London, Volume 1

Knight, Charles


Roman London.

Roman London.




We are apt to think and speak of the Roman occupation of Britain as if it had been little more than a mere inroad into the country--a brief episode having scarcely anything to do with the main course of our history. Our modern English civilization has over its whole surface so completely Teutonic and feudal a colour, that we can hardly conceive ourselves to have been other than Normans or Saxons from our emerging out of barbarism. Yet our island was in great part a Roman country, in a certain sense, for not less than years. So long was it from the invasion of Julius Caesar, which, if it did not actually make us tributaries to Rome, not only brought us into constant intercourse with Romanized Gaul, but, as Strabo, writing within years after, records, made almost the whole island familiarly known to the Romans, till the last remnants of the social fabric raised by that great people were thrown down and swept away by the Saxons in the latter part of the century. That is very nearly - of the whole period that has elapsed from the landing of Caesar to the present hour. It is within a few years of as long a time as the English have been settled in Ireland. It is a portion of our history of as great extent as has passed since the middle of the reign of Henry III.-since the intermediate point between the grant of Magna Charta and the establishment of the House of Commons--a date which may be said to stand almost at the commencement of the whole system of our existing civilization. Or even if we reckon the era of Roman Britain only from the expedition of Claudius, which commenced the colonization of the country a years after its invasion, to the breaking up of the imperial government in the beginning of the century, still here is a period of above centuries and a half-or as long as from the present day back to the wars of the Roses. To a Briton, therefore,


in the last days of the Roman dominion, the retrospect even over this period only, during which it had been as completely established on the banks of the Thames as on the banks of the Tiber, was as extended as that which takes in to us of the present day the whole rise and progress of the modern political system of Europe. It was the same as it is to us now to cast our view back over whatever has grown up and happened in England during the whole rule of the House of Hanover, the House of Stuart, and the House of Tudor--including the Revolution, the Great Rebellion, the Union of the Crowns, the Reformation-being probably, at the least, -fourths of the entire amount of the political and social causes which have operated to make the country and the people what they now are.

There is sound sense and truth, as well as elegant fancy, in what has been written by the excellent Camden:

Whilst I treat of the Roman empire in Britain (which lasted, as I said, about


years), it comes into my mind how many colonies of Romans must have been transplanted hither in so long a time; what numbers of soldiers were continually sent from Rome, for garrisons; how many persons were despatched hither, to negotiate affairs, public or private; and that these, intermarrying with the Britons, seated themselves here, and multiplied into families; for


, says Seneca,

the Roman conquers, he inhabits

. So that I have oft-times concluded that the Britons might derive themselves from the Trojans by these Romans, who doubtless descended from the Trojans, with greater probability than either the Arverni, who from Trojan blood styled themselves brethren to the Romans, or the Mamertini, Hedui, and others, who upon fabulous grounds grafted themselves into the Trojan stock.

For Rome, that common mother, as calls her, challenges all such as citizens

Quos domuit, nexuque pio longinqua revinxit.

Whom conquered she in sacred bonds hath tied.Britannia, Gibson's Translation; p. cvii. Edit. of 1722.

However, we do not desire to stand pledged to the Trojan part of this speculation.

The spot on which London is built, or at least, that on which the buildings were most probably erected, was pointed out by nature for the site of a city. It was the suspicion of the sagacious Wren, as we are informed in the


that the whole valley between Camberwell Hill and the hills of Essex must have been anciently filled by a great frith or arm of the sea, which increased in width towards the east; and that this estuary was only in the course of ages reduced to a river by the vast sand-hills which were gradually raised on both sides of it by the wind and tide, the effect being assisted by embankments, which on the Essex side are still perfectly distinguishable as of artificial origin, and are evidently works that could only have been constructed by a people of advanced mechanical skill. Wren himself ascribed these embankments to the Romans; and it is stated that a single breach made in them in his time cost to repair it--from which we may conceive both how stupendous must have been the labour bestowed on their original construction, and of what indispensable utility they are still found to be. In fact, were it not for this ancient barrier, the broad and fertile meadows stretching along that border of the river would still be a mere marsh, or a bed of sand overflowed by the water, though left perhaps dry in many places on the


retirement of the tide. We have in a former paper[n.147.1]  expressed an opinion, that Dion Cassius must have been mistaken in stating that there was a bridge over the Thames at the time of the invasion of Claudius, or rather of his general, Aulus Plautius, in A.D. ; and,--indeed, it is clearly impossible that there could have been anything of the kind where he places it--only the mouth of the river [n.147.2] --if we are to understand that expression in the sense which it would now convey. But if the lower part of the Thames at this early date presented the appearance which has just been supposed, of a spacious estuary or frith rather than a river, its mouth, or, as Dion calls it, the place where it discharges itself into the ocean,[n.147.3]  might be held to be only a little below London-just as at this day we consider the mouth of the Forth to be, not at Dunbar or North Berwick, but many miles higher up at the head of the frith. It is remarkable that Ptolemy calls the Thames, when he speaks of it as forming the southern boundary of the Trinobantes, not a river, but an estuary. So also does Tacitus, who had probably been in Britain. And Caesar's description, too, would seem to imply, that what was called the River Thames when he visited the country was only the upper part of what now goes by that name. Kent, or Cantium, which we know from Ptolemy extended at this date at least as far to the west as it still does, he expressly describes as --wholly lying on the sea-coast-without a hint of any part of it being bounded by the river.[n.147.4]  And afterwards, in mentioning the Thames, he seems distinctly to speak of it as bounding the territory of Cassivellaunus only: he conducts his forces, not to that part of the Thames which flows past the territory in question, or to the Thames it so flows--but, simply, to the Thames and into the territory of Cassivellaunus--

ad flumen Tamesin, in fines Cassivellauni.

[n.147.5]  He had previously told us that the said territory was divided from the maritime states by the river called the Thames, at the distance of about miles from the sea--that is to say, from the part of the coast, near Sandwich; where he had landed.[n.147.6]  All these expressions might possibly be made to bear an interpretation conformable to the present appearance of the country, and the notion we now have of the junction of the river with the sea about the same point at which it receives the Medway or the Swale; but they certainly seem to be more apt and natural if understood in reference to a different state of things-when, as we have supposed, what was called the Thames seemed to be swallowed up in a branch of the sea within perhaps or miles of where London now stands. Above all, we submit that the expressions of Dion Cassius in describing the place where, as he says, the Thames meets the ocean are quite inapplicable to what the river could ever have been at its present mouth, and must be referred to a point much higher up. They exactly set before us the irregular diffusion of the water over the whole valley through the midst of which the Thames now flows, which would take place before the river was brought in the way that has been explained within its present bounds, and thereby deepened in its mid-channel as well as greatly reduced in width--in fact, narrowed from a broad expanse of pools and shallows, assuming, probably, when the tide rose the appearance of extended


flood, to a single water-course. At this its junction with the sea, the historian states, the Thames by its own overflow spread itself out into marshes, which, he adds, the natives, who were familiar with the places that were firm and fordable, easily made their way across.[n.148.1]  It is manifest that the fording of the Thames at what we now call its mouth must at all times have been still more out of the question than even the throwing of a bridge over it near that point.

