The origins of The London Stone are uncertain, but it is thought to have been a Roman milestone, the one from which all distances in Britain were measured.
The stone, which is still situated very near its original position, was at the centre of Londinium, the 3rd century Roman trading settlement as defined by their defensive, London Wall.
Originally much larger than its 0.5m height, The London Stone is reference in a book belonging to the 10th century King of the West Saxons, Æthelstan and was a landmark on 12th century maps where it was referred to as Londenstane.
For hundreds of years the small limestone block was recognised as the heart of the City of London and became a traditional site to pass laws, reclaim debts, swear oaths and make official proclamations.
In 1450, Jack Cade led an army of 5,000 men in popular revolt against London causing King Henry to flee to Warwickshire. He struck his sword against the London Stone after his forces entered London and declare himself "Lord of the City". This event was later dramatised by William Shakespeare in a scene from his play Henry VI.
The stone, has no markings, was once set into the south wall of St Swithin's Church. Surviving the Great Fire of London and the blitz it is now on display in an iron grille box opposite Cannon Street station, at ground level in the wall of a block of offices.
Looking rather shabby and not of importance it and was not protected from the weather and pollution until 1962 and know doubt had pieces chipped off by souvenir hunters.
The Stone has been called the Stone of Brutus, which relates to legend that it was part of an altar built by Brutus of Troy, the Trojan founder of London in around 1,000 BC. The myth links the Stone's safety to that of the city itself; "So long as the stone of Brutus is safe, so long shall London flourish".
PLEASE NOTE: London Stone might be temporarily moved into storage during the continuing development of the buildings in Cannon Street.