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  • Writer's pictureGregg Maflin

HIDDEN LONDON [11] “The London Stone". Discover the history and legends behind this hidden monument.

Located at 11 Cannon St., almost opposite Cannon Street station, sits a small lump of old limestone set into the wall on a Portland stone plinth within a glass case. Many people walk by unaware, but this is an important hidden London monument.

The stone is thought to date from the Roman period and was possibly the corner stone of a lost sacred building, originally it sat in the middle of Candlewick St [now Cannon St] and was known on the Copperplate Map of the 1550’s . Already by that time it was known as a place of meeting and some thought it was the spot on which to measure distance from all over England, thus becoming the centre of the city of London

In 1450 Jack Cade, the leader of a rebellion against the corrupt government of Henry VI, entered the city with his men and struck his sword on London Stone and claimed to be "Lord of this City “and would judge any man who came against him . The marks across the top that can still be seen testify to this. Though this is where Legends start, perhaps as many feel they are more likely to come from the time of the Great Fire of 1666, or it’s removal from the centre of the street where it waylaid medieval traffic. Some even claim these sword marks relate to King Arthur and Excalibur!

Still it holds some mystery I feel, as when I visited this week on an unseasonably cold autumn day. Whether it's longevity in the city for over 2000 years, bearing witness to passing history is the reason for its allure, or its supposed connection to Ley Lines, Druid sacrifice and UFO pathways, is a mystery. In other circumstances why would we venerate a fairly small piece of ancient rock behind glass,as but for its history, it’s a mere crumb!

You will have to decide for yourself, when you visit.

The London Stone can be found at 111 Cannon St, London , EC4N 5AR

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