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
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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],
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