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London Stone

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by Mike Whyte (subscribe)
Published February 13th 2014
A stone as old as London itself

It's amazing what you can find when on a leisurely walk home through London...

Point in case, I was stopped in my tracks by something I thought had only existed in myth or fable recently - the mysterious London Stone. So what is the story behind the stone, you may be wondering - well let me tell you...

This rather insignificant looking boulder is actually part of what was a much bigger piece of stone, which had stood on the South side of Cannon Street for many centuries. It's current location, set into the wall of number 111 Cannon Street, is highly protected, being set in glass box and surrounded by stone and iron. It has been given Grade II protected status since 1972 - so now you can see the significance.

On closer inspection of the plaque, which is set into the top of the casing, the age of the stone becomes even more interesting...

Its origin and purpose are unknown but in 1188 there was a reference to Henry, son of Eylwin de Lundenstane, subsequently Lord Mayor of London'...

Still not sure why this all matters? Well various legends suggest that the stone was everything from being of possibly Druid origin, and being similar to one of the stones placed in Stonehenge, while others believe it had the power to give authority to people (even Shakespeare wrote about somebody giving orders while sat on top of the stone).

The most interesting though is an ancient proverb, which people believe links the stone to the original founder of London, Brutus of Troy. The proverb states "So long as the Stone of Brutus is safe, so long shall London flourish" - suggesting that the stone is directly linked to the prosperity of London.

So, next time you're on Cannon Street, take a look at the London Stone, its significance is far more important than it seems...

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Why? Probably the most important hunk of rock in London
When: Anytime (viewable from the outside)
Phone: n/a
Where: 111 Cannon Street, London EC4N 5AR
Cost: n/a
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