Finding the Queen Elizabeth I statue in London
Without knowing where to look, it is easy to miss the Queen Elizabeth I statue in London. Tucked up in a niche on the wall of the church of St Dunstan’s in the West on Fleet St London, stands Queen Elizabeth I.
It is London’s oldest statue and the only one remaining that was carved in Queen Elizabeth’s reign. The statue was carved in 1586 and originally stood above Ludgate at the entrance to the city of London.
What is striking about the Queen Elizabeth I statue, is how young and relaxed the Queen looks. Her face is young and plump, she doesn’t look overly regal and certainly not austere.
Ludgate and the Queen Elizabeth I statue
The statue once stood by the Lud Gate, near the bottom of Ludgate Hill. The Lud Gate and its attached prison were badly damaged by the great fire of London and removed in 1760. Ludgate Hill is one of the hills that rises from the Thames. Through the Ludgate stood St Pauls, built at the hills highest point. Its name is dedicated to King Lud, the ‘mythical’ Welsh King, who according to legend founded London and is buried beneath Ludgate. Statues to King Lud and his two sons, Androgeus and Theomantius, stood with Queen Elizabeth and can be found in the porch of St Dunstans. They too were carved in 1586. During the demolition, the statue of Queen Elizabeth was placed in the basement of a nearby pub for safety and was only discovered by workmen in 1839. They were removed to the old St Dunstans by Sir Gosling, who arranged for the statue to be put on the St Dunstan’s church which itself was re-built in 1833 and Queen Elizabeth was placed in the basement of a nearby pub for safety and was only discovered by workmen in 1839.
So at last the statues of Queen Elizabeth and King Lud were together once again.
The statue was restored and in a fitting tribute was unveiled by Millicent Fawcett, leading Suffragist and campaigner for equal rights for women in the late 19th century and early 20th century. She also left £700 in her will for its continued upkeep. She obviously had great respect for this most remarkable of queens, the last of the Tudor monarchs. Click here to see the Pathe News clip of its unveiling.