The Fire of London. 226

The Fire of London.

An Account of the dreadful Fire of London, Ann. 1666. the Damage done by it; Computed. The Rebuilding thereof; With the several Acts of Parliament made for that Purpose. The Contents of them. An Act of Common Council, for preventing and suppressing Fires. Insurance of Houses from Fire.

WE have hitherto been employed in a general Perambulation of our City; walking as it were about it from Place to Place, to view and observe the publick and most remarkable Parts and Buildings of it. In the next Place we should take another and a more particular Cognizance of the said City, in every Ward, and of every Street, Lane, Church, Hall and more notable House in each. But before we come to do that, we shall enter into one Consideration more of London, representing it not as before we saw it, in its Strength and Glory, but in its Ruins: and shew you a rueful Spectacle of this noble Metropolis in Flames, and soon after lying flat in its Ashes.]

London considered in its late Ruins by Fire.

J. S.

For as in the Year 1665. it pleased God to send a sweeping Plague upon this City, by which there dyed in London and the Liberties, in one Year, 68596 Persons, besides those that dyed of other Diseases: So the very next Year a sad and lamentable Fire brake out on a Sunday Morning, being the Second Day of September: which by Wednesday Morning, being the Fifth Day, burned down to the Ground all the Buildings and Edifices which stood upon the Quantity of 300 Acres of Ground.]

The Extent of the Fire.

R. B.

But in the Inscriptions on the Monument, set up in remembrance of this Fire, it is computed to be 436 Acres lying in Ruines.

J. S.

Of the Beginning, Progress, and End of this Fire.


It was about one or two a Clock in the Morning, this sad and deplorable Fire happened first of all at a Baker's House in Pudding-Lane near New Fish-Street. Which, falling out in a Part of the City close built with Wooden Houses, and a narrow Lane, propagated it self so far before Day, and with such Violence, that it bred a kind of Distraction and Stupidity in the Inhabitants and Neighbours near it; so that they took not that Care which they might otherwise have done, to stop the further Diffusion of it, by pulling down Houses, as ought to have been done. Whereby it came to pass, that in a short Time it grew too big to be mastered by any Engines or other Labour. And being fomented by a violent Easterly Wind, it kept burning in such a raging manner all Sunday and Sunday Night, that it spread it self by Monday Morning, up Grass-Church street to Lombard street, and to St. Swithins Church in Candlewick street, and downwards from Candlewick street to the Waterside, as far as the Three Cranes in the Vintry; and Eastward, tho' more slowly it crept beyond Belinsgate. The Vastness of this Fire was such, that it made the amazed and distracted People, mind only to preserve their own Goods and Commodities, and to secure their particular Concerns (and even that few could do by Reason of the hasty Rage of the Flames) none scarcely making any Attempts now to quench it. It continued all Monday and Tuesday with such Impetuosity, that by Ten of the Clock on Tuesday Night, the Houses and Churches all along Cornhill, Cheapside, Pauls Church Yard, Ludgatestreet, Fleetstreet, and so almost all the Breadth of the City from South to North, to St. Dunstan's Church on this side Temple Bar, were utterly consumed. About which Time the Wind slackened, and that Night by the Vigilancy, Industry and indefatigable Pains of his Majesty and his Royal Highness the Duke of York, calling upon all People, and encouraging them by their Personal Assistances, and blowing up of Houses, at length a Stop was put to the Fire in Fleetstreet, the Inner Temple and Fetter Lane; at Holbornbridge, Pie Corner, Aldersgate, Criplegate, at the lower End of Basinghalstreet, by the Postern, at the upper End of Colemanstreet, at the End of Bishopsgatestreet, and Leadenhallstreet, at the Standard in Cornhill, at the Church in Fanchurchstreet, in Mincing Lane near Clothworkers Hall, about the middle of Marklane, and at the Tower Dock. But on Wednesday Night it suddenly brake out afresh in the Inner Temple. Which happened, as is supposed, by Flakes of Fire falling into the Gutters of the Buildings. But his Royal Highness in Person fortunately watching there that Night, and by his seasonable Commands for the blowing up some of the said Buildings, it was extinguished before Day, after it had laid level with the Ground Tanfield Court, Parsons Court, and the Buildings in the Churchyard, and done some little damage in the Church and Hall.

Out of a true exact Relation, print. 1666.

J. S.

How and whither it spread.

Upon New Fishstreethill Eastward, near the Place where the Fire began, is erected a most noble and lofty Triumphal Column, (commonly called the Monument) resting upon a Square Basis of Stone, having large Inscriptions engraven on it of the Story of the Fire. Wherein among other Things is mentioned, that the City was set on Fire by Popish Treachery. Which Words were afterwards by publick Order erazed. But upon the Revolution they were engraven again: and so they stand.]

The Monument erected in Memory of the Fire.

The Damage done by this Fire is thus computed. Burned and consumed Twelve Thousand Houses, within the Walls of the City, and above one Thousand more without the Walls, but all of them within the Freedom and Liberty of London; that is, in all 13000, or as others 13200 Houses. There were also destroyed the Cathedral Church of St. Pauls, which at that Time was new building, and as to the Stone Work, almost finished: Also eighty seven Parish Churches, and Six consecrated Chapels; most of the principal and publick Edifices: As the great Guild Hall, wherein were nine several Courts belonging to the City; the Royal Exchange; the Kings Custom House; Justice Hall, where the Sessions were kept Eight or Nine Times in the Year for the Trial of Murderers, Felons and other Malefactors; the Four Prisons; Four of the principal Gates of the City; and Fifty Halls of Companies: most of which were most magnificent Structures and Palaces. The whole Damage sustained by this Fire is almost incredible. Yet to make some Computation, that which follows is the Method that hath been taken.

The Damage done by the Fire.

R. B.