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September 2.

St. Stephen, king of Hungary, A. D. 1038. St. Justus, Abp. of Lyons, A. D. 390. St. William, Bp. of Roschild, A. D. 1067. B. Margaret, 13th Cent.

London Burnt, 1666.

The "Great Fire" of London is denoted as above in our almanacs on this day. It broke out at Pudding-lane and ended at Pie-corner. The monument on Fish-street-hill to commemorate the calamity, bears the following inscription on the north side:—

"In the year of Christ, 1666, the 2d day of September, eastward from hence, at the distance of 202 feet, the height of this column, a terrible fire broke out about midnight; which, driven on by a strong wind, not only wasted the adjacent parts, but also very remote places, with incredible noise and fury. It consumed eighty-nine churches, the city gates, Guildhall, many public structures, hospitals, schools, libraries, a vast number of stately edifices, 13,200 dwelling-houses, and 430 streets; of the twenty-six wards it utterly destroyed fifteen, and left eight others shattered and half burnt. The ruins of the city were 436 acres, from the Tower by the Thames side to the Temple church, and from the north-east along the City-wall to Holborn-bridge. To the estates and fortunes of the citizens it was merciless, but to their lives very favourable, that it might in all things resemble the conflagration of the world. The destruction was sudden; for in a small space of time the city was seen most flourishing, and reduced to nothing. Three days after, when this fatal fire had baffled all human counsels and endeavours, in the opinion of all, it stopped, as it were, by a command from heaven, and was on every side extinguished. But papistical malice, which perpetrated such mischiefs, is not yet restrained."

A line, beginning on the west side, contains the following words; on James II. coming to the crown, they were erased, but restored under William III.:—

"This pillar was set up in perpetual remembrance of the most dreadful burning of this protestant city, begun and carried on by the treachery and malice of the popish faction, in the beginning of September, in the year of our Lord, 1666, in order to the carrying on their horrid plot for extirpating the protestant religion, and old English liberty, and introducing popery and slavery."

The south side is thus inscribed:— "Charles the Second, son of Charles the Martyr, king of Great Britain, France and Ireland, defender of the faith, a most gracious prince, commiserating the deplorable state of things, whilst the ruins were yet smoaking, provided for the comfort of his citizens, and the ornament of his city; remitted their taxes, and referred the petitions of the magistrates and inhabitants to the parliament; who immediately passed an act, that public works should be restored to greater beauty, with public money, to be raised by an imposition on coals; that churches, and the cathedral of St. Paul's, should be rebuilt from their foundations, with all magnificence; that the bridges, gates, and prisons should be new made, the sewers cleansed, the streets made straight and regular, such as were steep levelled, and those too narrow made wider, markets and shambles removed to separate places. They also enacted, that every house should be built with party walls, and all in front raised of an equal height, and those walls all of square stone or brick; and that no man should delay building beyond the space of seven years."

An estimate of the value of property consumed by the fire amounted to ten millions six hundred and eighty-nine thousand pounds, wherein was included the value of St. Paul's cathedral, which was set down at nearly one-fifth of the total. The occasion of the conflagration was the subject of parliamentary investigation. It is imputed to the Roman Catholics, but a dispassionate consideration of all the circumstances by impartial men tends to acquit them of the crime, and most persons at this time believe that —

——"London's column pointing to the skies,
Like a tall bully, rears its head and lies."

Thomas Vincent, a non-conformist minister, who was ejected from the living of St. Mary Magdalen, in Milk-street, and during the great plague remained in the city, and preached regularly to the great comfort of the inhabitants under the affliction of the raging pestilence, was an eye-witness of the subsequent conflagration. He wrote "God's terrible Judgments in the City by Plague and Fire," and has left a circumstantial relation in that work of the progress made by the flames, and their effects on the people.

Vincent's Narrative.

