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Title: Early London - Prehistoric, Roman, Saxon and Norman
Author: Besant, Walter
Language: English
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Transcriber’s Notes

Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected. Variations
in hyphenation have been standardised but all other spelling and
punctuation remains unchanged.

Italics are represented thus _italic_ and bold thus =bold=.

The variables in the formulae concerning canals in Book III, Chapter
IV are italicised in the original. The coding has been omitted for the
sake of clarity.

Footnotes are located at the ends of chapters.

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                       IN THE TIME OF THE TUDORS

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                            MEDIÆVAL LONDON
                     VOL. I. HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL

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                         The Survey of London

                             EARLY LONDON


                     64 & 66 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK
                     27 RICHMOND STREET WEST, TORONTO
                     MACMILLAN BUILDING, BOMBAY
                     309 BOW BAZAAR STREET, CALCUTTA


  Vespas. MS. A VIII.]


                       PREHISTORIC, ROMAN, SAXON
                              AND NORMAN


                           SIR WALTER BESANT

                         [Publisher's Device]

                         ADAM & CHARLES BLACK




  CHAP.                                                             PAGE

  1.  THE GEOLOGY                                                      3

  2.  THE SITE                                                        17

  3.  THE EARLIEST INHABITANTS                                        33



  1.  THE COMING OF THE ROMANS                                        53

  2.  THE ROMAN RULE                                                  57

  3.  THE ASPECT OF THE CITY                                          79

  4.  REMAINS OF ROMAN LONDON                                         95

  5.  THE BUILDING OF THE WALL                                       112

  6.  LONDON BRIDGE                                                  128

  7.  LONDON STONE                                                   133

  8.  THE DESOLATION OF THE CITY                                     135



  1.  THE COMING OF THE SAXONS                                       153

  2.  EARLY HISTORY                                                  161

  3.  THE DANES IN LONDON                                            169

  4.  THE SECOND SAXON OCCUPATION                                    176

  5.  THE SECOND DANISH OCCUPATION                                   190

  6.  TOWN AND PEOPLE                                                196

  7.  THORNEY ISLAND                                                 231

  8.  SAXON REMAINS                                                  243



  1.  WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR                                          249

  2.  DOMESDAY BOOK                                                  262

  3.  WILLIAM RUFUS                                                  272

  4.  HENRY I.                                                       275

  5.  THE CHARTER OF HENRY I.                                        279

  6.  STEPHEN                                                        289

  7.  FITZSTEPHEN THE CHRONICLER                                     301

  8.  THE STREETS AND THE PEOPLE                                     321

  9.  SOCIAL LIFE                                                    337

  10. A NORMAN FAMILY                                                345


  1.  THE RIVER EMBANKMENT                                           351

  2.  THE RIVERSIDE DISCOVERIES                                      353

  3.  STRYPE ON ROMAN REMAINS                                        356

  4.  THE CLAPTON SARCOPHAGUS                                        361

  5.                                                                 363

  INDEX                                                              365



  King Edgar adoring the Saviour                          _Frontispiece_

  Geological Map of the Site                                           7

  Statues of King Lud and his two Sons, Androgeus and Theomantius     19

  The Marshes of Early London                                         25

  Side of Font, East Meon Church, Hampshire                           36

  Side of Font, East Meon Church, Hampshire                           37

  Offa being invested with Spurs                                      39

  An Archer                                                           42

  Figures reconstructed from Ancient Clothes and Remains found
   in a Bog                                                           43

  Figures in Wood at Wooburn in Buckinghamshire, supposed to
   represent Itinerant Masons                                         45

  Pavement before the Altar of the Prior’s Chapel at Ely              49

  Statue of a Roman Warrior found in a Bastion of the London Wall     58

  Roman Knife-handle—Figure of Charioteer, Bronze                     60

  Carausius                                                           61

  A Sea Fight                                                         66

  Tomb of Valerius Amandinus (A Roman General)                        67

  Coffin Lids found in London                                         71

  Bronze Roman Lamp found in Cannon Street                            75

  Method of Swathing the Dead                                         77

  Dow Gate                                                            79

  Tessellated Pavement                                                81

  Roman Sandals taken from the Bed of the Thames                      89

  The Laconicum, or Sweating Bath                                     90

  Tessellated Pavement                                                91

  Roman Roads radiating from London                                   93

  Roman Altar to Diana found in St. Martin’s-le-Grand                 95

  Roman Bath, Strand Lane                                             97

  Roman Antiquities found in London, 1786                            101

  Roman London                                                       102

  Statuettes of Roman Deities                                        103

  Roman Sepulchral Stone found at Ludgate by Sir Christopher Wren    107

  Roman Statue discovered at Bevis Marks                             108

  Roman Antiquities found in London in 1786                          109

  Roman Remains found in a Bastion of London Wall                    113

  Roman Arch, London Wall                                            122

  A Ship                                                             126

  An Anglo-Saxon Warrior                                    _Facing_ 136

  Ancient Copper Bowl found in Lothbury                              138

  The Ark                                                            142

  King and Courtiers                                                 146

  A Group of Anglo-Saxon Spearmen                                    154

  Gregory the Great, St. Benedict, and St. Cuthbert                  156

  Lady in a Chariot                                                  157

  Family Life                                                        159

  Aelfwine                                                           161

  The Coronation of a King                                           162

  Aldhelm presenting “De Virginitate” to Hildelida, Abbess of
   Barking, and her Nuns                                    _Facing_ 162

  King Ethelbald                                                     164

  King in Bed                                                        166

  The Perils of the Deep                                             167

  Slaves waiting on a Household                                      171

  Guthlac carried away by Devils                                     172

  Saxon Minstrels                                                    174

  Playing Draughts                                                   175

  The Alfred Jewel (Reverse)  The Alfred Jewel (Obverse)             177

  Page from Gospel Book given by Otho I. to Athelstan, Grandson
   of Alfred the Great; on it the Anglo-Saxon Kings took the
   Coronation Oath                                                   178

  From King Alfred’s “Orosius”                                        179

  King Cnut and his Queen, Emma, presenting a Cross upon the
   Altar of Newminster (Winchester)                                  181

  The King receiving a Deputation                                    183

  Anglo-Saxon Warriors approaching a Fort                            185

  A Fight                                                            186

  Diagram of Canal                                                   188

  King Edward the Confessor’s Palace at Borstal (Brill)              193

  A Solar                                                            196

  Building a House                                                   197

  October. Hawking                                                   198

  A Banquet                                                          199

  Saxon Ladies                                                       201

  Saxon Horn                                                         202

  Merchantmen with Horses and Camels                                 203

  A Banquet                                                          205

  Glastonbury Abbey                                                  206

  Anglo-Saxon Nuns                                                   207

  Conferring the Tonsure                                             208

  A Burial                                                           209

  Saxon Church at Greenstead                                         211

  St. Dunstan                                                        213

  The Last Day                                             _Facing_  214

  Anglo-Saxon Modes of Punishment                                    216

  The Flogging of a Slave                                            216

  Three Men in Bed                                                   218

  Mother and Child                                                   219

  Drawing Water                                                      220

  St. Luke, from St. Chad’s Gospel Book, date about 700 A.D.         221

  Anglo-Saxon Husbandman and his Wife                                223

  Feeding the Hungry                                                 225

  Going to the Chase                                                 226

  The Hawk Strikes                                                   226

  Feasting                                                           227

  Anglo-Saxon House                                                  229

  The Situation of Westminster                                       231

  St. Dunstan at the Feet of Christ                                  233

  Monks                                                              235

  The Famous “Book of Kells” MS. of the Gospels in Latin,
   written in Ireland (A.D. 650-690)                                 237

  Rood over the South Door of Stepney Church                         239

  Edward the Confessor’s Chapel                                      241

  Ancient Enamelled Ouche in Gold discovered near Dowgate Hill;
   probably Ninth Century                                            243

  An Ancient Comb found in the Ruins of Ickleton Nunnery             244

  Duke William comes to Pevensey                                     249

  King Harold shown in a Mêlée of Fighting-Men                       251

  Charter of the City of London given by William the Conqueror       252

  A Norman Knight                                                    253

  Norman Horsemen                                                    255

  Harold trying to pull the Arrow from his Eye                       255

  Norman Archers                                                     255

  William the Conqueror and his Knights (from the Bayeux Tapestry)   257

  Bishops                                                            258

  The Seal of Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, Half-brother of William I.      259

  Part of a Page of Domesday Book                                    263

  William I. and II., Henry I. and Stephen                  _Facing_ 264

  Norman Soldiers                                                    267

  Norman London                                                      269

  Norman Capitals from Westminster Hall                              273

  Seal of St. Anselm                                                 275

  Norman Arch, in the Cloisters, Westminster Abbey          _Facing_ 276

  Coronation of Henry I.                                             279

  An Ancient Seal of Robert, Fifth Baron FitzWalter                  281

  The Temple Church                                                  283

  A Fight                                                            291

  Costume of English Kings of the Eleventh Century. Anglo-Norman
   Ladies of High Degree                                    _Facing_ 292

  St. John’s Chapel, Tower of London, Norman Architecture            295

  March. Field Work. September. Boar-Hunting                         303

  Matron and Maid                                                    305

  A Horseman                                                         308

  Tilting                                                            313

  Tilting in Boats                                                   314

  Dancing                                                            315

  The Chase                                                          317

  The White Tower                                                    319

  Representation of Orion                                            322

  Craftsman at work on a House                                       323

  London Wall                                                        325

  A Norman Hall                                                      327

  Three Bishops                                                      329

  Building a House                                          _Facing_ 338

  A Family Group                                                     339

  Lady saving a Stag from the Hunters                                341

  Saxon Doorway, Temple Church                                       343

                                BOOK I

                          PREHISTORIC LONDON

                               CHAPTER I

                              THE GEOLOGY

                     By Prof. T. G. BONNEY, F.R.S.

The buildings of a town often succeed in masking the minor physical
features of its site—irregularities are levelled, brooks are hidden
beneath arches and find ignominious ends in sewers; canals, quays,
and terrace walls may be wholly artificial. To realise completely the
original contours of the ground is often a laborious process, demanding
inductive reasoning on the evidence obtained in sinking wells, in
digging the foundations of the larger buildings, or in making cuttings
and tunnels. Still the broader and bolder features cannot be obscured,
however thick the encrusting layer of masonry may be. What, then,
are these in the case of Greater London? Its site is a broad valley,
along the bed of which a tidal river winds in serpentine curves as its
channel widens and deepens towards the sea. On either side of this
valley the ground slopes upwards, though for a while very gently,
towards a hilly district, which rises, sometimes rather steeply, to
a height of about 400 feet above sea-level. Towards the north this
district passes into an undulating plateau, the chalky uplands of
Hertfordshire; on the south it ends in a more sharply defined range,
which occasionally reaches an elevation of about 800 feet above the
sea—the North Downs. The upland declines a little, the valley broadens
towards the sea, as the river changes into an estuary. Between the one
and the other there is no very hard and fast division; the ground by
the side of each is low, but as a rule by the river it is just high
enough to be naturally fit for cultivation, while by the estuary it
is a marsh. But as the ground becomes more salubrious, the channel
becomes more shallow, and at one place, a short distance above the
confluence of a tributary stream from the north—the Lea—this change in
the character of the valley is a little more rapid than elsewhere.

These conditions seem to have determined the site of the city—the
original nucleus of the vast aggregate of houses which forms the London
of to-day. Air and water are among the prime requisites of life; no
important settlement is likely to be established where the one is
insalubrious, the other difficult to obtain. Thus men, in the days
before systems of drainage had been devised, would shun the marshes of
Essex and Kent, and, in choosing a less malarious site, would seek one
where they could get water fit to be drunk, either from brooks which
descended from the uplands, or from shallow wells. These conditions, as
we shall see, were fulfilled in the site of ancient London; these for
long years determined its limits and regulated its expansion.

Let us imagine London obliterated from the valley of the Thames; let us
picture that valley as it was more than two thousand years ago, when
the uplands north of the river were covered by a dense forest, and the
Andreds Wald (as it was afterwards named) extended from the Sussex
coast to the slopes of the Kentish Downs. We gaze, as we have said,
upon a broad valley, through which the tidal Thames takes its winding
course, receiving affluents from either side. These are sometimes mere
brooks, sometimes rivers up which the salt water at high tide makes its
way for short distances. The brooks generally rise among the marginal
hills; the rivers on the northern side start far back on the undulating
plateau; but on the southern the more important have cut their way
completely through the range of the North Downs and are fed by streams
which began their course in the valley of the Weald. Of the latter,
however, probably not one is directly connected with the earliest
history of London; of the former, only the Fleet, which, rising on the
southern scarp of Hampstead Heath, ultimately enters the Thames near
Blackfriars Bridge. But both the one and the other at later stages in
the development of London may require a passing word of notice.

What, then, do we see at this earliest phase in the history of the
future metropolis? At once we are impressed with the fact that the
Thames formerly must have flowed in a channel broader but straighter
than its present one; a channel which is now indicated by a tract of
alluvial land a few feet below the general level of the valley, and
but little above high-water mark. Traces of this may be seen here
and there between Chelsea and London Bridge, in the low ground about
Millbank and along the river-side at Westminster, and in that which
runs from Lambeth along the right bank of the Thames. But the most
marked indication of this alluvial plain begins about a mile below
London Bridge. Here the left bank of the river is formed, as it has
been from the bend at Hungerford Bridge, by a terrace ranging at first
from about 25 feet to 40 feet above mean tide level, a most important
physical feature, for it determined, as we shall see, the site of
London. But on the opposite shore, the strip of lower ground—often
about four or five hundred yards wide—on which river-side Southwark is
built, continues until, at Bermondsey, it widens rather suddenly to
about a mile and a half. So it goes on past the junction of the Lea,
now widening, now contracting slightly, as, for instance, opposite to
Purfleet and above Greenwich, but always a broad lowland through which
the present tidal river takes a wholly independent and sinuous course.
This plain is formed of silt which the Thames itself has deposited
over the debatable region where river and sea begin to meet. It is
but little above high-water mark; much of it less than a dozen feet
above ordnance datum. A similar low plain, about half a mile wide, may
be traced for a few miles up the valley of the Lea, and indications
of this may be found here and there by the side of the Thames above
Chelsea; but commonly they are wanting, and always are limited in
extent. In their absence, the river bank is higher, for it is formed
by the scarp of that terrace to which we have already referred. The
difference in elevation between these plains is not great, for the
second begins at about 20 to 25 feet above ordnance datum; but it
shelves from this gently upwards, forming the remainder of the more
obvious bed of the valley, till it reaches a height of about 100 feet.
At about this level, though it is impossible to be quite precise, the
steeper slopes, more especially on the northern side of the river,
and the hills, continue to rise till sometimes—as at Hampstead and at
Highgate—they reach an elevation of rather over 400 feet. We cannot,
however, do more than speak in general terms, for in a valley like that
of the Thames—mainly excavated in a soft and tenacious clay—a large
part of the rainfall runs off, forming numerous brooklets and small
streams, which carve out many minor undulations and shallow ramifying

The lowest alluvial plain, in olden days, must have been a desolate
marshland, the haunt of wildfowl and the home of ague; so we pass
it by, to describe more particularly the ground which overlooks it.
The valley as a whole—in the neighbourhood of London—is carved out
of strata assigned by geologists to the earlier part of the Tertiary
era, the period called the Eocene. These rest upon a mass of chalk
some 650 feet thick beneath the junction of Tottenham Court Road with
Oxford Street—which rises to the surface towards the Kentish Downs
on the one side and in the Hertfordshire hills on the other. Near
London this rock is not exposed, but it begins to show itself near
Deptford and Charlton, and is yet more conspicuous about Dartford and
Purfleet, so that it evidently forms a true basin beneath London. Of
what lies beneath it we shall speak hereafter, for this is a matter of
more importance to the future history of London than at first might
be supposed. The Eocene strata take the same basin-like form as the
underlying chalk, so that while the lowest of them rises to the surface
north and south of London, it is rather more than 200 feet below
sea-level at Hungerford Bridge. This rock, called the Thanet Sand,
is a marine deposit; it is a very light grey or buff-coloured sand,
formed almost entirely of quartz grains, and it occupies a more limited
area than the overlying strata, its thickness beneath London commonly
varying from about 20 to 40 feet. The Thanet Sand seldom, if ever,
reaches the surface to the north or the south-west of London, but it
may be seen to the south-east, as about Woolwich and Croydon.

Over the Thanet Sand comes a rather variable group of clays and sands
called the Woolwich and Reading Beds. They extend over a larger area
and generally run a little thicker than it does, for beneath London
they are usually about 50 or 60 feet, and occasionally rather more.
The fossils are sometimes fresh-water forms, sometimes estuarine or
marine, so that the deposit probably marks the embouchure of one or
possibly two large rivers. Next comes that brownish clay which is so
constantly turned up in digging sewers or foundations, especially on
the lower slopes of the hills. Its name—the London Clay—is taken from
the metropolis; but it covers, or at any rate has covered, a much more
extensive area, for it can be traced at intervals (large masses having
been removed by denudation in some districts) as far as Marlborough
on the west, the Isle of Wight on the south, and Great Yarmouth on
the north. The same cause has reduced its thickness in parts of the
metropolitan districts. Beneath Trafalgar Square, for example, it is
142 feet, and in some wells even less, but the total thickness must
have been—indeed in some places it still is—rather more than 400 feet.
At the base a band of pebbles commonly occurs. This, under the central
part of London, is inconspicuous; but farther away, especially towards
the south and the east, it is often 20 to 30 feet thick, and sometimes
more. It consists of well-rounded flint pebbles, generally not so
big as a hen’s egg, mixed with quartz sand. This gravel lies at or
near the surface over a considerable area about Blackheath, Charlton,
and Chiselhurst, and is now generally distinguished from the London
Clay by a separate name—the Blackheath or the Oldhaven Beds. Both
this formation and the London Clay contain fossils, sometimes rather
abundantly, which indicate a marine origin, though the deposit cannot
have been formed at a long distance from land, for estuarine species
occur in it; while fossil fruits and pieces of wood are sometimes
common in the London Clay, the latter being often riddled by the
borings of teredines (a bivalve mollusc which still exists and makes
great havoc in timber). So that in all probability both the gravel and
the clay were connected with the rivers already mentioned.

Above the London Clay comes a group of sands, occasionally containing
intercalated beds of clay, which once must have had almost as wide
an extent as it, but in the London area it is reduced to isolated
fragments, capping the clay hills at Hampstead, Highgate, and Harrow.
Here the deposit is less than 100 feet in thickness, for so much has
been washed away, but it often reaches quite 300 feet on the dry
moorland about Chobham, Aldershot, and Weybridge.


Then comes a great gap in the geological record. The beds just
mentioned belong to the Eocene, but after these nothing more is
found till we are very near the end, if not actually out of, the
Pliocene period. This long interval, in the district with which we are
concerned, was occupied by earth-movements, the result of which was
denudation rather than deposition. As we have already said, the chalk
and the overlying Eocene strata are bent into the form of an elongated
basin, which is related to the long dome-like elevation from which the
hills and valleys of the Weald have been sculptured. Basin and dome
alike are the results of wave-like movements which began to affect a
large portion of Europe soon after the latest Eocene deposits in the
London area were formed, movements of which the Alps and the Pyrenees
are more conspicuous monuments. But these folds first began at a still
earlier epoch—that which separates the newest part of the chalk from
the oldest beds of the Eocene. Even then the London basin and the
Wealden dome must have been outlined, though less boldly than now; for
beneath the City the Thanet Sand and the Woolwich and Reading Beds are
pierced in borings, and are together about 90 feet in thickness. But
high up on the North Downs the pebble bed at the bottom of the London
Clay may be seen resting on the chalk. So this district in early
Eocene times must have been higher than the former one by at least the
above-named amount; or, in other words, the basin of the Thames and the
dome of the Weald must have been already indicated.

The later earth-movements, however, were on a much grander scale.
Under London Bridge the base of the London Clay is about 90 feet below
the sea-level, while on the North Downs it is about 750 feet above
it, so the displacement since it was laid down has been at least 840
feet. The uplift in the central part of the Weald was doubtless much
greater, but as denudation must have begun as soon as ever dry land
appeared, we cannot say to what height the hills in this part may have
risen. Still, when we remember that the valleys of the Wey, the Mole,
and the Medway, which drain the northern half of the Weald, have cut
completely through the range of the North Downs on their course towards
the Thames, and are the makers of the valleys in which they flow, we
can understand the magnitude of the work of denudation. But that work
was far too complicated, the subject is far too difficult and full
of controversies, to be discussed in these pages; we must content
ourselves with mentioning a few facts which have more or less affected
the history of the metropolis.

As the rivers flowed, they transported and deposited the débris of the
land, and if ever a submergence occurred, the same work would be done
by tides and currents of the sea. The earliest deposits, obviously,
would be formed in places which are far above the present beds of the
streams. Most of these deposits would be washed away, their materials
would be sorted out and transferred to lower levels, as the valleys
were widened and deepened, and as the surface of the ground approached
more nearly to its present contours. Thus gravels, sands, and clays are
found at various levels down nearly to the present level of the Thames.
The oldest of them, deposited within a radius of about ten miles from
London Stone, lie rather more than 300 feet above the sea.[1] These
last are probably connected with similar sands and gravels which cover
considerable areas in the Eastern Counties, and may have been deposited
at an epoch when even the outline of the present valley system of the
Thames had not been delineated. Upon this question, however, it is
needless to enter. The next deposit, supposing these patches of sand
and gravel to be of one age—a very doubtful matter,—is the Boulder
Clay—a stiff, tenacious clay, often studded with pieces of chalk, from
minute grains to biggish lumps, which commonly are fairly well rounded,
together with flints, both rounded and angular, and fragments of other
rocks. These have been derived, generally speaking, from the north and
from various places, often at long distances, either on the eastern
side of England, or in Scotland, or occasionally even in Norway. The
clay also appears to have been formed from materials which came from
the same direction. But little of this Boulder Clay now remains in
the neighbourhood of London; the nearest patch is found on the higher
ground on either side of the 300 feet contour-line between Whetstone,
Finchley, and Muswell Hill—perhaps also at Hendon. To what extent the
valley system of the Thames was sculptured when the Boulder Clay was
formed; why the latter stops short on the northern slopes; under what
circumstances it was deposited—are all subjects of controversy which
it is impossible to discuss in these pages. Suffice it to say that the
clay indicates, to some extent at least, the action of ice; and that
as the patches of it and of the associated gravels occur at different
levels (a fact which is still more obvious in other districts) and
appear to exhibit a general correspondence in distribution with the
present contours of the ground, several valleys must have been by then
partially, if not completely, defined. In the main valley—as, for
example, near Erith—fine sandy clays or “brick earth” occur, which some
geologists consider to be at least as old as this clay. The climate,
when this “brick earth” was deposited, certainly must have been much
colder than it is at present, for remains of the musk-sheep have been
found in it, and at that time the valley of the Thames must have been
excavated nearly to its present depth. But on the slopes of this
valley, and of its tributaries, beds of gravel are found, containing
stones which must have been washed out of the Boulder Clay; and as
these gravels often extend to more than a hundred feet above the
present level of the river, the changes since they were deposited must
have been considerable. They contain the bones of extinct mammals, such
as the woolly rhinoceros and the mammoth, with others indicative of a
climate distinctly colder than at present. But as these also have been
found almost at the present level of the river, the animals must have
remained in this country till it had assumed very nearly its present
outlines. For instance, the tooth of a mammoth was discovered in 1731,
28 feet below the surface, when a sewer was dug in Pall Mall. Many
bones of this and other animals have been found in the “brick earth”
of Ilford; and a splendid pair of tusks, obtained in 1864, is now
preserved in the British Museum, South Kensington. Here “the ground
forms a low terrace, bordering the small river Roding on the one side,
and on the other it slopes gradually down to the Thames. The height
of the surface at the pits is about 28 feet above the Thames.”[2] It
is therefore certain that the river valley was cut down nearly to its
present level while the climate was still much colder than it is at
present, and very probable that its depth was much increased after the
chalky Boulder Clay had been deposited; for these gravels, as has been
said, are strewn over the lower slopes up to about a hundred feet above
the present river. At Highbury Terrace they even reach 154 feet, and at
Wimbledon 190 feet.

These gravels have yielded the remains, not only of the mammoth, but
also of man. His bones indeed have hardly ever been discovered, but
stones chipped into shape by his hands are far from rare. They are
almost always made of flint, a material which was abundant, could be
readily trimmed, and afforded a good and durable cutting edge. These
implements are never smoothed or polished, and exhibit many varieties
of form. They range from mere flakes, the artificial origin of which
cannot always be proved, but which in all probability were used as
knives and scrapers, to instruments which could only have been made
at the cost of considerable time and some skill. Similar remains have
been found elsewhere in the more eastern and southern counties of
England and on the Continent. The people, however, who fashioned such
implements hardly can have been so far advanced in civilisation as the
wandering tribes of Esquimaux in Northern Greenland.

These worked flints are very rarely found either below 20 or above
100 feet from the sea-level, but between these heights they are not
uncommon. About two centuries ago a well-worked flint, something like
a spear-head in shape, was found with an elephant’s (mammoth’s) tusk
“opposite black Mary’s, near Grayes Inn Lane.”[3] Implements of various
shapes have been obtained from the gravel near Acton, Ealing, Hackney,
Highbury, and Erith, as well as at Tottenham Cross, Lower Edmonton,
and other places in the valley of the Lea. But the most interesting
localities hitherto investigated are in the neighbourhood of Stoke
Newington and of Crayford. The worked flints at the former place are
found at more than one level, and indicate a progress in manual skill
sufficient to lead observers to the conclusion that they belong to
more than one epoch. The newest of these implements, flint flakes with
occasional more elaborate specimens, were so abundant and have occurred
in such a manner as to suggest to their discoverer (Mr. Worthington
Smith) that they lay on the actual surface where they were fashioned
by the workers of olden time. “The floor upon which this colony of men
lived and made their implements has remained undisturbed till modern
times, and the tools, together with thousands of flakes, all as sharp
as knives, still rest on the old bank of the brook just as they were
left in Palæolithic times. In some places the tools are covered with
sand, but usually with four or five feet of brick earth.... That (the
floor) was really a working place where tools were made in Palæolithic
times is proved by the fact of my replacing flakes on to the blocks
from which they were originally struck.”[4] At Crayford also, a layer
of flint chips was found by Mr. F. C. J. Spurrell in “brick earth” at
the foot of a buried cliff of chalk. The circumstances under which
these flakes occurred led him to the conclusion that this also was the
site of an old “workshop” of flint implements.[5]

These gravels may be assigned to a time—probably towards the conclusion
of the Glacial epoch—when the climate of Britain was still cold, when
the higher hills were permanently capped by snow, and when glaciers
may have lingered in the more mountainous regions. All through the
spring and early summer the rivers would be swollen with melting snow,
the torrents from the highland districts would be full and strong, and
thus denudation would be comparatively rapid—the more rapid because the
latest deposits, the Boulder Clay with its associated gravelly sands,
would be incoherent and in many places still unprotected by vegetation.
Very different would be the brooks and the rivers which then traversed
the valley of the Thames from those which now creep through lush
water-meadows or glide “by thorpe and town.” The final sculpturing of
the valleys—all that has been effected since the date of the Chalky
Boulder Clay—may have been accomplished with comparative quickness.
Still, since the time when the oldest of these flint implements were
lost by their owners, the beds of the valleys have been lowered, in
some places by not less than a hundred feet. The district also, until
the greater part of this final sculpturing was accomplished, was
inhabited by men whose habits of life were throughout substantially the

The alluvial deposits, as already stated, rise but little above the
surface of the river at high tide. Their thickness varies, but commonly
it is from about 12 to 20 feet. The lowest part is generally gravel
and sand—materials indicating that the conditions which produced the
older deposits of a like nature passed away gradually. This is followed
by river silt, with occasional thin beds of peat or with indications
of old land surfaces on which flourished woods of oak or even of yew.
Below the Port of London, marine shells are rather abundant in the
lower part of the silt; these indicate that the general level of the
land was a little lower than it had been during the preceding age,
perhaps even than it is at present. These alluvial deposits have
yielded implements of smoothed or polished stone, of bronze and of
iron; also canoes, and even relics of the Roman occupation of Britain.
In other words, they have yielded antiquities belonging mainly to
prehistoric times, though the record is continued up to a comparatively
recent date. Marshy or peaty ground occurs even within the limits of
the city,[6] as at one corner of St. Paul’s Cathedral, in Finsbury
Crescent, and near London Wall, as well as at Westminster. Thorney—the
“Isle of Thorns”—the site of the Abbey, was formerly a low insular
bank of gravel among marshes. The lake in St. James’s Park indicates
the track of the Tyburn, which traversed one of these swamps. It was
a brook of some size, and traces of it may be found in the names
Marylebone (le-bourne[7]), and Brook Street. One branch of it passed
“through Dean Street and College Street till it fell into the Thames by
Millbank Street.”[8] The water from the slopes north of Hyde Park made
another stream called the Westbourne; this, after following a path
still suggested by the Serpentine, found its way to the Thames through
a fenny district which is now Belgravia (see also p. 26).

Such, then, is the structure of the valley of the Thames; such are
the deposits which form its surface on either side, and on which the
metropolis has been built. But we must now look a little more closely
at their distribution, for by this the growth of London in ancient
times was largely determined. The broad terrace already mentioned on
the left bank of the Thames, the site of mediæval London, consists,
for a couple of miles or so inland, mainly of a flint gravel more or
less sandy, seldom exceeding 20 feet in thickness, and commonly rather
less, which rests upon the tenacious London Clay. Here and there this
gravel may be traversed by a small stream, but the most marked break
in its level is formed by a brook which, flowing from the slopes of
Hampstead and Highgate, at last has cut its bed down to the clay and
has broadened out into a creek as it joins the Thames. It was known in
its lower reaches as the Fleet (see p. 27). This gravel terrace made
London possible; this stream formed its first boundary on the west.
The rain-water is readily absorbed by the gravel, but is arrested by
the underlying clay. It can escape in springs wherever a valley has
been cut down to the level of saturation, but if it is not tapped in
this way the gravel will be full of water to within a few feet of the
surface, so that a shallow well will yield a good supply. The first
settlement was placed upon this gravel, by the river-side, where the
channel is still deep at high tide; it was limited on the west by the
slopes descending to the Fleet, on the east by the lower ground which
shelves downwards towards the mouth of the Lea. From this nucleus,
enclosed within the Roman fortification, the town expanded, as times
became more peaceful, along the lines of the great roads; and at an
early date a _tête-du-pont_ would undoubtedly be formed at Southwark.

But without entering into the details of this development, let us pass
over some centuries and see how the growth of London was for a long
time conditioned and limited by this gravel. The metropolis spread
“eastward towards Whitechapel, Bow, and Stepney; north-eastward towards
Hackney, Clapton, and Newington; and westward towards Kensington and
Chelsea; while northward it came for many years to a sudden termination
at Clerkenwell, Bloomsbury, Marylebone, Paddington, and Bayswater: for
north of a line drawn from Bayswater, by the Great Western Station,
Clarence Gate, Park Square, and along the side of the New Road to
Euston Square, Burton Crescent, and Mecklenburg Square, this bed of
gravel terminates abruptly, and the London Clay comes to the surface
and occupies all the ground to the north. A map of London, as recent
as 1817, shows how well defined was the extension of houses arising
from this cause. Here and there only beyond the main body of the gravel
there were a few outliers, such as those at Islington and Highbury,
and there habitations followed. In the same way, south of the Thames,
villages and buildings were gradually extended over the valley-gravels
to Peckham, Camberwell, Brixton, and Clapham; while, beyond, houses
and villages rose on the gravel-capped hills of Streatham, Denmark
Hill, and Norwood. It was not until facilities were afforded for an
independent water-supply by the rapid extension of the works of the
great Water Companies that it became practicable to establish a town
population in the clay districts of Holloway, Camden Town, Regent’s
Park, St. John’s Wood, Westbourne, and Notting Hill.”[9]

It is possible that the position of the older parks—St. James’s, the
Green Park—and Hyde Park may have been indirectly determined by the
fact that over much of them the gravel is thin or the clay actually
rises to the surface.

Every old settlement outside the earlier limits of the metropolis marks
the presence of sand or gravel. Hampstead and Highgate, which early in
the nineteenth century were severed from London by nearly a couple of
miles of open fields, stand upon large patches of Bagshot Sand, which
caps the London Clay and is sometimes as much as 80 feet thick. This
yellowish or fawn-coloured sand may be seen almost anywhere in the
old excavations at the top of Hampstead Heath, and the difference of
the vegetation on this material and on the clay of the lower slopes
cannot fail to be noticed. On the latter, grass abounds; on the former,
fern, furze, and even heather. The junction of the sand and the clay
is indicated by springs which supply the various ponds. These are
occasionally chalybeate, like the once-noted spring which may still be
seen in Well Walk, Hampstead. Harrow stands on another outlying patch
of Bagshot Sand. Enfield, Edmonton, Barnet, Totteridge, Finchley,
Hendon, and other old villages are built upon the high-level gravels
which have been already mentioned.

The shallow wells are no longer used in London itself. Infiltration of
sewage, in some cases of the drainage from churchyards, had rendered
many of them actually poisonous; clear, sparkling, even palatable,
though the water might be, there was often “death in the cup.” There
was a terrible illustration of this fact during the visitation of the
cholera in 1854. A pump, the water of which was much esteemed, stood by
the wall of the churchyard in Broad Street (south of Oxford Street).
The water became infected, and the cholera ravaged the immediate
neighbourhood. But though most of these pumps were closed barely sixty
years ago, some, like that in Great Dean’s Yard, Westminster, were in
use for quite another quarter of a century. It has now disappeared, but
that within the precincts of the Charterhouse is still standing. Thus
London was limited to the gravel till it was able to obtain water from
other sources.[10]

The first step in this direction was early in the seventeenth century,
when the New River Company had its origin, and for many years this
was the only Company by which water was supplied to London; but seven
others were subsequently founded.[11]

The New River Company obtains its water from the Lea, the original
source being nearly forty miles from London, but the supply has been
since increased by sinking wells. The East London draws upon the same
river. Five of the other Companies get their water from the Thames,
some miles above London, augmenting their supply by means of wells,
and the Kent Company draws exclusively from deep wells in the chalk.
As these Companies were founded the metropolis began to spread rapidly
over the areas which they supplied, but it did so in a regular and
systematic fashion. Houses fed by the mains of a Water Company must
keep, as it were, in touch with their base of supply, because of the
cost of laying a long line of pipes to supply a solitary house. Thus a
town which draws its water from mains advances block by block into the
surrounding country, and is not encircled by a wide fringe of scattered

In the London area, however, there is a way in which the occupant of an
isolated house can obtain a supply of water, though it is not a cheap
one. He may bore through the London Clay into the underlying sands and
gravels. When a porous stratum rests on one that is impervious, the
former becomes saturated with water up to a certain level, dependent
on local circumstances, and in this case a well sunk sufficiently deep
into it will be filled. But if the porous stratum be also covered by
one which is impervious; if all three be bent into a basin-like form;
and if the porous one crop out at a considerably higher level than the
place where a well is needed, then it may be water-logged to a height
sufficient to force the water up the bore-hole, perhaps even to send
up a jet like a fountain. Wells of this kind are termed Artesian, from
Artois in France, where they have been in use for several centuries,
and they began to be sunk in England about a century ago. The London
Clay was pierced, and the water-logged sands and gravels belonging to
the lowest part of the Tertiary series were tapped. These basin-formed
beds crop out at an elevation generally of about one hundred feet above
the Thames; thus they were charged with water to a considerable height
above the level of the river, and it very commonly at first spouted up
above the surface of the ground; but as the wells increased in number,
its level was gradually lowered, for the area over which these beds
are exposed is not very extensive, and a stratum cannot supply more
water than it receives by percolation from the rainfall. At first
everything went well; consumers were like heirs who had succeeded to
the savings of a long minority, for water had been accumulating in this
subterranean basin-like reservoir during myriads of years; but after
a time the expenditure began to exceed the income, and the water-level
sank slowly, till now it is many yards below the surface of the ground.

But when this source of supply evidently was becoming overtaxed,
another was found in the underlying chalk. This rock absorbs water
rapidly, but parts with it very slowly. Professor Prestwich found by
experiment that a slab of chalk measuring 63 cubic inches drank up 26
cubic inches of water (all it could hold) in a quarter of an hour; yet
when left to drain for twelve hours it parted with only one-tenth of a
cubic inch.[12] So that an ordinary well is useless. But the upper part
of the chalk, generally to a depth of rather more than 300 feet, is
traversed by fissures, and these are full of water. So a bore-hole is
carried down till one of them is struck, and they are so abundant that
failures are rare. In this way the water-supply of London is materially

This source also—at any rate in the immediate neighbourhood of
London—is becoming overtaxed, so an effort has been made to obtain
water from yet greater depths. Below the chalk is an impervious clay
(Gault), and beneath this comes a brownish sand, followed by some
other beds not quite so porous (called the Lower Greensand), which are
succeeded by thick clays. These sandy rocks crop out at the surface
to the north of London in Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, and to
the south in Surrey and Kent. So they reasonably might be expected to
pass beneath the metropolis, to be saturated with water, and to yield
a large supply as they do at Paris, the geological position of which
bears a considerable resemblance to that of London. Bore-holes have
been put down in search of these sands at Kentish Town, Meux’s Brewery
(Tottenham Court Road), Richmond, Streatham, and Crossness. They
have also been sunk beyond the metropolitan area at Ware, Cheshunt,
Harwich, and Chatham. At the last place the Lower Greensand is only
about 40 feet thick, instead of 400 feet as it is south of the North
Downs.[13] It was expected to occur under London at a depth of about
1000 feet in round numbers, but in every case it was found to be either
wholly absent or so thin as to be worthless. This is true even so far
away as Ware and Harwich on the northern side, and perhaps as Croydon
on the southern. In the days when this Lower Greensand, and even a
considerable thickness of strata which elsewhere comes beneath it, were
deposited, a large island or peninsula composed of much older rocks
must have risen above the sea in the region over which London and all
its environs now stand. So there is no hope of increasing the supply of
water from any beds older than the upper part of the chalk. But a good
deal more may be obtained from this rock, if it be tapped at longer
distances from the metropolis. To this process, however, there are
two objections: one, that the number of wells and of conduits which
will be required in order to collect the water will probably make it
a rather costly source of supply; the other, that if large demands be
made on the water stored up beneath the chalk hills, the level of the
surface of saturation in this rock will be appreciably lowered, many
springs will be dried up, and the streams will be seriously diminished,
which will greatly injure thousands of acres of water-meadows and many
important industries. Large sums would have to be paid as compensation,
and this would add greatly to the cost of any scheme. It is doubtful
whether more water ought to be withdrawn from the Thames and its
tributaries; and rivers which flow through a thickly populated country
can hardly be regarded as safe from sewage contamination. It is
therefore not improbable that, within a few years, the metropolis will
have to follow the example of Liverpool and of Manchester, and seek
another source of water-supply at a yet greater distance than has been
done by those cities.



[1] There is, indeed, a small patch of gravel near “The Spaniards” at
Hampstead which is rather more than 400 feet above the sea, but this
may not be connected with the sculpture of the Thames valley.

[2] Prof. J. Prestwich, _Geol. Mag._ 1864, p. 245.

[3] Sir J. Evans, _Ancient Stone Implements_, ch. xxiii.

[4] Worthington Smith, quoted by W. Whitaker, _Geology of London_, i.
p. 345.

[5] _Quart. Jour. Geol. Soc._ xxxvi. p. 544.

[6] Whitaker, _Geology of London_, vol. i. p. 471.

[7] Also derived, according to some authorities, from “bourne,” a

[8] Stanley, _Memorials of Westminster Abbey_, ch. i.

[9] Prof. Prestwich, _Quart. Jour. Geol. Soc._ xxviii. (1872), _Proc._

[10] For the history of the water-supply of London, the requirements of
the metropolis, and the future prospects, see the Report of the Royal
Commission of Inquiry presented in 1873.

[11] In June 1904 the undertakings of these seven Companies passed to
the Metropolitan Water Board (constituted 1902), which took over their
debts, liabilities, etc., and a month later the business of the New
River Company passed to the same authority, which now controls the
total water-supply of London.—ED.

[12] _The Water-bearing Strata of London_, p. 60.

[13] See, for particulars, W. Whitaker, _Geology of London_, vol.
ii. Appendix i.; or H. B. Woodward, _Geology of England and Wales_,
Appendix i.

                              CHAPTER II

                               THE SITE

It is due to the respect with which all writers upon London must regard
the first surveyor and the collector of its traditions and histories
that we should quote his words as to the origin and foundation of the
City. He says (Strype’s _Stow_, vol. i. book i.):—

“As the Roman Writers, to glorify the City of Rome, drew the Original
thereof from Gods, and Demi-gods, so Geoffrey of Monmouth, the Welsh
historian, deduceth the Foundation of this famous City of London, for
the greater Glory thereof, and Emulation of Rome, from the very same
original. For he reporteth, that Brute, lineally descended from the
Demi-god Eneas, the son of Venus, Daughter of Jupiter, about the Year
of the World 2855, and 1108 before the Nativity of Christ, builded the
City near unto the River now called Thames, and named it Troynovant,
or Trenovant. But herein, as Livy, the most famous Historiographer of
the Romans, writeth, ‘Antiquity is pardonable, and hath an especial
Privilege, by interlacing Divine Matters with Human, to make the first
Foundations of Cities more honourable, more Sacred, and as it were of
greater Majesty.’

This Tradition concerning the ancient Foundation of the City by Brute,
was of such Credit, that it is asserted in an ancient Tract, preserved
in the Archives of the Chamber of London; which is transcribed into the
Liber Albus, and long before that by Horn, in his old Book of Laws and
Customs, called Liber Horn. And a copy of this Tract was drawn out of
the City Books by the Mayor and Aldermen’s special Order, and sent to
King Henry the VI., in the Seventh year of his reign; which Copy yet
remains among the Records of the Tower. The Tract is as followeth:—

‘_Inter Nobiles Urbes Orbis, etc._ 1. Among the noble Cities of the
World which Fame cries up, the City of London, the only Seat of the
Realm of England, is the principal, which widely spreads abroad the
Rumour of its Name. It is happy for the Wholesomeness of the Air,
for the Christian religion, for its most worthy Liberty, and most
ancient Foundation. For according to the Credit of Chronicles, it is
considerably older than Rome: and it is stated by the same Trojan
Author that it was built by Brute, after the Likeness of Great Troy,
before that built by Romulus and Remus. Whence to this Day it useth
and enjoyeth the ancient City Troy’s Liberties, Rights, and Customs.
For it hath a Senatorial Dignity and Lesser Magistrates. And it hath
Annual Sheriffs instead of Consuls. For whosoever repair thither, of
whatsoever condition they be, whether Free or Servants, they obtain
there the refuge of Defence and Freedom. Almost all the Bishops,
Abbots, and Nobles of England are as it were Citizens and Freemen of
this City, having their noble Inns here.’

These and many more matters of remark, worthy to be remembered,
concerning this most noble City, remain in a very old Book, called
_Recordatorium Civitatis_; and in the Book called _Speculum_.

King Lud (as the same Geoffrey of Monmouth noteth) afterward (about
1060 Years after) not only repaired this City, but also increased the
same with fair Buildings, Towers, and Walls; which after his own Name
called it Caire-Lud, or Luds-Town. And the strong Gate which he builded
in the west Part of the City, he likewise, for his own honour, named

And in Process of Time, by mollifying the Word, it took the Name of
London, but some others will have it called Llongdin; a British word
answering to the Saxon word Shipton, that is, a Town of Ships. And
indeed none hath more Right to take unto itself that Name of Shipton,
or Road of Ships, than this City, in regard of its commodious situation
for shipping on so curious a navigable River as the Thames, which
swelling at certain Hours with the Ocean Tides, by a deep and safe
Channel, is sufficient to bring up ships of the greatest Burthen to her
Sides, and thereby furnisheth her inhabitants with the Riches of the
known World; so that as her just Right she claimeth Pre-eminency of all
other Cities. And the shipping lying at Anchor by her Walls resembleth
a Wood of Trees, disbranched of their Boughs.

This City was in no small Repute, being built by the first Founder of
the British Empire, and honoured with the Sepulchre of divers of their
Kings, as Brute, Locrine, Cunodagius, and Gurbodus, Father of Ferrex
and Porrex, being the last of the Line of Brute.

Mulmutius Dunwallo, son of Cloton, Duke of Cornwall, having vanquished
his Competitors, and settled the Land, caused to be erected on, or near
the Place, where now Blackwell-Hall standeth (a Place made use of by
the Clothiers for the sale of their Cloth every Thursday), a Temple
called the Temple of Peace; and after his Death was there interred. And
probably it was so ordered to gratify the Citizens, who favoured his

Belinus (by which Name Dunwallo’s Son was called) built an Haven in
this Troynovant, with a Gate over it, which still bears the Name of
_Belingsgate_ [now Billingsgate]. And on the Pinnacle was a brazen
Vessel erected, in which was put the ashes of his Body burnt after his

The said Belinus is supposed to have built the Tower of London, and
to have appointed three Chief Pontiffs to superintend all Religious
Affairs throughout Britain; whereof one had his See in London, and
the other Sees were York and Carleon. But finding little on Record
concerning the actions of those Princes, until we come to the reign
of King Lud, it is thought unnecessary to take any further Notice of
them. He was eldest son of Hely, who began his Reign about 69 years
before the Birth of Jesus Christ. A Prince much praised by Historians
for his great Valour, noble Deeds, and Liberality (for amending the
Laws of the Country, and forming the State of his Common-weal). And in
particular, for repairing this City, and erecting many fair Buildings,
and encompassing it about with a strong stone Wall. In the west Part
whereof he built a strong Gate, called Ludgate, as was shewed before,
where are now standing in Niches, over the said Gate, the Statues of
this good King, and his two Sons on each side of him, as a lasting
Monument of his Memory, being, after an honourable Reign, near
thereunto Buried, in a Temple of his own Building.


Taken from the old Lud Gate.]

This Lud had two Sons, Androgeus and Theomantius [or Temanticus], who
being not of age to govern at the death of their father, their Uncle
Cassivelaune took upon him the Crown; about the eighth Year of whose
reign, Julius Cæsar arrived in this Land, with a great power of Romans
to conquer it. The Antiquity of which conquest, I will summarily set
down out of his own Commentaries, which are of far better credit than
the Relations of Geoffrey of Monmouth.

The chief Government of the Britons, and Administration of War, was
then by common advice committed to Cassivelaune, whose borders were
divided from the Cities on the sea coast by a river called Thames,
about fourscore miles from the sea. This Cassivelaune before had made
continual Wars with the other Cities; but the Britons, moved with the
coming of the Romans, had made him their Sovereign and General of
their Wars (which continued hot between the Romans and them). [Cæsar
having knowledge of their intent, marched with his army to the Thames
into Cassivelaune’s Borders. This River can be passed but only in
one place on Foot, and that with much difficulty. When he was come
hither, he observed a great power of his enemies in Battle Array on
the other side of the River. The Bank was fortified with sharp stakes
fixed before them; and such kind of Stakes were also driven down under
water, and covered with the river. Cæsar having understanding thereof
by the Prisoners and Deserters, sent his Horse before, and commanded
his Foot to follow immediately after. But the Roman Soldiers went on
with such speed and force, their Heads only being above water, that the
Enemy not being able to withstand the Legions, and the Horse, forsook
the Bank and betook themselves to Flight. Cassivelaune despairing of
Success by fighting in plain battle, sent away his greater forces, and
keeping with him about Four Thousand Charioteers, watched which way
the Romans went, and went a little out of the way, concealing himself
in cumbersome and woody Places. And in those Parts where he knew the
Romans would pass, he drove both Cattle and People out of the open
Fields into the Woods. And when the Roman Horse ranged too freely
abroad in the Fields for Forage and Spoil, he sent out his Charioteers
out of the Woods by all the Ways and Passages well known to them,
and encountered with the Horse to their great Prejudice. By the fear
whereof he kept them from ranging too far; so that it came to this
pass, that Cæsar would not suffer his Horse to stray any Distance from
his main Battle of Foot, and no further to annoy the enemy, in wasting
their Fields, and burning their Houses and Goods, than their Foot could
effect by their Labour or March.]

But in the meanwhile, the Trinobants, in effect the strongest City
of those Countries, and one of which Mandubrace, a young Gentleman,
that had stuck to Cæsar’s Party, was come to him, being then in the
Main Land [viz. Gaul], and thereby escaped Death, which he should
have suffered at Cassivelaune’s Hands (as his Father Imanuence who
reigned in that city had done). The Trinobants, I say, sent their
Ambassadors, promising to yield themselves unto him, and to do what
he should command them, instantly desiring him to protect Mandubrace
from the furious tyranny of Cassivelaune, and to send some into the
City, with authority to take the Government thereof. Cæsar accepted the
offer and appointed them to give him forty Hostages, and to find him
Grain for his Army, and so sent he Mandubrace to them. They speedily
did according to the command, sent the number of Hostages, and the

When others saw that Cæsar had not only defended the Trinobants against
Cassivelaune, but had also saved them harmless from the Pillage of
his own Soldiers, the Cenimagues, the Segontiacs, the Ancalites, the
Bibrokes, and the Cassians, by their Ambassies, yield themselves to
Cæsar. By these he came to know that Cassivelaune’s Town was not far
from that Place, fortified with Woods and marshy Grounds; into the
which a considerable number of Men and Cattle were gotten together. For
the Britains call that a Town, saith Cæsar, when they have fortified
cumbersome Woods, with a Ditch and a Rampire; and thither they are wont
to resort, to abide the Invasion of their Enemies. Thither marched
Cæsar with his Legions. He finds the Place notably fortified both by
Nature and human Pains; nevertheless he strives to assault it on two
sides. The Enemies, after a little stay, being not able longer to bear
the Onset of the Roman Soldiers, rushed out at another Part, and left
the Town unto him. Here was a great number of Cattle found, and many of
the Britains were taken in the Chace, and many slain.

While these Things were doing in these Quarters, Cassivelaune sent
Messengers to that Part of Kent, which, as we showed before, lyeth
upon the Sea, over which Countries Four Kings, Cingetorix, Caruil,
Taximagul, and Segorax, reigned, whom he commanded to raise all their
Forces, and suddenly to set upon and assault their Enemies in their
Naval Trenches. To which, when they were come, the Romans sallied out
upon them, slew a great many of them, and took Cingetorix, an eminent
Leader among them, Prisoner, and made a safe Retreat. Cassivelaune,
hearing of this Battle, and having sustained so many Losses, and found
his Territories wasted, and especially being disturbed at the Revolt
of the Cities, sent Ambassadors along with Comius of Arras, to treat
with Cæsar concerning his Submission. Which Cæsar, when he was resolved
to Winter in the Continent, because of the sudden insurrection of the
Gauls, and that not much of the Summer remained, and that it might
easily be spent, accepted, and commands him Hostages, and appoints what
Tribute Britain should yearly pay to the People of Rome, giving strait
Charge to Cassivelaune, that he should do no Injury to Manubrace, nor
the Trinobants. And so receiving the Hostages, withdrew his Army to the
Sea again.

Thus far out of Cæsar’s Commentaries concerning this History, which
happened in the year before Christ’s Nativity LIV. In all which
Process, there is for this Purpose to be noted, that Cæsar nameth the
City of the Trinobantes; which hath a Resemblance with Troynova or
Trenovant; having no greater Difference in the Orthography than the
changing of [b] into [v]. And yet maketh an Error, which I will not
argue. Only this I will note, that divers learned Men do not think
Civitas Trinobantum to be well and truly translated The City of the
Trinobantes: but that it should rather be The State, Communalty, or
Seignory of the Trinobants. For that Cæsar, in his Commentaries, useth
the Word Civitas only for a People living under one and the self-same
Prince and Law. But certain it is, that the Cities of the Britains were
in those Days neither artificially builded with Houses, nor strongly
walled with Stone, but were only thick and cumbersome Woods, plashed
within and trenched about. And the like in effect do other the Roman
and Greek authors directly affirm; as Strabo, Pomponius Mela, and Dion,
a Senator at Rome (Writers that flourished in the several Reigns of
the Roman Emperors, Tiberius, Claudius, Domitian, and Severus): to
wit, that before the Arrival of the Romans, the Britains had no Towns,
but called that a Town which had a thick entangled Wood, defended,
as I said, with a Ditch and Bank; the like whereof the Irishmen, our
next Neighbours, do at this day call Fastness. But after that these
hither Parts of Britain were reduced into the Form of a Province by the
Romans, who sowed the Seeds of Civility over all Europe, this our City,
whatsoever it was before, began to be renowned, and of Fame.

For Tacitus, who first of all Authors nameth it Londinium, saith,
that (in the 62nd year after Christ) it was, albeit, no Colony of the
Romans; yet most famous for the great Multitude of Merchants, Provision
and Intercourse. At which time, in that notable Revolt of the Britains
from Nero, in which seventy thousand Romans and their Confederates were
slain, this City, with Verulam, near St. Albans, and Maldon, then all
famous, were ransacked and spoiled.

For Suetonius Paulinus, then Lieutenant for the Romans in this Isle,
abandoned it, as not then fortified, and left it to the Spoil.

Shortly after, Julius Agricola, the Roman Lieutenant in the Time of
Domitian, was the first that by exhorting the Britains publickly,
and helping them privately, won them to build Houses for themselves,
Temples for the Gods, and Courts for Justice, to bring up the
Noblemen’s Children in good Letters and Humanity, and to apparel
themselves Roman-like. Whereas before (for the most part) they went
naked, painting their Bodies, etc., as all the Roman Writers have

True it is, I confess, that afterward, many Cities and Towns in
Britain, under the Government of the Romans, were walled with Stone
and baked Bricks or Tiles; as Richborough, or Rickborough-Ryptacester
in the Isle of Thanet, till the Channel altered his Course, besides
Sandwich in Kent, Verulamium besides St. Albans in Hertfordshire,
Cilcester in Hampshire, Wroxcester in Shropshire, Kencester in
Herefordshire, three Miles from Hereford Town; Ribchester, seven
Miles above Preston, on the Water of Rible; Aldeburg, a Mile from
Boroughbridge, on Watheling-Street, on Ure River, and others. And no
doubt but this our City of London was also walled with Stone in the
Time of the Roman Government here; but yet very latewardly; for it
seemeth not to have been walled in the Year of our Lord 296. Because
in that Year, when Alectus the Tyrant was slain in the Field, the
Franks easily entered London, and had sacked the same, had not God of
his great Favour at that very Instant brought along the River of Thames
certain Bands of Roman Soldiers, who slew those Franks in every Street
of the City.”

We need not pursue Stow in the legendary history which follows. Let
us next turn to the evidence of ancient writers. Cæsar sailed for his
first invasion of Britain on the 26th of August B.C. 55. He
took with him two legions, the 7th and the 10th. He had previously
caused a part of the coast to be surveyed, and had inquired of the
merchants and traders concerning the natives of the island. He landed,
fought one or two battles with the Britons, and after a stay of three
weeks he retired.

The year after he returned with a larger army—an army of five legions
and 2000 cavalry. On this occasion he remained four months. We need
not here inquire into his line of march, which cannot be laid down
with exactness. After his withdrawal certain British Princes, when
civil wars drove them out, sought protection of Augustus. Strabo says
that the island paid moderate duties; that the people imported ivory
necklaces and bracelets, amber, and glass; that they exported corn,
cattle, gold and silver, iron, skins, slaves, and hunting-dogs. He also
says that there were four places of transit from the coast of Gaul to
that of Britain, viz. the mouths of the Rhine, the Seine, the Loire,
and the Garonne.

The point that concerns us is that there was before the arrival of the
Romans already a considerable trade with the island.

Nearly a hundred years later—A.D. 43—the third Roman invasion
took place in the reign of the Emperor Claudius under the general
Aulus Plautius. The Roman fleet sailed from Gesoriacum (Boulogne), the
terminus of the Roman military road across Gaul, and carried an army of
four legions with cavalry and auxiliaries, about 50,000 in all, to the
landing-places of Dover, Hythe, and Richborough.

No mention of London is made in the history of this campaign.
Colchester and Gloucester were the principal Roman strongholds.

Writing in the year A.D. 61, Tacitus gives us the first mention of
London. He says, “At Suetonius mirâ constantiâ medios inter hostes
Londinium perrexit cognomento quidem coloniâ non insigne sed copiâ
negotiatorum et commeatuum maxime celebre.”

This is all that we know. There is no mention of London in either of
Cæsar’s invasions; none in that of Aulus Plautius. When we do hear
of it, the place is full of merchants, and had been so far a centre
of trade. The inference would seem to be, not that London was not in
existence in the years 55 B.C. or 43 A.D., or that neither Cæsar nor
Aulus Plautius heard of it, but simply that they did not see the town
and so did not think it of consequence.

If we consider a map showing the original lie of the ground on and
about the site of any great city, we shall presently understand not
only the reasons why the city was founded on that spot, but also
how the position of the city has from the beginning exercised a very
important influence on its history and its fortunes. Position affects
the question of defence or of offence. Position affects the plenty or
the scarcity of supplies. The prosperity of the city is hindered or
advanced by the presence or the absence of bridges, fords, rivers,
seas, mountains, plains, marshes, pastures, or arable fields. Distance
from the frontier, the proximity of hostile tribes and powers,
climate—a seaport closed with ice for six months in the year is
severely handicapped against one that is open all the year—these and
many other considerations enter into the question of position. They are
elementary, but they are important.

We have already in the first chapter considered this important question
under the guidance of Professor T. G. Bonney, F.R.S. Let us sum up
the conclusions, and from his facts try to picture the site of London
before the city was built.

