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ships were of very large size, often with forty, and sometimes eres sixty, banks of rowers. But from early notices of that hap river-so different in its fate to all the other Thames' tributari treated as a mere sewer in later times, and now absolutely burri out of sight, from its mouth even to its source-it appears to har been a stream, not merely possessing a very rapid current (when its name), but to have been probably as wide near its junction wa the Thames as the River Lea.
But the bridge, now for the first time noticed in the venerale Saxon Chronicle : by whom could it have been built ? Such a work could scarcely have been undertaken by the Saxons. Was its remain of Roman London-built, not across a strongly flowi: stream, and with lofty arches, but a mere, long, raised causeway, connect the city with Southwark, and with no regard to the water way! We think this was the case, not only from the fact of STDi digging the trench because his vessels could not pass the bridge, but from the more important fact that when, on the death of Sveri Ethelred with King Olaf laid siege to London, Olaf actually pale the bridge down to force a way. Here is the story from King Of Haraldson's Saga, as Snorro Sturleson has preserved it in his spunti “Heimskringla." Ethelred and Olaf steered to London, and site into the Thames with their fleet. “Then King Ethelred ordered a great assault, but the Danes fought bravely, so he could make nothing of it. Between the castle and Southwark there was a bridge, broad enough for two waggons to pass; and on the bridge were towers and wooden parapets breast high, and underneath piles driven in a the bottom of the river. Now the troops stood there, and defende themselves; and then King Olaf said he would lay his fleet salons side of it, to break it down. King Olaf ordered great platforms floating wood to be tied together with hazel-bands, and with the as a roof, he covered over his ships.... Now, when all went ready, they rowed up the river ; but when they came near the brols there were cast down upon them so many stones, and arrows so spears, that neither helmet nor shield could hold out against it, and many ships retreated. But King Olaf, and the Northmen's terit with him, rowed quite up under the bridge, laid their cables and the piles that supported it, and then rowed off with all the sh:1 as hard as they could down the stream. The piles were thas shahr in the bottom, and were loosened under the bridge. Now, as the armed troops stood thick upon the bridge, and there were like a many heaps of stones on it, and the piles under being loved and broken, the bridge gave way; and a great part of the men spa it fell into the river, and all the others tled, some into Southwark and some into the castle. Now, when the men in the castle #st that the Thames was mastered, and that they could not hinder the passage of ships, they became afraid, and surrendered the Tower, and took Ethelred for their king; and, therefore, sang Ortar Swarte :
« • London Bridge is broken down---
A spirited verse ;-would that the whole song had been preserved to us! The reader will, however, perceive from this account, that the Thames could not have flowed with the rapid current of later times.
Ethelred did not long enjoy his triumph-he soon after died in London ; while King Olaf, after “ taking scott (tribute) of the English, and plundering where it was refused," passed over to France, from whence, having fought his twentieth battle, he returned to Norway. Olaf subsequently became a Christian, and was so liberal to the clergy that-although he seems to have ever been a most fierce and rapacious Viking—he received the doubtful honour of canonization. Olaf certainly was a “muscular Christian " of the first order; and perhaps this was the reason why, although he had so sorely plundered England, and done such grievous damage both to London and her bridge, no less than three parish churches in the city were, and are still, dedicated to his honour for our bel. ligerent forefathers heartily loved a good fighter.
Edmund Ironside, who succeeded his father, also dwelt in London, in King Athelstan's castle, which, as we have seen, was viewed as London's stronghold. But Svend had bequeathed his claim of sovereignty to his son Knut, that “noble barbarian," as he has truly been called, and he, after a fierce fight, took the castle ; and then his “ grand fleet” passed on, as his father's had done, up the Fleet River, and anchored at Battle Bridge. A goodly sight must that fleet have been-picturesque indeed, moored in those bright waters, just at the foot of the uplands—where now the north-western suburbs of London extend-but then rising in slopes, thickly clustered over with the oaks and the beeches of the old forest of Middlesex. And there, against that fair background of foliage fading into the blue distance, lay “the dragon-ships," with carved and gilded prows, glittering in the sunshine, and with sails “striped red, blue, and green,” for gorgeous were the vessels of those searovers, and proud were they of the barques that bore them to wealth and renown--proud as the knight of his war-steed—proud almost as themselves were of the snow-white maidens for whose smiles they encountered the perils of the deep.