It was the 2d of September, 1666, that the anger of the Lord was kindled against London, and the fire began: it began in a baker's house, in Pudding-lane, by Fish-street-hill; and now the Lord is making London like a fiery oven in the time of his anger, and in his wrath doth devour and swallow up our habitations. It was in the depth and dead of the night, when most doors and fences were locked up in the city, that the fire doth break forth and appear abroad; and, like a mighty giant refreshed with wine, doth awake and arm itself, quickly gathers strength, when it had made havoc of some houses; rusheth down the till towards the bridge; crosseth Thames-street, invadeth Magnus church, at the bridge foot; and, though that church were so great, yet it was not a sufficient barricado against this conqueror; but, having scaled and taken this fort, it shooteth flames with so much the greater advantage into all places round about; and a great building of houses upon the bridge is quickly thrown to the ground: then the conqueror, being stayed in his course at the bridge, marcheth back to the city again, and runs along with great noise and violence through Thames-street, westward; where, having such cumbustible matter in its teeth, and such a fierce wind upon its back, it prevails with little resistance, unto the astonishment of the beholders.

Fire! fire! fire! doth resound the streets; many citizens start out of their sleep, look out of their windows; some dress themselves and run to the place. The lord mayor of the city comes with his officers; a confusion there is; counsel is taken away; and London, so famous for wisdom and dexterity, can now find neither brains nor hands to prevent its ruin. The hand of God was in it; the decree was come forth; London must now fall, and who could prevent it? No wonder, when so many pillars are removed, if the building tumbles; the prayers, tears, and faith, which sometimes London hath had, might have quenched the violence of the fire; might have opened heaven for rain, and driven back the wind: but now the fire gets mastery, and burns dreadfully.

That night most of the Londoners had taken their last sleep in their houses; they little thought it would be so when they went into their beds; they did not in the least suspect, when the doors of their ears were unlocked, and the casements of the eyes were opened in the morning, to hear of such an enemy invading the city, and that they should see him, with such fury, enter the doors of their houses, break into every room and look out of their casements with such a threatening countenance.

That which made the ruin the more dismal, was, that it was begun on the Lord's-day morning: never was there the like sabbath in London; some churches were in flames that day; and God seems to come down, and to preach himself in them, as he did in Mount Sinai, when the mount burned with fire; such warm preaching those churches never had; such lightning dreadful sermons never were before delivered in London. In other churches ministers were preaching their farewell sermons, and people were hearing with quaking and astonishment: instead of a holy rest which christians have taken on this day, there is a tumultuous hurrying about the streets towards the place that burned, and more tumultuous hurrying upon the spirits of those that sat still, and had only the notice of the ear of the quick and strange spreading of the fire.

Now the train-bands are up in arms watching at every quarter for outlandish-men, because of the general fear and jealousies, and rumours, that fire-balls were thrown into houses by several of them to help on and provoke the too furious flames. Now goods are hastily removed from the lower parts of the city; and the body of the people begin to retire, and draw upwards, as the people did from the tabernacles of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, when the earth did cleave asunder and swallow them up: or rather as Lot drew out from his house in Sodom before it was consumed by fire from heaven. Yet some hopes were retained on the Lord's-day that the fire would be extinguished, especially by them who lived in the remote parts; they could scarcely imagine that the fire a mile off should be able to reach their houses.

But the evening draws on, and now the fire is more visible and dreadful: instead of the black curtains of the night, which used to be spread over the city, now the curtains are yellow; the smoke that arose from the burning parts seemed like so much flame in the night, which being blown upon the other parts by the wind, the whole city, at some distance seemed to be on fire. Now hopes begin to sink, and a general consternation seizeth upon the spirits of people; little sleep is taken in London this night; the amazement which the eye and ear doth effect upon the spirit, doth either dry up or drive away the vapour which used to bind up the senses. Some are at work to quench the fire with water; others endeavour to stop its course, by pulling down of houses; but all to no purpose; if it be a little allayed, or beaten down, or put to a stand in some places, it is but a very little while; it quickly recruits, and recovers its force; it leaps and mounts, and makes the more furious onset, drives back its opposers, snatcheth their weapons out of their hands, seizeth upon the water-houses and engines, burns them, spoils them, and makes them unfit for service.

On the Lord's-day night the fire had run as far as Garlick-hithe, in Thames-street, and had crept up into Cannon-street, and levelled it with the ground; and still is making forward by the waterside, and upward to the brow of the hill, on which the city was built.

