At the start of Chapter 3 in The Prince and the Pauper, Tom Canty is wandering aimlessly around the streets of London. Along the way, there are a number of different historical sites that are mentioned. Were these places named and described actually around in Tudor times, and are they still around today? In today’s post we explore…
Tudor London vs. Modern-Day London
Tom’s journey to Westminster to meet Edward creates a great focal point for this week’s Historical Tidbit. Keep reading or watch the video below to explore the London of The Prince and the Pauper!
Below you will find the Ch. 3 excerpt containing the London locations we will be exploring in this post:
“By-and-by he [Tom] found himself at Temple Bar…The Strand had ceased to be a country-road then…Tom discovered Charing Village presently, and rested himself at the beautiful cross built there by a bereaved king of earlier days…then idled down a quiet, lovely road, past the great cardinal’s stately palace, toward a far more might and majestic palace beyond—Westminster.” (p. 8)
Temple Bar is actually not the name of a bar/pub in London (though it is the name of one in Dublin, Ireland). Rather, it is one of the original gateways into the city of London. Originally it was probably a chain/bar across two posts. Also it was originally located near a place in London referred to as “The Temple”. It has been both rebuilt and moved since Tudor times.
The Strand is a road cutting through some of the major areas of the Westminster area in London. It has existed since before Tudor times. The name comes from an Old English word that means the edge of the river, as the road mostly follows the shape of the Thames River.
Charing Village (now known as Charing Cross) was a region that you would come across while walking down The Strand. The name “Charing” also comes from Old English for the bend in the Thames River. It starting being referred to as “Charing Cross” due to the large cross situated there.
The Eleanor Crosses (there were originally 12) were put up by King Edward I. They feature an ornately decorated stone monument topped with a cross. They are a tribute to Edward’s first wife Eleanor, who passed away. The crosses each represent the different stopping points along the route they followed to bring her body to London. The cross that was originally in Charing has been replicated and can be found at the Charing Cross railway station.
Westminster is still a very famous landmark in London. At one point, it contained royal apartments where they royal family would live. This appears to be the main residence for Edward Tudor and his family in The Prince and the Pauper. However, in reality, the royal apartments burned down before that time period. Around that time the Whitehall Palace was build nearby instead. However, it is more likely that Edward’s home was Hampton Court, a little outside of London. This was the primary residence of Henry VIII and Edward VI at the time Edward was alive. Nowadays you can still go the government portions of Westminster as well as Westminster Abbey, the church where Edward’s Coronation took place.
So what does this actual route look like when it is mapped out?
And what would this route look like modern-day?
Obviously since some of the locations have technically changed this is not the exact route Edward would have taken, but it’s pretty close. So if he had walked without stopping from Temple Bar to Westminster it would have taken about 30 minutes.
If you think looking at maps comparing old and modern times is interesting, check out Layers of London. You can choose a map from a particular time period and it is aligned with a modern-day map to compare landmarks throughout the different time periods. It was very cool; check it out!
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