Tudor London – Walking with Matthew Shardlake (and Barak)

Blackfriars Underground Station (by Petit Pret)

Guided by Andy

Walk Times

Day Walk Type Start Time End Time
27 March 2024 Tour du Jour 10.45 am 12.45 pm Winter
24 April 2024 Tour du Jour 10.45 am 12.45 pm Winter Reserve Online
22 May 2024 Tour du Jour 10.45 am 12.45 pm Summer Reserve Online
19 June 2024 Tour du Jour 10.45 am 12.45 pm Summer Reserve Online
23 June 2024 Tour du Jour 10.45 am 12.45 pm Summer Reserve Online

Short read: by popular demand we now have a second Shardlake walk. The first walk – the trailblazer, Part One – ‘Matthew Shardlake’s Tudor London’  focused on the Inns of Court, Shardlake’s Chambers and Smithfield.

This walk – the Part Two Shardlake walk – focuses on Guy of Malton, Jack Barak and Southwark.

Part Two, Guy of Malton, Jack Barak and Southwark.

Things you will see include;

The Apothecaries Hall

The Kings Wardrobe

Carter Lane

Newgate Prison

Paternoster Row

St Paul’s School

Mercers Hall on Cheapside

Guys Shop

The Old Barge – Jack Barak’s home

Budge Row

Dowgate

Bankside and Winchester Palace

St Mary Overie Dock

London Bridge

St Magnus the Martyr Church

Long read: This time we set off via the Blackfriars Monastery, Shardlake’s great friend, Guy of Malton was a Benedictine monk, not a Dominican friar, we find out the difference.

The Apothecaries Hall is the oldest surviving Hall in the City, the apothecaries were often at bitter variance with the College of Physicians who wanted to regulate medical practise. Guy had abandoned his apothecary’s robe for the ‘black high collared gown of a physician’, but he still resided amongst the apothecaries who would display ‘stuffed alligators’ and ‘pigeon slippers’ amongst other ‘strange wonders’ in their shop windows.

The apothecaries resided in a narrow alleyway off Bucklersbury, the shops have gone, but the name survives, it’s an area close to today’s Mansion House. The Old Barge was close by, once a mansion where Thomas Moore began his married life it was nestled up to the lost river Walbrook. By the late 1530’s the mansion had been split up into filthy tenements ‘crumbling battlements and ivy run riot’, it was home to our very own bad boy gone good Jack Barak and his beautiful wife and ex- confectioner to the Queens Household Tasamin Reedbourne.

However, before we get to the Old Barge, we take a stroll through a part of the City whose plan literally hasn’t changed in four hundred years. Carter Lane is where Nicholas Overton, Shardlake’s next but posher assistant lives. Close by, we explore the area around St Pauls where a small but thriving printing business had proliferated, it’s where the murder of Armistead Greening took place in ‘Lamentation’ and where peddlers with trays of pamphlets and ballads full of naughty rhymes such as ‘The Cardinals Maidservant’ and ‘The Milk Maid and the Stallion Boy’ plied their trade.

We map out – trace, uncover, evoke, explore – the Tudor world that shaped Jack Barak’s life. The son of a gong/screwer,* Jack had been a scholarship boy at St Paul’s. But all changed, changed utterly when his father died. Jack had to “fend for himself.” Four centuries on the school that stands there today, yes, like its predecessor in the shadow of the Cathedral, is cobwebbed with that past.

*”My father was a gong/screwer.” We find out what that was. Brace yourself, cuz it ain’t pretty.

Back to Cheapside and the Mercers Hall, still there, we can just about guess the site of Mercer Edwin Wentworth’s townhouse and his garden off Budge Row where Elizabeth Wentworth is accused of murdering her cousin. There’s more, before we cross to Southwark we can take a peek inside the wonderful Church of St Magnus the Martyr with its model of London Bridge.

According to Shardlake, Henry VIII had dined many times with Catherine Howard at Winchester Palace, parts of that 13th-century Palace survive.

The Bishop of Winchester owned most of Southwark including the brothels, it was an area known as the Liberty of the Clink, prostitution was legal and unfortunate women such as ‘Bathsheba’ in ‘Dark Fire’ were known as the Winchester Geese. This was London’s red light district, an area known for its stews, taverns, bear baiting and criminality.

Where pock-faced, loathsome men such as the ex-monk turned assassin Tokey and his axe-wielding partner Wright could be employed to torture and murder on behalf of wealthy courtiers. No spoilers!

MATTHEW SHARDLAKE’S TUDOR LONDON – THE WALKS

THE PRACTICALS

Tudor London – Walking with Matthew Shardlake, Part II takes place on the following Wednesdays:  April 24, May 22, June 19 and Sunday June 23.

Tudor London – Walking with Matthew Shardlake, Part II meets at 10:45 am by the Petit Pret at Blackfriars   Tube Station.  The Matthew Shardlake, Tudor London Part II ends near Monument  Tube Station.

Matthew Shardlake’s Tudor London, Part I  meets at 2 pm just outside Temple  Tube Station. 

The two Matthew Shardlake’s Tudor London Walks – Part I and Part II – are the Castor and Pollux of our Literary London programme of perambulations. A ‘double hit’ was always on the cards because Matthew Shardlake’s London is a teeming, cup overfloweth affair. And who else but Andy, whose academic specialty (MA, University of London) was Tudor London, would it fall to to track down – “every contact leaves a trace” – Shardlake’s Tudor London in the streets of 21st century London?  Track down, create, and guide.

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