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More from Joe Saunders

St Pauls Cathedral: Reformation to the Great Fire

In 1500 St Pauls Cathedral was a great bastion of medieval Catholocism but over the next 150 years the Protestant Reformation and successive natural disasters changed it beyond recognition until in 1666 it was destroyed in the Great Fire. This is the story of a Cathedral and of England during some of the most tumultuous years in their history.

Paul’s Cross

The north-east corner of St Paul’s Churchyard was from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries a space where people came to gather and hear sermons preached from an open-air pulpit. During the fierce debates of the Reformation it was on the frontline of a vicious war of words.

Radicals of Coleman Street

Coleman Street during the civil wars of the seventeenth century became home to religious and political firebrands, a hotbed of radical ideas during a period when the world was turned upside down.

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Maiden Lane

Maiden Lane – a “country dance” from John Playford’s English Dancing Master, 1651.

The dance and its melody is thought to be named after Maiden Lane in Covent Garden, and it is just one of a great number of dances called for London places.

Situated between the Covent Garden Market and the Strand, Maiden Lane was originally a path running from Drury Lane to St Martin’s Lane along the southern edge of the ‘Covent Garden’: that is, the Convent Garden, belonging to the Benedictine monks of Westminster Abbey, and providing produce for their table. The street was first called Maiden Lane in 1636.

A statue of the Virgin stood at the Eastern end of the lane, and this may be the origin of the name Maiden Lane. Another explanation is that it is a corruption of the Middle-English word ‘Midden’.

Famous residents over the centuries include Louis Napoleon, Benjamin Disraeli, Voltaire and the artist J.M.W. Turner. Edward VII and Lily Langtry dined in Maiden Lane and William Terriss, a celebrated actor of his day was murdered here by a crazed understudy in 1897.

Eleanor Cramer: bass viol
Christopher Goodwin: cittern
Peter Kenny: drum
Tamsin Lewis: violin