Many people acted with great heroism during the fire, and other’s actions were rather more questionable. Richard Rowe was a seaman who risked his life to beat out the fire on the roof of the hall of the Inner Temple. Similarly the King and his brother, the Duke of York, put their own lives in danger to join the fire-fighters. Schoolboys from Westminster school also did their part and tried to save St Dunstan’s church from the flames.
Other people reacted to the situation with violence. Angry mobs combed the streets looking for suspects who had started the fire. Carters extorted vast sums of money to help people rescue their household goods, while thieves looted abandoned properties. Catholics and foreigners were blamed for starting the fire but were they really the culprits?
Why was it claimed that the fire was started by a Catholic conspiracy?