Here we have before us, first, a city of great antiquity and
importance; beside it a smaller city, practically absorbed in the
greater, but, as I shall presently prove, the more ancient; thirdly,
certain suburbs which in course of time grew up and clustered round the
city wall, and are now also practically part of the city; lastly, a
collection of villages and hamlets which, by reason of their proximity
to the city, have grown into cities which anywhere else would be
accounted great, rich, and powerful. The area over which we have to
conduct our survey is of irregular shape, its boundaries following
those of the electoral districts. It includes Wormwood Scrubbs on the
west and Plaistow on the east. It reaches from Hampstead in the north
to Penge and Streatham in the south. Roughly speaking, it is an area
seventeen miles in breadth from east to west, and eleven from north to
south. There runs through it from west to east, dividing the area into
two unequal parts, a broad river, pursuing a serpentine course of loops
and bends, winding curves and straight reaches; a tidal river which,
but for the embankments and wharves which line it on each side, would
overflow at every high tide into the streets and lanes abutting on it.
Streams run into the river from the north and from the south: these we
will treat separately. At present they are, with one or two exceptions,
all covered over and hidden.

Remove from this area every house, road, bridge, and all cultivated
ground, every trace of occupation by man. What do we find? First, a
broad marsh. In the marsh there are here and there low-lying islets
raised a foot or two above high tide; they are covered with rushes,
reeds, brambles, and coarse sedge; some of them are deltas of small
affluents caused by the deposit of branches, leaves, and earth brought
down by the stream and gradually accumulating till an island has been
formed; some are islands formed in the shallows of the river by the
same process. These islands are the haunt of innumerable wild birds.
The river, which now runs between strong and high embankments, ran
through this vast marsh. The marsh extended from Fulham at least, to
go no farther west, as far as Greenwich, to go no farther east; from
west to east it was in some places two miles and a half broad. The map
shows that the marsh included those districts which are now called
Fulham, West Kensington, Pimlico, Battersea, Kennington, Lambeth,
Stockwell, Southwark, Newington, Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, Deptford,
Blackwall, Wapping, Poplar, the Isle of Dogs. In other words, the half
at least of modern London is built upon this marsh. At high tide the
whole of this vast expanse was covered with water, forming exactly
such a lovely lake as one may now see, standing at the water-gate of
Porchester Castle and looking across the upper stretches of Portsmouth
harbour, or as one may see from any point in Poole harbour when the
tide is high. It was a lake bright and clear; here and there lay the
islets, green in summer, brown in winter; there were wild duck, wild
geese, herons, and a thousand other birds flying over it in myriads
with never-ending cries. At low tide the marsh was black mud, and on a
day cloudy and overcast a dreary and desolate place. How came a city to
be founded on a marsh? That we shall presently understand.


Many names still survive to show the presence of the islets I have
mentioned. For instance, Chelsea is Chesil-ey—the Isle of Shingle
(so also Winchelsea). Battersea has been commonly, but I believe
erroneously, supposed to be Peter’s Isle; Thorney is the Isle of
Bramble; Tothill means the Hill of the Hill; Lambeth is the “place of
mud,” though it has been interpreted as the place where lambs play;
Bermondsey is the Isle of Bermond. Doubtless there are many others, but
their names, if they had names, and their sites have long since been

Several streams fell into the river. Those on the north were afterwards
called Bridge Creek, the Westbourne, the Tybourne, the Fleet or Wells
River, the Walbrook, and the Lea. Those on the south were the Wandle,
the Falcon, the Effra, the Ravensbourne, and other brooks without
names. Of the northern streams the first and last concern us little.
The Bridge Creek rose near Wormwood Scrubbs, and running along the
western slope of Notting Hill, fell into the Thames a little higher up
than Battersea Bridge. The Westbourne, a larger stream, is remarkable
for the fact that it remains in the Serpentine. Four or five rills
flowing from Telegraph Hill, at Hampstead, unite, and after running
through West Hampstead receive the waters of another stream formed of
two or three rills rising at Frognal. The junction is at Kilburn. The
stream, thus increased in volume, runs south and enters Kensington
Gardens at the head of the Serpentine, into which it flows, passing out
at the south end. It crosses Knightsbridge at Albert Gate, passes along
Cadogan Place, and finally falls into the Thames at Chelsea Embankment.
Of the places which it passed, especially Kilburn Priory, we shall
have more to say later on. Meantime we gather that Kilburn, Westbourne
Terrace, Knightsbridge, and Westbourne Street, Chelsea, owe their names
to this little stream.

The Tyburn, a smaller stream, but not without its importance, took
its rise from a spring called the Shepherd’s Well, which formed a
small pool in the midst of the fields called variously the Shepherd’s
Fields, or the Conduit Fields, but later on the Swiss Cottage Fields.
The site is marked by a drinking-fountain on the right hand rather
more than half way up FitzJohn’s Avenue. The water was remarkable
for its purity, and as late as fifty or sixty years ago water-carts
came every morning to carry off a supply for those who would drink no
other. The stream ran down the hill a little to the east of FitzJohn’s
Avenue, crossed Belsize Lane, flowed south as far as the west end of
King Henry’s Road, then turning west, crossed Avenue Road, and flowed
south again till it came to Acacia Road. Here it received an affluent
from the gardens and fields of Belsize Manor and Park. Thence south
again with occasional deflections, east and west, across the north-west
corner of Regent’s Park, receiving another little affluent in the
Park; then down a part of Upper Baker Street, Gloucester Road, taking
a south-easterly course from Dorset Street to Great Marylebone Lane.
It crossed Oxford Street at the east corner of James Street, ran along
the west side of South Molton Street, turned again to the south-west,
crossed Piccadilly at Brick Street, and running across Green Park it
passed in front of Buckingham Palace. Here the stream entered upon the
marsh, which at high tide was covered with water. Then, as sometimes
happens with marshes, the stream divided. One—the larger part—ran down
College Street into the Thames; the other, not so large, turned to the
north-east and presently flowed down Gardener’s Lane and across King’s
Street to the river.

The principal interest attaching to this little river is that it
actually created the island which we now call Westminster. The island
was formed by the detritus of the Tyburn. How many centuries it took to
grow one need not stop to inquire: it is enough to mark that Thorney
Island, like the Camargue, or the delta of the Nile, was created by the
deposit of a stream.

The Fleet River—otherwise called the River of Wells, or Turnmill Brook,
or Holebourne—the fourth of the northern streams, was formerly, near
its approach to London, a very considerable stream. Its most ancient
name was the “Holebourne,” _i.e._ the stream that flows in a hollow.
It was called the River of Wells on account of the great number of
wells or springs whose waters it received; and the “Fleet,” because at
its mouth it was a “fleet,” or channel covered with shallow water at
high tide. The stream was formed by the junction of two main branches,
one of which rose in the Vale of Health, Hampstead, and the other in
Ken Wood between Hampstead and Highgate. There were several small
affluents along the whole course of the stream. The spot where the
two branches united was in a place now called Hawley Road, Kentish
Town Road. Its course then led past old St. Pancras Church, on the
west, between St. Pancras and King’s Cross Stations on the east side
of Gray’s Inn Road, down Farringdon Road, Farringdon Street, and New
Bridge Street, into the Thames. The wells which gave the stream one of
its names were—Clerkenwell, Skinnerswell, Fagswell, Godwell (sometimes
incorrectly spelt Todwell), Loderswell, Radwell, Bridewell, St. Chad’s
Well. At its mouth the stream was broad enough and deep enough to be
navigable for a short distance. It became, however, in later times
nothing better than an open pestilential sewer. Attempts were made from
time to time to cleanse the stream, but without success. All attempts
failed, for the simple reason that Acts of Parliament without an
executive police and the goodwill of the people always do fail. Three
hundred years later Ben Jonson describes its condition:—

                            Whose banks upon
    Your Fleet Lane Furies and not Cooks do dwell,
    That, with still scalding steam, make the place Hell;
    The banks run grease and hair of meazled hogs,
    The heads, houghs, entrails, and the hides of dogs;
    For, to say truth, what scullion is so nasty
    To put the skins and offals in a pasty?

The banks continued to be encumbered with tenements, lay-stalls, and
“houses of office,” until the Fire swept all away. After this they were
enclosed by a stone embankment on either side, and the lower part of
the river became a canal forty feet wide, and, at the upper end, five
feet deep, with wharves on both sides. Four bridges were built over
the canal—viz. at Bridewell, at Fleet Street, at Fleet Lane, and at
Holborn. But the canal proved unsuccessful, the stream became choked
again and resumed its old function as a sewer. Everybody remembers the
Fleet in connection with the _Dunciad_—

    To where Fleet Ditch with disemboguing streams
    Rolls its large tribute of dead dogs to Thames.

In the year 1737 the canal between Holborn and Fleet Street was covered
over, and in 1765 the lower part between Fleet Street and the Thames
was also covered.

So much for the history of the stream. Its importance to the city
was very great. It formed a natural ditch on the western side. Its
eastern bank rose steeply, much more steeply than at present, forming
originally a low cliff; its western bank was not so steep. Between
what is now Fleet Lane and the Thames there was originally a small
marsh covered with water at high tide, part, in fact, of the great
Thames marsh; above Fleet Lane the stream became a pleasant country
brook meandering among the fields and moors of the north. The Fleet
determined the western boundary, and protected the city on that side.

The Walbrook, like the Westbourne, was formed by the confluence of
several rills; its two main branches rose respectively in Hoxton and
in Moorfields. It entered the city through a culvert a little to the
west of Little Bell Alley, London Wall. It ran along the course of
that alley; crossed Lothbury exactly east of St. Margaret’s Church;
passed under the present Bank of England into Princes Street; and next
under what is now the Joint Stock Bank, down St. Mildred’s Court,
and so across the Poultry. It did not run down the street called
“Walbrook,” but on the west side of it, past two churches which have
now vanished—St. Stephen’s, which formerly stood exactly opposite its
present site; and St. John, Walbrook, on the north-east corner of Cloak
Lane,—and it made its way into the river between the lanes called
Friars’ Alley and Joiners’ Hall. The outfall has been changed, and the
stream now runs under Walbrook, finding its way into the Thames at
Dowgate Dock.

When the City wall was built the water was conducted through it by
means of a culvert; when the City ditch was constructed the water
ceased, or only flowed after a downfall of heavy rain. But the Walbrook
did not altogether cease; it continued as a much smaller stream from
a former affluent rising under the south-east angle of the Bank of
England. The banks of the Walbrook were a favourite place for the
villas of the wealthier people in Roman London; many Roman remains
have been found there; and piles of timber have been uncovered. A
fragment of a bridge over the stream has also been found, and is in the
Guildhall Museum.

It has been generally believed that the Walbrook was at no time other
than a very small stream. The following passage, then, by Sir William
Tite (_Antiquities found in the Royal Exchange_) will perhaps be
received with some surprise. The fact of this unexpected discovery
seems to have been neglected or disbelieved, because recent antiquaries
make no reference to it. Any statement, however, bearing the name of
Sir William Tite deserves at least to be placed on record.

“With respect to the width of the Walbrook, the sewerage excavations
in the streets called Tower-Royal and Little St. Thomas Apostle, and
also in Cloak Lane, discovered the channel of the river to be 248 feet
wide, filled with made-earth and mud, placed in horizontal layers, and
containing a quantity of black timber of small scantling. The form of
the banks was likewise perfectly to be traced, covered with rank grass
and weeds. The digging varied from 18 feet 9 inches in depth, but the
bottom of the Walbrook was of course never reached in those parts,
as even in Princes Street it is upwards of 30 feet below the present
surface. A record cited by Stow proves that this river was crossed by
several stone bridges, for which especial keepers were appointed; as
also that the parish of St. Stephen-upon-Walbrook ought of right to
scour the course of the said brook. That the river was navigable up
to the City wall on the north is said to have been confirmed by the
finding of a keel and some other parts of a boat, afterwards carried
away with the rubbish, in digging the foundations of a house at the
south-east corner of Moorgate Street. But whether such a discovery
were really made or not, the excavations referred to appear at least
to remove all the improbability of the tradition that ‘when the
Walbrook did lie open barges were rowed out of the Thames or towed up
to Barge yard.’ As the Church of St. Stephen-upon-Walbrook was removed
to the present site in the year 1429, it is probable that the river
was ‘vaulted over with brick and paved level with the streets and
lanes through which it passed’ about the same period; the continual
accumulation of mud in the channel, and the value of the space which
it occupied, then rapidly increasing, equally contributing to such an

Whether Sir William’s inference is correct or no, the river in early
times, like the Fleet, partook of the tidal nature of the Thames.

Attempts have been made to prove that a stream or a rivulet at some
time flowed along Cheapside and fell into the Walbrook. It is by no
means impossible that there were springs in this place, just as there
is, or was, a spring under what is now the site of the Bank of England.
The argument, or the suggestion, is as follows:—

Under the tower of St. Mary-le-Bow were found the walls and pavement of
an ancient Roman building, together with a Roman causeway four feet in
thickness. The land on the north side of London was all moorish, with
frequent springs and ponds. The causeway may have been conducted over
or beside such a moorish piece of ground. Of course, in speaking of
Roman London we must put aside altogether West Chepe as a street or as
a market. Now it is stated that in the year 1090, when the roof of Bow
Church was blown off by a hurricane, the rafters, which were 26 feet
long, penetrated more than 20 feet into the soft soil of Cheapside. The
difficulty of believing this statement is very great. For if the soil
was so soft it must have been little better than a quagmire, impossible
for a foot-passenger to walk upon, and it would have been beyond the
power of the time to build upon it. But if the rafters were hurled
through the air for 400 feet or so, they might fall into the muddy
banks of the Walbrook.[14] A strange story is told by Maitland:—

“At Bread Street Corner, the North-east End, in 1595, one Thomas
Tomlinson causing in the High Street of Cheap a Vault to be digged and
made, there was found, at 15 feet deep, a fair Pavement, like that
above Ground. And at the further End, at the Channel, was found a Tree,
sawed into five Steps, which was to step over some Brook running out
of the West, towards Walbrook. And upon the Edge of the said Brook,
as it seemeth, there were found lying along the Bodies of two great
Trees, the Ends whereof were then sawed off; and firm Timber, as at
the first when they fell: Part of the said Trees remain yet in the
Ground undigged. It was all forced Ground, until they went past the
Trees aforesaid; which was about seventeen Feet deep, or better. Thus
much hath the Ground of this City (in that Place) been raised from the
Main.” (Maitland, vol. ii. pp. 826-827.)

It would seem as if at some remote period there had been at this spot
either a marsh, or a pond, or a stream. If a stream, when was it
diverted, and how? Or when did it dry up, and why? And did the stream,
if there was one, run north, west, south, or east? There is no doubt
that the ground has been raised some 18 feet since Roman times, for not
only were the buildings under Bow Church at that depth, but opposite,
under Honey Lane Market, Milk Street, and Mercers’ Hall, Roman remains
have been found at the same depth.

In any case, West Chepe could not have come into existence as a market
on the site of a running stream or on a quagmire, and the diversion or
the digging up of the stream, if there was one, must have taken place
before the settlement by the Saxons.

The Lea can hardly be considered as belonging to London. It is within
the memory of men still living that suburbs of London have grown up
upon its banks. But the marshes which still remain formed anciently an
important defence of the City. They were as extensive, and, except in
one or two places, without fords. The river which ran through them was
broad and deep. It was probably in these marshes that the Roman legions
on one occasion fell into difficulties. And except for the fords the
Lea remained impassable for a long way north—nearly as far as Ware.

As regards the streams of the south, they have little bearing upon
the history of the City. The essential point about the south was the
vast extent of the marsh spread out before the newly founded town.
Until the causeway from Stonegate Lambeth to the rising ground at
Deptford was constructed these marshes were absolutely impassable.
Four or five streams crossed them. The most westerly of these, the
Wandle, discharges its waters opposite to Fulham; it is a considerable
stream, and above Wandsworth is still dear to anglers. At its mouth
a delta was formed exactly like that at Thorney; this was called
afterwards Wandsworth Island. The Falcon Brook ran into the Thames
above Battersea; it seems to have been an inconsiderable brook. No
antiquary, so far as I know, has ever explored its course. The Effra
is an interesting stream, because until quite recently—that is, within
the last fifty years—it ran, an open, clear, and very beautiful brook,
through the Dulwich Fields and down the Brixton Road past Kennington
Church. In Rocque’s map it is made to rise about half a mile west of
Dulwich College, near a spot called Island Green, which now appears
as Knights’ Hill; but I am informed by a correspondent that this is
wrong, and that it really rose in the hills of Norwood. It was a pretty
stream flowing in front of cottages to which access was gained by
little wooden bridges. The stream was overhung by laburnums, hawthorns,
and chestnut trees. I myself remember seeing it as a boy in Dulwich
Fields, but it was by that time already arched over lower down. There
was a tradition that ships could formerly sail up the Effra as far as
Kennington Church. It falls into the Thames nearly opposite Pimlico
Pier. Had it kept its course without turning to the west it might have
formed part of King Cnut’s trench, which would have accounted for the
tradition of the ships. Another and a nameless stream is represented on
old maps as flowing through the marsh into the Thames opposite the Isle
of Dogs. The most easterly stream is the Ravensbourne, which at its
mouth becomes Deptford Creek. This, like the Wandle and the Lea, was
higher up a beautiful stream with many smaller affluents.

As for the land north and south of this marsh, it rises out of the
marsh as a low cliff from twenty to forty feet high. On the south side
this cliff is a mile, two miles, and even three miles from the river.
On the north side, while there are very extensive marshes where now are
Fulham, South and West Kensington, the Isle of Dogs, and the Valley of
the Lea, further eastward the cliff approaches the river, touches it
and overhangs it at one point near Dowgate, and runs close beside it
as far as Charing Cross, whence it continues in a westerly direction,
while the river turns south.

Behind the cliff on the south rose in long lines, one behind the other,
a range of gentle hills. They were covered with wood. Between them,
on high plateaux, extended heaths of great beauty clothed with gorse,
heather and broom, bramble and wild flowers.

On the north the ground also rose beyond the first ridge of cliff, but
slowly, till it met the range of hills now known as Hampstead and
Highgate. All the ground was moorland waste and forest, intersected
with rivulets, covered with dark ponds and quagmires: a country
dangerous at all times, and sometimes quite impassable. On the northern
part was the great forest called afterwards the Middlesex Forest.

Such in prehistoric days was the site of London. A more unpromising
place for the situation of a great city can hardly be imagined. Marsh
in front, and moor behind; marsh to right, and marsh to left; barren
heath on the south to balance waste moorland on the north. A river
filled with fish; islets covered with wild birds; a forest containing
wild cattle, bear, and wolf; but of arable land, not an acre. A town
does not live by hunting; it cannot live upon game alone; and yet
on this forbidding spot was London founded; and, in spite of these
unpromising conditions, London prospered.


[14] Tite, _Antiquities of the Royal Exchange_, p. xxvii.

                              CHAPTER III

                       THE EARLIEST INHABITANTS

Who were the earliest settlers and inhabitants of London?

Those who have seen the lake-dwellings of Glastonbury—to take a
familiar illustration—and have considered the conditions necessary
to such a colony, will come to the conclusion that there, at all
events, lake-dwellers would find everything that Nature could give
them. Thus, at Glastonbury the huts of the inhabitants were planted
on wooden foundations in a marshy place, covered with water at high
tide, perhaps at low tide as well. There was land within reach where
the people could keep cattle, or could plough and sow and reap. That
they did keep cattle and grow corn there is evidence in the things
found beside and around the huts. Again, at Glastonbury there were many
islets and a large extent of low-lying ground which were the homes
and the resting-places of countless wild birds. And at Glastonbury
the people were on a creek of the sea, and, by rowing a mile or two
down the creek they could find themselves in deep water abounding with
fish. All these conditions were also present at London: a deep and
broad stream containing fish in abundance; an extensive marsh covered
with islets where were wild birds in multitudes; and raised lands,
such as that lying between Ludgate Hill and Charing Cross, which might
be used for pasture or for tillage. If any remains of lake-dwellings
were ever found among the marshes and shallow backwaters of London, it
must have been long before such things were understood, so that they
were swept away without so much as a record of their existence. It is
not certain that there were such settlements here. If vestiges of them
had ever been found among the marshes and tidal lagoons of the Essex
coast, it would strengthen the theory that this prehistoric people
had villages here. I believe, however, that no such remains have been
found in Essex. My theory wants confirmation. I cannot prove, though I
believe, that lake-dwellings were the first settlements on the London
marshes: that the people drove piles into the mud and laid beams
across—there was plenty of wood either on the Surrey hills or on the
northern heights; that they made a floor or foundation of clay; that
they carried uprights round the circular foundation; that they made
their cottages wind and rain proof, with wattle and daub at the sides,
and thatch for the roof; that every house had its boat, its net, its
slings; that they grew corn on the land around; that they had flocks
and herds; that they lived in such comfort as they knew or desired.

Whence they came, how long they stayed, why they departed or
disappeared, I know not.

What I surmise, however, is theory. Whether it is true or not matters
little; what happened next is more certain.

If you consider the site of London once more you will realise—I have
already called attention to the point—that the cliff on the north side
closes in and overhangs the river in two little hillocks beside the
Walbrook. Between the feet of the two hills there is no marsh; the
stream running down between the hills forms a natural port; either
hillock is fit for the construction of a fort, such as forts were then.
Hunters in the forest discovered these two hill-tops, with the moorland
and the woods behind, and the river and the marsh in front. They came;
they built their fort, protected partly by the steeply sloping sides
to south and east, partly by stockade and trench; and they called the
place Llyn Din, the Lake-Fortress. Why they came, when they came, how
they dispossessed the lake-dwellers, against what real or imaginary foe
they constructed their fort, I know not.

Nor do I know how long the people continued to occupy peacefully the
fortress they had constructed. It may have been a period of many
hundreds of years. The fort may have been besieged and taken a hundred
times. Meantime there began, either before or after the construction
of this fort or settlement of Llyn Din, some communication between the
people of the island and those of the Continent. Trade was opened up;
the islanders learned that there were many things which they could
exchange and sell. There were Phœnicians who came for tin; there were
Germans and Gauls who came for iron, skins, and slaves.

Trade began, but not yet in London, where the fisherman’s coracle was
the only boat upon the river, and the cry of the wild duck, the song of
the lark, and the swish of the water or the whistle of the wind among
the reeds were the only sounds.

Higher up the Thames, as we know, there was an island, named, long
afterwards, Thorney. It was a very large island, considering its
position, being about a quarter of a mile in length and rather less
in breadth. On the west side of this island was a branch of the
great marsh already described; on the east side the river was broad
and shallow and could be forded at low water, the ford conducting
the traveller to another low island, afterwards called Lamb Hythe,
probably meaning the Place of Mud. This was the lowest ford on the
river, and the most convenient for those desirous of passing from Dover
or the districts of Kent and Surrey to the north, or from the north
and midland to Dover, then the principal, perhaps—unless Southampton
had been founded already—the only trading port. So that the great
highway which ran right through the country from Dover to Chester, with
branches or affluents on either side, crossed the Thames at this point,
passing straight through the marsh and ford. In other words, before
the Port of London came into existence at all, Thorney was a stage or
station on the highway up and down which flowed the whole trade of the
island. Again, in other words, while London was as yet only a rude
hill fortress, perhaps while it was only a village of lake-dwellers in
the marsh, perhaps before it came into existence at all, Thorney was a
place thronged with those who daily went across the ford and marsh, a
busy and a populous place. This statement may not be readily accepted.
Let us therefore examine more closely into the reasons which support it.

Archæological conclusions of every kind rest upon evidences which may
be classified under five heads: (1) the evidence of situation; (2) the
evidence of excavation; (3) the evidence of ancient monuments; (4) the
evidence of tradition; and (5) the evidence of history, to which may be
added the evidence of coins.

1. _The Evidence of Situation._—This we have seen already. Thorney
was a stepping-stone lying between a marsh and a tidal river fordable
at low tide. It was on the great highway of trade from the north to
the south. At high tide the marsh was covered with water and extended
from the site of the future Abbey to the site of the future Buckingham
Palace; it covered the sites of St. James’s Park, Tothill Fields, the
Five Fields, part of Chelsea, Earl’s Court, and Victoria. At low tide
it was a broad expanse of mud, relieved by patches of sedge and rush.
One could wade across the marsh either at high or low tide. The way was
marked by stakes, and by large stones laid in the mud. On the other
side, the river, here much broader than below, was fordable at low
water. The way, also marked by stakes, conducted the traveller from
Thorney to Lamb Hythe, afterwards called Lambeth.

2. _Evidence of Excavation._—Excavation has shown, what nothing else
could have disclosed, the presence on this spot of the Romans. In 1869,
a date at which the Roman occupation of Thorney had not been surmised,
a very fine sarcophagus was found in the nave of the Abbey with the
name of Valerius Amandinus upon it. A cross is cut upon the cover, so
that the occupant—perhaps not the first—was a Christian. Probably he
was a Christian of the third or fourth century. The sarcophagus is now
placed at the entrance of the Chapter-House (see p. 67). Ten years ago
another discovery was made: in digging a grave under the pavement of
the nave a fine mosaic pavement was discovered. There was therefore a
Roman villa on this spot. And during the last few years, which have
witnessed a great deal of digging at Thorney, Roman fragments have been
found in great quantities. There was therefore, most certainly, a Roman
settlement upon this island.

3. _Evidence of Ancient Monuments._—The evidence of monuments is simply
this. The great high road through the Midlands to Chester and to York,
found here as a beaten track by the Romans, converted by them into a
Roman road after the customary fashion, named afterwards by the Saxons
Watling Street, ran formerly straight along what is now the Edgware
Road; when it reached the spot now covered by the Marble Arch it
continued down Park Lane, or, as it was once called, Tyburn Lane, till
it reached the end of the marsh already described. There it broke off
abruptly. At this point the traveller began to wade through the marsh.
Arrived at Thorney, he made of it a resting-place for the night. In the
morning, when he proceeded with his journey, he forded the river at
low tide, and presently found himself once more upon a solid road, the
memory of which is still preserved in Stangate Street, Lambeth.


From _Archæologia_, vol. x.]

4. We have next the _Evidence of Tradition._—According to this
authority we learn that the first Christian king was one Lucius, who in
the year 178 addressed a letter to the then Pope, Eleutherius, begging
for missionaries to instruct his people and himself in the Christian
faith. The Pope sent two priests named Ffagan and Dyfan, who converted
the whole island. Bede tells this story; the old Welsh chroniclers
also tell it, giving the British name of the king, Lleurwg ap Coel ap
Cyllin. He it was who erected a church on the Isle of Thorney, in place
of a temple of Apollo formerly standing there. We are reminded, when we
read this story, that St. Paul’s Cathedral was said to have been built
on the site of a temple of Diana.

This church, it is said, continued in prosperity until the arrival,
two hundred and fifty years later, of the murderous Saxon. First, news
came up the river that the invader was on the Isle of Rum, which we
call Thanet; next, that he held the river on both banks; then that he
had overrun Essex, that he had overrun Kent. And when that happened
the procession of merchandise stopped suddenly, for the ports of Kent
were in the hands of the enemy. There was no more traffic on Watling
Street. The travellers grew fewer daily, till one day a troop of wild
Saxons came across the ford, surprised the priests and the fisher-folk
who still remained, and left the island as desolate and silent as could
be desired for the meditation of holy men. This done, the Saxons went
on their way. They overran the midland country; they drove the Britons
back—still farther back—till they reached the mountains. No more news
came to Thorney, for, though the ford continued, the island, like so
many of the Roman stations, remained waste.


From _Archæologia_, vol. x.]

In fulness of time the Saxon himself settled down, became a man of
peace, obeyed the order of the convert king to be baptized and to enter
the Christian faith; and when King Sebert had been persuaded to build
a church to St. Paul on the highest ground of London, he was further
convinced that it was his duty to restore the ruined church of St.
Peter on the Isle of Thorney beside the ford. Scandal, indeed, would
it be for the throng that once more daily passed through the ford and
over the island to see, in a Christian country, the neglected ruins
of a Christian church. Accordingly the builders soon set to work,
and before long the church rose tall and stately. The Miracle of the
Hallowing, often told, may be repeated here. On the eve of the day
fixed by the Bishop of London for the hallowing and dedication of the
new St. Peter’s, one Edric, a fisherman, who lived in Thorney, was
awakened by a loud voice calling him by name. It was midnight. He arose
and went forth. The voice called him again from the opposite side of
the river, which is now Lambeth, bidding him put out his boat to ferry
a man across the river. He obeyed. He found on the shore a venerable
person whose face and habiliments he knew not. The stranger bore in
his hands certain vessels which, as Edric perceived, could only be
intended for church purposes. However, he said nothing, but received
this mysterious visitor into his boat and rowed him across the river.
Arrived in Thorney, the stranger directed his steps to the church and
entered the portal. Straightway—lo! a marvel—the church was lit up
as by a thousand wax tapers, and voices arose chanting psalms—sweet
voices such as no man had ever heard before. He stood and listened. The
voices, he understood, could be none other than those of angels come
down from heaven itself to sing the first service in the new church.
Then the voices fell, and he heard one voice loud and solemn; and then
the heavenly choir uplifted their voices again. Presently all was
still: the service was over; the lights went out as suddenly as they
had appeared; and the stranger came forth.

“Know, O Edric,” he said, while the fisherman’s heart glowed within
him, “know that I am Peter. I have hallowed the church myself.
To-morrow I charge thee that thou tell these things to the Bishop, who
will find in the church a sign and a token of my hallowing. And for
another token, put forth again upon the river, cast thy nets, and thou
shalt receive so great a draught of fishes that there will be no doubt
left in thy mind. But give one-tenth to this my holy church.”

So he vanished, and the fisherman was left alone upon the river bank;
but he put forth as he was directed, and cast his net, and presently
brought ashore a miraculous draught.

In the morning the Bishop with his clergy, and the King with his
following, came up from London in their ships to hallow the church.
They were received by Edric, who told them this strange story. And
within the church the Bishop found the lingering fragrance of incense
far more precious than any that he could offer; on the altar were the
drippings of wax candles (long preserved as holy relics, being none
other than the wax candles of heaven), and written in the dust certain
words in the Greek character. He doubted no longer. He proclaimed the
joyous news. He held a service of thanksgiving instead of a hallowing.
Who would not hold a service of praise and humble gratitude for such a
mark of heavenly favour? And after service they returned to London and
held a banquet, with Edric’s finest salmon lying on a lordly dish in
the midst.

How it was that Peter, who came from heaven direct, could not cross the
river except in a boat was never explained or asked. Perhaps we have
here a little confusion between Rome and Heaven. Dover Street, we know,
broke off at the edge of the marsh, and Dover Street led to Dover, and
Dover to Rome.

5. We are now prepared for the _Evidence of History_, which is
not perhaps so interesting as that of tradition. Clio, it must be
confessed, is sometimes dull. One misses the imagination and the
daring flights of her sister, the tenth Muse—the Muse of Fiction. The
earliest document which refers to the Abbey is a conveyance by Offa,
King of Mercia, of a manor called Aldenham to “St. Peter and the people
of the Lord dwelling in Thorney, that ‘terrible’—_i.e._ sacred—place
which is at Westminster.” The date of this ancient document is
A.D. 785; but Bede, who died in 736, does not mention the
foundation. Either, therefore, Bede passed it over purposely, or it was
not thought of importance enough to be mentioned. He does relate the
building of St. Paul’s; but, on the other hand, he does not mention
the hundreds of churches which sprang up all over the country. So that
we need not attach any importance to the omission. My own opinion is
that the church—a rude country church, perhaps—a building like that of
Greenstead, Essex, the walls of split trees and the roof of rushes,
was restored early in the seventh century, and that it did succeed an
earlier church still. The tradition connected with this church is as
ancient as anything we know about it, and the legend of Lucius and his
church is at least supported by the recent discoveries of Roman remains
and the certainty that the place was always of the greatest importance.


Nero MS., D. 1.]

There is another argument—or an illustration—in favour of the antiquity
of some church, rude or not, upon this place. I advance it as an
illustration, though to myself it appears to be an argument. I mean the
long list of relics possessed by the Abbey at the Dedication of the
year 1065. We are not concerned with the question whether the relics
were genuine or not, but merely with the fact that they were preserved
by the monks as having been the gifts of various benefactors—Sebert,
Offa, Athelstan, Edgar, Ethelred, Cnut, Queen Emma, and Edward himself.
A church of small importance and of recent building would not dare
to parade such pretensions. It takes time even for pretences to gain
credence and for legends to grow. The relics ascribed to Sebert and
Offa could easily have been carried away on occasion of attack. As
for the nature of these sacred fragments, it is pleasant to read
of sand and earth brought from Mount Sinai and Olivet; of the beam
which supported the holy manger; of a piece of the holy manger; of
frankincense presented by the Magi; of the seat on which our Lord was
presented at the Temple; of portions of the holy cross presented by
four kings at different times; of bones and vestments belonging to
Apostles and Martyrs and the Virgin Mary, and saints without number,
whose very names are now forgotten. In the cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle
you may see just such a collection as that which the monks of St. Peter
displayed before the reverent and uncritical eyes of the Confessor.
We may remember that in the ninth and tenth centuries the rage for
pilgrimising extended over the whole of Western Europe; pilgrims
crowded every road, they marched in armies, and they returned laden
with treasures—water from the Jordan, sand from Sinai, clods of earth
from Gethsemane, and bones and bits of sacred wood without number. When
Peter the Hermit arose to preach, it was but putting a match to a pile
ready to be fired. But for such a list as that preserved by history,
there was need of time as well as of credulity.

Roman Britain, we have said, was Christian for at least a hundred and
fifty years. Therefore it would be nothing out of the way or unusual
to find monastic buildings on Thorney in the fourth century. There
was as yet no Benedictine Rule. St. Martin of Tours introduced the
Egyptian Rule into Gaul—whence it was taken over to England and to
Ireland. It was a simple Rule, resembling that of the Essenes. No one
had any property; all things were in common; the only art allowed to
be practised was that of writing. The older monks devoted their whole
time to prayer; they took their meals together—bread and herbs with
salt—and, except for common prayer and common meals, they rarely left
their cells; these were at first simple huts constructed of clay and
bunches of reeds; their churches were of wood; they shaved their heads
to the line of the ears; they wore leather jerkins, probably because
these lasted longer than cloth of any kind; many of them wore hair
shirts. The wooden church became a stone church; the huts became cells
built about a cloister; next, the cells themselves were abolished, and
a common dormitory was substituted.

All this evidence very clearly, in my opinion, points to the main fact
that Thorney was occupied by the Romans because it was a busy and
crowded station on the high road of British trade.

I have dwelt at some length upon this subject, because the theory of
the earlier antiquity of a town at Thorney, if it can be proved, brings
the foundation of London to a comparatively recent period, though it
still leaves us in the dark as to the date.

We have various records as to this trade. We need not suppose that
Himilco visited and described the island, but we must not hastily
reject the evidence of Pytheas, whose travels took place about the
middle of the fourth century B.C. Pytheas coasted round Gaul,
landed on the shores of Brittany, and worked up the Channel till he
came to a place called “Cantion,” which is perhaps Dover, and perhaps
the North Foreland. Here he landed, and here he stayed for some time,
namely, during the whole of the summer. He found that a great deal of
wheat was raised in the fields; that it was threshed in covered barns
instead of unroofed floors as in the south of France; that the climate
was cloudy and wet; that the longest day was nineteen hours, and that
on the shortest day the sun does not rise more than three cubits above
the horizon; that there were cultivated fruits, a great abundance of
some domestic animals and a scarcity of others; that the people fed on
millet, vegetables, roots, and fruit; and that they made a drink of
honey and wheat—a kind of beer.

The next traveller in Britain of whom an account remains was
Posidonius, about a hundred years before Christ. He described the tin
mines in Cornwall. He says that the tin is made up into slabs shaped
like knuckle-bones, and carried to an island named Ictis, “lying in
front of Britain”—another account makes this island six days’ sail from
Cornwall. The channel between Ictis and Britain was dry at low tide,
when the tin was carried over. It was then taken across to Gaul, and
carried across the country by thirty days’ journey to Marseilles. The
estuary between Thanet and Kent, now silted up, was formerly open for
ships at high tide, and fordable at low tide.

The following is the account given by Avienus, a writer of the fourth
century (quoted in Charles I. Elton’s _Origins of English History_):—

 “Beneath this promontory spreads the vast Œstrymnian gulf, in which
 rise out of the sea the islands Œstrymnides, scattered with wide
 intervals, rich in metal of tin and lead. The people are proud,
 clever, and active, and all engaged in incessant cares of commerce.
 They furrow the wide rough strait, and the ocean abounding in
 sea-monsters, with a new species of boat. For they know not how to
 frame keels with pine or maple, as others use, nor to construct their
 curved barks with fir; but, strange to tell, they always equip their
 vessels with skins joined together, and often traverse the salt sea
 in a hide of leather. It is two days’ sail from hence to the Sacred
 Island, as the ancients called it, which spreads a wide space of turf
 in the midst of the waters, and is inhabited by the Hibernian people.
 Near to this again is the broad island of Albion.”

Elton quotes Posidonius on the trade in tin. The merchants, he says,
buy the tin from the natives, and carry it over to Gaul.

Here, then, we have proof of an ancient and extensive trade in tin, and
of a certain stage in civilisation.

There is, however, more.

In the second century B.C. the people had towns, which were
stockaded forts, and villages. They lived in beehive huts, built with
wood and wattle, having roofs of fern and thatch. They were skilled in
some of the arts. They could make cloth and linen for summer and for
winter use; they could dye these materials various colours. They could
work in gold, and wore collars, bracelets, and rings of gold. They dyed
their hair red. They wore a cuirass of plaited leather or chain mail;
for arms they carried sword, pike, bow and arrow, and the sling. They
also had scythed war-chariots. Their weapons were of steel, they could
therefore work in iron; they used a wheeled plough.

Fifty years before the Roman invasion the King of Soissons, Divitiacus,
had made a partial conquest of South Britain, but for generations
before this there had been immigration into the island from Belgium and
settlements had been made along the coast and the rivers.

The internal and external trade of the country is proved by the
evidence of coins.

Where there is a coinage there is trade. That is to say, trade may
be carried on without a coinage, but the existence of a coinage is a
proof that the art of trading is understood, and has long been carried
on. Now the people of this island had their own coinage before Julius
Cæsar landed. How long before is quite uncertain. Some of their ancient
coins are believed to be of the second century B.C. These are
supposed to have been modelled on the coins of the Greeks of the age of
Philip of Macedon, but taken from Gaulish patterns. At the same time,
some of the coins have the appearance of being “centuries older than
Cæsar’s first expedition” (_Monumenta Historica Britannica_, Introd.
151). In either case they are a proof of long-standing trade, and may
have been of very remote antiquity. That the trade was internal is
proved by the fact that ancient British coins belonging to the south of
the country have been found in the north.

[Illustration: AN ARCHER

Strutt’s _Sports and Pastimes_.]

We may, therefore, safely conclude that all these facts point to the
existence of a large trade between the island and the Continent. It was
not out of charity that the tin mines were worked, and the tin sent to
Thanet for exportation.

If now we consider the Roman highways, which were certainly based on
the more ancient tracks, we shall find, not only that five of them
converge on London, but also that London, considering the vast forests
as well as the course of the rivers and the conformation of the coast,
was actually the true centre for the reception and distribution of
imports, and for the reception and forwarding of exports. And we may
further conclude that since Pytheas and Posidonius were evidently
received with hospitality and travelled about everywhere without fear
of violence, the people of the island were accustomed to visits of
foreigners who came to trade. In a word, it is impossible to say when
trade first began between Britain and the Continent; impossible to
estimate its extent; and impossible to ascertain when the principal
centre of trade was found to be most conveniently placed at or near the
site of London.


From _Archæologia_, vol. vii.]

When first we hear of London at all we learn several very suggestive
facts. First, that the City was already the resort of merchants; next,
that there was a close connection with, and a great intercourse
between, Gallia and Britannia; thirdly, that the people of the south,
at least, possessed the same arts, the same civilisation, as the
Gauls. And the latter had already arrived at that stage when certain
things, impossible to be grown or produced on their own soil, had
ceased to be luxuries, and had become necessaries. Again, we learn
shortly afterwards that the island was thickly populated. Queen
Boadicea’s army, raised wholly in the eastern counties, contained
many thousands; so many that the scattered bands of her army were
able to destroy a great number—history loosely says 70,000, which we
may take to stand for a great number—of the inhabitants of Verulam,
London, and Camulodunum. Again, another point, never yet considered
in this connection, seems also to indicate dense population. All the
way from London down to the Nore, round a large part of the coast of
Essex, and along the coast of Lincolnshire where the foreshore is a
marsh, there runs a great and magnificent embankment. It is not, so
far as can be judged, Roman; that is to say, it has none of the Roman
characteristics: it is a great solid wall of earth faced with stone
which has stood for ages, only giving way at points here and there,
as at Barking in the reign of King Stephen, and at Dagenham in the
reign of Queen Anne. Now, in order to construct such a work two things
are necessary: there must be abundance of labour, also new ground for
cultivation must be in demand. Both these requisites point to a large
population. Given a large population; given also a demand for foreign
commodities among the wealthier class; given, further, the production
of goods wanted abroad—slaves, metals, skins, wool—we can have no doubt
that the trade of Britain, the northern and midland part of which
passed over Thorney, was continuous and very considerable.

In other words, this islet in the midst of marsh and ford, which we
have been always assured was in early times a wild and desolate spot;
chosen, we are also told, as the site of a monastery on account of its
seclusion and remoteness; was, long before any monastery was built
there, the scene of a continuous procession of those who journeyed
south and those who journeyed north. It was a halting and a resting
place for a stream of travellers which flowed continuously all the year
round. By way of Thorney passed the merchants, with the wares which
they were going to embark at Dover bestowed upon pack-horses. By way of
Thorney they drove the long strings of slaves to be sold in Gaul and
perhaps carried into Italy. By way of Thorney passed the caravans for
the north. Always, day after day, even night after night, there was the
clamour of those who came and of those who went: such a clamour as used
to belong, for instance, to the courtyard of an old-fashioned inn, in
and out of which lumbered the loaded waggon grinding heavily over the
stones, the stage-coach, the post-chaise, the merchant rider on his
nag—all with noise. The Isle of Thorney was like that courtyard: it
was a great inn, a halting-place, a bustling, noisy, frequented place,
the centre, and, before the rise of London, the heart of Britain. No
quiet, desolate place, but the actual living centre of the traffic of
the whole island. Not a fortress or a place of strategic importance,
but, as regards the permanent population, a gathering of people drawn
together in order to provide for the wants of travellers—a collection
of inns and taverns.

Thus far we have got. In very early times London was a settlement
of lake-dwellers, then it became a British fortress. Meantime,
communications were established with Gaul by way of Dover, trade began;
the natural highway for trade from the midland and the north was by way
of the most easterly ford over the Thames, therefore Thorney became a
busy and important place, as lying on the trade route of London.

At some time or other merchants found out that London was a much more
convenient and more central place than Dover. The voyage was along the
Kentish coast, for a few miles beyond Dover, and passed by the strait
which parted Thanet from the mainland into the estuary of the Thames,
whence it was safe and easy sailing up the stream to the new trading
port of the lake-fortress.

The next development, naturally, was the diversion of a large part of
the trade from Thorney to London. This diversion took place at the
spot we now call Marble Arch, where the course of the highway was
abandoned, and a new road traced along what is now Oxford Street and
Holborn into the City of London. And thus, gradually, the importance of
Thorney dwindled away. That it remained the stepping-stone for a large
part of the trade till the building of London Bridge there can be no
reason to doubt. Perhaps a considerable part of the trade would have
been carried by the old way still but for the embankment of the river,
which destroyed the ford. There remained the Ferry, which continued
until the middle of the last century. A good deal of trade, no doubt,
still crossed by the Ferry, but when London Bridge was built, and the
shipping lay in the river for the reception of the merchandise, the
route to Dover became gradually abandoned. This we may readily believe
would be some time in the fourth century.

It has been said that no dates can be ascertained which will guide us
in assigning any period to these events. There is, however, one fact
which gives a negative evidence: when Pytheas made his famous voyage
to Britain he does not seem to have seen London. He says nothing about
it. It seems from his account that trade with Gaul had not yet assumed
considerable proportions; that with the Phœnician ships for tin was
confined to the south-western district, and London, which has never
been anything but a place of trade, was not even mentioned to this
traveller. Perhaps—but I do not think that this was so—London did not
yet exist.



From _Archæologia_, vol. xviii.]

Who were the people that built this fortress over the lake and received
the merchants? They were Celts, and the name that they gave to their
citadel, Llyn Din, is Celtic. Their manners and customs are as well
known as those of any ancient people; their religion is described at
length by many historians; they had poets, musicians, and priests.
They wore on occasion robes embroidered with gold; they had copied the
civilisation of their neighbours the Gauls. The evidence of the barrows
in which the dead were buried shows a great variety of implements and
the knowledge of some arts. Their weapons were mostly of bronze; their
swords were of the “leaf” shape; the spear-heads were of bronze, and
their long knives also of bronze. They carried shields of bronze.
They wore neither helmet nor cuirass; round the neck they placed an
iron collar and round the body an iron belt. They had stone clubs and
flint-headed arrows; they had bronze trumpets; they knew how to coin
money; they practised the art of pottery, making very good vases and
pots; and they made, and used, the terrible war-chariot—a piece of one
was discovered some time ago in Somersetshire.

Again, it is necessary to clear up our ideas concerning the early trade
of London. When we speak on the subject, we are naturally inclined to
think of a mediæval town settled with government residents, a better
class, market-places, trade regulations, and all the accessories of
a late period. Let us, therefore, with a view to this clearance of
understanding, consider the conditions of trade in the centuries—I
repeat that I do not consider that the coming of the Romans had
anything to do with the foundation of London—before the Roman period.

 I. The first trading port of the Thames, as we have seen, was that of
 Thorney Island—a small place at best, and incapable of enlargement on
 account of the marsh-land all round it in every direction except the

 II. The discovery of London—with its high ground overhanging the
 river, its port of the outflow of the Walbrook, its greater safety,
 its ease of access by sea and river—diverted much of the trade from
 Thorney, and gradually all the trade.

 III. It is impossible to assign any date for this diversion: only one
 point is certain, that some importance was attached to Thorney as a
 trading centre in Roman times, because the islet is full of Roman

 IV. We take up the story, therefore, at some indefinite period which
 began as long before the arrival of the Romans as the reader pleases
 to assume, and continued until after the massacre by Boadicea’s

The first and most important condition to be observed is that the
trade of London could only be carried on during the summer months. It
was only in the summer that the ships ventured to cross the Channel;
crept along the coast of Kent, and passed through the channel between
Thanet and the mainland into the river. During the winter months the
sailing of the ships was entirely stopped; the ocean was deserted. This
condition was observed for many centuries afterwards: no ships ventured
to put out for six months at least in the year; even the pirates of
the North Sea hauled up their vessels, and when the Danes came, they
remained for six months every year in their winter quarters.

It was also only in the summer that inland trade could be carried on.
During the winter intercommunications were most difficult, and in many
places impossible; towns were isolated and had to depend on their own
resources; village was separated from village by fenland, moorland,
forest, and trackless marsh: there could be no transport of goods;
there were no markets.

The main limitation, therefore, of early trade was that it had to be
carried on during the summer months alone: allowing for the time taken
up by the voyage to and from the port at either end, the foreign trade
on which the inland trade depended was of necessity confined to a few

What does this mean? That the exports had to be brought to the Port by
a certain time: they came on the backs of slaves or by pack-horses. The
imports had to be carried into the country for sale and distribution
as a return journey by the same slaves and pack-horses. The goods were
brought from the country down to the quays, which were rough and rude
constructions on piles and baulks of timber on either side of the
mouth of the Walbrook, and were there exchanged for the imports. The
ships discharged one cargo, then took in another, and sailed away.
Nothing was left over; there was no overlapping of one year with
another; there was no storage of goods over the winter. When the ships
were gone and the caravans had started on their journey through the
country, there was nothing more to be done at the Port till the next
season. London might fall asleep, if there were any London.

In other words, the trade of London at this period was nothing more
than an annual Fair held in the months of July and August, frequented
by the foreign merchants bringing their imports and carrying off the
exports in their vessels, and by the traders, who led their long
processions of pack-horses and slaves from the country to the port,
arriving at the time when the ships were due; they exchanged what they
brought for the goods that came in the ships, and then went away again.
Where they spent the winter it is impossible to say. It is, however,
quite certain that they came to London in the summer from north, east,
south, and west; that they could not come at any other time. These
considerations enable us to understand that London was crowded every
summer during the few weeks of trade, but that in winter there was no
trade, no communication with any other place, and no communication with
abroad. Were there no merchants who stored goods and kept them over who
lived in London permanently? None. As yet, none.

The place was, in fact, exactly like Sturbridge beside Cambridge.
During the annual Fair in summer Sturbridge was a considerable town;
trading of all kinds and from all countries crowded to the place; the
shops and booths were arranged in streets; these streets were filled
with traders and private persons who came from all parts of the country
to the Fair. When the Fair was over the traders disappeared, the booths
were swept away, the place became a large common, empty and deserted
till the next season.

This was the case with London. The trading season was in July and
August, as I read the story: during these months the high ground
either on the east or the west of Walbrook was covered with shops and
booths made of wattle and clay. When the Fair was over the temporary
structures were taken down, or perhaps left to be repaired in the
following season; the conflux of people vanished, and there was no Port
of London for another year. London had no importance at all except
during the short season of the Fair. Nor were there any residents of
importance. There were left none others than the humble folk who fished
in the river, trapped the birds of the marsh, hunted in the forests,
and worked for the ships while they were in the Port.

I think that the annual Fair was held on the west side of Walbrook, for
the simple reason that the Romans, when they built their citadel, chose
the eastern side—that is to say, they took the eastern hill because
they were unwilling to interfere with the trade of the place, which
was mainly carried on upon the western hill. There was no bridge as
yet—otherwise there could have been no massacre by the offended Queen
(see p. 59). As to the time when trade became large, and so continuous
as to demand the erection of warehouses and the creation of a body
of wholesale merchants, I am not able to offer even an approximate
opinion. My conclusions belong to an earlier time, yet partly a Roman
time, when London represented nothing but an annual Fair, while there
were no public buildings, no municipal institutions, no officers or
rulers, except the temporary administrators of a temporary exhibition.
And, as at a Fair, when it was over nothing was left in store or
warehouse for the next year. The ships left their imports behind them,
and brought back exports with them.

It would be interesting to inquire into the continuance of the summer
trade and the slackness of the winter long after the character of
the annual Fair had left London. Galleys came, we know, from Venice
and Genoa every summer; ships laden with wine came every summer from
Bordeaux; ships of the Hanseatic League put out and came into port
every summer from north Europe and the Baltic. What was done in the
twelfth century, for example, during the winter? What amount of trade
could have been carried over roads which for two-thirds of the year
were practically impassable?

The theory of the Fair explains why Cæsar made no mention of London,
and why the Romans at first placed no permanent garrison in the place:
they saw it crowded for a few weeks, and then deserted and of no
account. The massacre of Boadicea first awakened them to a sense of
its strategic as well as its commercial importance. When they built
their citadel and their bridge it was not only to defend the trade
of a few weeks and the scanty population of fisher-folk, but also to
seize and to occupy a stronghold of capital importance as a great
military as well as a great commercial centre. It also explains why no
remains of pre-Roman buildings have been found on the site of London.
Because there were none. The _copia mercatorum_ came, stayed a few
weeks or days, and went away. They found inns and booths for their
accommodation; when they left, the inns and booths were closed, or left
to fall to pieces, for another twelve months.

In the course of time, when the bulk of trade increased and goods of
all kinds began to be stored in warehouses and kept over from year to
year, the limits of the busy time were naturally extended. There was
a great deal to be done in the way of warehousing, arrangement for
the next summer, arrangement with retail merchants and the owners of
caravans which went about the country. But there still remained the
time—six or eight months—during which no ships arrived in port, and the
roads of the country were impassable.

The warehousing, with the rise of a class of men who held the
warehouses and became wholesale merchants, marks a period of extension
and increase in the trade of the Port.


From _Archæologia_, vol. x.]

With the Romans came the time of good roads, warehouses, a settled and
continuous trade, a class of wholesale merchants, quays of convenient
size, new and artificial ports, and the residence for life of a wealthy
and highly civilised community who built villas along the banks of the
Walbrook, and imitated, though imperfectly, the arts and civilisation
of Bordeaux, Marseilles, Treves, and even of Rome.

One point more may be noticed before we step into the open light of
history. The position of London from the very first has been that of
a town which has had to depend upon outside or distant places for her
supplies. In front of her, on either side of her stretched marshes;
behind her stretched moorland: she could grow nothing for her own
people. Outside other towns lay farms, gardens, and pastures: outside
London there was neither farm, nor garden, nor pasture; except the fish
in the river and the fowl in the marsh-land, there was nothing. The
merchant in the time of Agricola, as much as the merchant in the time
of Victoria, lived upon food brought in by private enterprise.

The prehistoric monuments existing in and round London are two in
number: they are the river embankment and the Hampstead barrow. The
date of the embankment cannot be guessed: there is nothing at all to
mark the time of its construction. For trade purposes an embankment
must have been made as soon as trade in London began to develop. We
shall see presently what happened on the north bank. But it was not
enough to improve the river at London Port: it was necessary to reclaim
the marsh-land all along the river north and south. The wall so built
has often been repaired, but it is substantially the same as that
originally constructed. Few know or consider the greatness of the work
or the extent of ground it has converted from marsh-land into pasture.
Those who wish to see it may walk along it from Barking to Tilbury, or
from Tilbury to Southend.

The Hampstead barrow has been called Queen Boadicea’s grave. There is,
however, nothing to lead to the belief that the British Queen lies
buried here. In November 1894 the barrow was opened and carefully
examined. Nothing was found in it—no weapons, no cups, no ornaments,
no bones, no human dust; nothing but “pockets” of charcoal. There may
have been interments in the barrow; the bodies may have been entirely
destroyed so as to leave no trace behind: such things have been known;
but they are not customary. Prof. Hales has suggested that the barrow
is a simple boundary hillock, a position which he has defended with
much learning. However, the question cannot be determined.

There is one name still surviving in London which may possibly belong
to the London of pre-Roman times. The Welsh name for London is Caer
Ludd—the City of Ludder Lud. Now Lludd among the Welsh was the same as
Lir, an ocean-god (Charles Elton, _Origins of English History_). Can
we see in the name Ludgate the survival of the name of a Celtic god to
whom perhaps a temple stood on the hillock overlooking the Thames in
the south and the Fleet in the west?

                                BOOK II

                             ROMAN LONDON

                               CHAPTER I

                       THE COMING OF THE ROMANS

In August of the year 55 B.C., Cæsar landed on the coast of
Britain with eighty ships, and two legions, the 7th and the 10th. He
stayed in the country three weeks, and during that short period he
fought two battles. In the summer of the following year he landed again
with an army of thirty or forty thousand men and eight hundred ships.
The Britons retreated before his advance, and fought him first at the
passage of the Stour, when they were defeated, and next at a fortified
ford across the Thames, perhaps the place indicated by tradition, now
called “Cowey Stakes,” near Walton on Thames, where they were again
defeated. He then marched upon the stronghold of Cassivellaunus, the
British general, took it by storm, accepted the submission of the
tribes and departed, leaving the island nominally submissive to the
Roman power. He tells us that the manners and customs of the people
of Kent closely resembled those of the Gauls, but that in the more
northern parts the people were much ruder. He also tells us that the
trade with Gaul was carried on by way of Kent.

I have shown the reasons for believing that there was an extensive
trade with Gaul; that it passed through Kent by the road afterwards
called Watling Street and over Thorney Island; that Thorney was a
populous and prosperous place; and that London when the Romans came was
already a port with a considerable amount of trade.

Nearly a hundred years passed away before the islanders were again
disturbed by their Roman conquerors. The prudence of Augustus would
not allow any increase to the garrisoned frontier of the vast Empire.
During this century great changes took place in the island. Many of the
Gauls, escaping from their conquered country, had crossed the Channel
and settled in Britannia: the Atrebates on the country north and south
of the upper Thames; the Parisii in Yorkshire; the Belgæ between the
Solent and the Bristol Channel. The islanders knew the use of money;
they adopted iron and steel for their weapons instead of bronze; they
worked their gold, silver, and iron mines; they exported cattle, hides,
slaves, wheat and barley, and sporting dogs; their chieftains grew
rich; they built cities.

During this century of development London may possibly have been
founded. As we explained in the last chapter, the first essential fact
to be discovered was the central position of London as a port. This
once grasped, the rest would follow easily and quickly. However, this
guessing at a date in a prehistoric event is of little use. The fact
is, we do not know when London was founded, but I have attempted to
prove that the City began with an annual Fair.

It was eighty-eight years after Cæsar’s first visit that Britain was
again invaded. The invasion was undertaken partly at the instigation
of one Bericus, a British prince who had fled to Rome for protection;
partly because, though a so-called province, the country paid no
tribute and sent no hostages; partly because of the belief that it was
rich in gold, silver, and pearls.