But the elevation on which London is built offered a site at once raised above the water, and at the same time close upon the navigable portion of it-conditions which did not meet in any other locality on either side of the river, or estuary, from the sea upwards. It was the spot on which a town could be set down, so as to take advantage of the facilities of communication between the coast and the interior presented by this great natural highway. To this peculiarity of position London probably owed both its existence and its name. Many conjectures have been offered as to the meaning of the name London. Like all our oldest British names of places, it is most probably Celtic, and there can be little doubt that the latter part of it is merely the or same word with the Saxon town--which is found in the names of many more of our most ancient towns both in England and Scotland. It seems to signify, what a town uniformly was in early times, a place of strength--a place either naturally strong or fortified by art, usually--both the and the other; and it may be recognised in its Welsh form in the Latin and . The has been conceived by some etymologists to be , a wood; by others, , full, populous; by others, , a plain; but no of these derivations seems to furnish a name for this settlement by the river-side so appropriate and distinctive as that from , the ancient British word for ships. London would thus mean the town of ships--a description which must have been applicable to it from its foundation, if it originated in the way we have supposed. Or, at any rate, the comparative eminence of London as a resort for ships may be as ancient as the name--which is answer enough to Maitland's objection to this etymology, even if his assumption were to be conceded, that the town could not have deserved this name at the time of its foundation. But the probability is, that the spot was resorted to as a landing-place by the craft ascending the river, and that in course of time the town grew up around the port. The etymology from receives some corroboration from of the Latin forms of the name, , which is that given in the Itinerary of Antoninus; while the of Ammianus Marcellinus seems to show that the syllable had very early come to be pronounced much in the way it still is--a natural effect of the nasal consonant by which the vowel is followed in what we have supposed to be the original word. Camden states that London is actually called , that is, a harbour for ships, by an ancient British or Welsh bard.

The silence of Caesar has been taken as a proof that London did not exist when he visited the country; and certainly it is a proof, if any such were wanted, that Geoffrey of Monmouth's great city of Troynovant, with its strong wall adorned with numerous towers, and its splendid public edifices of all kinds, making it excel every other city in the world, had not yet been built. But, although the place was doubtless neither famous, nor in any respect considerable, at this early


date, any more than the best of the other stations which the Britons called towns, the name, which, whatever it may be, is certainly not Roman, gives ground for a presumption that London did not owe its beginning to the Romans. Caesar particularizes no British town whatever, with the exception only of the capital of Cassivellaunus, supposed to be Verulam, which was perhaps the only that came in his way during his short and hasty inroad. Yet it would be too much to conclude that the country contained no others, merely because he does not name them, and possibly saw no more. No doubt, many other settlements of the same kind had been long ere this founded by the numerous population which was found to be in possession of the island; and London may very well have been of them, although as yet, perhaps, undistinguished from the rest, so that, not lying in his route, it did not attract Caesar's attention, if he may be supposed even to have heard its name. We may infer, however, that it was not yet recognised as the capital of the country; nor in all likelihood was there any particular town that held that rank.

The London of the Britons could only have been what Caesar, and Strabo after him, have described every British town as being, a collection of huts set down on a dry spot in the midst of the marshes, or in a cleared space within a wood, and encompassed, in addition to these natural protections, by the artificial defences of a mound and a ditch. Within these inclosures, Strabo tells us, the inhabitants were accustomed to stall as many cattle as sufficed for a few months' consumption; and Caesar relates that, when the town or fastness of Cassivellaunus fell into his hands, he found in it a great number of cattle, which, he intimates, had been brought thither by the people when they came from all parts to take refuge in that chief stronghold. It is probable that most of the cattle, in which we are informed the island abounded, still roamed wild and unappropriated through the woods and pastures-dividing the country with the infinite multitude () of human beings, by which, as Caesar notes, it was already peopled. Whether there were any herds regarded as belonging either to individuals, or to the various villages and other communities, does not appear. But the southern Britons, we know, practised agriculture, and wore cloth: that is implied in Caesar's statement, that the ruder tribes of the interior for the most part sowed no corn, and were dressed only in skins. The country, therefore, was not all woodland and marsh. No doubt, the southern coast presented already, not only many patches of cultivation, but some considerable tracts brought under the plough. As for London, however, we know that at a date many centuries later a vast forest still covered the country all around it only a few miles back from the river, and that a fen or lake of great extent, whence the part of the metropolis now called Finsbury derives its name, lay on the north-east close to the city wall. When it was a British town, it probably occupied only the face and summit of the natural elevation ascending from the river, stretching from between and the Tower on the hand to Dowgate on the other, and going back no farther than to the line of the present and . The Wall Brook and the Sher Bourne on the west, and the Lang Bourne on the north-though their straggling waters had not yet become known to fame by these, or perhaps by any other names,--and to the east the wide-spread marsh which long after continued to cover the low grounds now occupied by the suburb of , furnished such natural boundaries as were usually sought for by


the founders of these rude settlements. A little to the north of the Lang Bourne, a highway may have passed nearly along the course of and , prolonging itself along , , and to the west;--Caesar does not describe his march as if it had been performed through a country without roads;--but immediately beyond this the fen may be supposed to have closed in the town on the side, and the primeval forest on the other.

The earliest mention of London by any extant writer of antiquity occurs in the pages of Tacitus, who did not compose his till more than a century and a half after the invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar. The name is not noticed either by Strabo or Pliny the Elder, his predecessors, although both have given us descriptions of the British islands. But it appears from Tacitus that in the year , in the reign of the Emperor Nero, London, or , as he calls it, was already a place of great importance;--

not indeed dignified by the name of a colony,

is the description of the historian,

but yet of the


distinction for abundance of resident merchants and of traffic with other places;

for such seems to be the true meaning of the expressions used.[n.150.1]  Both parts of this statement, it may be remarked, go equally to support the probability of London having been a town of British origin: if it had been founded by the Romans, it would, no doubt, have enjoyed the name of a colony; but in that case it could only as yet have existed some or eighteen years at the utmost, for there certainly was no Roman colonization of Britain antecedent to the expedition of Claudius, nor probably till some years later; and it is scarcely to be supposed that it could have grown up to the magnitude and eminence it had now attained in so short a time. The facts which Tacitus relates testify still more strongly than his general description to both the populousness of London at this early date, and the consideration in which it was held on every account.

When the Britons rose in arms against the Roman domination at the call of the outraged Boadicea, the imperial general Suetonius Paulinus, then engaged at the opposite side of the island in the conquest of the isle of Anglesey, hastened across the country to London, and only abandoned his intention of making the preservation of that town his object, upon finding that the force he could reckon upon would be insufficient for the protection of--a place which was probably as yet without walls.[n.150.2]  All he could be prevailed upon to do by the prayers and tears of the inhabitants was to receive such of them as chose into his ranks before marching away. But the women, and the aged, and others also, the historian intimates, detained by the pleasantness of the place ), staid behind, and were in consequence destroyed by the enemy; for Boadicea, too, appears to have marched direct upon London as upon the centre and chief seat of the Roman power and civilization, In that town, and in the municipium or free town of Verulam, which was also sacked, it is asserted that there perished in this hour of unrelenting vengeance as many as citizens and allies of Rome; the former term being intended to denote the inhabitants of Verulam, the latter those of London. Both from these expressions, and from the whole


course of the story, it may be assumed that the people of both these places were now chiefly Romans. Dion Cassius, or rather his epitomist Xiphilinus, without mentioning the name of either, expressly designates them Roman towns.[n.151.1]  This writer gives a sickening description of the horrors perpetrated by Boadicea (or, as he calls her, Boundouica) and her infuriated followers.

It was,

he says,

a scene of devastation, and spoliation, and butchery not to be uttered. On the miserable people who fell into their hands there is nothing of what is most dreadful and ferocious that they did not inflict. Well-born and beautiful women they hung up naked, and, cutting off their breasts, sewed them upon their mouths, so as that they might be made to seem as if they were eating their own flesh; and after that they ran sharp stakes lengthways through their bodies. All this they did in the midst of sacrifices and festivity and derision, both in their other consecrated places and especially in the grove of Andate--for so they name the goddess Victory, who is


of the chief objects of their worship.

The old Druidic fanes, then--probably only rude structures open to the sky, or in some cases merely rounded lawns or glades--the [n.151.2]  or light places of the thick, dark wood,--were still standing in London or its neighbourhood, although the gods and shrines of a more cultivated superstition had also by this time been introduced into the country; for Tacitus mentions among the buildings which already decorated the recently planted colony of Camalodunum (Colchester or Malden), which was also at this time destroyed, a temple dedicated to Claudius the Divine, and an image of the Roman Victory, which probably adorned another sacred edifice in the same place. Perhaps the grim Andate had her bloody altar on the mount over which now rises the majestic dome of , and which may still have been out of the city, and enveloped in the sacred night of the old forest that howled around it. It is commonly assumed that upon this occasion Boadicea, before she left the place, burned London to the ground; and the soil at a certain depth is still supposed to retain the ashes and other evidences of that conflagration. The appearances discovered on the excavation of a deep trench for a sewer in in are thus described in a note by Sir John Henniker, printed in the Archaeologia:--

The soil is almost uniformly divided into


strata; the uppermost,




inches thick, of factitious earth; the




feet thick, of brick, apparently the ruins of buildings; the




inches thick, of wood ashes, apparently the remains of a town built of wood and destroyed by fire; the


, of Roman pavement, common and tesselated.

Archaeologia, vol. viii. p. 132.

In making another sewer from Dowgate through in , similar appearances were observed; the labourers brought up wood ashes, mixed with soft earth and mud, from a depth feet below the present surface.[n.151.4]  A few years ago also, in forming the northern approaches for the , on the site of the Church of St. Michael, Crooked Lane, and in East Cheap, there were found great quantities not only of ashes but of molten green glass, and of the fine red pottery called Samian ware, blackened evidently


by the action of an intense fire. Many of the pieces of discoloured pottery were worked into the mortar of a building, the foundations of which stood at the northeast corner of East Cheap, and imbedded in which coins of the Emperor Claudius were also found.[n.152.1]  These vestiges seem certainly to point to some great conflagration as having taken place in this part of the city in the earliest age of the Roman occupation-after some of those buildings had been erected to which the tesselated pavements belonged-but before the erection of many other Roman buildings, the remains of which have been disinterred in modern times-while most of the houses were still of wood,--and while all of them stood upon the lowest level at which any traces of building have yet been found, indeed upon the natural earth. These indications, it must be admitted, all agree sufficiently with the time of Boadicea's revolt, nor is there any other known catastrophe to which they can be referred. Dion Cassius, indeed, at least in the abridged and mutilated transcript of his account which has come down to us, makes no mention of the town being burned; but Tacitus, although he does not expressly assert a general conflagration, enumerates fire as instrument of devastation that was employed by the barbarians along with the sword, the gibbet, and the cross.

The rage, the courage, the confidence, the numbers of the insurgents, however, all proved of no avail against the military skill of the masters of the world. A single battle did not so much scatter their mixed and tumultuous array as literally tread it, coagulated into mass of gore, into the earth. Horribly were the horrors of the sack of London avenged. It was not a battle, indeed, but rather a --a hewing down and indiscriminate slaughter of every thing that had life-men, women, even the beasts of burthen-crowded into a narrow defile, and there left without power either to resist or to fly, or to do aught but propel another upon the sword. About only of the Roman soldiers were killed, and about as many more wounded; of the Britons, are said to have fallen on that day and in that spot. Their queen and leader, Boadicea, escaped from the field of battle; but, resolved that only her dead body, if even that, should fall into the hands of the victors, the heroine took poison, and so ended her life, now that all else was ended and gone.

The advantages of its situation probably enabled London soon to recover from the desolation to which it was reduced by Boadicea; but the silence of history, for more than centuries leaves us only ground for concluding that it was fortunate enough during all that time to afford no materials for history as it has been commonly written, going on in a course of even, noiseless prosperity, and sharing no more either in the calamities or the glories of war. Ptolemy, indeed, in his Geography, compiled in the early part of the century, mentions London (which he calls ) among the cities of the Cantii; but it cannot for a moment be inferred, from this unsupported statement, in the face of all probability, that London at that date stood on the south side of the Thames. Ptolemy is supposed to have taken much of his information about the north-western quarter of Europe from Phenician sources; and his geography of Britain has all the appearance of being descriptive of the country before it became known to the Romans, of whose occupation of any part of it he says not a word. At that early


period London may, for some reason or other, of which we know and can know nothing, have been accounted a town of the Cantii, even although divided by the river from the rest of their territory; or, what is more likely, a mistake as to such a matter may very easily have been made by Ptolemy, this same part of whose work is not free from much more serious errors. It will hardly, at any rate, be pretended, looking to the mere evidence of remains, that there was no London on the north bank of the Thames when Ptolemy wrote; and yet, unless that also be assumed, the correctness of his account, on the supposition that he really means to place London on the south side of the river, cannot be maintained.

The next mention that is made of London is so late as the year , when, immediately after the usurper Allectus, the murderer and successor of the more famous Carausius, had himself been overthrown and put to death by the Praefect Asclepiodotus, a body of Franks, who had been in his service, fell upon the town, and had begun to plunder it, when the opportune arrival of a part of the fleet of the Emperor Constantius in the Thames-

which always,

remarks Camden,

stood the Londoners a true friend

--made the marauders take to their heels or their horses. And years later there is recorded another deliverance of the place by the great Theodosius, then commanding the forces of the Emperor Valentinian I., from a combination of more ferocious enemies, wild Picts and Scots from the north mixed with Franks and Saxons from the opposite coast, who for nearly a century preceding had infested Roman Britain, till, growing bolder with every successful inroad, they had of late begun to push their incursions to the very heart of the country, and to attack its oldest seats of wealth and civilization. The account given by Ammianus Marcellinus sets forcibly before us the insecure and exposed state to which London itself and its neighbourhood were now reduced, in the old age and rapidly increasing weakness of the far extended empire of which it had formed a part for some or centuries. Theodosius, he tells us, having disembarked his forces at Rutupiae, or Sandwich--still the common landing-place from the Continent, as it had been from the days of Julius Caesar--immediately set out for London. On his march he met various roving bands of the enemy, laden with the spoils of the unhappy tributaries or provincials, and driving before them strings of human beings bound, as well as herds of cattle. He had no difficulty in putting these small parties, encumbered as they were, to the rout, and forcing them to surrender their booty, which he restored to its owners, after reserving only a small portion as a gratuity for his men, by whose exertions it had been recovered. London is described as having been before his landing reduced to extremities (); but the citizens had now recovered their spirits, and their deliverer made his entry into the place amid universal rejoicing, and in a sort of triumphant fashion.[n.153.1]  Theodosius seems to have remained for some time in London; and it is stated that before he left the island he restored to their ancient sound and secure condition both the towns and the military strongholds throughout the country, many of which had suffered much injury or dilapidation.[n.153.2]  From


these expressions it has been conjectured that London was now surrounded with a wall; but they would rather seem to warrant the supposition that the wall was only now repaired by Theodosius, and that its original construction is probably to be referred to an earlier date. The old tradition is, that it was built by the Emperor Constantine the Great, at the request of his mother Helena, soon after the beginning of this century. Coins of Helena, Camden affirms, had often been found under the wall. The story, in so far as Helena figures in it, is perhaps founded on nothing better than the notion, which is most probably erroneous, that that celebrated lady was a native of Britain; but the date which it would assign to the building of the wall is a probable enough . It is most likely that London was still without any fortifications when it was fallen upon and partially plundered, apparently without having offered any resistance, by the Frank auxiliaries of Allectus in the year ; and that very incident might naturally suggest the expediency of furnishing it with a defence against such attacks in future. By this time the predatory descents of the continental pirates had become so incessant and formidable that, notwithstanding the appointment a few years before of a Count of the Saxon Shore with a powerful fleet for the protection of the eastern and southern coasts (Carausius was the who held that command, to which he was appointed about the year ), there was no town in any part of Roman Britain that could be considered as any longer secure from attack.

