Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London



For more regular updates, visit Tom's Britain, a new website about things to do in Britain.


26 June 2014

Walk the street of Milton's birth

When the poet, man of letters and assistant to the government of Oliver Cromwell, John Milton, was born to composer and scrivener John Milton and his wife Sarah Jeffrey in a house and scrivener's shop - marked by a Spread Eagle sign - in Bread Street in 1608, it was rather a different place to the street we see today. Cheapside and the streets just off it were the heart of London's market, confirmed by street names such as Bread Street, Honey Lane, Milk Street and Poultry, and the street half-timbered buildings and exactly the sort of post-Medieval street scene we might expect.

In the Norman period, one of the City's few brothels was located in Bread Street, and it was also once the location of a prison, but during Milton's lifetime the Great Fire of London brought great change to the street, destroying All Hallows Church where Milton had been baptised, and much of the earlier buildings that lined the streets, a fate which befell many of them again during the Blitz. Today, the street is filled with anonymous-looking office blocks and a big shopping centre, but a plaque still remembers its famous son, who spent most of his life in the City, also living at Bunhill Row, where he completed Paradise Lost, and hiding after the Restoration in a house in Bartholomew Close in Smithfield.

For more, see http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/printable/18799

1 comment:

  1. Why did he go into hiding after The Restoration? Did he write something naughty about either the Early Stuarts or the Later Stuarts?