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London Wall: remains of Roman wall, bastions and city gate of Aldgate from 17 Bevis Marks to India Street

A Scheduled Monument in Portsoken, City of London

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5137 / 51°30'49"N

Longitude: -0.0771 / 0°4'37"W

OS Eastings: 533529.018398

OS Northings: 181172.538523

OS Grid: TQ335811

Mapcode National: GBR VC.TK

Mapcode Global: VHGR0.M63Y

Entry Name: London Wall: remains of Roman wall, bastions and city gate of Aldgate from 17 Bevis Marks to India Street

Scheduled Date: 21 December 1976

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002048

English Heritage Legacy ID: LO 26 K

County: City of London

Electoral Ward/Division: Portsoken

Built-Up Area: City of London

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): City of London

Church of England Parish: St Helen Bishopsgate

Church of England Diocese: London

Summary

Part of the Roman wall known as London Wall and the city gate of Aldgate

Source: Historic England

Details

The standing and buried remains of part of London Wall, the Roman and medieval defences of London, in three separate lengths that originally stood as the north-east boundary to the city. These three lengths of London Wall were originally a continuous part of the circuit but have been truncated by later activity. The Wall was constructed on a foundation trench of puddled clay and flint with a capping of ragstone which forms a raft supporting the main body of the Wall. The Wall itself rises from a sandstone plinth and has a rubble and mortar core faced with Kentish ragstone banded at intervals by tile courses.

The first length of this part of London Wall survives as buried remains that run for approximately 74m south-east from 17 Bevis Marks towards St James’s Passage where it has been truncated by a modern subway. The Wall originally continued north-west, beyond 17 Bevis Marks, and a watching brief in 1983 located some fragmentary remains but their extent and character are unknown and they are thus not included in the scheduling. An excavation in advance of the subway development at St James’s Passage revealed that the Wall survives at Dukes Place to a height of 1.7m above the level of the plinth, which is itself situated some 4.2m below the modern ground surface. Near the centre of this length of London Wall are the buried remains of bastion number 7 which projects approximately 5.79m eastward beyond the external face of the Wall. An etching of the site in 1763 shows that the bastion is semi-circular in plan and, at that time, was surmounted with a (probably medieval) polygonal top.

The second length of this part of London Wall runs for approximately 68m south-east from Duke’s Place to the buried remains of the Roman gateway at Aldgate where it then turns south and continues for approximately 25m. At Duke’s Place the Roman Wall survives beneath the ground to 1.7m high above the level of the plinth. It includes the buried remains of bastion number 6 which has a semi-circular plan and projects 5.79m beyond the external face of the Wall. At Aldgate are the buried remains of a Roman, medieval and post-medieval gateway, which provided a means of access into London, and this area is included in the scheduling. An archaeological investigation in 1968 revealed the corner of a Roman wall and a buttress which are considered to be part of the central spine of a gate with a double carriageway. Further excavations have revealed the footings of an associated Roman tower and part of the 1607-9 gateway. Beyond Aldgate the Wall continues for a further 25m to the south. At 37 Jewry Street it has largely been reduced to foundation level. However at 36 Jewry Street the Wall is exposed for 5m within the cellar of the Three Tuns public house and stands some 2.45m high above the level of the plinth which is itself situated approximately 2.7m below the present ground level. Some of the masonry is partly obscured by a modern brickwork facing but the original tile courses are visible in places. The Wall originally extended southwards but the double basements added in the 1930s within the northern part of Sir John Cass College have removed any archaeological remains.

The third length of this part of London Wall runs for 56m south from the single basement of Sir John Cass College to the south side of India Street. Towards the northern end of the site about 1m of the wall survives upstanding to 1.5m high and is displayed within a glass-fronted recess in the basement. However the greater part of this length survives as buried remains beneath the basement and India Street. Partial excavation has revealed the foundations of a bastion (number 5) built into the fabric of the Wall. The mortar of the bastion foundation has been spread over the Wall's sandstone plinth providing evidence that part of the Wall may have been partly demolished at the time of the bastion's construction. The Wall originally continued southwards beyond India Street but a double basement beneath 8-10 Crutched Friars has removed it in that area. Further remains of the Roman wall are known to survive further south and are the subject of a separate scheduling.

EXCLUSIONS
The monument excludes: all modern (C19 and C20) buildings but the ground beneath them is included; notice boards, signs and sign posts; fences and fence posts; railings; all tarmacadam or paved surfaces, including pavements, roads and roadways; lamps and lamp posts; bollards; modern drains and drain covers; modern water pipes and electricity cables. However the ground beneath all these features is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The part of London Wall from 17 Bevis Marks to India Street, including remains of the Roman wall, bastions and city gate of Aldgate, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: London Wall was pivotal to the protection of London from the Roman period until far into the Middle Ages and was a key factor in determining the shape and development of the city;
* Survival: this part of London Wall incorporates standing remains (within basements) that are up to nearly 2.5m high above the level of the plinth, as well as the buried remains of several bastions and a gateway;
* Documentation (archaeological): this part of the Wall has been recorded through several excavations, providing important information regarding Roman and medieval civil engineering and construction techniques;
* Potential: the Wall retains potential for further investigation, and the buried remains of the city gate of Aldgate, in particular, will provide an insight into the development of one of the principal routeways into London from the Roman through to the post-medieval period;
* Group value: this part of the Wall holds group value with the other surviving scheduled sections of London Wall and more widely with the scheduled Roman amphitheatre and public bath houses.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Merrifield, R, The Roman City of London, (1965)
Maloney, J, 'London Archaeology' in Excavations At Duke's Place - The Roman Defences, (1979)
Maloney, J, 'Roman Urban Defences in the West' in Recent Work on London's Defences, (1983)
Maloney, J, 'Roman Urban Defences in the West' in Further Discoveries Relating to Roman London, (1983)
Other
Compass Archaeology Report, November 2011: Thames Water Mains Replacement Works. The recording of exposed remains of Aldgate on Aldgate High Street, and Interim Report 34: Crouch Hill 55. ,
Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) Watching Brief Report, December 2012: Aldgate Traffic Lights, Junctions of Aldgate High Street, London, EC3N.,
Museum of London Archaeology Service (MOLAS) Watching Brief Report, February 1996: 87-89 Aldgate High Street & 37 Jewry Street, London, EC3N.

Source: Historic England

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