People had been expecting London to burn down for years. In 1665, King Charles II wrote to the Lord Mayor warning him of the dangers of fire due to the overhanging wooden houses and narrow streets.
Long before this, prophets had been forecasting London’s doom. Religious men, Protestant and Catholic, wrote pamphlets and letters, and gave sermons preaching that God would purge London of its sins with fire. Many predictions about a fire were made through the 1600s.
Mother Shipton, a 16th century ‘witch’ from York, had apparently predicted London’s destruction. Her prophecy, printed in a book in 1641, said: