HM TOWER OF LONDON LIBERTY BOUNDARY MARKERS

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1393922
Date first listed:
18-Aug-2010
Statutory Address:
HM TOWER OF LONDON LIBERTY BOUNDARY MARKERS

Map

Ordnance survey map of HM TOWER OF LONDON LIBERTY BOUNDARY MARKERS
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Location

Statutory Address:
HM TOWER OF LONDON LIBERTY BOUNDARY MARKERS

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

County:
Greater London Authority
District:
Tower Hamlets (London Borough)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 33431 80646, TQ 33447 80691, TQ 33557 80815, TQ 33570 80716, TQ 33577 80696, TQ 33651 80705, TQ 33729 80385, TQ 33738 80413, TQ 33744 80422, TQ 33760 80457, TQ 33778 80637, TQ 33782 80694

Reasons for Designation

The Tower Liberty boundary markers, set up at various dates from 1868 onwards, are recommended for designation at Grade II for the following principal reason: * Historic interest: as material witnesses to the Royal Liberty of the Tower of London, and of its historic boundaries.

Details

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 13/09/2012

788/0/10276 18-AUG-10

HM Tower of London Liberty Boundary Markers

GV II

12 boundary markers, 1868 and later. The markers are located within the jurisdiction of two neighbouring London authorities: the City and Tower Hamlets; the 12 designated markers that fall within Tower Hamlets are listed here (ref. 508103 for City of London).

The 22 surviving boundary markers are arranged in an irregular arc from Tower Stairs in the west to Tower Bridge in the east. Some 13 of the markers are identical in form, being flat round-topped iron posts bearing with the initials WD with the Pheon, or broad arrow symbol, denoting Board of Ordnance ownership (represented by ^ in this text) and their number in the sequence; these may belong to the set installed by the War Department in 1868, although some have since been relocated or renewed. The others vary widely in form and appearance, and can only be dated approximately if at all.

#7: Painted iron post with rounded top, inscribed '^ W.D. No.7.', at base of wall to nos. 8-10 Tower Hill (Grade II), to left of Tower Hill Terrace steps. Possibly of 1868. TQ3343180646

#8: Painted iron post with rounded top, inscribed '^ W.D. No.8.', at base of wall separating All Hallows churchyard from nos. 8-10 Tower Hill (Grade II), corner of Tower Hill Terrace and Byward Street. Possibly of 1868. TQ3344780691

#13: Painted iron post with rounded top, inscribed '^ W.D. No.13.', attached to wall above basement steps at 43 Trinity Square (Grade II). Possibly of 1868. TQ3355880815

#16: Square metal plaque inscribed 'WD ^ 16', set into pavement on north side of Tower Hill. Not shown on 1909 survey; probably early C20. TQ3357080716

#17: Painted iron post with rounded top, inscribed '^ W.D. No.17 15 feet north', set against railings on south side of Tower Hill. Possibly of 1868, presumably moved to its present position when Tower Hill was widened in the 1880s. TQ3357780696

#18: Painted iron post with rounded top, inscribed '^ W.D. No.18', set against railings on south side of Tower Hill. Possibly of 1868, presumably moved to its present position when Tower Hill was widened in the 1880s. TQ3365180705

#25: Square metal plaque with embossed inscription reading '25 TL BM', set into roadway at junction of Mansell Street, Minories and East Smithfield. Presumably renewed during post-war road widening. TQ3378280694

#26: Square metal plaque marked with a triangle and the inscription 'E II R No.26', set into pavement at junction of East Smithfield and St Katharine's Way. The marker was formerly attached to the western range of buildings at St Katharine's Dock, and was presumably renewed when these were demolished in the 1970s. TQ3377880637

#27: Square metal plaque marked with a triangle and the inscription 'E II R No.27', set into pavement on east side of St Katharine's Way in front of International House. The marker was formerly attached to the western range of buildings at St Katharine's Dock, and was presumably renewed when these were demolished in the 1970s. TQ3376080457

#28: Painted iron post with rounded top, inscribed '^ W.D. No.28', at base of steps to Tower Bridge approach ramp (Grade I) facing St Katharine's Way. Presumably installed in present location when Tower Bridge was completed in 1894. TQ3374480422

#29: Painted iron post with rounded top, inscribed '^ W.D. No.29', at base of wall to Tower Bridge approach ramp (Grade I) facing St Katharine's Way. . Presumably installed in present location when Tower Bridge was completed in 1894. TQ3373880413

#31: Painted iron post with rounded top, said to be inscribed '^ W.D. No.31' but impossible to view in detail, at base of abutment wall beneath Tower Bridge (Grade I). . Presumably installed in present location when Tower Bridge was completed in 1894. TQ3372980385

Two surviving markers are excluded from the listing: #10, which was installed inside the Port of London Authority building (Grade II*) on the latter's completion in 1922, and is already included in that listing, and #15, a commemorative plaque set up in 1992.

HISTORY: From the middle ages until the late C19, the Tower of London and its environs - referred to as the Tower Liberty or Liberties - had a special administrative status. As a royal palace and garrison the Tower itself was a self-governing entity, distinct from the neighbouring City of London and County of Middlesex for the purposes of taxation, law enforcement and military service. At some point, seemingly by the early C13, its prerogatives were extended to cover the strategically important area immediately beyond its outer walls, comprising Petty Wales to the west, Tower Hill to the north and what is now St Katherine's Way to the east; for reasons of defence this buffer zone was to be kept free of buildings, although as London expanded to the east a degree of encroachment was inevitable. Disputes between the City and the Tower over the precise extent of their relative jurisdictions were rife in the C16, and created the impetus for a legal judgment of 1536 describing the exact boundaries of the Liberty, and for the first mapping-out of those boundaries in Haiward and Gascoyne's survey of 1597. The Tower's sphere of influence reached its maximum extent in 1686, when additional parcels of royal land in Spitalfields, East Smithfield and Little Minories were added to its domain.

The Liberty declined in importance during the C19: the outlying areas were removed from its jurisdiction, its legal authority was gradually reduced before being merged into that of the County of London in 1894, and its subsumption into the London Borough of Stepney in 1900 removed the last of its administrative responsibilities. It maintained a ceremonial existence, however: in a procession still held every third Ascension Day, the choir of St Peter ad Vincula Church ceremonially beat the boundary, delineated by a series of marker posts originally standardised by the War Department in 1868 and periodically renewed since. Bombing during the London Blitz and post-war road-widening led to the loss of many of the markers, although some were replaced or relocated. 22 of the 31 boundary points are still marked.

SOURCES: Survey notes and drawings held by the National Archives (notably WO 94/89 and WORK 31/2225) and Historic Royal Palaces (notably TOL 3397 and TOL 05/031) John Charlton (ed.), The Tower of London: its Buildings and Institutions (1978). Anna Keay, The Elizabethan Tower of London (2001). Glanville Group, Boundary Marker Report for Historic Royal Palaces (September 2008).

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The Tower Liberty boundary markers are listed at Grade II for the following principal reason: * Historic interest: as material witnesses to the Royal Liberty of the Tower of London, and its historic boundaries.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number:
508104
Legacy System:
LBS

Legal

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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