Saturday, August 04, 2018

London's Roman Fort, Walls & Bastions

London The Unfinished City
Part of the Roman Fort Wall and Bastion 14, London Wall.

I have always had a fascination with the Romans and, by extension, there creation of Londinium, so I have always looked forward to visiting as much of the remaining wall and fortifications, as I can.

And. to be fair, there is still a lot of the city wall still standing, some of which is in plain sight, while smaller pieces need searching out. 

Fortunately, there is a walking route, that has markers, so you can follow the entire line of the City Wall at your own leisure. 

London The Unfinished City
Marker number 3 of 21.

However, there are still pieces that you will need to search out yourself, such as those bits of wall hidden in car parks or only visible from underground platforms.

Brief History

During the 2nd and 3rd centuries, the Romans decided to fortify Londinium, but historian are unsure as to why. They began by thickening the walls of the existing fort and building a wall, which was some 3 miles long, between 8 and 10 feet in depth and up to 20 feet high. There were also over 20 towers, spread at regular intervals. When completed, it was discovered that the wall left the riverbank undefended, which resulted in Saxon pirates raiding he town on numerous occasions. The remedy was to extend the wall to the river.

London The Unfinished City
A history of the wall.

Following the departure of the Romans, in the 5th century, Londinium became a derelict ghost town. Remaining empty for nearly 300 years, the walls began to collapse as nature gradually took over the city. Although, from about 500 AD, there was an Anglo Saxon settlement near Aldwych, called Lundenwic, this was outside of the Roman Walls. By 680, Londinium's port was in use, once again, but it wasn't until the late 880s that Londinium was resettled and, by about 950, its walls were repaired.

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