The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 1
Discoveries of Roman London and its environs, made on the north side of the Thames.
The earliest discovery of any remains of the Romans on the north side of the Thames appears to have been about . Stow mentions it in the following manner:--
Sir Robert Cotton also discovered a Roman cemetery in , in what is now called Sun Tavern Fields, at Shadwell, where, formerly, gravel was dug for ballasting ships. Here were found divers urns; a coin of Pupienus, who associated with Balbinus against Maximus, and was slain with him in a sedition of their own soldiers about the year ; and coffins,
In the account of the ancient state of London, given in the
from the papers of Sir Christopher Wren, who had the best opportunities of acquiring information on that head, through the facilities afforded by the Great Fire in , it is affirmed, that
was discovered at the depth of eighteen feet, in digging the foundations for the tower of the present church of , in ; its thickness was feet; the upper part was of rough stone, close, and well rammed; and the bottom of Roman brick and rubbish, all firmly cemented. In the vallum of the presumed Camp, near Ludgate, was dug up, in , a sepulchral stone, with an inscription, and the figure of a Roman soldier, which is now preserved among the Arundellian Marbles at Oxford:
This stone, which is much mutilated, has been several times engraved, yet never with sufficient accuracy. The sculptured figure, according to Pennant, represents the deceased Vivius Marcianus, as a British soldier, probably of the , dressed and armed after the manner of the country, with long hair, a short lower garment fastened round the waist by a girdle and fibula, a long , or plaid, flung over his breast and arm, ready to be cast off in time of action, naked legs, and in his right hand a sword of vast length, like the of the later Highlanders. This engraving is from an original drawing by J. Carter, F. S. A.
In digging the foundations for the present Cathedral of Saint Paul's, on the north and north-east sides, Sir Christopher Wren discovered the remains of an ancient cemetery, which he describes as follows :--
Many of the above remains were found about a pit excavated by the Roman potters, in a stratum of close and hard pot earth, which extends beneath the whole site of , varying in thickness from to feet. This pit was directly under the north-east angle of the present choir; and here the urns, broken vessels, and pottery-ware were found in great abundance. Not any of the discoveries, however, made by Sir Christopher, could induce him to adopt the popular opinion of there having been a Roman temple of Diana on the site now occupied by the Cathedral. His own words, speaking of the Temple of Apollo, asserted traditionally to have stood on the site of the Abbey Church, at , and to have, been ruined by an earthquake in the time of the Emperor Antoninus Pius, are these:--
Dr. Woodward, on the contrary, was fully impressed with the
| belief of Diana having a temple upon this spot; and he informs us, that in his collection were the tusks of boars, the horns of oxen and stags, and sacrificing vessels, with representations of deer, and even Diana herself, upon them; all of which were dug up at . He also mentions a small brass figure of Diana, inches and a half in height, which was found in digging between the Deanery and Blackfriars, and which |
Among the other discoveries of Roman antiquities made in rebuilding the city after the Fire of London, were numerous coins of different emperors, utensils of various kinds, figures of household gods, and foundations and remains of buildings. The most remarkable of the latter were met with under Bow Church, , and
The next discoveries, in point of time, appear to have been made in ; when, in cleaning out Fleet-ditch, at the depth of feet, was discovered, between the and Bridge, many Roman utensils; and still lower, a great quantity of Roman coins in silver, brass, copper, and other metals. The silver coins were of different sizes, from that of a silver to a crown-piece, all of the Roman period, and a great quantity of the same kind of the Saxon and Norman people. At Bridge, brazen lares, or household gods, were found; and opposite St. Andrew's Church, , a tesselated pavement; of the size or pattern of which, no account has hitherto been given.
A very curious and interesting description of Roman London is given in a letter to Hearne, the antiquary, in , from Mr. Bagsford, a gentleman who had made the research into the antiquities of this city his peculiar study. In this work is an account of a curious brick discovered in , in . He says,
Various Roman antiquities are described by Dr. Woodward as having been discovered, in digging some cellars in , Bishopsgate. The principal of these was a tessellated pavement, lying about feet below the level of the street, and situated only feet and a half from the City wall.
