Survey of London: Wall about the City

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Wall about the Citie of London.
Whereupon Ambassadors were eftsoones dispatched to Rome,
lamentably beseeching that they woulde not suffer their miserable
countrey to be vtterly destroyed :then againe an other Legion
was sent, which comming vpon a suddaine, made a greate slaugh-
ter of the ennemie, and chased him home, euen vnto his own coun-
try. These Romaines at their departure, tolde the Britaines
plainely, that it was not for their ease or leasure to take vpon them
any more such long and laborious iournyes for their defence, and
therefore bad them practise the vse of armour and weapons, and
learne to withstand their ennemies, whome nothing else did make
so strong as their faint hart, and cowardise, and for so much as
thought that it would be no small helpe and encouragement
vnto their Tributary frendes whom they were now forced to for-
Wal of ston
builded by
the Romās.
bewtixt the
Britans ,
and Scots.
they builded for them a wall of harde stone from the
west sea to the east sea, right betwéene those two Cities, which
were there made to kéepe out the ennemies, in the selfe same place
where Seuerus before had cast his Trench. The Britaines al-
so putting to their helping handes as laborers.
This wall they builded 8. foote thicke in breadth, and 12. foote
in height, right as it were by a lyne, from east to west, as the ru-
ines thereof remaining in many places til this day, do make to ap-
peare. Which worke thus perfected, they giue the people straight
charge to looke well to themselues, they teach them to handle
their weapons, and they instruct them in warlike feates. And lest
by the sea side southwardes, where their ships lay at harbor, the
ennemie should come on land, they made vp sundrie Bulwarkes
each some what distant from the other, and so bid them farewell as
minding no more to returne. This happened in the daies of
the Emperour Theodosius the younger almost 500. yeares af-
ter the first ariuall of the Romaines here, aboute the yeare after
Christes incarnation, 434.
The Britaines after this, continuing a lingering & doubtful war
with the Scots and Pictes, made choice of Vortiger, to bee their
The Bri-
tains giuen
to gluttony,
pride and
and leader, which man (as sayth Malmesbery,) was neither
valorous of courage, nor wise of counsell, but wholy giuen ouer
to the vnlawful lusts of his flesh: the people likewise in short time,
being growne to some quietnes gaue themselues to gluttony, and

Wall about the Citie of London.
drunkennes, pride, contention, enuie, and such other vices, casting
from them the yoke of Christ. In the meane season a bitter plague
fell among them, consuming in short time such a
The Britaines
plagued for
their sinfull
multitude, that
the quicke were not sufficient to bury the deade, and yet the rem-
nant remayned so hardened in sinne, that neither the death of their
frendes nor feare of their owne daunger, could cure the mortality
of their soules, whereupon a greater stroke of vengeance insued
vpon the whole sinfull nation. For being now againe infested with their
old neighbors the Scots, and Pictes, they consult with their
king Vortiger, and send for the Saxons,
who shortly after ariued
here in Britaine, where saith Bede, they were receiued as frends:
but as it proued they minded to destroy the countrie as ennemies
for after that they had driuen out the Scots and Pictes, they also
draue the Britaines some ouer the seas, and some into the waste
mountaines of Wales and Cornewell, and deuided the countrie
into diuers kingdomes amongst themselues.
The Saxons
sent for to de-
fend the Bri-
taines, but
they draue thé
into the moun
These Saxons were likewise ignorant of the Architecture or
building with stone,
Saxons vnskil-
ful of building
with stone.
vntill the yere of Christ 680. for then it is af-
firmed that Bennet Abbote of Wirall, Maister to the reuerend
Bede, first brought Masons and Workemen in stone into this
Iland amongst the Saxons,
Benet a monk
brought ma-
sons into this
land amongst
the Saxons.
(he I say) brought hyther Artificers of
stone houses, Paynters and Glasiers, artes before that time vnto
the Saxons vnknowne, who before that time vsed but wodden
Thus much be sayed for walling, not onely in respect of this Ci-
ty, but generally also of the first, within the Realme. Now
Trinouāt since
called Londō.
returne to our Trinouant, (as Cesar hath it) the same is since by
Tacitus, Ptolomeus, and Antoninus called Londinium, Longi-
, of Amiamus, Lundinum, and Augusta who calleth it an
auncient Citie of our Britaines Lundayne, of the olde Saxons,
Lundonceaster, Londonbeig, of strangers, Londra and Lon-
, of the inhabitants,
the city of Lon
by the Danes,
and againe re-
London, whereof you may reade a more
large and learned discourse, and how it tooke the name in that
worke of my louing frend M. Camden now Clarenciaulx which
is called Britania.
This Citie of London hauing beene destroyed and bren t by
the Danes and other Pagan ennemies about the yere of Christ,