The Emperor Claudius therefore resolved upon a new invasion of Britain.
Four legions, the 2nd, the 9th, the 14th, and the 20th, together with
cavalry and auxiliaries, making perhaps 50,000 men, formed the army
of invasion under Aulus Plautius in the year A.D. 43. Some
delay was caused by the mutinous conduct of the troops, who declared
that Britain lay beyond the limits of the world and refused to embark.
However, they agreed at length to follow their General. With Aulus
Plautius were Vespasian, afterwards Emperor, and Vespasian’s brother,
Flavius Sabinus. What happened next to the Roman army is vaguely told
by Dion Cassius. The whole passage is confused: it is evidently written
by one who has no map before him: there is only one thing clear, viz.
that at high tide there was a broad expanse of water, and at low tide a
marsh. Consider the passage—Dion’s account is quoted in Edwin Guest’s
_Origines Celticæ_, vol. ii. p. 397:—

 “When they had come to a certain river which the barbarians did not
 think the Romans could pass without a bridge, and on that account were
 encamped on the opposite side somewhat carelessly, he sends forward
 the Keltoi, whose custom it is to swim, with their arms, even over
 the most rapid rivers; and they having thus fallen on their opponents
 unexpectedly, though they hit none of the men, and only wounded the
 horses that drew the chariots, yet, as they were thus thrown into
 confusion, the riders could no longer be sure of their safety. He
 sent over also Flavius Vespasianus, the same who afterwards obtained
 the supreme power, and his brother Sabinus, who served under him as
 lieutenant, and so they also, having somewhere passed the river, slew
 many of the barbarians who were not expecting them. The rest, however,
 did not fly; but on the following day, having again come to an
 engagement, they contended on almost equal terms, till Cneius Osidius
 Geta, after running the risk of being captured, so thoroughly defeated
 them that he obtained triumphal honours, though he had never been
 Consul. The Britons having withdrawn themselves thence to the river
 Thames whence it empties itself into the ocean and at flow of tide
 forms a lake, and having easily passed it, as being well acquainted
 with such parts as were firm and easy of passage, the Romans followed
 them, but on this occasion failed in their object. The Keltoi,
 however, having again swum over, and certain others having passed by
 a bridge a little higher up, engaged them on several sides at once,
 and cut off many of them; but following the rest heedlessly, they fell
 into difficult marshes, and lost many of their men.”

The learned antiquary, Dr. Guest, is of opinion that London had as
yet no existence, for it lay beyond the limits of the Trinobantes;
that the marshes in which Aulus Plautius found himself entangled
were those of the river Lea; that when he withdrew his soldiers he
encamped on what is now the site of London, and that his camp began
the City. He also supposes an uninhabited marsh-land stretching from
the Lea to the Brent. All this is pure assumption. Nothing is said by
the historian about any camp on the site of London. Moreover, Dion
Cassius says nothing about the foundation of London, which, when he
wrote his history about the end of the second century, was a very
great and important city. And, as we have seen, Tacitus, writing in
A.D. 61, speaks of London—it is the first mention of the
town—as a populous and much-frequented place. One cannot believe that
such a city would spring up and flourish in eighteen years. That London
is on the confines or outside the confines of the Trinobantes does not
affect the question, because most assuredly the foundation of London
and its importance were due to its central position as a port and place
of trade. My own opinion, already advanced, is simply that, at the
coming of the Romans, London had arrived at importance on account of
the annual Fair, but on no other account.

The first observation, however, that occurs on reading this passage is
that the historian wrote without a map and without any knowledge of the
country. It is perfectly impossible even to guess where the “certain
river” was; how far it was from the Thames; where, upon the Thames,
the Romans fell into the marshes; or where was the bridge over which
some of the army passed. Dr. Guest thinks that the historian or the
document from which he obtained his account confused the Lea with the
Thames. That, however, brings us no nearer his point, which is that
the Roman camp in which, after the engagements, Aulus Plautius awaited
the arrival of the Emperor Claudius, was on the site of London and was
the actual origin of the City. We may observe that there was not any
bridge over the Thames for at least a hundred years after this battle.
The only British bridges were those of which two or three examples,
perhaps, survive, as on Dartmoor, where a narrow and shallow stream
is crossed by slabs of stone lying on boulders or upright blocks. It
is perfectly certain that there was no such bridge over the Thames;
there may have been one over the Lea, but higher up. For “bridge” read
ford perhaps. But the whole narrative is too confused. If the camp
had been upon one of the twin hillocks overhanging the Walbrook, the
historian would scarcely fail to call attention to the fact that on
this spot had grown up one of the largest and most important towns
in the Roman Empire. But a little consideration will show that Aulus
Plautius would not have placed his camp on that place. First, even a
Roman army did not march through thick forest and over trackless swampy
moorland without an object. Either London was already settled, or it
was a desolate and unknown place. If the former, Aulus may very well
have encamped there, using the ordinary roads of communication. But in
that case he cannot be said to have founded the town. If the latter,
there was no road, or path, or way of getting at the place at all,
save through the forests and moors which closed it in on the north and
west, or over the marshes, or across the river. Now the first thing
the Romans did on getting into a marsh was to get out of it as best
they could—and to encamp on this hillock with marshes and forest all
around, without a road of any kind or description, without any means
of procuring supplies, would have been a military blunder which a
Roman general was incapable of committing. It seems to me, therefore,
perfectly certain that Aulus did not encamp upon the hill above

For the purposes of this work it is not necessary to inquire where he
did encamp. We may, however, point out that the road from Dover to the
north broke off near Lambeth, where the marsh began, and that it began
again where the marsh ended on the other side opposite Thorney; that
the invaders would certainly use this road; that there was here a ford
at low tide, and that at high tide the marsh became a lake; so that
I think we need go no higher up the river. The place was Lambeth or
Westminster as I read it.

The taking of Camulodunum (Colchester) was followed by the submission
of the tribes. The Emperor was himself present at the conclusion of the
war, and held a splendid triumph, at which was exhibited an imitation
of Camulodunum, which was attacked and defended by thousands of British
captives reserved to kill each other in this mimic war.

The story of the Roman conquest reveals a people stubborn and brave.
Tribe after tribe, nation after nation, fought for freedom; they
were defeated, submitted, revolted, and were defeated again. Their
young men were taken prisoners, were sent to Rome to grace the shows
by fighting in the arena, or were enrolled in regiments and served
in foreign countries. Vespasian and Titus won the south with thirty
pitched battles; Aulus Plautius conquered the Midlands. A line of forts
was constructed from the Severn to the fens; a colony of discharged
soldiers was planted at Camulodunum, and the Britons were turned out of
their farms to make room for these colonists.

                              CHAPTER II

                            THE ROMAN RULE

The second appearance of London in history springs out of the revolt
of the Iceni under Boudicca, or, as her name is Latinised, Boadicea.
She was the widow of Prasutagus, King of the Iceni, who bequeathed
his kingdom, hoping thereby to make the possession safe, to the Roman
Cæsar jointly with his wife and daughters. The precaution proved
useless. His kingdom was pillaged by the captains, and his wife and
daughters were dishonoured. With the swiftness of a summer storm, the
Britons from Norfolk, from the fens, from the north, rose with one
consent and poured down upon the Roman colony. The town of Camulodunum
was unfortified; there were no troops except the veterans. Suetonius
Paulinus was far away in North Wales when the great revolt broke out.
The veterans fought for their lives: those were happy who fell in
battle: the prisoners were tortured to death; the women and children
were slaughtered like the rest; the 9th Legion, marching to relieve the
colony, was cut to pieces, only the cavalry escaping.

Paulinus hastened to London—observe that on its first appearance in
history London is a large town. But he judged it best not to make this
place his seat of war, and marched out, in spite of the prayers of the
inhabitants. He allowed, however, those who wished to follow with the
army. As soon as the Roman army was out of the town, the Britons—there
was clearly more than one army of rebels—entered it and slaughtered
every man, woman, and child. At the same time they entered Verulam and
murdered all the population. Over 70,000 people are said to have been
massacred in the three towns of London, Camulodunum, and Verulam. We
need not stop to examine into the figures. It is enough that the three
towns were destroyed with, we are told, all their inhabitants. The
battle at which Suetonius Paulinus defeated the rebels was decisive.
The captive Queen killed herself; the tribes dispersed. Then followed a
time of punishment; and, as regards London, some must have escaped, for
those who still lived went back to the City, rebuilt their houses, and
resumed their ordinary occupations.

The Roman conquest, however, was by no means complete. That remained
to be accomplished by Agricola. There was continual trouble north of
Hadrian’s Wall, but the rest of the island remained in peace for more
than a hundred years after the defeat of Boadicea. As for London, the
City increased every year in wealth and population. The southern part
of the island became rapidly Romanised; tranquillity and order were
followed by trade and wealth; the country was quickly covered with
populous and prosperous towns; the Roman roads were completed; the
Roman authority was everywhere accepted.


The distribution of the Roman legions after the defeat of the British
Queen is significant. Five only remained: the 2nd, stationed at Isca
Silurum—Caerleon; the 6th and 9th, at York; the 14th, at Colchester
for a time until it was sent over to Germany; and the 20th, at
Deva—Chester. There was no legion in the east—the country of Queen
Boadicea; therefore there was no longer anything to fear from that
quarter. There was none in London; there was none in the south country.
In addition to the legions there were troops of auxiliaries stationed
along the two walls of Antoninus and Hadrian, and probably along the
Welsh frontier.

We may pass very briefly in review the leading incidents of the Roman
occupation, all of which are more or less directly connected with

There can be little doubt that after the massacre by the troops of
Boadicea the Romans built their great fortress on the east side of
the Walbrook. Some of the foundations of the wall, of a most massive
kind, have been found in five places. The fortress, which extended
from the Walbrook to Mincing Lane, and from the river to Cornhill,
occupied an area of 2250 by 1500 feet, which is very nearly the space
then considered necessary in laying out a camp for the accommodation
of a complete legion. It seems as if the Romans had a certain scale of
construction, and laid out their camps according to the scale adopted.

Within this fortress were placed all the official courts and
residences: here was the garrison; here were the courts of law; this
was the city proper. I shall return to the aspect of the fort in
another chapter.

We may safely conclude that the massacre of London by the troops of
Boadicea would not have occurred had there been a bridge by which the
people could escape. It is also safe to conclude that the construction
of a bridge was resolved upon and carried out at the same time as that
of the fortress. In another place will be found my theory as to the
kind of bridge first constructed by the Roman engineers. In this place
we need only call attention to the fact of the construction and to the
gate which connected the fort with the bridge.

After the campaigns of Agricola, history speaks but little of Britain
for more than half a century; though we hear of the spread of learning
and eloquence in the north and west:—

    Nunc totus Graias nostrasque habet orbis Athenas;
    Gallia causidicos facunda Britannos;
    De conducendo loquitur jam rhetore Thule.

And Martial says, with pride, that even the Britons read his verses:—

    Dicitur et nostros cantare Britannia versus.

These, however, may be taken as poetic exaggerations.

The Romans, it is quite certain, were consolidating their power by
building towns, making roads, spreading their circle of influence,
and disarming the people. It has been remarked that the tessellated
pavements found in such numbers frequently represent the legend of
Orpheus taming the creatures—Orpheus was Rome; the creatures were her

The first half-century of occupation was by no means an unchequered
period of success: the savage tribes of the north, the Caledonii, were
constantly making raids and incursions into the country, rendered so
much the easier by the new and excellent high roads.

In the year 120, Hadrian visited Britain, and marched in person to the
north. As a contemporary poet said—

    Ego nolo Cæsar esse,
    Ambulare per Britannos,
    Sythicas pati pruinas.

He built the great wall from the Solway to the Tyne: a wall 70 miles
long, with an earthen vallum and a deep ditch on its southern side, and
fortified by twenty-three stations, by castles, and wall towers.



In the collection of C. Roach Smith, Esq., F.S.A.]

Twenty years later, the Proprætor, Lollius Urbicus, drove the
Caledonians northwards into the mountains, and connected the line of
forts erected by Agricola from the Forth to the Clyde by a massive
rampart of earth called the wall of Antoninus.

Again, after twenty years, the Caledonians gave fresh trouble, and
were put down by Ulpius Marcellus under Commodus. On his recall there
was a formidable mutiny of the troops. Pertinax, afterwards, for three
short months, Emperor, was sent to quell the mutiny. He failed, and was
recalled. Albinus, sent in his place, was one of the three generals
who revolted against the merchant Didius Julianus, when that misguided
person bought the throne.

At this time the Roman province of Britain had become extremely rich
and populous. Multitudes of auxiliary troops had been transplanted
into the island, and had settled down and married native women. The
conscription dealt with equal rigour both with their children and the
native Britons. Albinus, at the head of a great army, said to have
consisted of 150,000 men, crossed over to Gaul and fought Severus, who
had already defeated the third competitor, Niger, at Lyons, when he too
met with defeat and death.

Severus, the conqueror, came over to Britain in 208-209. His campaign
in the north was terminated by his death in 212.

For fifty years the island appears to have enjoyed peace and
prosperity. Then came new troubles. I quote Wright[15] on this obscure

[Illustration: CARAUSIUS

From Dr. Stukeley’s _Medallic History of Carausius_.]

“Amid the disorder and anarchy of the reign of Gallienus (260 to 268),
a number of usurpers arose in different parts of the Empire, who were
popularly called the thirty tyrants, of whom Lollianus, Victorinus,
Postumus, the two Tetrici, and Marius are believed on good grounds to
have assumed the sovereignty in Britain. Perhaps some of these rose
up as rivals at the same time; and from the monuments bearing the
name of Tetricus, found at Bittern, near Southampton, we are perhaps
justified in supposing that the head-quarters of that commander lay
at the station of Clausentum and along the neighbouring coasts. We
have no information of the state of Britain at this time, but it
must have been profoundly agitated by these conflicting claimants
to empire. Yet, though so ready to rise in support of their own
leaders, the troops in Britain seem to have turned a deaf ear to
all solicitations from without. When an officer in the Roman army,
named Bonosus, born in Spain, but descended of a family in Britain,
proclaimed himself Emperor, in the reign of Aurelian, and appealed
for support to the western provinces, he found no sympathy among the
British troops. Another usurper, whose name has not been recorded,
had taken advantage of his appointment to the government of the
island by the Emperor Probus to assume the purple. The frequency of
such usurpations within the island seem to show a desire among the
inhabitants to erect themselves into an independent sovereignty.
We are told that a favourite courtier of Probus, named Victorinus
Maurusius, had recommended this usurper to the proprætorship, and that,
when reproached on this account by the Emperor, Victorinus demanded
permission to visit Britain. When he arrived there, he hastened to
the Proprætor, and sought his protection as a victim who had narrowly
escaped from the tyranny of the Emperor. The new sovereign of Britain
received him with the greatest kindness, and in return was murdered in
the night by his guest. Victorinus returned to Rome to give the Emperor
this convincing proof of his ‘loyalty.’ Probus was succeeded in the
Empire by Carus, and he was followed by Diocletian, who began his reign
in the year 284, and who soon associated with himself in the Empire the
joint Emperor Maximian. Their reign, as far as regards Britain, was
rendered remarkable chiefly by the successful usurpation of Carausius.”

By far the most remarkable of the British usurpers whose history is
connected with that of London was Carausius.

This successful adventurer belonged to a time when there sprang
up every day gallant soldiers, men who had risen from the ranks,
conspicuous by their valour, fortunate in their victories, beloved and
trusted by their soldiers. The temptation to such an one to assume
the purple was irresistible. Examples of such usurpation were to be
found in every part of the unwieldy Empire. To be sure they ended,
for the most part, in defeat and death. But, then, these men had been
facing death ever since they could bear arms. On any day death might
surprise them on the field. Surely it was more glorious to die as
Imperator than as the mere captain of a cohort. Such usurpers, again,
held the crown as they won it, by the sword. They were like the King
of the Grove, who reigned until a stronger than he arose to kill him.
Carausius was a King of the Grove.

His history, so far as it has been told at all, is written by his
enemies. But he was an important man. During his time of power he
caused an immense number of coins to be struck, of which there remain
some three hundred types. These were arranged about the year 1750 by
that eminent antiquary Dr. Stukeley, who not only figured, described,
and annotated them, but also endeavoured to restore from the coins the
whole history of the successful usurper. Dr. Stukeley—a thing which is
rare in his craft—possessed the imagination of a novelist as well as
the antiquary’s passion for the chase of a fact.

Carausius was a Briton, born in Wales, at the city now called St.
David’s. He was of royal descent. He was of noble presence and great
abilities. Maximian found it necessary to continue him in his commands,
and bestowed upon him the distinction of a command in the Empress’s
Regiment, the Ala Serena—Diocletian’s wife was named Eleutheria
Alexandra Serena,—and committed to him the conduct of the expedition
against the revolted Gauls. Carausius executed his trust faithfully
and effectually. In reward for this service Maximian appointed him to
the important dignity of Comes littoris Saxonici, with command of the
fleet, whose duty it was to beat back the pirates always cruising about
the narrow seas in search of booty. The head-quarters of the fleet were
at Gesoriacum (Boulogne), a central position for operations in the
Channel or the North Sea.

In the following year Carausius again fought loyally on the side of
Maximian. But, says Stukeley, “in person, character, and behaviour he
so outshone the Emperor that he exercised an inveterate envy against
him.” Shortly afterwards Carausius, being informed that the Emperor’s
purpose was to murder him, called his officers together, harangued
them, gained them over, secured the fortifications of Boulogne, and
awaited events. Maximian prepared to attack him, but was prevented by
a mutiny of the troops. Carausius, who had now the 4th Legion and many
other troops, was saluted Emperor, and in September A.D. 288
he crossed the Channel, bringing with him the whole of the fleet. It
was the most serious rebellion possible, because it could not be put
down so long as Carausius maintained by his fleet the command of the
sea. It may be doubted whether the joy of London which Dr. Stukeley
sees recorded on the coins in consequence of this arrival was real or
only official. One thing is certain, there had been a revolt in Britain
on account of the tyranny of the Roman Præfect. This was put down, but
not by Carausius. He did not enter the country as its conqueror, in
which case his welcome would not have been joyous: he was the enemy of
the Emperor, as represented by the tyrannical Præfect; and he was a
fellow-countryman. National pride was probably appealed to, and with
success, and on these grounds a demonstration of joy was called for.
The first coin struck by the usurper shows Britannia, with the staff
emblematic of merchandise, grasping the hand of the Emperor in welcome,
with the legend “Expectate veni”—“Come thou long desired.” Another coin
shows Britannia with a cornucopia and a mercurial staff with the legend
“Adventus Aug.” The words “Expectate veni” were used, Dr. Stukeley
thinks, to flatter the British claim of Phrygian descent. They were
taken from Æneas’s speech in Virgil:—

    Quae tantae tenuere morae, quibus Hector ab oris
    Expectate venis.

Perhaps the figure which we have called Britannia may have been meant
for Augusta. It is hard to understand why the whole country should
be represented by the symbol of trade. On another coin the Emperor’s
public entry into London is celebrated. He is on horseback; a spear
is in his left hand, and his right hand is raised to acknowledge the
acclamations of the people.

Maximian lost no time in raising another fleet, with which, in
September 289, a great naval battle was fought, somewhere in the
Channel, with the result of Maximian’s complete defeat, and as a
consequence the arrangement of terms by which Maximian and Diocletian
agreed to acknowledge Carausius as associated with them in the Imperial
dignity; it was further agreed that Carausius should defend Britain
against the Scots and Picts, and that he should continue to act as
Comes littoris Saxonici and should retain Boulogne—the head-quarters of
the fleet. The full title of the associated Emperor thus became—

  Imp. M. Aur. Val. Carausius Aug.

The name of Aurelius he took from Maximian and that of Valerius from
Diocletian as adopted by them.

Coins celebrated the sea victory and the peace. Carausius is
represented on horseback as at an ovation; not in a chariot, which
would have signified triumph. The legend is “IO X”; that is to say,
“Shout ten times.” This was the common cry at acclamations. Thus
Martial says of Domitian—

  Rursus IO magnos clamat tibi Roma triumphos.

In March 290, Carausius associates with himself his son Sylvius, then a
youth of sixteen. A coin is struck to commemorate the event. The legend
is “Providentia Aug.”—as shown in appointing a successor.

In the same year Carausius, whose head-quarters had been Clausentum
(Bitterne), near Southampton, and London alternately, now marched north
and took up his quarters at York, where he began by repairing and
restoring the work now called the Cars Dyke.

On his return to London he celebrated his success with sports and
gladiatorial contests. Coins were struck to commemorate the event. They
bear the legend “Victoria Aug.”

In the year A.D. 291, Carausius appointed a British Senate,
built many temples and public buildings, and, as usual, struck many
coins. On some of these may be found the letters S.C. He completed the
Cars Dyke and founded the city of Granta. He also named himself Consul
for Britain.

In the year 293 the two Emperors, Diocletian and Maximian, met at Milan
and created two Cæsars—Constantius Chlorus, father of Constantine the
Great, and Galerius Armentarius. And now the pretence of peace with
Carausius was thrown away. Chlorus began operations against him by
attacking the Franks and Batavians, allies of Carausius. He also urged
the Saxons and sea-board Germans to invade Britain. Carausius easily
drove off the pirates, and addressed himself to the more formidable
enemy. Chlorus laid siege to Boulogne, which was defended by Sylvius,
son of Carausius. The British Emperor himself chased his assailant’s
fleet triumphantly along the coasts of Gaul and Spain; he swept the
seas; he even entered the Mediterranean, took a town, and struck Greek
and Punic coins in celebration. He also struck coins with his wife as
Victory sacrificing at an altar, “Victoria Augg.”—the two “g’s” meaning
Carausius and his son Sylvius.

In May 295, while the Emperor was collecting troops and ships to meet
Constantius Chlorus, he was treacherously murdered by his officer
Allectus. Probably his son Sylvius was killed with him.

This is Dr. Stukeley’s account of a most remarkable man. A great deal
is perhaps imaginary; on the other hand, the coins, read by one who
knows how to interpret coins, undoubtedly tell something of the story
as it is related.

The history of Carausius as gathered by other writers from such
histories as remain differs entirely from Dr. Stukeley’s reading. It is
as follows:—

He was of obscure origin, belonged to the Batavian tribe of Menapii;
and he began by entering, or being made to enter, the service of the
British fleet. The people, afterwards called collectively Saxons, were
already actively engaged in piratical descents upon the eastern and
the southern coast of Britain. They came over in their galleys; they
landed; they pillaged, destroyed, and murdered everywhere within their
reach; then they returned, laden with their spoil, to their homes on
the banks of the Elbe.

To meet these pirates, to destroy their ships, to make them disgorge
their plunder, it was found necessary, in addition to constructing a
line of fortresses along the shore—of which Richborough, Bradwell,
Pevensey, and Porchester still remain,—to maintain a large and
well-formed fleet always in readiness. This was done, and the British
fleet, whose head-quarters were at Gesoriacum (Boulogne), was
constantly engaged in chasing, attacking, and destroying the pirate
vessels. It was a service of great danger, but also one which gave a
brave man many opportunities of distinction. These opportunities were
seized by Carausius, who obtained so great a reputation as a sailor
that he was promoted grade after grade until he became Admiral, or
Commander of the Fleet.

His courage, which had been shown in a thousand dare-devil, reckless
acts, was known to all who manned the galleys; every captain and every
cabin-boy could rehearse the exploits of Carausius. Moreover, he had
in his hands the power and authority of promotion; he was affable and
kindly in his manner; he was, in his way, considerate of the men,
whom he rewarded generously for bravery; he was eloquent, too, and
understood how to move the hearts of men; his portrait can be seen
both full face and profile on his coins, and we can judge that he
was a handsome man: in short, he possessed all the gifts wanted to
win the confidence, the affection, and the loyalty of soldiers and
sailors. With an army—for the service of the fleet was nothing less—at
his command, with the example of other usurpers before him, and with
the rich and fertile province of Britannia in his power, it is not
astonishing that this strong, able man should dream of the Purple.

But first it was necessary to become rich. Without a Treasury the army
would melt away. How could Carausius grow rich? By seizing London
and pillaging the City? But then he would make the whole island his
enemy. There was a better way, a more secret way. He redoubled his
vigilance over the coasts, but he did not attack the pirates till
they were returning laden with their plunder. He then fell upon them
and recaptured the whole. But he did not restore the spoils to their
owners: he kept them, and in this way became very quickly wealthy.
Presently the peculiar methods of the Admiral began to be talked about;
people began to murmur; complaints were sent to Rome. Then Carausius
learned that he was condemned to death. He was therefore forced to
instant action. He proclaimed himself Emperor with Maximian and
Diocletian, and he made an alliance with the Franks.

So long as he could rely on his troops, so long as he was victorious,
he was safe; and for a long time there could be no opposition. Britain
and the legions then in the island acknowledged him. He crossed over
and made his head-quarters at Clausentum (Bitterne), near Southampton.
He was certainly some time at London, where he had a mint; and he ruled
the country undisturbed for some years.

We know nothing whatever about his rule, but there is probably very
little to learn. He kept back the Picts and Scots; he kept back the
pirates—that is clear from his coins, which speak of victory. We must
remember that the reign of a usurper differed very little from that of
a recognised Emperor. He preserved the same administration conducted
by the same officers; it was only a change of name. Just as the
government of France under the Republic is practically the same as that
under the Empire, so the province of Britain under Maximian knew no
change except a change of proprietor when it passed to Carausius.

But the end came. Carausius had to fight when he was challenged, or die.

The two Emperors appointed two Cæsars. To one, Constantius, was given
the Empire of the West. He began his reign by attempting to reduce the
usurper. With a large army he advanced north and invested Gesoriacum,
where Carausius was lying; next, because the port was then, as it is
now, small and narrow and impossible of entrance, except at high tide,
he blocked it with stones and piles, so that the fleet could not enter
to support him.

[Illustration: A SEA FIGHT

From a MS. in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.]

It is impossible to know why Carausius did not fight. Perhaps he
proposed to gather his troops in Britain and to meet Constantius on
British soil. Perhaps he reckoned on Constantius being unable to
collect ships in sufficient number to cross the Channel. Whatever his
reasons, he embarked and sailed away. The King of the Grove had run
away. Therefore his reign was over.

In such cases there is always among the officers one who perceives the
opportunity and seizes it. The name of the officer swift to discern and
swift to act in this case was Allectus. He murdered the man who had run
away, and became himself the King of the Grove.

Very little is known about Allectus or about his rule. Historians speak
of him contemptuously as one who did not possess the abilities of
Carausius; perhaps, but I cannot find any authority for the opinion.
The facts point rather in the opposite direction. At least he commanded
the allegiance and the loyalty of the soldiers, as Carausius had done;
he seems to have kept order in Britain; as nothing is said to the
contrary, he must have kept back the Caledonians and Saxons for four
years; he maintained the Frankish alliance; and when his time came,
his men went out with him to fight, and with him, fighting, fell. In
this brief story there is no touch of weakness. One would like to know
more about Allectus. Like Carausius, he was a great coiner. Forty of
his coins are described by Roach Smith. They represent a manly face of
strength and resolution crowned with a coronet of spikes. On the other
side is a female figure with the legend “Pax Aug.” Other coins bear the
legends “Pietas Aug.,” “Providentia Aug.,” “Temporum felicitas,” and
“Virtus Aug.”


In Westminster Abbey.]

He was left undisturbed for nearly four years. Constantius employed
this time in collecting ships and men. It is rather surprising that
Allectus did not endeavour to attack and destroy those ships in port.
When at last the army was in readiness Constantius crossed the Channel,
his principal force, under Asclepiodotus, landing on the coast of
Sussex. It was said that he crossed with a side wind, which was thought
daring, and by the help of a thick fog eluded the fleet of Allectus,
which was off the Isle of Wight on the look-out for him.

Allectus was in London: he expected the landing would be on the Kentish
coast, and awaited the enemy, not with the view of sheltering himself
behind the river, but in order, it would seem, to choose his own place
and time for battle. Asclepiodotus, however, pushed on, and Allectus,
crossing the bridge with his legions, his Frankish allies, and his
auxiliaries, went out to meet the enemy. Where did they fight? It has
been suggested that Wimbledon was the most likely place. Perhaps. It is
quite certain that the battle was very near London, from what followed.
I would suggest Clapham Common; but as the whole of that part of London
was a barren moorland, flat, overgrown with brushwood, the battle may
have taken place anywhere south of Kensington, where the ground begins
to rise out of the marsh. We have no details of the battle, which was
as important to Britain as that of Senlac later on, for the invader
was successful. The battle went against Allectus, who was slain in the
field. His routed soldiers fled to London, and there began to sack
the City and to murder the people. Constantius himself at this moment
arrived with his fleet, landed his troops, and carried on a street
fight with the Franks until every man was massacred. Two facts come out
clearly: that the battle was fought very near to London; and that when
Allectus fell there was left neither order nor authority.

This is the third appearance of London in history. In the first,
A.D. 61, Tacitus speaks of it, as we have seen, as a City
of considerable trade; in the second, the rebellion of Boadicea, it
furnishes the third part of the alleged tale of 70,000 victims; at
this, the third, the defeated troops are ravaging and plundering the
helpless City. In all three appearances London is rich and thickly

We may also remark that we have now arrived at the close of the third
century, and that, so far, there has been very little rest or repose
for the people, but rather continued fighting from the invasion of
Aulus Plautius to the defeat of Allectus.

It is true that the conscription of the British youth carried them out
of the country to serve in other parts of the Roman Empire; it is also
true that the fighting in Britain was carried on by the legions and the
auxiliaries, and that the _Lex Julia Majestatis_ disarmed the people
subject to Roman rule. Looking, however, to the continual fighting on
the frontier and the fighting in the Channel, and the incursions of
the Scots and Picts, one cannot believe that none of the British were
permitted to fight in defence of their own land, or to man the fleet
which repelled the pirate. Those who speak of the enervating effects
of the long peace under the Roman rule—the Pax Romana—would do well to
examine for themselves into the area covered by this long peace and its

It was not in London, but at York, that Constantius fixed his
residence, in order to restrain the Picts and Scots. The importance
attached to Britain may be inferred from the fact that the Emperor
remained at York until his death in A.D. 306, when his son,
Constantine the Great, succeeded him, and continued in the island,
probably at York, for six years. Coins of Constantine and also of his
mother, Helena, have been found in London.

In the year 310, Constantine quitted the island. A period of nearly
forty years, concerning which history is silent, followed. This time
may have been one of peace and prosperity.

The government of the country had been completely changed by the scheme
of defence introduced by Diocletian and modified by Constantine. Under
that scheme the Roman world was to be governed by two Emperors—one on
the Danube, and the other in the united region of Spain, Gaul, and
Britain. The island was divided into five provinces of Britannia Prima
and Britannia Secunda; Lower Britain became Flavia Cæsariensis and
Maxima Cæsariensis; between the walls of Hadrian and Antoninus was the
Province of Valentia. Each province had its own Vicarius or Governor,
who administered his province in all civil matters.

The Civil Governor of Britain was subject to the Præfectus of Gaul,
who resided at Treviri (Treves) or Arelate (Arles). He was called
_Vicarius_, and had the title _Vir Spectabilis_ (your Excellency). His
head-quarters were at York. The “Civil Service,” whose officers lived
also in the fort, consisted of a Chief Officer (_Princeps_), a Chief
Secretary (_Cornicularis_), Auditors (_Numerarii_), a Commissioner
of Prisons (_Commentariensis_), Judges, Clerks, Serjeants, and other
officers. For the revenues there were a Collector (_Rationalis summarum
Britanniarum_), an Overseer of Treasure (_Præpositus Thesaurorum_). In
the hunting establishment there were _Procuratores Cynegiorum_. The
military affairs of the state were directly under the control of the
Præfect of Gaul. The Vicarius had no authority in things military. We
have seen also how one general after another fixed his head-quarters,
not in London, but at York, or elsewhere. London played a much less
important part than York in the military disposition of the island.
There were three principal officers: the Count of the Saxon Shore
(_Comes littoris Saxonici_), the Count of Britain, and the Duke of
Britain. The first of these had the command of the fleet—Carausius,
we have seen, was Comes littoris Saxonici—with the charge of the
nine great fortresses established along the coast from Porchester to
Brancaster. The Duke of Britain had his head-quarters at York, with the
command of the 6th Legion and charge of the wall. It is not certain
where were the head-quarters of the Count of Britain. Each of these
officers, like the Vicarius, had his own establishment. The permanent
forces in Great Britain were estimated at four, afterwards two, legions
with auxiliaries, the whole amounting to 19,200 infantry and 1700
cavalry. Surely a force capable of repelling the incursions of Irish,
Scots, and Saxons all together!

It is not possible to estimate the effect upon the country of these
military settlements; we do not know either the extent of the territory
they occupied or the number of the settlers at any colony. Britannia is
a large island, and many such settlements may have been made without
any effect upon the country. One thing, however, is certain, that
foreign settlers when they marry women belonging to their new country
very speedily adopt the manners and the language of that country, and
their children belong wholly to their mother’s race. Thus Germans and
Scandinavians settling in America and marrying American women adapt
themselves to American manners and learn the English tongue, while
their children, taught in the public schools, are in no respect to
be accounted different from the children of pure American parentage.
Even the most marked and most bigoted difference of religion does not
prevent this fusion. The Polish Jew becomes in the second generation
an Englishman in England, or an American in America. And in Ireland,
when the soldiers of Cromwell settled in County Kerry and married
women of the country, their children became Irish in manners and in
thought. The descendants of those soldiers have nothing left from their
great-grandfathers—not religion, not manners, not Puritan ideas—nothing
but their courage.

So that one can neither affirm nor deny that these settlers in any way
influenced or changed the general character of the people. Religion
would be no hindrance, because all the ancient religions admitted the
gods of all people. It is sufficient to note the fact, and to remember
that the people so called Britons were after four hundred years of
Roman rule as mixed a race as could well be found. In London the
mixture was still greater, because the trade of Roman London at its
best was carried on with the whole habitable world.

The language spoken among the better sort—the language of the Court,
the Forum, and the Port—was undoubtedly Latin. All the inscriptions
are in Latin; none are in Celtic. The language of the common people of
London was like that of the modern pidgin-English, a patois composed
of Latin without its trappings of inflexions and declensions—such a
patois as that from which sprang Mediæval French and Provençal, mixed
with words from every language under the sun: words brought to the
Port by sailors who still preserved the Phœnician tongue; by Greeks
from Massilia; by Italians from Ostia and Brundusium; by Norsemen from
Gotland and the Baltic; by Flemings, Saxons, and Germans.

The legionaries contributed their share to the patois as spoken by the
country folk. But there were few soldiers in the fort of Augusta; the
London dialect, except among the slaves working at the Port or waiting
in their barracoons to be exported for the gladiatorial contests, was

The Emperor Constans came over in 347. He was murdered, three years
after leaving this country, by Magnentius, a native of Britain. The
rise and fall of this pretender involved the ruin of many of his own
countrymen and the soldiers of the Roman occupation. One Paulus,
surnamed Catena, was sent to London in order to punish the adherents
of Magnentius. Then follows a very singular story. The cruelties
of Paulus excited the deepest indignation, insomuch that the Civil
Governor of the province, the “Vicarius,” Martinus by name, endeavoured
to interpose on behalf of the victims. Failing to move the judge to
mercy, he tried to save his friends by murdering him. When this attempt
also failed, he committed suicide. Paulus returned to Rome, carrying
with him a multitude of prisoners, who were tortured, imprisoned,
executed, or exiled.

The Picts and Scots took advantage of the disorder to invade the
country after the departure of Paulus. It is evident that the regular
troops had been withdrawn or were in confusion, because troops were
brought over from Gaul to drive back the invaders.

A H Burkitt FSA

Some ten years later the Picts and Scots renewed their attacks. They
defeated and slew the Count of the Saxon Shore, and they defeated the
Duke of Britain. The Emperor Valentinian therefore sent Theodosius
with a very large force into the island. He found the enemy ravaging
the country round London—it was probably at this period, and in
consequence of the repeated invasions from the north, that the wall
of London was built. In another place will be found an account of the
wall. It is sufficient to state here, that it was most certainly built
in a great hurry and apparently at a time of panic, because stones
in the City—from public buildings, the temples, the churches, and
cemeteries—were seized wherever possible and built up in the wall.

However, Theodosius drove back the invaders with great slaughter. He
found that there were many of the native population with the enemy. He
adopted a policy of conciliation: he relieved the people of their heavy
taxation, and rebuilt their cities and fortresses.

Here follows an incident which illustrates at once the dangers of the
time and the wisdom of Theodosius. I quote it from Wright (_The Celt,
the Roman, and the Saxon_, 1852 edition, p. 378):—

“There was in Britain at this time a man named Valentinus, a native of
Valeria, in Pannonia, notorious for his intrigues and ambition, who
had been sent as an exile to Britain in expiation of some heavy crime.
This practice of banishing political offenders to Britain appears to
have been, at the time of which we are now speaking, very prevalent;
for we learn from the same annalist, that a citizen of Rome, named
Frontinus, was at the time of the revolt just described sent into exile
in Britain for a similar cause. Men like these no sooner arrived in
the island than they took an active part in its divisions, and brought
the talent for political intrigue which had been fostered in Italy to
act upon the agitation already existing in the distant province. Such
was the case with Valentinus, who, as the brother-in-law of one of the
deepest agitators of Rome, the vicar Maximinus (described by Ammianus
as _ille exitialis vicarius_), had no doubt been well trained for the
part he was now acting. As far as we can gather from the brief notices
of the historian, this individual seems, when Theodosius arrived in
Britain, to have been actively engaged in some ambitious designs, which
the arrival of that great and upright commander rendered hopeless.
Theodosius had not been long in Londinium when he received private
information that Valentinus was engaged with the other exiles in a
formidable conspiracy, and that even many of the military had been
secretly corrupted by his promises. With the vigour which characterised
all his actions, Theodosius caused the arch-conspirator and his
principal accomplices to be seized suddenly, at the moment when their
designs were on the point of being carried into execution, and they
were delivered over to Duke Dulcitius, to receive the punishment due
to their crimes; but, aware of the extensive ramifications of the
plot in which they had been engaged, and believing that it had been
sufficiently crushed, Theodosius wisely put a stop to all further
inquiries, fearing lest by prosecuting them he might excite an alarm
which would only bring a renewal of the scenes of turbulence and
outrage which his presence had already in a great measure appeased.
The prudence as well as the valour of Theodosius were thus united in
restoring Britain to peace and tranquillity; and we are assured that
when, in 369, he quitted the island, he was accompanied to the port
where he embarked by crowds of grateful provincials.”

In the year 383 Britain furnished another usurper or claimant of the
people, in the person of Magnus Maximus. He was a native of Spain, who
had served in Britain with great distinction, and was a favourite with
the soldiers. Now the troops then stationed in Britain are stated by
the historian to have been the most arrogant and turbulent of all the
Imperial troops.

The career of Maximus, and his ultimate defeat and death at Aquileia,
belong to the history of the Roman Empire.

One of the officers of Theodosius, named Chrysanthus, who afterwards
became a bishop at Constantinople, pacified Britain—one hopes by
methods less brutal than those of Paulus Catena.

The people, however, had little to congratulate themselves upon.
Their country with its five provinces was regarded as a department of
the Court of Treves. When there was any trouble in the Empire of the
West, the legions of Great Britain were withdrawn without the least
regard for the defence of the country against the Picts and Scots;
and the division into provinces was a source of weakness. Moreover,
the general decay of the Empire was accompanied by the usual signs
of anarchy, lawlessness, and oppression. The troops were unruly and
mutinous; time after time, as we have seen, they set up one usurper and
murdered another; they were robbed by their officers; their pay was
irregular. The complexity of the new system added to the opportunities
of the taxing authorities and the tax-collector. The visit of the
Imperial tax-gatherers was worse than the sack of a town by the enemy.
Torture was freely used to force the people to confess their wealth;
son informed against father, and father against son; they were taxed
according to confessions extorted under torture.

The end of the Roman occupation, however, was rapidly approaching.
Theodosius died in 395, and left his Western dominions to Honorius.
There were still two legions in Britain: the 6th, at Eboracum (York);
and the 2nd, at Rutupiæ (Richborough). There were also numerous bodies
of auxiliaries. Early in the fifth century these soldiers revolted and
set up an Emperor of their own, one Marcus. They murdered him in 407,
and set up another named Gratian, whom they also murdered after a few
months, when they chose an obscure soldier on account of his name,

He at once collected his army and crossed over to Gaul. His subsequent
career, like that of Maximus, belongs to the history of Rome.

It would appear that the withdrawal of the legions by Constantine was
the actual end of the Roman occupation. The cities of Britain took up
arms to repel invasion from the north and the descent of the pirates
in the west, and in 410 received letters from Honorius telling them to
defend themselves.

The story told by Gildas is to the effect that Maximus took away all
the men capable of bearing arms; that the cities of Britain suffered
for many years under the oppression of the Picts and Scots; that
they implored the Romans for help; and that Roman legions came over,
defeated the Picts and Scots, and taught the Britons how to build a
wall. This is all pure legend.

The commonly received history of the coming of the Angles, Jutes,
and Saxons is chiefly legendary. It is impossible to arrive at the
truth, save by conjecture from a very few facts ascertained. Thus
it is supposed that the Saxons began, just as the Danes did four
hundred years afterwards, by practical incursions leading to permanent
settlements; that the words _littus Saxonicum_ signified, not the shore
exposed to Saxon pirates, but the shore already settled by Saxons; that
in some parts the transition from Roman to Saxon was gradual; that the
two races mixed together—at Canterbury, Colchester, Rochester, and
other places we find Roman and Saxon interments in the same cemetery;
that the Saxons had gained a footing in the island long before the
grand invasions of which the Saxon Chronicle preserves the tradition.

This long history of warfare, of civil commotion, of mutiny and
usurpation, of conscription and taxation, is not a pleasant picture
of Britain under the famous Pax Romana. How did the City of London
fare? It was the residence of the Proprætor before the new scheme of
Diocletian. This is proved by the discovery of certain inscribed tiles.
These tiles record the legions or the officers stationed in various
places. At Chester they bear the name of the 20th Legion; at York,
those of the 6th and the 9th. At Lymne and Dover the usual inscription
is Cl.Br., supposed to mean Classiarii Britannici. Some of the tiles
above referred to are inscribed PRB. Lon., or PPBR. Lon., or P.PR.BR.
Roach Smith reads these letters Prima Cohors Britanniæ Londinii, and
assumes that the first British Cohort was once stationed in London.
Wright, however, reads Proprætor Britanniæ Londinii, thus showing
that London was the seat of government. As there is no hint elsewhere
that the first British Cohort served in Britain, but plenty of
evidence as to its being elsewhere, as in Egypt and Germany, Wright’s
interpretation is probably the correct one.

Except for the attempted sack of the City after the defeat of Allectus
and for the sanguinary revenge by Paulus Catena, London seems to have
been but little disturbed by the invasions and the mutinies and the
usurpations. Her trade went on. In bad times, as when Magnentius or
Maximus drew off the soldiers, and the invaders fell upon the country
on the north, the east, and the west, destroying the towns and laying
waste the country, London suffered. In the intervals of peace her
wharves were crowded with merchandise and her port with ships.

The introduction of Christianity into London, as into Britain
generally, began, there can be little doubt, in the second century. The
new religion, however, made very slow progress. The first missionaries,
believed to have been St. Paul or St. Joseph of Arimathæa, with
Lazarus and his two sisters, were probably converts from Gaul who came
to Britain in pursuit of their ordinary business. In the year 208
Tertullian mentions the existence of Christians in Britain. Early in
the fourth century there were British Bishops at the Council of Arles.

In 324 Christianity was recognised as the religion of the State.

In the year 325 the British Church assented to the conclusions of the
Council of Nicæa. In 386 there was an Established Christian Church in
Britain, in habitual intercourse with Rome. As to the reality of the
Christianity of the people and how far it was mixed up with remains of
Mithraism and the ancient faiths of Rome and Gallia, we have no means
of judging.


What was the government of London itself at this time? We can find
an answer in the constitution of other Roman towns. London never
became a _municipium_—a town considered by the Imperial authorities
as of the first importance. There were only two towns of this rank
in Britain, viz. Eboracum (York) and Verulam (St. Alban’s). It was,
with eight other towns, a _colonia_. Wright[16] is of opinion that
there was very little difference in later times between the _colonia_
and the _municipium_. These towns enjoyed the _civitas_ or rights of
Roman citizens; they consisted of the town and certain lands round
it; and they had their own government exempt from the control of
the Imperial officers. In that case the forum would not necessarily
be placed in the fort or citadel, which was the residence of the
Vicarius when he was in London with his Court and establishment. At
the same time this citadel occupied an extensive area, and the City
being without walls till the year 360 or thereabouts, all the public
buildings were within that area. The governing body of the City was
called the _curia_, and its members were _curiales_, _decuriones_,
or senators; the rank was hereditary, but, like every hereditary
house, it received accessions from below. The two magistrates, the
_duumviri_, were chosen yearly by the _curia_ from their own body. A
town council, or administrative body, was also elected for a period
of fifteen years by the _curiales_ from their own body; the members
were called _principales_. The _curia_ appointed, also, all the less
important officers; in fact it controlled the whole municipality. The
people were only represented by one officer, the _defensor civitatis_,
whose duty it was to protect his class against tyrannical or unjust
usurpations of power by the _curiales_. No one could be called upon
to serve as a soldier except in defence of his own town. The defence
of the Empire was supposed to be taken over by the Emperor himself.
Let every man, he said, rest in peace and carry on his trade in
security. But when the Emperor’s hands grew weak, what had become of
the martial spirit? The existence of this theory explains also how the
later history of the Roman Empire is filled with risings and mutinies
and usurpations, not of cities and tribes, but of soldiers. At the
same time, since we read of the British youth going off to fight in
Germany and elsewhere, the country lads had not lost their spirit.[17]
The people of London itself, however, may have become, like those of
Rome, unused to military exercises. Probably there was no fear of any
rising in London, and there was not a large garrison in the citadel.
The citizens followed their own trade, unarmed, like the rest of the
world; even their young men were not necessarily trained to sports and
military exercises. Their occupations were very much the same as those
of later times: there were merchants, foreign and native, ship-builders
and ship-owners, sailors, stevedores and porters, warehousemen, clerks,
shopmen, lawyers, priests, doctors, scribes, professors and teachers,
and craftsmen of all kinds. These last had their collegia or guilds,
each with a curialis for a patron. The institution is singularly
like the later trade guilds, each with a patron saint. One would
like to think that a craft company, such as the blacksmiths’, has a
lineal descent from the Collegium Fabrorum of Augusta. But as will
be proved later on, that is impossible. London was a city of trade,
devoted wholly to trade. The more wealthy sort emulated the luxury
and effeminacy of the Roman senators—but only so long as the Empire
remained strong. When one had to fight or be robbed, to fight or to
be carried off in slavery, to fight or to die, there was an end, I
believe, of the effeminacy of the London citizens.

Let us consider this question of the alleged British effeminacy. We
have to collect the facts, as far as we can get at them, which is a
very little way, and the opinion of historians belonging to the time.

Gildas, called Sapiens, the Sage—in his Book of Exclamations,—speaks
thus contemptuously of his own people:—

1. The Romans, he says, on going away, told the people that “inuring
themselves to warlike weapons, and bravely fighting, they should
valiantly protect their country, their property, wives and children,
and what is dearer than these, their liberty and lives; that they
should not suffer their hands to be tied behind their backs by a nation
which, unless they were enervated by idleness and sloth, was not more
powerful than themselves, but that they should arm those hands with
buckler, sword, and spear, ready for the field of battle.

2. He says: “The Britons are impotent in repelling foreign foes, but
bold and invincible in raising civil war, and bearing the burdens of
their offences; they are impotent, I say, in following the standard of
peace and truth, but bold in wickedness and falsehood.”

3. He says: “To this day”—many years after the coming of the
Saxons—“the cities of our country are not inhabited as before, but
being forsaken and overthrown, lie desolate, our foreign wars having
ceased, but our civil troubles still remaining.”

Bede, who writes much later, thus speaks, perhaps having read the
evidence of Gildas: “With plenty, luxury increased, and this was
immediately attended with all sorts of crimes: in particular, cruelty,
hatred of truth, and love of falsehood: insomuch that if any one
among them happened to be milder than the rest, and inclined to
truth, all the rest abhorred and persecuted him, as if he had been
the enemy of his country. Nor were the laity only guilty of these
things, but even our Lord’s own flock and His pastors also addicted
themselves to drunkenness, animosity, litigiousness, contention,
envy, and other such-like crimes, and casting off the light yoke of
Christ. In the meantime, on a sudden, a severe plague fell upon that
corrupt generation, which soon destroyed such numbers of them that
the living were scarcely sufficient to bury the dead; yet those who
survived could not be drawn from the spiritual death which their sins
had incurred either by the death of their friends or the fear of
their own.” This declaration of wickedness is written, one observes,
ecclesiastically—that is, in general terms.


Claud MS., II. iv.]

The opinion of an ecclesiastic who, like Gildas, connects morals and
bravery, and finds in a king’s alleged incontinence the cause of
internal disasters, may be taken for what it is worth. One undeniable
fact remains, that for two hundred years this effeminate people
fought without cessation or intermission for their lives and their
liberties. Two hundred years, if you think of it, is a long time for an
effeminate folk to fight. Deprived of their Roman garrison, they armed
themselves; deprived of a government which had kept order for four
hundred years, they elected their own governors; unfortunately their
cities were separate, each with its own mayor (_comes civitatis_).
They fought against the wild Highlander from the north; against the
wild mountain man from the west; against the wild Irish from over the
western sea; against the wild Saxon and Dane from the east. They were
attacked on all sides; they were driven back slowly: they did nothing
but fight during the whole of that most wretched period while the
Roman Empire fell to pieces. When all was over, some of the survivors
were found in the Welsh mountains; some in the Cumbrian Hills; some
in the Fens; some beyond the great moor of Devon; some in the thick
forests of Nottingham, of Middlesex, of Surrey, and of Sussex. Most
sad and sorrowful spectacle of all that sad and sorrowful time is one
picture—it stands out clear and distinct. I see a summer day upon the
southern shore and in the west of England; I think that the place is
Falmouth. There are assembling on the sea-shore a multitude of men,
women, and children. Some of them are slaves; they are tied together.
It is a host of many thousands. Close to the shore are anchored or
tied up a vast number of ships rudely and hastily constructed, the
frame and seats of wood, the sides made out of skins of creatures sewn
together and daubed with grease to keep out the water. The ships are
laden with provisions; some of them are so small as to be little better
than coracles. And while the people wait, lo! there rises the sound of
far-off voices which chant the Lamentation of the Psalmist. These are
monks who are flying from the monastery, taking with them only their
relics and their treasures. See! they march along bearing the Cross and
their sacred vessels, singing as they go. So they get on board; and
then the people after them climb into their vessels. They set their
sails; they float down the estuary and out into the haze beyond and are
lost. In this way did England give to France her province of Bretagne.


[15] _The Celt, the Roman, and the Saxon_, by Thomas Wright, F.S.A.,
1852 edit. p. 112.

[16] Thomas Wright, _The Celt, the Roman, and the Saxon_, p. 425 _et

[17] In the fourth century there were British regiments in Gaul, Spain,
Illyria, Egypt, and Armenia.

                              CHAPTER III

                        THE ASPECT OF THE CITY

Such, then, was the condition and the government of Roman
London- Augusta. It is a City of great trade when first we find it
mentioned. The trade had been diverted by a new road, now called Oxford
Street, from the old line which previously passed across the more
ancient settlement in the Isle of Thorney. London had been at first a
British fort on a hillock overhanging the river; then a long quay by
the river-side; then a collection of villa residences built in gardens
behind the quay. The whole was protected by a Roman fort. By the fourth
century, practically the trade of the entire country passed through
the port of London. The wealth of the merchants would have become very
great but for the fluctuations of trade, caused first by the invasions
of Picts, Scots, Welsh, Irish, and “Saxons,” which interfered with
the exports and imports; and next by the civil wars, usurpations, and
tumults, which marked the later years of the Roman occupation. London
under the Romans never became so rich as Ephesus, for instance, or

[Illustration: DOW GATE]

Let us next inquire what manner of city was this of London under the
Romans. At the time of the Roman Conquest it was an unwalled village,
protected partly by its situation, which was such as to leave it
exposed to attack from one quarter only, before the construction of
roads across the marsh; partly by its stockade fort between the Fleet
and the Walbrook, and partly by the valour of its inhabitants—there
are rumours of battles between the men of London and the men of
Verulam. When Paulinus went out to meet Boadicea he left behind him
a city without protection, either of walls or soldiers. Evidently
there was then no Roman fort or citadel. That was built later. It was
placed on that high ground already described, east of Walbrook; it had
the advantage of a stream and a low cliff in the west, and a broad
river and a low cliff on the south. This citadel was of extraordinary
strength and solidity. Its foundations have been laid bare (1) at its
south-west angle, under Cannon Street Railway Terminus; (2) at its east
side, at Mincing Lane, twenty years ago; and (3) part of the north side
was uncovered in 1892, on the south side of Cornhill. The wall of this
fortress was, no doubt, much like the walls of Porchester and Pevensey
which are still standing: it was quadrangular, and set with circular
bastions. Its length was about 750 yards, its breadth about 500, so
that the area enclosed must have been 375,000 square yards. There is no
mention in history of this fortress; it was probably taken for granted
by the historians that the _castra stativa_—the standing camp, the
citadel—belonged to London in common with every other important town
under Roman rule.

On the north side the wall of the fortress was protected by a ditch
which ran from the eastern corner to the Walbrook. Traces of this ditch
remained for a long time, and gave rise to the belief that there had
been a stream running into the Walbrook; hence the name Langbourne. The
main street of the fortress ran along the line of Cannon Street. London
Stone, removed from its original position on the south side of the
road, probably marked the site of the western gate.

As the town grew, houses, villas, streets arose all round the fortress
and under its protection. Within the walls many remains have been
found, but none of cemeteries. There were no interments within the
walls, a fact which proves by itself the theory of the Roman fortress,
if any further proof were needed. Outside the fort there is evidence
of cemeteries that have been built over; pavements lie over forgotten
graves. A bath has been found by the river-side: this was probably
a public bath. When one reads of the general making London his
head-quarters, it was in this walled place that his troops lay. In
the enclosure were the offices of state, the mint, the treasury, the
courts of justice, the arsenal, the record office, and the official
residences. Here was the forum, though no remains have been discovered
of this or any other public buildings. Here the civil administration
was carried on; hither were brought the taxes, and here were written
and received the dispatches and the reports.

This citadel was official London. If we wish to know what the City was
like, we can understand by visiting Silchester, which was also a walled
town. However, at Silchester as yet no citadel has been discovered.
There are the foundations of a great hall larger than Westminster Hall.
It had rooms and offices around it; it had a place of commerce where
were the shops, the verandahs or cloisters in which the lawyers, the
orators, the rhetoricians, and the poets walked and talked. Near at
hand the guards of the Vicarius had their barracks.

Beneath and around the citadel of London the houses clustered in
square _insulæ_; beyond, on the north side, stood the villas in their
pretty gardens. The site of the great hall of the London citadel was
perhaps discovered in 1666 after the Great Fire, when the workmen laid
bare, east of what is now Cannon Street Railway Station, a splendid
tessellated pavement.

Within the citadel was the forum, surrounded by lofty columns. One
temple at least—probably more than one—lifted its columns into the air.
One was to Fortune; another to Jupiter. In other parts of the town were
temples to Cybele, to Apollo, to Baal or the sun god, to Mercury, to
the Deæ Matres; to Bacchus, who stood for Osiris as well; and to Venus.


From Lysons’ _Account of the Roman Villa discovered at Woodchester_.]

The character of the Roman remains dug up from time to time within
these walls shows that it was formerly a place of great resort. Under
the protection of this citadel, and later under the protection of the
Pax Romana, villas were built up outside the walls for the residence of
the better sort. All round the walls also sepulchral remains have been
discovered; they were afterwards included in the larger wall of the
city which was built towards the close of the fourth century.

London was then, and for many years afterwards, divided into London
east and west of the Walbrook. On the western side was the quarter of
the poorer sort; they had cottages on the foreshore—as yet there was
no wall. The better class lived outside the fort, along the eastern
side of Walbrook, and in Cornhill, Threadneedle Street, and Bishopsgate
Street. Down below were the three Roman ports, afterwards called
Billingsgate, Dowgate, and Queenhithe. Walking down Thames Street one
finds here and there an old dock which looks as if it had been there
from time immemorial.

I have sometimes been tempted, when in Thames Street—that
treasure-house of memories, survivals, and suggestions—to think that
these narrow lanes sloping to the river are of Roman origin, left when
all the rest was wrecked and lost, and that they are still of the same
breadth as they were in the fourth century. This, however, is not the
case. I shall show presently the origin and meaning of these narrow
streets running up the hill from the river into Thames Street: they
are all, in fact, connections of the quays on the foreshore with the
merchants’ warehouses in Thames Street. Along the better streets,
on the north of Thames Street, the traders put up their stalls and
kept their shops; the stalls were at first mere temporary sheds
resting against the walls of villas. These villas belonged, not to
the millionaire Lucullus, for whose palace the whole world could be
ransacked, but to the well-to-do merchant, whose taste was not much
cultivated. He called in the best artist of the city. “Build me a
villa,” he said, “as good as my neighbour’s. Let there be a fine mosaic
pavement; let there be fountains; let there be paintings on the walls,
lovely paintings—nymphs and fauns, nymphs bathing, plenty of nymphs,
dancing girls, plenty of dancing girls; paint me Hercules drunk, Loves
flying and playing tricks, warriors with shields, sea pieces, ships;
paint me my own ships sailing. And take care of the hypocaust and the
warming pipes, and see that the kitchen is suitably furnished.”

The earliest, the natural port of London was the mouth of the Walbrook,
called afterwards Dowgate.

In the western wall of the Roman citadel was the gate which served at
once for the road or street across the City to Newgate, and for that
part of the trade which belonged to the citadel. The Walbrook at this
time was a considerable stream. It was partly a tidal stream, but it
was fed from above by many tributaries on the moorland. Here the ships
first began to load and to unload. For their convenience quays were
constructed on piles driven into the mud and shingle of the foreshore.
As the trade increased, the piles were pushed out farther and the quays
were broadened.