It would seem to have been soon after its deliverance by Theodosius that London received, or assumed, the name of Augusta--a distinction which was enjoyed, it has been reckoned, by about cities in all throughout the empire, for the most part the capitals of their provinces or districts. Ammianus, in the places to which we have just been referring, describes it as an old town, and appears to intimate that it was called Lundinium at the time of which he speaks, but that when he wrote (which must have been within half a century after) it was designated Augusta.[n.154.1]  It may have adopted the latter name, in compliment or flattery to its deliverer and restorer, Theodosius, on his becoming Emperor of the West, in the year . However acquired, the title may be held to imply that it was now regarded as a town of the pretension, and most probably as the capital of Roman Britain. Its metropolitan character may also be inferred from the figure it makes in the Itinerary of Antoninus (about the end of the century), in which, of British roads that are given, begin from London, and others terminate at that city. Camden, with great probability, considers the famous London Stone, of which a small fragment still remains encased in another stone standing against the south wall of , in , as the central , or milestone, similar to that in the Forum at Rome, from which the chief British high roads radiated, and the distances on them were reckoned. , of which is a part, is supposed by Wren to have been the principal street of Roman London, and it is not unlikely that it may have been a British road before the arrival of the Romans. Extending to the north-west, it may have joined the other great highway, which appears to have run along the line of ,


most probably at the north-east corner of , whence it seems to have proceeded over Bridge (at the northern extremity of the present ) to the west, and perhaps also in another line towards the north, or the north-west-forming the road afterwards called Hermin Street by the Saxons. In the opposite direction, again, it is generally supposed to have passed, under the name of the Vicinal Way-perhaps the same with that called the Ikenild Street-through , towards the north-east; and, it may be, also to have sent out a branch due north along the line of the present Bishopsgate. The roads from the south side of the river, of which that from Rutupiae was the chief, may have been brought to and London Stone either over a bridge near where still is, or by a ferry a little higher up at Dowgate-supposed to be a corruption of Dwr-gate, that is, the water-gate-opposite to on the Surrey side, the mere name of which would seem to attest it to have been an ancient causeway.[n.155.1]  London Stone, it may be observed, stood anciently on the south side of , pitched upright, near the channel or kennel, according to Stow, who adds, that it was

fixed in the ground very deep, fastened with bars of iron, and otherwise so strongly set, that, if carts do run against it through negligence, the wheels be broken, and the stone itself unshaken.

Possibly the cart-wheels were made stronger afterwards, the better to stand the perils to which they were thus exposed; for it is pretty evident that the old stone has not always had the best of it in such encounters. It is now reduced, judging from what may be seen of it, to a fragment not a great deal larger than a man's head. Still, even this relic of so ancient and venerable a monument is interesting and precious; and we ought not to omit the name of the worthy citizen to whom we owe its preservation-Mr. Thomas Maiden, of Sherbourn Lane, printer, who, it is said, when was about to undergo a repair in , prevailed on the parish officers to consent that the stone should be placed where it still remains, after it had been doomed to destruction as a nuisance. For before this it stood close to the edge of the kerb-stone on the same side of the street, to which, it seems, it had been removed from its original position on the opposite side, in . Its foundations were uncovered in the course of the operations that took place after the great fire; and were found to be so extensive, that Wren, who does not appear to have doubted that they were Roman, was inclined to think that they must have supported some more considerable monument than even the central milliarium.

In the adjoining ground to the south, upon digging for altars,

we are told in the ,

were discovered some tesselated pavements, and other extensive remains of Roman workmanship and buildings.


adds the account,

this might in some degree have imitated the

Milliarium Aureum

at Constantinople, which was not in the form of a pillar as at Rome, but an eminent building; for under its roof, according to Cedrenus and Suidas, stood the statues of Constantine and Helena, Trajan, an equestrian statue of Hadrian, a statue of Fortune, and many other figures and decorations.

The recorded history of London Stone, we may add, reaches beyond the Conquest. Stow found it mentioned as a land-mark in a list of rents belonging to Christ's Church, in


Canterbury, at the end of

a fair-written Gospel-book,

given to that foundation by the- West Saxon King Athelstane, who reigned from to .


Roman London in course of time certainly extended over a much greater space than was occupied by the original British town, or even probably by that which Boadicea sacked and laid waste. Appearances which still exist, and numerous remains that have been discovered in modern times, prove that it must have spread out from the central height, which appears to have been built upon, not only to the east and the west, but also to the north, and even across the river to the south. With the exception of or sepulchral stones, which throw hardly any light upon the matter, no ancient inscriptions have been found in London; but there are great classes of indications by which we are assisted in conjecturing the probable limits of the Roman city; although, in consequence of the various facts not being all referable to the same epoch, they might not always, separately considered, conduct us to precisely the same conclusions.

I. The evidence we have is that afforded by the situations of the several Roman burial grounds connected with the city, as established by the different collections of sepulchral remains that have been discovered. It was the custom of the Romans, and indeed of most of the other nations of antiquity, to inter their dead always without the city, but at the same time generally in its near neighbourhood. Frequently the cemeteries were immediately without the gates, and were extended for some distance along both sides of the road beyond, as is still to be seen in what is called the Street of Tombs at Pompeii. Stow has given us a very particular account from his own observation of the discovery that has been recorded of a burial-place belonging to Roman London. It was found, he tells us, about the year , in course of digging for clay in

a large field, of old time, called Lottesworth, now Spitalfield,

on the east side of the churchyard of the dissolved priory of St. Mary Spital, which stood nearly where , Spitalfields, is now built, to the east of Bishopsgate Without. Many earthen urns were dug up here, full of ashes and burnt human bones, and each containing a piece of money, the customary classical viaticum. Stow particularly mentions copper coins of Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Trajan, and Antoninus Pius.

Besides those urns,


> he says,

many other pots were found in the same place, made of a white earth, with long necks and handles, like to our stone jugs: these were empty, but seemed to be buried full of some liquid matter, long since consumed and soaked through.

They were probably tear-vessels, or lachrymatories, as they are commonly called.

There were found,

Stow adds,

divers vials and other fashioned glasses, some most cunningly wrought, such as I have not seen the like, and some of crystal, all which had water in them, nothing differing in clearness, taste, or savour from common spring water, whatsoever it was at the


. Some of these glasses had oil in them, very thick, and earthly in savour. Some were supposed to have balm in them, but had lost the virtue.

Very few of the pots and glasses were


taken up whole. Besides the urns, dishes and cups were found, of a fine red-coloured earth, with Roman letters stamped in the bottoms, and outwardly as smooth and shining as if they had been of coral--the fine pottery known by the name of Samian ware.

There were also,

continues our antiquary,

lamps of white earth and red, artificially wrought with divers antiques about them; some




images, made of white earth, about a span long each of them;


I remember was of Pallas; the rest I have forgotten. I myself have reserved (amongst divers of those antiquities there)


urn with the ashes and bones, and


pot of white earth very small, not exceeding the quantity of a quarter of a wine pint, made in the shape of a hare squatted upon her legs, and between her ears is the mouth of the pot.

