Fire had raged within London's Roman Wall for three days by then and the firestorm was sweeping through the slums. Even the historic Royal Palace of Castle Bayard had gone up in flames, but by the grace of God, James, Duke of York and his brave firefighters were finally able to bring the fire under control and save St Paul's Cathedral and the treasures that had been buried there. By eveningtide, the fire was out save for a few scattered hot spots that James and his men fought long and hard to keep small.
By the next morning, London breathed a sigh of relief as its denizens realised how much worse the Great Fire could have been. Suppose it had crossed the Fleet River or the firebreaks at Cheapside? Or what if it had reached St Paul's Cathedral. A stone building certainly, but, covered as it was in Sir Christopher Wren's scaffolding, no doubt it would have burned to the ground and with it the treasures of London Town, irreplaceable books and papers, and then no doubt the lead roof itself. But James, Duke of York was more than equal to the task and from that moment, was viewed with affection by most of London.
Without the affection in which London held James, one wonders how he could have survived the exclusion crisis of 1677 or the Monmouth Rebellion. Perhaps he would have been deposed and a protestant dynasty might have taken the place of the Stuarts. We might have had a Dutch or German king in place of our beloved King Francis.