On Monday, (the 3d) Gracechurch-street is all in flames, with Lombard-street, on the left hand, and part of Fenchurch street, on the right, the fire working (though not so fast) against the wind that way: before it were pleasant and stately houses, behind it ruinous and desolate heaps. The burning then was in fashion of a bow, a dreadful bow it was, such as mine eyes never before had seen; a bow which had God's arrow in it, with a flaming point: it was a shining bow; not like that in the cloud, which brings water with it; and withal signified God's covenant not to destroy the world any more with water: but it was a bow which had fire in it, which signified God's anger, and his intention to destroy London with fire.

Now the flames break in upon Cornhill, that large and spacious street, and quickly cross the way by the train of wood that lay in the streets untaken away, which had been pulled down from houses to prevent its spreading: and so they lick the whole street as they go: they mount up to the top of the highest houses; they descend down to the bottom of the lowest vaults and cellars; and march along on both sides of the way, with such a roaring noise, as never was heard in the city of London; no stately building so great as to resist their fury: the Royal Exchange itself, the glory of the merchants, is now invaded with much violence; and when once the fire was entered, how quickly did it run round the galleries, filling them with flames; then came down stairs, compasseth the walks, giving forth flaming volleys, and filleth the court with sheets of fire: by-and-by down fall all the kings upon their faces, and the greatest part of the stone-building after them, (the founder's statue only remaining,) with such a noise as was dreadful and astonishing.

Then, then the city did shake indeed; and the inhabitants did tremble, and flew away in great amazement from their houses, lest the flames should devour them; rattle, rattle, rattle, was the noise which the fire struck upon the ear round about, as if there had been a thousand iron chariots beating upon the stones: and if you opened your eye to the opening of the streets, where the fire was come, you might see, in some places, whole streets at once in flames, that issued forth as if they had been so many great forges, from the opposite windows, which folding together, were united into one great flame throughout the whole street; and then you might see the houses tumble, tumble, tumble, from one end of the street to the other, with a great crash, leaving the foundations open to the view of the heavens.

Now fearfulness and terror doth surprise the citizens of London; confusion and astonishment doth fall upon them at this unheard-of, unthought-of, judgment. It would have grieved the heart of an unconcerned person to see the rueful looks, the pale cheeks, the tears trickling down from the eyes, (where the greatness of sorrow and amazement could give leave for such a vent,) the smiting of the breast, the wringing of the hands; to hear the sighs and groans, the doleful and weeping speeches of the distressed citizens, when they were bringing forth their wives, (some from their child-bed,) and their little ones (some from their sick-bed,) out of their houses, and sending them into the country, or somewhere into the fields with their goods. Now the hopes of London are gone, their heart is sunk; now there is a general remove in the city, and that in a greater hurry than before the plague, their goods being in greater danger by the fire than their persons were by the sickness. Scarcely are some returned, but they must remove again, and, not as before, now without any more hopes of ever returning and living in those houses any more.

Now carts, and drays, and coaches, and horses, as many as could have entrance into the city, were loaden, and any money is given for help; 5l. 10l. 20l. 30l. for a cart, to bear forth into the fields some choice things, which were ready to be consumed; and some of the carmen had the conscience to accept of the highest price, which the citizens did then offer in their extremity; I am mistaken if such money do not burn worse than the fire out of which it was raked. Now casks of wine, and oil, and other commodities, are tumbled along, and the owners shove as much of their goods as they can towards the gate: every one now becomes a porter to himself, and scarcely a back either of man or woman, that hath strength, but had a burden on it in the streets: it was very sad to see such throngs of poor citizens coming in a going forth from the unburnt parts, heavy laden with some pieces of their goods, but more heavy laden with weighty grief and sorry of heart, so that it is wonderful they did not quite sink under these burdens.

