London Wall: the west gate of Cripplegate fort and a section of Roman wall in London Wall underground car park, adjacent to Noble Street


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018889

Date first listed: 24-Aug-1961

Date of most recent amendment: 28-Nov-2006


Ordnance survey map of London Wall: the west gate of Cripplegate fort and a section of Roman wall in London Wall underground car park, adjacent to Noble Street
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Greater London Authority

District: City and County of the City of London (London Borough)

National Grid Reference: TQ 32247 81559


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 standing remains of the Roman Wall and west gate of Cripplegate fort survive well within the underground car park viewing chamber, and retain information on the construction techniques employed during the Roman period. This gateway is the only known example on the Wall's circuit which was not subsequently rebuilt in the medieval or post-medieval periods. It will retain information to allow its Roman plan to be reconstructed. The combination of the Cripplegate fort west gate, fort wall and later modifications to form part of the City Wall means that the monument is of particular importance in understanding the development of Roman London's defences.


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


The monument is situated within an underground car park beneath the road called London Wall, approximately 12m south of Bastion House. It includes the standing and buried remains of part of the Roman Cripplegate fort and also part of London Wall, the Roman and medieval defensive wall 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. The section of Roman walling beneath the road known as London Wall represents part of the west side of Cripplegate fort and the north west side of the London Wall circuit. The monument was excavated in the late 1950s and remains largely visible within a viewing chamber of the underground car park known as London Wall car park. The construction of the Wall in this area is known to have differed from that along the rest of the London Wall circuit. Here, the west wall of Cripplegate fort, built between AD 120 and 150, provided an existing defensive boundary which was thickened by constructing a narrower town wall against the internal face of the fort wall to conform with the standard width of London Wall. This double wall is visible to the north of the north gate turret. The walls of the fort rise from a foundation of compacted rubble which forms a raft supporting the main body of the wall. Internally, it was strengthened by a rampart of about 3.5m width inside which ran a road about 5m wide, and externally by a `V'-shaped ditch measuring approximately 3m wide and 1.5m deep. This has become infilled over time. The later Roman Town Wall stands on a foundation trench of puddled clay and flint which has been inserted into the fort's internal rampart. Its foundations are capped with ragstone which form a raft supporting the main body of the Wall which has a rubble and mortar core faced with Kentish ragstone. The excavation also revealed the foundations of a double gate forming the western gateway into Cripplegate fort, of which the north turret and the central piers remain visible. The north turret is about 4.57m square in plan, built of ragstone on a plinth of massive sandstone blocks and contains a guardroom with a doorway at the south east corner. The two central piers survive as rectangular foundations of ragstone masonry. Only part of the south turret was excavated and was not preserved. The excavation provided evidence that the gateway continued in use after the construction of London Wall, but at a later stage, possibly in medieval times, was blocked with a ragstone wall, part of which survives. Approximately 4m to the north and 4m to the south of the monument further standing remains of London Wall are known to survive, and these are the subject of separate schedulings. The floor of the underground car park, all modern railings and signs are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included. The walls and ceiling of the car park viewing chamber are also exluded from the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 26328

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grimes, W, The Excavation of Roman and Medieval London, (1968)
Lyon, J, Cripplegate Fort EC2, City of London: an assessement of archaeol, (2003)
Merrifield, R, London: City of the Romans, (1983)
Merrifield, R, The Roman City of London, (1965)
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,
London Archaeological Archive and Research Ce, Catalogue of archaeological sites [LAARC],

End of official listing