London’s City Walls

The Museum of London has a very good and interesting series of leaflets which describe the walls of the City in a walk taking anything between 2-4 hours, depending on how fast you walk, how long you linger and inwardly digest the information boards, and how many refreshment stops are necessary! And Barryoneoff tells us all about the gates.

Why am I doing this? Well, it is free, one of my aims, and secondly Mr Bradshaw has barely taken me beyond the walls so I thought it would be an interesting variation on our journey.

Yesterday it was extremely cold, with a nasty little wind shooting pinpricks of sleet, and at least three defrosting stops were necessary. How did the Romans manage? Or anyone else for that matter – I come from a warmer climate and the cold gets right down into my bones.

Enough of wimpish behaviour – the Romans would not have approved!

The Wall’s eastern end is at the Tower of London.

The Emperor Trajan? just outside Tower Hill underground, and one end of the City Wall
The Emperor Trajan? just outside Tower Hill underground, with the City Wall in the background

At Cooper’s Row there is a long section of the wall, and the green, mossy part in the middle is a stair up on to the ramparts –

The Wall at Cooper's Row
The Wall at Cooper’s Row

The Aldgate, one of seven City gates, was situated at the crossing point of Duke’s Place, Aldgate High Street, and Jewry Street, and on the road leading to Colchester. This is a modern version, I think. At this point the wall turned towards the west, on the right hand side  of today’s London Wall street. The Wall followed the line of the buildings on the right, and beyond those was the Houndsditch, still a street today.

The site of the Aldgate
The site of the Aldgate
London Wall Street today, with the line of the wall marked by the buildings on the right
London Wall Street today, with the line of the wall marked by the buildings on the right

And even though it was a miserably cold day I found this mimosa in flower, with St Botolph-Without-Aldgate in the background. There has been a church on this site for over 1,000 years – I can’t quite get my mind around one thousand years.

Mimosa in March at St Botolph Without
Mimosa in March at St Botolph-Without-Aldgate

The Synagogue in Bevis Marks, with an interesting article here

The Synagogue off Bevis marks
The Synagogue off Bevis marks

The site of the Bishopsgate –

The site of Bishopsgate, on the crossroads of Bishopsgate, Wormwood Street, and Bevis Marks
The site of Bishops gate, on the crossroads of Bishopsgate, Wormwood Street, and Bevis Marks

The picture below presents 2,000 years of history. The Roman wall is on the left, and on the left of the church the brick wall peeping out is part of a fort on the wall; the Church is All Hallows on the Wall and only dates from the late 1700s, but there has been a church on the site for 1,000 years; and today’s City looms over everything.

All Hallows on the Wall in London Wall Street
All Hallows on the Wall in London Wall Street

The next gate was Moorgate, at the crossroads of London Wall Street and Moorgate Street. The building of the wall apparently affected the drainage of the moors beyond and people had to travel on boats!

The site of the Moor Gate
The site of the Moor Gate

The Roman Wall in the Barbican, heading towards the Museum of London, and on the site of St Alphage London Wall, but very little of the church remains –

The London Wall in the Barbican, and on the site of St Alphage on the Wall
The London Wall in the Barbican, and the site of St Alphage London Wall
St Alphage on the Wall
St Alphage on the Wall

Just beyond this, at the end of Wood Street and in the Barbican, stood Cripple Gate. It too is demolished.

Cripplegate in 1650
Cripplegate in 1650

The Wall with the remains of one of the towers, just next to the Museum of London, the site of a large fort. There is a good section of Wall here, with the remains of further towers and a fish pond – you get a very good feel for what it was like – but my hand wobbled and the picture is blurred!

DSCF4954

I popped into Postman’s Park to check on the flowers and the azalea is still in full, luxuriant, and generous bloom. There were beautiful pale pink camellias too, but sadly my hand wobbled again! The Park is on the line of the Aldersgate. 

Azaleas in Postman's Park
Azaleas in Postman’s Park
The Aldersgate in c.1600
The Aldersgate in c.1600

After that it was downwards towards Blackfriars Bridge, past the site of the Lud Gate which stood opposite a crossing of the Fleet River. There are no remains of the Wall in this area.

Lud Gate in the C.16, as surmised in the 1800s
Lud Gate in the C.16, as surmised in the 1800s

I walked past the Apothecaries Hall (on the site of the Blackfriars Priory) and down to Blackfriars Bridge. After all the exploration I rewarded myself with an organ recital (free) in St Paul’s Cathedral, where it was also warm!

Blackfriars Bridge and the western end of the Roman Wall
Blackfriars Bridge and the western end of the Roman Wall

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