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The London Stone

Ancient London Monument


London Stone, Cannon Street, City of London, UK

London Stone, Cannon Street

© Laura Porter, licensed to About.com, Inc.
The London Stone is a fragment of a 3,000 year old piece of limestone that for years was considered to be the symbolic heart of London.

Its age and original purpose are not known, although it has been suggested that it was the point from which the Romans measured all distances in Britannia.

The London Stone History

For hundreds of years, The London Stone was recognized as the symbolic authority and heart of the City of London. It was the place that deals were forged, and oaths were sworn. It was also the point from which official proclamations were made. The 15th-century rebel Jack Cade, popular leader of those who rebelled against Henry VI in 1450, observed the tradition by striking his sword against it as a symbol of sovereignty after his forces entered London to protest about the King's taxes; on striking the stone, he then felt emboldened to declare himself 'lord of the city', according to the historian Raphael Holinshed.

Thanks to Shakespeare, the scene lives on in Henry VI, Part 2:

'Here, sitting upon London-stone, I charge and command that, of the city's cost, the pissing-conduit run nothing but claret wine this first year of our reign. And now henceforward it shall be treason for any that calls me other than Lord Mortimer.'

The Stone was originally situated in the middle of Cannon Street and was much larger than it is now. Later the Stone was set into the wall of St Swithin's Church before it was bombed during the Second World War and burned down in 1940 (the Stone was remarkably left unscathed).

The London Stone Myth

London Stone, Cannon Street, City of London, UK

London Stone, Cannon Street

© Laura Porter (2008) licensed to About.com, Inc.
Like the Ravens of the Tower of London, there is a myth that states the Stone's safety is linked to that of the city itself; "So long as the stone of Brutus is safe, so long shall London flourish". This relates to the myth that the stone was part of an altar built by Brutus the Trojan, the legendary founder of London.

London Stone Label

This is the text above The London Stone:
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 1798 it was built into the south wall of the Church of St. Swithun 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.

Find out more about The London Stone is David Long's Tunnels, Towers & Temples.

How To Find The London Stone

London Stone, Cannon Street, City of London, UK

London Stone, Cannon Street

© Laura Porter (2008) licensed to About.com, Inc.
Address: 111 Cannon Street, London EC4

Opposite Cannon Street Train Station.

Close to the eponymous pub, The London Stone, run by the Eerie Pub Company, at 109 Cannon Street, London EC4N 5AD.

    Nearest Tube Stations:
  • Cannon Street
  • Bank

Use Journey Planner to plan your route by public transport.

The London Stone is behind an iron grill, set into the side of 111 Cannon Street. It is low down and rather innocuous. It's easy to walk past as there's not much to see.

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