London Stone

Explore the legend behind the ‘heart of London’ discovered at 111 Cannon Street

In the press
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Photo © Museum of London, Helen Butler
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The
History

An Ancient Landmark

It’s been claimed to be a Druidic altar, a Roman milestone, and the magical ‘heart of London’. It’s one of London’s most ancient landmarks, but most people have never heard of it – or if they have, they’ve heard one of the strange legends that have sprouted up around it.

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Today, all that is left of once-famous London Stone is a block of limestone, currently housed in a dedicated Portland Stone enclosure within the developed 111 Cannon Street. The rehousing of the stone was launched by the Lord Mayor of London Alderman Charles Bowman and celebrated in a special event held on 4th October 2018.

Its origin is indeed mysterious, and whenever development of the site was proposed, the media worked up the mystery – not forgetting to mention the ‘belief’ that if the stone was moved, the future of London itself would be jeopardized.

However, much of what we think we know about London Stone is untrue, or at best is guesswork unsupported by any evidence.

Explore the myths
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An admission that we don’t know the origin of London Stone (and probably never will) satisfies nobody – hence the apparent desire for a mythology that lends it great antiquity and an even greater symbolic role.

The significance of London Stone, and the importance of taking measures for its preservation, depend not only on its actual age and origins, but on the reputation it has acquired over the years since.

For further details of the history and mythology of London Stone see the following articles, which give full references to all the sources cited here:

In the Press