What is the ceremony known as Changing the Quill on John Stow's monument

01:00 Mon 22nd Oct 2001 |

A.An interesting question there from gill girling. This is a memorial service, held at St Andrew's Undershaft, near the Lloyd's building in the City of London, every year on 5 April. John Stow wrote The Survey of London in 1598. As part of the service, the Lord Mayor places a quill in the hand of Stow's statue.< xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Q.So who was Stow

A.John Stow (1525-1605) - an antiquarian, chronicler and a collector of books and manuscripts - is a significant historical and literary figure in Elizabethan England. As a young man he was a tailor, but in 1560 he came under the patronage of Archbishop Matthew Parker, whose Society of Antiquaries he joined, and began collecting historical documents and manuscripts.

Q.Such as

A.In 1561, he published an edition of Chaucer's works. In 1565 came Summarie of Englyshe Chronicles; 15 years later The Chronicles of England from Brute until this Present Yeare of Christ 1580. Dedicated to Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, the chronicles were intended to celebrate 'the worthie exploits of our Kings and governors'.

Q.And well respected

A.Stow is considered one of the most trustworthy and plainest-written of 16th-Century chroniclers - and with a particular interest in literature. For 1341, Stow recorded the death of John Malvern, fellow of Oriel College, and author of the book entitled The Visions of Pierce Plowman. In the entry, he laments Geoffrey Chaucer, 'the most excellent poet of Englande, deceased the XXV of October, 1400'.

Q.Any more famous works

A.He also produced editions of the work of Holinshed and other English chroniclers. His famed Survey of London, appeared in 1598, an immensely valuable account of the city in Elizabethan times, and a crucial source for modern literary and historical scholars. A second edition was published on 1720 by John Strype and a reproduction in 1971.

To ask another question about History & Myths, click here

By Steve Cunningham

Do you have a question about History?