No reason had London to regret the accession of Knut; her commerce increased under his sway, and perhaps more rapidly while the river continued unspanned by any bridge. Probably during the interval previous to the Norman Conquest we must place that pretty legend of the Maiden of the Ferry, whose father, unable longer to ply his calling, committed the charge of the ferry-bos: her; and how she plied the oar, and ferried the passengers over : safety, while many marvelled that so fair and so delicate a mad: should so toilsomely earn her daily bread; and how, putting trust in Heaven, she toiled right willingly for her aged parer: while “ Our Ladye” smiled upon her pious endeavours; until s length, every duty fulfilled, and age drawing nigh, she relinquik: the ferry, and built a convent on the farther side of the river, dr. cating it to “Our Lady of the Ferry," and peacefully closed her dare as its prioress. Often, in childhood, was this legend told us, a:with no common interest did we gaze upon the fair towers of the church that now occupies the site of the lowly convent; and ever the pleasant chime of the bells of St. Mary Overies flung their " melody across the river, did the vision of the fair and pious msee guiding her little boat across the wide waters rise vividly before I
Ere long, the bridge, though but a rude structure, was built aa: There are no records to tell by whom, and it was destroyed by: ere the close of the century. Still, London's commerce ineren and in the reign of the Confessor we meet with a list of duties g at the port of London, which would rather surprise the reader All kinds of spices are named, silken goods, as though of comra tively common use, and the precious gold-wronght stuffs from East. It is difficult to account for the attachment expresset London toward the Confessor, Norman as he was by long residet with his mother's relations, and still more Norman in tastes x habits. We have the testimony of Ingulf that his court was a Norman, even to the language spoken there, as the Conflent & And then he was not content to dwell in the palace of Atbruar but far up the river, all among the swamps, and momssk, scarcely-drained islands, sought to build his new palace of her stone. His life-long devotion to the chief Apostle, however, aad? long-expressed determination to build him a fitting minster is the site of the little church of Thorney Island, were probably esco enough to the devout Saxons. Of this palace we have scami s contemporary notices; it seems doubtful whether it was finished his death ; but we know that succeeding monarchs largely mind to it, and also repaired it. This circumstance, together with thuis the neighbouring Abbey and Church being twenty years buki.sk seems to prove that the ground was, even then, scarcely Lane enough to bear so ponderous a structure. It is corroboratme, tel of this view to remember that this church, built by the chief Norman architects, actually was in ruins ere two hundred years halus Now, the Norman work of our cathedrals, executed only a few frisms later, is firm even to the present time. On Holy Innocents llar. 1065, St. Peter's Minster was consecrated with royal pomp. 1 eight days after King Edward was no more, and the body. Cr and arrayed in regal garments, lay with folded hands before the altar where so lately he had knelt.
A legacy of strife and bloodshed did the superstitions Confessor
bequeath. London, and the whole of Mercia, rallied heartily around Harold,--a claimant of the crown, though with no hereditary right; but then hereditary right among our Saxon forefathers was always subordinated to fitness, and Harold had been chosen war-king in fall folkmote; and, therefore, willingly the men of Mercia went forth with him to battle. But Harold was slain, and there was treason toward the people; and so, partly by his sword, but more by crafty policy, William the Norman seized the crown. It is a singular proof of the rising importance of our city that William hastened hither immediately after the battle, although Winchester, the royal city, was nearer; and Wace, a trouvère Norman born, tells us that he, the stern conqueror, actually asked the fathers of the city “by what laws they would be governed ?" Doubtless, we may well disbelieve this, but that he sought at London some recognition of his claim, we may believe; and perhaps as a bribe, or a reward, William then gave that precious slip of parchment—so small, but so precious, and well worthy, for its suggestiveness alone, of a visit to the Library at Guildhall—which ensured them their Saxon birthright.
