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
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
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.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
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.
End of official listing