Its breadth was feet, and its length upwards of : the colours of the tesserae were red, black, and yellow; scarcely any of them exceeded an inch in thickness. feet below the pavement, in a stratum of clay, various urns were discovered of different forms and sizes; the largest sufficiently capacious to hold gallons; the least more than a quart. These contained ashes and burnt human bones: and along with them were found a simpulum and patera of pure red clay, a lachrymatory of blue glass, several beads, copper rings, a fibula, and a coin, inscribed
Reverse, a woman sitting, holding in her right hand a palm, in her left a spear.
When the foundations of the new Church of St. Martin in the Fields were dug in , a Roman brick arch was found, with several ducts, feet under ground; and Gibbs, the architect, said, that were also dug up there. Sir Hans Sloane, likewise, had a glass vase, bell-shaped, that was found in a stone coffin, among ashes, in digging the foundations of the portico. About the same period, at Mary-le-Bone, a large brass, Roman key with many Roman coins, was discovered.
On the rebuilding of Bishopsgate Church about the year , several urns, paterae, and other remains of Roman antiquities, were discovered, together with a coin of Antoninus Pius, and a vault arched with equilateral Roman bricks, feet deep, and within it skeletons. Dr. Stukeley, also, saw there, in , a Roman grave, constructed with large tiles, inches long, which kept the earth from the body.
In , on digging the foundation for the Church of St. Mary Woolnoth, , an earthen lamp was discovered, inscribed
and numerous fragments of vessels, a tesselated pavement, bones of animals, remains of an aqueduct, and a well; the latter is now in use. These remains induced Dr. Harwood to imagine, that here, not only a considerable pottery, but a temple of Concord, must have stood. Such vast quantities of broken pottery abounded that many cart loads were carried away with the rubbish to mend the roads about Fields.
In , in laying the foundations of a sugar-house in
|the Parish of St. Mary Hill, earthen vessels were found buried beneath the brick pavement of an old cellar; these contained an abundance of small Saxon coins of silver, and some Norman ones; most of them were pennies of Edward the Confessor; and others of Harold the , and William the Conqueror. On digging still deeper, human bones, both of adults and children, were found, together with fragments of Roman bricks, and coins of Domitian of the middle brass.|
Some Roman antiquities, consisting of sepulchral urns, vases, earthen lamps, &c., were dug up in the Well's walk at Hampstead in ; was a repositorial urn, large enough to hold or gallons.
A sepulchral stone and coin, was discovered in the year , at no great distance from , in a burial-ground in , Whitechapel, near the end leading into , about feet under ground: the inscription and form was as follows:
The inscription is to be read thus:
That the Romans had a Fort on the site of the Tower, was corroborated by some discoveries made in , by workmen employed in digging the foundations of a new office for the Board of Ordnance. At a very considerable depth they came
|to some foundations of ancient buildings, below which, on the natural ground, was a silver ingot, and gold coins. The ingot was in form of a double wedge, inches long, weighed ounces, grains, troy: on the centre was impressed , in lines.|
of the coins was also of the Emperor Honorius; the others of Arcadius, his brother, who reigned over the Empire of the East, as Honorius did over that of the West, at the same time: these were in excellent preservation, and each of them weighed the part of a Roman ounce, or grains, troy. A ring, supposed to have been made of a shell, a small glass crown, and an inscribed stone, feet inches by feet , were also found, at the same depth: the inscription was as follows:--
In digging a new sewer, beneath and , in the autumn and winter of , numerous Roman antiquities were found, as coins, fragments of earthenware, tessellated and other pavements, glass, &c. of which a very particular account has been printed in the volume of the Archaeologia, from communications by different gentlemen. The sewer was commenced towards that end of next the ; and near Sherbourn Lane, at the depth of feet, a Roman pavement was found,
The breadth of this pavement, from west to east, was about feet; its length was not discovered. Between it and the Post Office, but on the north side of the sewer, was a wall constructed with
| were perpendicular flues; the semicircular, the other rectangular and oblong:' the height of the wall was feet its length eighteen; the depth of the top of it from the surface, was also feet. Further on, opposite to the Post Office, was another wall, of the common kind, of Roman masonry; and near it, at the depth of feet, a pavement of thin flat tiles, each inches - in length, inches - broad, and about tenths of an inch in thickness. Beyond this was another pavement, much decayed, and about a foot lower, chiefly composed of red bricks about an inch square, with a few black bricks, and some white stones, irregularly intermixed. |
Many other fragments of walls and pavements were dug up in proceeding along , together with burnt wood, and wood ashes, and many other things exhibiting marks of conflagration. Some of the walls were of rough stones, and others of chalk. Similar discoveries of walls and pavements were made in ; together with angle of a fine tessellated pavement, composed of black, red, green, and white squares, about a quarter of an inch in size, and forming a beautiful border: the extent of this pavement was ascertained, as its course appeared to run below the adjacent footway and houses.
