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The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of the English city of London, from Sunday, 2 September to Wednesday, 5 September 1666. The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman City Wall. It threatened, but did not reach, the aristocratic district of Westminster (the modern West End), Charles II's Palace of Whitehall, and most of the suburban slums. It consumed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, St. Paul's Cathedral, and most of the buildings of the City authorities. It is estimated that it destroyed the homes of 70,000 of the City's ca. 80,000 inhabitants. The death toll from the fire is unknown and is traditionally thought to have been small, as only six verified deaths were recorded. This reasoning has recently been challenged on the grounds that the deaths of poor and middle-class people were not recorded anywhere, and that the heat of the fire may have cremated many victims, leaving no recognizable remains.
The great fire started at the bakery of Thomas Farriner (or Farynor) on Pudding Lane, shortly after midnight on Sunday, 2 September, and it spread rapidly west across the City of London. The use of the major firefighting technique of the time, the creation of firebreaks by means of demolition, was critically delayed due to the indecisiveness of the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Thomas Bloodworth...
Prior to his time as mayor, Bloodworth was a wealthy merchant and a member of the mercantile guild the Company of Vintners, holding the post of Master of the Company for a time. Aside from an apprenticeship, however, he was primarily a timber merchant, as the Company did not require participation in the wine industry for membership.
In the early hours of September 2, 1666, a fire broke out in the house of Thomas Farriner (sometimes spelled Farynor), a baker. The methods of firefighting at the time included the use of long sticks with hooks on the end, which were used to pull down buildings adjacent to those burning. This was meant to contain the fire by not giving it any material to spread to. However, this was also destruction of property and was considered a serious matter, so the mayor was summoned to permit it to take place.
When Bloodworth arrived, he refused to allow the demolition to take place. Possibly, this was due to fear of complaints from the owners of the buildings which would be destroyed that such actions were unnecessary. He expressed a lack of concern that the fire would become dangerous, saying that "a woman might piss it out," before returning to his home and going back to sleep. Over the next three days, the fire would destroy more than 75 percent of the city.
He would maintain for the rest of his life that the scope of the fire was not his fault.
The Worshipful Company of Vintners is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London, England.
It probably existed as early as the twelfth century, and it received a Royal Charter in 1364. Due to the Royal Charter, the Company gained a monopoly over wine imports from Gascony. Also, it acquired the right to sell wine without a licence, and it became the most powerful company in the wine trade.
An example of the urge to identify scapegoats for the fire is the acceptance of the confession of a simple-minded French watchmaker, Robert Hubert, who claimed he was an agent of the Pope and had started the Great Fire in Westminster. He later changed his story to say that he had started the fire at the bakery in Pudding Lane. Hubert was convicted, despite some misgivings about his fitness to plead, and hanged at Tyburn on 28 September 1666. After his death, it became apparent that he had not arrived in London until two days after the fire started. These allegations that Catholics had started the fire were exploited as powerful political propaganda by opponents of pro-Catholic Charles II's court, mostly during the Popish Plot and the exclusion crisis later in his reign.
Robert Hubert, a London watchmaker who was born in France, was tried in October 1666 and executed on the 27th of that month. The only evidence against him was his own confession, which he later denied.
The Great Fire of London was such a terrible disaster that many people at the time could not believe it was an accident. A Catholic plot was suspected. People fleeing from London spread the rumour. Catholics were attacked in the streets. One was nearly killed when a crowd thought he was carrying fire-balls. They turned out to be tennis balls.
Henry Young, a distiller (beer- or wine-maker) claimed that a Jesuit had told him in 1661 that within seven years all England would be Catholic. Young replied that the City of London 'would never endure it'. The Jesuit answered that within five or six years they would 'break the power and strength of London in pieces'.
Many Londoners believed that Catholics had gone in with the French and started the fire. Robert Hubert, a French silversmith and watchmaker, confessed to starting the fire. He was found guilty at the Old Bailey despite changing his story. He initially claimed that he had started the fire in Westminster (where the fire had not reached), then changed it to the bakery. He could not describe the bakery, or where it was, but was sentenced to hang at Tyburn anyway.
William Lilly, a famous astrologer, had predicted a fire the year before. He was summoned to face the special committee set up to investigate the cause of the fire in the Speaker's Chambers at the House of Commons. Lilly convinced the committee that there was nothing sinister in his prediction, and Hubert faced the executioner alone.