In the same field were likewise found some stone coffins, with bones in them--the remains probably of Britons or Saxons, and also some skulls and skeletons without coffins, or rather, as Stow conjectures, whose coffins, having been of timber, were consumed. The coffins appeared to have been hollowed out of great trees, and to have been fastened by iron nails, many of which were lying about--

such as are used in the wheels of shod carts, being each of them as big as a man's finger, and a quarter of a yard long, the heads


inches over.

Stow found under the heads of some of them

the old wood, scant turned into earth, but still retaining both the grain and proper colour

so that there could be no doubt as to what purpose they had served. The ground broken up on this occasion, however, appears to have been only a small portion of an immense field of the dead which had extended all along the north-eastern quarter of ancient London, from Marsh to the great fen or lake beyond . In , in taking down some old houses at the west end of , close to Bishopsgate, were found, , about feet below the surface, a tesselated pavement-then, under that, feet of rubbish-and, lastly, a stratum of clay, in which, at the depth of about a couple of feet, were several urns of Roman pottery, all containing ashes and burnt bones. There were also found a lachrymatory of blue glass, and a variety of other articles; but only piece of money is mentioned by Dr. Woodward in his account, a coin of Antoninus Pius.[n.158.1]  All this was inside the wall, which may be therefore conjectured to have included at this place an extension of the original city, and also, from the coin of Antoninus, to have been erected, at the latest, after the middle of the century. Indeed, it is evident, from the tesselated pavement and the debris found over the urns, that this burying ground had come to be built upon in a later age of the Roman occupation. Some skeletons and bones which had not been subjected to the action of fire were also found--the indications of the Christian mode of interment, which is believed to have become common before the end of the century, and which we are told by Macrobius had almost entirely superseded the burning of the dead by the end of the . In and , in Bishopsgate churchyard, on the other side of Bishopsgate, and outside the city wall, were found more urns, and also a vault, containing skeletons, erected with Roman bricks, and a grave constructed with the largest description of Roman tiles, together with a coin of Antoninus Pius.[n.158.2]  This, we believe, is the farthest point


westward to which the cemetery has yet been traced. But to the south-east of Spitalfields various Roman sepulchral remains have been from time to time brought to light. In , especially, great numbers of urns and lachrymatories were dug up about feet below the surface in and the adjoining space called the , to the east of the . There was also found a small monumental stone, with an inscription declaring it to have been erected by his wife to a soldier of the Legion. Another similar stone, inscribed to a soldier of the Legion, was found in in a burial-ground near the lower end of Whitechapel Lane.[n.159.1]  These monuments probably marked the burial-places of soldiers who had belonged to the garrison of the fort which stood on the site of the Tower, where a tombstone was found in , at the same depth with some ancient foundations, resting on the natural earth, along with an ingot of silver, above ounces in weight, from the mint of Honorius, the last Roman emperor whose dominion was acknowledged in Britain, and gold coins, of Honorius, the others of his brother Arcadius, Emperor of the East.[n.159.2]  Even so far to the east as-at the Sun Tavern Fields in the north-east part of Shadwell, urns and other vestiges of a Roman cemetery were found in the beginning of the century: in of the urns was a coin of the Emperor Pupienus (otherwise called Maximus), who was slain, along with his colleague Balbinus, in A.D. . Among other relics, coffins were found here in by Sir Robert Cotton;



says our authority,

being of stone, contained the bones of a man; and the other of lead, beautifully embellished with scollop-shells and a crotister border, contained those of a woman, at whose head and feet were placed


urns of the height of


feet each; and at the sides divers beautiful red earthen bottles, with a number of lachrymatories of hexagon and octagon forms; and on each side of the inhumed bones were deposited


ivory sceptres of the length of eighteen inches each; and upon the breast the figure of a small Cupid, curiously wrought; as were likewise


pieces of jet, resembling nails, of the length of



[n.159.3]  Sir Robert conceived, from these costly decorations and accompaniments, that the tomb must have been that of the consort of some prince or Roman praetor. In the opposite direction again, some urns are said to have been found in , under a tesselated pavement so far within the line of the old city wall as the church of St. Dunstan's in the East, immediately to the north of . At time, therefore, it may be presumed, Roman London did not extend to the eastward-or possibly towards the river-beyond that point. Nor probably did it at include either any part of , behind the north side of which, where Ludgate church now stands, Wren found the monument of the soldier of the Legion, still in the Arundelian collection; or even what is now , the north-eastern part of which, as we have already seen, was undoubtedly also a burial-ground in the time of the Romans.[n.159.4]  But no indications of sepulture, we believe, have ever been found between this locality and in the direction, or between the river and the immediate vicinity of Bishopsgate and in the other. The space marked out by these limits, therefore, may for the present be reasonably supposed to have been all included within the city from the earliest date, or at least from the time when the ground was cleared, or reclaimed from the fens.


And it may be remarked, that even the northern portion of this inclosure has, especially within the last few years, in the course of the extensive renovations and improvements in , in , and in the neighbourhood of , been pretty extensively dug into and explored. On the opposite side of the Thames, the evidences of Roman interment commence in the neighbourhood of the line of road called and , running from east to west, at the distance of about a quarter of a mile from the river, and have been detected as far south as the Dissenters' Burial Ground in Deveril Street, New Dover Road, on the south-west of .[n.160.1]  We may hence conjecture the extent of the small suburb which probably began to grow up here from a very early date around the bridge, or ferry, and the root of the great roads branching out to the southern and south-eastern coasts.

II. Secondly, we have the course of the old City Wall to guide us, in as far as it can still be ascertained. The earliest writer who mentions the wall of London is Fitzstephen, towards the close of the century, who describes it as then both high and thick, having double gates, and many towers or turrets on the north side placed at proper distances. The gates are supposed by Maitland to have been Ludgate, Newgate, Aldersgate, Cripplegate, Bishopsgate, , and the Postern gate near the Tower. At the east end of the city was what Fitzstephen calls the Palatine Tower; and on the west were well-fortified castles, which are understood to have been Baynard's Castle and the Castle of Montfichet.


he adds,

once had its walls and towers in like manner on the south; but that vast river, the Thames, which abounds with fish, enjoys the benefit of tides, and washes the city on this side, hath in a long tract of time totally subverted and carried away the walls in this part.

[n.160.2]  The original walls of London, as we have said, have always been, in the popular tradition, and by our old chroniclers, accounted a work of the Roman time; but their claim to that venerable antiquity was established in the beginning of the last century by Dr. Woodward, of the Professors of Gresham College, who had an opportunity of examining them from the foundation on occasion of the old houses being pulled down, as already mentioned, in at the end next to Bishopsgate, in . He found the foundation of the wall at this place to lie feet below the surface; and to the height of nearly feet it appeared clearly to be of Roman construction.

It was compiled,

he tells us,

alternately of layers of broad flat bricks and of rag-stone. The bricks lay in double ranges; and, each brick being but


inch and


-tenths in thickness, the whole layer, with the mortar interposed, exceeded not


inches. The layers of stone were not quite


feet thick of our measure; it is probable they were intended for


of the Roman, their rule being somewhat shorter than ours. In this part of the wall,

he adds,

it was very observable that the mortar was (as usually in the Roman work) so very firm and hard, that the stone itself as easily broke and gave way as that.