Fragments of Roman pottery, or earthenware, were found in abundance throughout the whole extent of the excavation, as well as Roman coins, and pieces of glass urns, bottles, &c. with Roman keys, and horns and bones of different animals. The earthenware was of various colours, red, brown, grey, white, black, &c. some glazed, and some not: many of the fragments were of the fine coral-coloured ware, called Samian, and these were. mostly ornamented with figures on the outside: some were impressed with names and inscriptions on the rims. The centre compartment of beautiful vessel of red earthenware, (of which the principal fragments were found,) represented a combat, partly of naked figures, opposed to each other, and to horsemen: the attitudes were very spirited, and the whole design in a good taste. Fig. exhibits the form of the vase, and Fig. the whole extent that was discovered. On other fragments were represented armed men, satyrs, hares, dogs, birds, foliage, a boar's head, and fancy ornaments of various descriptions. beautiful fragment is represented in the annexed plate, Fig. . Many handles of jugs, and pieces of round shallow vessels of coarse clay, which seemed to have measured about a foot in diameter when entire, with broad rims, having a channel across them to
|pour off the contents, were also found: the latter appeared to have been worn by trituration, as if they had been used for grinding some substance.|
The coins were of various descriptions, gold, silver, and brass. Among them was a beautiful gold coin of Galba, Fig. , a Nero Fig. , and an Antoninus Pius; and a silver of Alexander Severus, Fig. . The others were brass ones of Claudius, Nerva, Vespasian, Dioclesian, Gallienus, Antonia, Constantinus, and Tetricus: nearly of the last Emperors were found together on spot opposite to the end of St. ; the workmanship of these was extremely rude. The discoveries were all made within the depth of from to feet.
Various sepulchral remains were discovered in digging the foundations of the new church in ; and when the there was converted into a garden, in the year , several fragments of urns and lachrymatories were dug up about feet below the surface, together with a. sepulchral stone, measuring about inches by , inscribed thus:--
In the same year, some remains of a tesselated pavement was found in . In , some bones, burnt wood, and small pieces of pavement were discovered in making some cellars in . In , in digging in , near the church of Allhallows Barking, a patera of fine pottery was discovered.
On pulling down the remains of the convent of St. Clare, or Minoresses, in , on the south and east part of the present , many curious fragments of Roman pottery, as well as glass vessels, were discovered; complete urns, filled with bones, ashes, &c. were taken up.
The next discovery in order of time was the beautiful tessellated pavement in , which was discovered in , at the depth of feet inches below the carriage way pavement, in searching for a sewer opposite to the easternmost columns of the .
did not exceed half an inch in thickness, and was bedded in a layer of brick-dust and lime of about an inch;
|beneath which, was a thick stratum of loam, the precise depth whereof could not be ascertained. The whole eastern side had been some time before cut away to make room for a sewer; but little doubt could exist of the borders having been continued round the square, thirds of which remained perfect.|
Nothing worth notice occurred in taking up the residue, except the fragment of an urn ; which, together with a jaw-bone, and some finger bones, was found under the western angle.