Wall about the Citie of London.
839. was by Alfred king of the west Saxons, in the yere 886 re-
payred and honorably restored, and made againe habitable. Who
also committed the custody thereof vnto his sonne in law, Ethelrod
Earle of MerciThis text has been supplied. Reason: The text is not clear for some reason not covered by other values of @reason. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on guesswork. (SM)a2, vnto whome before hee had giuen his daughter
And that this Citie was strongly walled, may appeare by di-
uers accidents, whereof I haue read some, namely William of
, hath that about the yeare of Christ, 994. the Lon-
, shut vp their gates and defended their king Ethelrod,
within their wals against the Danes, in the yeare 1016. Ed-
This text has been supplied. Reason: The text is not clear for some reason not covered by other values of @reason. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on guesswork. (SM)I3ronside
raigning ouer the west Saxons Canute the Dane
bringing his nauie into the west part of the bridge, cast a Trench
aboute the Citie of London, and then attempted to haue won it
by assault, but the Citizens repulsed him and draue him from their
wals. Also in the yeare 1052. Earle Godwin with his nauie
sayled vp by the south ende of the bridge, and so assailed the wals
of this Citie, & Wiliam Fitzstephen
W. Fitzstephē
The Citie of
London wal-
led round a-
boute by the
Riuer of
Wals of Lon-
writing in the raigne of king
Henry the second
, of the wals, of this Citie hath these words The
wal is high and great, well towred on the Northside with due
distances betweene the towers. On the southside also the
Citie was walled and towred, but the fishful riuer of Thames
with his ebbing, and flowing hath long since subuerted them
This may suffice for proofe of a wall, and forme thereof, about
this Citie, and the same to haue béene of greate antiquity, as any
other within this Realme, and now touching the maintenance &
repayring the saide wals, I finde that in the yere 1215, the 16.
of King Iohn
, the Barons entring the Citie by Ealdgate, first
tooke assurance of the Citizens, and then they brake into the hou-
ses of the Iewes, and searched their coffers, and after with greate
diligence repayred the wals, and the gates of the Citie of London
with stone, taken from the Iewes broken houses. In the yeare
1257. Henry the 3. caused the wals of the Citie of London, which
were sore decaThis text has been supplied. Reason: Omitted from the original text due to a printing or typesetting error. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on guesswork. (SM)i4ed and destitute of Towers, to be repayred in more
seemely wise then before, at the common charges of the Citie. Al-
so in the yeare 1282. King Edward the first granted to H. VVal-
Maior, and the Citizens of London, the fauour, to take to-
ward the making of the wall, and inclosure of the Citie, certaine
customes, as appeareth by his grante. This wal was then to be

Wall about the Citie of London
made from Ludgate to Fleete bridge, and along by the water of
Fleete, vnto the riuer of Thames. Moreouer in the yere 1310.
Edward the 2. commanded the Citizens to make vp the wal alre-
dy begunne, and the Tower, at the ende of the same wall, within
the water of Thames neare vnto the blacke Fryers &c. It was
also granted by king Richard the ſocond in the 10. of his raign that
a Toll shoulde be taken of wares, solde by lande and by water for
10. yeares, towardes the repayring of the wals and clensing of
the ditch aboute London. In the 17. of Edward the 4. Ralfe
, Mayor, caused parte of the wall aboute the Citie of
to be rapayred, to wit, betwixt Aldgate and Aldersgate
he also caused the Morefielde to bee searched for clay, and willed
bricke to be made, and brent there, he likewise caused chalke to bee
brought out of Kent and to be brent into lime in the same More-
, for more furtherance of the worke. Then the Skinners,
to begin in the East, made that parte of the wall, betwixt Al-
and Buries marke towardes Bishopsgate, as may appeare
by their armes in thrée places fixed there, the Mayor with his cō-
pany of the Drapers made all that part, betwixt Bishopsgate &
Alhallowes Church in the same, and from Alhallowes towards
the Posterne. A great part of the same wal called Moregate was
repayred by the executors of Sir Iohn Crosby, late Alderman, as
may appeare by his Armes, standing in two places there. Other
Companies repayred the rest of the wal to the Posterne of Criple-
. The Goldsmiths repayred frō Criplegate, towards Alders
, & there the work ceased. The circuite of the wall
Circuit of the
Wall from
the east to the
of London
on the landes side, to wit from the tower of London in the east,
vnto Aldgate, is 82. perches: from Aldgate to Bishopsgate, 86.
perches:from Bishopsgate in the north to the Postern of Criple-
perches, from Criplegate to Ealdersgate 75. perches,
from Eldrichgate to Newgate, 66. perches, from Newgate in the
west to Ludgate, 42. perches, in all 513. perches of assize. From
Ludgate againe to the Fleete dike, west, about 60. perches: from
Fleete bridge south to the riuer of Thames, aboute 70. perches,
and so the totall of these perches amounteth to 643. euery perch,
consisting of 5. yeardes and a halfe, which do yeelde 3536. yardes
and a halfe, conteyning 10608 foote, which make vp two eng-
lish miles and more by 608. foote.


  1. Second i in Witichendus flipped in original text. (SM)
  2. Unclear. (SM)
  3. Unclear. (SM)
  4. Letter missing. (SM)


Cite this page

MLA citation

Stow, John, and William fitz-Stephen. Survey of London: Wall about the City. The Map of Early Modern London, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 26 Jun. 2020,

Chicago citation

Stow, John, and William fitz-Stephen. Survey of London: Wall about the City. The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed June 26, 2020.

APA citation

Stow, J., & fitz-Stephen, W. 2020. Survey of London: Wall about the City. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London. Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from

RIS file (for RefMan, EndNote etc.)

Provider: University of Victoria
Database: The Map of Early Modern London
Content: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

A1  - Stow, John
A1  - fitz-Stephen, William
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - Survey of London: Wall about the City
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
PY  - 2020
DA  - 2020/06/26
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  -
UR  -
ER  - 


RT Web Page
SR Electronic(1)
A1 Stow, John
A1 fitz-Stephen, William
A6 Jenstad, Janelle
T1 Survey of London: Wall about the City
T2 The Map of Early Modern London
WP 2020
FD 2020/06/26
RD 2020/06/26
PP Victoria
PB University of Victoria
LA English
OL English

TEI citation

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