The wall up to this height was feet in thickness. Measuring some of the bricks very exactly, Woodward found them to be inches and -tenths long, and inches and -tenths broad, of our measure; which, he observes, would be as nearly as


possible a foot in breadth by a foot and a half in length--the very dimensions assigned by Pliny to the brick in common use among his countrymen [n.161.1] -if, with Graevius, we receive the foot-rule on the monument of Cossutius in the Colotian Gardens at Rome as the true measure of the Roman foot. The exact thickness of each brick was inch and -tenths of our measure. From this height of about feet the original wall had been demolished, and the rest of the structure, ascending to the height of or feet more, though of the same thickness, was evidently a comparatively recent work. We will add Woodward's account, however, of this upper part of. the wall also, because it gives a tolerably correct idea of the appearance presented by the few fragments of the ancient fortification that are still standing, although nothing now remains either so entire as the part he examined, or displaying perhaps quite so much regularity of structure. Having premised that the lower Roman building had been levelled at top, and brought to a plane, in order to the raising this new work upon it,he proceeds with his description of the latter as follows :--

The outside, or that towards the suburbs, was faced with a coarse sort of stone, not compiled with any great care or skill, nor disposed into a regular method; but on the inside there appeared more marks of workmanship and art. At the bottom were


layers composed of squares of flint and of freestone; though they were not so in all parts, yet in some the squares were near equal, about


inches diameter, and ranged in a quincunx order. Over these were a layer of brick, then of hewn free-stone, and so alternately brick and stone to the top. There were of the bricks in all


layers, each consisting only of a double course, except that which lay above all, in which there were


courses of bricks where the layer was entire. These bricks were of the shape of those now in use, but much larger, being near


inches in length,


in breadth, and somewhat above


and a half in thickness. Of the stone there were


layers, and each of equal thickness in all parts for its whole length. The highest and lowest of these were somewhat above a foot in thickness; the


middle layers each


inches; so that the whole height of this additional work was near


feet. As to the interior parts, or the main bulk of the wall, it was made up of pieces of rubble-stone, with a few bricks of the same sort as those used in the inner facing of the wall, laid uncertainly, as they happened to come to hand, and not in any stated method. There was not


of the broad, thin Roman bricks mentioned above in all this part; nor was the mortar near so hard as in that below.

[n.161.2]  Upon the work last described was raised a wall wholly of brick, except that the battlements with which it terminated were topped with copings of stone: it was feet inches in thickness, and somewhat above feet in height; the bricks of which it was built being of the same shape and size with those of the part underneath. The entire wall from the foundation, therefore, was about feet in height, of which about feet was still above ground. Of the towers of which Fitzstephen speaks, the remains of , according to Maitland, were still to be seen in his day; and of these several appear to have been of Roman construction. which had been pointed out by Woodward on the west side of , nearly opposite to , and feet in height, though


it continued to be inhabited, was sorely decayed and rent in divers parts from top to bottom; another, the credit of the discovery of which Maitland claims to himself, about paces farther to the south-east towards , feet high, was still in perfectly sound. Both were composed of stone, with layers of Roman bricks; the latter, according to Maitland, being in tower as sound as if but newly laid, while the stones in most parts were

become a sacrifice to devouring time.

South from also, at the lower end of a street called the Vineyard, behind the , was the basis of a Roman tower about feet in height, with a new building of stories raised upon it: from an inscription on the wall, the old superstructure appeared to have fallen ii . Woodward speaks of a considerable extent of the lowest range, or Roman part of the wall, as existing in the Vineyard in his time.

It is composed,

he says,

of stone, with layers of brick interposed, after the Roman manner, and is the most considerable remain of Roman workmanship yet extant in any part of England that I know of, being


feet in height.

[n.162.1]  The most extensive portion of the upper wall left standing at this date was on both sides of ; and a great part of that remained till the demolition of old Bethlehem in .

Even at the present day, after a quarter of a century into which there has probably been crowded as much of demolition, reconstruction, and transformation of all kinds, within the limits of old London, as had taken place in all the preceding interval, of times the length, from the rebuilding of the city after the great fire, an expedition of discovery round the little civic world which the wall once girded in will not, to a vigilant antiquarian eye, be wholly unproductive. Setting out from , we have still, as when Maitland wrote, where stood the old Postern-gate at the south-eastern termination of the wall, in what is now called , a few posts set across the footpath to mark the spot, which is opposite to about the middle of the north line of the . The wall went anciently close up to the Tower, but in the beginning of the reign of Richard I. his famous Chancellor, Bishop Longchamp, pulled down feet of it, in order to enlarge the Tower, and to encompass it with this ditch or moat,


says Stow,

to have derived the river of Thames, with her tides, to have flowed about it, which would not be.

The operation, however, loosened the foundation of the south side of the Postern-gate, so that years after, in the reign of Henry VI., it fell down altogether, and was never after rebuilt by the citizens.


continues the good old antiquary,

was their negligence then, which hath been some trouble to their successors, since they suffered a weak and wooden building to be then made, inhabited by persons of lewd life, often by inquest of Portsoken Ward presented, but not reformed.

Stow describes as having been at this place

greatly straitened by encroachments, unlawfully made and suffered, for gardens and houses,

some on the bank of the lower ditch, others near to the city wall

from the Postern north till over against the principal foregate of the Lord Lumley's house ;

[n.162.2]  and in this way, probably, arose the barrel-shaped collection of tenements crossing the line of the wall and fronting the Tower, formed by , and the other street called George


Street at its back. But at an opening on the north side of the old wall is still to be seen, forming the boundary between a vacant piece of ground into which the opening looks and a court to the east of it, to which there is an entry from . This fragment of the wall, the direction of which is nearly from south to north, is perhaps about feet long, and appears to be upwards of feet in height. The outside, at least as seen from the court,--where it can be most easily examined, is formed of squared stone, the courses of which at the southern extremity are pretty regularly laid; towards the other extremity they are more irregular. Here also, where a brick gable of a house has been built into it, the interior of the wall is visible, and seems to consist of unhewn stones, smaller than those with which it is faced, imbedded in mortar. There is no trace of anything Roman above-ground here. But a considerably longer and also a more perfect fragment of the wall is to be found in a line with this a little farther to the north, forming the back wall of the extensive hemp warehouse of Mr. Atkinson, which is entered from the west through a court leading from the foot of , or very near the north-east angle of . The outside of Mr. Atkinson's premises may be seen from Lane entering from America Circus; and the remnant of the city wall here fronts the backs of the houses of America Crescent. On this, its exterior side, it presents an even surface from the base to the summit; but on the interior it recedes as it rises from the ground, and is terminated on the floor of the warehouse by a parapet about breast high. In Mr. Atkinson's floor a number of arched recesses have been formed in the wall, but whether when it was built or afterwards may be doubted: the masonry about them has a very patched and inartificial appearance. Near the base of the wall are some courses of flat bricks, such as Woodward saw in the feet of the portion he examined at Bishopsgate; and this would therefore seem to be the lower range of the old Roman structure, still sound and serviceable, after having stood probably years.

But a still more curious fragment of the Roman foundation was disinterred only a few weeks ago, a little farther to the north, in the course of the operations now in progress for the extension of the Railway. Beneath a range of houses which have been in part demolished, in a court entering from the east side of , nearly opposite to Milbourne's Almshouses, and behind the south-west corner of , the workmen, having penetrated to the natural earth--a hard, dry, sandy gravel-came upon a wall feet and a half thick, running in the direction of the portions already described, that is to say, a very little to the west of north, or parallel to the line of the ; which, by the resistance it offered, was at once conjectured to be of Roman masonry. When we saw it, it had been laid bare on both sides to the height of about or feet, .and there was an opportunity of examining its construction, both on the surface and in the interior. The principal part of it consisted of courses of squared stones, regularly laid, with layers of flat bricks below them, and similar layers above--the latter at least carried all the way through the wall--as represented in the subjoined drawing. The mortar, which appeared to be extremely hard, had a few pebbles mixed up with it; and here and there were interstices or air-cells, as if it had not been spread, but poured in among the stones. The stones were a granulated limestone, such as might


have been obtained from the chalk quarries at Greenhithe or Northfleet. The bricks, which were evidently Roman, and, as far as the eye could judge, corresponded in size as well as in shape with those described by Woodward, had as fine a grain as common pottery, and varied in colour from a bright red to a palish yellow. A slight circular or oval mark--in some cases forming a double ring-appeared on side of each of them, which had been impressed when the clay was in a soft state. It is to be hoped that the City authorities, or the Society of Antiquaries, have taken care to secure complete drawings of this interesting fragment of antiquity during its short restoration to the light of day-only to be in part destroyed, in part covered up and hidden more impenetrably than ever, by the same busy spirit of speculation and improvement by which it was for a moment revealed.


