Reasons for Designation
London Wall was constructed as part of an extensive programme of public works
between approximately AD 190 and AD 225. It served to form the basis of the
protection of the town far into the medieval period, and was also a key factor
in determining the shape and development of both Roman and medieval London.
The uniformity of design and construction of the 2nd century wall suggests
that it was planned and built as a single project. It enclosed the whole of
the landward side of the town from Tower Hill to Blackfriars, incorporating an
existing military fort at Cripplegate. It was laid out in straight sections,
linking the major routeways into London, and gateways were constructed at the
points of entry at Aldgate, Bishopsgate, Newgate and Ludgate. The defensive
nature of much of the Wall's circuit was strengthened by an external ditch,
with the exception of those areas where the marshland around the Walbrook
acted as a natural defensive feature. Internally, it was strengthened by a
bank of earth.
The Roman Wall was built on a trench foundation of puddled clay, and included
a rubble core interspersed with bonding tile courses. It is known to have
stood to a height of approximately 4.4m above a sandstone plinth, and is
believed to have been surmounted by a parapet walkway. Excavation has
indicated that defensive bastions were added to the Wall in the 3rd Century
AD, and a number were also added during the medieval period when the Wall was
repaired and refortified. By the mid-16th Century, however, with the continued
expansion of London, its function as a town boundary and defence had ceased.
London Wall survives in various states of preservation. Some parts of the
Wall, especially along the eastern section, still stand to almost full height
and the bastions are also clearly visible. Other parts are no longer visible
above the present ground surface, but in these areas sections of the Wall
survive as buried features, and sufficient evidence exists for their positions
to be accurately identified for much of its length. The wall's role in the
origins and history of England's capital city, its contribution towards an
understanding of Romano-British and medieval urban development, and the light
the remains throw on Roman and medieval civil engineering techniques, justify
considering all sections of London Wall that exhibit significant
archaeological remains as being worthy of protection.
The section of Roman Wall within the London Wall underground car park, 25m
north of Austral House and 55m north west of Coleman Street, survives well.
The state of preservation of the Wall provides a valuable insight into the
construction techniques employed during the Roman and medieval periods. The
survival of the Wall as upstanding Roman masonry is rare, this being the
only section standing along the northern side of the London Wall circuit.
As a monument which is visible to the public, this section of London Wall
serves as an important educational and recreational resource which will
increase our understanding of how London's defences developed.
The monument is situated within an underground car park beneath the road
known as London Wall, to the north of Austral House and north west of Coleman
Street. It includes the standing and buried remains of part of London Wall,
the Roman and medieval defences of London.
London Wall was constructed towards the end of the 2nd century AD enclosing a
semi-circular area of approximately 133ha on the north side of the Thames,
from the site of Tower Hill in the east, to Blackfriars in the west. For much
of its length the defences were strengthened by a berm and ditch, and
gateways were built at principal points of entry. The Wall was reinforced and
repaired throughout the Roman and medieval periods, and bastions were added.
Excavation has indicated that during the later Roman period a riverside wall
was constructed parallel to the north bank of the Thames in order to protect
the southern part of London. The expansion of the city towards the end of the
medieval period led to the decline of London Wall as a defensive feature.
This section represents part of the northern side of the Wall's circuit east
of the Roman fort at Cripplegate and includes a fragment of standing Roman
masonry, approximately 11m in length. The Wall was constructed on a
foundation trench of puddled clay and flint with a capping of ragstone which
forms a raft supporting the main body of the Wall. The Wall itself rises from
a sandstone plinth and has a rubble and mortar core faced with Kentish
ragstone banded at intervals by tile courses. It stands just above the first
double tile bonding course, approximately 3.5m above the plinth, which is
itself situated level with the floor of the car park about 5m below the
present road level. The Wall survives to its full width, although the
external face has been partially robbed exposing the core. The internal
(south) face of the Wall is intact with the triple tile course at its base,
the first triple and double tile courses above, and the ragstone courses
between all are clearly visible.
This fragment of Roman Wall is all that remains of a longer section of
walling (of about 64m) which was uncovered in 1957 during clearance works for
the new road and was, for the most part, subsequently demolished during the
construction of the road and car park. The monument was deliberately
preserved as a particularly fine portion of the Wall.
Approximately 58m to the east and 120m to the west of the monument further
sections of London Wall are preserved as buried and standing features and
both are the subject of separate schedulings.
The floor of the car park, the walls and pillars which support the car park
ceiling, along with barriers, bins and signage are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.