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London Wall: section of Roman wall within the London Wall underground car park, 25m north of Austral House and 55m north west of Coleman Street

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: London Wall: section of Roman wall within the London Wall underground car park, 25m north of Austral House and 55m north west of Coleman Street

List entry Number: 1018885

Location

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

Parish:

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 24-Aug-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 28-Nov-2006

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 26323

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

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.

History

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

Details

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.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Grimes, W, The Excavation of Roman and Medieval London, (1968)
Merrifield, R, The Roman City of London, (1965)
Schofield, J, Maloney, C (Eds), Archaeology in the City of London, 1907-1991: a guide...
'Journal of Roman Studies' in Roman Britain in 1957 (Journal of Roman Studies, Volume 48, 1958), , Vol. 48, (1958), p144
Maloney, J, 'Roman Urban Defences in the West' in Recent Work on London's Defences, , Vol. 51, (1983)
Other
Harding, C, City of London survey of the scheduled sections of Roman , 1984,
London Archaeological Archive and Research Ce, Catalogue of archaeological sites [LAARC],

National Grid Reference: TQ 32578 81581

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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End of official listing