City of London c. 1380

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Map Code: Ax01751

Medieval London consisted of 24 wards; from 1322, each acquired the right to appoint two officials, an alderman and beadle, to collectively formulate city ordnances. From 1384, this body became a city council; the mayor, however, was a member of the powerful merchant guilds and was appointed by them. London Bridge was converted from wood to stone in 1192, and Henry III both rebuilt Westminster Abbey (1245–69) and completed St Paul’s Cathedral (1280). The city was crammed with religious institutions, many churches and 13 friaries and priories, some of which had graveyards attached. The population of London reached 80,000 by 1300, but was halved by the Black Death (1348–50). Enforcement of rudimentary hygiene was attempted; animal butchery was banned within the city walls (1369), but the noxiously odorous tanneries persisted. During the Peasant’s Revolt (1381), the city was invaded and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Chancellor and Lord Treasurer were killed by the mob.

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