Monday night was a dreadful night: when the wings of the night had shadowed the light of the heavenly bodies, there was no darkness of night in London, for the fire shines now round about with a fearful blaze, which yieldeth such light in the streets, as it had been the sun at noonday. Now the fire having wrought backward strangely against the wind, to Billingsgate, &c., along Thames-street, eastward, runs up the hill to Tower-street, and having marched on from Gracechurch-street, making further progress in Fenchurch-street, and having spread its wing beyond Queenhithe, in Thames-street, westward, mounts up from the water-side, through Dowgate, and Old Fish-street, into Watling-street: but the great fury of the fire was in the broader streets; in the midst of the night it was come down Cornhill, and laid it in the dust, and runs along by the Stocks, and there meets with another fire, which came down Threadneedle-street; a little further with another, which came up from Wallbrook; a little further with another, which comes up from Bucklersbury; and, all these four, joining together, break into one great flame at the corner of Cheapside, with such a dazzling light, and burning heat, and roaring noise, by the fall of so many houses together, that was very amazing; and though it were something stopt in its swift course at Mercers'-chapel, yet with great force in a while it conquers the place, and burns through it; and then, with great rage, proceedeth forward in Cheapside.

On Tuesday (the 4th) was the fire burning up the very bowels of London; Cheapside is all in a light, (fire in a few hours time,) many fires meeting there, as in the centre; from Soper-lane, Bow-lane, Bread-street, Friday-street, and Old Change, the fire comes up almost together, and breaks furiously into the Broad-street, and most of that side of the way was together in flames, a dreadful spectacle; and then, partly by the fire which came down by Mercers'-chapel, partly by the fall of the houses cross the way, the other side is quickly kindled, and doth not stand long after it. Now the fire gets into Blackfriars, and so continues its course by the water, and makes up towards Paul's church, on that side, and Cheapside fire besets the great building on this side, and the church, though all of stone outward, though naked of houses about it, and though so high above all buildings in the city, yet, within a while, doth yield to the violent assaults of the conquering flames, and strangely takes fire at the top: now the lead melts and runs down, as if it had been snow before the sun; and the great beams and massy stones with a great noise fall on the pavement, and break through into Faith church underneath; now great faces of stone scale and peel off strangely from the side of the walls; the conqueror having got this high fort, darts its flames round about. Now Paternoster-row, Newgate-market, the Old Bailey, and Ludgate-hill, have submitted themselves to the devouring fire, which with wonderful speed rusheth down the hill into Fleet-street. New Cheapside fire marcheth along Ironmonger-lane, Old Jewry, Lawrence-lane, Milk-street, Wood-street, Gutter-lane, Foster-lane. Now it runs along Lothbury, Cateaton-street, &c. From Newgate-market, it assaults Christchurch, and conquers that great building, and burns through Martin's-lane toward Aldersgate, and all about so furiously, as if it would not leave a house standing upon the ground.

Now horrible flakes of fire mount up the sky, and the yellow smoke of London ascendeth up towards heaven, like the smoke of a great furnace; a smoke so great, as darkened the sun at noonday: (if at any time the sun peeped forth, it looked red like blood:) the cloud of smoke was so great, that travellers did ride at noonday, some miles together, in the shadow thereof, though there were no other cloud beside to be seen in the sky.

And if Monday night was dreadful, Tuesday night was more dreadful, when far the greatest part of the city was consumed: many thousands who on Saturday had houses convenient in the city, both for themselves, and to entertain others, now have not where to lay their head; and the fields are the only receptacle which they can find for themselves and their goods; most of the late inhabitants of London lie all night in the open air, with no other canopy over them but that of the heavens: the fire is still making towards them, and threateneth the suburbs; it was amazing to see how it had spread itself several times in compass; and, amongst other things that night, the sight of Guildhall was a fearful spectacle, which stood the whole body of it together in view, for several hours together, after the fire had taken it, without flames, (I suppose because the timber was such solid oak,) in a bright shining coal as if it had been a palace of gold, or a great building of burnished brass.

On Wednesday morning, (the 5th) when people expected that the suburbs would be burnt, as well as the city, and with speed were preparing their flight, as well as they could, with their luggage into the countries, and neighbouring villages, then the Lord hath pity on poor London; his bowels began to relent; his heart is turned within him, and he stays his rough wind in the day of the east wind; his fury begins to be allayed; he hath a remnant of people in London, and there shall a remnant of houses escape: the wind now is husht; the commission of the fire is withdrawing, and it burns so gently, even where it meets with no opposition, that it was not hard to be quenched, in many places, with a few hands: now the citizens begin to gather a little heart, and encouragement in their endeavours to quench the fire. A check it had at Leadenhall by that great building; a stop it had in Bishopsgate-street, Fenchurch-street, Lime-street, Mark-lane, and towards the Tower; one means under God, was the blowing up of houses with gunpowder. Now it is stayed on Lothbury, Broad-street, Coleman-street; towards the gates it burnt, but not with any great violence; at the Temple also it is stayed, and in Holborn, where it had got no great footing; and when once the fire was got under, it was kept under, and on Thursday the flames were extinguished.

