網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

THE NORTHERN OUTSKIRTS.

15

passed by. Bloomsbury Square was built by the Earl Sir Cloudesley Shovel, Sir Joseph Banks, and Burnet, of Southampton, about the time of the Restoration, the historian, were all inhabitants of this locality. and was thought one of the wonders of England. Islington brings us back to days when Henry VIII. Baxter lived here when he was tormented by Judge came there to hawk the partridge and the heron, Jefferies ; Sir Hans Sloane was one of its inhabit- and when the London citizens wandered out across ants; so was that great physician, Dr. Radcliffe. the northern fields to drink milk and eat cheeseThe burning of Mansfield House by Lord George cakes. The old houses abound in legends of Sir Gordon's rioters has to be minutely described. In Walter Raleigh, Topham, the strong man, George Russell Square we visit the houses of Sir Thomas Morland, the artist, and Henderson, the actor. At Lawrence and of Judge Talfourd, and search for Canonbury, the old tower of the country house of

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

that celebrated spot in London legend, “The Field | the Prior of St. Bartholomew recalls to us Goldof the Forty Footsteps,” where two brothers, it is smith, who used to come there to hide from his said, killed each other in a duel for a lady, who sat creditors, go to bed early, and write steadily. by watching the fight. Then there is Red Lion At Highgate and Hampstead we shall scour the Square, where tradition says some faithful adherents, northern uplands of London by no means in vain, at the Restoration, buried the body of Cromwell, to as we shall find Belsize House, in Charles II.'s prevent its desecration at Tyburn; and we have to time, openly besieged by robbers and, long aftercull some stories of a good old inhabitant, Jonas wards, highwaymen swarming in the same locality. Hanway, the great promoter of many of the Lon- The chalybeate wells of Hampstead lead us on to don charities, the first man, who habitually used the Heath, where wolves were to be found in the an umbrella and Dr. Johnson's spirited opponent on twelfth century and highwaymen as late as 1803. the important question of tea. Soho Square, too, Good company awaits us at pleasant Hampstead has many a tradition, for the Duke of Monmouth - Lord Erskine, Lord Chatham, Keats, Akenside, lived there in great splendour; and in Hogarth's time Leigh Hunt, and Sir T. Fowell Buxton ; Booth, Mrs. Cornelys made the square celebrated by her Wilkes, and Colley Cibber; Mrs. Barbauld, honest masquerades, which in time became disreputable. Dick Steele, and Joanna Baillie. As for Highgate,

for ages a mere hamlet, a forest, it once boasted make them pithier and racier. We will neglect no a bishop's palace, and there we gather, with free fact that is interesting, and blend together all that hand, memories of Sacheverell, Rowe, Dr. Watts, old Time can give us bearing upon London. Street Hogarth, Coleridge, and Lord Mansfield ; Ireton, by street we shall delve and rake for illustrative story, Marvell, and Dick Whittington, the worthy demi-god despising no book, however humble, no pamphlet, of London apprentices to the end of time.

