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Gresham Grasshopper, Royal Exchange, London
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member mumbo jumbo
N 51° 30.823 W 000° 05.196
30U E 702146 N 5710979
Quick Description: Gilded grasshopper weathervane atop the campanile at the east end of the Royal Exchange in the heart of the City of London.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 7/12/2009 2:53:30 AM
Waymark Code: WM6R6Y
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member carleenp
Views: 2

Long Description:
This spindly-legged, gilded-bronze insect has sat on successive iterations of the Royal Exchange since around 1565 when the Exchange was first built. The original building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London (1666) but the grasshopper survived.

In 1565 Sir Thomas Gresham made a proposal to the court of aldermen of London to build, at his own expense, a bourse or exchange — what became the Royal Exchange, modelled on the Antwerp bourse — on condition that they purchased for this purpose a piece of suitable ground.

Why a grasshopper? According to an ancient legend of the Greshams, the founder of the family, Roger de Gresham, was abandoned as a new-born baby in long grass in North Norfolk in the 13th century and found there by a woman whose attention was drawn to the child by a chirruping grasshopper. A beautiful story, but it is more likely that the grasshopper is simply an heraldic rebus on the name Gresham, with gres being a Middle English form of grass (Old English grœs).

The weathervane is not the only Gresham grasshopper in the vicinity. There is at least one grasshopper carved into the north east corner of the building by the stone masons (see gallery).
Type of insect: Grasshopper

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Master Mariner visited Gresham Grasshopper, Royal Exchange, London 5/29/2011 Master Mariner visited it