But on Wednesday night, when the people, late of London, now of the fields hoped to get a little rest on the ground, where they had spread their beds, a more dreadful fear falls upon them than they had before, through a rumour that the French were coming armed against them to cut their throats, and spoil them of what they had saved out of the fire: they were now naked and weak, and in ill condition to defend themselves, and the hearts, especially of the females, do quake and tremble, and are ready to die within them; het many citizens, having lost their houses, and almost all that they had, are fired with rage and fury: and they begin to stir themselves like lions, or like bears bereaved of their whelps, and now "Arm! Arm!" doth resound the fields and suburbs with a dreadful voice. We may guess at the distress and perplexity of the people this night, which was something alleviated when the falseness of the alarm was perceived.

The ruins of the city were 396 acres; [viz. 333 acres within the walls, and 63 in the liberties of the city,] of the six and twenty wards, it utterly destroyed fifteen, and left eight others shattered, and half burnt; and it consumed 400 streets, 13,200 dwelling-houses, eighty nine churches, [besides chapels,] four o[f] the city gates, Guildhall, many public structures, hospitals, schools, libraries, and a vast number of stately edifices.

The preceding relation by Thomas Vincent, with the philosophic Evelyn's, will acquaint the reader with as much as can here be told of the most direful visitations the metropolis ever suffered. Evelyn's account is in his "Diary," or "Memoirs" of himself, a manuscript which is known to have been preserved from probably destruction by Mr. Upcott.

John Evelyn's Narrative.

Sept. 2, 1666. This fatal night, about ten, began that deplorable fire near Fish-streete in London.

Sept. 3. The fire continuing, after dinner I took coach with my wife and sonn, and went to the Bankside in Southwark, where we beheld that dismal spectacle, the whole citty in dreadful flames neare the water side; all the houses from the bridge, all Thames-street, and upwards towards Cheapeside downe to the Three Cranes, were now consum'd.

The fire having continu'd all this night (if I may call that night which was as light as day for ten miles round about, after a dreadful manner,) when conspiring with a fierce eastern wind in a very drie season: I went on foote to the same place, and saw the whole south part of the citty burning from Cheapeside to the Thames, and all along Cornehill, (for it kindl'd back against the wind as well as forward,) Tower-streete, Fenchurch-streete, Gracious-streete, and so along to Bainard's-castle, and was now taking hold of St. Paule's church, to which the scaffolds contributed exceedingly. The conflagration was so universal, and the people so astonish'd, that from the beginning, I know not by what despondency or fate, they hardly stirr'd to quench it, so that there was nothing heard or seene but crying out and lamentation, running about like distracted creatures, without at all attempting to save even their goods, such a strange consternation there was upon them, so as it burned both in breadth and length, the churches, publiq halls, exchange, hospitals, monuments, and ornaments, leaping after a prodigious manner from house to house and street to street, at greate distances one from the other; for the heate with a long set of faire and warme weather, had even ignited the air, and prepar'd the materials to conceive the fire which devour'd after an incredible manner, houses, furniture, and every thing. Here we saw the Thames cover'd with goods floating, all the barges and boates laden with what some had time and courage to save, as, on the other, the carts, &c. carrying out to the fields, which for many miles were strew'd with moveables of all sorts, and tents erecting to shelter both people and what goods they could get away. Oh, the miserable and calamitous spectacle! such as haply the world had not seene the like since the foundation of it, nor to be outdone till the universal conflagration. All the skie was of a fiery aspect, like the top of a burning oven, the light seene above forty miles round about for many nights. God grant my eyes may never behold the like, now seeing above 10,000 houses all in one flame; the noise and cracking and thunder of the impetuous flames, the shrieking of women and children, the hurry of people, the fall of towers, houses, and churches, was like an hideous storme, and the aire all about so hot and inflam'd that at last one was not able to approach it, so that they were forc'd to stand still and let the flames burn on, which they did for neere two miles in length and one in breadth. The clouds of smoke were dismall, and reach'd upon computation neer fifty miles in length. Thus I left it this afternoone burning, a resemblance of Sodom, or the last day. London was, but is no more!