The ornamented centre although not quite perfect, appeared also to have been a square of feet. The device which occupied the centre, was a highly-finished figure of Bacchus, who was represented reclining on the back of a tyger, his thyrsus erect in his left hand, and a small -handed Roman drinking cup pendant from his right: round his brow was a wreath of vine leaves: his mantle, purple and green, falling from his right shoulder, was thrown carelessly round his waist; and his foot guarded with a sandal, the lacing of which extended to the calf of his leg. The countenance of Bacchus was placid, his eyes well set; and all his features, as well as the beast on which he was riding, were represented with much freedom of design, and accuracy of delineation, in appropriate tints. Round the circle which contained the above, were borders of the same figure; the exhibited the inflections of a serpent, black back and white belly, on a party-coloured field, composed of dark and light grey, and red, ribbands; the consisted of indented cornucopiae, in black and white; and the of squares diagonally concave. In of the angles, which were formed by the insertion of the outer circle in the inner square border, was represented the Roman drinking-cup on a large scale; and in the counter angles, were delineations of a plant, but too rude to be designated: these were wrought in dark grey, red, and black, on a white ground. The inner square border bore some resemblance to a bandeau of oak, in dark and light grey, red and white, on a black ground. The outer border consisted of lozenge figures, with ends in the form of hatchets in black, on a white ground, inclosing circles of black, on each of which was the common ornament, a true lover's knot. The whole was environed by a margin consisting of coarse red tessellae, an inch square, traced to the extent of feet inches on the north-west side, but could not be followed further, on account of the difficulty and danger of breaking up the street; in opening the ground, however, on the opposite side of the way, foundations of Kentish ragstone and Roman brick appeared at nearly the same depth, which probably were those of the building to which this pavement belonged. The room could not have been less than feet square; but, in all probability, was considerably larger.
says Mr. Fisher, who published a fine print of the pavement, coloured after the
| original, from a drawing by himself, and to whose pen we are indebted for the above description, |
This pavement was taken up at the charge of the East India Company, but broken to pieces in the process; and the mutilated remains were deposited in their library.
In , a neat but elegant pavement was taken up entire in the spring of , by direction of John Soane, Esq. F. S. A. architect to the Bank, and has been deposited in the , to which it was presented by the Bank Directors. The depth at which it lay is stated to have been about feet; its situation about feet westward from the westernmost gate of the Bank opening into , and about the same distance south of the carriage-way. It consisted of an ornamented square centre, measuring feet each way, of the floor of an apartment feet square. Within a circle in the centre, is a figure apparently designed to represent leaves, perhaps acanthus, expanded in black, red, and dark and light grey, tessellae on a white field; round this, a line of black; in the angles, leaves of black, red and grey; and a square bandeau border, similar to that mentioned in the former pavement, environed the whole. Beyond this, were tiles of an inch square, extending to the sides of the room. On examining the fragments of the marginal pavement which had been taken up with it, evident marks of fire were observed on the face of them; and to piece adhered some ashes of burnt wood, and a small piece not quite burnt.
In making some alterations in the month of , at the back of the London Coffee-house, , a circular tower and stair-case was discovered; and about feet below the pavement, some curious remains of Roman art were found. They consisted of a trunk of a statue of Hercules, half the size of life. The figure resting on his club, with a lion's skin cast over his
shoulders, and the attitude elegant. It is engraved in the annexed plate (fig. ). An altar, or pedestal, (height feet inches, width feet inches) fig. . of hexagonal form, with a plinth with mouldings of fillets, and an ogee. The cornice has fillets, hollows, and a plat-band. The top of the design takes a large hollow uniting with a torus ; and on that side where the inscription is presented, the torus is enriched with scrawls and flowers. The following is the inscription:
This was read by Mr. Gough as follows: , or . By the term , as appears from various inscriptions in Graevius, is to be understood men raised in the province where the Romans were stationed.
At the same time and place, the head of a female, large as life: the upper portion is destroyed. (fig. .)
In , a coin of the emperor Titus Vespasian was found in digging in . In , in digging the foundations for the New Post-office, in , a Roman tile (engraved in the annexed plate, fig. ,) and coin was discovered; and in , various sepulchral remains were discovered in excavating the site of the New Hall of ; they consisted of burnt bones, vases, a few coins, and broken pottery.
During the progress of making the foundations for the piers of new London-bridge, numerous curiosities have been discovered. In the early part of , a beautiful little statue, supposed to represent Harpocrates, was found in digging the southern abutment foundation. It is of silver, about inches high, the attitude elegant; around it is a neat chain of gold attached to a ring, and near its feet are apparently the figures of a dog, tortoise, and a bird: the whole is executed in a chaste and finished manner. It came into the possession of Messrs. Rundell and Bridge, goldsmiths, of , who presented it to the . It is engraved in the annexed plate. (fig. .)
In the month of , a figure of a horse in lead, and numerous Roman brass and silver coins were discovered; among them was with the inscription PLON, which antiquaries read .
At the same time and place, various antiques of a latter age were discovered; they principally consisted of crucifixes, coins of Elizabeth, Richards I. and II., swords, &c. Some have been presented to the civic museum forming in .