When trade increased and the difficulties of getting through the
bridge were felt, another port was necessary. It was perfectly easy to
construct one by cutting it out of the soft foreshore and then banking
it up with strong piles of timber. Piles and beams were also driven in
on either side for the support of quays, which could thus be extended
indefinitely. The place chosen was what is now called Billingsgate.
It was close to the bridge and the bridge gate; so that while goods
could be landed here for the trade of the City—whence they could be
easily distributed throughout the north and midland of the
island,—communication was established with the south by means of the
bridge (see Appendices I. and II.).

Later on, but one knows not when, the port of Queen Hythe, formerly
Edred’s Hythe, was similarly constructed. I am inclined to believe also
that Puddle Dock represents another ancient port; but whether Roman or
Saxon, it is now impossible to decide.

The poorer part of the City was that part lying between Puddle Dock
and Dowgate: we do not find tessellated pavements here, nor remains
of great buildings. The houses which stood upon the pavements were
modest compared with the villas of the Roman millionaire; but they were
splendid compared with other houses of the City.

For the convenience of the better sort there was the bath, in which
everybody spent a part of the day; for the merchants there were the
quays; there was the theatre; and there was the amphitheatre. It is
true that no trace has ever been found of theatre or of amphitheatre;
but it is also true that until recently no trace was found of the Roman
citadel, and, as I have said, no trace has ever been found of forum or
of temples. We will return to this subject later.

To one standing at the south end of the narrow wooden bridge across the
Thames, Augusta, even before the building of the wall, appears a busy
and important place. Exactly opposite the bridge, on a low eminence,
was a wall, strong though low, and provided with rounded bastions.
Above the wall were seen the columns of the forum and of two temples,
the roofs of the great hall of justice and of the official offices and

Along the quays were moored the ships. On the quay stood sheds for
warehouses in a line. Behind these warehouses were barracoons for
the reception of the slaves waiting to be transported to some other
part of the Empire, there to await what Fortune had in store for
them—perhaps death in a gladiatorial fight, perhaps service on a farm,
perhaps the greatest gifts of Fortune, viz. a place in a Roman cohort,
opportunities for showing valour and ability, an officer’s commission,
the command of a company, then of a legion, then of a victorious
army; finally, perhaps the Purple itself and absolute rule over all
the civilised world. The streets behind the warehouses were narrow
and steep, the houses in them were mean. Everywhere within the area
afterwards enclosed by the wall were villas, some small, some large and
stately. It was a noisy city, always a noisy city—nothing can be done
with ships without making a noise. The sailors and the stevedores and
the porters sang in chorus as they worked; the carts rolled slowly and
noisily along the few streets broad enough to let them pass; mules in
single file carried bales in and out of the city; slaves marched in
bound and fettered; in the smaller houses or in workshops every kind of
trade was carried on noisily. Smoke, but not coal smoke, hung over all
like a canopy.

In such a restoration of a Roman provincial town one seems to restore
so much, yet to leave so much more. Religion, education, literature,
the standard of necessities and of luxury, the daily food, the ideas
of the better classes, the extent, methods, and nature of their trade,
the language, the foreign element—none of these things can be really

Under the protection of the citadel the merchants conducted their
business; under its protection the ships lay moored in the river; the
bales lay on the quays; and the houses of the people, planted at first
along the banks of the Walbrook, stretched out northwards towards the
moor, and westwards as far as the river Fleet.

It is strange that nothing should be said anywhere about so strong
and important a place as the citadel. When was it built, and by whom?
When was it destroyed, and by whom? Were the walls standing when the
Saxons began their occupation? It appears not, because, had there been
anything left, any remains or buildings standing, any tradition of a
fortress even, it would have been carried on. The citadel disappeared
and was forgotten until its foundations were found in our time. How
did this happen? Its disappearance can be explained, according to my
theory, by the history of the wall (see p. 112): all the stones above
ground, whether of citadel, temple, church, or cemetery, were seized
upon to build the wall.

Across the river stood the suburb we now call Southwark, a double line
of villas beside a causeway. It has been suggested that Southwark was
older than London, and that it was once walled in. The only reasons
for this theory are: that Ptolemy places London in Kent—in which he
was clearly wrong; that the name of Walworth might indicate a city
wall; that remains of villas have been found in Southwark; and that a
Roman cemetery has been found in the Old Kent Road. But the remains
of houses have only been found beside the high road leading from the
bridge. They were built on piles driven into the marsh. Up till quite
recent times the whole south of London remained a marsh with buildings
here and there; they were erected on a bank or river wall, on the Isle
of Bermond, on the Isle of Peter, beside the high road. And there
has never been found any trace of a wall round Southwark, which was
in Roman times, and has always been, the inferior suburb—outside the
place of business and the centre of society. Every town on a river
has an inferior suburb on the other side—London, Paris, Liverpool,
Tours, Florence: all busy towns have inferior transpontine suburbs.
Southwark was always a marsh. When the river-bank was constructed the
marsh became a spongy field covered with ponds and ditches; when the
causeway and bridge were built, people came over and put up villas for
residence. In the Middle Ages there were many great houses here, and
the place was by some esteemed for its quiet compared with the noise of
London, but Southwark was never London.

Besides the bridge, there was a ferry—perhaps two ferries. The name of
St. Mary Overies preserves the tradition. There are two very ancient
docks, one beside the site of the House of St. Mary Overies, and one
opposite, near Walbrook. In these two docks I am pleased to imagine
that we see the ancient docks of London ferry to which belongs the
legend of the foundation of the House.

Let us return to the question of amphitheatre and theatre. There must
have been both. It is quite certain that wherever a Roman town grew up
an amphitheatre grew up with it. The amphitheatre was as necessary to a
Roman town as the daily paper is to an American town.

It has been suggested that there was no amphitheatre, because the
city was Christian. There may have been Christians in the city from
the second century; everything points to the fact that there were.
It is impossible, however, to find the slightest trace of Christian
influence on the history of the city down to the fourth century. W.
J. Loftie thinks that the dedication of the churches in the lower and
poorer parts of the town—viz. to SS. Peter, Michael, James, and All
Saints—shows that there were Christian churches on those sites at a
very early period. This may be true, but it is pure conjecture. It is
absurd to suppose that a city, certainly of much greater importance
than Nîmes or Arles—where were both theatre and amphitheatre,—and of
far greater importance than Richborough—where there was one,—should
have no trace of either. Since Bordeaux, Marseilles, Alexandria, and
other cities of the Roman Empire were not Christian in the second and
third centuries, why should London be? Or if there were Christians
here in quite early times, theirs was not the dominant religion,
as is clearly shown by the Roman remains. There must have been an
amphitheatre—where was it? To begin with, it was outside the City.
Gladiators and slaves reserved for mock battles which were to them as
real as death could make them, wild beasts, the company of ribalds who
gathered about and around the amphitheatre, would not be permitted
within the City. Where, then, was the amphitheatre of London?

At first one turns to the north, with its gardens and villas and sparse
population. The existence of the villas will not allow us to place the
amphitheatre anywhere in the north near the Walbrook.

When the modern traveller in London stands in the churchyard of St.
Giles’s, Cripplegate, he looks upon a bastion of the Roman wall where
the wall itself took a sudden bend to the south. It ran south till
it came to a point in a line with the south side of St. Botolph’s
Churchyard (the “Postmen’s Park”), where it again turned west as far as

It thus formed nearly a right angle—Why? There is nothing in the lie
of the ground to account for this deviation. No such angle is found in
the eastern part of the wall. There must have been some good reason
for this regular feature in the wall. Was the ground marshy? Not more
so than the moorland through which the rest of the wall was driven.
Can any reason be assigned or conjectured? I venture to suggest, as a
thing which seems to account for the change in the direction of the
wall, that this angle contained the amphitheatre, the theatre, and all
the buildings and places, such as the barracks, the prisons, the dens
and cages, and the storehouse, required for the gladiatorial shows. I
think that those who built the wall, as I shall presently show, were
Christians; that they were also, as we know from Gildas, superstitious;
that they regarded the amphitheatre, and all that belonged to it,
as accursed; and that they would not allow the ill-omened place of
blood and slaughter and execution to be admitted within the walls. It
may be that a tradition of infamy clung to the place after the Roman
occupation: this tradition justifies and explains the allocation to
the Jews of the site as their cemetery. The disappearance of the
amphitheatre can be fully explained by the seizure of the stones in
order to build the wall.

Mr. C. Roach Smith, however, has proposed another site for the theatre,
for which he tenders reasons which appear to me not, certainly, to
prove his theory, but to make it very possible and even probable. Many
Roman theatres in France and elsewhere are built into a hill, as the
rising ground afforded a foundation for the seats. That of Treves,
for instance, will occur to every one who has visited that place. Mr.
Roach Smith observed a precipitous descent from Green Arbour Court
into Seacoal Lane—a descent difficult to account for, save by the
theory that it was constructed artificially. This indeed must have
been the case, because there was nothing in the shape of a cliff along
the banks of the Fleet River. Then why was the bank cut away? Observe
that the site of the Fleet Prison was not on a slope at all, but on
a large level space. We have therefore to account for a large level
space backed by an artificial cliff. Is it not extremely probable that
this points out the site of the Roman theatre, the seats of which were
placed upon the artificial slope which still remains in Green Arbour

Mr. Roach Smith read a paper (Jan. 1886) placing this discovery—it is
nothing less—on record before the London and Middlesex Archæological
Association. The remarkable thing is that no one seems to have taken
the least notice of it.

Assuming that he has proved his case, I do not believe that he is right
as to the houses being built upon the foundations of the theatre,
for the simple reason that, as I read the history of the wall in the
stones, every available stone in London and around it was wanted for
the building of the wall. It was built in haste: it was built with
stones from the cemeteries, from the temples, from the churches, from
the old fortress, and from the theatre and the amphitheatre outside
the wall. As regards the latter, my own view remains unaltered; I
still think that the angle in the wall was caused by the desire to
keep outside the amphitheatre with all its memories of rascality and

Treves (Colonia Augusta Treverorum) and Roman London have many points
in common, as may be apprehended most readily from the accompanying
comparison in which Roman Treves and Roman London are placed side by
side. We may compare the first citadel of London on the right bank of
the Walbrook with Treves; or we may compare the later London of the
latter part of the fourth century, the wall of which was built about
A.D. 360-390, with Treves.

1. The citadel of London had its western side protected by a valley and
a stream whose mouth formed a natural port. The valley was about 140
feet across; the stream was tidal up to the rising ground, with banks
of mud as far, at least, as the north wall of the citadel. On the south
was a broad river spanned by a bridge. There were three gates: that
of the north, that of the west, and that of the bridge on the south.
Within the citadel were the official buildings, barracks, residences,
and offices. Two main streets crossed at right angles. About half a
mile to the north-west (according to my theory) was the amphitheatre.
On the north and east was an open moor. On the south a marsh, with
rising ground beyond. By the river-side, near the bridge, were the

2. Colonia Augusta Treverorum.—These details are almost exactly
reproduced in Treves. We have a broad river in front. On one side a
stream which perhaps branched off into two. The gate which remains
(the Porta Nigra) shows the direction of the wall on the north from
the river. A long boulevard, called at present the Ost Allee, marks
the line of the eastern wall, which, like that of London, occupied
the site of the Roman wall. A bend at right angles at the end of
this boulevard includes the Palace and other buildings. It therefore
represents the site of the ancient wall or that of a mediæval wall. It
is quite possible that the mediæval wall of the city included a smaller
area than the Roman wall, and that the two round towers, here standing
in position with part of the wall, represent the mediæval wall. It is
also possible, and even probable, that they stand on the site of the
Roman wall, which just below the second, or at the second, bent round
again to the south as far as the stream called the Altbach, and so to
the west as far as the river. That this, and not the continuation of
the line of towers, was the course of the Roman wall, is shown by the
fact that the baths, the remains of which stand beside the bridge,
must have been within, and not outside, the wall. The river wall, just
like that of London, ran along the bank to the bridge, and was stopped
by the outfall of a small stream. The ground behind the river wall
gradually rose. On the other side was a low-lying marsh, beyond which
were lofty hills—not gradually rising hills as on the Surrey side of
the Thames. The city was crossed by two main arteries, which may still
be traced. An extensive system of baths was placed near the bridge on
the east side. Within the wall were the Palace of the Governor or of
the Emperor, and a great building now called the Basilica; and between
them, the remains now entirely cleared away for the exercise ground,
once the garden of the barracks. There were three gates, perhaps four.
One of them, a most noble monument, still survives. A Roman cemetery
has been found beyond the Altbach in the south, and another in the
north, outside the Porta Nigra.

3. The comparison of Roman Treves with the later Roman London is
most curious, and brings out very unexpectedly the fact that in many
respects the latter was an enlargement of the citadel. We know that
the wall was constructed hastily, and that all the stonework in the
City was used in making it. Like the citadel, however, and like Treves,
it had a stream on one side, baths and a bridge and a port within the
walls; while the official buildings, as at Treves, were all collected
together in one spot. We also find the curious angle, which at Treves
may be accounted for by an enlargement of the wall, and at London by
the custom of keeping the amphitheatre outside the City as a place
foul with associations of battle, murder, massacre, and the ribald
company of gladiators, retiarii, prisoners waiting the time of combat
and of death, wild beasts and their keepers, and the rabble rout which
belonged to this savage and reckless company.

       *       *       *       *       *

That part of London lying to the west of Walbrook was crowded with the
houses of the lower classes, and with the warehouses and stores of the
merchants. These extended, as they do to this day, all the way from
the Tower to Blackfriars. On the rising ground above were the villas
of the better class, some of them luxurious, ample, decorated with the
highest art, and provided with large gardens. These villas extended
northwards along the banks of the little Walbrook. They are also found
on the south side in Southwark, and on the west side on Holborn Hill.
The principal street of Augusta was that afterwards called Watling
Street, which, diverted from the old Watling Street where Marble Arch
now stands, carried all the trade of the country through London by way
of Newgate, over the present site of St. Paul’s, and so through the
citadel, to the market-place and to the port. Another street led out
by way of Bishopsgate to the north; and a third, the Vicinal Way, to
the eastern counties. The bridge led to a road running south to Dover.
There was also a long street, with probably many side streets out of
it, as there are at this day, along the Thames.

The things which remain of Roman London and may be seen in our museums
are meagre, but they yield a good deal of information as to the
condition and the civilisation of the City. The foundation of large
villas, the rich mosaics and pavements, the remains of statues, the
capitals of pillars, the coins, and the foundations of massive walls,
clearly indicate the existence of much wealth and considerable comfort.
The smaller things in the glass cases, the keys, the hairpins, the
glass bottles, the statuettes, the bells, the tools, the steelyards,
the mirrors, all point to a civilisation closely imitating that of the
capital itself.


Roach Smith’s _Catalogue of London Antiquities_.]

It is not to a native of London that we must turn for the life of the
better class in a provincial city of the fourth century, but to a
native of Gaul. Ausonius is a writer whose works reveal the daily life
of a great city in Gaul. He was born of good family on both sides. His
father was a physician; his grandfather a so-called “Mathematician,”
in reality one who still practised the forbidden mystery of astrology.
Ausonius himself was educated at Toulouse, and he opened a school
of rhetoric at Bordeaux. The rhetoricians not only taught, but also
practised, the art of oratory. Whether all rhetoricians were also poets
is uncertain: the mere making of verse is no more difficult to acquire
than the composition of oratory. There were two classes of teachers:
the grammarian, of whom there were subdivisions—the Latin grammarian,
skilled in Latin antiquities, and the Greek grammarian, who had studied
Greek antiquities; and, above the grammarian, the rhetorician. In every
important town over the whole Empire were found the rhetorician and the
grammarian; they exchanged letters, verses, compliments, and presents.
In a time of universal decay, when no one had anything new to say, when
there was nothing to stimulate or inspire nobler things, the language
of compliment, the language of exaggeration, and the language of
conceit filled all compositions. At such a time the orator is held in
greater respect even than the soldier. In the latter the townsman saw
the preserver of order, the guardian of the frontier, the slayer of the
barbarians who were always pressing into the Empire. He himself carried
no arms: he represented learning, law, literature, and medicine.
Ausonius himself, in being elevated to the rank of consul, betrays this
feeling. He compares himself with the consuls of old: he is superior,
it is evident, to them all, save in one respect, the warlike qualities.
These virtues existed no longer: the citizen was a man of peace; the
soldier was a policeman. If this was true of Bordeaux, then far from
the seat of any war, it was much more true in London, which every day
saw the arrival and the dispatch of slaves captured in some new border
fray, while the people themselves never heard the clash of weapons or
faced the invader with a sword.

Another profession held greatly in honour was that of the lawyer. The
young lawyer had a five years’ course of study. There were schools of
law in various parts of the Empire which attracted students from all
quarters, just as in later times the universities attracted young men
from every country. From these lawyers were chosen the magistrates.

Medicine was also held greatly in honour; it was carefully taught,
especially in southern Gaul.


From Lysons’ _Account of the Roman Villa at Woodchester_.]

The learned class was a separate caste: with merchants and soldiers,
the lawyers, orators, grammarians, and physicians had nothing to do.
They kept up among themselves a great deal of the old pagan forms. If
they could no longer worship Venus, they could write verses in the old
pagan style about her. Probably a great many continued, if only from
habit, the pagan customs and the pagan manner of thought. The Church
had not yet given to the world a crowd of saints to take the place of
the gods, goddesses, nymphs, satyrs, and sprites which watched over
everything, from the Roman Empire itself down to a plain citizen’s

The theatre was entirely given over to mimes and pantomimes: comedy
and tragedy were dead. The pieces performed in dumb show were
scenes from classical mythology. They were presented with a great
deal of dancing. Everybody danced. Daphne danced while she fled; and
Niobe, dancing, dissolved into tears. The circus had its races; the
amphitheatre its mimic contests and its gladiatorial displays.

These things were done at Bordeaux; it is therefore pretty certain
that they were also done in London, whose civilisation was equally
Gallo-Roman. London was a place of importance equal with Bordeaux; a
place with a greater trade; the seat of a Vicarius Spectabilis, a Right
Honourable Lieutenant-Governor; one of the thirteen capitals of the
thirteen Dioceses of the Roman Empire.


From Lysons’ _Account of the Roman Villa at Woodchester_.]

Any account of Roman London must include a description and plan of a
Roman villa. The one I have chosen is the palatial villa which was
recovered by Samuel Lysons exactly a hundred years ago at Woodchester.
The plan is given in his book, _An Account of Roman Antiquities
discovered at Woodchester_; it shows the arrangement of the rooms and
the courts.

“The visitor approaching this villa when it was standing observed
before him a long low wall with an entrance arch. The wall was
probably intended as some kind of fortification; the people in the
house numbered enough to defend it against any wandering company of
marauders. Within the entrance, where he was received by a porter or
guard, the visitor found himself in a large square court, the sides of
which were 150 feet. On either side, to east and west, were buildings
entered from the great court: in one there were twelve rooms; in the
other a curious arrangement of rooms communicating with each other
which were thought to be the baths. The rooms on the west side were
perhaps the chambers and workshops of the slaves and servants.

On the north side a smaller gateway gave access to a court not so large
as the first, but still a good-sized court, 90 feet square; it was
surrounded on three sides by a gallery, which was closed in winter, as
the hypocaust under it indicates. From this court access was obtained
to a lovely hall, decorated with a mosaic pavement of great artistic
value, with sculptures, paintings, vases, and glass. On either side
of this hall were chambers, also decorated in the same way. Under the
floors of the chambers was the hypocaust, where were kindled the fires
whose hot air passed through pipes warming all the chambers. Fragments
of statues, of which one was of Magnentius the usurper, also glass,
pottery, marble, horns, coins. The building covered an area of 550 feet
by 300 feet, and it is by no means certain that the whole of it has
been uncovered.

It is interesting to note that on one of the mosaics found at this
place is the injunction ‘... B][N][C ...’[18]—that is, _Bonum Eventum
Bene Colite_—Do not forget to worship Good Luck. To this god, who
should surely be worshipped by all the world, there was a temple in

The Roman Briton, if he lived in such state as this, was fortunate
above his fellows. But in the smaller villas the same plan of an open
court, square, and built upon one, two, or more sides, prevailed.
The walls were made of stone up to a certain height, when wood took
the place of stone; the uprights were placed near together, and the
interstices made air-tight and water-tight with clay and straw; the
roof was of shingles or stone tiles. Wall paintings have been found
everywhere, as we have already seen; the pavements were in many cases
most elaborate mosaics.”

The construction of a villa for a wealthy Roman Briton is easy to be
understood. As to the question of the smaller houses, it is not so
easy to answer. A small house, detached, has been found at Lympne. It
was about 50 feet long and 30 feet broad. The plan shows that it was
divided into four chambers, one of which had a circular apse. The rooms
were all about the same size, namely, above 22 feet by 14 feet. A row
of still smaller houses has been found at Aldborough. Almost all the
streets in London stand upon masses of buried Roman houses. If we wish
to reconstruct the city, we must consider not only the villas in the
more open spaces as the official residences in the citadel, but also
the streets and alleys of the poorer sort. Now at Pompeii the streets
are narrow; they are arranged irregularly; there are only one or two
in which any kind of carriage could pass. The same thing has been
observed at Cilirnum (Chesters), in Northumberland, and at Maryport
in Cumberland. Very likely the narrow streets leading north of Thames
Street are on the same sites as the ancient Roman streets of London in
its poorer and more crowded parts. It stands to reason that the houses
of the working people and the slaves could not be built of stone.

The nature of the trade of London is arrived at by considering—(1) What
people wanted; (2) what they made, produced, and grew for their own
use; and (3) what they exported.


To take the third point first. Britain was a country already rich.
The south part of the island, which is all that has to be considered,
produced iron, tin, lead, and copper; coal was dug up and used for fuel
when it was near the surface; skins were exported; and the continual
fighting on the march produced a never-failing supply of slaves for the
gladiatorial contests. Wheat and grain of all kinds were also largely
grown and exported.

As for manufactures, pottery was made in great quantities, but not of
the finer kinds. Glass was made. The art of weaving was understood.
The arts of painting, mosaic work, and building had arrived at some
excellence. There were workmen in gold and other metals.

As for what people wanted. Those who were poor among them wanted
nothing but what the country gave them; for instance, the river was
teeming with fish of all kinds, and the vast marshes stretching out to
the mouth of the Thames were the homes of innumerable birds. No one
need starve who could fish in the river or trap birds in the marsh.
In this respect they were like the common sort, who lived entirely
on the produce of their own lands and their own handiwork till tea,
tobacco, and sugar became articles of daily use. The better class,
however, demanded more than this. They wanted wine, to begin with; this
was their chief want. They wanted, besides, silks for hangings and for
dress, fine stuffs, statues, lamps, mirrors, furniture, costly arms,
books, parchment, musical instruments, spices, oil, perfumes, gems,
fine pottery.

The merchants of London received all these things, sent back the ships
laden with the produce of the country, and dispatched these imported
goods along the high roads to the cities of the interior and to the
lords of the villas.

London was the centre of at least five great high roads. In this
respect it was alone among the towns of Roman Britannia. These highways
are laid down in Guest’s _Origines Celticæ_. They connect the City
with every part of the island: on the north-east with Colchester; on
the north with Lincoln and York; on the north-west with Uriconium
(Wroxeter), for Shrewsbury and Wales and Ireland; on the west with
Silchester, for Winchester and Salisbury; on the south-east with
Richborough, Dover, and Lympne or Lymne; and on the south with Regnum
(Chichester)—if we may fill in the part between London and Dorking
which Guest has not indicated.

This fact is by itself a conclusive proof that London was the great
commercial centre of the island, even if no other proofs existed. And
since the whole of the trade was in the hands of the London merchants,
we can understand that in times when there was a reasonable amount
of security on the road and on the Channel, when the Count of the
Saxon Shore patrolled the high seas with his fleet, and the Duke of
Britain kept back the Scot and the Pict, the city of Augusta became
very wealthy indeed. There were, we have seen, times when there was
no safety, times when the pirate did what he pleased and the marauder
from the north roamed unmolested about the country. Then the London
merchants suffered and trade declined. Thus, when Queen Boadicea’s
men massacred the people of London, when the soldiers revolted in the
reign of Commodus, when the pirates began their incursions before the
establishment of the British fleet, when Carausius used the fleet for
his own purposes, and in the troubles which preceded and followed the
departure of the legion, there were anxious times for those engaged in
trade. But, on the whole, the prosperity of London was continuous for
three hundred and fifty years.


[18] ][ is no doubt intended for the Greek _eta_ and means here E, so
that the recovered part represents only BENEC.

                              CHAPTER IV

                        REMAINS OF ROMAN LONDON

If one stands in the Museum of the Guildhall and looks round upon the
scanty remains of Roman London there exhibited, one feels a cold doubt
as to the alleged wealth and greatness of the ancient city. Is this all
that has to be shown after an occupation of nearly four hundred years?
There is not much more: one may find a room at the British Museum
devoted to this subject; and there are a few small private collections
containing nothing of importance. Yet when we consider the length of
time since Roman London fell; the long history of reconstruction,
fire, and successive occupations; the fact that twice—once for more
than a hundred years—London was entirely deserted, we must acknowledge
that more remains of Roman London than might have been expected.
What exists, for instance, of that other great Roman city now called
Bordeaux? What, even, of Lutetia Parisiorum? What of Massilia, the most
ancient of Gallic cities?

There are, however, many remains of Roman London which are not
preserved in any collection. Some are above ground; some have been dug
up and carried away; some have been disclosed, examined, sketched, and
again covered up.


Antiquaries have been pleased to find traces of Roman relics of which
no memory or tradition remains. Thus, we are assured that there was
formerly a Campus Martius in London; its site is said to have been that
of the Old Artillery Ground. A temple of Diana is said to have stood
on the south side of St. Paul’s. There was a mysterious and extensive
crypt called the _Camera Dianæ_, supposed to have been connected
with the worship of that goddess; it was standing in the seventeenth
century. Probably it was the crypt of some mediæval house. Stukeley
persuaded himself that he found in Long Acre the “magnificent circus,
or racecourse, founded by Eli, father of Casvelhun”; he also believed
that he had found in Hedge Lane the survival of the _agger_ or tumulus
of King Eli’s grave. The same antiquary preferred to trace Julius
Cæsar’s Camp in the Brill opposite old St. Pancras Church.

It is sometimes stated that excavations in London have been few and
scattered over the whole area of the City; that there has been no
systematic and scientific work carried on such as, for instance, was
conducted, thirty years ago, at Jerusalem by Sir Charles Warren. But
when we consider that there is no single house in the City which has
not had half a dozen predecessors on the same site, whose foundations,
therefore, have not been dug up over and over again, no one can form
any estimate of the remains, Roman, British, and Saxon, which have been
dug up, broken up, and carted away. During certain works at St. Mary
Woolnoth, for instance, the men came upon vast remains of “rubbish,”
consisting of broken pottery and other things, the whole of which were
carried off to St. George’s Fields to mend or make the roads there. The
only protection of the Roman remains, so long as there was no watch
kept over the workmen, lay in the fact that the Roman level was in many
places too deep for the ordinary foundations. Thus in Cheapside it was
18 feet below the present surface; in other places it was even more.

The collection of Roman antiquities seems to have been first undertaken
by John Conyers, an apothecary, at the time of the Great Fire. The
rebuilding of the City caused much digging for foundations, in the
course of which a great many Roman things were brought to light. Most
of these were unheeded. Conyers, however, collected many specimens,
which were afterwards bought by Dr. John Woodward. After his death
part of the collection was bought by the University of Cambridge; the
rest was sold by auction “at Mr. Cooper’s in the Great Piazza, Covent
Garden.” Three other early collectors were John Harwood, D.C.L.;
John Bagford, a bookseller, who seems to have had some knowledge of
coins; and Mr. Kemp, whose collection contained a few London things,
especially the two terra-cotta lamps found on the site of St. Paul’s,
which were supposed to prove the existence of a temple of Diana at that

Burial-places and tombs have been unearthed in various parts of the
City, but all outside the walls of the Roman fortress. Thus, they
have been found on the site of St. Paul’s, in Bow Lane, Queen Street,
Cornhill, St. Dunstan’s Hill, near Carpenter’s Hall, in Camomile
Street near the west end of St. Helen’s Church, in King’s Street and
Ken Street, Southwark—outside Bishopsgate in “Lollesworth,” afterwards
called Spitalfields. The last named was the most extensive of the
ancient cemeteries.

Stow thus describes it:—

“On the East Side of this Churchyard lyeth a large Field, of old time
called Lolesworth, now Spittlefield, which about the Year 1576 was
broken up for Clay to make Brick: In the digging whereof many earthen
Pots called Urnæ were found full of Ashes, and burnt Bones of Men, to
wit of the Romans that inhabited here. For it was the custom of the
Romans, to burn their Dead, to put their Ashes in an Urn, and then to
bury the same with certain Ceremonies, in some Field appointed for that
purpose near unto their City.


Every of these pots had in them (with the Ashes of the Dead) one Piece
of Copper Money, with the Inscription of the Emperour then reigning:
Some of them were of Claudius, some of Vespasian, some of Nero, of
Antoninus Pius, of Trajanus, and others. Besides those Urns, many
other pots were found in the same place, made of a white Earth, with
long Necks and Handles, like to our Stone Jugs: these were empty, but
seemed to be buried full of some liquid Matter, long since consumed and
soaked through. For there were found divers Phials, and other fashioned
Glasses, some most cunningly wrought, such as I have not seen the like,
and some of Crystal, all which had Water in them, nothing differing in
clearness, taste, or savour from common Spring Water, whatsoever it was
at the first. Some of these Glasses had Oil in them very thick, and
earthy in savour. Some were supposed to have Balm in them, but had lost
the Virtue: Many of these Pots and Glasses were broken in cutting of
the Clay, so that few were taken up whole.

There were also found divers dishes and cups of a fine red coloured
Earth, which shewed outwardly such a shining smoothness, as if they
had been of Coral. Those had (in the bottoms) Roman Letters printed,
there were also Lamps of white Earth, and red artificially wrought with
divers Antiques about them, some three or four Images, made of white
earth, about a Span long each of them: One I remember was of Pallas,
the rest I have forgotten. I myself have reserved (amongst divers of
those Antiquities there found) one Urna, with the Ashes and Bones,
and one Pot of white Earth very small, not exceeding the quantity of
a quarter of a Wine Pint, made in shape of a Hare, squatted upon her
Legs, and between her Ears is the mouth of the pot.

There hath also been found (in the same Field) divers Coffins of Stone,
containing the Bones of Men: These I suppose to be the Burials of some
special Persons, in time of the Britons, or Saxons, after the Romans
had left to govern here. Moreover, there were also found the Skulls and
Bones of Men, without Coffins, or rather whose Coffins (being of great
Timber) were consumed.” (Strype, vol. i. bk. ii. chap. vi.)

The description of all the Roman remains found in London would take too
long. Let us, however, mention some of the more important (see App.

An undoubted piece of Roman work is the old bath still existing in
Strand Lane. This bath is too small for public use: it belonged to a
private house, built outside London, on the slope of the low hill, then
a grassy field, traversed by half a dozen tiny streams. The bath has
been often pictured.

Many pavements, some of great length and breadth, have been discovered
below the surface: of these some have been taken up; some have been
drawn. More than forty pavements have been found north of the Thames.
These were nearly all on the eastern side of the Walbrook, that side
which has always been marked out as the original Roman settlement, and
many of them were found within the assumed boundaries of the Roman

Roman remains have been found under the Tower of Mary-le-Bow Church,
where there was a Roman causeway; in Crooked Lane, in Clement’s Lane,
in King William Street, in Lombard Street, in Warwick Square, on the
site of Leadenhall Market, all along the High Street, Borough as far
as St. George’s Church, in Threadneedle Street, Leadenhall Street,
Fenchurch Street, Birchin Lane, Lime Street, Lothbury, Gracechurch
Street, Eastcheap, Queen Street, Paternoster Row, Bishopsgate Street
Within, and many other places.

Inscribed stones have also been found in Church Street, Whitechapel, in
the Tenter Ground, Goodman’s Fields, Minories, in the Tower of London,
at London Wall near Finsbury Circus, in Playhouse Yard, Blackfriars, at
Pentonville, on Tower Hill, in Nicholas Lane, Lombard Street, in Hart
Street, Crutched Friars.

A figure of a youth carrying a bow was found at Bevis Marks. A small
altar was dug up in making excavations for Goldsmiths’ Hall.

A large number of objects were found in 1837 by dredging the Thames
near London Bridge. They were engraved by the Society of Antiquaries,
and published by Mr. C. Roach Smith in his _Illustrations of Roman

Among other objects which he has used in illustration of his book are
pottery, lamps, bronzes, glass, coins, and utensils of various kinds.

A very interesting figure was discovered in Queen Street in 1842. It is
described by Mr. W. Chaffers in _Archæologia_, vol. xxx. p. 543:—

“While watching the progress of the excavations recently made in Queen
Street, Cheapside (for the formation of a sewer), I was fortunately
enabled to obtain possession of several rare and curious specimens
of Roman art. A short distance from Watling Street, a fine piece of
Roman wall, running directly across the street, was exposed to view
in a remarkably perfect condition, built of flat red tiles embedded
in solid and compact mortar. Several others, lower down the street,
were also discovered. Within a few yards of the wall, one of the
bricklayers, removing some earth, struck his trowel against something
which he conjectured to be a brass tap; but, on clearing further, he
found it was the right heel of the figure, which lay upon its face. The
height of the figure, if standing erect, would be 15 inches; but in its
stooping posture, the perpendicular height from the base to the crown
of the head is only 11 inches. It is evidently intended to represent
a person in the attitude of shooting an arrow from a bow. The bow and
arrow were probably of richer metal than the figure itself; but no
vestiges of them were discovered. The aperture for the bow is seen in
the closed left hand, which held it, and the bent fingers of the right
appear in the act of drawing the arrow to its full extent previous
to its evolation. The eyes are of silver, with the pupils open; the
hair disposed in graceful curls on the head, as well as on the chin
and upper lip. The left hand, which grasped the bow and sustained the
arrow, is so placed as to bring the latter to a level with the eye;
and the steadfast look and determined expression of the whole face are
much heightened by the silver eyes. It was found at about the depth of
between twelve and thirteen feet.”

In 1825 a small silver figure of Harpocrates was found in the Thames.
It is now in the British Museum.

“Early in December 1877 considerable excavations were made at Pie
Corner,[20] over a space about a 100 feet long and 40 feet broad. At a
depth of 11 feet, and at a spot 150 feet, measuring along the houses,
from the middle of the great gateway of the hospital, the workmen
came upon what they took for two great blocks of stone, which lay half
inside the front line of the new building and half under the footway
of the street. Continuing their excavation they found that the stones
were two great coffins lying side by side, close together. A piece was
broken off the lid of each, and in this state, before their contents
had been disturbed at all, they were seen by Dr. Dyce Duckworth. In the
southern sarcophagus was a leaden case containing a woman’s skeleton.
This was disturbed hastily, the workmen being anxious to secure the
lead. The other sarcophagus contained two skeletons, a man’s and a
woman’s. As these had been somewhat displaced when I saw them half an
hour later, I will quote a note which Dr. Duckworth has kindly written
to me as to their exact position—‘The female faced west (the mediæval
ecclesiastical position), the male faced east (layman’s position).’ The
sarcophagi lay very nearly, but not precisely, east and west.”

A great many Roman remains were found in 1840 on digging for the
foundations of the new Royal Exchange. On the east side of the area
there were fragments showing that older buildings had been taken
away. In the middle there were found thirty-two cesspools, in some
of which were ancient objects. These were cleared out and filled up
with concrete. The soil consisted of vegetable earth, accumulation and
broken remains of various kinds with gravel at the depth of 16 feet 6
inches. At the western end, however, the workmen came upon the remains
of a small building _in situ_ resting on the gravel. The walls of the
Old Exchange stood upon this building. When it ceased, oak piles had
been driven down and sleepers laid upon the heads of these piles; a
rubble wall was discovered below the piles, and under the wall was an
ancient pit, sunk 13 feet through the gravel down to the clay.

“The pit was irregular in shape, but it measured about 50 feet from
north to south, and 34 from east to west, and was filled with hardened
mud, in which were contained considerable quantities of animal and
vegetable remains, apparently the discarded refuse of the inhabitants
of the vicinity. In the same depository were also found very numerous
fragments of the red Roman pottery, usually called Samian ware, pieces
of glass vessels, broken terra-cotta lamps, parts of amphoræ, mortaria,
and other articles made of earth, and all the rubbish which might
naturally become accumulated in a pond in the course of years. In
this mass likewise occurred a number of Imperial Roman coins, several
bronze and iron styles, parts of writing-tables, a bather’s strigil, a
large quantity of caliga-soles, sandals, and remains of leather.” (Sir
William Tite.)

The objects taken out of this pit are catalogued and described by Tite
in his volume called _Antiquities discovered in Excavating for the
Foundations of the New Royal Exchange_.

Roman pottery, found in Ivy Lane and in St. Paul’s Churchyard, was
exhibited at the evening meeting of the L. and Midd. Arch. Soc., Sept.
18, 1860.

Roman keys have been found near St. Swithin’s Church, Cannon Street, at
Charing Cross beside the statue of Charles I., beneath Gerard’s Hall
Crypt, and in the Crypt of St. Paul’s while preparing for the interment
of the Duke of Wellington.


From _Archæologia,_ vol. viii.]

“An important discovery was made in the year 1835 on the Coleman Street
side near the public-house called the Swan’s Nest; here was laid open a
pit or well containing a store of earthen vessels of various patterns
and capacities. This well had been carefully planked over with thick
boards, and at first exhibited no signs of containing anything besides
the native gravelly soil, but at a considerable depth other contents
were revealed. The vases were placed on their sides longitudinally, and
presented the appearance of having been regularly packed or embedded in
the mud or sand, which had settled so closely round them that a great
number were broken or damaged in being extricated. But those preserved
entire, or nearly so, are of the same material as the handles, necks,
and pieces of the light-brown coloured vessels met with in such
profusion throughout the Roman level in London. Some are of a darker
clay approaching to a bluish black, with borders of reticulated work
running round the upper part, and one of a singularly elegant form is
of a pale-bluish colour with a broad black border at the bottom. Some
are without handles, others have either one or two. Their capacity for
liquids may be stated as varying from one quart to two gallons, though
some that were broken were of much larger dimensions. A small Samian
patera, with the ivy-leaf border, and a few figured pieces of the same,
were found near the bottom of this well, and also a small brass coin of
Allectus, with reverse of the galley, _Virtus Aug._, and moreover two
iron implements resembling a boat-hook and a bucket-handle. The latter
of these carries such a homely and modern look, that, had I no further
evidence of its history than the mere assurance of the excavators, I
should have instantly rejected it, from suspicion of its having been
brought to the spot to be palmed off on the unwary; but the fact of
these articles being disinterred in the presence of a trustworthy
person in my employ disarms all doubt of their authenticity. The
dimensions of the pit or well were about 2 feet 9 inches or 3 feet
square, and it was boarded on each side with narrow planks about 2 feet
long, and 1½ to 2 inches thick, placed upright, but which framework was
discontinued towards the bottom of the pit, which merged from a square
into an oval form.” (C. Roach Smith in _Archæologia_, vol. xxix.)

[Illustration: ROMAN LONDON]

The following is a list of the more important tessellated pavements
which have been discovered in the City:—


British Museum.]

  1661. In Scot’s Yard, Bush Lane, with the remains of a large building.
              This is supposed to have been an official residence in the
              Prætorium. Sent to Gresham College.

  1681. Near St. Andrew’s, Holborn—deep down.

    ”   Bush Lane, Cannon Street—deep down.

  1707. In Camomile Street—5 feet below the surface, with stone walls.

  1785, 1786. Sherborne Lane. Four pavements were found here.

  1786. Birchin Lane, with remains of walls and pottery, at depth of
              9 feet, 12 feet, and 13 feet.

  1787. Northumberland Avenue and Crutched Friars—12 feet deep. Society
              of Antiquaries.

  1792. At Poulett House, behind the Navy Pay Office, Great Winchester

  1794. Pancras Lane—11 feet deep.

  1803. Leadenhall Street—at depth of 9 feet 6 inches. British Museum.

  1805. Bank of England, the north-west corner. British Museum.

  1805. St. Clement’s Church.

  1835. Bank of England, opposite Founders’ Court, and St. Margaret,

  1836. Crosby Square—40 feet long, and 12 feet 1 inch deep.

  1839. Bishopsgate Within.

  1840. Excise Office Yard, Bishopsgate Street—13 feet deep.

  1841. The French Protestant Church, Threadneedle Street—14 feet
              2 inches deep. Two other pavements also found in this

    ”   West of the Royal Exchange—at the depth of 16 feet 6 inches.

    ”   Paternoster Row.

    ”   Sherborne Lane, with amphoræ, etc.

  1843. Wood Street.

    ”   King’s Arms Yard, Moorgate Street.

    ”   Coleman Street—buildings at a depth of 20 feet, with pottery,
              sandals, etc.

    ”   M. Garnet’s, Fenchurch Street.

  1844. Threadneedle Street, near Merchant Taylors’ Hall—at depth of
              12 feet.

  1847. Threadneedle Street, with the hypocaust and foundation of a

  1848. Coal Exchange—at depth of 12 feet. Baths or villa with mosaic.

  1854. The Old Excise Office, Old Broad Street—at the depth of 13 feet.

    ”   Bishopsgate Street—at the depth of 13 feet.

  1857. Birchin Lane.

  1859. Fenchurch Street, opposite Cullum Street—11 feet 6 inches deep.

    ”   On the site of Honey Lane Market, while making trenches for new
              walls, at a depth of 17 feet the workmen came upon a
              tessellated pavement; the portion uncovered was 6 or
              7 feet long, and 4 feet wide. Some 30 feet north of this
              pavement, and adjoining a spring of clear water, was
              found a thick wall which had the appearance of a Roman
              wall. In the earth were found many skulls and human bones.

  1863. Leadenhall Street, with the walls of a room, etc. 19 feet
              6 inches deep.

    ”   Paternoster Row—40 feet long.

    ”   East India House—19 feet 6 inches deep. Another pavement found

  1864. Paternoster Row—9 feet 6 inches deep.

    ”   St. Paul’s Churchyard—18 feet deep.

  1867. Union Bank of London, St. Mildred’s Court.

  1869. Poultry.

    ”   Tottenham Yard.

    ”   Lothbury.

    ”   Bush Lane.

    ”   S.E. Railway Terminus.

    ”   Cornhill, with the foundations of walls.

    ”   Bucklersbury—19 feet deep.

  1867-1871. Queen Victoria Street. Roman pavement in the middle of the
              roadway, Mansion House end. Close beside the pavement was
              found an ancient well, and a passage ran between.

The things that have been found are all pagan: pottery with the
well-known Roman figures upon it, figures certainly not Christian;
statues and statuettes of Harpocrates, Atys, Mercury, Apollo, the Deæ
Matres; tessellated pavements of which the figures and designs contain
no reference to Christianity.

As we have seen, tiles have been found inscribed with the letters PRB.
Lon. or PRBR. Lon. (see p. 74).

It is on symbolical monuments that we expect to find evidence of the
religion of a people. It is therefore strange that in Roman London,
where undoubtedly Christianity was planted very early, we find no trace
of the Christian religion. Gildas, who is supposed to have lived in
the latter part of the sixth century, refers to the first preaching of
Christianity as having taken place soon after the defeat of Boadicea,
but reliance cannot be placed on the few historical statements which
we find in the midst of his ravings; and he says that the Church was
spread all over the country, with churches and altars, the three orders
of priesthood, and monasteries. The persecution of Diocletian was felt
in Britannia, where there were many martyrs, with the destruction of
the churches, and a great falling from the faith. When the persecutions
ceased, Gildas goes on, the churches were rebuilt. Tertullian says in
A.D. 208, “Britannica inaccessa Romanis loca, Christo vero
subdita.” At the Council of Arles, A.D. 314, as we have seen,
three British Bishops were present. At later councils British Bishops
were always present. Yet no ruins remain in London of a Roman British
Church. No monuments, no literature, no traditions remain; only here
and there a word—here and there a monogram.

In the year 1813, in the excavations made for the new Custom-House,
three lines of wooden embankments were laid bare at the distances of
53, 86, and 103 feet within the range of the existing wharf. At the
same time, about 50 feet from the outer edge of the wharf, a wall was
discovered running east and west, built with chalk rubble and faced
with Purbeck stone, which was probably part of the old river-side wall.
No trace of any important buildings was found in the whole of the area
thus laid open, but between the embankments there were the remains of
buildings interspersed with pits and layers of rushes in different
stages of decomposition.

Sir William Tite (_Catalogue of Antiquities_) speaks of other
discoveries along the river:—

“The excavations for sewers, constructed along this part of the
boundary of London, appear satisfactorily to have ascertained that
nearly the whole south side of the road forming the line from Lower
Thames Street to Temple Street has been gained from the river by a
series of strong embankments. At the making of the sewer at Wool Quay,
the soil turned up was similar to that discovered at the Custom-House;
and the mouth of an ancient channel of timber was found under the
street. The ground also contained large quantities of bone skewers
about 10 inches in length, perforated with holes in the thicker ends,
recalling the bone skates employed by the youths of London about the
end of the twelfth century, as described by FitzStephen. Between
Billingsgate and Fish-street Hill the whole street was found to be
filled with piling, and especially at the gateway leading to Botolph
Wharf—which, it will be remembered, was the head of the oldest known
London Bridge,—where the piles were placed as closely together as
they could be driven, as well as for some distance on each side. In
certain parts of the line the embankment was formed by substantial
walling, as at the foot of Fish-street Hill, where a strong body of
clear water gushed out from beneath it. At the end of Queen Street
also, and stretching along the front of Vintners’ Hall, a considerable
piece of thick walling was encountered; and another interesting
specimen was taken up, extending from Broken Wharf to Lambeth Hill.
At Old Fish-street Hill this embankment was found to be 18 feet in
thickness; and it returned a considerable distance up Lambeth Hill,
gradually becoming less substantial as it receded inland. Both of
these walls were constructed of the remains of other works, comprising
blocks of stone, rough, squared, and wrought and moulded, together
with roofing-tiles, rubble, and a variety of different materials run
together with grout.” (Pp. xxiv.-xxv.)

Again, on the construction of the new London Bridge it was found
necessary to take down St. Michael’s, Crooked Lane, and to construct a
large and deep sewer under the line of approach. Three distinct lines
of embankment were discovered marking as many bulwarks by which ground
was gained for the wharves. One of these lines, lying 20 feet under the
south abutment of the Thames Street landmark, was made by the trunks of
oak trees squared with the axe. Quantities of Roman things were found
100 feet north of the river.

During the demolition of houses for the construction of the new Coal
Exchange opposite Billingsgate Market in 1847, the workmen came upon
extensive remains of a Roman building. They lay about 60 feet behind
the line of Thames Street, and about 14 feet below the level of the
pavement. On its western side was a thick brick wall; the foundations
were piles of black oak, showing that the building stood upon the
Thames mud outside and below the Roman fort; next to the pavement,
but without communication, was a chamber, which was believed by those
who saw it to be a portion of the “laconicum” or sweating-room of a
Roman bath, of which the hypocaust was also found. These interesting
investigations could not be continued except by working under the
warehouses beyond. They were therefore all covered over, and will
probably never again be brought to light.

The sarcophagi which have been found are few in number (see App.
IV.). The most important are—(1) that which was found at Clapton, (2)
that found within the precincts of Westminster Abbey, and (3) that
found in Haydon Square, Minories. The first was found in the natural
gravel 2 feet 6 inches below the surface, lying due south-east and
west; it is of white coarse-grained marble and is cut from a solid
block. It is 6 feet 3 inches long, 1 foot 3 inches wide, and 1 foot 6
inches deep; the thickness is about 3½ inches. The inner surface is
smooth, with a rise of half an inch as a rest for the head. No lid or
covering was found. It is plain on all sides but the front, which is
ornamented with a fluted pattern. In the centre is a medallion, about
12 inches in diameter, containing a bust of the person interred. There
is a name, but it cannot be deciphered. The Westminster sarcophagus
is preserved in the approach to the Chapter-House. That which was
discovered at Clapton was of marble. Two, containing enriched leaden
coffins, have been found at Bartholomew’s Hospital; and another on the
banks of the Fleet River, near to Seacoal Lane. The position of some
of these, distant from any cemetery, shows that the Roman custom of
making tombs serve as landmarks or monuments of boundaries was followed
in Roman London. In making the excavations for the railway station at
Cannon Street, there was found across Thames Street a complete network
of piles and transverse beams; this was traced for a considerable
distance along the river bank and in an upward direction towards Cannon
Street. These beams indicate, first, that the ground here—below the
hillocks, beside the Walbrook—was marshy and yielding; and, next, that
very considerable buildings were raised upon so solid and so costly a


The following are the most important of the _Inscriptions and

1. A tombstone found by Sir Christopher Wren in Ludgate Hill while
digging the foundation of St. Martin’s Church. It is now among the
Arundel Marbles at Oxford. The following is the inscription:—“D.
POSUIT MEMORIAM.” Which is in full:—“Diis Manibus. Vivio Marciano
militi legionis secundae Augustae. Januaria Marina conjunx pientissima
posuit memoriam.”

2. Another was found in 1806 behind the London Coffee House, Ludgate
Hill, with a woman’s head in stone and the trunk of a statue of
Hercules. The following is the inscription:—D. M. CL. MARTINAE
Manibus. Claudiae Martinae annorum novendecim Anencletus Provincialis
conjugi pientissimae hoc sepulchrum erexit.”

3. Found in Church Street, Whitechapel, about the year 1779:—D.
ATTIO. HER.—“Diis Manibus. Julius Valius miles legionis vicesimae
Valerianae victricis annorum quadraginta hic situs est, Caio Flavio
Attio herede.”

4. Found in the Tenter Ground, Goodman’s Fields, in 1787; 15 in.
by 12 in., and 3 in. thick—of native green marble:—D. M. FL.
INCOMPARABILI F. C.—“Diis Manibus. Flavius Agricola miles legionis
sextae victricis vixit annos quadraginta duos dies decem Albia Faustina
Conjugi incomparabili faciendum curavit.”

5. Found within the Tower, 1778; 2 ft. 8 in., by 2 ft. 4 in.:—DIS
MANIB. T. LICINI ASCANIUS. F.—“Diis Manibus. Tito Licinio,
Ascanius fecit.”

6. Found outside London wall near Finsbury Circus—now in the Guildhall
C.—“Diis Manibus. Grata Dagobiti Filia annorum quadraginta Solinus
conjugi karissimae fieri curavit.”

7. Found in Playhouse Yard, Blackfriars—formerly outside the City wall,
now in the British Museum:—“Diis Manibus ... R. L. F. C. Celsus ...
Speculator Legionis Secundae Augustae annorum ... natione Dardanus
Gu ... Valerius Pudens et ... Probus Speculatores Leg. II. fieri

8. Found on Tower Hill, 1852; 6 ft. 4 in., by 2 ft. 6 in.:—A ALFID.
S. EST.—“A Alfidio Pompo (Pomponio?) jussa ex testamento heres
posuit, annorum septuaginta (Na Aelini?), hic situs est.”

9. Found also on Tower Hill; 5 ft. 4 in., by 2 ft. 6 in.:—“DIS

10. Found at Pentonville, serving as a paving-stone before the door of
a cottage:— “... URNI ... LEGXX GAC ... M ...”

11. Found in Nicholas Lane, near Cannon Street, June 1850, at the depth
of 11 or 12 feet, lying close to a wall 2 feet in width. It is only a
fragment:—“NUMC ... PROV ... BRITA ...”


Roach Smith’s _Catalogue of London Antiquities_.]

12. Found on an ingot of silver within the Tower of London in 1777:
“EX OFFI. HONORIM”—_i.e._ Ex officinâ—from the workshop of

As we have already said, the things that have been found are nearly
all pagan. Only on two Roman pavements have been found the Christian
symbols, on one coin, and on one stone in the Roman wall. This silence
proves, to my mind, that the Christian religion, down to the middle of
the fourth century, held a very obscure place among the many religions
followed and professed by the people. Except in times of persecution,
everybody worshipped any god he pleased—Christ, or Apollo, or the Sun,
or the Mother. But those who followed the Christian faith were not the
soldiers, or their captains, or the Imperial officers, or the rich
merchants: they were the lower class, the craftsmen of the cities, and
the slaves among whom the Christian hope prevailed.


From _Archæologia_, vol. viii.]

During an excavation at Hart Street, Crutched Friars, there was found
at a considerable depth below the surface a fragment of a group
representing the Deæ Matres—the Three Mothers. The fragment measures 2
ft. 8 in. in length, 1 ft. 5 in. in width, and 1 ft. 8 in. in depth.
The sculpture represented three female figures fully clothed with
flowing draperies, each bearing in her lap a basket of fruit. Perhaps
their _sacellum_ or temple was close by, but no search for it seems to
have been made. This is not the place for enlarging upon the worship of
these strange goddesses. Their figures have been found at Winchester,
at York, and along the Roman wall; but they were essentially German
deities. That they have been found in this country side by side with
the classical gods shows that here, as in all other Roman provinces,
the people received a great mixture of gods from all parts of the world
among their original gods. The Three Mothers represented the productive
power of Nature: the fruits signify the annual harvest. It is easy
to understand how, starting with this idea, the whole of life—birth,
growth, strength, decay, and death—may be connected with the Mothers of
all. We may worship the Sun as the creator, or the Deæ Matres as the
producers. We may have Baal, Apollo, the Sun—the Father; or we may have
Venus, Osiris, or the Matres—the Mothers. A port which was a place of
resort for merchants of all nations would, in those days of universal
respect and toleration of all gods, offer a strange collection of
gods. Long before Christianity was established there were Christians
in the City side by side with those who worshipped Nature as creator
or producer—those who adopted the gods of the Romans and those who
preserved the memory and the teaching of the Druids. But, whatever be
said or conjectured, nothing can be more remarkable than the absence of
Christian symbols.

Returning to the Roman remains found in London, we come to
the wall paintings, of which a considerable number have been
recovered—“cart-loads,” according to Roach Smith. “In some localities
I have seen them carried away by cart-loads. Enough has been preserved
of them to decide that the rooms of the house were usually painted in
square panels or compartments, the prevailing colours of which were
bright red, dark grey, and black, with borders of various colours.”

A quantity of pottery has also been found. Here, in fact, was an
extensive industry in the making of fictile vessels. In the year 1677,
on the north-west of St. Paul’s Cathedral, were discovered remains of
Roman kilns: they were found and sketched by John Conyers. He says
that there were four of them lying in the sandy loam from which they
were constructed. The one he sketched was 5 feet deep, and the same in
breadth. The kiln was full of the coarser kind of pottery. The figures
show the form of the vessels. The potters’ marks are very numerous.
Some show that the vessels were brought from abroad, but these are
comparatively few; the remainder testify to the fact that London was
largely engaged in this industry. The red glazed pottery, of which
such quantity is found wherever there has been a Roman settlement, is
clearly proved to have been made in Gaul and Germany and to have been
imported. It was probably superior to the home-made ware. The designs
with which the pottery is ornamented are executed with great skill and
beauty. Mythological stories are represented, as that of Actæon and
Diana, the labours of Hercules, and Bacchanalian processions. There are
representations of flowers, fruits, and foliage, field sports, and the
contests in the amphitheatre.

Of tiles, whether for roofing, for bonding, for the hypocaust, or other
purposes, numbers have been dug up.

Were the windows in the houses of London glazed? Lactantius shows
clearly that in his time there were glass windows. “Verius et
manifestius est mentem esse quae per oculos ea, quae sunt opposita,
transpiciat quasi per fenestras lucente vitro aut speculari lapide
obductas.” And Seneca, much earlier, speaks of chambers covered
with glass. In Pompeii both glass and the _lapis specularis_ of
Lactantius have been found in their window-frames. This should be
quite conclusive. The enormous convenience of a window which would
admit light and keep out the cold, especially in such a climate as
ours, and the fact that in Italy such windows were in common use,
are enough to show that these windows were used, because all the
luxuries and conveniences of Rome were introduced here, if not by the
natives, at least by the Roman officials. Pieces of glass, flat and
semi-transparent, of a greenish hue, have been found in excavations,
and are considered to be window glass. Indeed it would seem absolutely
impossible to live in anything but a hut with a fire in the middle and
an open door at the side without some such contrivance. There are many
days in the year when it is impossible to work in the open air or in
rooms exposed to the outer air. As soon as a house was constructed the
glazed window—glazed with horn, or glass, or talc—must have followed.

Of coins a very large number have been dug up in excavations. These
have been classified and described by Mr. C. Roach Smith in his book on
Roman London.


[19] In _Archæologia_, vol. xl., Mr. W. H. Black argues that not the
east side of Walbrook, but the west, was the site of the first Roman
settlement. His argument is based principally upon the fact that the
western side offered the greater safety, having three sides protected
by water, while the fourth side was protected by a moor. Yet the
eastern side had the protection of the Walbrook and the Thames on the
west and south, the moor on the north, and the broad stream of the Lea
running through a vast morass on the east.

[20] See _London and Middlesex Archæological Society_, vol. v. p. 295.

                               CHAPTER V

                       THE BUILDING OF THE WALL

The most important of all the Roman remains in London are the ruins of
the wall.

Under the protection of the Citadel the merchants first conducted their
business; under its shadow the ships lay moored in the river, the bales
lay on the quays, and the houses of the people, planted at first along
the banks of the Walbrook, stretched out northwards to the moor and
westwards as far as the river Fleet.

Then came the City wall.

It is strange that nothing should be said anywhere about so strong and
important a piece of work as the wall. When was it built, and by whom?
When was it destroyed, and by whom? Was it standing when the Saxons
began their occupation? It appears not.