Sept. 4. The burning still rages, and it was now gotten as far as the Inner Temple, all Fleete-streete, the Old Bailey, Ludgate-hill, Warwick-lane, Newgate, Paul's Chain, Watling-streete, now flaming, and most of it reduc'd to ashes; the stones of Paules flew like granados, the melting lead running downe the streetes in a streame, and the very pavements glowing with fiery rednesse, so as no horse nor man was able to tread on them, and the demolition had stopp'd all the passages, so that no help could be applied. The eastern wind still more impetuously drove the flames forward. Nothing but the Almighty power of God was able to stop them, for vaine was the help of man.

Sept. 5. It crossed towards Whitehall; Oh, the confusion there was then at that court! it pleased his majesty to command me among the rest to looke after the quenching of Fetter-lane end, to preserve if possible that part of Holborn, while the rest of the gentlemen tooke their several posts (for now they began to bestir themselves, and not till now, who hitherto had stood as men intoxicated, with their hands acrosse), and began to consider that nothing was likely to put a stop but the blowing up of so many houses as might make a wider gap than any had yet ben made by the ordinary method of pulling them down with engines; this some stout seamen propos'd early enough to have sav'd neare the whole citty, but this some tenacious and avaritious men, aldermen, &c. would not permit, because their houses must have ben of the first. It was therefore now commanded to be practic'd, and my concern being particularly for the hospital of St. Bartholomew neer Smithfield, where I had many wounded and sick men, made me the more diligent to promote it, nor was my care for the Savoy lesse. It now pleas'd God by abating the wind, and by the industry of the people, infusing a new spirit into them, that the fury of it began sensibly to abate about noone, so as it came no farther than the Temple westward, nor than the entrance of Smithfield north; but continu'd all this day and night so impetuous towards Cripplegate and the Tower, as made us all despaire: it also broke out againe in the temple, but the courage of the multitiude persisting, and many houses being blown up, such gaps and desolations were soone made, as with the former three days' consumption, the back fire did not so vehemently urge upon the rest as formerly. There was yet no standing neere the burning and glowing ruines by neere a furlong's space.

The poore inhabitants were dispers'd about St. George's Fields, and Moore-fields, as far as Highgate, and severall miles in circle, some under tents, some under miserable huts and hovells, many without a rag or any necessary utensills, bed or board, who from delicatenesse, riches, and easy accommodations in stately and well furnish'd houses, were now reduc'd to extreamest misery and poverty.

In this calamitous condition I return'd with a sad heart to my house, blessing and adoring the mercy of God to me and mine, who in the midst of all this ruine was like Lot, in my little Zoar, safe and sound.

Sept. 7. I went this morning on foote from Whitehall as far as London Bridge, thro' the late Fleete-streete, Ludgate-hill, by St. Paules, Cheapeside, Exchange, Bishopsgate, Aldersgate, and out to Moorefields, thence thro' Cornehille, &c. with extraordinary difficulty, clambering over heaps of yet smoking rubbish, and frequently mistaking where I was. The ground under my feete was so hot, that it even burnt the soles of my shoes. In the mean time his majesty got to the Tower by water to demolish the houses about the graff, which being built intirely about it, had they taken fire and attack'd the White Tower where the magazine of powder lay, would undoubtedly not only have beaten downe and destroy'd all the bridge, but sunke and torne the vessells in the river, and render'd the demolition beyond all expression for several miles about the countrey.

