Wool trade

The real Dick Whittington and the folklore legend

In that dark world the air pulsed with the melancholy clangour of bells. If, as legend has it, the chimes of St Mary-le-Bow told Dick Whittington to turn again, then what were they saying to all the other medieval Londoners, dwelling in houses so crowded on fouled streets that the sun could not break through? In the shadow of implacable plague, even London’s super rich were piercingly aware of life’s fragility. Their homes were scented with lily, lavender and the smoke of applewood. They had to be. The city was a close maze of abattoirs and tanneries and streams sluggish with excrement. Yet here, too, were brightly ornamented religious houses