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This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

The London Stone

A number of years ago I heard a reference to the 'London Stone' which was believed to be the central measuring point from where the Romans  measured all road distances. I set out to find the stone which should have been easy as the address  was in many of the guide books. After numerous attempts to find it I put decided to put it down on my Bucket List as something to find once I retired. Well last week I actually found it, just where the guide books said it would be! The reason I had missed it was because so much redevelopment within Cannon Street meant it had been hidden behind scaffolding and hoardings.

 It was as I was waiting to cross Cannon Street that  I noticed the grill in front of the shop.
On the top of the grill it says:
This is a fragment of the original piece of limestone once securely fixed in the ground now fronting Cannon Street Station. Removed in 1742 to the North side of the street in 1748 it was built into the south wall of the church of St Swithin London Stone which stood here until demolished in 1962.
Its origin and purpose are unknown but in 1188 there was a reference to Henry, son of Eylwin de Londenstane subsequently Lord Mayor of London.

It was difficult to see the stone behind the grill so I went into the shop and behind a display of magazines I was able to get a much better view.

There is a lot of speculation about the history of the Stone prior to 1188. It is thought that it probably dates back over 3000 years and would have been much greater in size. One story is that it was brought to London by Brutus, son of Priam, who was supposed to have killed a race of giants led by Gog and Magog( whose images are carried in the Lord Mayor's Parade) Statues of them  can also be seen in the Royal arcade in Melbourne either side of the clock. The stone was then used as an altar in a temple to Artemis. Another story is that it is the stone from which Arthur pulled the sword Excalibur.
However for hundreds of years it was the symbolic heart of the City of London where proclamations, laws, oaths and deals were sworn before it and now I have found it - hidden behind a magazine display in WH Smith!


  1. You dig up the most interesting facts about London. They are all colourful stories and I wonder which is true. It is a Shame that it hasn't been made more prominent. I have never heard of Gog and Magog I should like to check out their story.

  2. That is really interesting. This stone has been around for a very long time!

  3. I imagine not knowing about it and seeing the grill and the plaque as I walked past, and being terribly excited.

  4. Not something you would notice at first sight. Great you finally found it hidden in a bookstore of all places.

  5. You would think that with all its supposed importance that there would be a more fitting display for it. I imagine lots of people pass it by with out a glance or even knowledge of what it was.

  6. No wonder you missed it before .... But that's the beauty of retirement , we have time to fossick around and find these historic treasures.

  7. How interesting. I had not heard of the London stone or its history before.

  8. Oh gosh... had never heard of it... great find (you rediscovered a piece of history).... this is a great post.


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