And, from henceforward, how did the commercial prosperity of the good city increase! Ere the close of the century, we find foreign merchants not only visiting but dwelling in London, and quays, even then populous with mariners, “by the River's-side ;” and ere long the fair towers of St. Mary Overies surmounted the more humble church; and beyond that stern Tower-built, doubtless, to overawe, though it could not crush, Saxon freedom-rose the hallowed towers of St. Katherine's ;-those towers always hailed with thanksgiving by the returning mariner, who, with glad thoughts of home, reverently lowered his topsail as he passed : and then, ere the twelfth century closed, that great work was undertaken—the Thames embankments.
Strange is it that of so important and so extensive a work so little should be known. From the appearance of the embankments near Thames-street, Sir Christopher Wren assigned them to the Romans, so strong and so excellent was the workmanship; but late researches have proved that they were the work of the Middle Ages, and a recent writer, Mr. Cruden-whose views have not hitherto received the attention they merit-proves, in his “ History of Gravesend and the Port of London," that they were certainly begun, although perhaps not completed, during the reign of our first Plantagenet. It is further proved, too, that this mighty work was undertaken at the cost, and under the supervision, not of the monarch, but of the city authorities--so early was self-government claimed and asserted by our forefathers. It was doubtless from the immense outlay involved in this undertaking that, although “ the silver Thames " bathed the King's own palace (the Palace of Westminster) on the one side, as it flowed past the city, and the King's own stronghold on the other (the Tower), still, the subject river owned no royal jurisdiction, but was, even in the thirteenth century, almost as much the property of the city as a railway is of its company. Very amusing were the contests waged between the city authorities and the Earl-Marshal of the Palace of Westminster, or the Constable of the Tower, che on account of the swans, which now were kept in large numben but sometimes the fat salmon. Many a milk-white swan, sailing . near the wall that bounded the palace on the river's-side, was si“ feloniously,” the fathers of the city would say-by order of Earl-Marshal or his subordinates; and many å net was furtir! thrown, on summer nights, from the water-gate to intercept te huge salmon, as, betrayed by his silvery scales, he glided by. A:: then, if perchance news of these enormities came to the ears of to civic authorities, how proudly they bore themselves, and pea more stringent enactments for preservation of their rights, su threatened the King's officers just as though they had been mer Thames fishermen. We may smile at these contests, bat, after ! we can scarcely over-value the importance of these early strugu of the civic with the royal power, when we view their ultima results.
And now the fair river, deepened and flowing with a stronge current, could no longer be spanned by the fragile bridges of ancieel days; so the crowning work, the stone-bridge with nineteen sehr was begun. Had the improvements of the river been encourage by that chancellor, whose memory was so dear to the cataras as their martyred saint, Becket? We saw, when reviewing us life, in our March number, that he was certainly looked ape as a great benefactor to the city ; might he not, then fore, bare encouraged the work, even though he inight not have sugune it? We cannot but incline to this view, when we n'member than midway on that noble bridge stood the beautiful chapel of Thomas; that thither, at appointed times, the city authorities wat in state to worship; and there Peter of Colechurch, who bess. although he was not spared to see his noble work completed, prvi to be buried.
Perhaps no event ever dwelt on the minds of the inhabitants of a city so strongly as did the building of London Bridge. Sumne take or other connected with it is linked with almost every traditiva old London ; and that Peter of Colechurch was a mighty maginatnot a bond-slave of the Evil One, but a “philosofre," who bv bune knowledge controlled even him—was the faith of many ages. Thus is scarcely to be wondered at, when we observe the stirring times in which this bridge was built. Its foundations were first laid when the whole nation was chafing against the King as the sathe Becket's murder. During the long contest with Longchamp, Cirer de Lion's hated chancellor, the work was slowing proceeding, it was finally completed in 1209, when the nation was but mer! engaged in warfare against John, but during the time of the Irint dict. Doleful stories are told about this Interdict in * gular histories, but, from the testimony of contemporarits, our faibro seem to have taken it very easily. Certain is it that ther K feasted right royally both at Christmas and Paschaltide, and bu subjects, doubtless, in this case followed his example. Samerudi