My theory is this:—According to the opinion of Sir William Tite, which
now seems generally accepted (_Archæologia_, vol. xxxiii.), the wall
of London—not the Citadel wall—was built somewhere about the year 360
A.D. There is no record of the building; yet it was a great
and costly work. The date of the building is of some importance,
because the wall itself was a sign of weakness. There was no need of
such a wall in the second or third centuries: the Citadel and the
power of the Roman name were enough. In the next century—a period of
decay—this assistance failed, the inhabitants ceased to rely on the
Roman name. Then they looked around. Augusta was a very large City; it
had become rich; it was full of treasure; for want of a wall it might
be taken at a rush. Moreover, not only was the Roman arm weakened, but
the position of the City was far less secure than formerly. Of old the
approaches were mere tracks through forest and over moor; now they were
splendid roads. It was by means of these roads, constructed for the use
of the legions, that the Picts and Scots were able to descend into the
very heart of the country, even within a day or two of London; it was
by these roads that the pirates from the east, landing in Essex, would
some day swoop down upon the City. At the date suggested by Sir William
Tite there was, one can see plainly, insecurity enough; though the
people, from long habit, still relied on the legions and on the Roman
peace. For nearly four hundred years, without any fighting of their
own, the citizens had been safe, and had felt themselves safe. After
the wholesale exportation of rebels from the Roman soldiery by Paulus
Catena, when the invaders of the north came every day farther south
and nearer London, it was borne in upon the citizens that the time of
safety was over, that they must now defend themselves, and that the
city of Augusta lay stretched out for a mile along the river and half a
mile inland without a wall or any defence at all.


After the reprisals taken by Paulus Catena in 355 and his withdrawal,
the country, nearly denuded of troops, lay open to invasion. But in
the year 369 we have seen that Theodosius found the enemy ravaging
the country round London, but they did not get in. The wall must have
existed already. It was therefore between 355 and 369 that the wall
was built. As I read history, it was built in a panic, all the people
giving their aid, just as, in 1643, when there was a scare in the City
because King Charles was reported to be marching upon it, all the
people went out to fortify the avenues and approaches. Another reason
for thinking this, apart from the general insecurity of the time, is
the very significant fact that the wall is built not only with cut and
squared stones, but with all kinds of material in fragments caught up
from every quarter.

These fragments proclaim aloud that the construction of the wall was
not a work resolved upon after careful consideration; that it was not
taken in hand with the leisure due to so important a business; that
the citizens could not wait for stone to be quarried and brought to
London for the purpose; but that the wall was resolved upon, begun, and
carried through with all the haste that such a work would allow, though
with the thoroughness and strength which the Roman traditions enjoined.

In order to get stone enough for this great wall, the people not only
sent to the quarries of Kent, whence came the “rag” and the sandstone,
and to those of Sussex, where they obtained their chalk, but they also
laid hands upon every building of stone within and without the City;
they tore down the massive walls of the Citadel, leaving only the
foundations; they used the walls and the columns and the statues of the
forum and of the temple, and of all the official buildings; they took
down the amphitheatre and used its stones; they even took the monuments
from the cemeteries and built them up into the wall.

Fragments of pillars, altars, statues, capitals, and carved work of all
kinds may be found embedded in the wall.

They took everything; and this fact is the chief reason why nothing
of the Roman occupation—save the wall itself—remained above ground in
Saxon times.

It is remarkable that the Roman walls of Sens, Dijon, Bordeaux,
Bourges, Périgueux, and Narbonne are in the same way partly constructed
of old materials, and that they contained the remains of temples,
columns, pilasters, friezes, entablatures, sepulchral monuments,
altars, and sculptures, all speaking of threatened danger, and the
hasty building of a wall for which every piece of stone in the city was
seized and used.

Attempts have been made to show that the wall was built in later times.
Cemeteries, it is stated, have been found here and there. We have
already seen that there were burials in Bow Lane, in Queen Street,
Cheapside, in Cornhill, north of Lombard Street, on St. Dunstan’s
Hill, in Camomile Street, and at St. Helen’s Church, Bishopsgate. Now
interment within the city was forbidden by law. Hence it is inferred
that the wall could not have been Roman work. The answer to this
inference is very simple. The City of London was the enclosed town or
fort on the eastern hillock; all these places of burial lie without the
wall of this Citadel—that is to say, without the town.

As for the wall, so many portions of it remained until this century, so
many fragments still remain, it is laid down with so much precision on
the older maps, and especially on those of Agas and Wyngaerde, that it
is perfectly easy to follow it along its whole course. For instance,
there were standing, a hundred years ago, in the street called London
Wall, west of All Hallows on the Wall, large portions of the wall
overlooking Finsbury Circus, with trees growing upon them—a picturesque
old ruin which it was a shame to destroy. This part of the wall is
shown, with a postern, in the 1754 edition of Stow and Strype. Indeed
that edition shows the whole course of the wall very clearly, still
standing in its entirety.

Starting from the Tower, it ran in a straight line a little west of
north-west to Aldgate; then it bent more to the west and ran in a curve
to Bishopsgate; thence nearly in a straight line west by north to St.
Giles’s Churchyard, where it turned south; at Aldersgate it ran west
again as far as a little north of Newgate, where it turned south once
more, crossed Ludgate Hill, and in ancient times reached the river a
little to the east of the Fleet, leaving a corner, formerly a swampy
bank of the Fleet, which was afterwards occupied by the Dominicans.
Fragments of the wall still exist at All Hallows Church, at St. Alphege
Churchyard, in St. Giles’s Churchyard, and at the Post Office, St.
Martin’s-le-Grand, while excavations have laid bare portions in many
other places. For instance, in the year 1852 there was uncovered, in
the corner of some building, a very large piece of the wall at Tower
Hill. By the exertions of Mr. C. Roach Smith this fragment was saved
from destruction, examined carefully and figured. A plate showing that
part of it where the ancient facing had been preserved is given in his
_Illustrations of Roman London_. “Upon the foundation was placed a
set-off row of large square stones; upon these, four layers of smaller
stones, regularly and neatly cut; then a bonding course of three rows
of red tiles, above which are six layers of stones separated, by a
bonding course of tiles as before, from a third division of five layers
of stones; the bonding course of tiles above these is composed of two
rows of tiles; and in like manner the facing was carried to the top.
The tiles of the third row are red and yellow; and they extend through
the entire width of the wall, which is about 10 feet, the height having
been apparently 30 feet. The core of the wall is cemented together with
concrete, in which lime predominates, as is usual in Roman mortar.
Pounded tile is also used in the mortar which cements the facing.
This gives it that peculiar red hue which led FitzStephen to imagine
the cement of the foundations of the Tower to have been tempered with
the blood of beasts.” In the year 1763 there was still standing in
Houndsditch part of a Roman tower. It is figured in Roach Smith’s
_Roman London_. The drawing shows that the towers are as square as
those still to be traced at Richborough. They were built solid at the
bottom, hollow in the middle, and solid again at the top. The middle
part contained a room with loopholes for the discharge of missiles and
arrows. In the Houndsditch tower a window has taken the place of the
loophole. According to FitzStephen, the wall was strengthened by towers
at intervals. At the angles, as appears from the bastion in St. Giles’s
Churchyard, the towers were circular.

In 1857 excavations at the end of Aldermanbury laid open a remarkable
portion of the wall; it was composed of a series of blind arches
forming part of the solid masonry.

Nothing is left above ground of the Roman facing; what we see now
is the old solid core with perhaps some of the mediæval facing. The
uncovering of a large part of the wall at Aldersgate Street is thus
described (_Archæologia_, vol. lii. 609):—

“The Government having determined to erect additional buildings to the
General Post Office in St. Martin’s-le-Grand, certain steps were taken
in order to ascertain the nature of the ground on which these buildings
were to be placed. For this purpose, in the latter part of 1887, shafts
were sunk along a line from Aldersgate Street to King Edward Street,
some yards south of the old Money Order Office, and parallel to Bull
and Mouth Street, a street now swept away. In sinking these pits the
workmen came upon the Roman wall, and afterwards, as the process of
preparing the site for the new buildings proceeded, a considerable
fragment of it was unearthed running east and west, and extending from
Aldersgate Street on the one side, to King Edward Street on the other.
It was found that the line of buildings and walls forming the southern
boundary of the churchyard of St. Botolph, Aldersgate Street, was based
upon this wall, and it seems very probable that the churchyard and
church above-named partly occupy the ground filling up the original

The portion of wall exposed, commencing near Aldersgate Street and
running westwards, can be well seen for a length of upwards of 131
feet. A considerable length of this has been carefully underpinned,
and, I am happy to say, will be preserved. The height remaining varies
very considerably, but, measuring from the original ground level, at
least eleven or twelve feet of masonry is still standing in places, not
in any regular line at the top, but much broken into by the foundations
of comparatively modern walls built upon it. Beyond the length named
but little of the wall is to be seen, and as it approaches King
Edward Street, just beneath the line of the houses in that street, on
its eastern side, were discovered the foundations of a semicircular
tower, or rather a tower semicircular in plan, with slightly prolonged
straight sides. The foundations of this tower—and nothing but
foundations remained—did not form any part of the structure of the
Roman wall, but came with a butt-joint against it. They were 5 feet 3
inches wide, and composed of rubble-work of Kentish ragstone with some
chalk, and a few fragments of old building materials bedded amongst
the rubble. The internal measurements of this tower were 17 feet 3
inches by 16 feet, and the foundation of the Roman wall was seen to
cross its base. The tower which stood on these foundations is probably
an addition to the wall in the mediæval period. It was not Roman, and
the foundations had no Roman character. Some pieces of worked stone
discovered in them showed traces of Norman mouldings, and of foliage
of the early English period. It is possible that the first tower west
of Aldersgate, seen in Agas’s map of London 1560, may be the one the
remains of which are here described.

Turning now to examine the construction of the Roman wall, it appears
that it was built in the following manner:—A trench, from 10 feet 9
inches to 11 feet wide and 6 feet deep, was dug in the natural clay
soil, the sides of the trench for a distance of 2 feet from the bottom
sloping slightly outwards. The lower part of the trench for the depth
of 2 feet was then filled in with puddled clay mixed with flints, and
the whole well rammed down. Upon this came 4 feet of rubble foundation,
lessening in some places to 2 feet, composed of masses of Kentish
ragstone, laid in mortar, the larger pieces being placed with some care
in the arrangement, so as to form a solid base for the superstructure
of the wall itself.

This wall, between 8 and 9 feet thick, as far as could be ascertained,
starts with a bonding course of three rows of tiles at the ancient
ground level, which is 6 feet 9 inches below the level of Aldersgate
Street. Above this course the body of the wall is composed throughout
its height of masses of ragstone, with now and then a fragment of
chalk bedded very roughly in mortar which has been pitched in, not
run in, sometimes with so little care as to leave occasional empty
spaces amongst the stones. The stones are often arranged in a rude
herring-bone fashion, perhaps for greater convenience in packing them
in, but the layers do not correspond in depth with the facing course.

The lowest band of tiles in the wall (at the ground level) is 8 inches
high, and consists of three rows, the bed of mortar between them being
often thicker than the tiles themselves. The vertical joints, however,
are very close. The three bands of tiles above this lowest one are
each 4½ inches high and of two rows. All these bands form bonding
courses—layers, in fact, through the entire breadth of the wall,
binding the rubble core together.

The tiles vary somewhat in size, but one perfect example which could be
measured in every direction was 1 foot by 1 foot 4 inches, and from 1
inch to 1½ inches thick. They are set with their greatest length into
the wall. Some yellowish tiles here and there form an exception to the
great mass, which is red and well burnt.

The height of the spaces of stone facing between each band of bonding
tiles is as follows:—The first space counting from the lowest band, 2
feet 4 inches; the second, 2 feet 4 inches; the third, 2 feet 5 inches;
and the fourth, 2 feet 10 inches; though these last dimensions are
somewhat doubtful, on account of the ruined condition of the upper part
of the wall. Each of these spaces, with the exception of the ruined
topmost one, of which little can be made out, is divided into five rows
of facing stones, in regular rows, all apparently much the same height,
though the individual stones vary considerably in length. These stones
are very irregular in the amount of their penetration into the core of
the wall, and there is nothing resembling the method adopted in working
the facing stones of the wall of Hadrian, where each stone is cut to
a long wedge shape and set with the pointer end into the wall. On the
face the stones average from 4 to 5 inches in height, laid in a mortar
bed of another inch or more in depth, and their average depth into
the wall may be about 9 or 10 inches. They therefore form a mere skin
between the tile bonding courses to the thick irregular rubble core.
The stones have been brought to a clean face by splitting off their
rough surface by the process known as pitching, and have been roughly
squared in bed and joints with a hammer. The mortar employed seems to
have nothing unusual in its composition. The mortar in which pounded
tile forms so large an ingredient is not to be found here.”

In preparing for the new buildings erected, in the summer of 1857, on
the north side of the gaol of Newgate, in the Old Bailey, and very near
to the site of the City gate which gave its name to the prison, the
ground was excavated to a considerable depth, and thus the foundation
of the City wall was cut through, and many vestiges of old London were
discovered. Among these, Mr. G. R. Corner, F.S.A., obtained a fragment
of a mortarium, with the potter’s mark very clearly and distinctly
impressed on the rim, but the words singularly disposed within a
twisted border.

It is remarkable that a similar fragment, bearing the same mark, was
also found in Newgate Street, on the 23rd October 1835, and is now
preserved in Mr. Charles Roach Smith’s Museum of London Antiquities at
the British Museum.

During the 1857 excavations, abundance of Roman bond-tiles and building
materials appeared in and about the City wall; and Mr. Corner observed
under a stratum of pounded brick, which was the foundation of a coarse
pavement, a layer of burnt wood, the evident remains of a fire during,
or previous, to the Roman period. Many feet higher was a similar layer
of wood-ashes, produced by the Fire of 1666, or some similar occurrence
in later times.

The following letter to Sir Christopher Wren from J. Woodward (June
23, 1707) gives a detailed account of certain excavations in Camomile

“In April last, upon the pulling down some old Houses, adjoining to
Bishops-Gate, in Camomile Street, in order to the building there
anew, and digging, to make Cellars, about four Foot under Ground, was
discovered a Pavement, consisting of Diced bricks, the most red, but
some few black, and others yellow; of nearly of a size, and very small,
hardly any exceeding an inch in thickness. The extent of the Pavement
in length was uncertain; it running from Bishopsgate for sixty feet,
quite under the Foundation of some houses not yet pulled down. Its
Breadth was about ten Feet; terminating on that side at the distance of
three feet and a half from the City wall.

Sinking downwards, under the Pavement, only rubbish occurred for about
two foot; and then the workmen came to a Stratum of Clay; in which,
at the Depth of two feet more, they found several urns. Some of them
were become so tender and rotten that they easily crumbled and fell to
pieces. As to those that had the Fortune better to escape the injuries
of Time, and the Strokes of the Workmen that rais’d the Earth, they
were of different Forms; but all of very handsome make and contrivance;
as indeed most of the Roman Vessels we find ever are. Which is but one
of the many instances that are at this day extant of the art of that
people; of the great exactness of their genius, and happiness of their
fancy. These Urns were of various sizes; the largest capable of holding
full three gallons, the least somewhat above a Quart. All of these had,
in them, ashes, and Cinders of burned Bones.

Along with the urns were found various other earthen Vessels: as a
Simpulum, a Patera of very fine red earth, and a blewish Glass Viol of
that sort that is commonly call’d a Lachrimatory. These were all broke
by the Carelessness of the Workmen. There were likewise found several
Beads, one or two Copper Rings; a Fibula of the same Metall, but much
impaired and decayed; as also a Coin of Antoninus Pius, exhibiting on
one side, the Head of that Emperor, with a radiated Crown on, and this
inscription, ANTONINUS AVG ... IMP. XVI. On the reverse was
the Figure of a Woman, sitting, and holding in her right hand a Patera;
in her left an hastapura. The inscription on this side was wholly
obliterated and gone.

At about the same depth with the things before mentioned but nearer to
the City Wall, and without the Verge of the Pavement, was digg’d up an
Human Skull, with several Bones, that were whole, and had not passed
the Fire, as those in the Urns had. Mr. Stow makes mention of Bones
found in like manner not far off this place, and likewise of Urns with
Ashes in them; as do also Mr. Weever after him, and Mr. Camden.

The City Wall being, upon this occasion, to make way for these new
buildings, broke up and beat to pieces, from Bishopsgate onwards, S. so
far as they extend, an opportunity was given of observing the Fabrick
and Composition of it. From the foundation, which lay eight Foot below
the present surface, quite up to the Top, which was, in all, near Ten
Foot, ’twas compil’d alternately of Layers of broad flat bricks; and
of Rag Stone. The bricks lay in double ranges; and, each brick being
but one inch and three-tenths in thickness, the whole layer, with the
Mortar interpos’d, exceeded not three inches. The Layers of Stone were
not quite two feet thick, of our measure. ’Tis probable they were
intended for two of the Roman, their rule being somewhat shorter than
ours. To this height the workmanship was after the Roman manner; and
these were the Remains of the antient wall, supposed to be built by
Constantine the Great. In this ’twas very observable that the Mortar
was, as usually in the Roman Works, so very firm and hard, that the
stone itself is easily broke, and gave way, as that. ’Twas thus far,
from the Foundation upwards, nine Foot in Thickness, and yet so vast a
bulk and strength had not been able to secure it from being beat down
in former Ages, and near levell’d with the Ground.

The Broad thin Bricks, above mention’d, were all of Roman make; and
of the very sort which, we learn from Pliny, were of common use among
the Romans; being in Length a Foot and half, of their Standard, and in
breadth a Foot. Measuring some of these very carefully, I found them
17 inches 4/10 in Length, 11 inches 6/10 in breadth, and 1 inch 3/10
in thickness of our Measure. This may afford some light towards the
settling and adjusting the Dimensions of the Roman Foot; and shewing
the Proportion that it bears to the English; a Thing of so great use,
that one of the most accomplished and judicious writers of the last
Century endeavour’d to compass it with a great deal of Travel and
Pains. Indeed ’tis very remarkable, that the Foot-Rule follow’d up by
the Makers of these Bricks was nearly the same with that exhibited on
the Monument of Cossutius in the Colotian Gardens at Rome, which that
admirable mathematician has, with great reason, pitched upon as the
true Roman foot. Hence likewise appears, what indeed was very probable
without this confirmation, that the standard foot in Rome was followed
in the Colonies, and Provinces, to the very remotest parts of the
Empire; and that too, quite down even to the Time of Constantine; in
case this was the wall that was built by his appointment.

The old wall having been demolished, as has been intimated above, was
afterwards repaired again, and carry’d up, of the same thickness,
to eight or nine feet in height. Or if higher, there was no more of
that work now standing. All this was apparently additional, and of
a make later than the other part underneath. That was levell’d at
top and brought to a Plane, in order to the raising this new Work
upon it. The outside, or that towards the suburbs, was faced with a
coarse sort of stone; not compil’d with any great care or skill, or
disposed into a regular method. But, on the inside, there appear’d
more marks of workmanship and Art. At the Bottom were five Layers,
compos’d of Squares of Flint, and of Free-stone, tho’ they were not
so in all parts, yet in some the squares were near equal, about five
inches in Diameter; and ranged in a Quincunx order. Over these was a
layer of brick; then of hew’n free-stone; and so alternately, brick
and stone, to the top. There were of the bricks in all, six layers,
each consisting only of a double course; except that which lay above
all, in which there were four Courses of Bricks, where the layer was
intire. These bricks were of the shape of those now in use; but much
larger; being near 11 inches in length, 5 in breadth, and somewhat
above 2½ in thickness. Of the stone there were five layers and each
of equal thickness in all parts, for its whole length. The highest,
and the lowest of these, were somewhat above a foot in thickness, the
three middle layers each five inches. So that the whole height of
this additional work was near nine foot. As to the interior parts or
the main bulk of the wall, ’twas made up of Pieces of rubble-stone;
with a few bricks, of the same sort of those us’d in the inner facing
of the wall, laid uncertainly, as they happen’d to come to hand, and
not in any stated method. There was not one of the broad thin Roman
bricks, mentioned above, in all this part; nor was the mortar here near
so hard as in that below. But, from the description, it may easily
be recollected that this part, when first made, and intire, with so
various and orderly a disposition of the Materials, Flint, Stone,
Bricks, could not but carry a very elegant and handsome aspect. Whether
this was done at the expense of the Barons, in the reign of K. John; or
of the Citizens in the reign of K. Henry III.; or of K. Richard II.;
or at what other time, I cannot take upon me to ascertain from accounts
so defective and obscure, as are those which at this day remain of this
affair. Upon the additional work, now described, was raised a wall
wholly of brick; only that it terminating in battlements, these are
top’d with Copings of Stone. ’Tis two feet four inches in thickness and
somewhat above eight feet in height. The bricks of this are of the same
Moduls, and size, with those of the Part underneath. How long they had
been in use is uncertain. But there can be no doubt but this is the
wall that was built in the year 1477 in the reign of King Edward IV.
Mr. Stow informs us that that was compil’d of bricks made of clay got
in Moorfields; and mentions two Coats of Arms fixt in it near Moorgate;
one of which is extant to this day, tho’ the stone, whereon it was
ingrav’d, be somewhat worn and defaced. Bishopsgate itself was built
two years after this wall, in the form it still retains. The workmen
lately employed there sunk considerably lower than the Foundations of
this Gate; and, by that means, learned they lay not so deep as those of
the old Roman Wall by four or five feet.”

“A portion of the ancient wall of London was discovered in Cooper’s
Row, Crutched Friars, while preparing for the erection of a warehouse
there. The length of this piece of wall is 106 feet 6 inches. The
lower part is Roman, and the upper part mediæval. The latter consists
of rubble, chalk, and flints, and is 17 feet 4 inches high to the
foot face, which is 2 feet wide, and has a parapet or breast wall 5
feet high and 2 feet thick. It is much defaced by holes cut for the
insertion of timbers of modern buildings, and is cased in parts with
brickwork. On the west side are two semicircular arched recesses. This
mediæval wall is set back and battered at the lower part on both sides,
until it reaches the thickness of the Roman wall on which it is built.
The Roman wall remains in its primitive state to a depth of 5 feet 7
inches, and in this part is faced with Kentish rag in courses, and has
two double rows of tiles. The first course is 2 feet 8 inches from the
top, and 4 inches thick. The second is 2 feet 2½ inches lower down,
and 4½ inches thick. The tiles are from 1¼ inches to 1¾ inches thick,
and of the size called _sesquipedales_, viz., a Roman foot wide, and
1½ feet long. They are laid, some lengthwise and others crosswise, as
headers and stretchers. At the level of the upper course of tiles is
a set-off of half a Roman foot. Below the second course the wall is
cased with brickwork forming a modern vault, but at the foot of the
brick casing a double row of Roman tiles is again visible 3 feet 9½
inches below the last-mentioned course, and these two courses are 4½
inches thick. These tiles come out to the face of the modern brickwork,
which is about 5 inches in advance of the wall above it, so that there
would seem to be a second set-off in the wall. One course of ragstone
facing is seen below these tile-courses, but the excavation has not
yet reached the foundation of the wall. The total height of Roman wall
discovered is 10 feet 3 inches. The upper part of the Roman wall is 8
or 9 feet thick.” (_L. and M. Arch._ vol. iii. p. 52.)


From _Archæologia_, vol. xxix.]

In the autumn of 1874 were discovered the foundations of an old wall
supposed to be those of the Roman wall. These remains were examined by
Mr. J. E. Price, F.S.A., who thus described them:—

“The excavations were situate at the western end of Newgate Street, at
the corner adjoining Giltspur Street, and at but a short distance from
the site of the old ‘Compter,’ removed a few years since. The remains
were first observed in clearing away the cellars of the houses which
separated this building from Newgate Street and covered a considerable
area. They were on the north side of the street, and appeared at a
short distance from the surface. The City wall ran behind the houses,
forming at this point an angle, whence it branched off beneath Christ’s
Hospital in the direction of Aldersgate. Adjoining the wall was a
long arched vault or passage, and upon the City side of this, a well,
approached by a doorway leading to a flight of perhaps a dozen steps.
This staircase was arched over, being covered by what is technically
termed a bonnet arch. In addition, there were walls and cross walls
several feet in thickness, all extremely massive, and with foundations
of great strength and durability. These walls were chiefly composed
of ragstone, oolite, chalk, and firestone, with an occasional brick
or tile, and the vaulted passage of two rings of stonework formed by
squared blocks of large dimensions. The width of the passage was from
7 to 8 feet, the stones composing the arch measuring from 2 to 3 feet
wide, and nearly 2 feet high. The side walls of the passage were faced
with carefully squared blocks laid in little, if any, mortar, and of
immense size, some of them being from 4 to 5 feet long by 2 in height,
and all such as would be selected in the construction of a building
devoted to uses requiring more than ordinary strength. At the junction
of the passage with the external wall, the outer facing of the arch
was visible; it had been carefully worked, and upon it appeared a
hollow chamfer of a decided mediæval type, a circumstance which alone
strongly militates against the Roman theory. The mortar also was such
as may be usually found in mediæval buildings, but presented none of
the characteristics either of Roman mortar or Roman concrete. Nor were
there any such unmistakable substances found attached to the tiles, the
rubble, or the stonework which made up the section of the City wall.
Roman mortar is not easily mistaken; so hard and so durable is it that
it is frequently easier to break the stones themselves than the cement
which holds them together. In the Roman walls found at the erection of
the Cannon Street Railway Station, so solid was the masonry that it was
with the greatest difficulty that sufficient could be removed for the
introduction of the new brickwork, and much of that enormous building
rests upon foundations such as no modern architect could improve.”
(_Arch._ vol. v. pp. 404-405.)

Mr. Price concluded that the foundations thus disclosed were not
Roman at all, but of much later date. He thought that they were the
foundations of a gate and gaol erected after the Conquest. His view
appears to be well founded. And yet the foundations may have been on
the site of the Roman wall. He seems to have supposed that the Roman
wall did not extend so far west and north, on account of the great
area enclosed. But he does not state at what period this great area
could have been more fitly enclosed. If we consider that a large part
of the City consisted of gardens and villas, there is a reason for
the enclosure; while the argument that the wall could not have been
defended throughout its length is also met by the fact that it could
not be easily attacked because of its length; that the scientific
methods of sieges were not invented till much later; that in order
to meet them the moat was constructed; and that the wall alone was
sufficient for the assailants its builders had in view when it was
first erected.

I must reserve the consideration of the mediæval gates for a later
time. Meanwhile, it must be noted that neither the Bishopsgate nor
Newgate of the later period stood upon the original Roman site.

The Roman foundations of Bishopsgate have been discovered in Camomile
Street, south-east of the later Bishopsgate; and those of the old gate
of Watling Street have been found north of the later Newgate.

There were fifteen bastions, according to Maitland. Of these there
are shown on the maps three between the Tower and Aldgate, one at
Cripplegate, two in Monkwell Street, one at Christ’s Hospital, and
another near the corner of Giltspur Street, 100 feet from Newgate.
On the occasion of a fire at Ludgate in 1792, portions of an ancient
watch-tower were discovered.

Briefly, therefore, fragments of the wall can be seen on Tower Hill,
where there is a splendid piece 250 feet long; at All Hallows on the
Wall, where a part was taken down about 1800 in the street called
London Wall; at St. Alphege Churchyard, at Cripplegate, and in the
Old Bailey. Add to these the discoveries in Camomile Street in 1874,
those in Bull and Mouth Street, in Giltspur Street, north of Christ’s
Hospital, south of Ludgate, and the foundations in Thames Street.

Between Blackfriars and the Tower ran the old river-side wall. This had
been pulled down before the reign of Henry II., but the foundations
remain to this day, and have been uncovered in one place at least. The
wall ran along the middle of Thames Street. The portion discovered was
at the angle where the wall met the river at the foot of Lambeth Hill.
It was when works connected with the sewage were being executed that
the wall was found nine feet below the surface.

Mr. C. Roach Smith thus describes the finding of the river wall:—

“The workmen employed in excavating for sewerage in Upper Thames
Street advanced without impediment from Blackfriars to the foot of
Lambeth Hill, where they were obstructed by the remains of a wall of
extraordinary strength, which formed an angle at Lambeth Hill and
Thames Street. Upon this wall the contractor for the sewer was obliged
to excavate to the depth of about 20 feet, and the consequent labour
and delay afforded me an opportunity of examining the construction and
course of the wall. The upper part was generally met with at the depth
of about 9 feet from the level of the present street, and 6 from that
which marks the period of the great fire of London, and, as the sewer
was constructed to the depth of 20 feet, 8 feet of the wall in height
had to be removed. In thickness it measured from 8 to 10 feet. It was
built upon oaken piles, over which was laid a stratum of chalk and
stone, and upon this a course of hewn sandstones, each measuring from
3 to 4 feet by 2 and 2½ feet, cemented with the well-known compound of
quicklime, sand, and pounded tile. Upon this solid substructure was
laid the body of the wall, formed of ragstone, flint, and lime, bonded
at intervals with courses of plain and curved-edged tiles. This wall
continued with occasional breaks, where at some remote time it had been
broken down, from Lambeth Hill as far as Queenhithe. On a previous
occasion I had noticed a wall precisely similar in character in Thames
Street, opposite Queen Street.

One of the most remarkable features of this southern wall remains to be
described. Many of the large stones which formed the lower part were
sculptured and ornamented with mouldings denoting their use in the
friezes or entablatures of edifices at some period antecedent to the
construction of the wall. Fragments of sculptured marble, which had
also decorated buildings, and part of the foliage and trellis-work of
an altar or tomb, of good workmanship, had also been used as building
materials. In this respect the wall resembles many of those of the
ancient towns on the Continent, which were partly built out of the
ruins of public edifices, of broken altars, sepulchral monuments, and
such materials, proving their comparatively late origin, and showing
that even the ancients did not at all times respect the memorials of
their ancestors and predecessors, and that our modern vandalism sprang
from an old stock.” (_Illustrations of Roman London._)

On the reclaiming of the foreshore I have already (p. 105) given Sir
William Tite’s evidence. I here return to the subject, which is closely
connected with the river-side wall. Behind the river wall the gentle
slope continued until the ground rose from 26 feet above the river
to 50 feet. Now, if the theory which considers the dedicating of the
churches here shows the extreme antiquity of the town is correct, this
ought to have been the most densely populated part of the City in the
fourth century. I do not know why it should have been so. The ports
of Roman London were, as I have already advanced, two—Walbrook and
Billingsgate: the first a natural port; the second an artificial port
constructed for convenience close to Bridge Gate. There was no port
along the south front of London between the Fleet and the Walbrook;
there was no reason why this part should have been crowded. The wall
was not built on the edge of the cliff (if there were a cliff) for very
good reasons; the slope, more likely, was levelled for a space on both
sides the wall. When, for instance, in King John’s reign, the town
ditch was constructed, a ledge of 10 feet was left between the foot of
the wall and the beginning of the slope of the moat. The same rule must
have been observed in the construction of this wall.

This wall was constructed as far as Walbrook, where the stream and
the banks were 230 feet wide. Here was the earliest port of London.
What happened next is matter of conjecture, but it seems quite certain
that the wall would end with a round bastion or tower protecting the
entrance; that the mouth of the port was further protected by a stout
chain capable of resisting the strongest ships; that within, on the
banks of the stream, were many quays with vessels moored alongside;
that on the opposite bank stood the west side of the Citadel, with its
gate, whence, perhaps, we get the name of Dowgate.

The south wall of the Citadel, which extended as far as Mincing Lane,
served as the river-side wall for that distance. It was continued
from that point to the present site of the Tower—a distance of 450
yards—with a new wall. No remains, I believe, have yet been found of
that last piece of work. Between the old river wall and the river is
now a long and narrow strip of land of varying breadths, but generally
300 feet. It contains a series of parallel streets, narrow and short,
running down to the water; these streets are now lined with tall
warehouses, except in one or two places, where they still contain small
houses for the residence of boatmen, lightermen, porters, and servants.
The history of this strip of land is very curious. Remark that when
the wall was built the whole foreshore lay below it without any quays
or buildings on piles—a slope of grass above a stretch of mud at low
water. The first port of London was Walbrook. Within the stream ships
were moored and quays were built for the reception of the cargoes.
During the Roman occupation there were no water-gates, no quays, and no
ports west of Walbrook.

[Illustration: A SHIP

From Tib. MS., B. v.]

The Roman name of the second port, which was later called Billingsgate,
is not known. Observe, however, that there was no necessity for a break
in the wall at this place, because the port was only a few yards east
of the first London Bridge with its bridge gate in the wall of the
Citadel. A quay, then, was constructed on the foreshore between the
port and the bridge. Everything, therefore, unloaded upon this quay was
carried up to the head of the bridge, and through the bridge gate into

Later on, when the third port was constructed at Queenhithe, the
builders must have made an opening in the wall. Now, at Walbrook,
at Billingsgate, and at Queenhithe the same process went on. The
people redeemed the foreshore under the wall by constructing quays and
wharves; they carried this process farther out into the bed of the
river, and they extended it east and west. At last, before the river
wall was taken down as useless and cumbersome, the whole of this narrow
strip, a mile long and 300 feet broad, had been reclaimed, and was
filled with warehouses and thickly populated by the people of the port,
watermen, stevedores, lightermen, boat-builders, makers of ships’ gear,
sails, cordage, etc., with the eating-houses and taverns necessary for
their wants.

This process, first of building upon piles, then of forming an
embankment, was illustrated by the excavations conducted for the
construction of London Bridge in 1825-35. There were found, one behind
the other, three such lines of piles forming embankments. The earliest
of these was at the south end of Crooked Lane; the second was 60 feet
south of the first; the third was 200 feet farther south.

The sixteenth-century maps of London may also be consulted for the
manner in which the quays were built out upon piles. It is obvious that
more and more space would be required, and that it would become more
and more necessary to conduct the business of loading and unloading at
any time, regardless of tide.

These considerations strengthen the evidence of Sir William Tite and
his opinion that the whole of the streets south of Thames Street must
have been reclaimed from the foreshore of the bank by this process of
building quays and creating water-gates for the convenience of trade.

The destruction of the wall, which had vanished so early as the twelfth
century, is thus easily accounted for. Its purpose was gone. The long
lines of quays and warehouses were themselves a sufficient protection.
The people pulled down bits of it for their own convenience, and
without interference; they ran passages through it and built against

                              CHAPTER VI

                             LONDON BRIDGE

We come next to the consideration of the bridge. It is not a little
remarkable that of the three great buildings belonging to Roman
London—Citadel, Wall, and Bridge—not one should be so much as
mentioned, save incidentally. One would think that the building of
a bridge across a broad tidal river was an engineering feat worthy
of admiration and of record. It was not so; we merely discover that
a bridge existed; we are not told when it was erected, or what kind
of bridge it was. Although it is certain that the people of southern
Britannia possessed many arts and carried on commerce and lived with
some show of civilisation—“people,” it has been remarked, “who possess
mints and coin money do not live in huts of wattle and daub,”—yet
there is nothing to show that they could build bridges. The Romans
could and did. The names of stations in Britain show that they bridged
many rivers—Pontes, Ad Pontium, Tripontium, Pons Ælii, for instance.
The date of the construction of the first bridge across the Thames is
nowhere recorded. We have seen that it has been hastily conjectured
from a passage in Dion Cassius that a bridge existed over the Thames at
the time of the invasion of Aulus Plautius.

We have already considered this passage. It may be permitted in
addition to remark: (1) That the author had evidently an imperfect
acquaintance with the topography, or he would not have spoken of the
mouth of the Thames being so near London. (2) That he had heard the
country described, very justly, as marshes. (3) That the marshes
extended the whole way from Richmond to Tilbury. (4) That there could
not have been a bridge across a tidal river of sufficient breadth for
the whole of this distance. Whatever was existing in London at that
time, whether the _copia mercatorum_ mentioned by the Roman historian
was really found there, or whether there was a ferry across, it is
certain that the people frequenting London could not build bridges
except of the elementary kind made of flat stones, such as are found
over the narrow and shallow streams of Dartmoor. Guest considers
that the marshes were those of the river Lea in the east of London;
and certainly they are broad enough to bring an enemy into trouble;
and higher up the stream is narrow enough for a bridge of rude
construction. He says:—

  “When the Romans came down the Watling Street to the neighbourhood
 of London, they saw before them a wide expanse of marsh and
 mudbank, which twice every day assumed the character of an estuary,
 sufficiently large to excuse, if not to justify, the statement in
 Dio, that the river there emptied itself into the ocean. No dykes
 then retained the water within certain limits. One arm of the great
 wash stretched northwards, up the valley of the Lea, and the other
 westward, down the valley of the Thames. The individual character of
 the rivers was lost; the Romans saw only one sheet of water before
 them, and they gave it the name of the river which mainly contributed
 to form it. When they stated that they crossed the Thames, they merely
 meant that they crossed the northern arm of the great lake which
 spread out its waters before them, and on either hand.”

There are, however, certain considerations which point in a different
direction. We have already seen that the chief highway of traffic, the
only communication between the north and the south, lay along what was
afterwards Watling Street; that it passed down the Edgware Road, along
Park Lane, stopping short of the marsh which covered the Green Park
as far as Thorney Island; that a ford, perhaps left uncovered at low
tide, led over the marsh to the island; that on the other side of the
island (which is Westminster) there was another ford across the river
to the renewal of the road—at Stangate—on the south side. Formerly
this was part of the high road; the pack-mules and the slaves crossed
every day at low tide. The water, which is now confined between two
perpendicular walls, was then distributed at high tide over the immense
marsh which begins below Richmond and extends to the coasts of Essex.
The embankment of the river for business purposes in the City and the
building of the bridge deepened and scoured the channel, so that the
ford only became available afterwards in dry seasons, though up to the
time of Queen Elizabeth it was still fordable after a drought. This
ford seems to answer all the requirements of the narrative; it is just
the place where troops, ignorant of the way, would step aside into deep
water and so fall into difficulties. It is also the place where the
army, following the road, would arrive at the river.

In considering the early history of the City, we must remember not
only the connection of Westminster with this ford, but also the great
and important fact of the trade which was carried on up and down the
road over Thorney, making the place a busy centre of traffic before
there was a Port of London at all. Whether the Port of London existed
when the Romans began their occupation has been questioned. To me it
is quite plain that it did. If there was no Port of London, then the
merchandise intended for all the country inland was taken by river to
Thorney. This much is certain, that the Romans established themselves
in a fort on the east of the Walbrook. The building of this fort could
not be undertaken until the position of the place and the navigation of
the river were well known, because all the stone must have been brought
by water. We will suppose, then, that an ordinary camp occupied this
site before the fort was built. If we now consult the map we observe
that the position, though it guarded the river, was isolated with
respect to the way of trade and to the way of war.

It was therefore imperative to acquire the means of communication with
that way. Had the Romans been unable to acquire that communication,
the Roman settlement overhanging Walbrook would never have been
built. In other words, the situation demanded a bridge, and a bridge
was built. The date of the first London bridge is that of the first
Roman occupation of London, _i.e._ the period immediately following the
massacre under Boadicea.

What kind of bridge was built? First, we must remember that to build a
bridge of stone over a broad and deep tidal estuary was a work which
had never yet been attempted anywhere in the Empire. Certainly among
the people of London there were none who would venture to attempt
so great a work, while I do not believe that the military engineers
themselves would attempt it. Next, it was a work which would certainly
take a great deal of time; later on, for instance, the first stone
bridge took thirty years to accomplish. Thirdly, it would be a costly

The answer must be sought in the bridges built by the Romans in other
places about the same time. Two of these especially may be chosen. They
are (1) the bridge over the Rhine constructed by Julius Cæsar in ten
days, and (2) the Roman bridge over the same river at Mayence, of which
a model exists in the museum of that town.

There can be no doubt that this bridge at London was, to begin with,
a wooden bridge. The reasons for this conclusion are, briefly, as

1. It was built after the rebellion of Boadicea and the massacre of
the people of London. It was intended as a military bridge connecting
the Citadel of London, built immediately after that event, with the
southern ports.

2. The construction of a stone bridge over a broad, deep, and tidal
river would have been a work involving a long time and immense
cost. Trajan’s Bridge over the Danube was built about the year 104
A.D., but the Danube is not a tidal river. There is no example
of a stone bridge over a tidal river, that I know of, belonging to this

3. The engineers who formed part of the army would naturally be ordered
to build the bridge, and would do so after the manner which they had
learned and practised with other military bridges.

4. The accounts of and reference to the bridge during the next thousand
years or so clearly suggest a wooden bridge. Snorro Sturleson, the
Icelander, speaks of it as wooden and sustained by piles. The planks
which formed the mainway must have been loosely laid together with gaps
between, for a large number of Roman coins have been found in the bed
of the river below; these had apparently rolled through. The bridge is
reported to have been carried away or greatly damaged in 1091. It was
burned in 1136.

5. The first stone bridge of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries
took thirty years to complete. A military bridge, such as I conceive
the first London Bridge to have been, could not be allowed to remain
unfinished for years.

The course of events, as I have already suggested, was as follows:—

1. London was unprotected until after the massacre by the troops of

2. The importance of the place was then apprehended, and the Roman
Citadel on the eastern hill over the Walbrook was constructed to
protect the port and the town, and contained the garrison, the
officers, and the officials.

3. The walls of the Citadel were built of stone from the Kentish
quarries. The bridge, however, was built of wood, as being convenient,
cheap, and easy of construction.

There were two models to choose from—perhaps more, but the two will

The first of them, as stated above, was Cæsar’s bridge over the Rhine,
built in ten days.

This was a _Pons Sublicius_, supported by piles.

Two piles were driven into the bed of the river by a hammer or mallet
called a _fistuca_. They were set side by side, and in a sloping
direction, in order to withstand the force of the current. Opposite to
them were two other piles similarly driven into the bed of the river.
Each pair of piles were kept in place and strengthened by cross struts.
Cross pieces, each two feet in diameter, were laid across each pair,
and joists, for which purpose were used the trunks of trees either
roughly squared or not squared at all, were placed upon them.

The piles were further strengthened by the construction in front and
at the sides of a pier or sterling formed by smaller piles driven in
side by side. The sterling was filled with stones or rubble, and beams
were laid from one joist to another, over which were placed wattle and
reeds; the whole, covered with earth and gravel, made a roadway and
completed the bridge.

A more elaborate structure is that of which an actual portion exists in
the museum at Mayence, with a model of one of the piers.

In this bridge the sterling was constructed with piles set side by
side in lines or rows; but they were double, and between each row of
piles were placed beams of wood; transverse rows of piles crossed the
sterling, also double, and strengthened with timber laid between. The
whole was filled up with stones and rubble.

Two of the piles are preserved in the museum; they appear to be about
25 feet in length, and are sharpened at the end. At a later date, if
not at the outset, stones were laid upon the sterling. If this method
was adopted for the first London Bridge, the supporting piles rose out
of the opposite angles of the sterling, after which Cæsar’s method was

The reason why no mention is made of the construction of the bridge
is, first, that no history mentions any buildings in Roman London;
and next, that the Citadel and the bridge were built by soldiers
quietly, without the counsel or the consent of the citizens, if
there were any—if, that is, the _copia mercatorum_ really existed.
In a few days, or a few weeks, the Thames was spanned by a bridge
which would be repaired, burned, repaired again, and so continue for
twelve hundred years to come. The first bridge was about the same
length as the second, viz. 626 feet long. It was not nearly so high,
however. Its breadth was 40 feet. We may be certain that this was the
breadth, because it was the breadth of Cæsar’s bridge, _i.e._ the most
convenient breadth for the passage of troops; and secondly, because
that was the breadth of the second bridge, built by one of those
Fratres Pontifices, who usually made their bridges narrow, like those
of Avignon and Les Saintes. Peter of Colechurch, however, would not
build his stone bridge of a less convenient breadth than that of the
old wooden one. The drawbridge came later, when the wall was built and
the river gate. At first the bridge was open at both ends, but was
commanded by the fort overhanging the north end.

It has been supposed that the bridge was constructed for the purpose
of traffic, and that the Watling Street was diverted just at the site
of the Marble Arch in order that the traffic might cross the bridge.
This supposition is quite unfounded; there were no wheeled vehicles
along the tracks which served for roads; all the traffic was carried by
slaves, or by pack horses and mules. To slaves, to mules, to drivers,
to merchants, a ford was part of the journey, not to be regarded as
an impediment. And besides, it was much shorter, when one had arrived
before Thorney, to cut straight across the marsh than to go along the
new road leading into London. The diversion of Watling Street and the
construction of the bridge were for military, not commercial purposes.
The Romans understood the natural advantages of their position; they
hastened to improve it by direct communication with the north and with
the south.

The building of the bridge therefore preceded the building of the wall
by some 300 years.

To sum up, the date of the bridge is also the date of the first
military settlement on the site of London. It is also the date of the
stone fort erected beside the Walbrook. After the bridge was built the
road was constructed; its modern names are Oxford Street and Holborn;
it connected London by land with the great highway of the island.
Both the road and the bridge were at first needed for purely military
purposes. When the Port of London increased in importance, when it
became easier to carry goods for export and to receive imported goods
by London than to go all the way to Dover, the caravans adopted the new
road and poured into London what they had previously taken to Dover.
But neither the new road nor the bridge was built for anything but
military purposes.

The first allusion to the bridge occurs in the _Chronicle_ under the
year A.D. 457, when the Britons, defeated at Crayford or
Creganford by the Saxons, fled for life, taking refuge in London.
Of course, if there had been no bridge, the defeated army could not
have entered London in this wild haste; in fact they would not have
attempted it.

                              CHAPTER VII

                             LONDON STONE

Besides the wall, there are two other monuments, still surviving, of
Roman London. One is “London Stone”; the other is the Roman bath in the
Strand, which I have already mentioned (p. 98).

There does not appear to be any exact account of the stone as it was
before the fire which so grievously diminished it. Strype says that it
was much worn away, only a stump remaining. What is left is nothing but
a fragment. There was formerly, however, a large foundation. It stood
on the south side of Cannon Street, from which point all the mileage of
the roads was measured. In the romance of Sir Bevis of Hampton there is
a great battle in the streets of London:—

    “So many men were now seen dead.
    For the water of the Thames for blood ran red:
    From St. Mary Bow to London Stone.”

The first Mayor of London, Henry FitzAylwin, lived in a house on the
north side of St. Swithin’s, and was called Henry FitzAylwin of London

Stow describes the stone in the following words:—

 “On the south side of this high Street [Candlewick Street] near
 unto the Channell is pitched upright a great stone called London
 Stone, fixed in the Ground very deep, fastened with Bars of Iron,
 and otherwise so strongly set, that, if cartes do runne against it
 through negligence, the wheeles be broken and the stone is left
 unshaken. The cause why the stone was there set, the very time when,
 or other memorial hereof, is there none; but that the same hath long
 continued there is manifest, namely, since, or rather before the
 time of the Conquest, for in the ende of a fair written Gospel Booke
 given to Christes Churche in Canterbury by Ethelstane, King of the
 West Saxons, I find noted of landes or rentes in London belonging to
 the said churche, whereof one parcel is described to lie neare unto
 London Stone. Of later time we read that in the yeare of Christe 1135,
 the first of King Stephen, a fire which began in the house of one
 Ailward, neare unto London Stone, consumed all east to Aldgate, in
 which fire the Priorie of the Holy Trinitie was burnt, and west to St.
 Erkenwald’s shrine in Paule’s Church: and these are the eldest notes
 that I read thereof. Some have said this stone was set as a marke
 in the middle of the City within the wall, but in truth it standeth
 farre nearer unto the river of Thames than to the Wall of the City.”
 (Strype’s _Stow_, vol. i. bk. ii. chap. xiii.)

James Howell (_Londinopolis_, p. 4, 1657) adopts Camden’s opinion:
“London Stone I take to be a Mile mark or Milliary such as was in the
market place at Rome from which were taken dimensions of all Journies
every way considering it is near the midst as it lyeth in length.”

Wren thought that the stone originally belonged to some considerable
monument in the Forum, for in the adjoining ground on the south side
were discovered tessellated pavements and other extensive remains of
Roman workmanship and buildings while men were digging for cellars
after the fire. On this point Mr. Price pertinently reminds us that the
Miliarium Aureum at Constantinople was not in the form of a pillar,
as at Rome, but a fine building, under whose roof stood statues of
Constantine, Helena, Trajan, Hadrian, and many other figures.

And Maitland says that some people held the stone to be significant of
the City, devotion to Christ, and of His care and protection of the
City, and quotes certain rhymes of Fabian (vol. ii. bk. ii. p. 1047):—

    “It is so sure a Stone
    That that is upon sette,
    For though some have it thrette
    With Manases grym and grete,
        Yet Hurte had it none.

    Cryst is the very Stone
    That the Citie is set upon
    Which from all hys Foone
    Hath ever preservyd yt.”

                             CHAPTER VIII

                      THE DESOLATION OF THE CITY

We now come to the period about which, so far as London is concerned,
there are no historians and there is no tradition. Yet what happened
may be read with certainty. The Roman legions were at last withdrawn.
Britain was left to defend herself. She had to defend herself against
the Saxon pirates in the east; against the Picts and Scots in the
north; and against the wild tribes of the mountains in the west.
Happily we have not in these pages to attempt the history of the two
centuries of continual battle and struggle which followed before the
English conquest brought at last a time of rest and partial peace. But
we must ascertain, if we can, how London fared during the long interval.

Let us take the evidence (I.) of History; (II.) of Excavation; (III.)
of Site; (IV.) of Tradition.

I. Of History.

For more than 200 years London is mentioned once, and once only, by any
history of the time. The reference is in the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_.
“This year”—A.D. 457—“Hengist and Æsc his son fought against
the Britons at the place called Cregan Ford, and there slew four
thousand men; and the Britons then forsook Kent and in great terror
fled to London.” They sought safety beyond the bridge and within the

Otherwise there is a dead silence in the Chronicle about London. We
hear about this place and that place being attacked and destroyed, but
not London. Now, had there been any great battle followed by such a
slaughter as that of Anderida, it must certainly have been mentioned.
There never was any such battle. London decayed, melted away, was
starved into solitude, but not into submission.

London was founded as a commercial port. We have seen that at first the
trade of the country passed to the south over Thorney Island; but that,
after the convenience of London had been discovered, it went to London.
As a trading centre London was founded, and as a trading centre it
continued. The people were always as they are now, traders. It was not
the military capital; it was not, until late in the Roman occupation,
the head-quarters of the civil administration. It flourished or it
decayed, consequently, with the prosperity or the decline of trade.

The Saxons did not love walled cities; the defence of so long a
wall—nearly three miles round—required a much larger army than the East
Saxons could ever raise. And as yet the Saxons had not learned to
trade. Besides, they loved open fields; walls they thought were put
up for purposes of magic. “Fly! Fly! Avoid the place lest some wizard
still lingering among the ruins should arise and exercise his spells.
Back to the freedom and the open expanse of the fields!” Therefore,
when the people of London went out and gradually disappeared, the
Saxons were not moved to take their places.

If they came within sight of the grey walls of London they felt no
inclination to enter; if out of curiosity they did enter, they speedily
left the silent streets and ruined houses to the evil spirits and
witches who lurked among them. The empty warehouses, the deserted
quays, the wrecked villas, the fragments of the columns, seized for the
building of the wall, the roofless rooms, spoke to them of a conquered
people, but offered no inducement to settle down.

The Romano-British fleet was no more—it disappeared when the last Count
of the Saxon Shore resigned his office; the narrow seas lay open to
the pirates; the seas immediately began to swarm with pirates; the
merchantmen, therefore, had to fight their way with doubtful success.
This fact enormously increased the ordinary risks of trade.

The whole country was in continual disorder; there was no part of it
where a man might live in peace save within the walls of a city. Rich
farms were destroyed; the splendid villas were plundered and burned;
orchards and vineyards were broken down and deserted; brigands and
marauders were out on every road; wealthy families were reduced to
poverty. What concerned London in all this was that there was no more
demand for imports, and there were no more of the former exports sent
up to be shipped. The way was closed for shipping, the highroads were
closed, no more exports arrived, no more imports were wanted, trade
therefore was dead.

II. The evidence of Excavation.

The whole of Roman London is lost, except for the foundations, some
of which still lie underground. All the churches, temples, theatres,
official buildings, palaces, and villas are all gone. They were lost
when the Saxons took possession of the town. The names of the streets
are gone—their very tradition has perished. The course of the streets
is lost and forgotten. This fact alone proves beyond a doubt that
the occupation of London was not continuous.[21] The Roman gate of
Bishopsgate lay some distance to the east of the Saxon gate; the Roman
gate in Watling Street lay some distance to the north of the later
Newgate; the line of the Ermin Street did not anywhere coincide exactly
with the Roman road; the new Watling Street of the Saxons actually
crossed the old one. We may note, also, that an ancient causeway
lies under the tower of St. Mary le Bow. How can these facts be
reconciled with the theory of continuous occupation? The Saxons, again,
did not come in as conquerors and settle down among the conquered. They
cannot have done so; otherwise they would have acquired and preserved
something of Roman London. And though we should not, at this day, after
so many years and so many fires, expect to find Roman villas standing,
we should have some of the old streets with Roman or at least British
names. All that is left to us, by tradition, of Roman London is its
British name.


Tib. MS. C. VI.]

The destruction of a deserted city advances slowly at first, but
always with acceleration. The woodwork of Roman London was carried
off to build rude huts for the fisher-folk and the few slaves who
stayed behind. They had at least their liberty, and lived on beside
the deserted shore. The gentle action of rain and frost and sunshine
contributed a never-ceasing process of disintegration; clogged
watercourses undermined the foundations; trees sprang up amid the
chambers and dropped their leaves and decayed and died; ivy pulled
down the tiles and pushed between the bricks; new vegetation raised
the level of the ground; the walls of the houses either fell or slowly
disappeared. When, after a hundred years of desolation, the Saxon
ventured to make his home within the ruined walls of the City, even
if it were only to use the site after his manner at Silchester and
Uriconium, as a place for the plough to be driven over and for the corn
to grow, there was little indeed left of the splendour of the former

Another argument in favour of the total desertion of London is derived
from a consideration of the houses of a Roman city. The remains of
Roman villas formed within the second and longer wall sufficiently
prove that in all respects the city of Augusta was built in the same
manner as other Roman cities; as Bordeaux, for instance, or Treves,
or Marseilles. If, then, the conquerors had occupied London in the
fifth century, they would have found, ready to their hand, hundreds of
well-built and beautiful houses. It is true that the Saxon would not
have cared for the pictures, statues, and works of art; but he would
have perceived the enormous superiority of the buildings in material
comfort over his own rude houses. It is absurd to suppose that any
people, however fierce and savage, would prefer cold to warmth in a
winter of ice and snow.

Again, it is not probable, not even possible, that in a city where such
a construction was easy, owing to the lie of the ground, the Romans
should have neglected to make a main sewer for the purpose for which
the Cloaca Maxima was made, viz. to carry off the surface rainfall
from the streets. Perhaps the Roman sewer may still be discovered. The
outfall was certainly in the foreshore, between Walbrook and Mincing
Lane; but the foreshore has long since been built upon and the sewer
closed. It is reasonable to suppose that if the Saxons had found it
they would have understood its manifold uses and would have maintained


Roach Smith’s _Catalogue of London Antiquities_]

It has pleased the antiquary to discover on the site of the Roman fort,
or Citadel, the traces of the four broad streets at right angles which
were commonly laid down in every Roman town. Indications of their
arrangement, for instance, are still found at Dorchester, Chester,
Lincoln, and other places. The antiquary may be right in his theory,
but it must be acknowledged that the Roman streets in other parts of
London have been built over and the old ways deflected. Surely if
the Saxon occupation had taken place in the fifth century, the old
arrangement of streets would have been retained on the simple principle
that it entailed the least trouble.

Consider, next, the Roman villa. “Their general plan is that of two or
three courts open to the air, with open windows running round them, out
of which lead small rooms of various kinds—the sleeping rooms and the
women’s rooms generally being at the back, and the latter sometimes
quite separated from the rest” (Hayter Lewis, _Cities, Ancient and
Mediæval_). There is not in the accounts or pictures of any Anglo-Saxon
house that we possess any similarity whatever to the Roman villa.
If, however, the Saxon had occupied London in the fifth century, he
would certainly have adopted the Roman house with its arrangements of
separate rooms in preference to his own rude hall, in which all the
household together slept on rushes round the central fire.

Again, had the Saxon occupied London in the fifth century, he would
have found the houses provided with an apparatus for warming the rooms
with hot air, both easy and simple, not at all likely to get out of
gear, and intelligible to a child. Is it reasonable to suppose that
he would have given up this arrangement in order to continue his own
barbarous plan of making a great wasteful fire in the middle of the

And he would have found pavements in the streets. Would he have taken
them up and gone back to the primitive earth? Would he not rather
have kept them in repair for his own convenience? And he would have
found aqueducts and pipes for supplying conduits and private houses
with water. Would he have destroyed them for mere mischief? One might
mention the amphitheatre, which certainly stood outside the wall, but
according to my opinion, as I have explained, the amphitheatre was
destroyed in order to build the great wall, which was put up hurriedly
and in a time of panic.

It may be objected that in later centuries the great house became
somewhat like the Roman villa in being built round a court. The answer
is that the mediæval court was not the Roman garden with a fountain
and corridors; it was the place of exercise and drill for the castle.
Even the country house built round its little court had its windows
opening into the court, not looking out upon the country, thus showing
something of a survival of the fortress. The mediæval court, of which
so many instances are extant, belonged at first to the castle, and not
to the villa.