however obscure, if it only throws some light on the Lambeth, where Harold was crowned, can hold its celebrities of London, its topographical history, its own in interest with any part of London-for it once manners and customs. Such is a brief summary of possessed two ecclesiastical palaces and many places our plan. of amusement. Lambeth Palace itself is a spot of St. Paul's rises before us with its great black extreme interest. Here Wat Tyler's men dragged dome and stately row of sable columns; the Tower, off Archbishop Sudbury to execution ; here, when with its central citadel, flanked by the spear-like Laud was seized, the Parliamentary soldiers turned masts of the river shipping; the great world of the palace into a prison for Royalists and de- roofs spreads below us as we launch upon our molished the great hall. Outside the walls of the venturous voyage of discovery. From Boadicea church James II.'s Queen cowered in the December leading on her scythed chariots at Battle Bridge to rain with her child, till a coach could be brought from Queen Victoria in the Thanksgiving procession of the neighbouring inn to convey her to Gravesend to yesterday is a long period over which to range. We take ship for France. The Gordon rioters attacked have whole generations of Londoners to defile the palace in 1780, but were driven off by a detach- before us-painted Britons, hooded Saxons, mailed ment of Guards. The Lollards' Tower has to be Crusaders, Chaucer's men in hoods, friars, citizens, visited, and the sayings and doings of a long line of warriors, Shakespeare's friends, Johnson's compaprelates to be reviewed. Vauxhall brings us back to nions, Goldsmith's jovial “ Bohemians,” Hogarth's the days when Walpole went there with Lady fellow-painters, soldiers, lawyers, statesmen, merCaroline Petersham and helped to stew chickens chants. Nevertheless, at our spells they will in a china dish over a lamp; or we go further back gather from the four winds, and at our command and accompany Addison and the worthy Sir Roger march off to their old billets in their old houses, de Coverley, and join them over a glass of good ale where we may best cross-examine them and collect and a slice of hung beef.

their impressions of the life of their times. Astley's Amphitheatre recalls to us many amusing The subject is as entertaining as any dream stories of that old soldier, Ducrow, and of his friends Imagination ever evoked and as varied as human and rivals, which join on very naturally to those nature. Its classification is a certain bond of other theatrical traditions to which Drury Lane and union, and will act as an excellent cement for the Covent Garden have already led us.

multiform stones with which we shall rear our buildSo we mean to roam from flower to flower, over ing. Lists of names, dry pedigrees, rows of dates, as varied a garden as the imagination can well we leave to the herald and the topographer; but we conceive. There have been brave workers before shall pass by little that can throw light on the us in the field, and we shall build upon good founda- history of London in any generation, and we shall tions. We hope to be catholic in our selections; we dwell more especially on the events of the later shall prune away only the superfluous; we shall centuries, because they are more akin to us and condense anecdotes only where we think we can are bound to us by closer sympathies.

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER I.

ROMAN LONDON. Buried London-Our Early Relations-The Founder of London-A distinguished Visitor at Romney Marsh-Cæsar re-visits the “Town on the

Lake"—The Border of Old London-Cæsar fails to make much out of the Britons-King Brown-The Derivation of the name of London -The Queen of the Iceni-London Stone and London Roads- London's Earlier and Newer Walls—The Site of St. Paul's— Fabulous Claims to Idolatrous Renown-Existing Relics of Roman London--Treasures from the Bed of the Thames-What we Tread underfoot in London

-A vast Field of Story. EIGHTEEN feet below the level of Cheapside lies City there have been discovered tesselated pavehidden Roman London, and deeper even than that ments, Roman tombs, lamps, vases, sandals, keys, is buried the earlier London of those savage ornaments, weapons, coins, and statues of the charioteers who, long ages ago, bravely confronted ancient Roman gods. So the present has grown the legions of Rome. In nearly all parts of the up upon the ashes of the past.

Roman London.)

THE FOUNDER OF LONDON.

