Rebels, Radicals and Rough Justice: Historic Clerkenwell
We’ve almost reached the end of our tour, but let’s stop here for a moment. Look at the corner of the building to your right. On the second floor is a gilded statue of a chubby little boy. Can you see it?
This is supposed to be the site where the Great Fire of London was finally stopped. It was known as Pye Corner after a sign with a Magpie on a tavern here. It was replaced by a new inn called the Fortunes of War in the 1700s.
Now carry on walking down the road. When you can, make your way over to the right hand side of the road.
The fire of London had started in Pudding Lane, so Pye corner seems an appropriate ending. People always want someone or something to blame for catastrophes. Originally the Roman Catholics were blamed. An unfortunate Frenchman was hanged despite being clearly innocent. Later a new villain was found - the sin of gluttony. An inscription was put up here, saying “This boy is in memory put up for the late Fire of London, occasioned by the sin of gluttony, 1666”.
The present statue and inscription were put up after the Fortunes of War Inn was demolished in 1910. The inn became notorious as a hangout for body snatchers in the 1800s. They stole corpses from freshly dug graves from the churchyard of St Sepulchres just down the road.