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Monument to the Great Fire of London

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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the monument to the great fire of london allegorical relief sculptureThe Monument's allegorical relief was executed by Caius Gabriel Cibber. Image by L. M. Clancy 2009/09/16.

In the year of Christ 1666, on the 2nd September, at a distance eastward from this place of 202 feet, which is the height of this column, a fire broke out in the dead of night, which, the wind blowing devoured even distant buildings, and rushed devastating through every quarter with astonishing swiftness and noise. It consumed 89 churches, gates, the guildhall, public edifices, hospitals, schools, libraries, a great number of blocks of buildings, 13,200 houses, 400 streets. Of the 26 wards, it utterly destroyed 15, and left 8 mutilated and half-burnt. The ashes of the city, covering as many as 436 acres, extended on one side from the tower along the bank of the Thames to the church of the Templars, on the other side from the north-east gate along the walls to the head of fleet-ditch. Merciless to the wealth and estates of the citizens, it was harmless to their lives, so as throughout to remind us of the final destruction of the world by fire. The havoc was swift. A little space of time saw the same city most prosperous and no longer in being. On the third day, when it had now altogether vanquished all human counsel and resource, at the bidding, as we may well believe of heaven, the fatal fire stayed its course and everywhere died out. • (But popish frenzy, which wrought such horrors, is not quenched.) • These last words were added in 1681 and finally deleted in 1830. The Monument, Bronze Plaque

the monument to the great fire of london column
202 foot column with balcony and superstructure
Image by L. M. Clancy 2009/09/16

The Monument, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, was built from 1671-1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London 1666. Over the course of its three days, the Great Fire spanned 436 acres and consumed over 13,000 houses. The fire began in a bakehouse on Pudding Line just 202 feet westward from the base of The Monument, a distance equal to The Monument's height. A 311-step spiral stairway leads to the balcony, atop which is a superstructure supporting a copper vase of flames. Caius Gabriel Cibber designed The Monument's allegorical relief.




Great Fire destroys much of London.


1671 - 1677

Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, The Monument is built.

New Words


In 1681 a phrase is added to The Monument's inscription.



The aforementioned phrase is removed.

Begun, Sir Richard Ford, KNT., being Lord Mayor of London, in the year 1671; carried higher in the mayoralties of Sir George Waterman, KNT., Sir Robert Hanson, KNT., Sir William Hooker, KNT., Sir Robert Viner, KNT., and Sir Joseph Sheldon, KNT., and finished in the Mayoralty of Sir Thomas Davies, in the year of the Lord 1677. The Monument, Bronze Plaque