The London Fire of 1666


Image: Map of London Fire, Wikimedia Commons

This was around the time that I decided to leave the army. The pay had been rapidly decreasing since I left and I felt that even though there was equality within the army recent events had made everything too volatile. I had a sinking feeling that Cromwell would be as much a tyrant as Charles had been before him. I left the army and returned to London, the city of my birth. I used the pay I had saved as a soldier to fund a smithy of my own not too far from where I had learnt the trade. Over the course of many years I built my smithy into a respectable shop, servicing laborers and nobles alike from throughout London. I maintained two apprentices and kept each of them very busy with learning weights and menial tasks. How I wish this life could have continued, that the terrible calamities of 1665 and 1666 could have been avoided.

As I currently shiver on the steps of my burnt, wrecked city I think about how wonderful life was before the year 1665. My two young daughters and wife had been so beautiful before the plague scarred their faces and bodies and left them lifeless. The day my youngest daughter finally succumbed I turned into a hard man, convinced that my life was cursed because God had saved no place for me in heaven. The next year was somehow worse, on September 2nd the entire city burst into flame, including my modest shop. There was nothing that could be done to stop it, even the idea of exploding buildings with gunpowder before they were burnt was useless. I watched my livelihood burn along with the bodies of my family and the memories of the only city I truly knew. I now lay curled upon the steps of what had been my shop and my family’s home. How I wish I could go back two years, God alone knows how much I would give to be able to spend just one moment more with my family. Grief overwhelms my being as I write this, and I am sure that if it does not kill me than the chill will. More than anything I hope that as dawn breaks upon this broken city I will travel beyond this life and see what God has pre-ordained for me.  

Written by Jesse Rubin, Entrepreneurship, Loyola Marymount University 19

The London Fire of 1666