Bow Bells, Cockneys, Dick Whitington and Captain John Smith
The Church of St Mary Le Bow
The Church of St Mary Le Bow is in Cheapside and but 3 minutes walk from St Paul’s Cathedral. To be a true Cockney, which is not quite what people think, one must be born within the sound of St Mary Le Bow bells. Their website can be found here and this is not the same place as St Mary’s in the district of Bow.
According to folklore Dick Whittington changed his mind about leaving London when he heard the peal of Bow bells, and so changed his fortunes and became Lord Mayor of London. There was in fact a Richard Whittington who was Lord Mayor of London several times during the 14th century.
There is also a cosy little crypt converted into a pleasant café.
In the square, just outside the church, is a statue of Captain John Smith. The captain was a mercenary, pirate, explorer and at one time leader of Jamestown the first permanent English colony in America. It is said (mostly by himself) that his life was once saved by Pocohantas. He was probably what we would call now, a real swashbuckler. Anybody who wore rain-catcher boots like that had to be hardy. 🙂