III. The evidence of Site.

We must return to the position of London. We have seen that at
the outset the City had in the north a wild and quaggy moor with
an impenetrable forest beyond. On the east it had a marsh and a
considerable stream flowing through that marsh; on the south a broad
tidal river, and beyond that a vast marsh stretching a long way on both
sides. On the west the City had a small stream in a marshy bed, and
rising ground, which was probably in Roman times cleared and planted.
Unlike any other town in the world, except Venice of later times,
London had not an inch of land cultivated for her own food supplies,
not a field for corn, not a meadow for hay, not an orchard or a
vineyard or anything. She was dependent from the beginning, as she is
still dependent, upon supplies brought in from the outside, except for
the fish in the river. She was supplied by means of the Roman roads; by
Watling Street and the Vicinal Road from Essex and from Kent; from the
west by the highway of the Thames, and by ships that came up the Thames.

Now if a city wholly dependent upon trade experiences a total loss of
trade, what must happen? First those who work for the merchants—the
stevedores, lightermen, boatmen, porters, carriers, warehousemen,
clerks, and accountants—are thrown out of work. They cannot be kept in
idleness for ever. They must go—whither? To join the armies.

Next, the better class, the wealthier kind, the lawyers, priests,
artists, there is no work for them. They too must go—whither? To the
camp. Finally, when gold is no longer of any use because there is
nothing to buy, the rich people themselves, with the officers of state,
look round the decaying city and see no help for it but that they too
must go. As for the slaves, they have long since broken away and fled;
there was no longer any provision in the place; they had to go.

With bleeding hearts the rich men prepared to leave the place where
they had been as luxurious as they could be in Rome itself when Rome
was still at its best and proudest. They took with them only what
each could carry. The tender girls carried household utensils, the
boys carried arms, the parents carried the household gods—it is true
that Christianity was the religion of the state, but their household
gods had been in the house for long and had always hitherto brought
good luck! Their sofas and tables, their rich plate and statues,
their libraries, and their pictures, they left behind them; for these
things could not be carried away. And so they went out through what
their conquerors would in after-time call the New Gate, and by Watling
Street, until they reached the city of Gloucester, where the girls
remained to become the mothers and grandmothers of soldiers doomed to
perish on the fields of disaster, and the boys went out to join the
army and to fight until they fell. Thus was London left desolate and
deserted. I suppose that a remnant remained, a few of the baser sort,
who, finding themselves in charge of the City, closed the gates and
then began to plunder. With the instinct of destruction they burned
the houses after they had sacked them. Then, loaded with soft beds,
cushions and pillows, and silk dresses, they sat down in their hovels.
And what they did then and how they lived, and how they dropped back
into a barbarism far worse than that from which they had sprung, we
may leave to be imagined. The point is that London was absolutely
deserted—as deserted as Baalbec or Tadmor in the wilderness,—and that
she so continued for something like a hundred and fifty years.

How was the City resettled? Some dim memory of the past doubtless
survived the long wars in the island and fifteen generations—allowing
only ten years for a short-lived generation—of pirates who swept the
seas. Merchants across the Channel learned that there were signs of
returning peace, although the former civilisation was destroyed and
everything had to be built up again. It must not be supposed, however,
that the island was ever wholly cut off from the outer world. Ships
crossed over once more, laden with such things as might tempt these
Angles and Saxons—glittering armour, swords of fine temper, helmets
and corslets. They found deserted quays and a city in ruins; perhaps
a handful of savages cowering in huts along the river-side; the
wooden bridge dilapidated, the wooden gates hanging on their hinges,
the streets overgrown; the villas destroyed, either from mischief or
for the sake of the wood. Think, if you can, of a city built almost
entirely of wood, left to itself for a hundred and fifty years, or
left with a few settlers like the Arabs in Palmyra, who would take for
fuel all the wood they could find. As for the once lovely villa, the
grass was growing over the pavement in the court; the beams of the
roof had fallen in and crushed the mosaics in the chambers; yellow
stonecrop and mosses and wild-flowers covered the low foundation
walls; the network of warming pipes stood up stark and broken round
the débris of the chambers which once they warmed. The forum, the
theatre, the amphitheatre, the residence of that _vir spectabilis_ the
_Vicarius_, were all in ruins, fallen down to the foundations. So with
the churches. So with the warehouses by the river-side. As for the
walls of the first Citadel, the Prætorium, they, as we have seen, had
long since been removed to build the new wall of the City. This wall
remained unbroken, save where here and there some of the facing stones
had fallen out, leaving the hard core exposed. The river side of it,
with its water gates and its bridge gate, remained as well as the land

IV. The evidence of Tradition is negative.

Of Augusta, of Roman London, not a fragment except the wall and the
bridge remained above ground; the very streets were for the most
part obliterated; not a tradition was left; not a memory survived of
a single institution, of an Imperial office or a custom. I do not
know whether any attempt has been made to trace Roman influences and
customs in Wales, whither the new conquerors did not penetrate. Such
an inquiry remains to be made, and it would be interesting if we could
find such survivals. Perhaps, however, there are no such traces; and
we must not forget that until the departure of the Romans the wild men
of the mountains were the irreconcilable enemies of the people of the
plains. Did the Britons when they slowly retreated fall back into the
arms of their old enemies? Not always. In many cases it has been proved
that they took refuge in the woods and wild places, as in Surrey, and
Sussex, and in the Fens, until such time as they were able to live
among their conquerors.

The passing of Roman into Saxon London is a point of so much importance
that I may be excused for dwelling upon it.

I have given reasons for believing—to my own mind, for proving—that
Roman London, for a hundred years, lay desolate and deserted, save for
the humble fisher-folk. In addition to the reasons thus laid down,
let me adduce the evidence of Mr. J. R. Green. He shows that, by the
earlier conquests of the Saxon invaders, the connection of London with
the Continent and with the inland country was entirely broken off.
“The Conquest of Kent had broken its communications with the Continent;
and whatever trade might struggle from the southern coast through the
Weald had been cut off by the Conquest of Sussex. That of the Gwent
about Winchester closed the road to the south-west; while the capture
of Cunetio interrupted all communication with the valley of the Severn.
And now the occupation of Hertfordshire cut off the city from northern
and central Britain.” We must also remember that the swarms of pirates
at the mouth of the Thames cut off communication by sea. How could a
trading city survive the destruction of her trade?

[Illustration: THE ARK

From Claud MS., B. iv.]

The Saxons, when they were able to settle down at or near London,
did so outside the old Roman wall; they formed clearings and made
settlements at certain points which are now the suburbs of London. The
antiquity of Hampstead, for instance, is proved by the existence of two
charters of the tenth century (see paper by Prof. Hales, _London and
Middlesex Archæological Transactions_, vol. vi. p. 560).

I have desired in these pages not to be controversial. It is, however,
necessary to recognise the existence of some who believe that London
preserved certain Roman customs on which was founded the early
municipal constitution of London, and that there was at the same time
an undercurrent of Teutonic customs which did not become law. I beg,
therefore, to present this view ably advocated by Mr. G. L. Gomme in
the same volume (p. 528), for he is an authority whose opinion and
arguments one would not willingly ignore.

His view is as follows:—

1. He does not recognise the desertion of London.

2. He does recognise the fact that the A.S. did not occupy the walled

3. That the new-comers had at first no knowledge of trade.

4. That they formed village settlements dotted all round London.

5. That the trade of London, when it revived, was not a trade in food,
but in slaves, horses, metals, etc.

6. That the villages were self-supporting communities, which neither
exported nor imported corn either to or from abroad, or to and from
each other.

One would remark on this point that while London was deserted the
villages around might very well support themselves; but with London a
large and increasing city, the villages could not possibly support its
people as well as their own. The city was provided from Essex, from
Kent, from Surrey, and from the inland counties by means of the river.

7. That everywhere in England one finds the Teutonic system.

8. That in London the Teutonic customs encountered older customs which
they could not destroy, and that these older customs were due for the
most part to Roman influence.

Observe that this theory supposes the survival of Roman merchants and
their descendants throughout the complete destruction of trade and
the desertion of the City, according to my view; or the neglect of
London and its trade for a century and more after the Saxon Conquest,
according to the views of those who do not admit the desertion. Mr.
Gomme quotes Joseph Story on the _Conflict of Laws_, where he argues
that wherever the conquerors in the fall of Rome settled themselves,
they allowed the people to preserve their municipal customs. Possibly;
but every city must present an independent case for investigation. Now,
according to my view there were no people left to preserve the memory
of the Roman municipality.

[22]9. That the A.S. introduced the village system, viz. the village
tenure, the communal lands around, the common pasture-land beyond these.

10. That the broad open spaces on the north of London could not be used
for agricultural purposes, and “they became the means of starting in
London the wide-reaching powers of economical laws which proclaim that
private ownership, not collective ownership, is the means for national

11. That the proprietors who became the aldermen of wards “followed
without a break the model of the Roman citizen.”

This statement assumes, it will be seen, the whole theory of continued
occupation; that is to say, continued trade, for without their trade
the Roman citizens could not live.

12. That the existence of public lands can be proved by many instances
recorded in the _Liber Custumarum_ and elsewhere.

13. That the management of the public lands was in the hands of the

14. That the Folkmote never wholly dominated the city; nor was it ever
recognised as the supreme council, which was in the hands of the nobles.

15. That the ancient Teutonic custom of setting up a stone as a sign
was observed in London.

16. That there are many other Teutonic customs which are not
represented in any collections of city law and customs.

17. That there are customs which may be recognised as of Roman origin,
_e.g._ the custom of the Roman lawyers meeting their clients in the
Forum. In London the sergeants-at-law met their clients in the nave of
St. Paul’s.

Surely, however, there is nothing Roman about this. There was then
no Westminster Hall; there were no Inns of Court; the lawyers must
have found some place wherein to meet their clients. What place
more suitable than the only great hall of the city, the nave of the

18. That there was a time when London was supported by her agriculture
and not by her commerce.

As I said above, the settlements round London could not, certainly,
support much more than themselves; and if we consider the common lands
of the city—moorland and marsh-land with uncleared forest,—these could
certainly do little or nothing for a large population.

19. That FitzStephen speaks of arable lands and pastures as well as

Undoubtedly he does. At the same time, we must read him with
understanding. We know perfectly well the only place where these arable
lands could exist, viz. a comparatively narrow belt on the west:
on the north was moorland till we come to the scattered hamlets in
the forest—chiefly, I am convinced, the settlements of woodcutters,
charcoal-burners, hunters, and trappers; on the south were swamps;
Westminster and its neighbourhood were swamps; the east side was
covered, save for the scattered settlements of Stepney, by a dense
forest with swamps on the south and east.

20. That the common lands of the city were alienated freely, as is
shown by the _Liber Albus_.

21. That Henry I. granted to the citizens the same right to hunt in
Middlesex as their ancestors enjoyed.

22. That this privilege “may have been drawn from the rights of the
Roman burghers.”

It _may_; but this seems no proof that it was.

23. That the “_territorium_ of Roman London determined the limits of
the wood and forest rights of Saxon and later London.”

Perhaps; but there seems no proof.

It appears to me, to sum up, that these arguments are most
inconclusive. It needed no Roman occupation to give the hunting people
the right to hunt; nor did it need a Roman occupation to make the
better sort attempt to assume the government; nor did it need the
example of Rome for the lawyers to assemble in a public place; nor,
again, need we go to Rome for the cause of the breaking up of an
archaic system which had outlived its usefulness. If there were Roman
laws or Roman customs in the early history of London—a theory which
I am not prepared to admit—we must seek for their origin, not in a
supposed survival of the Roman merchant through a century of desertion
and ruin, but in Roman books and in written Roman laws.

Neither does the theory against the desertion of London seem borne
out by the histories of Matthew of Westminster, Roger of Wendover,
Nennius, Ethelwerd, Geoffrey of Monmouth, and Henry of Huntingdon. Let
us examine into these statements, taking the latest first and working

I. Matthew of Westminster (_circa_ 1320).

Matthew says that when the Romans finally left the island the
Archbishop of London, named Guithelin (A.D. 435), went over to
Lesser Britain, previously called Armorica, then peopled by Britons,
and implored the help of Aldrœnus, fourth successor of King Conan,
who gave them his brother Constantine and two thousand valiant men.
Accordingly, Constantine crossed over, gathered an army, defeated the
enemy, and became King of Britain. He married a lady of noble Roman
descent, by whom he had three sons: Constans, whom he made a monk at
Winchester; Aurelius and Uther Pendragon, who were educated by the
Archbishop of London—presumably, therefore, in London.

In the year 445 Constantine was murdered. Vortigern, the “Consul of
the Genvisei,” thereupon went to Winchester and took Constans from the
cloister, and crowned him with his own hands, Guithelin being dead. The
two brothers of Constans had been sent to Brittany.

Vortigern then began to compass the destruction of the King, for his
own purposes; he took the treasury into his own custody; he raised
a bodyguard for the King of 100 Picts, whom he lavishly paid and
maintained; he filled them with suspicions that if he were gone they
would lose their pay. One evening, therefore, they rose—this bodyguard
of Picts,—seized the King and beheaded him. This was in London.
Vortigern, pretending great grief, called together the citizens of
London and told them what had been done. As no one of the royal House
was at hand, he elected himself and crowned himself King.

In 447 the country was overrun by Picts and Scots; there was also a
famine followed by a pestilence. In 448 Germanus, a holy priest, led
the Britons out to fight, and gave them a splendid victory over the
enemy. But when Germanus went away the Picts and Scots came back again.

Vortigern invited the Saxons, the Angles, and the Jutes to come over
and settle. They came; Hengist led them: they defeated the Picts and
Scots: they invited more of their own people. Vortigern, who already
had a wife and children, fell in love with Rowena, daughter of Hengist,
and married her, to the disgust of the people.


Cædman’s _Metrical Paraphrase_, Bodleian Library.]

Vortigern was deserted by the nobles, who made his son Vortimer King;
but he was poisoned in the year 460 and died in London, where he was

In 461 occurred the great slaughter of Britons by Hengist at Amesbury.

In 462, the Saxons imprisoned Vortigern until he gave up all his cities
in ransom. They seized on London, York, Winchester, and Lincoln,
destroying churches and murdering priests.

Then the Britons sent ambassadors to Brittany, entreating Aurelius and
Uther Pendragon to come over.

The Prophecy of Merlin, which is attached to the year 465, is clearly
a late production: it foretells, for instance—being wise after the
event,—that the dignity of London shall be transferred to Canterbury;
it also speaks of the gates of London, which are to be kept by a brazen
man mounted on a brazen horse.

Aurelius, with his brother Uther Pendragon, came over from Brittany;
they began by setting fire to the Citadel, in a tower of which
Vortigern was lying, and so destroyed him.

In 473, Aurelius gained a great victory over Hengist. This was
followed by other successes. The victories of Aurelius were frequent
and overwhelming. Yet the Saxons, somehow, in spite of their decisive
defeats, were strengthening and extending their hold rapidly and surely.

In 498, Aurelius died.

Uther Pendragon succeeded him and was crowned at Winchester. After
another glorious victory Uther brought his prisoners to London, where
he kept Easter exactly like a Norman king, surrounded by the nobles of
the land.

In 516, Uther Pendragon, grown old and infirm, was poisoned at Verulam.
His son Arthur succeeded him, being elected by Dubritius, Archbishop of
London, and all the bishops and nobles of the land.

In 517, Arthur went out to besiege York, but was compelled to fall back
upon London.

In 542, Arthur, after an unparalleled career of glory, died of his
wounds in Avalon, and was succeeded by his cousin Constantine, who
pursued the sons of Modred, and finding one concealed in a monastery of
London, “put him to a cruel death.”

Under the date 585, London is mentioned as then being the capital of
the kingdom of Essex.

In 586, Theonus, Archbishop of London, fled into Wales, seeing all
the churches destroyed. He took with him those of the priests who had
survived the massacres, and the sacred relics.

London, therefore, according to the story, was deserted, but not until
the year 586.

In 596, Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet and converted many.

In 600, the Pope sent the pallium to Augustine of London.

In 604, Mellitus was consecrated Bishop of London.

The writer then proceeds with the history as we have it in other

II. Roger of Wendover (_d._ 1256).

A.D. 460. He says that Vortimer was buried in London.

462. Roger mentions London as one of the cities taken.

473. Roger mentions the great victory of Aurelius in Kent.

498. Roger makes the statement that Uther kept his Easter in London.

517. Arthur falls back upon London.

542. Constantine kills Modred’s son in London.

586. Flight of Theonus, Bishop of London.

It seems thus that Matthew of Westminster followed Roger of Wendover,
who died A.D. 1237, so that even he wrote of these events 650
years after the alleged flight of the Bishop.

III. Geoffrey of Monmouth.

Geoffrey of Monmouth, who died some time in the latter half of the
twelfth century—he was made Bishop of St. Asaph in 1152—provides the
materials especially for the romance of King Arthur, for the story of
King Lear, and other delightful inventions and traditions.

By Geoffrey we find it stated (1) that Vortimer was buried in London;
(2) that the Saxons took London—A.D. 462 (?); that Aurelius,
after his great victory, restored London, “which had not escaped the
fury of the enemy”; that Uther Pendragon kept his Easter in London;
that Arthur retired upon London; that Modred’s son seized upon London
and Winchester; that Theonus was Archbishop of London; that Constantine
captured one of Modred’s sons in a monastery of London; that Theonus
fled from London with the surviving clergy.

IV. Nennius.

Nennius contains none of these statements or stories, but he says that
Vortimer was buried in Lincoln.

V. Ethelwerd.

Ethelwerd says that in 457 the Britons, being defeated in a battle in
Kent, “fled to London.” He says no more about London.

VI. Henry of Huntingdon (_circa_ 1154).

He mentions the Battle of Creganford or Crayford, which, as we have
already seen (p. 135), is recorded in the _A.S. Chronicle_, with the
retreat to London. He makes no mention at all of London after that
event till after the conversion and the arrival of Mellitus. Not a
word is said about the events alleged by the later Chroniclers, while
the great achievements of Arthur are shown to have been battles fought
and victories won in the west country. Since, however, he mentions the
massacre at Anderida, is it conceivable that he would have passed over
any such event had it happened in London? And is it conceivable that,
had London continued to be a city of trade and wealth, the Saxon would
not have attacked it?

To sum up this evidence, we find that writers most nearly contemporary
make no mention of London at all for a hundred and fifty years. We find
Chroniclers six hundred years later mentioning certain events of no
importance, and agreeing in the desertion of London, which they place
about the year 586. The date signifies little, but the reference shows
that there was certainly in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries a
tradition which pointed to a period of ruin and desertion. Geoffrey of
Monmouth seems to have furnished most of the victories and great doings
of the Britons, who were so victorious that they were continually
driven back into the forests and into the mountains. When a traditional
king succeeds, or holds his court, or dies, it is natural to provide
him with a city, and there was London ready to hand. At the same time
there was the tradition that at one time London was deserted. And so
the whole matter is explained, and fits into the only working theory
which accounts for the almost complete silence of the _A.S. Chronicle_
as to the once great and glorious and wealthy city of Augusta.


[21] Compare for instance, the city of Jerusalem, in which, despite the
many sieges and conquests, the course of the old streets still remains.

[22] In _The Governance of London_ (1907), Mr. Gomme surrenders some
evidence which he formerly considered told in favour of Teutonic
influences in London, such as that in clauses 9 and 11; but on
the other hand he strengthens his case for Roman origins in other

                               BOOK III

                             SAXON LONDON

                               CHAPTER I

                       THE COMING OF THE SAXONS

The life of London began again somewhere about the end of the sixth
century. As London was created for purposes of trade, and as it fell
with the destruction of trade, so it was restored for purposes of
trade. The merchants from beyond the seas heard that peace, some kind
of peace, had returned to this land; the mouth of the Thames no longer
swarmed with pirates, for there was nothing left on which they could
prey. From Dover the adventurous merchantman crept timidly along the
coast—there was no enemy in sight; the skipper ventured into the narrow
channel between Thanet and the mainland—no ship was there, no sign of
pirate craft; timidly he sailed up the broad estuary of the Thames—not
a sail did he encounter. There were no ships; when the Saxon migration
exhausted itself, the Saxon forgot straightway the art of shipbuilding
and the mystery of navigation; his ships were to him like those wings
on certain insects which provide for the one flight—that achieved, the
wings drop off. During the hundred years and more, while the invasion
was becoming a conquest, the ships had rotted or been burned. Yet the
strange merchants knew not what reception they would meet. Along the
low and marshy shores of the Thames, as the estuary narrowed, there was
not a sign of human habitation—who would dwell in the marsh when he
could dwell on the land? There were no fishermen even. There were no
signs of life, other than the cry of the birds whirling overhead and
the plunging of the porpoise round the bows.

Presently they arrived at London. They knew it as London—not Augusta,
which had been its name for a few years only. There was the bridge of
which they had heard; but its planks and piles were falling into decay.
There was the sea wall, and, behind, the land wall—grey, overgrown
with wall-flowers, with that yellow flower that grows to this day only
on and beside Roman stations. The wall was strong yet, though half
in ruins. And there stood the ancient gates with their rusty hinges
and decayed woodwork. There were the ancient ports which we know as
Billingsgate and Dowgate, at the mouth of the Walbrook. There were the
quays, broken down and decaying and deserted. Where were the people
of London? There was no smoking hearth; there was no smoking altar;
there was no sound of blacksmith’s forge, or of any craft, or trade, or

They moved alongside a quay—it was at Billingsgate; a couple of men
landed and the rest waited under arms.

These scouts walked about the quay, and boldly penetrated into the
town. After half an hour they returned with the news that the place was
really deserted. There was no one there, neither merchant, nor Saxon,
nor Briton.


Harleian MS., 603.]

Then these traders landed their cargo and began cautiously to explore
the country round, carrying their goods for sale. They found farmsteads
dotted about, each containing one family, with its chief, its sons and
daughters, and its slaves. They went north and east as far as Ongar and
Abridge, and even beyond the great forest. The people received them
without any attempt to kill or murder them: they were interested at
least in the weapons offered for barter.

What more? Trade revived: the foreign merchants came back, the men of
Rouen, the men of Bordeaux; and some of the East Saxons themselves,
forgetting their prejudice against towns, came in to settle and took to
trade. Some of the Britons came out of their retreats in the forests
and found shelter and freedom, and perhaps wealth, in the city. London
was founded a second time.

The desertion of London, the solitude of London, the return of
the merchants, the repeopling of the place, are not described by
historians, but have been related here as they must have happened.
There seems to me to be no other way of explaining the facts of the

In the beginning of the seventh century London is again mentioned. The
following is the testimony of Bede, who wrote one hundred and twenty
years after the events recorded. The main facts were most certainly
remembered, while the actual condition of London at the date would be
probably less clearly known. His words are these:—

“In the year of our Lord, 604, Augustine, Archbishop of Britain,
ordained two bishops, viz. Mellitus and Justus: Mellitus to preach
to the province of the East Saxons, who are divided from Kent by the
river Thames, and border on the Eastern Sea. Their metropolis is the
city of London, which is situated on the bank of the aforesaid river,
and is the mart of many nations resorting to it by sea and land. At
that time, Sebert, nephew to Ethelbert by his sister Ricula, reigned
over the nation, though he was under subjection to Ethelbert, who, as
has been said above, had command over all the nations of the English
as far as the river Humber. But when this province also received the
word of truth, by the preaching of Mellitus, King Ethelbert built the
church of St. Paul, in the city of London, where he and his successors
should have their episcopal see. As for Justus, Augustine ordained
him bishop in Kent, at the city which the English named Rhofescestir,
from one that was formerly the chief man of it, called Rhof. It was
almost twenty-four miles distant from the city of Canterbury to the
westward, and contains a church dedicated to St. Andrew the apostle.
King Ethelbert, who built it, bestowed many gifts on the bishops of
both those churches, as well as on that of Canterbury, adding lands and
possessions for the use of those who were with the bishops.”

And in the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_ we have the following brief
entry:—“A.D. 604. This year the East Saxons received the faith
and baptism under King Sebert and Bishop Mellitus.”

At this time, then, the King of Kent was the overlord of the Essex men,
who had as well their own King. And their “metropolis” was London,
where King Ethelbert built their first church—St. Paul’s. Also London
was “the mart of many nations.” This was doubtless true in the eighth
century when Bede wrote. How far was it true at the beginning of the
seventh? Some advance had been made, that is certain. For the Bishop,
London was the metropolis, the mother city. Whatever official and
central life belonged to the diocese was placed, therefore, in London.

It would be interesting, if it were possible, to trace the gradual
change in the manners and customs of the Saxons which enabled them
to live in towns. That it was very gradual we may learn from the
small number of towns in Saxon England, from the large number of
Roman-British cities left “waste,” and from the fact that not until
Alfred’s time did they begin to build or to restore the walls of their
towns. It was, however, a Saxon population that occupied London as
soon as the days of desolation were fulfilled. This is certain from
the names of the streets, which, with one doubtful exception, are
all Saxon—why the name of the river itself never became Saxon is a
fact impossible to explain. First came the merchants with the sailors
and the ships. They established themselves, as of old, along the
river, beside the ports afterwards called Billingsgate and Dowgate or
Walbrook. These ports with their quays were easily repaired by means
of piles and planks. The ships and traders came with the spring, and
in the summer the chapmen, with their caravans of pack-mules and
pack-horses, rode from one clearing to another with their wares. Then
it became convenient that some should stay all the year at the port.
The streets within the river wall began to be reconstructed and houses
rose, and the country folk, losing their dread of magic, began to drop
in and to settle among the ruins of Augusta and near their new friends
the foreign merchants.


From St. Athelwold’s “Benedictional” (10th cent.).]

The site of the Citadel was still marked by a broad and open area; its
walls were gone—we have seen that they were used to build the City
wall; it was partly occupied by buildings then in ruins; its four
gates were all open—through them ran the road for wheeled vehicles to
London Stone, and so down to London Bridge. North of these streets,
_i.e._ north of Cannon Street, lay a great expanse of land, enclosed by
the wall, with the remains of Roman villas and the débris of streets
and houses lying scattered over it. This large area was the ancient
Augusta. A great part of it was cultivable land overgrown by trees and
bushes, wanting nothing more than the removal of foundations here and
there and the clearance of the underwood. Where there is cultivable
land there will be land-owners. Before long every acre within the wall
had its proprietor. From private property thus acquired by settlement
grew up most of the City wards; they were manors belonging to certain
families. On this subject I have spoken elsewhere. (See _Mediæval
London_, vol. ii. chapter v.) The Saxon settlement of London, according
to this view, followed the return of the foreign merchants. They
repaired the quays and restored the ports; it is probable that they
repaired the wooden bridge. They occupied that part of Thames Street
which lies round the mouth of the Walbrook and Billingsgate. The
country people, perceiving that no harm followed, despite the magic of
the walls, began to settle in the waste parts of the north within the
old walls. There they carved out estates and made farms and orchards,
and gradually filled up the whole area, and, also gradually, learned
the meaning of trade. As they filled up the area enclosed by the walls,
they absorbed the mixed population of foreign residents, craftsmen, and
the “service” of the port. This view of a gradual settlement, in the
north first, afterwards spreading south, seems partly borne out by the
broad waste places—the Room-lands and ground in the Saxon city. Thus
West Cheap, now a narrow street, was then a broad waste-land; there was
another Room-land at East Cheap on the site of the old Roman citadel;
and there were Room-lands near Billingsgate and Dowgate. That there was
also a Room-land at Newgate may be accounted for by the simple fact
that here were the shambles, and that no one cared to settle down,
build a house, and cultivate a piece of ground in a place so foul and

[Illustration: LADY IN A CHARIOT

Prudentius MS., 24199.]

And if Bede is right in saying that London in 604 was a “mart of all
the nations,” then this Saxon occupation must have commenced fifty
years before—we can hardly suppose a period of less than fifty years
for the re-establishment of London trade; but the silence of the
_Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_ as to the restoration of London, and the
vagueness of Bede’s statement made two hundred years afterwards, forbid
us to consider the assertion that London was “the mart of all the
nations” to be accepted literally.

As for the people by whom the settlement of London was effected, they
could be no other than the East Saxons, the people of Essex. If we look
at the map, it is clear that the situation of the town invited them,
and that in a very remarkable manner it lay open to them. The river,
peculiarly their own river, for they were settled along the coast
where it rose above the marshes, conveyed them easily to the place. An
impenetrable forest covered the whole of the north, but left a way over
a high moorland, between the forest and the marsh, from the settlements
along the shore to the walls of London. There was no such way open for
the men of Mercia, of Anglia, of Kent, or of Wessex; to them there was
only the river.

To the argument from the nature of the site we must add the very
important fact that, when first we hear of London restored, the City
is under the rule of the King of Essex. It is true that the overlord
of Essex was the King of Kent. But if London had been settled by the
men of Kent, how would the King of Essex, never so strong as other
kinglets, have acquired his right of superiority?

I must, however, refer to a paper read by Mr. T. W. Shore before the
London and Middlesex Archæological Society in March 1900, in which he
contends that London was resettled from Kent. His argument is, briefly,
as follows:—

1. The natural way of outlet or extension for Kent would be up the
Thames. That Kentish men did emigrate and settle beyond their marsh is
proved by the laws of King Wihtred (A.D. 685), in which it is
laid down that Kentish men carry their laws and customs “beyond the

2. Names connected with Kent are common round London E. of Kennington,
Kensington, Kenton, Kentish Town, Kenley, Kent’s Town.

3. The Kentish custom of gavelkind, by which the estate was divided
among all the sons equally, the youngest son taking the homestead,
prevailed, and in some places lingered long in many villages and
manors round London, viz. Kentish Town, Stepney, Mile End, Hackney,
Canonbury, Newington Barrow (Highbury), Hornsey, Islington, Streatham,
Croydon, Peckham Rye, Kensington, Walworth, Vauxhall, Wandsworth,
Battersea, Lambeth, Barnes, Sheen (Richmond), Petersham, Edmonton,
Fulham, Tottenham, Ealing, Acton, and Isleworth.

[Illustration: FAMILY LIFE

Claud MS., B. iv.]

This list (the authority for which is Thomas Robinson on Gavelkind)
is long and unimportant. It becomes more important when Glanville is
quoted as saying that partible inheritance was only recognised by the
law courts when it could be proved to have been always in use. Now if
in the twelfth century the use of gavelkind could be proved customary
beyond the memory of man, the antiquity of the use on the manors is
certainly established.

London, then, was surrounded by manors under gavelkind. Further out,
the Archbishop of Canterbury had demesnes at Harrow and Hayes. In the
reign of King John he converted gavelkind fees into knights’ fees.

4. Mr. Shore also calls attention to the two claims in William’s
Charter, that all burgesses are law-worthy, and that thus every child
is to be _his_ (not _his or her_) father’s heir.

These words prove, he suggests, that there were no bondmen in London,
as there were none in Kent, and that gavelkind, the peculiar Kentish
custom, obtained in London at that time.

This view is submitted for the readers consideration. Against it we
have to set the undoubted fact, as stated above, that the King of Essex
was the Lord of London, although his overlord was the King of Kent. Had
London been settled by Kentish men, how would the King of Essex get a
footing there? Is it not much more reasonable to suppose that the City
was first settled by the men of Essex; that the King of Kent became by
battle and victory the overlord; that Kentish men naturally flocked to
the place and acquired lands, and that they brought with them their own
customs? We may thus explain the facts of the names and the Kentish
customs. As regards the clauses in the Charter, I fail to see their
importance. If there were slaves in London, they would not be accounted
burgesses, and would not be named, for slaves had no rights; and the
framers of the Charter would naturally use the word “his” rather than
“his or her.”

As to the custom of gavelkind, it is thus laid down in the
Thirteenth-Century Custumal (see Elton, _Origins of English History_):—

“‘If any tenant in gavelkind die, having inherited gavelkind lands and
tenements, let all his sons divide that heritage equally. And if there
be no male heir, let the partition be made among the females in the
same way as among brothers. And let the messuage (or homestead) also be
divided among them, but the hearth-place shall belong to the youngest
son or daughter (the others receiving an equivalent in money), and as
far as 40 feet round the hearth-place, if the size of the heritage
will allow it. And then let the eldest have the first choice of the
portions, and the others afterwards in their order.’”

“‘In like manner as to other houses which shall be found in such a
homestead, let them be equally divided among the heirs, foot by foot,
if need be, except the cover of the hearth, which remains to the
youngest, as was said before; nevertheless, let the youngest make
reasonable amends to his co-parceners for their share by the award of
good men’” (pp. 189-190).

                              CHAPTER II

                             EARLY HISTORY

Let us return to the establishment of Christianity in London. It was
in 604, as we have seen, that the East Saxons were baptized, their
king, Sebert, being the nephew of Ethelbert, King of Kent, who was his
overlord. It was Ethelbert, and not Sebert, who built St. Paul’s for
Mellitus, the first Bishop of London. Christianity, however, is not
implanted in the mind of man altogether by baptism. Mellitus was able
to leave his diocese a few years after its creation in order to attend
a synod at Rome, and to confer with the Pope on the affairs of the
Church. This looks as if his infant Church was already in a healthy
condition of stability. So long as Ethelbert lived, at least, there
was the outward appearance of conformity; but when he died, in 616,
his son Eadbald “refused to embrace the faith of Christ,” as Bede has
it. Does this mean that he had not yet been baptized? In that case
the “conversion” of the people can only mean the conversion of some
among them. Perhaps, however, the words mean that he relapsed. In the
next sentence we are told that his example was followed by many who,
“under his father, had, either for favour, or through fear of the King,
submitted to the laws of faith and chastity.” This king, Eadbald, took
to wife his father’s widow—a crime for which, as the historian tells
us, “he was troubled with frequent fits of madness, and was possessed
by an evil spirit.”

[Illustration: AELFWINE

From Cædmon’s _Metrical Paraphrase_ (10th cent.).]

However, his example was the signal for revolt. King Sebert died
and was succeeded by his three sons, “still pagans.” Therefore the
conversion of the East Saxons, at least, had not been complete. These
princes “immediately began to profess idolatry, which during their
father’s reign they had seemed a little to abandon”; they also granted
liberty to the people to serve idols. Therefore the conversion had been
by order of the King. The people, then, nothing loth, returned to their
ancient gods and their old practices.

Some, however, remained faithful, and the services of the Church were
still carried on at St. Paul’s, with sorrowful hearts.

We now chance upon a glimpse of the East Saxon mind, for the three
princes, though they were no longer Christians, desired to get what
they could for their own advantage out of the new religion. They
observed that the most important part of the Christian ritual was
the celebration of the Eucharist, in which the communicants received
each a morsel of white bread. Clearly this was magic: the white bread
was a charm: it protected those who received it from dangers of all
kinds. They therefore called upon Mellitus to give them this charm,
but without the profession of the Christian faith. In the words of
Bede, they said, “Why do you not give us also that white bread, which
you used to give to our father Saba (for so they used to call him),
and which you still continue to give to the people in the church?” To
whom he answered, “If you will be washed in that laver of salvation, in
which your father was washed, you may also partake of the holy bread,
of which he partook; but if you despise the laver of life, you may not
receive the bread of life.” They replied, “We will not enter into that
laver, because we do not know that we stand in need of it, and yet we
will eat of that bread.” And being often earnestly admonished by him,
that the same could not be done, nor any one admitted to partake of the
sacred oblation without the holy cleansing, at last they said in anger,
“If you will not comply with us in so small a matter as this, you shall
not stay in our province”; and accordingly they obliged him and his
followers to depart from their kingdom.


Royal MS. 2, B. vii.]

Mellitus, thus forced to abandon his work, retired to Canterbury, where
he met Justus, Bishop of Rochester, also turned out of his diocese, and
Laurentius, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was also meditating flight.

The two former resolved on passing over to France, there to await the


From Dean Spence’s _The Church of England_ (Cassell).]

The three princes of the East Saxons, we are told, did not long survive
their apostasy. For, marching out to battle with the West Saxons,
they were all three slain and their army cut to pieces. Nevertheless,
the people of London and Essex refused to acknowledge this correction
and remained in their paganism.

The story of Eadbald’s conversion and the restoration of Christianity
to the kingdom of Kent is suspicious. It is as follows:—Laurentius,
the Archbishop, appeared before the King one day, and taking off his
shirt, showed his shoulders red and bleeding, as if with a grievous
flagellation. He told the King that he had received this “Apostolical”
scourging from St. Peter himself, as a punishment for thinking of
deserting his flock. “Why,” asked the Apostle, “wouldest thou forsake
the flock which I committed to you? To what shepherds wouldest thou
commit Christ’s sheep which are in the midst of wolves? Hast thou
forgotten my example, who, for the sake of those little ones, whom
Christ recommended to me in token of His affection, underwent, at the
hands of infidels and enemies of Christ, bonds, stripes, imprisonment,
afflictions, and, lastly, the death of the cross, that I might at last
be crowned with Him?”

King Eadbald accepted this miracle as a warning: he abjured the worship
of idols, renounced his unlawful marriage, and embraced the faith of
Christ. Laurentius, on this happy turn of events, sent for Mellitus
and Justus to return. The latter was restored to his see of Rochester;
the former, however, found his Londoners obstinate in their relapse.
Unfortunately, Eadbald, the penitent, had not the same power that his
father had enjoyed. It took nearly half a century to get Christianity
firmly established in London.

About the year 635, thirty years after their defeat by the men of
Wessex, the East Saxons returned to the faith. Their conversion was
due in the first instance to the persuasion and arguments of Oswy,
King of Northumbria, with his “friend”—as Bede calls him—his subject
King, Sigebert of the East Saxons. When these arguments had prevailed,
Sigebert, having been baptized, asked for priests to preach to his
people. Cedda, afterwards Bishop of London, undertook the task, with
such success that the whole people embraced Christianity. Again,
however, they fell away, led by Sighere, one of the two Kings of the
East Saxons. Their defection was caused by a pestilence, which was
interpreted to mean the wrath of their former gods. It was in the
year 665. The two Kings of the East Saxons were no longer “friends”
of Northumbria, but of Mercia; and the King of the Mercians sent
Jarumnan, Bishop of Lichfield, to bring the people back again. The
Bishop was aided in his efforts by Osyth, queen of the apostate
Sighere, afterwards known as St. Osyth. There was as little difficulty
in securing a return as a relapse: Essex once more became Christian,
and this time remained so. The missionary Bishop, Erkenwald, the Great
Bishop, who remained in the memory of London until the Reformation, was
the chief cause of the complete conversion of the people. He did not
rest satisfied with the baptism of kings and thanes: he went himself
among the rude and ignorant folk; he preached to the charcoal-burners
of the forest and to the rustics of the clearing; he founded Religious
Houses in the midst of the country people; he became, in life and after
death, the protector of the people. He made it impossible for the old
faith to be any longer regarded with regret. To the time of Erkenwald
belong not only St. Osyth (her name survives in Size Lane) and St.
Ethelburga, whose church is still standing beside Bishopsgate, but also
St. Botolph, to whom five churches were dedicated.

St. Osyth was the mother of Offa, whose memory is preserved by Bede. He
succeeded his father Sighere as one of the Kings of Essex, then subject
to Mercia. He accompanied Coinred, King of the Mercians, ingoing to
Rome, and in surrendering everything in order to become a monk.


 “With him went the son of Sighere, King of the East Saxons
 above-mentioned, whose name was Offa, a youth of most lovely age and
 beauty, and most earnestly desired by all his nation to be their King.
 He, with like devotion, quitted his wife, lands, kindred, and country,
 for Christ and for the Gospel, that he might receive an hundredfold
 in this life, and in the world to come life everlasting. He also,
 when they came to the holy places at Rome, receiving the tonsure, and
 adopting a monastic life, attained the long-wished-for sight of the
 blessed apostles in heaven.” (Giles’s _Trans._ vol. iii. p. 237.)

[Illustration: KING ETHELBALD

Harl. MS., Roll Y. 6.]

His memory was preserved in London long after his death—even, indeed,
until recent times—on account of this wonderful example of piety at
first, and afterwards by the tradition which ascribed the site of St.
Alban’s Church, Wood Street, in the City, to that of the chapel of
King Offa’s palace. That tradition is gravely considered by Maitland,
who decides against it. This Offa must not be confounded with the much
greater Offa, King of the Mercians.

Documents relating to London are few in these centuries. The earliest
notice of London among those collected and published in J. M.
Kemble’s _Codex Diplomaticus Aevi Saxonici_, and in Benjamin Thorpe’s
_Diplomatarium_, dates as far back as the year 695, if it is genuine;
but it is said to be an early forgery. The document professes to be
Bishop Erkenwald’s Charter of Barking Abbey. Reciting the lands given
to the Abbey, it says, “Sexta juxta Lundoniam unius manentis data a
Uulfhario rege. Septima supra vicum Lundoniae data Quoenguyda uxore.”
What street is here intended? There is a deed by which Ethelbald, King
of the Mercians, gives to Aldwulf, Bishop of Rochester, the right of
sending one ship to the port of London without paying taxes or dues. It
is dated 734.

In 734, King Ethelbald grants to the Bishop of Rochester leave to pass
one ship without toll into the Port of London. In another charter the
same King speaks of “Lundon tune’s hythe.” King Canulf of Mercia speaks
of a Witenagemot in London—“loco praeclaro oppidoque regale.” In 833
there was another Council held in London by Egbert, presumably after
his defeat at Charmouth.

The same King (743 or 745) allows to the venerable Bishop Mildred of
Worcester all the rights and dues of two ships which may be demanded of
them in the hythe of London town.

In the year 857, King Burgred of Mercia assigns to Bishop Alhune
“aliquam parvam portionem libertatis, cum consensu consiliatorum
meorum, gaziferi agelluli in vico Lundonioe: hoc est, ubi nominatur.
Ceol-munding-chaga, qui est non longe from Westgetum positus.” Where
was Ceol-munding-chaga? Where was Westgetum? And is the English
preposition a mistake of Kemble’s?

In the year 889, “Alfred rex Anglorum et Saxonum et Aethelred sub
regulus et patricius Merciorum ... Uuaerfrido, eximio Huicciorum
antistiti, ad aecclesiam Weo-gernensem in Lundonia unam curtem quae
verbotenus ad antiquum petrosum aedificium, id est, aet Hwaetmundes
stane a civibus apellatur, a strata publica usque in murum ejusdem
civitatis, cujus longitudo est perticarum xxvi et latitudo in superiori
parte perticarum xiii et pedum vii et in inferiori loco perticarum xi
et vi pedum, ad plenam libertatem infra totius rei sempiternaliter
possidendum, in aecclesiasticum jus conscribimus et concedentes

We have now arrived at the coming of the Danes. It seems a just
retribution that the Saxons should in their turn suffer exactly the
same miseries by robbery and murder as they had themselves inflicted
upon the Britons. One knows not when the Northmen first tasted the
fierce joy of piracy and marauding on the English coast; probably they
began as soon as the farms and settlements of the English were worth
plundering. It must be remembered that as yet there was little cohesion
or joint action among the “kingdoms,” and that war was incessant
between them. Read, for instance, the following passage from the
_Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_. It relates the wars of one year only, the year
823. Think of the condition of the country when all these battles and
all this slaughter were crammed into one year only:—

  “This year there was a battle between the Welsh and the men of Devon
 and Camelford; and the same year Egbert, King of the West Saxons,
 and Bernulf, King of the Mercians, fought at Wilton, and Egbert got
 the victory, and there was great slaughter made. He then sent from
 the army his son Ethelwulf, and Ealston his bishop, and Wulfherd his
 ealdorman, into Kent with a large force, and they drove Baldred the
 King northwards over the Thames. And the men of Kent, and the men of
 Surrey, and the South Saxons, and the East Saxons submitted to him;
 for formerly they had been unjustly forced from his kin. And the same
 year the King of the East Angles and the people sought the alliance
 and protection of King Egbert for dread of the Mercians; and the same
 year the East Angles slew Barnulf, King of Mercia.”

Attempts were made at combined action. In the year 833, for instance,
as we have seen, King Egbert called a Witenagemot at London. This was
attended by the King of Mercia and the bishops. The deliberations,
however, of this Parliament did nothing to prevent the disasters that

[Illustration: KING IN BED

Harl. MS., 4751.]

The share which fell to London of all the pillage and massacre was less
than might have been expected. Thus, in 832 the Danes ravaged Sheppey;
in 833 Dorsetshire. In 835 they were defeated in Cornwall; in 837 at
Southampton and Portland; in 838 in Lindsey, in East Anglia, and in
Kent. In 839 “there was great slaughter at London, at Canterbury, and
at Rochester.” In 840 the Danes landed at Charmouth; in 845 at the
mouth of the Parrett in Somersetshire; in 851 at Plymouth; in the same
year the Saxons got some ships and met the enemy on the sea, taking
nine ships and putting the rest to flight, but, which is significant,
the Danes wintered that year on Thanet. “And the same year there came
350 ships to the mouth of the Thames, and the crews landed and took
Canterbury and London by storm, and put to flight Berthwulf, King of
the Mercians, with his army, and then went south over the Thames into
Surrey.” King Ethelwulf with the men of Wessex met them at Ockley, and
defeated them with great slaughter. In the same year the Saxons met
them on the sea in ships and beat them off. They seem to have been
driven out of the country by these reverses, for in 854 we read of
battles fought in Thanet, which looks like an attempt to settle there
again; and in 855 they succeeded in wintering on that island. In 860
they stormed and burned Winchester, and were then driven off by the
men of Hampshire. In 865 they sat down in Thanet and made peace with
the men of Kent for a price; but they broke their word. In 866 the
Danes took up their winter quarters with the East Angles and made peace
with them. In 867 there was fighting in Northumbria, the kings were
slain, and the people made peace with the Danes; in 868 the Mercians
made peace with them. In 870 the “army” marched into East Anglia
from York and there defeated King Edmund (St. Edmund) and destroyed
all the churches and the great and rich monastery of Medehamstede
(Peterborough)—“at that time,” says the _Chronicle_, “the land was much
distressed by frequent battles ... there was warfare and sorrow over
England.” Both in 870 and in 871 there was fighting all the summer at
and near Reading. In 872 “the army went from Reading to London and
there took up their winter quarters”; in 874 they wintered at Repton;
in 875 some marched north, and some south, wintering at Cambridge. In
that year Alfred, now King, obtained a fleet and fought seven Danish
ships successfully. In 876 the Danes were at Wareham; in 877 their
fleet was cast away and the army fled to the “fortress” of Exeter. In
878 there was fighting in the west country; in 879 the Danes were at
Fulham on the Thames. Some of the Danes then crossed the Channel and
visited France, leaving a part of the army in England. In 882 King
Alfred fought them on the sea. The chronicle of 883 is brief, but
extremely important: “That same year Sighelm and Athelstan carried
to Rome the arms which the King had vowed to send thither, and also
to India, to St. Thomas, and to St. Bartholomew, when they sat down
against the army at London; and there, thanks be to God, they largely
obtained the object of their prayer.”


Harl. MS., 4751.]

If this brief chronicle be followed on the map, it will be perceived
that, although fighting went on year after year in various parts of the
country, London was in the grasp of the Danes for no more than twelve
years. The area of the battlefield into which the Danes had converted
England extended year by year, but always included London.

                              CHAPTER III

                          THE DANES IN LONDON

The Danes, then, held London for twelve years. In after years, when the
country was governed by Danish kings, large numbers of Danes settled
in London, and, with the national readiness to adapt themselves to new
conditions and new manners (compare the quick conversion of Normans
to French language and manners), they speedily became merged in the
general population. Very soon we hear no more of Danes and English as
separate peoples, either in London or in the country. London, indeed,
has always received all, absorbed all, and turned all into Londoners.
During this first Danish occupation, of which we know nothing, one
of two things happened: either the occupiers settled down among the
citizens, leaving them to follow their trades and crafts in their own
way; or they murdered and pillaged, drove away all who could fly, and
then sat down quietly and remained, an army in occupation in a strong
place. Everything points to the latter course, because the ferocity of
the Danes at this time was a thing almost incredible. London was, for
the moment, ruined. It was not deserted by the lowest class, for the
simple reason that an army requires people for the service of providing
its daily wants. Food—grain and cattle—was brought in from West and
East Anglia; the river supplied fish and fowl—wildfowl—in abundance.
But fishermen and fowlers were wanted; therefore these useful people
would not be slain, except in the first rush and excitement of victory.
In the same way armourers, smiths, makers of weapons, bakers, brewers,
butchers, drovers, cooks, craftsmen, and servants of all kinds are
wanted, even by the rudest soldiery. In the fifth century, when
the trade of London deserted her, the people had to go because the
food supplies also were cut off. Since the Danish army could winter
in London for twelve years, it is certain that they had command of
supplies. Therefore, after the first massacres and flight, the lower
classes remained in the service of their new lords. Moreover, by this
time, the enemy, having resolved to stay in the country, had doubtless
made the discovery that it is the worst policy possible to kill the
people who were wanted to bring them supplies, or to murder the farmers
who were growing crops and keeping cattle for them to devour.

The Danes occupied London for twelve years. At the best it was a bad
time for the people who remained with them. Rough as was the London
craftsman of the ninth century, he was mild and gentle compared with
his Danish conqueror and master.

If we inquire whether the trade of London vanished during these years,
it may be argued, first, that the desire for gain is always stronger
than the fear of danger; secondly, that merchant-ships were accustomed
to fight their way; thirdly, that when a strong tide or current of
trade has set steadily in one direction for many years, it is not
easily stopped or diverted; fourthly, that when the first massacre
was over, the Danes would perhaps see the advantage of encouraging
merchants to bring things, if only for their own use; for they were
ready to buy weapons and wine, if nothing else, and there were a great
many things which they wanted and could not make for themselves. As
for the interior, there could be no trade there during the disturbed
condition of the country.

A note made a hundred and fifty years later shows that the Danes did
at least consume the importations of foreign merchants. When they
murdered Alphage, Archbishop of Canterbury, they were drunk with wine.
We cannot suppose that an army whose soldiers regarded strong drink as
the greatest joy of life did not perceive the advantages of procuring
wine in abundance by means of the merchants who brought it from France
and Spain.

I allow the weight of these reasons. I admit that there may have been
still some trade carried on at the Port of London. I shall presently
give reasons for supposing, on the other hand, that London was again
ruined and deserted.

Let us see what manner of men were these soldiers who became owners of
London for twelve years and afterwards furnished kings to England and
law-abiding burghers to the City.

We may learn their manners from the pages of the historian Saxo

To begin with, the Danes were a nation of warriors, as yet not
Christians. And Christianity, when it came, brought at first little
softening of manners. It presented much the same Devil to the popular
imagination, but with a face and figure more clearly outlined; it
localised Hell, which remained much the same for the Christian as for
the pagan, only it furnished more exact details and left no doubt as to
the treatment and sufferings of the lost. The only honour paid to any
man was that due to valour; the only thing worthy of a man’s attention
was the maintenance of his strength and the increase of his courage.
The king must lead in battle; he must sometimes fight battles of wager;
he had his following or court of lords, who were bound to fight beside
him, and to die, if necessary, with him or for him. If he should by
any lucky accident escape the accidents of battle, murder, and sudden
death, and so enter upon old age, he must abdicate, for a king who
could no longer fight was absurd.

The Danes had troops of slaves: some born in slavery; some captives
of war; the craftsmen of London were no doubt slaves because they
were captives—they had survived the storm of the City. A slave had no
rights at all; his master could do what he pleased with him; he was
flogged, tortured, scorned, reviled, and brutally treated; it was a
time when the joy of fighting was followed by the joy of revenge, when
to make a captive noble eat the bread of servitude and drink the water
of humiliation filled the victor with a savage joy. As for the women,
they were reserved for the service and the lusts of the captors. It
pleased the chivalry of the Dane to cast the daughters of kings into
the brothel of the common soldier.


Tib., B. v.]

Of course they had the virtue of courage—it is, however, suspicious
that, among the Danes, as in all savage nations, their courage had to
be kept up by constant exhortations, charms, and songs. There were
unexpected panics and routs and shameful flights of these invincible
Danes as well as of the Saxons: this would seem to show that their
vaunted courage was liable to occasions of failure. They were, however,
marvellously free from fear of pain; they seem to have disregarded it
altogether. Of one man it is related that rather than marry a certain
princess who was offered him he chose to be burned to death; and in
a poem it is told of another that, when he was wounded so grievously
that his entrails were exposed, he refused the help of a slave because
he was a slave, and the help of a woman because her birth was not
noble, and so he remained till one of free and honourable birth came
along, who tied him round with withies and carried him off to a house.
Honour and loyalty were not so much admired as demanded. Treachery and
rebellion were ruthlessly punished. In some cases the wretched criminal
was tied by thongs passed under the sinews of his heels to the tails of
wild bulls and then hunted to death by hounds. Other punishments there
were. As for the women, those of free birth were modest and chaste:
to be detected in an amour involved such a barbarous punishment as the
cutting off of the nose.


Harl. MS., Roll Y. 6.]

Their weapons were swords, clubs, axes, bows, slings, and stones.
Those who could afford to buy them wore mail coats and helmets; they
carried banners; they blew horns; they fought on foot; and the battle
was decided by single combat, hand to hand, with great slaughter and
prodigies of valour. Like the Red Indians, they were able to work
themselves up into a kind of frenzy before fighting. Sometimes there
were Amazons among them. They all messed together, king and nobles
and soldiers. When at home they gathered in the great hall at night
with fires blazing, with torches, and with hangings to keep out the
draughts. Their food was for the most part simple—beef, mutton, pork,
with huge quantities of bread. Their drink was chiefly ale, served in
horns. After supper they played games. We must remember how long were
the winter evenings which had to be got through. Games of some kind
were necessary, and there were a great number of games. The minstrel
played the harp and sang warlike songs of the deeds of great warriors.
They “flyted” each other, _i.e._ endeavoured to reduce each other to
silence by abuse and insult, a game which gave great opportunities to a
man of imagination. Such specimens of “flyting” as remain show that it
might be, and most likely was, coarse and obscene to the last degree.
They told stories of their leaders and wove impossible fictions of
their bravery, their endurance, and their generosity. They bragged over
impossible deeds, a thing which we find the knights of the fourteenth
century also doing in their game of _gabe_; they called in jugglers,
tumblers, mimes, and singers of love-songs and drinking-songs. It is
to be noted that, although they loved the acting and the singing, they
held the calling of actors and minstrels in great contempt. Sometimes
they tugged at a rope, as in our old game of French and English.
Sometimes, when they were well drunken, they began a very favourite
pastime, that of bone-throwing. It was in this way that St. Alphage
was murdered. For the Danes sent for him and began to throw beef bones
at him, perhaps in play, and expecting to see the Archbishop dodge the
bones dexterously. He did not—one struck him on the head and he fell

As for the religion of these people before and after their conversion,
they believed boundlessly. They believed in giants and in dwarfs, in
ghosts and in devils, in fate, in a whole array of gods and goddesses,
in the Land of Undeath, in the Underground Land, in magic and
sorcery, in charms and philtres, in ordeals. All these things, with
modifications, they continued to believe long after they were received
into the bosom of the Christian Church. And they were full of stories,
legends, and traditions—a wild, imaginative people, with a limited
horizon of knowledge, beyond and outside which all was blackness, with
the terror of the unknown.

Such were the people who came every year with their army, harrying
and plundering, murdering and destroying, till they found it more
convenient to winter in the country, which they did, occupying the
islands of Thanet. Such were the people who obtained possession of
London; such were the people who afterwards flocked to the City in the
days of King Cnut and settled down among the rest of the heterogeneous
London folk.

There are no traces of this first Danish occupation. The churches
dedicated to Danish saints, Magnus and Olaf, were erected afterwards.
Probably the Danes at this time left not one church standing.

In 883 Alfred obtained possession of the City—“after a short siege”—the
historians write. The only authority for this short siege is the
paragraph in the _A.S. Chronicle_ already quoted. “They sat down
against the army of London; and there they largely obtained the object
of their prayer.” After the battle of Ethandun, the Danes retired from
Cirencester to Chippenham, and there wintered. In the same year another
body of them collected and wintered at Fulham on the Thames. This fact
makes me ask why, when London was theirs, the Danes should winter at
Fulham instead of at the City itself. Surely London offered winter
quarters superior to those of Fulham, that little village in a marsh.
There seems to me no explanation except one, namely, that the City was
once more deserted. The same thing which happened to Augusta may have
happened also to Saxon London. The whole of its trade was destroyed;
the river and the channel were in the hands of the Northmen; the City
had been taken with the customary massacres and plunder; it was no
longer possible to live in the place; no supplies could be taken there
because there were no longer any means of buying for them or paying
for them. Therefore, save for the wretched remnant of fishermen and
slaves, the streets were desolate and the port was deserted. We may
draw a picture of burned houses and roofless churches; of broken doors
and narrow lanes, cumbered with useless plunder dragged from the houses
and left in the streets because it could not be carried away; of dead
bodies left unburied where they fell in defence or in flight along the
streets and in the houses; of City gates lying open to any who chose to
enter; of the City wall broken away, having never been repaired since
the Britons fled before the Saxons came. This ruined and deserted city
Alfred recovered. How? By a siege? What kind of siege would it be when
there were no walls to defend; not enough men to man the walls, and not
enough of the besiegers to attack them?

[Illustration: SAXON MINSTRELS

From Strutt’s _Sports and Pastimes_.

From Luttrell’s _Psalter._]

Does not the _Chronicle_ answer these questions?

In A.D. 880. The “Army”—_i.e._ the Danes—“which had sat down
at Fulham, went over sea to Ghent, and sat there one year.”

In A.D. 881. The “army went farther into France.”

In A.D. 882. “The army went far into France and there sat one

In that year Alfred fought a sea-battle against “four Danish
ships”—only four—took two, and received the surrender of the other two.
But it was not with “four” ships that Cnut and Sweyn proposed to attack

In A.D. 883. “The army went up the Scheldt and sat there one

This was the same year that Alfred “sat down against the army of

The main body of the Danes was lying up the Scheldt; the Danish fleets
were represented by four vessels; what kind of army was that before
which Alfred sat down?

