Excerpt from Tadhg’s Journal: I’m back at my London place now, at least for a short while, and it’s great to be back. I do love wild and rugged north Wales and my place at Capel Curig, but I also love London for all its busyness, and especially this part, Fulham.
As I sit here, having put down a great book for a while, and in the cool twilight of the day, I’m now journaling just a few thoughts, by way of an introduction to where I am now, to this geographical area. A place of history, intrigued and mystery.
I love stories, and here’s a local myth that I came across some time ago. It is said that many years before the bridge was built, there lived in these parts two giant sisters on either side of the River Thames. One lived in, what is now called Fulham, the other, in what is now called Putney. Without a bridge times were difficult – especially as the pair of them had set about building a church in their respective villages (as they were then), on the banks on the River Thames.
And so they worked hard, fashioning huge bricks out of stone, and building a church, each. But, with only one hammer between them, thee work was slow.
How did they share that one hammer? When the giant sister on this side of the River Thames (I live in Fulham), wanted the hammer, she would shout to her sister to throw it across the river by shouting ‘full home’. When the other sister, on the other side of the river wanted the hammer, she would shout ‘Put nigh’. And it was from their cries to each other that the respective villages (and now boroughs of London) became known as Fulham, and Putney. [View is of Putney Bridge, looking towards All Saints Church, and Fulham]
This area of London has had a long Celtic influence. Indeed, the River Thames (pronounced ‘temz’) is so called because originally it was called Tamesas, a Celt word which meant dark. An apt description of the river’s water.
The Romans, later, called it the Tamesis, and then the “Th” was put added during the Renaissance period as they thought the Celts originated from Greece possibly to reflect a belief that the name was derived from River Thyamis in Greece. The ‘th’ was, allegedly, then dropped for the ‘t’ pronunciation that we stress today, as one of the Kings couldn’t say his ‘th’s. [View of the River Thames, Fulham at twilight]
Did you know that the River Thames, it is alleged, has its own angel, and has been seen recently. A tv/film crew spotted an angel, and their reaction can be seen here.
I also like history, too, and one of my special places to visit is Fulham Palace. From around AD700, the site was acquired by Bishop Waldhere, and it served as a Bishop’s residence for over 12 centuries.
There is evidence of much earlier occupation of the site. Excavations from 1972 to 1986 by an archaeological group revealed Neolithic (3000BC), Iron Age (800BC-43AD) and Roman (200AD-500AD) artefacts.
Edmund Bonner (c.1500 – 5 September 1569), who later became Bishop Bonner lived at the Fulham Palace in the sixteenth century. Depending on which side of the Reformation you were on, it was probably undesirable to go to tea with the man. He was known as ‘Bloody Bonner’ for his role in the persecution of what he called heretics. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs sums up Bonner by saying: ‘This cannibal in three years space three hundred martyrs slew. They were his food, he loved so blood, he sparèd none he knew.’ [Photo: Part of Fulham Palace]
Just a few thoughts.