From this point up to , and thence, in a north-westerly direction, behind the south side of , or between that street and , , and , the line of the wall can now only be traced by a slight elevation of the surface, which is generally more or less discernible where it had stood, and where no doubt its foundation for the most part still exists under the modern buildings that have been raised upon the same site. It was at the west end of that Woodward, in the beginning of the last century, examined the portion of the wall then laid bare from the foundation, and about to be demolished. Here stood Bishop's-gate, at the point where the street called Bishopsgate Within is still divided from Bishopsgate Without. Hence the wall was carried in a westerly direction, with a slight deflection to the north, between Bishopsgate Churchyard and . We are informed that it was reached in a few years ago, in digging for the foundation of the St. Ethelburga Charity Schools. From the end of this street it proceeded in the same direction along the north side of the street still called ; and here a few fragments of it still remain above-ground. small portion extends westward from the church of All



Hallows on the Wall, which is built upon it. A little farther on, opposite to the entry to Sion College, another fragment may be seen over a brick wall, which screens it in the greater part from the street. And still farther to the west the old wall still forms the southern boundary of the court-yard of the White Horse Inn, and the back of the premises of Messrs. Deacon and Co., canal-carriers.

But of the most interesting remnants on the whole line is that to be found in Cripplegate Churchyard, part of the southern boundary of which, dividing it from the continuation of called , is still formed by the old city wall, which here terminates its course to the westward with a circular inclosure, in very good preservation, the basis, no doubt, of of the towers by which it was formerly adorned and strengthened, and the only of which any traces are now to be found. Access to the inside of the inclosure may be obtained through the entry to the Clothworkers' Almshouses at the end of .

From this point the line of the wall turns to the south, and a portion of it extending in that direction also remains, dividing the churchyard from the houses in Mugwell Street, nearly parallel to which it had continued its course, passing by the back of Barbers' Hall, the front of which is in Mugwell Street, and then descending rather more than half way down the back of , when it turned again to the west, and was carried across Aldersgate, and behind the houses forming the north side of Bull and Mouth Street, where another small part of it may be still seen dividing the houses from the extensive churchyard of St. Botolph's, Aldersgate. From the west end of Bull and Mouth Street it deflected a little towards the south-west, passing behind , till it arrived within a short distance of , and there, turning again to the south, struck down upon , which it crossed a little to the east of its present termination at the . From it proceeded southward in a line parallel to the , behind which or small fragments of it are still standing. , forming part of the back wall of the premises of Messrs. Elston and Co., builders, has an arched cavity hollowed out of it, at the height of about feet from the ground, exactly resembling those in Mr. Atkinson's warehouse; but, as the latter have been formed in the inner and this in the outer side of the wall, it would rather seem that neither had made part of its original construction. Lud-gate stood at the present point of division between and , immediately to the west of , or directly in front of the London Coffee House. From this point, or rather from a spot a few yards farther to the south, the wall again turned to the west, with a slight inclination southward, passing behind the south side of ,--where a small fragment of it is still to be seen forming part of the wall of a butcher's shop in what is now called St. ,--till it abutted upon the bank of the , which it then accompanied to the Thames.

But it is matter of historical record that a portion of the space thus encompassed was taken into the city at a comparatively recent date. Till the year the wall proceeded in straight line from Newgate to the river, as we learn from Matthew Paris, who informs us that the part of it to the south of Ludgate was then pulled down, with the permission of the city, by Robert Kilwarby, Archbishop of Canterbury, to make way for his foundation of a house for the Preaching or Black Friars; upon which Edward I. commanded the city to build a new wall running west from Ludgate to the Fleet, and thence southward


to the Thames, so as to enclose the entire precinct of the Black Friars, whose convent here, by the bye, is stated to have been erected on the site and with the stones of the old castle of Montfichet. But as this has not been the last addition made to the city--which has since been extended as far to the westward as Temple Bar-so in all probability it was not the . The western boundary of Roman London appears to be indicated by the point at which the old wall deflected from its course to the westward, and by the new direction which it then assumed. There can be little doubt that it proceeded originally in unbroken line from the angle at Cripplegate Churchyard to the Thames. If a line so drawn would not include the entire city as then existing, there would seem to be no reason why the turn should have been made at the particular point and in the direction actually chosen. If any space beyond such a line was to be taken in, either the wall, we may suppose, would have been carried farther to the west before a change was made in its direction at all, or much more of a westerly inclination would have been given to its new course. If we suppose the Roman. wall to have followed the direction it took on turning round to the south at Cripplegate Churchyard, it would pass to the east of , and would leave without the city, in conformity with the Roman custom, the ancient cemetery there. Probably it was a part of the foundation of this original wall which was discovered in sinking a shaft a few years ago opposite ,


we are told,

at about eighteen feet deep the operations were checked by a stone wall of intense hardness, running in a direction towards the centre of

St. Paul's

, and which cost the labourers




days to cut through.


It is not improbable, however, that, even during the Roman occupation, the extension of the city towards the west may have led to an alteration of part of the original line of the wall in that quarter, and to the carrying of it in the direction of Aldersgate, Newgate, and Ludgate, even by such a sharp turn as it made at .--All that we contend for is, that that is not likely to have been the course in which it proceeded when the portion of it from Cripplegate churchyard to the sudden break off behind was designed and erected. In other directions, as well as in this, there is good ground for inferring that what was at time considered as country, and without the circuit of the city, was built upon by the Romans in a later age. Sepulchral remains have been found, as we have seen, within at least the more recent line of the wall, not only in , but also at Bishopsgate on the north side of the city, and at St; Dunstan's in the East towards its southern or eastern boundary. But it is remarkable that in each of these instances the urns and other evidences of sepulture were found under pavements; thus showing that, although the place had once been a cemetery, it had afterwards come to be built upon. No doubt even the space that was completely covered with houses, and that would therefore naturally be accounted an integral part of the city, must have gradually spread itself out over the country on all sides in the course of the or centuries during which London, under the Roman dominion, was, we have every reason to believe, a flourishing town, growing in population, as well as in wealth and general


commercial and political importance. And no doubt, also, there were many buildings, villas of opulent merchants and others, scattered over the neighbouring country, along the great roads and up and down among the pleasant fields, that at no time were considered as making part of the city, although some of them might be very near to it, nor were ever included within any artificial circumvallation. Beyond what we have considered to be the most probable line of the original enclosure of Roman London, tesselated pavements or other sure marks of habitation have been discovered not only between and Ludgate-at the London Coffee House and in Creed Lane-but so far to the west as , in , to which point nobody has ever supposed that the city wall extended. Nay, for that matter, the clear vestiges of Roman dwelling-houses have been found not only in the adjacent suburban district of , but here and there along that bank of the river as far east as Deptford. But the evidences of continued building and a compact population are confined to the locality still forming the heart of the city, and to the limits we have assigned to the walled London of the Romans. Almost every excavation that is made to a sufficient depth within these limits brings us among their long-buried relics--to the very streets on which they walked, or the floors of the houses in which they lived. The general level of Roman London ranges from above to feet under the present surface,[n.167.1]  thus showing an accumulation at the rate of about a foot in a century gradually arising out of the mere occupancy and traffic of a crowded population; for of the whole little more than feet usually consists of the of the ancient city. Probably indeed the rate of augmentation has been considerably greater than this in more recent times. In some places, too, what is called the Roman soil descends to a much greater depth than its general level. This is particularly the case along the course of the stream of , which formerly, passing through the wall (whence its name), entered the city between Bishopsgate and , at the east end of old Bethlehem, and proceeded nearly along the line of the new street called , and of the present , under which, we believe, it still flows as a sewer, discharging itself into the Thames at Dowgate. In , which skirts the west side of the Bank, and connects Street with the other magnificent new opening called , leading to , the Roman stratum was found in the course of the late excavations to go down to the depth of not less than feet. Here, too, and along the whole line from to Finsbury, in which also it was of unusual depth, it was, according to Mr. Smith's account, much more moist than usual,

highly impregnated with animal and vegetable matter, and almost of an inky blackness in colour.