Still the hatred of the Catholics continued. 'Priests and Jesuits' were ordered to leave the kingdom, and when further fires broke out in 1676 they were accused again. Two years after The Monument was opened an inscription was added near the base. It read 'The burning of this Protestant City was begun and carried on by the treachery and malice of the Popish faction…' It was removed in 1685 after King James II came to the throne (he was Catholic). It reappeared in 1689 when Protestant rulers came back to the throne, and was eventually removed for good in 1831.
Christopher Wren rebuilt much of London after the Great Fire of 1666. He was a master freemason according to most analysts. This writer believes that the Fire was no accident, that it was planned precisely to allow the realignment of many structures to serve a geomancy of evil forces operating along a ley line grid. The present article notes various numerological links between Wren's Monument to the Great Fire, to the 7/7 London Tube bombings. Whether these are coincidence or conspiracy it is up to the reader to decide.
Read more at the website: www.jesuit.org...
Community life in the Society of Jesus is based on the companionship of Ignatius of Loyola and the graduate students he befriended at the University of Paris. Seven students gathered in a chapel on Montmartre Hill in 1534 and vowed to continue their companionship after finishing their degrees. They would live in evangelical poverty and go on a mission to Jerusalem. They called themselves "amigos en el Senor" -- friends in the Lord.
In all well-organized communities or congregations there must be, besides the persons who take care of their particular goals, one or several whose proper duty is to attend to the universal good...there must be someone with responsibility for the entire body of the Society, a person whose duty is the good government, preservation, and growth of the whole body of the Society. This person is the superior general."--Const. 
(from the Consitutions of the Society of Jesus on the need of a Superior General)
"Black Pope" is a light-hearted name given to the Superior General, usually by the media (and never used by the Jesuits themselves). The name comes partly from the color of the plain black priest's cassock, worn by members of the Society, including the Superior General and partly from a past concern, (most prominent around the 16th and 17th centuries), amongst Protestant European countries, concerning the relative power of the Jesuits within the Roman Catholic Church.
Although the loss of life was minimal, some sources say only sixteen perished, the magnitude of the property loss was staggering. Some 430 acres, as much as 80% of the city proper was destroyed, including 13,000 houses, 89 churches, and 52 Guild Halls. Thousands of citizens found themselves homeless and financially ruined.The Great Fire, and the fire of 1676, which destroyed over 600 houses south of the river, changed the face of London forever. The one positive effect of the Great Fire was that the plague, which had ravished London since 1665, diminished greatly, due to the mass death of the plague-carrying rats in the blaze.
The Rebuilding Act 1667
Christopher Wren designed a excellent plan that had grand boulevard's and buildings. Those people who had land aimed at retaining it or selling it at a correct price. The 1667 Rebuilding Act was decided by a special commission made by the King and enforced by an act of Parliament. The main roads were widened and the size of the buildings were subject to officially determined dimensions. The thickness of wall, limits on storeys and types of material were all planned. The King and London Corporation finalized three grand structures to exhibit to the world how London had bounced back. The Royal Exchange and a new Customs House had crucial economic functions. The Monument had sixty-two meters of Doric column with a sculpted flaming top. Wren became reputed as the architect who created London as he included fifty-one churches and a new St. Paul's Cathedral. A Fire Court dealt with many cases to consider arguments concerning the fire and smoothened the reconstruction.
Builders Make A Statement
In addition, the King and the London Corporation initiated three grand structures to show the world how London was back in business. The Royal Exchange and a new Customs House had vital economic functions, but the Monument – sixty-two metres of Doric column with a sculpted flaming top – was pure symbolism. Wren provided the column, which is supposedly as high as the distance between the Monument and Farriner's bakery, and Robert Hooke the sculpture. Wren contributed much more, including fifty-one churches and a new St. Paul's Cathedral, creating his reputation as the architect who built London.
The Fire Court
A Fire Court, created specifically to judge arguments arising from the fire, smoothed the reconstruction, dealing with around 1500 cases: roughly one for every ten affected buildings! Many disputes were between land-owners and tenants or borrowers and lenders, but some people managed to avoid the judges. In a case which is still notorious, Humphrey Henchman – the Bishop of London – charged stationers a storage fee on £200,000 of books and papers they had in St. Paul's Cathedral, even thought it and the stock had been totally destroyed.