Fig. . in the plate before referred to, is a figure of Diana found beneath by Dr. Woodward.
A Roman specula, or watch-tower, is stated to have stood without the walls, beyond Cripplegate, near to the street called . Stow says on the north side thereof.
We will now notice the most curious relic of the Roman era in the metropolis.
This ancient monument, which is now reduced to a fragment, encased in free-stone, stands against the south wall of , in . Antiquaries generally concur in considering this stone as a Roman milliary, or, more properly, as the of Britain, from which the Romans began the admeasurement of their roads as from a centre. This is stated to be confirmed by the
yet Sir Christopher Wren was of opinion, that,
The earliest known record relating to it is at the end of
where a parcel of land belonging to that church is described
It is again noticed in a record of a fire, which, in the of King Stephen, ,
London Stone is also noticed by Holinshed, who, in his account of the insurrection headed by Jack Cade, says, that when that rebellious chieftain had forced his way into the city, he struck his sword upon the Stone, and exclaimed,
as if, Mr. Pennant remarks on this passage,
Cade was, probably, not unaware of its emblematic character; and there may have been a popular tradition among the English on the subject, similar to that which the Scots have with respect to the marble chair, on which their kings were crowned.
Stow's description of London Stone is as follows: speaking of Wallbrook, he says,
From these different notices of London Stone, Mr. Brayley considers it is apparent that it was formerly of much greater magnitude, and was held in far higher estimation than it is at present. It now, indeed, appears reduced to a fragment,
and is enclosed in a sort of pedestal, which admits it to be seen through an aperture near the top. Some small portion of its decay may be attributed to the lapse of ages, but the chief mischief must have been committed by the hands of man. It was probably much mutilated after the Great Fire, when its
was seen; and again, when it was removed from
of the street, in , to the edge of the curb-stone on the north side. That it is now in existence at all is, in a great measure, due to the interposition of Mr. Thomas Maiden, of , who, at the beginning of the year , when was about to undergo a complete repair, and this venerable relic had been nearly doomed to destruction as a nuisance by some of the parishioners. prevailed on of the parish officers to give his consent that London Stone should be removed to the situation which it now occupies against the church wall.
 Some bodies interred in the same cemetery had been buried in timber coffins, with thick plank lids, fastened down by large iron nails a quarter of a yard long. Stow's London, p. 130-133.
 Parentalia, p. 265.
 To be read thus :--Vivio Marciano militi legionis secundae Agustae Januaria Matrina conjunx pientissima posuit memoriam.
 Pennant's London, p. 10.
 Parentalia, p. 296.
 Parentalia, p. 303.
 For a full description of this figure, and a Dissertation on it, see Malcolm's Lond. Red. Vol. III. p. 509--12, printed from an unfinished manuscript by Dr. Woodward, now in the possession of Alexander Chalmers, Esq. F.S.A.
 Letter to Sir Christ. Wren, p. 12-14.
 Gough's Cam. Vol. II. p. 93.from A. S. Min.
 Gough's Camden, Vol. II. p. 93, Edit. 1806; from A. S. Min.
 Hughson's London, I. p. 34.
 For a more particular account, see Archaeologia, Vol. IV. p. 356, from a communication by Dr. Griffith, Rector of St Mary Hill.
 Gents. Mag. Vol. 54, part 2, p. 627.
 Gents. Mag. 1776, p. 119, where the subjects are engraved.
 Dean Milles, President of the Society of Antiquaries, who communicated the account of the discovery, supposed the coins to have been minted at Constantinople, and to have been part of the money transmitted to pay to the last legion ever sent to the assistance of the Britons.
 Gent.'s Mag. 1795. p. 986.
 Smith's London, p. 8.
 Brayley's London, i. 97.
 Brayley's London, i. 39
 Gent. Mag. vol. lxxvi. p 2.-722
 A curious chapel was erected on this bridge; a notice and engravings of which will appear hereafter.
 Noticed at p. 22 ante.
 Milliarum Aureum fuit columna in capite fori Romani, sub Saturni aede, prope arcum Septimii, in quae omnes Italiae viae incisae finerunt, et a qua ad singulas portas mensurae regionum currerunt.Plin. lib. iii. c. 5.
 Parentalia, p. 265.
 Stow's Survey of London, p. 177.
 Brayley's London, i. 101.