Throughout the same line also,

Mr. Smith continues,

were at intervals noticed a vast and almost continuous number of wooden piles, which in

Prince's Street

were particularly frequent, and where also they descended much deeper. The nature of the ground, and the quantity of these piles, tend to strengthen the probability of a channel having flowed in this direction, draining off the water from the adjoining marshes, and that too (from the numerous Roman remains accompanying these indications) at a very remote period.

[n.167.2]  The same peculiarities mark a considerable portion of the soil that is in course of being


turned up while we write under the site of the late . In seeking a firm foundation for the new building, the workmen in place have been obliged to make their way through a stratum, at least or feet in thickness, of moist, black earth, interspersed with shells of fishes, horns, bones, and other animal remains. At the bottom, too, some strong oaken piles had been driven in to-support the made earth. It was evidently a place into which rubbish of all kinds had been thrown, to fill up either a deserted gravel-pit, or more probably a natural hollow formed by some stray rivulet from the great fen to the north, over which it was desired to build. The Roman remains found in and near the Bank are described by Mr. Smith as having been more various and of a more interesting kind than had been met with in any other part of London; but we could not learn that anything except a few bits of pottery and some common coins had been picked up here. Over the black rubbish, however, laid on a substratum of gravelly earth about feet thick, were remains of Roman building, in particular a square-shaped tablet, apparently the basis.of a pillar, built of large flat bricks, encrusted with a very hard cement in which the mouldings were formed, exactly as is done in the London architecture of the present day. Nay, over this, and separated from it by some more made earth, were other extensive stone and brick foundations, which had also very much of a Roman look, and yet appeared evidently to have been laid down without any regard to those below, or perhaps even a knowledge of their existence. From this and other appearances of the same kind it would almost seem that, even during the period of the Roman occupation, the original Roman London had been in great part superseded by a new city built over it and out of its ruins.


[n.147.1] See No. V.-London Bridge.

[n.147.2] Dion's words are dia\ gefu/ras o)li/gon a)/nw Hist. Rom. lib. lx. c. 29.

[n.147.3] kaq' o(\ e)s te to\n w)keano\n e)kba/llei.--Dio. Hist. Rom. lib. lx. c.29.

[n.147.4] De Bell. Gall. v. 14.

[n.147.5] De Bell. Gall. v. 18.

[n.147.6] De Bell. Gall. v.11.

[n.148.1] plhmmu/ronto/s te au)tw=| limna/zei, kai\ r(adi/ws au)to\n diaba/ntwn (tw=n Brettanw=n), a(/ti kai\ ta\ ste/rifa ta/ te eu)/pora th=s xw/ras a)kribw=s ei)do/twn.-Hist. Rom. lx. 20.

[n.150.1] Cognomento quidem coloniae non insigne, sed copia negociatorum et commeatuum maxime celebre.--Annal. xiv. 33.

[n.150.2] Tacitus, indeed, states that the barbarians avoided the fortified places and military stations of the province, to attack what would at once afford the richest spoil, and offer the least resistance.--Tacitus, Annal. xiv.33.

[n.151.1] po/leis te du/o *(rwmai+ka/s.--Hist. Rom. lxii. 7.

[n.151.2] So called, certainly not ea non lucendo, as the jokers say, and many etymologists gravely dream, but either from affording free admission to the light of day, or perhaps from a fire or other artificial light which in some cases may have been kept burning on the altar.

[n.151.4] Gough, in his edition of Camden's Britannia, vol. ii. p. 15, on the authority of an account drawn up by Mr. Rogers and Mr. Colebroke, who, we suppose, may have been the contractors for the sewer.

[n.152.1] Archaeologia, vol. xxiv. pp. 192-194; in account by A. J. Kempe, Esq.

[n.153.1] Ammianus Marcellinus, xxvii. 8.

[n.153.2] In integrum restituit civitates et castra multiplicibus quidem damnis adflicta. Am. Marcelin. xxviii. 3. And again, Instaurabat urbes, et praesidiaria, ut diximus, castra.-lbid.

[n.154.1] Egressus, tendensque ad Lundinium vetus oppidum, quod Augustam posteritas appellavit. Am. Marcel. xxvii, 8, And again--Ab Augusta profectus, quam veteres appellavere Lundinium.-xxviii. 3.

[n.155.1] It will be perceived that these lines do not exactly coincide with those traced on the annexed plan of Roman London. But it would require half-a-dozen plans to exhibit all the conjectures that have been proposed in regard to the courses of the Roman roads in London and its neighbourhood.

[n.158.1] Remarks upon the Ancient and Present State of London, occasioned by some Roman Urns, Coins, and other Antiquities, lately discovered. Third Edit. 8vo. Lon. 1723. The publication consists of a Letter to Sir Christopher Wren, dated the 23rd of June, 1707, followed by another to Thomas Hearne, dated the 30th of November, 1711.

[n.158.2] Gough's Camden (Edit. of 1806), ii. 93.

[n.159.1] Malcolm's Londinium Redivivum, iv. 450-1.

[n.159.2] Weaver, Funeral Monuments.

[n.159.3] Archaeologia, v. 291.

[n.159.4] See our Third Number- Paul's Cross.

[n.160.1] See Archaeologia, xxvi. 466, and xxvii. 412. Gent. Mag., 1814, and ann. seq.

[n.160.2] Pegge's translation, 1772.

[n.161.1] Didoron, quo utimur, longum sesquipede, latum pede.-Nat. Hist. xxxv. 49. Instead of didoron, Harduin reads Lydion.

[n.161.2] Letter to Wren, pp. 20, &c.

[n.162.1] Letter to Hearne, 1711, p. 48.

[n.162.2] Lord Lumley's house, built in the time of Henry VIII. by Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder, stood next to Milbourne's Almshouses, in Cooper's Row, which appears to have been formerly called Woodrof Lane.

[n.166.1] Observations on the Roman Remains found in Various Parts of London in the years 1834, 1835, 1836; by Mr. Charles Roach Smith. In Archaeologia, xxvii. pp. 140-153. In this wall, it is added, were cemented two large sea-shells, evidently for ornament. Sir William Gell notices this as a common practice in Pompeii. Close to the wall were found several of the second-brass coins of Vespasian and Domitian, and above it a fine Samian dish, with a hammer nearly a foot long, and some other iron tools.

[n.167.1] Account of Various Roman Antiquities, discovered on the site of the Church of St. Michael, Crooked Lane and in East Cheap; by A. J. Kempe, Esq. In Archaeologia, xxiv. 190, &c.

[n.167.2] Archaeologia, vol. xxvii. pp. 140, &c.