My own reading of the story is that the small force of Danes in, or
near, London, retired without fighting, and that Alfred, meeting with
no opposition, marched into the City and began at once, understanding
the enormous advantage of possessing the place, to consider steps in
order to secure that possession. He seems to have had a whole year
during which he was left in peace, or comparative peace, in order
to consider the position. Meantime, there was more fighting to be
done before these measures could be fairly taken in hand. The Danes,
retiring from London, divided into two parts: one division went into
Essex; the other crossed the river and fell upon Rochester. Here Alfred
met them and put them to flight; they escaped across the seas to their
own country. Alfred’s fleet defeated the Danish fleet at the mouth of
the Stour, but were themselves defeated in their turn.


Roy. MS. 2, B. vii.]

The following year, 886, was again a year of peace, according to the
_Chronicle_. The “Army” wintered in France near Paris. Alfred received
the “submission of all the English except those who were under the
bondage of the Danishmen.” This passage, if we were considering the
history of the country, should set us thinking. In this place it is
enough to note that Alfred took advantage of the respite to repair
London. And he placed the City under the charge of Ethelred his
son-in-law. So, whether by siege or by battle, or, as I rather believe,
by the retirement of the enemy, Alfred recovered London, and, as soon
as the condition of his affairs allowed, he repaired it and rebuilt it,
and made it once more habitable and secure for the resort of merchants
and the safeguarding of fugitives, of women, and of treasure.

                              CHAPTER IV

                      THE SECOND SAXON OCCUPATION

It is sometimes said that one of the earliest acts of King Alfred in
gaining possession of London was to build a fortress or tower within
the City. The authority for this statement seems to be nothing more
than a passage in the _Chronicle_, under the year 896. “Then on a
certain day the king rode up along the river and observed where the
river might be obstructed, so that the Danes would be unable to bring
up their ships. And they then did thus. They constructed two fortresses
on the two sides of the river.” This seems but a slender foundation
for the assumption of Freeman that Alfred built a citadel for the
defence of London. “The germ of that tower which was to be first the
dwelling-place of kings and then the scene of the martyrdom of their
victims.” I see no reason at all for the construction of any fortress
within the City except the reason which impelled William to build the
White Tower, viz. in order to keep a hold over the powerful City. And
this reason certainly did not influence Alfred. It is quite possible
that Alfred did strengthen the City by the construction of a fortress,
though such a building was by no means in accordance with the Saxon
practice. It is further quite possible that he built such a tower on
the site where William’s tower stood later; but it seems to me almost
inconceivable that Alfred, if he wanted to build a tower, should not
have reconstructed and repaired the old Roman citadel, of which the
foundations were still visible. I confess that I am doubtful about the
fortress. What Alfred really did, as I read the _Chronicle_, was to
construct two temporary forts near the mouth of the Thames, so as to
prevent the Danish ships from getting out. He caught them in a trap.

Let us renew the course of the Danish invasions so far as they concern
London. In 893 one army of Danes landed on the eastern shores of Kent
and another at the mouth of the Thames. In 894 King Alfred fought them
and defeated them, getting back the booty. Some of the Danes took to
their ships and sailed round to the west, whither the King pursued
them. Others fled to a place near Canvey Island called Bamfleet, where
they fortified themselves. Then, for the first time after the Conquest,
we find that London is once more powerful, and once more filled with
valiant citizens. For the Londoners marched out under Ethelred, Earl of
Mercia, their governor, attacked the Danes in their stronghold, took
it, put the enemy to flight, and returned to London with all that was
within the fort, including the women and the children. In 895 the Danes
brought their ships up the Thames and towed them up the Lea to the
town of Ware, but the year afterwards the Londoners made their ships
useless: whereupon the Danes abandoned them, and the men of London took
or destroyed them. Maitland says that “a few years ago”—he writes in
1786—“at the erection of Stanstead Bridge, remains of these ships were


  _T. Reveley, Wantage._



  _T. Reveley, Wantage._


King Alfred was able to equip and to send out an efficient fleet. In
the year 901, to accept the generally received date, which now appears,
however, more than doubtful, the great King Alfred passed away. No king
or captain, in the whole history of London, ever did so much for the
City as Alfred. Circumstances, chance, geographical position, created
London for the Romans, and restored it for the Saxons. Circumstances,
not the wisdom of kings, gave London, in after ages, its charters and
its liberties. It is the especial glory of Alfred that he discerned
the importance of the City, not only for purposes of trade, but as a
bulwark of national defence. He repaired the strong walls which, in a
time when ladders and mines were not yet part of the equipment of war,
made the City impregnable; he gave security to merchants; he offered
a place of safety to princesses and great ladies; a treasure-house
which could not be broken into and a rallying-place for fugitives. He
gave the newly-born City a strong governor and a strong government; he
made it possible, as was shown two hundred years later, to maintain
the independence of the people even though the whole country except
this one stronghold should be overrun. London continued under the rule
of Ethelred, Earl of the Mercians, till his death in 912, when King
Edward “took possession of London.” In 917 there was fighting with the
Danes in Mercia, and in 918 about Hereford and Gloucester; from 919
till his death in 924, King Edward was continually occupied in fighting
and in fortifying towns. By King Athelstan was fought and won the great
battle of Brunanburgh, when there was slain five kings and seven earls.
This victory, Maitland says, was “chiefly obtained by the bravery of
the Londoners, who were the best troops in the army.” The _Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle_ does not say anything about the London troops.


  _Augustin Rischgitz._


Cotton MS., Tiberius, A. 2.]


  _Augustin Rischgitz._


Cotton MS.]

Maitland points out, as an indication that London was now in
flourishing condition, the fact that Athelstan, in apportioning the
number of coiners for each town, allotted to London and Canterbury
the same number, and that the highest number. To consider this an
indication of prosperity is indeed to be thankful for small mercies. To
me it is a clear proof, on the other hand, of the comparative decline
of London, since she was considered of no greater importance than

At this period, however, the cities of England, all of which without
exception had been taken and devastated by the “army,” had sunk to a
point of poverty as low as any touched even in the fifth and sixth
century—those centuries of battle and disaster,—and perhaps lower, for
the Saxons were slow in becoming residents in a walled city, and would
be ready to return if possible to the old life in the open.

Let us go back to the _Chronicle_. In the year 945, King Edmund held a
Witenagemot in London, chiefly occupied with ecclesiastical affairs.

During the reigns of Edmund and Edred (940-955) there was fighting in
Northumberland, but no new incursions of the Danes. Under the powerful
rule of Edgar there was an almost unbroken peace of seventeen years. In
979 began the disastrous reign of Ethelred, when the Danish incursions
were renewed on a larger scale, and when the glory of England departed.

Let me here quote the opinion of Freeman as to the position of London
at this time.

“The importance of that great city was daily growing throughout these
times. We cannot as yet call it the capital of the kingdom, but its
geographical position made it one of the chief bulwarks of the land,
and there was no part of the realm whose people could outdo the
patriotism and courage of its valiant citizens. London at this time
fills much the same place in England which Paris filled in Northern
Gaul a century earlier. The two cities, in their several lands, were
two great fortresses, placed on the two great rivers of the country,
the special objects of attack on the part of the invaders, and the
special defence of the country against them. Each was, as it were,
marked out by great public services to become the capital of the whole
kingdom. But Paris became a national capital only because its local
count grew into a national king. London, amidst all changes within
and without, has always kept more or less of her ancient character as
a free city. Paris was a military bulwark, the dwelling-place of a
ducal or a royal sovereign; London, no less important as a military
post, had also a greatness which rested on a surer foundation. London,
like a few other of our great cities, is one of the ties which connect
our Teutonic England with the Celtic and Roman Britain of earlier
times. Her British name still lives on, unchanged by the Teutonic
conquerors. Before we first hear of London as an English city she had
cast away her Roman and Imperial title: she was no longer Augusta:
she had taken again her ancient name, and through all changes she
clave to her ancient character. The commercial fame of London dates
from the early days of Roman dominion. The English Conquest may have
caused an interruption for a while, but it was only for a while. As
early as the days of Æthelberht the commerce of London was again
renowned. Ælfred had rescued the city from the Dane; he had built a
citadel for her defence, the germ of that Tower which was to be first
the dwelling-place of kings, and then the scene of the martyrdom of
their victims. Among the laws of Æthelstan none are more remarkable
than those which deal with the internal affairs of London and with the
regulation of her earliest commercial corporations. During the reign
of Æthelred the merchant city again became the object of special and
favourable legislation. His institutes speak of a commerce spread
all over the lands that bordered on the western ocean. Flemings and
Frenchmen, men of Ponthieu, of Brabant, and of Luttich, filled her
markets with their wares and enriched the civic coffers with their
toils. Thither, too, came the men of Rouen, whose descendants were, at
no distant day, to form no small element among her own citizens. And
worthy and favoured above all, came the seafaring men of the Old-Saxon
brotherland, and pioneers of the mighty Hansa of the North, which was
in days to come to knit together London and Novogorod in one bond of
commerce, and to dictate laws and distribute crowns among the nations
by whom London was now threatened. The demand for toll and tribute fell
lightly on those whom English legislation distinguished as the men of
the Emperor.”


Stowe MS., 944 (11th cent.).]

The part played by London in the country during the momentous hundred
years following Ethelred’s accession shows the importance of the
City. That Londoners fought at Maldon is not to be doubted. That
year witnessed the shameful buying of peace from the pirates whom
the English had been defeating and defying since the days of Alfred.
It was hoped by the Danes to renew the bribe of 991 in the year
following. They came up the Thames, but they were met by the Londoners
with their fleet and defeated with great slaughter. In the following
year Bamborough was taken by the Danes and the north country ravaged.
In the year 994, after the news of the taking of Bamborough and the
flight of the Thanes at Lindesey, encouraged by their successes, the
Danes attempted an invasion on a far more serious scale. This time the
leaders were Olaf, King of the Norwegians, and Swegen, King of the
Danes. They sailed up the Thames with a fleet of ninety-four ships. The
invaders arrived at London and delivered an assault upon the wall. It
must be remembered that the river side of the wall was then standing.
We are not informed whether the town was attacked from the land side
or the river side. The attack was, however, repelled with so much
determination, and with such loss to the besiegers, that the two kings
abandoned the attempt that same day and sailed away. The victory and
the safety of the City were attributed to the “mild-heartedness of the
holy Mother of God.”

As for the Northmen, since they could not pillage London they would
ravage the coast; and, taking horses, they rode through the eastern
and southern shores, pillaging and ravaging and murdering man, woman,
and child. These large words must not be taken to imply too much. When
a band of marauders rode through the country, especially a country
with only a few roads or tracks, they were limited in their field of
robberies by the limited number of roads, by the distances between the
settled places, by their own desire to return as quickly as possible,
and by their inability to carry more than a certain amount of booty.
Two or three small loops drawn inland from the anchorage of their ships
would mark the extent of their forays from that part. However, they
were bought off. In this case Olaf kept his word. He was a Christian
already, but he received confirmation from Bishop Ælfreah, and on his
return to his own country he spent the rest of his life in promoting
Christianity. In St. Olave, Silver Street; St. Olave, Hart Street;
St. Olave, Jewry; and St. Olave, Tooley Street, we have four churches
erected to the memory of the saintly Northman who kept his word, and,
having promised to return no more, stayed in his own country.

Swegen came back, though after some delay, to revenge the foulest
treachery. It was that of England’s Bartholomew Day, when, by order
of King Ethelred, certainly the very worst king who ever ruined his
generation, all the Danes in the land were treacherously murdered at
one time. Among those victims was Gunhilda, Swegen’s own sister, with
her husband and her son. Swegen came over and landed at Sandwich. It
was nine years since the payment of Olaf and himself. During these
nine miserable years there had been an unbroken series of defeats and
humiliations, with the treacheries and jealousies and quarrels which
in rude times follow in the train of a weak king. Swegen made himself
master of the whole kingdom except London. He attempted the siege of
the City with a mighty host; he assaulted the walls; and he was beaten
back. As ten years before, he wasted no time in trying to take a place
too strongly fortified and defended. Ethelred, however, deserted the
town, retiring to the Isle of Wight with his ships. Queen Emma went
over to Normandy, taking her sons Edward and Alfred; and London, having
no longer a king to fight for, opened her doors to the Danish conqueror.

Swegen died immediately afterwards. He left two sons: Harold, who
succeeded to the Danish kingdom, and Cnut, a youth of nineteen, who was
proclaimed King by the Danish fleet. What follows was certainly done
at London. “Then counselled all the Witan who were in England, clergy
and laity, that they should send after King Ethelred: and they declared
that no lord was dearer to them than their natural lord, if he would
rule them better than he had before done. Then sent the King his son
Edward hither with his messengers and ordered them to greet all his
people: and to say that he would be to them a loving lord and amend
all those things which they abhorred, and each of those things would
be forgiven which had been done or said to him on condition that they
all with one consent would be obedient to him without deceit. And they
there established full friendship, by word and by pledge, on either
hand.... Then during Lent King Ethelred came home to his own people:
and he was gladly received by them all.” He also promised to govern by
the advice of his Witan.


Royal MS. 2, B. vii.]

There followed the defeat of Cnut, who sailed away to Denmark; the
marriage of Edmund Atheling with the widow of the murdered Segefrith;
the return of Cnut; the treachery of Eadric; and the loss of southern
England. Edmund, however, held out in the north for a time: finally,
Cnut overran the north as well as the south, and all England, except
London, was in his power. He proposed an expedition against London.
While on his way thither he heard that King Ethelred was dead. He
called a gemot of the Witan. All who were without the walls of London
assembled at Southampton and chose Cnut as the lawful King of England.
At the same time the smaller body which was within London chose Edmund
king. He was crowned, not at Kingston in Surrey, the usual place for
coronations, where still may be seen the sacred stone of record, but at
St. Paul’s in London.

The history of the wonderful year that followed belongs to the country
rather than to London. It was the year when one great and strong man
restored their spirit to a disgraced and degraded people; won back a
good half of the land; and, if he had lived, would have reconquered
the rest—the year of Edmund Ironside. On St. Andrew’s Day, some months
after his father, this great soldier died in London. They buried him in
the Minster of Glastonbury, which held the bones of Edgar.

It was at the beginning of this short reign that Cnut commenced the
famous siege of London. “The ships came to Greenwich at Rogation days.
And within a little space they went to London and dug a great ditch on
the south side and dragged their ships to the west side of the bridge;
and then afterwards they ditched the city round, so that no one could
go either in or out: and they repeatedly fought against the city; but
the citizens strenuously withstood them. Then had King Edmund, before
that, gone out: and then he overran Wessex and all the people submitted
to him.” Thus the _Chronicle_. The siege was raised by the arrival of

This is a very brief and bald account of a most memorable event. We
learn two or three things from it—first, that in some way or other
the citizens made the passage of the bridge impossible, yet twenty
years later Earl Godwin’s ships passed through the southern arches.
He, it is true, had previously secured the goodwill of the Londoners.
It is possible that, in the case of Cnut, they may have barred the
way by chains. It is, next, certain that the river wall was standing,
otherwise an attack upon the south of the City would have been
attempted. London was secure within its wall, which ran all round
it. The Danes had no knowledge of sieges: they had neither battering
rams, nor ladders, nor any means of attacking a wall: they never even
thought of mining. It is, next, certain either that the population
of London was so large as to man the whole wall, a thing difficult
to believe, or that the Danish army was so small that it could only
attack at certain points. And it is also certain that the Danes could
not keep out supplies; the way was open either into Kent or into Essex
or to the north. The account also makes it clear that the bridge had
been repaired; that it was maintained in good order; and that it was
strongly fortified. Cnut, it is evident, did not propose to attempt the
City by means of the bridge.

Let us now go back a little in order to consider the condition of the
bridge and the story of King Cnut’s trench. It is not certain whether
the Saxons at the time of their first settlement kept the bridge in
repair; the intercourse between the King of Kent and the King of the
East Saxons may possibly have been carried on by a ferry. At the same
time it was so easy to keep the bridge open that one feels confident
that it was maintained. When the Danes got possession of London their
movements are pretty closely followed, but no mention is made of the
bridge. I am inclined to think that during their occupation the piles
stood up across the river, partly stripped of their upper beams, and
that it was Alfred who repaired the bridge when he repaired the wall.
That the bridge was standing and in good repair in the time of King
Edgar is proved by the curious story of the witch and her punishment
which belongs to that time (see p. 222).


Harl. MS., 603.]

“In the year 993,” says the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_, “came Olaf with 90
ships to Staines and ravaged thereabouts; and went thence to Sandwich,
and so thence to Ipswich, and that all overran, and so to Maldon.”
How, it is asked, would Olaf sail past the bridge? There can be two
answers to this question. It looks, to begin with, considering that
Sandwich, Ipswich, and Maldon all lie close together, near or on the
coast, as if Olaf had no business at Staines at all. Why, Staines is
120 miles from the North Foreland, round which the fleet must sail.
And the answer to the question is, therefore, that some other place is
intended. If, however, Olaf did really sail up the river to Staines,
then the bridge must have been in a ruinous condition. But the stout
piles remained, or at least as many of them as were wanted to show how
the work could be restored or rebuilt. Snorri Sturlason, the Icelander,
who wrote in the thirteenth century, has preserved a curious account of
the bridge (_Chronicles of London Bridge_, p. 16).

[Illustration: A FIGHT

Harl. MS., 603.]

“They—that is, the Danish forces—first came to shore at London,
where their ships were to remain, and the City was taken by the
Danes. Upon the other side of the River is situate a great market
called Southwark—Sudurvirke in the original—which the Danes fortified
with many defences; framing, for instance, a high and broad ditch,
having a pile or rampart within it, formed of wood, stone, and turf,
with a large garrison placed there to strengthen it. This the King
Ethelred—his name, you know, is Adalradr in the original—attacked
and forcibly fought against; but by the resistance of the Danes it
proved but a vain endeavour. There was, at that time, a Bridge erected
over the River between the city and Southwark, so wide, that if two
carriages met they could pass each other. At the sides of the Bridge,
at those parts which looked upon the River, were erected Ramparts
and Castles that were defended on the top by pent-house bulwarks and
sheltered turrets, covering to the breasts those who were fighting in
them; the Bridge itself was also sustained by piles which were fixed
in the bed of the River. An attack, therefore, being made, the forces
occupying the Bridge fully defended it. King Ethelred being thereby
enraged, yet anxiously desirous of finding out some means by which he
might gain the Bridge, at once assembled the Chiefs of the army to a
conference on the best method of destroying it. Upon this, King Olaf
engaged—for you will remember he was an ally of Ethelred—that if the
Chiefs of the army would support him with their forces, he would make
an attack upon it with his ships. It being ordained then in council
that the army should be marched against the Bridge, each one made
himself ready for a simultaneous movement both of the ships and of the
land forces.”

King Olaf then constructed a kind of raft or scaffold which he placed
round his ships so that his men could stand upon them and work. As
soon as they reached the bridge they were assailed by a hail-storm of
missiles, which broke their shields, and forced many of the ships to
retire. Those that remained, however, made fast the ships with ropes
and cables. Then the rowers tugged their hardest; the tide turned in
their favour; and crash! down fell that part of the bridge and all the
people who were on it into the river. Thus Ethelred was restored. In
memory of this exploit the Norse Bard sang:—

“And thou hast overthrown their Bridges, Oh thou Storm of the Sons
of Odin; skilful and foremost in the Battle! For thee was it happily
reserved to possess the land of London’s winding City. Many were the
shields which were grasped sword in hand, to the mighty increase of the
conflict; but by thee were the iron-banded coats of mail broken and

Thou, thou hast come, Defender of the Earth, and hast restored into
his kingdom the exiled Ethelred. By thine aid is he advantaged, and
made strong by thy valour and prowess; Bitterest was that Battle
in which thou didst engage. Now in the presence of thy kindred the
adjacent lands are at rest, where Edmund, the relation of the country
and the people, formerly governed.”

There is nothing about all this in the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_. It may
have happened; but it could not have been invented with a stone bridge
in view, the piers of which all King Olaf’s ships together could not
move. Of a wooden bridge constructed in the way described above the
thing seems quite possible.

The next event in the history of the bridge is the unsuccessful siege
by Cnut. In the course of this siege the besiegers dug the trench round
the south end of the bridge and dragged their ships through it, so as
to attack London all along the river face. Maitland, the historian,
pleased himself by thinking that he had discovered vestiges of the
trench all the way round. In his time (_circa_ 1740) there were meadows
and pastures and orchards over the whole of south London.

 “By a diligent search of several days,” Maitland says, “I discovered
 the vestigia and length of this artificial water-course: its
 outflux from the river Thames was where the Great Wet Dock below
 Rotherhithe is situate: whence, running due west by the seven houses
 in Rotherhithe Fields, it continues its course by a gentle winding
 to the Drain Windmill: and, with a west-north-west course passing
 St. Thomas of Watering’s, by an easy turning it crosses the Deptford
 Road, a little to the south-east of the Lock-Hospital, at the lower
 end of Kent Street; and, proceeding to Newington Butts, intersects the
 road a little south of the turnpike; whence, continuing its course
 by the Black Prince in Lambeth Road, on the north of Kennington, it
 runs west-and-by-south, through the Spring garden at Vauxhall, to its
 influx into the Thames at the lower end of Chelsea Reach.”

The position of this trench has been the subject of much discussion. I
submit the following as a reasonable solution of the question:—

Why should it have been a long canal? The conditions of the work were
exactly the same whatever place should be selected, viz. the Danes
would have to dig through the river embankment on both sides of the
bridge. They would also have to dig through the causeway. In the latter
part of the work certainly, and in the former part probably, they would
have to remove buildings of some kind. The continual wars (800-1000)
with the Danes make it quite certain that Southwark must then have been
in a very deserted and ruinous condition.

Why should Cnut make his canal a single foot longer than was necessary?
We may assume that he was not so foolish. Now the shortest canal
possible would be that in which he could just drag his vessels round.
In other words, if a circular canal began at CB, and if we draw an
imaginary circle GEG round the middle of the canal, it is evident
that the chord DF, forming a tangent to the middle circle, should be
at least as long as the longest vessel. I take the middle of the canal
as the deepest part: there would be no time to construct a canal with
vertical sides.

Now (see diagram)

[Illustration: Diagram showing nested semi-circles and lines

  AD^2 = AE^2 + DE^2.]

If r is the radius AB or AD and 2a the breadth of the canal and
2b the length of the chord DF,

                        r^2 = (r - a)^2 + b^2;

                          ∴ 2ar = a^2 + b^2;

                         ∴ r = (a^2 + b^2)/2a.

This represents the length of the radius in terms of the length of
the largest vessel and the breadth of the canal, and is therefore the
smallest radius possible for getting the ships through. Now the great
ship found in Norway in the year 1880 is undoubtedly one of the finest
of the vessels used by Danes and Norsemen. The poets speak of larger
ships, but as a marvel. Nothing is said about Cnut having ships of very
great size. This vessel was 68 feet in length, 16 feet in breadth, and
4 feet in depth. She drew very little water; therefore a breadth of
canal equal to the breadth of the vessel would be more than enough. Let
us make the chord 70 feet in length, and the breadth of the canal 16
feet. Then

                          2b = 70, or b = 35,


      2a = 16; ∴ a = 8; ∴ r = (35^2 + 8^2)/16 = 80 (very nearly).

So that AE in this radius of the inner circle is 64 feet in length.

But it was by no means necessary to form a semicircle. Any canal
formed in two parallel circles whose radii are 64 to 80 feet would be
sufficient for the purpose. Nor would it matter how short the canal
was made: a hundred feet probably represented the whole of this mighty
work of Cnut, and this cutting, after breaking down the embankment and
the causeway, was excavated in the soft mould of the reclaimed marsh.
Where, then, are Maitland’s four miles or so?

As soon as the siege was raised and the Danes departed, the embankment
was repaired; the broken causeway was filled up again; the soft earth
and mud left by the short canal and the encroachments of the tide
through the broken bank were speedily levelled, and all traces of the
work disappeared.

This bridge was carried away by the tide in 1091. In 1097, according to
the A.S. Chronicler, either the bridge had not yet been repaired, or it
had again suffered. He says, “in repairing the Bridge that was nearly
washed away.” The maintenance of the bridge at this time was provided
for by an assessment levied on the counties of Surrey and Middlesex. It
was burned down in the destructive fire of 1136. Again it was rebuilt
in wood. But in the year 1176 began the building of the long-lived and
illustrious bridge of stone, constructed by that great Pontifex, Peter
of Colechurch. The new stone bridge was built a little to the west of
the wooden bridge.

                               CHAPTER V


By the death of Edmund, Cnut was left without a rival. Edmund died on
the 30th of November. At Christmas, Cnut summoned to London the Witan
of all England to name and crown their king. He questioned witnesses
as to the portions of the kingdom, if any, assigned by Edmund to his
brothers. As for his infant children, they were not considered. It
was found that no portions had been assigned to Edmund’s brothers.
Whereupon the meeting unanimously chose Cnut as king of all England.
And he was crowned in Paul’s Minster by Archbishop Living. Then the
country, in the hands of the strongest king who had ever ruled it,
settled down to peace for nineteen years. Never before, not even during
the occupation of the Romans, was England at peace for so long. There
were no tumults at home; there were no pirates on the seas. As for
London, she has no history during this reign. The _Chronicle_ only says
as follows:—“A.D. 1018. In this year the tribute was delivered
throughout the whole English nation: that was, altogether, two and
seventy thousand pounds besides that which the townsmen of London paid,
which was ten and a half thousand pounds.”

If the sum paid was at all in proportion to population, London then
contained an eighth part of the whole people. Curiously, the population
of London is in the same proportion to-day.

“A.D. 1023. This year King Cnut, within London, in St. Paul’s
Minster, gave full leave to Archbishop Æthelnothe and Bishop Brithwine
and to all the servants of God who were with them that they might
take up from the tomb the Archbishop St. Elphege.” This they did, and
transported the remains to Canterbury, where they still lie. This
archbishop, who had been murdered by the Danes, was sainted. There is a
church in the City of London dedicated to him.

The manner of the exhumation and translation, as described in the
_Translatio S. Elphegi_ by Osborne, is quoted by Wright (_The Celt, the
Roman, and the Saxon_) to illustrate the sturdy independence and the
turbulence of the Londoners.

“When Archbishop Elfey had been slain by the Danes in 1012, the
Londoners purchased his body of the murderers, and deposited it in St.
Paul’s Cathedral. After Cnut had obtained the crown by conquest, and
peace was restored, Archbishop Agelnoth (Elfey’s successor) applied to
the king to give up the body of the martyr to the monks of Canterbury.
Cnut, who was then holding his court in London, consented, but he
would only undertake to get the body away by deceiving the citizens.
He gave orders to his _huscarles_, or household soldiers, to disperse
themselves in parties, some on the bridge and along the banks of the
river, whilst others went to the gates of the city, and there raised
tumults and riots. By dint of promises and persuasions, the men who
had the care of the body of Elfey were prevailed upon to assist in
the plot, and, whilst the attention of the citizens was called to the
disturbances at the gates, the sacred deposit was carried by stealth
to the river and there placed in a boat, which was rowed in all haste
beyond the limits of the capital, and then landed in Kent. The king
stood on the bank of the Thames, and watched its progress with anxious
eye, for _he was afraid of the citizens_. When the latter discovered
the trick which had been played upon them, they sent out a party in
pursuit of the fugitives, who, however, had reached a place of safety
before they were overtaken.”

“A.D. 1035. This year,” says the _Chronicle_, “died King
Cnut.” If, as Freeman maintains, King Alfred was the most perfect
character in all history, then is Cnut the wisest and the strongest
character in English history. He founded a standing army with his
regiment of Huscarles, or Guards; he respected old laws and customs;
he recognised the right of the people to accept or refuse new laws; he
defined the right of hunting, leaving every man free to hunt over his
own land; he denounced the slave trade; he ordered that there was to be
no trading on Sunday—surely the weekly day of rest is the greatest boon
ever bestowed upon men who have to work for their living. He enjoined
the discharge of church duties and the payment of church dues. All
these things, however, belong to the history of England.

On the death of Cnut a Witenagemot was held at Oxford for the election
of his successor. How the kingdom was partitioned between Harold and
Hardacnut; how the partition was found impossible; how Harold ruled
over all England; how evil was his rule and how disastrous—these things
belong to English history. London, which suffered from Harold’s misrule
with the rest of the kingdom, had been mainly instrumental in the
election of that king. She was represented at Oxford by her “lithsmen,”
_i.e._ her sea-going men. Were they the merchants? or were they the
Danes—men of the sea—who formed a considerable part of her population?
Freeman thinks they were the latter; there seems, however, no reason
for adopting that view, or for supposing that in a general parliament
of the kingdom the Danes of London should be called upon to send
special representatives. Why were not the Danes of Leicestershire, or
of Norfolk, where there were so many, also called? There is, however,
a passage in the laws of Athelstan which seems to clear up this point.
Athelstan conferred the rank of Thane on every merchant who made three
voyages over the sea with a vessel and cargo of his own. Therefore,
in calling the Witenagemot these navigators—men of the sea—who had in
this manner obtained the rank of Thane were summoned by right. The
“lithsmen” were not the merchants; they were not the Danes; they were
simply the merchant adventurers who had traded _outre mer_, beyond the
seas and back for three voyages, and claimed for that service the rank
of Thane.

The reign of Harold is only important to us for these reasons—First,
the part played by London in the election of the king. Next, the
illustration of the savagery which still remained among the Danes, and
was shown in their horrible treatment of the Etheling Alfred and his
men. Alfred, the son of Ethelred, thought that the death of Cnut would
give him a chance of succession. He therefore came over, accompanied
by a small following. But “Godwin, the earl, would not allow him.” His
fate is recorded in the _A.S. Chronicle_:—

    “But Godwin him then let,
    and him in bonds set;
    and his companions he dispersed;
    and some divers ways slew;
    some they for money sold,
    some cruelly slaughtered,
    some they did bind,
    some they did blind,
    some they did mutilate,
    some did they scalp;
    nor was a bloodier deed
    done in this land
    since the Danes came,
    and here accepted peace.
    Now is our trust in
    the beloved God,
    that they are in bliss,
    blithely with Christ.
    The etheling still lived,
    who were without guilt
    so miserably slain.
    Every ill they him vowed,
    until it was decreed
    that he should be led
    to Ely-bury,
    thus bound.
    Soon as he came to land,
    in the ship he was blinded;
    and him thus blind
    they brought to the monks;
    and he there abode
    the while that he lived.
    After that him they buried,
    as well was his due
    full worthily,
    as he worthy was,
    at the west end,
    the steeple well-nigh,
    in the south aisle.
    His soul is with Christ.”

And lastly, the fact that Harold was buried at Westminster, the first
of our kings buried there. His half-brother, Hardacnut, had the body
exhumed and thrown into the mud of the marsh round Thorney—“into a
fen,” says the _Chronicle_. Thorney stood in a fen, and it is not
likely that the new king would desire his savage deed—yet, was it
more savage than the acts of Charles II. at the Restoration?—to be
concealed. One knows not how many tides ebbed and flowed over the body
of the dead king as it lay among the reeds; but presently some—perhaps
the monks—taking pity on the poor remains put them into a boat,
carried them down the river, and buried them in the little church of
St. Clement’s, which, like Thorney, stood on the rising ground of the
Strand. And there his dust lies still.

Hardacnut fell down in a fit—“as he stood at his drink”—at Kennington
Palace, having crossed over from Westminster to attend a wedding feast.
He was buried at Winchester with his father. But before he was well
buried the people had chosen, at London, his half-brother, Edward, as

[Illustration: The Plan of BORSTAL.


From _Archæologia_, vol. iii.]

The reign of Edward the Confessor brought little change to London.
The Danish pirates renewed their attacks, but there was now a fleet
well equipped to meet them. The head-quarters of the fleet were at
London, or at Westminster. It is said that when Earl Godwin made his
demonstration, which threatened rebellion, he passed through the south
arches of London Bridge, designing to meet and attack the royal fleet
of fifty sail lying at Westminster. It is noticeable that he first
assured himself of the goodwill of the City.

A statute of Edward the Confessor (forty-sixth chapter of his laws),
in which he appoints the time for holding the hustings, thus speaks of
London, and is quoted in the _Liber Albus_:—

“Therefore in London, which is the head of the realm and of the
laws, and always the Court of his lordship the King, the Hustings
ought to sit and be holden on the Monday in each week. For it was
formerly founded after the pattern and manner, and in remembrance,
of Great Troy, and to the present day contains within itself the
laws and ordinances, dignities, liberties, and royal customs, of an
ancient Greek Troy. In this place therefore are kept the intricate
accounts, and the difficult pleas of the Crown, and the Courts of his
lordship the King for all the realm aforesaid. And she alone ever doth
invariably preserve her own usages and customs, wherever such King may
be, whether upon an expedition or elsewhere, by reason of the tumults
of the nations and peoples of the realm: in accordance with the ancient
customs of our good forefathers and predecessors, and of all the
princes, nobles, and wise seniors of all the realm aforesaid.”

In the year 1065 King Edward the Confessor sets forth the history of
Westminster as he understood it:—

 “Wherefore”—after a general introduction—“I, by the Grace of God King
 of the English, make it known to all generations to come of time after
 me, that, by instruction of Pope Leo for penitence and the remission
 of my sins I have renewed and improved the Basilica of Saint Peter
 which is situated near the walls of London, the chief city of the
 English, and on the west side of it, is called Westminster. It was
 built anciently by Mellitus, first bishop of London, companion and
 friend of Saint Augustus, first bishop of Canterbury, and by Saint
 Peter, himself performing an angelic task, and was dedicated by the
 impression of the Holy Cross and the smearing of the Holy Chrism:
 but by frequent invasions of barbarians and especially of the Danes
 (who in the lifetime of my father Ethelred had made an irruption into
 the kingdom, and after his death divided the kingdom with my brother
 Eadmund and captured and killed my brother Alfred miserably) was
 neglected and nearly destroyed.”

I do not know how long a time was necessary for the complete absorption
of the Danes among the general population: but there are memories of
Danish settlements around St. Clement Danes and outside Bishopsgate
Street—perhaps the existence of such a settlement may account for the
burial of King Harold in the church of St. Clement.

The Danes, therefore, occupied London first for a period of twelve
years. We do not expect to find any remains of that brief occupation:
and indeed there are none. When Cnut and his sons were kings they
ruled, but did not occupy, the City for some five-and-twenty years.
We might expect some remains of that period. If Cnut built the King’s
House at Westminster, then the vaults and crypts which were filled
with cement when the Houses of Parliament were built were probably his
work, and the Painted Chamber destroyed by fire in 1835 was also his
work. Otherwise there is nothing, not a stone or a fragment, which we
can recognise as Danish work. One little relic alone remains. During
excavations for a warehouse in the south side of St. Paul’s Churchyard
there was found a Danish gravestone inscribed with Runic characters,
probably of the tenth or eleventh century. It is now in the Guildhall



[Illustration: A SOLAR

From Turner’s _Domestic Architecture_.]

Such is the history of London from the beginning of the seventh century
to the third quarter of the eleventh century. We have next to consider—

1. The appearance of the town and the nature of the buildings.

2. The trade of the town.

3. The religious foundations.

4. The temporal government.

5. The manners and customs of the people.


[Illustration: BUILDING A HOUSE

Cædmon’s _Metrical Paraphrase_ (10th cent.), Bodleian.]

If there had been any persons living to remember Augusta when the army
of King Alfred took possession of the place, then, indeed, they would
have shed tears, while standing on the rickety wooden bridge, to behold
the shrunken and mean town which had taken the place of that stately
City: to consider the ruins of noble houses; to see how trees grew upon
the crumbling wall; to mark how great gaps showed the site of City
gates; how broad stretches of ground lay waste, where once had stood
the Roman villas. After a year or two, when the wall was repaired,
and people flocked again to the “mart of all nations,” the aspect of
the City improved. The stones of old erections—those above ground—had
been used to repair the City wall; new gates had been built and the
old gates had been restored; the quay was once more covered with
merchandise, and the river was again filled with shipping—among the
vessels was the king’s fleet maintained to keep off the Danes. The town
behind the quays was rebuilt of wood—within two hundred years it was
five times either wholly, or in great part, destroyed by fire. There
were no palaces or great houses; some few had the great hall for the
living-room and for the sleeping-room of servants and children, with
the “Solar” or the chamber of the lord and lady, the Lady’s Bower, and
the kitchens (see also p. 224).

After the time of Alfred, London rapidly advanced in prosperity and
wealth. The restoration of the wall was recognised as an outward and
visible sign of the security enjoyed by those who slept within it:
trade increased; the wealth of the people increased; their numbers
increased, because they were safe. Stone buildings began to be erected,
and the outward signs of prosperity appeared. London threw out long
arms within her walls. The vacant grounds, the orchards and fields
and gardens began to be built over. Artificers of the meaner kind and
trades of an offensive kind were banished to the north part of the
town. The lower parts, especially the narrow lanes north of Thames
Street, became more and more crowded. Quays under the river wall
extended east and west; the foreshore was built upon; the river wall
was gradually taken down, but I know not when its destruction began
or was permitted. The shipping in the river was doubled and trebled
in amount; some of the ships lying off the quays were too large to
pass the bridge; the warehouses became more ample; Thames Street, or
the street behind the wall, then the only place of meeting for the
merchants, was thronged every day with the busy crowd of those who
loaded and unloaded, who came to buy and to sell. The ports of the
Walbrook and Billingsgate being found insufficient, that of Queen
Hithe, then called Edred’s Hithe, was constructed: quays were built
round it, and perhaps a new gate was formed in the river wall.

[Illustration: OCTOBER. HAWKING

From _The Old English Calendars_ (11th cent.), Cotton MS.]

In the year 981, Fabyan says (p. 128) that a fire destroyed a great
part of the City of London.

 “But ye shall understand that at this day, the City of London had most
 housing and buylding from Ludgate toward Westmynster, and little or
 none where the Chiefe or hart of the Citie is at this day, except in
 divers places where housing be they stood without order, so that many
 towns and cities, as Canterbury, Yorke, and other, divers in England
 passed London in building at those days, as I have seen and known by
 an old book in the Guildhall named Domesday.”

I quote this passage but cannot give credence to the statement, for
the simple reason that London was always a place of trade, and that
where her shipping and her quays and ports lay, there were her people
gathered together. Probably at this time the northern parts of the
City were not yet built over and occupied. But how could the City
successfully hold her own against the Danes if her people lived along
Fleet Street and the Strand?

A very important question arises as to the rights of the citizens over
the lands lying around the City.

[Illustration: A BANQUET

Prudentius MS., 24199 (11th cent.).]

If we consider, for instance, the county of Middlesex, we observe that
it is bounded by the river Colne on the west and by the Lea on the
east. The Thames is its southern march: that of the north was partly
defined by the manors belonging to St. Albans Abbey in after times. The
whole of the northern part, however, was covered with a vast forest
which extended far on either side of Middlesex, and especially into
Essex. Another forest occupied the greater part of Surrey, beginning
with wastes and heaths as soon as the land rose out of the marsh.

Some kind of right over these forests, and especially over that in
the north, which was especially easy of access, was necessary for the
City, as much as its rights over the river. For as the river was full
of fish and the marshy river-side was full of innumerable birds, so
the forest was full of game—deer, boar, hares, rabbits, and every kind
of creature to be hunted and trapped and to serve as food. Also the
forest furnished timber for building purposes, a feeding-ground for
hogs, and wood and charcoal for fuel. The City would not exist without
rights over the forest.

If we ask what these rights were, we find that London certainly claimed
possession of some lands. Thus in the _A.S. Chronicle_ it is stated
that in the year 912 “King Edward took possession of London and of
Oxford, _and all the lands which owed obedience thereto_.” What were
these lands? Surely they lay outside the wall.

In the laws of Athelstan, injunctions are laid down for the pursuit of
thieves “beyond the March.” What was the March?

In the laws of Cnut the right of every man to hunt over his own land is

And in Henry the First’s Charter we find the clause, “And the citizens
of London shall have their chaces to hunt, as well and fully as their
ancestors have had: that is to say, in Chiltre, and in Middlesex, and
in Surrey” (see p. 279).

In the same Charter, which was avowedly a recognition of old rights, he
gives them the county of Middlesex, with which was included the City of
London, “to farm” for the annual payment of £300 a year.

From all of which it appears that the county of Middlesex had been
regarded as including London, and, in a sense, a part of London, and
that a large part of its lands “owed obedience” to London. In that part
the citizens could hunt, just as they could fish in the river and trap
birds in the river-side marshes.


The early trade of London can be approximately arrived at by taking
into consideration (1) that London was the principal receiving,
distributing, and exporting place; (2) what it had to sell; and (3)
what it wanted to buy.

Nearly everything that was wanted was made on the farms and in the
towns. On the farms, the butter, cheese, bread, beer, bacon, were
prepared; the grain was grown and ground; the fruit and vegetables were
grown in the gardens; the honey was taken from the hives; spinning,
weaving, carpentering, clothing, shoemaking were all carried on in the
house. Nothing that could be made in the house was bought; nothing that
could be made in the house was exposed for sale in the market. What,
then, did the people want, and what did they buy? First, they wanted,
as necessities, metal for working, weapons, knives, and utensils. Next
they wanted salt. Iron and salt were the two absolute necessities of
life that could be obtained only by purchase or by barter. If we pass
on to luxuries, the wealthier class drank foreign wine in addition to
home-made beer, cider, and metheglin; they dressed in foreign silk;
they used gold and silver cups, which were made by London goldsmiths;
they imported foreign glass; spices brought from _outre-mer_; and
weapons made abroad of finer temper and better workmanship than their
own. The Church wanted ecclesiastical vestments, pictures, incense, and
gold and silver vessels. All these things the City had to offer and to
sell. For purposes of purchase or of exchange the City was prepared to
buy slaves, wool, metal, corn, and cattle. All over the country the
people bred slaves and sold them; they sent to London large quantities
of wool; they also sent lead, tin, iron, jet, fish, and cattle. And
there was a great demand among the foreign merchants, though there was
but a small supply, for the lovely embroidery of the Anglo-Saxon women,
and for the beautiful goldwork of the Anglo-Saxon goldsmiths. The
position of the goldsmiths in London, where they were the richest and
most important citizens, proves that there was more than a home demand
for their work. The words used for the arts and for many articles of
common use show that they were at first imported, and from a nation
where the Latin language was largely used. Common objects, such as
candle, pin, wine, oil; names of weights and measures; names of coins
are also derived from Roman sources. Wright’s theory that the people in
the cities spoke Latin, and that the Saxon gradually became amalgamated
with the people in the cities before the grand irruption may account
for the survival of Latin names for common objects. One means of
introducing these words may have been the communication kept up by the
Church with the Continent, and especially between the monasteries of
England and France.

[Illustration: SAXON LADIES

Royal MS. 2, B. vii.]

That the trade of London was large and constantly increasing is
certain. The abundance of gold in the country is instanced by the
wealth of the shrines and the monasteries, and the importance and value
of the exports. Sharon Turner[23] sums up this advance in trade in such
general terms as I have indicated:—

“The property of the landholders gradually multiplied in permanent
articles raised from their animals, quarries, mines, and woods; in
their buildings, their furniture, their warlike stores, their leather
apparatus, glass, pigments, vessels and costly dresses. An enlarged
taste for finery and novelty spread as their comforts multiplied.
Foreign wares were valued and sought for; and what Anglo-Saxon toil
or labour could produce, to supply the wants or gratify the fancies
of foreigners, was taken out to barter. All these things gave so
many channels of nutrition to those who had no lands, by presenting
them with opportunities for obtaining the equivalents on which their
subsistence depended. As the bullion of the country increased,
it became, either coined or uncoined, the general and permanent
equivalent. As it could be laid up without deterioration, and was
always operative when it once became in use, the abundance of society
increased, because no one hesitated to exchange his property for it.
Until coin became the medium of barter, most would hesitate to part
with the productions they had reared, and all classes suffered from
the desire of hoarding. Coin or bullion released the commodities that
all society wanted, from individual fear, prudence, or covetousness,
that would for its own uses have withheld them, and sent them
floating through society in ten thousand ever-dividing channels. The
Anglo-Saxons were in this happy state. Bullion, as we have remarked,
sufficiently abounded in the country, and was in full use in exchange
for all things. In every reign after Athelstan the trade and employment
of the country increased.”

[Illustration: SAXON HORN]

The principal work of London was that of collecting and distributing.
The port was the centre to and from which the whole business of the
country came and went. It was the king’s part to maintain the high
roads, but the Roman skill in road-making was lost; branching off
from the highways, in connection with the villages, were tracks
through the forests and over the moors. It is an indication of the old
spirit of tribal separation that merely to be seen on such a track was
suspicious. “... If a far coming man or a stranger journey through a
wood out of the highway, and neither shout nor blow his horn, he is
to be held a thief and either to be slain or redeemed.” Many of the
monasteries lay far outside the high road and in the midst of woods;
they were apparently in communication with the world by the medium of
streams and rivers. Tintern, Fountains, Dryburgh, Crowland, Ely, for
instance, stood beside streams or rivers.


Harl. MS., 603.]

There is abundant evidence as to the extent of the trade carried
on in the port of London. There were merchants from Gotland,
that strangely-placed emporium of eastern and northern commerce.
Thousands of coins have been found on the island—Roman, Byzantine,
and Anglo-Saxon, giving evidence of the wealth and enterprise of the
merchants, who conducted their caravans across Russia and their ships
from the Baltic to the German Ocean and the shores of the Bay of
Biscay. We hear of Frisian merchants trading to “Lunden tunes Hythe”
in the seventh century. The Norsemen were not all pirates. Othere
describes the trade with England in skins of bear, marten, otter,
reindeer, in eider-down and whalebone; in ropes made of whale and
sealskin. In Ethelred’s laws we read of Frisians, called Flandrenses,
of the men of the Emperor, men of Rouen, of Normandy, and of France.

It would seem that the greater part of the foreign trade remained
in the hands of the foreign merchants, but not all. Athelstan
conferred the rank of Thane on one who had voyaged three times to the
Mediterranean. And in the _Dialogues_ of Ælfric we have the English
merchant’s own account of himself and his trade:—

“I say that I am useful to the king and to ealder men and to the rich
and to all people. I ascend my ship with my merchandise and I sail over
the sea and sell my things and buy dear things which are not produced
in this land, and I bring them to you here with great danger over the
sea: and sometimes I suffer shipwreck, with the loss of all these
things, scarcely escaping myself. ‘What do you bring to _us_?’ ‘Skins,
silks, costly gems, and gold; curious garments, pigments, wine, oil,
ivory and orichalcous; copper and tin, silver, glass, and such like.’”

The voyage of ships from the south and the south-east to London was
much safer than we should expect for such small craft as then formed
the trading vessels—short, unwieldy, carrying a single mast and a
single sail. The ships bound for London hugged the shore round the
South Foreland and then, instead of sailing round the North Foreland,
they passed into the estuary of the Thames by the shallow arm of the
sea called the Wantsum, which there divided Thanet from the mainland
and made it an island. At either end of this passage the Romans had
constructed a fortress: that on the north called Regulbium, now
Reculver; that on the south Rutupiæ;, now Richborough. The latter stood
upon a small island separated from the mainland by a narrow channel.
The site of Sandwich was another islet lying south of Rutupiæ. The
passage was kept open partly by the flow of two or three rivers into
it from the highlands of Kent. It gradually, however, silted up and
shrank; yet ships continued to pass by this channel until the sixteenth
century, when it became too shallow for the lightest ships. The Wantsum
must be borne in mind whenever one speaks of early navigation to and
from the port of London, because it saved the ships from the rough and
dangerous passage round the North Foreland.

The business of distribution, collection of exports, and internal
traffic was conducted entirely by English merchants. Every year the
chapman started on his rounds. He set out with his caravan of horses
laden with goods and conducted by a troop of servants, all armed for
defence against robbers; the roads were cleared of wood and undergrowth
on either side to prevent an ambush—they were the old Roman roads, many
of which still continue; the antiquarian is pleased to find evidences
here and there of a road decayed and not repaired, but deflected by
an easier way. Where there were no Roman roads there were tracks and
bridlepaths; forests covered the country, and even in summer there
was danger of quagmires and bogs. The chapman rode not from village to
village, or from house to house, but from one market-place to another,
reporting himself to the Reeve on his arrival. When the season was
over, when he had sold or exchanged his stock, he returned to London,
his caravan now loaded with wool, skins, and metals for export, and
perhaps with a company of miserable slaves to be sold across the seas.

[Illustration: A BANQUET

Royal MS. 2, B. vii.]

The Gilds or Guilds, out of which sprang so great a number of trade
corporations and companies, are met with very early. We shall have
to consider this subject later on; let us note here, however, that
the actual rules of many early Guilds have survived. They were not
trades unions: that is, they did not exist for the purpose of keeping
up prices and wages. They were essentially social, even convivial in
character; they were benefit societies; and they were religious. We
have the complete code of the “Frith Guild” of London under Athelstan.
The laws are drawn up by the Bishop and the Reeve. The members, who
were numerous, met together once a month for social purposes; they
feasted and drank together; when a member died each brother gave
a loaf, and sang, or paid for singing, fifty psalms. There was an
insurance fund to which every member contributed fourpence in order to
make good the losses incurred by the members; they also paid a shilling
towards thief-catching; they were divided into companies of ten and
into groups of hundreds; each company and each group had its own
officer. The pursuit and the conviction of thieves were the principal
objects of this Guild. In a commercial city theft or the destruction of
property is the crime which is most held in abhorrence by the citizens.

There was a Guild of another kind, peculiar, apparently, to the City
of London. It was called the Cnihten Guild (see p. 329). We shall have
occasion to speak of this Guild at greater length farther on. For the
present it is enough to say that it was in all probability—for its laws
have perished—an association bound together by religious forms and vows
for the defence of the City—the “Cnihten” were in fact the officers of
the City militia, which consisted of all the able-bodied citizens; they
were trustees for the funds collected for the purpose of providing arms
for the citizens; they administered an estate belonging to the town
called the Portsoken, lying outside Aldgate, whose rents were received
and set aside, or expended in the repair of gates and walls, as well as
providing arms.


Attempts have been made to derive the Anglo-Saxon Guilds from the Roman
_collegia_. It is not impossible, supposing that the imitation came
through Gaul. At the same time, the points of resemblance on which the
theory rests are so extremely slight that one is not disposed to accept
it as proved. That is to say, they are points of resemblance such as
naturally belong to every association of men made for purposes of
mutual support and for the maintenance of common interests. Thus:—

1. Under the Roman Empire there existed _collegia privata_,
associations of men bound together for trade purposes.

2. They were established by legal rights.

3. They were divided into bodies of ten and a hundred.

4. They were presided over by a _magister_ and _decuriones_—a President
and a Council.

5. They had their Treasurer and their Sub-Treasurer.

6. They could hold property in their corporate capacity.

7. They had their temples at which they sacrificed.

8. They had their meeting-houses.

9. They had a common sheet.

10. They had _jus sodalitii_, the laws, rights, and duties of the

11. They admitted members on oath.

12. They supported their poor.

13. The members had to pay contributions and subscriptions.

14. They buried their dead publicly.

15. Each had its day of celebration or feast.

[Illustration: ANGLO-SAXON NUNS

Prudentius MS., 24199 (11th cent.).]

Now, suppose we found among the Chinese or the ancient Mexicans
institutions with similar laws, should we be justified in claiming a
Roman origin for them? Not at all. We should merely note the facts,
and should acknowledge that humanity being common to every age and
every country, such rules must be laid down and maintained by every
such association as a Company or Guild in the interests of any trade
or mystery. So far and no farther the Anglo-Saxon Guild is a copy of
the Roman _collegium_. Unless further points of resemblance are found,
we shall be justified in believing that the Guild was not derived by
the Saxon from the Roman, and that the latter was not preserved among
the provincial towns of England. Against the theory it may also be
argued that if it was so preserved, every Guild being separated from
every other could develop on independent lines, and that some of the
Roman names at least would be preserved, and some of the Roman customs,
apart, that is, from the customs common to every such association in
every age and in every country.



Harl. MS., Roll Y. 6.]

The religious spirit, which has always been found among the Teutonic
peoples, was strongly manifested in the Saxon as soon as he became
converted. He multiplied monasteries and churches; all over the country
arose monastic houses; Bede mentions nineteen of them, including those
of Ely, Whitby, Iona, Melrose, Lindisfarne, and Beverley. He does not,
however, include Westminster, Romsey, Barking, or Crowland. Kings,
queens, princesses, and nobles, all went into monasteries and took the
vows; partly, no doubt, from fear of losing their souls, but partly,
it is certain, from the desire to enjoy the quiet life, free from the
never-ending troubles of the world; free also from its temptations and
from its attractions. The monastery provided peace in this world and
bliss in the world to come. It has been too much the custom to deride
the rule and the discipline, the daily services, the iteration that
made prayer and praise a mere mechanical routine. Yet it is easy to
understand the kind of mind on whom this deadening effect would be
produced. It is also easy to understand the kind of mind to which a
rigid rule would be like a prop and a crutch on life’s pilgrimage; to
which daily services, nightly services, perpetual services, would be so
many steps by which the soul was climbing upwards. Again, to a harassed
king, arrived, after many years of struggle and battle, at middle
age or old age, think how such a house, lying in woods remote, among
marshes inaccessible, would seem a very haven of rest! Or again, to
the princess who had suffered the violent and premature deaths of her
brothers, her father, most of her people; who remembered the tears and
grief of her widowed mother; who had passed through the bereavements
which made life dreadful in a time of perpetual war; how admirable
would it seem to preserve her virginity even in marriage, and, as soon
as might be, to retire into the safety and the peace of the nunnery!

[Illustration: A BURIAL

Cædmon’s _Metrical Paraphrase_ (10th cent.), Bodleian Library.]

In the year 731, the year of his death, Bede wrote: “Such being the
peaceable and calm disposition of the time, many of the Northumbrians,
as well of the nobility as of private persons, laying down their
weapons, do rather incline to dedicate themselves and their children to
the tonsure and monastic vows than to study martial discipline. What
will be the end thereof the next age will show.”

The next age did show very remarkably what happens to a country which
puts its boys into monasteries. In the next age the people continued
still to flock into the monasteries; they not only deserted their
duties and their homes, they also deserted their country; they flocked
in crowds on pilgrimage to Rome as to a very holy place; noble and
ignoble, laity and clergy, men and women, not only went on pilgrimage,
but went to Rome in order to die there. Those who could neither take
the monastic vows nor die at Rome put on the monastic garb before they

Anglo-Saxon London, during the eighth century, thus became profoundly
religious, and although the history of the time is full of violence, it
is also full of exhortations to the better life. The Bishops constantly
ordered the reading of the Gospels. Every priest, especially, was
to study the Holy Book out of which to preach and teach. The modern
spirit of an Anglo-Saxon sermon is most remarkable, and this in spite
of the superstitions in which the time was plunged. The churches, for
instance, were crammed with relics; perhaps the people regarded them
as we regard collections in a museum. Here were kept pieces of the
sacred manger, of the true Cross, of the burning bush, of St. Peter’s
beard, of Mary Magdalene’s finger. There were also the popular beliefs
about witchcraft. The priests inveighed against witches—“that the
dead should rise through devil-skill or witchcraft is very abominable
to our Saviour; they who exercise such crafts are God’s enemies and
truly belong to the deceitful Devil.” The priests were also zealous
in forbidding and in stamping out all heathen survivals, such as
fountain worship, incantations of the dead, omens, magic, man worship,
the abominations practised in various sorts of witchcraft, worship
of elms and other trees, of stones, and other “phantoms.” Long after
Christianity had covered the land, the people practised their old
incantations for the cure of disease, for good luck in enterprise,
against poisons, disease, and battle. They had a thousand omens and
prognostics; days were lucky or unlucky; days were good or bad for this
or that kind of business—it is within living men’s recollection that
Almanacks were published for ourselves giving the lucky and the unlucky
days—those beliefs are hardest to destroy which are superstitious
and irrational and absurd. Are we not living still in a mass of
superstitious belief? It is sufficient to record that the Saxons were
as superstitious as our grandfathers—even as superstitious as ourselves.

It is interesting to note the simple and beautiful piety of Bede and
other Anglo-Saxon writers, and to mark the extraordinary credulity with
which they relate marvels and miracles. Every doctrine had to be made
intelligible, and explained and enforced by a special miracle. Take,
for instance, the doctrine of the efficacy of masses for the dead. Who
could continue in doubt upon the subject after such testimony as the
following? Who can argue against a miracle?

In the year 679—only a few years before the history was written—a
battle was fought near the river Trent between Egfrith, King of the
Northumbrians, and Ethelred, King of the Mercians. There was left for
dead on the field of battle one Imma, a youth belonging to the king.
This young man presently recovered, and binding up his wound tried to
escape unseen from the field. Being captured, however, he was taken
to one of Ethelred’s earls. Being afraid of owning himself for what
he was, he said he was a peasant who had brought provisions for the
army. The earl ordered him to be cared for and properly entertained
as a prisoner. Now he had a brother called Tunna, a priest, and the
Abbot of a monastery. This priest heard that Imma was dead, and went
to search for his body on the field of battle. He presently found one
so like that of his brother that, carrying it to the monastery, he
buried it and said masses for the soul. Now when Imma had recovered
of his wounds, the earl ordered him to be bound so that he should not
escape. Lo! as fast as the bonds were laid upon him they were loosened.
The earl suspected witchcraft; he was assured by Imma that he knew
no spells. Being pressed, however, he confessed who and what he was,
viz. no peasant, but a soldier belonging to King Egfrith. Then the
earl carried him to London and there sold him as a slave to a certain
Frisian, who bound him with new fetters. But at the third hour of the
morning they all fell off; and so every morning; wherefore the Frisian,
not knowing what to do with this miraculous slave, allowed him to
return on promise of sending his ransom. Now when Imma conversed with
his brother, he discovered that the loosening of his bonds had been
miraculously effected in answer to the masses said for his soul.


