This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Roman amphitheatre, Guildhall Yard

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Roman amphitheatre, Guildhall Yard

List entry Number: 1013411


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Greater London Authority

District: City and County of the City of London

District Type: London Borough


National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 23-Jul-1990

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 13201

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Roman amphitheatres are rare monuments in Britain, there being only twelve known examples. This example is of particular importance because of its association with the Roman provincial capital of Londinium, a factor reflected in its size. The site would have provided the main focus of entertainment within the capital, the provision of which was seen as one of the marks of Roman civilised life. Additionally, it is unusual in that it is located inside the later walled defences of Londinium and also close to the fort. It is one of only five of Britain's amphitheatres to show a military rather than civilian connection this way. The excavations on the site have demonstrated that archaeological remains survive well and extensively. In particular, the waterlogged conditions have led to the excellent preservation of timber and other normally perishable remains. This has given an insight into structural details not normally preserved.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument is an elliptical amphitheatre, c.105m long and 85m wide, externally sealed beneath Guildhall Yard and its surrounding buildings. Although located beneath these later buildings, its extent and general ground plan can be discerned from its effect on the topography of this area of the city, in particular whose streets established in the 10th and 11th centuries have obviously been routed to avoid it. Moreover, an area corresponding to the centre of the arena has been kept an open space since at least the 14th century. Partial excavations by the Museum of London in 1951, 1985 and 1987-8 have provided much detail on the structural form of the monument. Of particular note is the preservation of timber remains as this was a major material used in the original construction. The degree of preservation is such that many fine details of construction, which would not normally survive on a 'dry' site have been investigated and recorded. Features revealed include an outer wall retaining the seating banks, the inner arena wall and the arena itself, an east entrance with two side-chambers likely to have been shrines or changing rooms, a porch, plank-lined drains and sumps, timber thresholds and a piled structure round the inside of the arena wall. This work has indicated that the site was in use between the early 2nd century and c.AD360. By the late 4th century, however, stone was being robbed from the site suggesting it had fallen out of use. After a period of neglect, building began on the site in the early Medieval period and has continued down to the present day. All buildings on the site are excluded from this scheduling although the ground beneath them is included. Additionally all roads within the proposed constraint area are excluded, but the remains beneath them are included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Barron, C, The Medieval Guildhall of London, (1974)
Hobley, B, The Guildhall Roman Amphitheatre, (1988)
'Britannia' in Guildhall Yard (Roman Britain in 1987), , Vol. XIX, (1988)
Bateman, N, 'London Archaeologist' in Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard (excavation round-up 1987), , Vol. 5, (1988)
Maloney, J, 'London Illustrated News' in Fun and Games in Roman London, (1988)
BM Add MSS 5415, Leake, J, Surveigh of streets, lanes & churched within ruines of Cty Londn, (1666)

National Grid Reference: TQ 32478 81357


© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1013411 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 20-Sep-2018 at 01:22:33.

End of official listing