17

Trees that are to live long grow slowly. Slow nations that crowded into Troy or swarmed under and stately as an oak London grew and grew, till its walls; but, alas for them, that line was never now nearly four million souls represent its leaves. written! No, Founder of London! thy name was Our London is very old. Centuries before Christ written on fluid ooze of the marsh, and the first there probably came the first few half-naked fisher- tide that washed over it from the Nore obliterated men and hunters, who reared, with flint axes and it for ever. Yet, perhaps even now thou sleepest such rude tools, some miserable huts on the rising as quietly fathoms deep in soft mud, in some still ground that, forming the north bank of the Thames, nook of Barking Creek, as if all the world were slopes to the river some sixty miles from where it ringing with thy glory. joins the sea. According to some, the river spread But descending quick to the lower but safer and out like a vast lake between the Surrey and the firmer ground of fact, let us cautiously drive our Essex hills in those times when the first half-savage first pile into the shaky morass of early London settiers found the low slopes of the future London history. places of health and defence amid a vast and A learned modern antiquary, Thomas Lewin, dismal region of fen, swamp, and forest. The has proved, as nearly as any such things can be heroism and the cruelties, the hopes and fears of proved, that Julius Cæsar and 8,000 men, who those poor barbarians, darkness never to be re- had sailed from Boulogne, landed near Romney moved has hidden from us for ever. In later days Marsh about half-past five o'clock on Sunday monkish historians, whom Milton afterwards fol. the 27th of August, 55 years before the birth of our lowed, ignored these poor early relations of ours, Saviour. Centuries before that very remarkable and invented, as a more fitting ancestor of English- August day on which the brave standard-bearer men, Brute, a fugitive nephew of Æneas of Troy. of Cæsar's Tenth Legion sprang from his gilt But, stroll on where we will

, the pertinacious savage, galley into the sea and, eagle in hand, advanced with his limbs stained blue and his flint axe red against the javelins of the painted Britons who with blood, is a ghost not easily to be exorcised from lined the shore, there is now no doubt London was the banks of the Thames, and in some Welsh veins already existing as a British town of some importhis blood no doubt flows at this very day. The ance, and known to the fishermen and merchants founder of London had no historian to record his of the Gauls and Belgians. Strabo, a Greek geohopes : a place where big salmon were to be grapher who flourished in the reign of Augustus, found, and plenty of wild boars were to be met speaks of British merchants as bringing to the with, was probably his highest ambition. How he Seine and the Rhine shiploads of corn, cattle, iron, bartered with Phoenicians or Gauls for amber or hides, slaves, and dogs, and taking back brass, iron no Druid has recorded. How he slew the ivory, amber ornaments, and vessels of glass. foraging Belgæ, or was slain by them and dis- By these merchants the desirability of such a depôt possessed, no bard has sung. Whether he was as London, with its great and always navigable river, generous and heroic as the New Zealander, or ape- could not have been long overlooked. like and thievish as the Bushman, no ethnologist In Cæsar's second and longer invasion in the has yet proved. The very ashes of the founder of next year (54 B.C.), when his 28 many-oared London have long since turned to earth, air, and triremes and 560 transports, &c., in all 800, poured water.

on the same Kentish coast 21,000 legionaries and No doubt the few huts that formed early London 2,000 cavalry, there is little doubt that his strong were fought for over and over again, as wolves foot left its imprint near that cluster of stockaded wrangle round a carcass. On Cornhill there pro- huts (more resembling a New Zealand pah than bably dwelt petty kings who warred with the kings a modern English town) perhaps already called of Ludgate ; and in Southwark there lurked or bur- London—Llyn-don, the “town on the lake.” rowed other chiefs who, perhaps by intrigue or After a battle at Challock Wood, Cæsar and his force, struggled for centuries to get a foothold in men crossed the Thames, as is supposed, at Coway Thames Street. But to such infusoria History Stakes, an ancient ford a little above Walton (glorying only in offenders, criminals, and robbers and below Weybridge. Cassivellaunus, King of on the largest scale) justly pays no heed. This alone Hertfordshire and Middlesex, had just slain in we know, that the early rulers of London before war Immanuent, King of Essex, and had driven out the Christian era passed away like the wild beasts his son Mandubert. The Trinobantes, Manduthey fought and slew, and their very names have bert's subjects, joined the Roman spearmen against perished. One line of an old blind Greek poet the 4,000 scythed chariots of Cassivellaunus and might have immortalised them among the motley the Catyeuchlani. Straight as the flight of an

