Home / Albums / Tag Place:London /

City Gates

City Gates.jpg Saxon Church at Bradford-on-Avon, WiltsThumbnailsRemains of the Wall

Let us examine into the history and the course of the Wall of London, if only for the very remarkable facts that the boundary of the City was determined for fifteen hundred years by the erection of this Wall; that for some purposes the course of the Wall still affects the government of London; and that it was only pulled down bit by bit in the course of the last century.

You will see by reference to the map what was the course of the Wall. It began, starting from the east where the White Tower now stands. Part of the foundation of the Tower consists of a bastion of the Roman wall. It followed a line nearly north as far as Aldgate. Then it turned in a N.W. direction just north of Camomile Street and Bevis Marks to Bishopsgate. Thence it ran nearly due W., north of the street called London Wall, turning S. at Monkwell Street. At Aldersgate it turned W. until it reached Newgate, where it turned nearly S. again and so to the river, a little east of the present Blackfriars Bridge. It ran, lastly, along the river bank to join its eastern extremity. The river wall had openings or gates at Dowgate and Bishopsgate,{39} and probably at Queen Hithe. The length of the Wall, without counting the river side, was 2 miles and 608 feet.

This formidable Wall was originally about 12 feet thick made of rubble and mortar, the latter very hard, and faced with stone. You may know Roman work by the courses of tiles or bricks. They are arranged in double layers about 2 feet apart. The so-called bricks are not in the least like our bricks, being 6 inches long, 12 inches wide and 1½ inch thick. The Wall was 20 feet high, with towers and bastions at intervals about 50 feet high. At first there was no moat or ditch, and it will be understood that in order to protect the City from an attack of barbarians—Picts or Scots—it was enough to close the gates and to man the towers. The invaders had no ladders.

The History of London
By Walter Besant
Available from gutenberg.org