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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
23rd April 1959 1st heliport in Britain opens in London
23rd April 1925 1st London performance of operetta Fasquita staged
23rd April 1881 Gilbert and Sullivan's opera Patience produced in London
23rd April 1775 Artist J.M.W. Turner was born in Covent Garden, London.
23rd April 1705 Richard Steele's Tender Husband, premieres in London
23rd April 1702 The Coronation of Anne I in Westminster Abbey.
23rd April 1685 The Coronation of James II (and VII of Scotland) in Westminster Abbey.
23rd April 1661 English king Charles II crowned in London
23rd April 1661 The Coronation of Charles II in Westminster Abbey.
One of the most important relgious ruins in the UK.
Location: Merantun Way, Merton
Description: Underneath this underpass and Sainsbury's in Merton, South London is Merton Priory - one of the most significant religious buildings in Britain. From the 12th century until its destruction during the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538, the abbey's remaining ruins are one of the key medieval archaeological sites in the UK.
Currently it's inaccessible, except on the occasions when the Merton Priory Trust, an organisation staffed by committed volunteers, is able to open it for visits or events such as Open House Weekends. However the remains are still visible and above ground, despite being concealed under the A24.
Thomas Becket was educated here in the late 1120s, and he wore the black cowl of the Augustinian canons of Merton when he was elected Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162. The monastery expanded during the 13th century, and was a favourite place of King Henry III. In 1217, Henry held a peace conference with Louis, Dauphin of France, in the chapter house, and later in the century stayed several times a year in private apartments at the priory.
More than 700 bodies were found on the site, and their analysis has shown people here lived longer, and were healthier, than the comparable urban populations.
The site is one of the oldest print works in the UK too with many important manuscripts being printed first here.