At my return I was infinitely concern'd to find that goodly church St. Paules now a sad ruine, and that beautifull portico (for structure comparable to any in Europe, as not long before repair'd by the king,) now rent in pieces, flakes of vast stone split asunder, and nothing remaining intire but the inscription in the architrave, shewing by whom it was built, which had not one letter of it defac'd. It was astonishing to see what immense stones the heat had in a manner calcin'd, so that all the ornaments, columns, freezes, and projectures of massie Portland stone flew off, even to the very roofe, where a sheet of lead covering a great space was totally mealted; the ruines of the vaulted roofe falling broke into St. Faith's, which being fill'd with the magazines of bookes belonging to the stationers, and carried thither for safety, they were all consum'd, burning for a weeke following. It is also observable that the lead over the altar at the east end was untouch'd, and among the divers monuments, the body of one bishop remained intire. Thus lay in ahses that most venerable church, one of the most antient pieces of early piety in the christian world, besides neere one hundred more. The lead, yron worke, bells, plate, &c. mealted; the exquisitely wrought Mercers'-chapell, the sumptuous Exchange, the august fabriq of Christ church, all the rest of the companies halls, sumptuous buildings, arches, all in dust; the fountaines dried up and ruin'd whilst the very waters remain'd boiling; the vorrago's of subterranean cellars, wells, and dungeons, formerly warehouses, still burning in stench aud [sic] dark clouds of smoke, so that in five or six miles traversing about I did not see one load of timber unconsum'd, nor many stones but what were calcin'd white as snow. The people who now walk'd about the ruines appear'd like men in a dismal desart, or rather in some great citty laid waste by a cruel enemy; to which was added the stench that came from some poore creatures bodies, beds, &c. Sir Tho. Gresham's statue, tho' fallen from its nich in the Royal Exchange, remain'd intire, when all those of the kings since the conquest were broken to pieces, also the standard in Cornehill, and Q. Elizabeth's effigies, with some armes on Ludgate, continued with but little detriment, whilst the vast yron chaines of the cittie streetes, hinges, bars and gates of prisons, were many of them mealted and reduced to cinders by the vehement heate. I was not able to passe through any of the narrow streetes, but kept the wides, the ground and aire, smoake and fiery vapour, continu'd so intense that my haire was almost sing'd, and my feet unsufferably surheated. The bie [sic] lanes and narrower streetes were quite fill'd up with rubbish, nor could one have knowne where he was, but by the ruines of some church or hall, that had some remarkable tower or pinnacle remaining. I then went towards Islington and Highgate, where one might have seene 200,000 people of all ranks and degrees dispers'd and lying along by their heapes of what they could save from the fire, deploring their losse, and tho' ready to perish for hunger and destitution, yet not asking one penny for relief, which to me appear'd a stranger sight than any I had yet beheld. His majesty and council indeede tooke all imaginable care for their reliefe by proclamation for the country to come in and refresh them with provisions. In the midst of all this calamity and confusion, there was, I know not how, an alarme begun, that the French and Dutch, with whom we were now in hostility, were not onely landed, but even entering the citty. There was in truth some days before greate suspicion of those two nations joyning; and now, that they had been the occasion of firing the towne. This report did so terrifie, that on a suddaine there was such an uproare and tumult that they ran from their goods, and, taking what weapons they could come at, they could not be stopp'd from falling on some of those nations whom they casually met, without sense or reason. The clamour and peril grew so excessive, that it made the whole court amaz'd, and they did with infinite paines and greate difficulty reduce and appease the people, sending troopes of soldiers and guards to cause them to retire into the fields againe, where they were watch'd all this night. I left them pretty quiet, and came home sufficiently weary and broken. Their spirits thus a little calmed, and the affright abated, they now began to repaire into the suburbs about the citty, where such as had friends or opportunity got shelter.

The essential particulars of Evelyn's narrative being ended, it may be observed that a disontinued periodical miscellany notices at the end of "Littleton's Dictionary," an inscription for the monument (on Fish-street-hill), wherein this very learned scholar proposes a name for it, in a word which extends through seven degrees of longitude. It is designed to commemorate the names of the seven lord mayors of London, under whose respective mayoralties the monument was begun, continued, and completed:—

Quam non una aliqua ac simplici voce, uti istam quondam Duilianam;
Sed, ut vero cam Nomine indigites, Vocabulo constructiliter Heptastego.
Appellites oportebit.

Well might Adam Littleton call this an heptastic vocable, rather than a word.* [1]


Golden Rod. Solidago virgaurea
Dedicated to St. Margaret.

Notes [all notes are Hone's unless otherwise indicated]:

1. Athæneum. [return]