arrow was Cæsar's march upon the capital of least is certain, that the legionaries carried their Cassivellaunus, a city the barbaric name of which he eagles swiftly over his stockades of earth and fallen either forgot or disregarded, but which he merely trees, drove away the blue-stained warriors, and says was “protected by woods and marshes.” This swept off the half-wild cattle stored up by the place north of the Thames has usually been thought Britons. Shortly after, Cæsar returned to aul, to be Verulamium (St. Alban's); but it was far having heard while in Britain of the death of his more likely London, as the Cassii, whose capital favourite daughter Julia, the wife of Pompey, his was Verulamium, were among the traitorous tribes great rival. His camp at Richborough or Rutupiæ who joined Cæsar against their oppressor Cas- was far distant; the dreaded equinoctial gales were sivellaunus. Moreover, Cæsar's brief description of at hand; and Gaul, he knew, might at any moment the spot perfectly applies to Roman London, for of his absence start into a flame. His inglorious

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

ANCIENT ROMAN PAVEMENT FOUND IN THREADNEEDLE STREET, 1841 (see page 21).

ages protected on the north by a vast forest, full of campaign had lasted just four months and a halfdeer and wild boars, and which, even as late as the his first had been far shorter. As Cæsar himself reign of Henry II., covered a great region, but has wrote to Cicero, our rude island was defended by now shrunk into the not very wild districts of St. stupendous rocks, there was not a scrap of the John's Wood and Caen Wood. On the north the gold that had been reported, and the only prostown found a natural moat in the broad fens of pect of booty was in slaves, from whom there could Moorfields, Finsbury, and Houndsditch, while on be expected neither “skill in letters nor in music." the south ran the Fleet and the Old Bourne. Indeed, In sober truth, all Cæsar had won from the people according to that credulous enthusiast, Stukeley, of Kent and Hertfordshire had been blows and Cæsar, marching from Staines to London, encamped buffets, for there were men in Britain even then. on the site of Old St. Pancras Church, round which The prowess of the British charioteers became a edifice Stukeley found evident traces of a great standing joke in Rome against the soldiers of Prætorian camp. However, whether Cassivellaunus, Cæsar. Horace and Tibullus both speak of the the King of Middlesex and Hertfordshire, had his Briton as unconquered. The bow which the strong capital at London or St. Alban's, this much at Roman hand had for a moment bent quickly

Roman London.)

DERIVATION OF ITS NAME.

19

relapsed to its old shape the moment Cæsar, mount- conjecture is, however, now the most generally reing his tall galley, turned his eyes towards Gaul. ceived, as it at once gives the modern pronunciation,

The Mandubert who sought Cæsar's help is by to which Llyn-don would never have assimilated. some thought to be the son of the semi-fabulous The first British town was indeed a simple Celtic hill King Lud (King Brown), the mythical founder fortress, formed first on Tower Hill, and afterwards of London, and, according to Milton, who, as we continued to Cornhill and Ludgate. It was moated have said, follows the old historians, a descendant on the south by the river, which it controlled ;

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

of Brute of Troy. The successor of the warlike by fens on the north ; and on the east by the Cassivellaunus had his capital at St. Alban's; his marshy low ground of Wapping. It was a high, dry, son Cunobelin (Shakespeare's Cymbeline)—a name and fortified point of communication between the which seems to glow with perpetual sunshine as river and the inland country of Essex and Hertwe write it—had a palace at Colchester; and fordshire, a safe sixty miles from the sea, and the son of Cunobelin was the famed Caradoc, or central as a depôt and meeting-place for the tribes Caractacus, that hero of the Silures, who struggled of Kent and Middlesex. bravely for nine long years against the generals of Hitherto the London about which we have been Rome.

conjecturing has been a mere cloud city. The Celtic etymologists differ, as etymologists usually first mention of real London is by Tacitus, who, do, about the derivation of the name of London. writing in the reign of Nero (A.D. 62, more than Lon, or Long, meant, they say, either a lake, a wood, a century after the landing of Cæsar), in that style a populous place, a plain, or a ship-town. This last of his so full of vigour and so sharp in outline,

« 上一頁繼續 »