An Acre Of American Land on the Thames

Almost no-one knows it’s there: an acre of American land on the River Thames at Runnymede, just a stone’s throw from the place King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215.

Gifted by the Queen and Parliament after the death of John F Kennedy, tourists used to flock to this idyllic spot: but now it attracts just a trickle of walkers from the flat meadows below.

The monument of 100-million-year old Portland stone commemorates Kennedy using his inaugural address. It is at once quintessentially English and wholly American.

Modelled on John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, the acre begins with a winding path and 50 steps, to represent the 50 American states.

The stone itself sits on a granite slab – symbolising the shoulders of the people.

There are wide stone benches to sit on and gaze down at the Thames and the road through Runnymede from a distance. It is quiet, and far from the hustle below.

You can find details of the memorial, and the others on the banks at Runnymede, here.

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10 comments

  1. debbieinlondon · · Reply

    How interesting, I have never heard of that before! We will have to pay a visit I think, we have been planning to visit anyway to see the ancient yew tree at Runnymede.

    1. Enjoy it, Debbie. But pick a dry day!

  2. debbieinlondon · · Reply

    That could be easier said than done this particular summer….

    1. Indeed 🙂 Quite firm right now, though…

  3. A part of American will always have Great Britain ingrained in culture, literature, language and common sense of morality and responsibility.

  4. New to me – thank you for sharing. I’m always looking for interesting things to see in London.

    1. Loved some of the ideas on your site!

  5. Amazing! I’ve never heard of that. Thanks for a bit of education today, Kathy.

    1. Thank you for coming to take a look and comment on Letter From Britain, Kaye. It’s a wonderful spot, especially at this time of year in England.

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