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Surviving records dating from as early as eleven hundred years ago refer to the stone as having great ceremonial significance, marking the traditional place where laws were passed and proclamations issued.

After 1189, when Henry Fitz-Ailwin became London’s first mayor, the inauguration ceremony expressly required the new incumbent to strike the stone with his sword to validate his entitlement to govern the city.

Maybe physically pulling the sword from a rock with brute force is the wrong idea, one idea used to split rock was to set a fire under or next to it and suddenly quench the rock with water, causing the rock to crack.And the sword in question is not Excalibur, as commonly believed, but a completely different weapon.The usual setting for the event portrayed by Hollywood is somewhere in the countryside or in a dark forest.More recently, and for many years, the stone lay unnoticed and almost forgotten, set into a niche in the wall of a bookstore opposite Cannon Street Station, where it was practically obscured by an iron grille.The building is now being demolished to make way for a new one, and the London Stone has been taken to the nearby Museum of London.

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