With a large open space at its centre Blackheath has long been an important meeting point and focus for historical events.
It has been the scene of social uprising and battle – Wat Tyler’s Peasant’ revolt of 1381 assembled on the heath and Jack Cade’s Rebellion camped here in 1450. The Cornish Rebels fought here against Henry VII in 1497, they were defeated at the foot of the west slope in the Battle of Deptford Bridge, sometimes called the Battle of Blackheath.
And it has been the scene of Royal Pageantry. In 1400, Henry IV of England met Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos on Blackheath and in 1415, the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London, in their robes of state, attended by 400 of the most principal citizens, came here to meet Henry V of England on a triumphant return from the Battle of Agincourt . Everyone was dressed in red – it must have been an incredible to see the sea of colour on Blackheath.
And in 1540, in a gorgeous scene of pageantry Henry VIII went to meet Anne of Cleaves on the Heath. She was the lucky one….
The game of Golf was also introduced to England by James I on Blackheath, first played here in the early 1600s.
Blackheath is still an important meeting place today, with thousands gathering here or the start of the London Marathon each year.
Photo by Mark Fosh, licenced under CC BY 2.0