More Interesting Facts About the Great Fire of London of 1666
Thomas Farynor was the king’s baker. His bakery was in Pudding Lane, near London Bridge and the Monument.
Pudding Lane was named after the organ meats (known as pudding) that would fall off the meat wagons which rolled down that lane.
Sir Thomas Bludworth (also spelled “Bloodworth”).
The famous diarist wrote how he buried his parmesan cheese in the garden before fleeing the fire.
Ever since the mid-1500s, when Henry VIII had broken with the Catholic Church, the people feared a Catholic plot to do away with the King and bring England back to Catholicism. In 1605, the gunpowder plot by Guy Fawkes, when he attempted to blow up the Parliament and the King, seemed to confirm their fears.
The people had good reason to fear a Dutch attack on UK soil. The British had just recently incinerated one Dutch city and 140 of their ships. So when London appeared to have been set on fire, it seemed like retaliation from the Netherlands.
During the investigation, an unbalanced French Protestant, Robert Hubert confessed to setting the fire along with 23 conspirators. His story was full of flaws and kept changing. The investigative committee didn’t believe him, but the people needed a scapegoat, and the jury, which contained three people named Farynor (same name as the baker), convicted the Frenchman and he was hanged. The Earl of Clarendon said, “Neither the judges, nor any present at the trial did believe him guilty; but that he was a poor distracted wretch, weary of his life, and chose to part with it”.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s was generally thought to be fireproof because of its thick stone walls and the open land around it. Many whose homes were in the fire’s path carried their belongings there for safekeeping. Unfortunately, the cathedral was being restored at the time, and was surrounded by wooden scaffolding. The scaffolding caught fire, then the interior wooden beams, then the lead roof melted and caved in. John Evelyn wrote that “the stones of St. Paul’s flew like grenades, the melting lead running down the streets in a stream, and the very pavement glowing with fiery redness, so as no horse, nor man, was able to tread on them.”
The monument to the Great Fire stands at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill, near Monument tube station. It’s 202-foot-high and is 202 feet from the spot where the Great Fire started in Pudding Lane. The memorial column was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Dr. Robert Hooke, and built between 1671-1677. It has a flaming gold urn on the top to symbolize the fire. There are 311 steps on the inside which you can climb for a panoramic view of the city.
This statue hangs high on a building at Pye Corner (Giltspur Street and Cock Lane) in Smithfield, central London.
It is thought to be named after an inn sign that hung here many years ago and depicted a magpie. Pye corner is at the junction of Cock Lane and Giltspur Street.
The Fortune of War Tavern
The Golden Boy statue originally hung above the door of the Fortune of War Tavern until it was torn down in 1910. In the 1820s, the tavern was the headquarters for body snatchers who robbed freshly dug graves and sold the bodies to anatomists for their study.