Plaque

Hanseatic merchants and 60 years of peace

Erection date: 26/9/2005

Inscription

{Crest of the two-headed eagle, surrounded with:}
SI MERCAT HANSE THEUTONIS LOND IN REGNO ANG RESIDEN

To celebrate sixty years of peace between the peoples of Britain and Germany & to commemorate six hundred years during which some 400 Hanseatic merchants inhabited peaceably in the City of London from the XIIIth to XIXth centuries a German self-governing enclave on this site known as the Steelyard, Stilliarde or Stalhof.

At the invitation of the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Michael Savory, this plaque was unveiled by HRH the Duke of Kent KG on 26th September 2005 in the presence of His Excellency the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Thomas Matussek.

This plaque was caused to be erected by the British-German Association,
President: the Lord Watson of Richmond CBE
Chairman: Christoph Urban
Vice Chairmen: John A. Hobley and John S. Faulder

Das Alte stürzt, es ändert sich die Zeit, und neues Leben blüht aus den Ruinen – Schiller (Wilhelm Tell IV 2)

Let's cover the easy bit first: The German at the end translates as “The old falls, the times are changing and new life blooms from the ruins.”  A quote from William Tell - a drama written by Friedrich Schiller in 1804.

For the Latin we had to ask David Hopkins for his help, and he writes: 

The Museum of London holds an original plaque from the Steelyard carved with the Arms of the Hanseatic League and their motto.  There you can see that the motto actually says “THEUTONI” without an S.  It is written in Latin, but in an abbreviated form, in the same style that you see on some old coins.  The full form would be something along the lines of: 

SI  MERCATORES  HANSEATICI THEUTONI(CI)  LONDINII / IENSES  IN  REGNO  ANGLIAE  RESIDENTES

The main part of this translates as “the German Hanseatic traders who are settled in London in the Kingdom of England”.  However, I’m puzzled by the first word, which appears in clear lettering as SI.  This begins with a capital (enlarged) letter, so it must be the start of the inscription.  I can’t think of, or find, any obvious word this could be an abbreviation for, so this appears to represent the full word “si”.  But in Latin this can only mean “if”, which doesn’t make a lot of sense here.  The only thing I can think of is that it could be the first line of a treaty or a constitutional document that established the period of peace between the Hanseatic League and the people of London.  Perhaps it said “If the Hanseatic people agree to do X, then the people of London will do Y”.  But this is pure speculation on my part.  If you have any better ideas, let me know! 

Thanks David, a full answer and a puzzle as well.

Site: Hanseatic merchants and 60 years of peace (1 memorial)

EC4, Hanseatic Walk

A London Inheritance has a post on Cannon Street Station which covers this whole area including the Steelyard.

This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
Hanseatic merchants and 60 years of peace

Subjects commemorated i

60 years of peace between Britain and Germany

"... sixty years of peace between the peoples of Britain and Germany" in 2005...

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Hanseatic merchants

See the Steelyard.

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Steelyard, Stilliarde or Stalhof

The Hanseatic League was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant...

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This section lists the subjects who helped to create/erect the memorial on this page:
Hanseatic merchants and 60 years of peace

Created by i

British-German Association

The Association came into being in the House of Commons.  Those involved in s...

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Prince Michael Duke of Kent

Grandson of King George V and son of George, Duke of Kent. Born Michael Georg...

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Thomas Matussek, German Ambassador

German Ambassador to the Court of St. James's, 2002 - 2006.

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