Solomon Eagles warns Londoners with burning coals on his head

Solomon Eagles warns Londoners with burning coals on his head

As you know, in 1666 London burned down in the so-called Great Fire of London. I’ll be writing in more detail about that incendiary event in later blog posts. A year earlier, the city had endured the Great Plague. Not a good time to be a Londoner! Hardly surprising then that some folk in the city totally lost their marbles. One such was Quaker preacher Solomon Eagles (sometimes called Eccles) who ran round London in 1665 correctly predicting that a big fire was on the way. To ram home the point, he bore a brazier with hot coals and flames on top of his head. He was also naked.

Clearly, Solomon was not in a good place from a psychiatric perspective. One account said his “eyes were large and black and blazed with insane lustre”. And he shrieked at his fellow city dwellers:

Do you hear this, oh sinners? God will proceed against you in the day of his wrath., though he hath borne with you in the day of his patience. Oh, how many hundred years hath he spared this city. But now…plagues shall come upon it and desolation and it shall be utterly burnt with fire – for strong is the Lord who judgeth it.

Must admit that Solomon reminds me of the 1960s pop band “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown” and their front man singing “Fire” with flames on his head. You can watch that performance HERE.


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About Tony McMahon

Broadcaster and award short-listed author. Appearances on the History Channel, UKTV and ITV talking about the Knights Templar and other popular history topics. Former BBC news producer.