John-Paul Flintoff




In The Footsteps Of Chaucer

Obviously, the best way to bring The Canterbury Tales back to life would be to travel from London to Canterbury. No argument about that.

But I’m excited about doing a walk from Aldgate, where Chaucer lived, to Westminster Abbey, where he’s buried.

It takes about an hour to walk, but I plan to be slower, and take a few detours. Specifically, I’d like to visit sites relating to some of the following (in approximately the order I’d stumble on them):

Benjamin Disraeli
Sir Thomas More
John Milton
Thomas a Becket (buried in Canterbury, but born on Cheapside)
Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke
William Hazlitt
Samuel Johnson
Charles Lamb

Naturally, being a journalist, I’d walk along Fleet Street – reaching the end of the City of London to enter Westminster.

In Westminster, the walk to the Abbey could easily take in the following:

Bram Stoker
Noel Coward
Samuel Pepys
Jane Austen (finally, another woman!)
Thomas Rowlandson
JM Barrie
Rudyard Kipling, and / or
Herman Melville

Then again, I could cross the river and walk through Southwark, where The Canterbury Tales starts.

Southwark was home to:

Charles Dickens
Percy Shelley
Mary Wollstonecraft (another!)

Naturally, I wouldn’t stop for ALL these literary superheroes on a single pilgrimage. Can you imagine!

But choosing one or two for each pilgrimage would allow me (and others with me) to think about very different kinds of storytelling as we spin tales…

I can’t wait.

Note: I love Dead White Men, and intend to be one myself one day. But there are perhaps a few too many in this list. Can you suggest anybody else I might include, to fix that…?


Posted: April 10, 2019

Keywords: pilgrimage, chaucer, writers