Walkers on the Thames Path over the past week at dusk have been noticing the spire on Rotherhithe Church tower lit up.
It is also being seen from some distance away including by those crossing London and Tower Bridges.
The unannounced switch-on had been long planned and is made possible by the US Embassy downstream at Nine Elms. Rotherhithe has a resonance for the USA as it was from there that the Mayflower set out for America with the Pilgrim Fathers.
The 400th anniversary was commemorated by the Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi with low key ceremonies during the pandemic.
The Christopher Jones memorial in the churchyard is also illuminated until 11pm. Jones was Master of the Mayflower and after bringing her back from America he continued to live in Rotherhithe until his death in 1622. His statue by Jamie Sargeant was commissioned to mark the 375th anniversary of the voyage to America in 1995.
An official switch-on ceremony on the riverside is expected to be announced shortly.
The annual Blessing of the River Thames t0ok place on Baptism Sunday 8 January with prayers for those working on the river. A wooden cross, inspired by the Epiphany Orthodox tradition on twelfth day of Christmas, is cast into the water.
St Magnus, the northern gateway church, has the pavement of Old London Bridge, which was a different alignment, running through the base of tower entrance. The church also displays a model of Old London Bridge.
Day’s Lock Meadow beside the River Thames has been voluntarily registered by landowner Keith Ives.
Mr Ives bought the land in 2020 and, as a person with a strong sense of community, agreed voluntarily to register the site so that it can continue to be enjoyed by the public.
Thanks to a long campaign by residents of nearby Dorchester-on-Thames and the Open Spaces Society, the meadow has been added to the village green register.
The struggle began in 2016 when an earlier landowner of Bishops Court Farm erected fencing.
Keith Ives has also made it possible for the nearby ancient Dyke Hills, crossed if walking into Dorchester, to be registered at the same time.
Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, says: ‘We are delighted to have helped secure people’s access to these special place for ever.
‘We congratulate the residents for their perseverance and determination, and we thank Mr Ives most warmly for his gift to the community. He is a fine example to other landowners. The society is encouraging landowners voluntarily to register their land as greens to protect it for public enjoyment.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, current favourite to win the Conservative leadership and become Prime Minister, is a descendant of the City of London’s famous Navigation Clerk of Works Charles Truss.
Truss’s Island in the River Thames is named after him.
The island, restored in 1992 with water again on all sides, is on the right bank between Laleham and Staines.
The stone, bearing the City Corporation shield and the island’s name, was placed in the centre in 1804 but has the date 1774 which is the year Charles Truss was appointed.
The City, responsible for the Thames as far as Staines, had allowed the river to become so obstructed and towpaths so eroded that it was in danger of losing its ancient rights.
Truss spent 36 years restoring the river, which saw a huge increase in traffic with the opening of the Thames and Severn Canal.
The island is largely inhabited by swans and Canada geese leaving little room for visitors seeking out the blackberries hanging down to the water.
The towpath is on the left bank and although from a distance the wooded island on the right bank appears to merge with the background it’s easily located by the swans. They often cross the river tempted by a constant offering of bread from walkers despite a recently posted notice from the Queen’s Swan Marker asking people to desist from feeding.
Another descendant of Charles Truss is The Revd Richard Truss, Liz Truss’s uncle, who has served in riverside parishes of Shepperton and Waterloo.