London, Smithfield, Long Lane,At Whittingtons Cat,
Found in the River Thames circa 1980.
The legend of Dick Whittington and his Cat became well-known in written form from the early 1600s, with a drama play in 1604-5 and a ballad in 1605. This was over one hundred and fifty years after the death of Richard Whittington (circa 1354.1423), the three times Lord Mayor of London. Legend has it that his wealth was derived from his cats' abilities as a rat catcher.
Following the breakdown of royal authority following the Civil War, local tradesmen took it on themselves to make up for the chronic lack of small change by issuing their own local coinage. These tokens offer a fascination insight to the period of the Commonwealth and especially the history of the capital.
The London Encyclopaedia describes Long Lane thus-Stow writing in 1598 said that it had recently been built up with "tenements for brokers and tipplers and such like. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was known for its second hand clothes sellers. The father of John Howard, the prison reformer had an upholstery business here.
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