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The Field of the Forty Footsteps, Bloomsbury, London

Posted in Historical articles, History, Legend, London, Mystery on Friday, 27 September 2013

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Field of forty footsteps, picture, image, illustration

The field of the forty footsteps, Bloomsbury, from an original sketch made in 1830

At the back of Montague House – later the British Museum – lay gardens giving onto open countryside, an area known as Southampton Fields. This part of Bloomsbury was the location of ‘The Field of the Forty Footsteps’, and the legend which gave the land that name is as romantic as the mysterious name itself. During the Duke of Monmouth’s Rebellion, two brothers found themselves on the opposing sides in that famous argument, and fought each other in these very fields, where both of them died. The impressions of forty footsteps made by them during the fight are said to have remained thereafter, and no grass would grow over them even with the passing years. This tragic tale became the subject of a novel and a melodrama, and remains one of London’s secret historical stories, many of which are now largely forgotten.

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