Monday, September 5, 2011

Fire Ended


‘I lay down in the office again upon W. Hewer’s, quilt, being mighty weary, and sore in my feet with going till I was hardly able to stand. About two in the morning my wife calls me up and tells me of new cryes of fire, it being come to Barkeing Church, which is the bottom of our lane. I up, and finding it so, resolved presently to take her away, and did, and took my gold, which was about 2350l., W. Hewer, and Jane, down by Proundy’s boat to Woolwich; but, Lord! what sad sight it was by moone- light to see, the whole City almost on fire, that you might see it plain at Woolwich, as if you were by it. There, when I come, I find the gates shut, but no guard kept at all, which troubled me, because of discourse now begun, that there is plot in it, and that the French had done it. I got the gates open, and to Mr. Shelden’s, where I locked up my gold, and charged, my wife and W. Hewer never to leave the room without one of them in it, night, or day.’… I up to the top of Barking steeple, and there saw the saddest sight of desolation that I ever saw; every where great fires, oyle-cellars, and brimstone, and other things burning. I became afeard to stay there long, and therefore down again as fast as I could, the fire being spread as far as I could see it; and to Sir W. Pen’s, and there eat a piece of cold meat, having eaten nothing since Sunday, but the remains of Sunday’s dinner. Here I met with Mr. Young and Whistler; and having removed all my things, and received good hopes that the fire at our end; is stopped, they and I walked into the town, and find Fanchurch-streete, Gracious-streete; and Lumbard-streete all in dust.’…’

The Great Fire of London began on September 2nd, 1666, burning out on finally on September 5th, 1666, as Samuel Pepys records in his dairy.  Sir Walter Scott mentions the fire in his “Fortunes of Nigel”, including the location of George Heriot’s resting place in St. Paul’s Cathedral, at ’Saint Gregory's, before the Great Fire of London which consumed the cathedral, formed one of the towers of Old Saint Paul's, and occupied the space of ground now filled by Queen Anne's statue…’

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