London Wall: section of Roman and medieval wall and bastions, west and north of Monkwell Square


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
City and County of the City of London (London Borough)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 32305 81677

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.

Archaeological excavation has indicated that the standing and buried remains of the Roman and medieval Wall north and west of Monkwell Square survive well and will provide a valuable insight into the construction techniques employed during the Roman and medieval periods. The buried deposits beyond the internal face of the Wall will retain information on the occupation of this area relating to the Roman Cripplegate fort and will contribute towards our understanding of the relationship between the fort and the Roman Town Wall, whilst the section of berm and infilled fort and Town Wall ditches to the west of the north-south aligned section of walling will provide evidence for the development of these defensive features. The ruins and buried remains of buildings which originally formed part of the Barber Surgeons' Hall and the buried deposits of part of the graveyard will provide an insight into the history of the site during the medieval and post-medieval periods.


The monument is situated to the north and west of Monkwell Square and includes the standing and buried remains of part of Cripplegate Roman Fort and London Wall, the Roman and medieval defences of London, and part of the former graveyard of St Giles's Church. 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 circuit 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 of London Wall represents the north western corner of the Roman Cripplegate fort and includes the ruins and buried remains of the Roman and medieval Town Wall, the fort wall, two internal turrets and four bastions (numbers 11a, 12, 13 and 14). Excavations at several locations on the Wall's north western circuit, following World War II bomb damage, recovered evidence to indicate that the construction of the Wall in this area differed from that along the rest of London Wall. Here, the north and west walls of Cripplegate fort, built between AD 120 and 150, provided existing defensive boundaries and, when London Wall was constructed, they were thickened to conform to the standard width of the Town Wall and incorporated within its circuit. This was achieved by constructing a second, narrower wall against the internal face of the existing fort walls. The latter rise from a foundation of compacted rubble which form a raft supporting the main body of the Wall. Internally, it was strengthened by a rampart and externally by a `V'-shaped ditch which has become infilled over time. A section of the ditch, approximately 100m in length, is included in the scheduling, where it lies parallel with the section of Roman and medieval walling which runs south west to north east. This area was later incorporated into the former graveyard of the church of St Giles's Without Cripplegate, which is situated to the north east, and is included in the scheduling. The graveyard associated with the church will provide evidence for a demographic study of the post-medieval population. London Wall itself stands on a foundation trench of puddled clay and flint that has been inserted into the fort's internal rampart. The foundations are capped with ragstone and form a raft supporting the main body of the Wall. The Wall itself rises from a triple tile course on its internal face with a rubble and mortar core faced with Kentish ragstone and banded at intervals by tile courses. At the eastern end of the site a section of walling stands up to 4m high above the present ground level and fragments of the fort and town walls are visible at its base, above which is medieval stonework with modern repairs and insertions. Close to the eastern end of the site are the remains of bastion number 11a, which was consolidated in 1970 and is 13th century or later in date. It is `D'-shaped in plan, of hollow construction, and is about 6m in diameter. Immediately to the south of the bastion are the buried remains of an intermediate, internal turret of the fort which is included in the scheduling. The ruins of bastion number 12, which is horseshoe-shaped in plan, are situated at the north western corner of the site. The lower courses of the bastion's external face are battered and retain putlogs, used to fix scaffolding to the face of the wall when it was constructed. In 1900 when the bastion was partly reconstructed, the remains of an internal angle turret were uncovered here. This will survive as a buried feature and is also included in the scheduling. Two further bastions, numbers 13 and 14, are situated in the south western part of the site. During the early 17th century the former was incorporated into a courtroom of the adjacent Barber Surgeons' Hall, forming an apse on the western side of the building. A section of the Roman Wall, 29m in length, to the north of the bastion was reused as the western boundary to the Hall and several ancillary buildings were constructed against the Wall's internal face. These buildings were severely damaged by the Great Fire of London in 1666 and, although subsequently rebuilt, they were demolished in 1863. Running east from the internal face of bastion number 13 is a section of medieval wall, originally constructed as a party wall to the Hall's ancillary buildings, which retains evidence of window openings, beam slots (for supporting a floor) and a fireplace. It is approximately 5m in length and is included in the scheduling to preserve the relationship between the Roman Wall and the Barber Surgeons' Hall. Bastion number 14 is situated 35m south west of bastion number 13, at the southern end of the site. It is also `D'-shaped in plan, of hollow construction, and is thought to date from the medieval period. The external face of the bastion is battered at its base and retains putlog holes and arrow slits within its fabric, whilst the interior is faced mainly with brick. Against the outer (north) face of the bastion is a stretch of medieval rubble core which has a 19th century brick arch inserted through it. Approximately 13m to the east and 6m to the south further sections of the London Wall circuit survive as buried features and are the subject of separate schedulings. The concrete and brick facing to the lake, situated to the north and north west of the site, the iron railing of the Barber Surgeons' Hall and all interpretation boards are excluded from the scheduling. However, the ground beneath all these features is included. Existing services and their trenches are also excluded from the scheduling although the ground around them is included.

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


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

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Books and journals
Grimes, W, The Excavation of Roman and Medieval London, (1968), 15-29
Grimes, W, The Excavation of Roman and Medieval London, (1968), 71-73
Lyon, J, Cripplegate Fort EC2, City of London: an assessement of archaeol, (2003), 24,33
Lyon, J, Cripplegate Fort EC2, City of London: an assessement of archaeol, (2003)
Merrifield, R, The Roman City of London, (1965), 197
Schofield, J, Maloney, C (Eds), Archaeology in the City of London, 1907-1991: a guide...150
Schofield, J, Maloney, C (Eds), Archaeology in the City of London, 1907-1991: a guide...
Maloney, J, 'Roman Urban Defences in the West' in Recent Work on London's Defences, , Vol. 51, (1983)
Harding, C, City of London survey of the scheduled sections of Roman , 1984,


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.

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