‘Evil May Day’: a 500th anniversary
The Stranger’s Case
There is a very special – and topical – 500th anniversary coming up this Bank Holiday Monday (1 May).
St Martin’s le Grand near St Paul’s Cathedral was the scene of a huge anti-immigration riot in 1517 aimed at the Dutch, Flemish and other foreigners, or ‘strangers’ as they were called. The then Under-Sheriff of London, Thomas More, was called on to try and quell the mob. The event is referred to in history as ‘Ill May Day’, or ‘Evil May Day’.
A speech by William Shakespeare from the late-16th/early-17th Century play Sir Thomas More, written in Shakespeare’s own hand, is held at the British Library, along with other sections of the play.
Three actors, Tim Bentinck (who plays David Archer in the BBC’s The Archers), Bill Bingham and Lachlan McCall are marking the anniversary with a 10–15 minute extract from Sir Thomas More, including the Shakespeare/More call for the rioters to disperse,in four venues around London:
- 10.30 – the new headquarters of the Migration Museum at The Workshop in Lambeth
- 13.00 – Postman’s Park close to St Martin’s le Grand
- 17.00 – Bankside, the steps outside Shakespeare’s Globe
- 19.45 – Montague Close, behind Southwark Cathedral
If there are any more details, they will be added to this blog over the weekend.