

  • Church officials would bring them food during their sanctuary period, and city officials would often post watchmen to make sure they didn’t sneak out.

  • They also attacked the priory of the Knights Hospitaller, Newgate Prison, and the Tower of London, where they found another unpopular figure, Simon Sudbury.

  • Warwick marched on London and Edward’s wife, Elizabeth Woodville, took her children to the safety of Westminster Abbey, where she gave birth to the future Edward V. With Henry
    VI imprisoned and Edward IV fled to Europe, Warwick was now in a position to choose which would be restored to the throne, and he chose Henry.

  • In the middle distance, Roger Mortimer is being executed, and in the far distance, St. Paul’s Cathedral can be seen.

  • [25] Barons’ Wars[edit] Main articles: First Barons’ War, Second Barons’ War, and Despenser War A 14th-century manuscript showing King John’s forces fighting the Franks (left)
    and Prince Louis’ forces (right) During the reign of King John in the 1210s, resentment was growing among his barons, which by 1215 had broken out into all-out conflict.

  • [1] In 1264, London’s army was involved in clashes at Isleworth and Norbury, and De Montfort claimed victory later that year after capturing Henry and Edward.

  • For 40 days, they were allowed to stay within the church without being arrested or forced out.

  • After a few days of fighting, the king issued pardons to the rebels and they dispersed back to their homes, but these pardons were not honoured and rebels were later rounded
    up and hanged, including Cade himself, who died en route back to London.

  • [49] The position would later be renamed to “Lord Mayor”.

  • [1] The next year, selected knights, citizens, burgesses, churchmen and barons met at Westminster Hall to discuss their release in what has since been identified as the first

  • [76] In 1448, a hospital specialising in treatment for leprosy was opened on the site of the modern-day St. James’ Palace.

  • In 1321, Edward II began an inquiry into the City’s behaviour.

  • [59] However, John reneged on these promises, and so next year, the barons offered the crown of England to the French Prince Louis.

  • [48] The treasury was the last royal department to move, doing so in the reign of Henry II in the 12th century.

  • [67] However, the next year, Edward IV returned with an army to meet Warwick’s forces at the decisive Battle of Barnet.

  • [65] Although London was officially neutral, most Londoners supported Richard of York.

  • This is over three times the size of the next largest English city, York, but smaller than other European cities such as Paris, Rome, Venice and Bruges.

  • [21][31] St. Paul’s Cathedral, although existing before this period, was rebuilt as what is now known as Old St. Paul’s in this period, begun in the 12th cenutry and finished
    in 1314.

  • [49] London appointed its first recorded mayor, Henry FitzAilwin, in 1189,[3] and the right of the city to have a mayor, aldermen and its own court, was confirmed in Magna
    Carta, a treaty agreed to by King John in 1215.

  • [18] The city had only one bridge across the River Thames: London Bridge,[20] although there were also bridges outside the city at Bow (said to be the first stone bridge in
    England),[24] Kingston upon Thames,[25] Fulham,[19] and Brentford.

  • [45] Building destruction[edit] London suffered several large fires in this period.

  • Lincoln’s Inn was let out to legal apprentices by the landowner, Thomas of Lincoln, from 1331,[62] and lawyers were occupying what is now Middle Temple and Inner Temple from
    1337,[71] and Gray’s Inn from some point in the 15th century.

  • [1] In 1264 during the Second Barons’ War, Simon de Montfort’s rebels occupied London and killed 500 Jews while attempting to seize records of debts.

  • [43] Outside the city walls, the area now known as Greater London was mostly agricultural, with buildings mostly being built in wood.

  • [59] However, after John died later that year, the barons switched their allegiance to John’s son Henry III, while Londoners remained loyal to Louis.


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