Cripplegate Street, EC1Y

Place Name

Named after the former City gate that stood here but the origins of how the entrance got its name have been lost. That said there are a number of plausible theories, the first is that it is from the Anglo-Saxon word crepel meaning a covered or underground passageway; the second is it’s a reference to the nearby St Giles-without-Cripplegate church, St Giles being the patron saint of the cripples. It has also been suggested that it is literal, in that beggars would congregate around the passage. Lastly, that it is where Edmund the Martyr’s body was brought into the City in 1010. The former king of East Anglia was made a saint for refusing to renounce Christ following his capture by the Viking’s Great Heathen Army in AD869. He was shot and beheaded but his head was recovered in a forest when searchers heard it call out to them, or at least that is the legend. Once recovered it was taken to a church in Bury where it remained until being brought to London for safekeeping. It is said that as the body passed through the gates cripples were cured of their ills.


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