The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 1

Allen, Thomas

1827

Roman remains discovered south of the river Thames.

From the various discoveries made in and its environs, it is evident the Romans frequented and had habitations this side of the Thames; in fact, their principal road from the continent passing through what is now , it is reasonable to suppose they would have a station in a situation where they could command a passage, or more than passage, over so important a river as the Thames, and thus secure the communication between the road leading from their landing-place, in Kent, to that part part of the island which lay on the north side of the river.

of the earliest discoveries on record is by Sir William Dugdale, who says,

I myself, in the year

1658

, saw, in those fields (on the back side of Winchester House) called

Southwark

Park, upon the sinking of divers cellars for some new buildings, at about

two

foot below the present level of the ground, a Roman pavement, made of bricks, not above an inch and a half square; and adjoyning to it a more curious piece, of the like small bricks (in length about

ten

foot, and in bredth

five

) wrought in various colours; and in the midst thereof, betwixt certain

Janus's head found 1690

borders, in the fashion of wreathed columns, the form of a serpent, very lively expressed in that kind of Mosaique work.

Various tiles, &c. were discovered in , in excavating the ground for the erection of a warehouse.

Dean Gale says, that in Fields, many Roman coins, tessellated works, and bricks were found; he himself had a large urn filled with bones, which he purchased of the men who were digging there.

In , a Janus's head was found near St. Thomas's Watering Place; side represented the countenance of a man bearded, with the horns and ears of a ram; a jewel ornament hanging down on each side his head, which was crowned with laurel; on the opposite side was the countenance of a young woman in an ancient head attire, which, at the same, time it covered the head, projected from it. It was entire, and seemed formerly to have been fixed to a square column, or to a terminus. It was a foot and a half high, and was in the possession of Dr. Woodward.

In , a vase and several coins were found in .

Bagford, in his letter to Hearne, the antiquary before quoted, says,

On the left hand of

Kent-street

, on the road to London, in the garden ground, (which was a Roman military way, and is commonly made use of upon an extraordinary cavalcade, as it was particularly upon the entrance of king Charles II. at his return from Holland, and at such time is layd open,) they have found in digging, several Roman antiquities, with many of their coins both in silver and brass, some of which were much esteemed by the worthy Mr. Charlton. I have seen many of these antiquities

Roman utensil

myself, by the favour of my good friend, Mr. John Cannop, such as glass bottles with liquor in them, and divers old Roman utensils. To these must be added a great many Roman antiquities that were found in the grounds of Mr. Ewer, at Clapham, in digging for gravel. They are still in being, and have been viewed by Mr. John Kemp; who, as he is a great judge in these affairs, so he owns that some of them are extraordinary, and such as he had not seen before.

Opposite , in Fields, a great quantity of Roman remains have been discovered at different periods. In , pottery of various kinds, remains of tessellated pavements, some small vases, and a few coins were thrown up. At the back of some Roman tiles were discovered in ; and in making a sewer along , in the years ----, various curious lamps, lachrymatories, small glass vessels, fine coral ware, &c. were found. In the course of the years to , in making various excavations in Church-yard and its neighbourhood, much was discovered; a Mosaic pavement, vase, and unique coin of Antoninus Pius, within the church-yard; and a coin of Alexander Severus, and red stucco-floor, near Cure's College. These are in the possession of G. Gwilt, Esq. F. S. A.

Near Church, in , a portion of the from St. Thomas a Watering to Stangate was discovered, and a coin.

On the north side of , Defoe .seems to consider was a Roman fort or camp. This, in some degree, has been authenticated; for, in digging the foundations of some houses, considerable quantities of the pottery, peculiar to that people, were discovered and thrown up. Amongst them was a small utensil, engraved below, of the size of the original.

The last discovery we have to notice was made in and ; in excavating the foundation of , , a human skeleton, vase, and sepulchral remains were found.

38

 

It may be doubted,

says Dr. Goldsmith,

whether the arts which the Romans planted among the Britons were not rather prejudicial than serviceable to them, as they only contributed to invite the invader, without furnishing the means of defence. If we consider the many public ways and villas of pleasure that were then among them, the many schools instituted for the instruction of youth, the numberless coins, statues, tessellated pavements, and other curiosities that were common at that time, we can have no doubt but that the Britons made a very considerable progress in the arts of peace, although they declined in those of war. But, perhaps, an attempt at once to introduce these advantages will ever be ineffectual. The arts of peace and refinement must arise by slow degrees in every country, and can never be propagated with the same rapidity by which new governments may be introduced.

 
 
Footnotes:

[] Manning and Bray's Surrey, iii. 655.

[] History of Embanking, p. 66.

[] Harris's Kent, i. 50.

[] History of Lambeth, 367.

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 Title Page
 Dedication
 Preface
 Chapter I: History of London and its environs, from the earliest period of authentic record to the defeat of the Britons by Suetonius
Chapter II: Historical account of Roman London, with notices of remains discovered.
 Chapter III: History of London from the departure of the Romans till the time of the Conquest
 Chapter IV: History of London from the Conquest to the reign of Henry the Third
 Chapter V: History of London from the reign of Henry the Third to the reign of Edward the Second
 Chapter VI: History of London from the reign of Edward the Second to the reign of Richard the Second
 Chapter VII: History of London from the reign of Henry the Fourth to the reign of Edward the Fourth
 Chapter VIII: History of London from the reign of Edward the Fourth to the reign of Henry the Eighth
 Chapter IX: History of London during the reign of Henry the Eighth
 Chapter X: History of London from the reign of Edward the Sixth to the accession of Elizabeth
Chapter XI: History of London, during the reign of Elizabeth.
 Chapter XII: History of London during the reign of James the First
Chapter XIII: History of London during the Reign of Charles the First
 Chapter XIV: History of London during the Commonwealth and the reign of Charles the Second
 Chapter XV: History of London during the reign of James the Second