“…the most intact Roman mausoleum ever to be discovered in Britain” has recently been unearthed in London SE1. It’s on the site of ‘The Liberty of Southwark’, the impending development on the land to the north of the Cross Bones burial ground.
We’re on south bank of the Thames by London Bridge, the oldest and wildest part of London, going back to the Romans:
mouth stopped with a stone
in the belly of a well
in Mary Overie.
2000 Years of Empire
2000 Years of X-rated
Flesh did not defile
The Daughter of Eternity.”
(from ‘The Southwark Mysteries’ by John Constable, 1999)
From the 12th to the 16th century, The Liberty of the Clink was a semi-autonomous zone, where Shakespearian theatre flowered among bear-pits and brothels and the whores were licensed by the Bishop of Winchester. This secret history and vision of Cross Bones was revealed by The Goose to John Crow on 23rd November 1996. This is related in ‘The Southwark Mysteries’, where The Goose first presents Herself:
“I was born a Goose of Southwark
by the Grace of Mary Overie
whose Bishop gives me licence
to Sin within The Liberty.”
She prophesies the coming developments and foretells the unearthing of ancient magic, a Temple of Isis revealed in south London! Here The Liberty is not only historical fact; it’s also the spiritual state in which the Blakean Contraries are free to do their creative dance. This vision informed the creation of the shrine and the Cross Bones garden of remembrance for outcasts.
Some poems in ‘The Southwark Mysteries’ take us back to Roman times. This one references the Latin inscription on a wine-jug found in the mudflats near London Bridge:
LONDINI AD FANUM ISIDIS
“Here Isis wept
in Thames river mud
for her children sold into bondage
in slave-mart by River of Babylon,
Queenhithe to Gropecunte Lane.”
Thus far the prospective developers have been sensitive to the history and culture of the Cross Bones site, publicly undertaking to protect and respect it, actively seeking community engagement – and even renaming their adjacent development “The Liberty”. Prior to building work, archaeologists have made some astounding discoveries – first a mosaic floor, now “the most intact Roman mausoleum ever to be discovered in Britain”.
With all those Goosey hints about Isis, has to be a Roman temple down there. To the re-membering…