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Ready, aim, fire!

I’d like to share a short story of an incident that happened in 1322. Foster Lane near to St Paul’s Cathedral was at the time known as St Vedast Lane. Today there is a very small and strangely shaped Costa Coffee (other coffee outlets are available) at one end of the street. Just where the coffee shop stands today was a public urinal back in the 1300s.

On the morning of the 1st of January William Rowe, the son of a wealthy Goldsmith took his place at the urinal. As the text describes “He made water“, but either he was distracted, drunk or just spoiling for a fight and proceeded to fill the shoe of the man standing next to him. His neighbour obviously complained and words were exchanged with Rowe striking the man with a couple of blows knocking him to the ground. As the man fell a small axe fell from his belt and landed on the floor beside him.

Another user of the urinal, Phillip Ashdown admonished Rowe for striking the man and the mood became violent. Rowe stooped down, picked up the axe and struck Ashdown with a fatal blow to the head from which he died the following day. Two other men on the scene wrestled Rowe to the floor and later took him to Newgate Prison. There is no record as to what punishment Rowe received.

Just something to reflect upon as you sip your morning cappuccino.

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