MEDIAEVAL LONDON – THE PRACTICALS
The Mediaeval London walk takes place at 10.45 am on Saturday, April 13 and at 2.30 pm on Saturday, September7. Meet Sue just outside the exit of Tower HillTube (by the Tower Hill Tram coffee stall).
MEDIAEVAL LONDON WALK – THE BLURBS
Mood music version:
"When the world [and London] were half a thousand years younger
all events had much sharper outlines than now.
"The distance between sadness and joy, between good and bad fortune, seemed to be much greater than for us; every experience had that degree of directness and absoluteness that joy and sadness still have in the mind of a child....There was less relief available for misfortune and for sickness; they came in a more fearful and more painful way. Sickness contrasted more strongly with health. The cutting cold and the dreaded darkness of winter were more concrete evils. Honour and wealth were enjoyed more fervently and greedily because they contrasted still more than now with lamentable poverty. A fur-lined robe of office, a bright fire in the oven, drink and jest, and a soft bed possessed a high value for enjoyment that would be inconceivable in the 21st century.
"All things in life had about them something glitteringly and cruelly public. The lepers, shaking their rattles and holding processions, put their deformities openly on display. Every estate, order, and craft could be recognized by its dress. The notables, never appearing without the ostentatious display of their weapons and liveried servants, inspired awe and envy. The administration of justice, the sales of goods, weddings and funerals--all announced themselves through processions, shouts, lamentations and music. The lover carried the emblem of his lady, the member the insignia of his fraternity, the party the colours and coat of arms of its lord.
"In their external appearance, too, town and countryside displayed the same contrast and colour. The city did not dissipate, as do our cities, into carelessly fashioned, ugly factories [and shopping malls] and monotonous country homes, but, enclosed by its walls, presented a completely rounded picture that included its innumerable protruding towers. No matter how high and weighty the stone houses of the noblemen or merchants may have been churches with their proudly rising masses of stone, dominate the city silhouettes.
"Just as the contrast between summer and winter was stronger than in our present lives, so was the difference between light and dark, quiet and noise. The modern city hardly knows pure darkness or true silence anymore, nor does it know the effect of a single small light or that of a lonely distant shout."
Get on with it version
Okay, that's enough mood music. Here are some nuts and bolts. This corker of a walk explores – and explains – how the City is still fundamentally mediaeval in its street plan (and indeed its street names), its government, its ceremonies, its traditions. And how it's all underpinned by the power of the great mediaeval livery companies.
Highlights include the mediaeval wall; the Tower of London; mediaeval churches; mediaeval livery companies (and their delightful traditions); the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and Aldermen; traces of mediaeval wharves; reminders of the importance of fish in a Catholic City.
It's heady stuff; packs a lot of wallop. In essence we're looking at the skull beneath the skin. Or - if you prefer - think of what grave goods can tell us about, say, a 6th-century Anglo-Saxon...or what a tree ring can tell us about how hard a certain winter was ages ago.
And to get under the skin of the City - so apparently modern today and bristling with wealth - to see how it still rests on mediaeval foundations and has always been shaped by commercial imperatives...well, it'll rewire you. The place will never look the same.
LONDON WALKS REVIEWS
"the unfailingly fascinating London Walks... If you can't find one [of their tours] that captures your fancy, maybe you really are tired of life." San Francisco Chronicle
"by far the most impressive series of walks that I have ever encountered are those offered by London Walks" Travel and Enjoy
LONDON WALKS PRIVATE WALKS
If you can't make the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, public Mediaeval London walk do think about booking one as a private tour. If you go private you can have the Mediaeval London walk – or any other London Walk – on a day and at a time that suits your convenience. We'll tailor it to your requirements. And – always with private London Walks and tours – we go to great lengths to make sure the guide-walker(s) "fit" is well-nigh perfect. Ring Fiona or Noel or Mary on 020 7624 3978 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll set it up and make it happen for you. A private London Walk – they're good value for an individual or couple and sensational value for a group – makes an ideal group or educational or birthday party or office (team-building) or club outing.
GIVE THE GIFT OF LONDON WALKS
A private London Walk makes a fab present – be it a birthday or anniversary or get-to-know-your-new neighbourhood gift or Christmas present or whatever. Merchandise schmerchandise (gift wrapped or not) – but giving someone an experience, now that's special. Memories make us rich.
LONDON WALKS – STREETS AHEAD!
Don't just take it from us.