The ravages of the Danes in the eighth and ninth centuries destroyed
most of the monasteries. For, at first, being heathens, they rejoiced
in the destruction and pillage of holy houses and churches, which
were rich, full of precious things in gold and silver, embroidery,
pearls and gems, silks and fine stuffs. Wearmouth, they destroyed,
also Jarrow, Tynemouth, Coldingham, Crowland, Peterborough. When the
destroyers retired, those of the monks who had escaped murder timidly
came back. Crowland Abbey, for instance, found itself reduced to the
Abbot and two monks.

When Alfred had restored peace, he tried to renew some of the
monasteries, but failed; no one would become a monk. With nunneries
he succeeded better, founding one at Shaftesbury and one at
Winchester. Glastonbury, in the time of Dunstan, was served by Irish
priests. In the precinct of Paul’s Minster there was a college—St.
Martin’s-le-Grand was a college; but there was in London at this time
neither monastery nor nunnery. Why?

It may be explained on the ground that at the time when the great zeal
for monasteries moved the hearts of the people there was comparative
peace in the land, and it was sought to build a religious house far
away from what were thought to be the disturbing influences of a town.
For instance, St. Erkenwald, Bishop of London, founded two houses,
but placed neither in London; one of these he built at Barking down
the river, the other at Chertsey up the river. Other instances occur.
Romsey, Crowland, Medehamsted (Peterborough), Lindisfarne, Iona, Ely,
Glastonbury, not to speak of many later foundations, were placed in
quiet retreats far from the busy world. Westminster, it is true, was
built on an island once populous and lying on the highway of trade;
but the earlier foundation was destroyed by the Danes, and Edward’s
House arose long after the highway had been turned aside and most of
the trade diverted. Still, Westminster was never remote from the haunts
of men, and it may be observed that when the foundation of new houses
began they were erected in and around London itself, with no thought
of seclusion. Again, when the Danish troubles came upon the land and
the monasteries were sacked, for many years the monastic life became
impossible; the old desire for it entirely vanished, and long years
passed before it awakened again. When it did, monastic houses were
founded within the walls of London, or close beneath the protection
of the walls, as at St. Mary Overies and Bermondsey and Aldgate. The
Danish pillage was not forgotten.

Another explanation of the absence of monastic houses in Saxon London
may be the fact, which one is apt to overlook, that every Minster was
provided with a college, or a monastic house where the priests—not
monks—lived the common life, though not yet the celibate life; where
they had a school and where they brought up boys for the Church. In
_Domesday Book_ there are no lands owned by religious houses in London
except by the Church of St. Paul’s, which had lands in Essex and
elsewhere; by certain individual canons, the Bishop of London, who
had lands in Middlesex, Hertford, and Essex; and by the Church of St.
Martin’s, the Abbey of Westminster, and the Abbey of Barking.

[Illustration: ST. DUNSTAN

Claud MS., A. iii.]

The churches of London, with the houses, were at first built of wood.
You may see a Saxon church, such as those which were dotted all over
the City area, still standing at Greenstead, near Chipping Ongar,
in Essex (see p. 211). When the houses began to be built of stone,
the churches followed suit; you may see a stone Saxon church at
Bradford-on-Avon, near Bath. The churches were quite small at first,
and continued to be small for many centuries. They were by degrees
provided with glass, with richly decorated altars, with chapels and
with organs: in the last respect being better off than their successors
in the eighteenth century, when many City churches had no organ. Bede
describes an organ as a “kind of tower made with various pipes, from
which, by the blowing of bellows, a most copious sound is issued; and
that a becoming modulation may accompany this, it is furnished with
certain wooden tongues from the interior part, which the master’s
fingers skilfully repressing, produce a grand and almost a sweet

And Dunstan, who was a great artificer in metals as well as a great
painter, constructed for himself an organ of brass pipes.

It is interesting to gather, from the dedications of the City churches,
those which certainly date from Saxon times. Thus there are five
dedicated to Allhallows, of which four are certainly ancient; of the
churches dedicated to Apostles, there are two of St. Andrew, three of
St. Bartholomew, one of St. James, one of St. Paul, three of St. Peter,
one of St. Stephen, four of St. Mary, one of Mary Magdalene; of later
saints, St. Martin, St. Bridget, St. Benedict, St. Anne, St. Clement,
St. Giles are represented, while Saxon or Danish saints are found in
St. Ethelburga, St. Swithin, St. Botolph, St. Olave, St. Magnus, St.
Vedast, and St. Dunstan. None of the Norman saints seem to have crossed
the water. None, certainly, supplanted the Saxon saints, while not one
British saint remained in Saxon England, which shows how different was
the Norman Conquest from the Saxon occupation.

If ecclesiastical law means anything, then the London citizen must
have spent most of his time in doing penance. Besides the common
crimes of violence, perjury, theft, and so forth, the Church advanced
the doctrine that there were eight capital crimes, namely, pride,
vainglory, envy, anger, despondency, avarice, greed, and luxury.
For greed a man had to fast and do penance for three years. For
despondency, he had to fast on bread and water till he became once more

The chief weapon of the Church at a time when the executive is weak
is penance. For the Anglo-Saxon his priest was armed with a code of
penances so long and so heavy that one cannot believe that it was ever
enforced. Can we, for instance, believe that free men would consent
to live on the coarsest food and do penance for three years as a
punishment for eating with too great enjoyment? We are told that if a
man killed any one in public battle he was to fast forty nights. Then
King Alfred must have been doing penance all the days of his life—which
is absurd. Again, can one believe that sinners consented to wear iron
chains round the body, to lie naked at the feet of the person offended,
to go about with a rope round their necks, to abstain from water, hot
or cold? Can we believe that any one, especially any rich or noble
person, would sell his estate, give one-third to the poor, one-third to
the clergy, and keep no more than one-third for himself and his family?

Penance, however, could be commuted by payments in money. This shows,
not the greed and avarice of the Church, but the weakness of the
Church. Another way of getting through penance was by paying people
to perform the penance for the sinner. Thus, a man who was ordered a
thirty-six days’ fast could engage twelve men to fast for three days
each. Or if he was ordered a year’s fast, he would arrange for 120 men
to fast, in the same way, for three days each. As I said above, it is
the weakness of the Church that one perceives. The Bishops denounced
crime; they showed the people how grievous a sin was this or that,
by imposing heavy penance; then because only a few would consent to
perform such penances, they were obliged to be content with evasions
and vicarious performance. As the Church grew stronger, penance became
more reasonable.

[Illustration: THE LAST DAY

Nero MS. C IV.]

There was a church in nearly every street, and a parish to every
church. Some of the churches were built as an act of penance. We are
sometimes tempted to believe that the power of the Church must have
been an intolerable tyranny; yet the violence of the time called for
the exercise of arbitrary authority, and, at the very worst, it was
better to be in the hands of the Church than in those of the King.


In the administration of the City, the Bishop and the Portreeve were
the two principal officers; the former represented more than the
ecclesiastical life, because the Church governed the life of every
man at every step in his pilgrimage from the cradle to the grave. The
Portreeve was the king’s officer: he looked after customs, dues, tolls,
etc. The port is neither “Porta,” the gate; nor “Portus,” the harbour;
it is “Portus,” the enclosed space: “Portus est conclusus locus quo
importantur merces et inde exportantur” (Thorpe, 1. 158). The Portreeve
was the civil magistrate, as the Bishop was the ecclesiastical. Other
officers were the “Tungerefa,” or Tunreeve, whose business it was to
inquire into the payment of custom dues. The “Caccepol” (Catchpole), or
Beadle, was perhaps a collector. And there were the Jurats or Jurors,
called sometimes _testes credibiles_, who acted as witnesses in every
case of bargain or sale. The laws of Edgar said: “Let every one of
them on his first election as a witness take an oath that neither for
profit, nor for fear, nor for favour, will he ever deny that which he
did witness, nor affirm aught but what he did see and hear. And let
there be two or three such sworn men as witnesses to every bargain.”
The “Wic-reeve” is also mentioned, but this is probably only another
name for Town-reeve. He is mentioned in an edict issued by two Kentish
kings, Hlothhere and Edric (673-685). “If any Kentish man buy a
chattel in Lundewic, let him have two or three witnesses or a king’s
wic-reeve.” Wright takes this officer to have been one appointed by the
Kings of Kent to look after their interests in a town belonging to the
Kings of Essex. Why should it not mean simply the reeve of the port,
_i.e._ the reeve of the Kings of Essex? “If it be afterwards claimed
of the man in Kent, let him then vouch the man who sold it him, or the
wic at the king’s hall.” Criminals were tried in open court by their
fellows. They might be acquitted by the oaths of those who had known
them long. If they were found guilty, the punishments were cruel: they
were deprived of hands, feet, tongue, eyes; women were hurled from
cliffs into the river, or burned; floggings were inflicted. Ordeals
were practised—that of the “corsned,” or consecrated barley-bread,
which only the innocent could swallow;—this ordeal was supposed to
have killed Earl Godwin; that of cold water, that of hot water, that
of hot iron. Not, however, the ordeal by battle. Of all other ordeals
the event was uncertain: in that by battle one or the other had to die.
The citizen of the tenth century had the greatest possible objection to
such an ordeal. Later on, under Norman rule, he protested continually
against this liability, until the King conceded his freedom from it.


Claud MS., B. iv.]


Harl. MS., 603.]

The Anglo-Saxon laws are simply amazing as regards the punishments
ordered for those offenders who were of servile rank. Their savage
cruelty shows that the masters were afraid of the slaves. If a slave
woman stole anything she might be whipped unmercifully, thrown into
prison, and kept there; thrown over a precipice, drowned, or even
burned to death. In the last case she was to be burned by eighty other
women slaves, every one of whom was to contribute a log towards the
fire. If a man slave committed a similar offence he might be stoned
to death by eighty other slaves, and if one of those eighty missed
his mark three times he was to be flogged. Since, however, slaves
cost money, and were valuable property, it is not probable that they
were often destroyed for slight offences. On the other hand, they
were cruelly flogged. A small drawing in a contemporary MS. shows the
flogging of a slave. He is stripped naked; his left foot is confined
by a circle; two men are flogging him with thorny handles. The cruelty
of the punishment, thus brought home to one, seems atrocious. But
flogging was not the worst or the most cruel punishment. Every kind
of mutilation was practised in ways almost unspeakable. Mutilation,
indeed, was continued as a punishment long after the Conquest. We
shall see, for instance how Henry I. punished the “moneyers” who had
debased the coin by striking off their right hands and depriving them
of their manhood. Eyelids were cut off, noses, lips, ears, hands,
feet; the victims of this barbarity were to be seen on every road
in every town. Those who were not slaves, but freemen, were, as a
rule, treated with far more clemency. First, for the man not taken
red-handed, there was the ordeal to which he might appeal. There was
next the “compurgation,” in which the accused had to find a sufficient
number of reputable persons to swear that he was not capable of the
offence charged. Or again, many offences could be cleared by penance,
and since penance included fasting, which is impossible for the weak
and the old, the repetition of prayers and singing of Psalms was
allowed as a substitute; and since these do no good except to the
penitent, compulsory almsgiving was further allowed as a substitute.
So that, although the Church attempted to make of the last mode of
punishment a real and substantial fine in proportion to the means of
the sinner, the natural, certain, and inevitable result followed:
that all crimes could be atoned for by those who could pay the fines,
and that in the Christian Church there was one law for the rich and
another for the poor. Also, as naturally followed in course of time,
it became customary to classify most crimes by a kind of tariff. Those
of violence, greed, and lust, which were common in an age of violence,
were priced at so much apiece. Those, however, of murder of kin, arson,
treason, witchcraft, were held “bootless,” _i.e._ not to be atoned for
by any fine. Then a very curious institution existed, called the Frank
pledge. Every man in the country belonged to a tithing or company of
ten; every company of ten belonged to a company of a hundred; every
crime had to be paid for by the tithing, or the hundred; thus it
happened in this way it was made the interest of every one that the
tithing or the hundred should be kept free from crime.

The punishment of women by drowning was practised in very early times
by the ancient Germans and Anglo-Saxons. It was continued down to the
middle of the fifteenth century, when it was finally, but not formally,
abolished. But women were drowned on the Continent in the eighteenth
century. The London places of execution were the Thames, and the pools
of St. Giles, Smithfield, St. Thomas Watering, and Tyburn. Sometimes
the criminal was sewn up in a sack with a snake, a dog, an ape—if one
could be procured—and a cock.

The right of taking a part in the government of his country was always
held and claimed by the Anglo-Saxon freeman. Thus in London, all causes
were tried, and all regulations for the ordering of the City were made,
by the citizens themselves in open court. The Hustings, a Danish Court,
was held once a week, on Monday. The Folkmote was held on occasion, and
not at stated times. The men were called together by the bell of St.
Paul’s, to Paul’s Cross; there, in a tumultuous assemblage, everything
was discussed, not without blows and even slaying or wounding, for
every man carried his knife. It was difficult to persuade the citizens
to meet without arms, because to carry no arms was the outward mark of
the slave; even the clergy carried arms. Only while performing penance
the freeman must lay aside his sword; and that, no doubt, was a greater
penalty than the fast. Another distinguishing mark of the freeman was
his long hair: the slaves had their hair cut close; the most shameful
punishment that could be inflicted on a free woman was to cut off her

Wright is of opinion that the existence of London was continuous,
and that it was never taken or sacked by the Saxons. We have seen
the evidence for the desertion of the City. He adduces the example
of Exeter, where English and Welsh continued to live on equal terms;
he acknowledges that this could only have been done by virtue of an
original composition with the English conquerors.

[Illustration: THREE MEN IN BED

Harl. MS., 603.]

He points out, however, apart from his theory, the very important fact
that London was in many respects a free commercial city, making laws
for itself and claiming privileges and concessions which imply claims
to the exercise of independent jurisdiction, notably in the law made by
the Bishop and Reeves of London for the citizens in the year 900. Such
powers the City certainly possessed and used at that and earlier times;
they were, however, powers not laid down by law, but assumed as the
occasion demanded, and neither disputed nor allowed by the King. Later
on, the citizens pretended to have possessed their privileges from the
first foundation of their City, which they carried back as far as the
foundation of Rome.


[Illustration: MOTHER AND CHILD

Cædmon’s _Metrical Paraphrase_ (10th cent.), Bodleian Library.]

As regards the poor of London, the laws relating to them were most
strict and clear. Everybody had to give to the Church the tenth part
of his possessions and incomings: the tithe, according to a law of
Ethelred, was to be divided into three equal parts, of which one was
to go to the maintenance of the church fabric—the altars, the service
of the church, and the offices belonging thereto; the second part was
to go to the priests; and the third part to “God’s poor and needy.”
Archbishop Egbert issued a canon to the same effect. King Edgar
enjoined the same division. And not only did tithes carry with them
this provision for the poor, but the faithful were also exhorted to
other almsgiving. For instance, if a man fasts, let him give to the
poor what he has saved by his abstinence; and if by reason of any
infirmity he is unable to fast, let him give to the poor instead.
Every church, every monastery, had its guest-house or poor-house,
where the poor were received and fed. Archbishop Wilfred, in 832, fed
daily, on his different manors, twenty-six poor men: to each he gave
yearly twenty-six pence for clothing; and on his anniversary he gave
twelve poor men each a loaf of bread and a cheese, and one penny. This
practice was continued after his death by endowments. In the same way
there were endowments for the poor at Canterbury, Ely, and elsewhere.
We must, therefore, remember that round every parish church in the City
of London there were gathered daily, for their share of the tenth part,
“God’s poor and needy”—the aged, the infirm, the afflicted—belonging to
that parish.


  _Augustin Rischgitz._


Nero MS., C. iv. (10th cent.).]

The daily life of the King in his palace or on his journeys is not
difficult to make out. That of the people, the priest, the merchant,
the craftsman, is impossible to discover—only a few general customs
can be noted. To begin with, the Anglo-Saxon was a mighty drinker:
in drinking he was only surpassed by the Dane; bishops were even
accused of going drunk to church; all classes drank to excess. They
had drinking bouts which lasted for days: during this orgy they
illustrated their Christian profession by praising the saints and
singing hymns between their cups, instead of singing the old war songs;
the young king, Harthacnut, as we know, drank himself to death. But the
feasting and the hard drinking seldom fell to the lot of the ordinary
craftsman. We may believe that this honest man drank as much as he
could get and as often as he could afford, but ale and mead then, as
now, cost money. How the craftsman worked, for what wage, for how long,
how he was housed, how he was fed, we may ask in vain.


Like the Dane, the Anglo-Saxon was of an imaginative nature; he not
only believed in spirits and demons, but he made a great and complete
scheme of mythology into which we need not here inquire; when he was
converted to Christianity he surrendered himself to a blind belief
in the doctrines of the Church. Many noble and royal persons in the
revival of the eighth century showed, as we have seen, the sincerity of
their belief so far as to lay down their rank and enter monasteries,
or to go off barefooted on pilgrimage. With the majority, their new
religion was something added to the old. We are not to suppose that
this old mythology was known to the common people, any more than the
book of Ovid’s _Metamorphoses_ was known to the average Roman citizen.
The Christian Church introduced its teaching gradually, being content
to pass over many pagan practices. The Church said nothing while the
people continued to believe that the foul fiend entered into the body
of a person newly dead and walked about in that body all night. They
believed in the power of raising spirits, in magic and witchcraft; they
wore amulets and charms for protection; they believed in “stacung,”
_i.e._ “sticking,” a method of killing an enemy by which the slayer
simply stuck a thorn or a pin into his enemy and prayed that the part
wounded might mortify and so cause death. It was an easy method, but
one that offered the obvious objection that you cannot stick a pin into
any part of a man without causing him pain; nor can you pray at the
same time without his hearing the prayer. Therefore one must believe
that the would-be murderer ran great risk himself of being murdered.
There were, however, instances in which persons were believed to have
caused death by this method. In the tenth century, for instance, we
get a glimpse of wild justice. We see a man running madly through the
streets; he reaches the nearest gate; he flies across the moor, where
none pursue him; he is heard of no more. The crowd which ran after him
turned back. They made for a house—not a hovel—a substantial house,
where he had lived with his aged mother; they beat down the door; they
rushed in; they came out shouting that they had found the accursed
thing; they dragged out the old woman shrieking for mercy. “Witch!
sorceress! She has bewitched Ælsie by sticking and by prayer. He is
sick unto death. She must die.” They hauled her along the streets;
they reached the bridge; they hurled the poor creature, now covered
with blood and shrieking no longer, into the river. She floated for a
second; she sank; again she rose to the surface; then she was seen no
more, and the crowd returned. The King for his part confiscated the
lands of the sorceress and her son.

Loftie gives the following passage concerning this event. It is from a
document in the Society of Antiquaries. Note by the way that it proves
the existence of the bridge in 960 or thereabouts:—

“Here is made known in this writing, that bishop Æthelwold and Wulfstan
Uccea exchanged lands, with the witness of King Ædgar and his ‘witan.’
The bishop gave to Wulfstan the land at Washington, and Wulfstan gave
him the land at Jaceslea and at Aylesworth. Then the bishop gave the
land at Jaceslea to Thorney, and that at Aylesworth to Peterborough;
and a widow and her son had previously forfeited the land at
Aylesworth, because they had driven an iron pin into Ælsie, Wulfstan’s
father, and that was detected: and they drew the deadly thing forth
from her chamber. They then took the woman and drowned her at London
Bridge; and her son escaped, and became outlaw; and the land went into
the hands of the king; and the king then gave it to Ælsie, and Wulfstan
Uccea his son gave it again to Bishop Æthelwold, as it is here above

The method of “sticking” was continued, but with modifications. The
operator no longer stuck a thorn into his enemy. He made a waxen image
of him and stuck pins into the image, with a prayer that the man might
feel the agony of the wound; he placed it before the fire, and prayed
that as the waxen image melted away, so his enemy might waste away and
die. The superstition lingered long; perhaps it still has followers and
believers. In the fifteenth century the greatest lady in the land was
compelled to do penance and was committed to a life-long prison for
practising this superstitious rite.


Royal MS. 2, B. vii.]

Philtres and love potions were greatly in request; the people
practised astrology and divination. Their medicine was much mixed
with superstition: thus they knew the medicinal properties of certain
plants, but in using them certain prayers had to be said or sung; they
practised bleeding, but not when the moon was crescent and the tide was
rising; the use of relics was prescribed for every possible disease.

It is a great pity that we have neither an Anglo-Saxon house nor any
detailed description of one left. There are, it is true, some drawings
of houses in the MSS. of the period, but the buildings are presented
conventionally; they are indicated for those who would recognise
them without too great an adherence to truth. Take that on p. 225.
There is, it will be perceived, a central hall. On one side is the
chapel—part of the wall is taken out so as to show the lamp burning
before the altar; beside the chapel is a small room, perhaps the
chaplain’s chamber; on the other side are two chambers: one belongs to
the men-at-arms, the other to the maids; the court is full of beggars,
to whom the lord and the lady are serving food, while the maids are
bringing out clothes for two adults who are standing at the door in a
state of Nature. There is a round building at the back—the walls of the
house are of masonry up to a certain height, when timber begins; there
is but one floor. The hall was hung with cloths or tapestry; it was
furnished with benches and with movable tables on trestles.

In the Saxon household the special occupation of the women was the
construction of clothing. They carded the wool; they beat the flax;
they sat at the spinning-wheel or at the weaver’s loom; they made
the clothes; they washed the clothes; they embroidered and adorned
the clothes; the female side in a genealogy was called the spindle
side. Kings’ daughters, notably the grand-daughters of King Alfred,
distinguished themselves by their work with the spinning-wheel and the
needle. The Norman admired the wonderful work of the Saxon ladies; the
finest embroideries shown in France were known as English work. Thomas
Wright (_Womankind in Western Europe_, p. 60) gives very complete
testimony on this point:—

“The Anglo-Saxon ladies of rank were especially skilful in embroidery,
and that from a very early period. English girls are spoken of in the
life of St. Augustine as employed in skilfully ornamenting the ensigns
of the priesthood and of royalty with gold, and pearls, and precious
stones. St. Etheldreda, the first Abbess of Ely, a lady of royal rank,
presented to St. Cuthbert a stole and maniple which she had thus
embroidered with gold and gems with her own hands. At a later period,
Algiva or Emma, the queen of King Cnut, worked with her own hands a
stuff bordered in its whole extent with goldwork, and ornamented in
places with gold and precious stones arranged in pictures, executed
with such skill and richness that its equal might be sought through
all England in vain. Dunstan is said to have designed patterns for the
ladies in this artistic work. The early historian of Ely tells a story
of an Anglo-Saxon lady who, having retired to lead a religious life
in that monastic establishment, the nuns assigned to her a place near
the Abbey, where she might occupy herself more privately with young
damsels in embroidery and weaving, in which they excelled. We trace in
early records the mention of women who appear to have exercised these
arts as a profession. We find, for instance, in the _Domesday Book_, a
damsel named Alwid holding lands at Ashley in Buckinghamshire, which
had been given to her by Earl Godwin for teaching his daughter orfrey
or embroidery in gold, and a woman named Leviet or Leviede is mentioned
in Dorsetshire as employed in making orfrey for the king and queen.”

It is also remarked by Wright that the names given to women indicate
a high respect for womanhood: such as the names of Eadburga—the
citadel of happiness; Ethelburga—the citadel of nobility; Edith
(Eadgythe)—the gift of happiness; Elfgiva-the gift of the fairies;
Elfthrida—the strength of the fairies, or the spiritual strength;
Godiva (Godgifa)—the gift of God.


Harl. MS., 603.]

There are, so far as I know, no traditions of any nunnery in London
before the Conquest. The name Mincing Lane, which is certainly
Mincheon Lane or Nuns’ Lane, points probably to property belonging
to a nunnery. Perhaps there was a nunnery within the City before the
occupation by the Danes. If so, it perished and was forgotten. Just as
men were required to fight and not to lead monastic lives, so women
were required to become mothers of fighting men, and not to enter a
cloister. I think there may have been a nunnery, because London did
not escape the wave of religious revival, and also because one was
necessary for the education of girls. At nunnery schools the girls were
educated with far greater care than our own girls till the last twenty
years or so. They learned Latin, rhetoric, logic, and, according to
Wright, “what we call popular science.” They also learned embroidery.
“From the statements of the Anglo-Saxon writers, we are led to believe
that the Anglo-Saxon nuns had no objection to finery themselves, and
they are accused of wearing white and violet chemises, tunics, and
veils of delicate tissue, richly embroidered with silver and gold, and
scarlet shoes.” (Wright, p. 86.)

[Illustration: GOING TO THE CHASE

Royal MS. 2, B. vii.]

The evening of the ordinary man was not wholly given up to drinking.
The musicians came in and played on harp and trumpet, pipes, horn, and
fiddle. The gleemen sang and recited; the tumbling-girls played their

[Illustration: THE HAWK STRIKES

Royal MS. 2, B. vii.]

The Anglo-Saxon love of music and poetry gives us a higher opinion of
the people than we might form from all that we have learned. Applying
all his qualities, good or bad, to the Londoner, it will be found that
he has transmitted them to the generations coming after him. For he was
a lover of freedom, valiant in the field; a lover of order and justice;
impatient under ecclesiastical control, yet full of religion; fond of
music, poetry, singing and playing; given to feasting and addicted to
drunkenness. These attributes distinguished the Londoner in the tenth
century, and they are with him still after a thousand years.

[Illustration: FEASTING

Claud MS., B. iv. (11th cent.).]

The sports and pastimes of the City were the same for London as for the
rest of the country. The citizens were passionately fond of hunting and
hawking; they baited animals, as the bull, the bear, and the badger;
they were fond of swimming, skating, and rowing, of dancing, and of
tomfoolery, jumping, tumbling, and playing practical jokes. Of these
amusements, hunting was by far the most popular with all classes. We
have seen that the Londoner had deep forests on all sides of him,
beyond the moor on the north of his wall, beyond the Dover causeway on
the south, beyond the Lea on the east, beyond Watling Street on the
west. The forests were full of wild cattle, bears, elk, buffalo, wild
boars, stags, wolves, foxes, hares, and the lesser creatures; as for
the wolves, they were a terror to every village. Athelstan and Edgar
organised immense hunts for the destruction of the wolves; under the
latter they were so greatly reduced in number that he is generally
said to have exterminated them. As regards the hunting of the elk or
the wild boar, it was a point of honour to meet the creature face to
face after it had been roused from its lair by the dogs, and driven out
maddened to turn upon its assailant. In single combat the hunter met
him spear and knife in hand, and either killed or was killed. Sometimes
nets were employed; these were stretched from tree to tree. Dogs drew
the creatures into the nets, where they were slaughtered. Once Edward
the Confessor, a mighty hunter, discovered that his nets had been laid
upon the ground by a countryman. “By God and His Mother!” cried the
gentle saint, “I will serve you just such a turn if ever it comes in my

The country was famous for its breed of dogs. There were bloodhounds
strong enough to pull down bulls; wolfhounds which could overtake a
stag or a wolf or a bear; a kind of bulldogs remarkable for their
overhanging jowls; harriers, greyhounds, water spaniels, sheep-dogs,
watch-dogs, and many other kinds.

The Game Laws, which restricted the right of hunting, formerly
universal, were introduced by Cnut. Every man, however, was permitted
to hunt over his own land.

Akin to hunting was the sport of hawking. This was greatly followed by
ladies, for whom other kinds of hunting were too rough. Hawks of good
breed were extremely valuable. It was not only by hawking that birds
were caught. The Londoner employed nets, traps, slings, and bird-lime.
He had only to go down the river as far as Barking or Greenwich to
find innumerable swarms of birds to be trapped and netted. Of his
indoor pastimes one must not omit to mention the making and answering
of riddles, a game with pawns—“taeflmen”—and dice, called “taefl,” and
the game of chess. The last of these was a fearful joy on account of
the rage which seems always to have seized the man who was defeated.
Witness the following anecdote:—

“Among the most enthusiastic of chess-players was Cnut the Great, but
he was by no means an agreeable antagonist. When he lost a game, or
saw that he was on the eve of doing so, he very commonly took up the
huge chess-board on which he played, and broke it on the head of his
opponent. He was on one occasion playing with his brother-in-law,
the Earl Ulf, when the earl, seeing that he had a forced mate, and
knowing the king’s weakness for knocking out the brains of successful
antagonists, quietly left the table. Cnut, who guessed his motive,
shouted after him: ‘Do you run away, you coward?’ To which the other,
who had lately rescued the king in an unfortunate engagement with the
Swedes, replied, ‘You would have been glad to have run faster at the
Helga, when I saved you from the Swedes who were cudgelling you.’ Cnut
endeavoured to bear the retort patiently, but it was too irritating for
his temper. On the following morning he commanded one of his Thanes to
go and murder Ulf; and though, in anticipation of the king’s vengeance,
Ulf had taken sanctuary in the church of St. Lucius, the bloodthirsty
order was carried into effect.”

The education of the boy was conducted at monasteries. One knows that
there were schools in every monastery, and that every minster had its
school; and that probably the four oldest schools of London—St. Paul’s,
St. Martin’s, St. Anthony’s, and St. Mary-le-Bow, were of Anglo-Saxon
foundation. We know, further, that at these schools the teaching was
carried on by means of catechism, and that the discipline was severe,
but we do not know what children were admitted to these schools, and
whether the child of the craftsman was received as well as the child
of the Thane. Athletics were not neglected—leaping, running, wrestling,
and every kind of sport which would make the body more active and
the frame more capable of endurance were encouraged. Until the time
of Alfred very few even of the highest rank could read or write. The
monasteries with their schools did a great deal to remove the reproach.
The boys rose before daybreak and joined the brethren in singing the
Psalms appointed for the early service. They assisted at first mass and
at the mass for the day; they dined at noon and slept after dinner;
they then repaired to their teacher for instruction.

[Illustration: ANGLO-SAXON HOUSE

Harl. MS., 603.]

Food in London was always plentiful; it was very largely the same as
at present. The people killed and ate oxen, sheep, and swine; they had
game of all kinds; wild birds in myriads frequented the marshes and the
lowlands of Essex; the rivers were full of fish. Barley-bread was eaten
by children and the lower orders; they had excellent orchard-land, and
a plentiful supply of apples, pears, nuts, grapes, mulberries, and
figs. In the winter they had salted meat. Their drink was ale, wine,
mead, pigment, and morat. Pigment was a liquor made of honey, wine,
and spice. Morat was a drink made of honey mixed with the juice of

The Londoner’s house was luxurious, according to the luxury of the
time. The walls were adorned with hangings, mostly of silk embroidered
with figures in needlework. These hangings and curtains were of
gaudy colours, like the fashionable dresses. The benches, seats, and
footstools were richly carved. The tables were sometimes decorated
with silver and gold. The candlesticks were of bone or of silver. The
mirrors were of silver. The beds were provided with rich and soft
pillows and coverings, bearskins and goatskins being used for blankets.
There was great store of silver cups and basins; the poorer sort used
vessels of wood and horn. Glass began to come into general use about
the time of the Norman Conquest. At least twelve different precious
stones were known. Spices were also known, but they were difficult to
procure and highly prized. The warm bath was used constantly, but not
the cold bath, except as a penance.

In every city, town, nay, every monastery and every village, it was
necessary that there should be artificers to make everything that was
wanted. The women did the weaving, sewing, dressmaking and embroidery.
We need not attempt to enumerate the trades of the men. A list of them
will be found in _Mediæval London_. (See vol. i. App. ii.)

The population of London can only be guessed, but there are certain
facts which afford some kind of clue. Thus, when Alfred entered the
City there was practically no population, unless the slaves of the
Danes remained. The City filled up rapidly with the increase of
security and the development of trade. Foreign merchants once more
flocked to the Port; they settled in the City and became Londoners. The
defeat of Swegen and Olaf, and afterwards of Cnut, clearly proves that
the citizens were strong enough to beat off a very large and powerful
army. This fact is alone sufficient to prove that the City contained a
population enormous for the period. In the twelfth century FitzStephen
says that London could furnish 60,000 fighting men—a manifest
exaggeration. In _Domesday Book_, prepared after the devastating wars
of William, and with the omission of some counties and many towns, we
arrive at a population of a million and a half. If we allow for London
an eighth part of the population of the whole country, we have 187,500.
For other reasons (see p. 190), I think that the population of London
at the beginning of the eleventh century was probably about 100,000.

There are many other things about the City of King Edward which we
should like to know. Among them are: the procedure at a folkmote; the
exact procedure in the trial of a person charged with an offence;
the real extent of the power exercised by the Church, _e.g._ those
penances so freely imposed, were they laid upon all citizens or only
upon certain persons more devout than the rest? What kind of education
was given to the boys and girls of the lower classes? Again, one would
like to know what was the position and what the work of a slave in
London. Outside London, _Domesday Book_ records 26,500 slaves in all;
but in London itself nothing is known about their number. Taking the
population of London as one-eighth that of the whole country, the
number of slaves would be about 3300. Since there is no trade which
has ever been held in contempt by the working classes of London, it is
probable that there was no trade specially set apart for the slaves.


[23] _History of the Anglo-Saxons._

                              CHAPTER VII

                            THORNEY ISLAND


From _Westminster_, by Sir Walter Besant.]

Let us turn to the sister city, as yet only Thorney, the Isle of
Bramble. We all know the legend of St. Peter’s Hallowing. The legend
became in later times an article of faith. The right of Sanctuary at
Westminster was made to rest upon the sanctity of a place so blest as
to have been consecrated by Peter: on the strength of this sanctity
Westminster claimed the tithe of the Thames fishermen from Staines to
Gravesend; and as late as 1382 a Thames fisherman representing Edric
had the right to sit at the same table as the prior; he might demand
of the cellarer ale and bread, and the cellarer again might take for
him of the fish’s tail as much as he could with four fingers and the
thumb erect.

Sebert was buried in the church, and his tomb is pointed out to this
day. Walsingham says that when his grave was opened for the purpose of
removing his body from the old church to the new, “his right hand was
found perfect, flesh and skin, nails and bones, up to the middle of his
arms.” And Robert of Gloucester writes:—

    “Segbrit that I remped was a right holy man,
    For the Abbey of Westminster he foremost began:
    He was the first king that thilke church gan rere,
    And sithe at his ende day he was buried there.
    Seven hundred yere and six there were nigh agon,
    Sithe that he was buried faire under a ston:
    And some dede of him was also hooly found
    As thilk day that he was first laid in the ground.”

Bede makes no mention at all of Westminster Abbey. But the first
Charter in which it is mentioned, that of King Offa of Mercia, in 785,
calls it St. Peter’s. Bede’s History ends at the year 731; therefore
the Abbey was founded between 731 and 785; or, which is more likely,
the foundation was too small and insignificant for Bede to mention
it. King Offa says, “I have given to St. Peter and the Lord’s people
dwelling in Torneis, in loco terribili, quod dicitur aet Uuestminster.”
There is another ancient charter, without date, still existing, under
which one Ælfhelm grants lands to the Abbey. Considering the facts
already dwelt upon—the religious fervour of the eighth century, the
general desire for the monastic life, and the absence of monasteries
or nunneries in London, we may very reasonably infer that Westminster
would open her doors to the citizens, and these would endow and enrich
her. So that the vanished foundation may very well have been a great
and splendid monastery. As we have nothing to go upon but conjecture
and inference concerning it, we may accept anything we please.

Then came the troubles of the Danes in the ninth century. It is not
to be supposed that, when they were ravaging the whole island and
destroying everywhere the religious houses, Westminster would be
spared. Indeed, they seem to have actually occupied Thorney, according
to Ethelred’s Chronicle, and to have been besieged there by Earl
Ethelred. It certainly was not the only time that they visited a place
so convenient and lying on the old high road. One visit was probably
quite enough so far as the monks were concerned.

Edgar and Dunstan founded the Abbey anew—in this first great
dissolution of the monasteries the younger monks probably took up arms
and became fighting-men with the rest. However this may be, the monks
of Westminster were lost: the new Abbey had to be served by monks from


  _Rischgitz Collection._


From a MS. in the Bodleian Library.]

A document still exists, perhaps a forgery, but yet of great value,
purporting to be the King’s charter granting estates to the Abbey. Its
importance to us lies in the fact that, forgery or not, it does give
the boundaries of the estate claimed and possessed by the monks. A very
noble estate it is. You can lay it down on the map very easily. On the
north it was bounded by the line of Oxford Street; on the east by the
Fleet river; on the south by the Thames; on the west by the Tyburn and
a line drawn from the present site of Buckingham Palace to Victoria
Station, and thence to the outfall of the King’s Scholars’ Pond Sewer,
east of Albion Terrace in the Grosvenor Road. Of this large manor
a good portion was marsh-land, but there were pastures and meadows
south of the present Oxford Street, and as far as Holborn and the
Fleet. Later on the Abbey acquired the land between the Tyburn and the
Westbourne, that is to say, that part now bounded by the Serpentine in
Hyde Park and the two sewers known as King’s Scholars’ Pond Sewer and
the Ranelagh Sewer.

This, however, was the demesne of the Abbey under Edgar’s foundation.
He brought thither twelve monks of the Benedictine order from
Glastonbury, and gave them presents in gold as well as in lands. Still
it remained a poor foundation till the coming of the Confessor.

Of this church, that of Edgar, I suppose there is not a fragment left
above the ground. Nor need we speculate as to the kind of church that
it was.

Beside the Abbey, on the east side of it, it is said that King Cnut
erected a royal palace. At least tradition ascribes the palace to him,
and there are several reasons which make it as certain as can be that
the King did build a palace of some kind—whether great or small—on
Thorney. It is stated that he loved to converse with Wulnoth, Abbot of
St. Peter’s. Now even in these days it is not so very easy to get from
London to Westminster for the purpose of conversation, and King Cnut
was the busiest man in the whole island, so it is at all events likely
that he built some sort of dwelling near the Abbey. It is positively
stated that his palace was burned in the time of the Confessor; there
is a bull by Pope Nicholas II. (1058-1061), in which it is said that
“the place where the church and monastery are built was anciently the
seat of kings—therefore by the authority, etc., we grant and solidly
confirm that hereafter, for ever, it be the place of the kings’
constitution and consecration, the repository of the Imperial Regalia,
and a perpetual habitation of monks.” This is pretty plain. But there
are other points which seem to indicate that Cnut was the first builder
of a palace here. The story of the removal of St. Alphage’s remains
from St. Paul’s to Canterbury proves the wholesome fear with which the
King regarded the citizens of London. He caused his men to simulate
riots and tumults at the City gates, so that when all the citizens
hurried thither in hopes of a fight, the removal could take place
unseen. He would not willingly remain within the City walls. Besides,
he had with him his small standing army of 3000 huscarles (house men),
whom he carried about with him. The housing of these men in London—men
of a different nationality—would be an ever-present danger if they were
billeted upon the citizens: one could not expect that the Londoners,
who had twice beaten off Cnut’s father and once beaten off Cnut
himself, would regard the intrusion of this army within their walls
with satisfaction.

What kind of palace was that which Cnut erected? I am of opinion that
it contained the central group of buildings associated with the name
of Edward the Confessor, which remained, with many changes of windows
and roof, down to the fire of 1834. Outside, there were the offices of
state, the barracks, the guest-chambers, and so forth. We shall return
to the subject again.

There is one more reason to believe that the palace of Westminster
was built by Cnut. When Edric the traitor was beheaded, his body was
“flung out of window into the Thames.” Some writers have stated that
this would be impossible at Westminster. Quite the contrary; but it
would have been impossible at London, for the simple reason that there
were no windows overlooking the river, but that there was a great stone
wall with towers and bastions running all along the river side: at
Westminster, on the other hand, there were always houses built upon the
banks with windows overlooking the river.

Let us meantime recognise Cnut as the founder of the “King’s House”
of Westminster. It seems that both Harold and Hardacnut occupied the
palace of Westminster from time to time.

[Illustration: MONKS

Nero MS., C. iv.]

King Edward’s first charter, granted to Wulnoth and the monks of
Westminster, was dated from the King’s House—_in regis palatio_—of

Edward the Confessor resolved to restore and to rebuild and to re-endow
the Monastery of St. Peter. He was moved thereto partly because he
was a special votary of that Apostle; partly because he had vowed a
pilgrimage to St. Peter’s tomb at Rome, and his Council would not let
him go; partly because to build and to endow a church was an act very
pleasing to the Lord; and partly because he possessed that love of
building found in so many kings of all ages and of all countries.

He carried his resolution into effect. He built a church worthy of his
vow, and a church which was by far the noblest and grandest edifice in
the country. It was the first English example of the cruciform church:
it occupied an area nearly equal to that of the present church; the
windows were filled with stained-glass representing passages in the
life of our Lord and in the lives of the saints; it contained a noble
organ; the altars blazed with gold and precious stones; the vestments
of the priests were as magnificent as embroidery, silk, and cloth of
gold could be made; the King and his warriors came to worship from the
palace hard by; the rustics from the farms around came to worship side
by side. In the splendour of the church, in the austerity of the monks,
in the equality of the worshippers, there was taught to the world every
day that religion regardeth not the rank or the power of a man. Of
Edward’s church little now remains, only some pillars and passages,
some substructures, the chapel of the Pyx, and some broken columns of
the Infirmary Chapel.

Edward did not witness the consecration of his church. His last act was
to sign the charter of the foundation. It was consecrated without him.
His queen, Edith, sat in the King’s place, with her brothers, Harold
and Gurth, and the new minster was consecrated by Archbishops Stigand
and Aldred, while the King lay in his palace close by, slowly dying.
After the consecration of the church the first function was the burial
of its founder. The next was the coronation of Harold.

We shall have more to say, later on, concerning the coronation of our
kings and queens. Let us conclude our notice of Saxon London with the
coronation service of a Saxon king. It is that of Ethelred, and was
probably followed word for word in the crowning of King Harold:—

“Two bishops, with the witan, shall lead him to the church, and the
clergy, with the bishops, shall sing the anthem, ‘Firmetur, manus tua,’
and the ‘Gloria Patri.’

When the king arrives at the church, he shall prostrate himself before
the altar, and the ‘Te Deum’ shall be chaunted.

When this is finished, the king shall be raised from the ground, and
having been chosen by the bishops and people, shall, with a clear
voice, before God and all the people, promise that he will observe
these three rules.

_The Coronation Oath_

‘In the name of Christ, I promise three things to the Christian people,
my subjects:—

First, That the church of God, and all the Christian people, shall
always preserve true peace under our auspices.

Second, That I will forbid rapacity and all iniquities to every

Third, That I will command equity and mercy in all judgments, that to
me and to you the gracious and merciful God may extend his mercy.’

All shall say Amen. These prayers shall follow, which the bishops are
separately to repeat:—

‘We invoke thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty and Eternal God, that
this thy servant (whom, by the wisdom of thy divine dispensations from
the beginning of his formation to this present day, thou hast permitted
to increase, rejoicing in the flower of youth), enriched with the gift
of thy piety, and full of the grace of truth, thou mayest cause to be
always advancing, day by day, to better things before God and men:
that, rejoicing in the bounty of supernal grace, he may receive the
throne of supreme power; and defended on all sides from his enemies
by the wall of thy mercy, he may deserve to govern happily the people
committed to him with the peace of propitiation and the strength of


  _Augustin Rischgitz._


Written in Ireland (A.D. 650-690). Now in the possession of
Trinity College, Dublin.]

_Second Prayer_

‘O God, who directest thy people in strength, and governest them with
love, give this thy servant such a spirit of wisdom with the rule of
discipline, that, devoted to thee with his whole heart, he may remain
in his government always fit, and that by thy favour the security of
this church may be preserved in his time, and Christian devotion may
remain in tranquillity; so that, persevering in good works, he may
attain, under thy guidance, to thine everlasting kingdom.’

After a third prayer, the consecration of the king by the bishop takes
place, who holds the crown over him, saying:—

‘Almighty Creator, Everlasting Lord, Governor of heaven and earth, the
Maker and Disposer of angels and men, King of kings and Lord of lords!
who made thy faithful servant Abraham to triumph over his enemies,
and gavest manifold victories to Moses and Joshua, the prelates of
thy people; and didst raise David, thy lowly child, to the summit of
the kingdom, and didst free him from the mouth of the lion and the
paws of the bear, and from Goliath, and from the malignant sword of
Saul and his enemies; who didst endow Solomon with the ineffable gift
of wisdom and peace: look down propitiously on our humble prayers,
and multiply the gifts of thy blessing on this thy servant, whom,
with humble devotion, we have chosen to be king of the Angles and the
Saxons. Surround him everywhere with the right hand of thy power,
that, strengthened with the faithfulness of Abraham, the meekness of
Moses, the courage of Joshua, the humility of David, and the wisdom of
Solomon, he may be well-pleasing to thee in all things, and may always
advance in the way of justice with inoffensive progress.

May he so nourish, teach, defend, and instruct the church of all
the kingdom of the Anglo-Saxons, with the people annexed to it; and
so potently and royally rule it against all visible and invisible
enemies, that the royal throne of the Angles and Saxons may not desert
his sceptre, but that he may keep their minds in the harmony of the
pristine faith and peace! May he, supported by the due subjection of
the people, and glorified by worthy love, through a long life, descend
to govern and establish it with the united mercy of thy glory! Defended
with the helmet and invincible shield of thy protection, and surrounded
with celestial arms, may he obtain the triumph of victory over all his
enemies, and bring the terror of his power on all the unfaithful, and
shed peace on those joyfully fighting for thee! Adorn him with the
virtues with which thou hast decorated thy faithful servants; place him
high in his dominion, and anoint him with the oil of the grace of thy
Holy Spirit!’

Here he shall be ANOINTED with oil; and this anthem shall be

‘And Zadoc the priest, and Nathan the prophet, anointed Solomon king in
Sion; and, approaching him, they said, May the king live for ever!’

After two appropriate prayers, the SWORD was given to him,
with this invocation:—

‘God! who governest all things, both in heaven and in earth, by thy
providence, be propitious to our most Christian king, that all the
strength of his enemies may be broken by the virtue of the spiritual
sword, and that Thou combating for him, they may be utterly destroyed!’

The king shall here be CROWNED, and shall be thus addressed:—

‘May God crown thee with the crown of glory, and with the honour
of justice, and the labour of fortitude; and by the virtue of our
benediction, and by a right faith, and the various fruit of good works,
thou mayst attain to the crown of the everlasting kingdom, through His
bounty whose kingdom endures for ever!’


After the crown shall be put upon his head, this prayer shall be said:—

‘God of Eternity! Commander of the virtues! the Conqueror of all
enemies! bless this thy servant, now humbly bending his head before
thee, and preserve him long in health, prosperity and happiness.
Whenever he shall invoke thine aid, be speedily present to him, and
protect and defend him. Bestow on him the riches of thy grace; fulfil
his desires with every good thing, and crown him with thy mercy.’

The SCEPTRE shall be here given to him, with this address:—

‘Take the illustrious sceptre of the royal power, the rod of thy
dominion, the rod of justice, by which mayest thou govern thyself well,
and the holy church and Christian people committed by the Lord to
thee! Mayest thou with royal virtue defend us from the wicked, correct
the bad, and pacify the upright; and that they may hold the right
way, direct them with thine aid, so that from the temporal kingdom
thou mayest attain to that which is eternal, by His aid whose endless
dominion will remain through every age.’

After the sceptre has been given, this prayer follows:—

‘Lord of all! Fountain of good! God of all! Governor of governors!
bestow on thy servant the dignity to govern well, and strengthen him,
that he become the honour granted him by thee! Make him illustrious
above every other king in Britain! Enrich him with thine affluent
benediction, and establish him firmly in the throne of his kingdom!
Visit him in his offspring, and grant him length of life! In his day
may justice be pre-eminent; so that, with all joy and felicity, he may
be glorified in thine everlasting kingdom.’

The ROD shall be here given to him, with this address:—

‘Take the rod of justice and equity, by which thou mayest understand
how to soothe the pious and terrify the bad; teach the way to the
erring; stretch out thine hand to the faltering; abase the proud; exalt
the humble; that Christ our Lord may open to thee the door, who says of
himself, I am the door: if any enter through me, he shall be saved. And
HE who is the key of David, and the sceptre of the house of
Israel, who opens and no one can shut; who shuts and no one can open;
may he be thy helper! HE who bringeth the bounden from the
prison-house, and the one sitting in darkness and the shadow of death!
that in all things thou mayest deserve to follow him of whom David
sang, Thy seat, O God, endureth for ever; the sceptre of thy kingdom is
a right sceptre. Imitate him who says, Thou hast loved righteousness,
and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, has anointed thee with
the oil of gladness above thy fellows.’

The benedictions follow:—

‘May the Almighty Lord extend the right hand of his blessing, and pour
upon thee the gift of his protection, and surround thee with a wall of
happiness, and with the guardianship of his care; the merits of the
holy Mary; of Saint Peter, the prince of the Apostles; and of Saint
Gregory, the apostle of the English; and of all the Saints, interceding
for thee!

May the Lord forgive thee all the evil thou hast done, and bestow
on thee the grace and mercy which thou humbly askest of him; may he
free thee from all adversity, and from all the assaults of visible or
invisible enemies.

May he place his good angels to watch over thee, that they always and
everywhere may precede, accompany, and follow thee; and by his power
may he preserve thee from sin, from the sword, and every accident and

May he convert thine enemies to the benignity of peace and love, and
make thee gracious and amiable in every good thing; and may he cover
those that persecute and hate thee with salutary confusion; and may
everlasting sanctification flourish upon thee!

May he always make thee victorious and triumphant over thine enemies,
visible or invisible; and pour upon thy heart both the fear and the
continual love of his holy name, and make thee persevere in the right
faith and in good works, granting thee peace in thy days; and with the
palm of victory may he bring thee to an endless reign!


And may he make them happy in this world, and the partakers of his
everlasting felicity, who have willed to make thee king over his people!

Bless, Lord, this elected prince, thou who rulest forever the kingdoms
of all kings.

And so glorify him with thy blessing, that he may hold the sceptre of
Solomon with the sublimity of a David, etc.

Grant him, by thy inspiration, so to govern thy people, as thou didst
permit Solomon to obtain a peaceful kingdom.’

_Designation of the State of the Kingdom_

‘Stand and retain now the state which thou hast hitherto held by
paternal succession, with hereditary right, delegated to thee by the
authority of Almighty God, and our present delivery, that is, of all
the bishops and other servants of God; and in so much as thou hast
beheld the clergy nearer the sacred altars, so much more remember to
pay them the honour due, in suitable places. So may the Mediator of God
and men confirm thee the mediator of the clergy and the common people,
on the throne of this kingdom, and make thee reign with him in his
eternal kingdom.’

This prayer follows:—

‘May the Almighty Lord give thee, from the dew of heaven, and the
fatness of the earth, abundance of corn, wine, and oil! May the people
serve thee, and the tribes adore thee! Be the lord of thy brothers,
and let the sons of thy mother bow before thee: He who blesses thee
shall be filled with blessings, and God will be thy helper: May the
Almighty bless thee with the blessings of the heaven above, and in the
mountains, and the vallies; with the blessing of the deep below; with
the blessing of the suckling and the womb; with the blessings of grapes
and apples; and may the blessing of the ancient fathers, Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob, be heaped upon thee!

Bless, Lord, the courage of this prince, and prosper the works of his
hands; and by thy blessing may his land be filled with apples, with the
fruits, and the dew of heaven, and of the deep below; with the fruit
of the sun and moon; from the tops of the ancient mountains, from the
apples of the eternal hills, and from the fruits of the earth and its

May the blessing of Him who appeared in the bush come upon his head;
and may the full blessing of the Lord be upon his sons, and may he
steep his feet in oil!

With his horn, as the horn of the rhinoceros, may he scatter the
nations to the extremities of the earth; and may He who has ascended to
the skies be his auxiliary for ever!’

Here the coronation ends.”

                             CHAPTER VIII

                             SAXON REMAINS

As for the monuments which remain of Saxon London there are none; the
Roman monuments are older, the mediæval monuments are later. There is
not one single stone in the City of London which may be called Saxon.
In Westminster the fire of 1835 swept away the buildings which belonged
perhaps to Cnut; certainly, with alterations, to Edward the Confessor.
Some of the bases of Edward’s columns still exist under the later
pavement; the chapel of the Pyx, and portions of the domestic buildings
appropriated to the use of the school, were built by Edward.



Roach Smith’s _Catalogue of London Antiquities_.]

Of Saxon coins many have been found. Perhaps the most important find
happened on June 24th, 1774, in clearing away the foundations of
certain old houses near to the church of St. Mary at Hill, when a
quantity of coins and other things placed in an earthen vessel eighteen
or twenty inches beneath the brick pavement or cellar were dug up.
The vessel was broken by the pickaxe and the coins fell out upon the
ground. The workmen, thinking from their blackened appearance that they
were worthless, threw them away, but a foreman, finding that they were
silver, collected all he could, some three or four hundred pieces.
Within the earthen vessel was a smaller one containing coins in a high
state of preservation, together with a fibula of gold finely worked
in filigree, with a sapphire set in the centre, and four pearls, of
which one was lost. The coins consisted entirely of pennies of Edward
the Confessor, Harold II., and William the Conqueror. They are stamped
with the name of the Moneyer and the place where he kept his Mint. The
Minters or Moneyers belonging to London were:—

(1) Under Edward the Confessor:

 Durman, Edwin, Godwin, Wulfred, Sulfine, and Wulfgar.

(2) Under Harold:

 Edwin, Gefric, Godric, Leofti, and Wulgar.

(3) Under William:

 Ægelric, Ælffig, Godwine, Leofric, and Winted.

It is at first sight strange that so very little should survive
of six hundred years’ occupation. Look, however, at other cities.
Nothing survives except those buildings, like the pyramids, or King
Herod’s temple, built of stones too huge to be carried off. What is
there in Paris—in Marseilles—in Bordeaux—in any ancient city to mark
the occupation of the city from the fifth to the eleventh century?
Considering the character of the people; considering, too, the arts and
architecture of the time; it would be strange indeed if Saxon London
had left a single monument to mark its existence.


_Archæologia_, vol. xv.]

If, however, there are no buildings of Saxon origin, there are other
remains. The names of streets proclaim everywhere the Saxon occupation.
Thus, Chepe, Ludgate, Bishopsgate, Addle Street, Coleman Street,
Garlickhithe, Edred’s Hithe (afterwards Queen’s Hithe), Lambeth Hill,
Cornhill, Gracechurch Street, Billingsgate, Lothbury, Mincing Lane,
Seething Lane, Aldermanbury, Watling Street, Size Lane, Walbrook,
and many others, occur at once. Or, there are the churches whose
dedications point to the Saxon period: as, St. Botolph, St. Osyth, St.
Ethelburga, All Hallows, and others.

Streets within the City that are perhaps later than the Conquest are
Fenchurch Street, Leadenhall Street, Lombard Street, Old Broad Street,
Great Tower Street, and Tower Hill. Streets with trade names, such as
Honey Lane, Wood Street, Friday Street, the Poultry, Bread Street, are
almost certainly of Saxon origin.

Stow speaks of an ancient road or street running from Aldgate to
Ludgate which was cut off by the enclosure of St. Paul’s Churchyard. A
glance at the map will show that when West Chepe was an open market,
a broad space, the way from east to west, may very well have struck
across St. Paul’s Churchyard to Ludgate Hill, leaving the Cathedral,
then much smaller than the Norman building, plenty of room on the south
side. No traces of the Danish Conquest exist, but there are traces of
Danish residence, first, in the names of the churches of St. Magnus and
St. Olave, of the latter there were many; in the name of St. Clement
Danes, which perhaps preserves the memory of a Danish quarter, but
the subject is obscure; in the Court called the Hustings, held every
Monday, the name of which is certainly derived from the Danes. The
similarity, however, of Danish and Saxon institutions made the adoption
of the latter easy. The absorption of the Danes by the Saxons was in
a few years so complete that no memory was left to their descendants
of their Scandinavian origin. In London the families of Danish descent
were like those of Flemish or Norman descent: they saw no reason to
remember their origin, and were English as well as London citizens.

                                BOOK IV

                             NORMAN LONDON

                               CHAPTER I

                         WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR

After Hastings William advanced upon the City, and finding his entrance
barred, burned Southwark.

The historians commonly attribute this act, which they consider as the
burning of a large and important suburb, to a threat of what the Norman
would do to London herself, unless the City surrendered. This is the
general interpretation of an act which I believe to have been simply
the usual practice of William’s soldiers, without orders. They fired
the fishermen’s huts because they always set fire to everything. Such
was the way of war.


Historians, indeed, seem not to understand the position of London at
this time, and the spirit of her citizens.

London, in a word, was not afraid of William. We have seen that the
City had been able to beat off six successive sieges by Danes and
Northmen; and this within the memory of men over forty. Are we to
believe that a city with such a history of defiance and victory was
going to surrender because Duke William had won a single battle? Why,
King Cnut had won a dozen, yet the town would not surrender. Then,
as to the burning of Southwark. That suburb was never more than one
line of houses on an embankment and two along a causeway. In times of
peace there stood upon the causeway certain inns for the reception of
traders and their goods; and on the embankment certain cottages for
the fishermen of the Thames and some of the river-side people, the
stevedores, lightermen, and wharfmen. The inns were wooden shanties,
they were mere shelters; the cottages were mere huts of wattle and
daub. In time of war the inns were deserted. If there were no traders
there could be no need of inns. William’s soldiers fired these deserted
inns, and, at the same time, the thatch of the fishermen’s huts; not
with any deep political object, but, as I have said, because they were
Norman soldiers, on whose coming the villages burst into spontaneous
combustion. As for the fishermen, they looked on, with their families,
from a safe position in their boats in the middle of the river. When
the soldiers had gone they returned and put on a new thatch. As for
the City’s feeling the least alarm because these cottages were burned,
nothing could be more absurd. The City looked on from the battlements
of her river-wall and shouted defiance. Then William turned and rode
away. He had no stomach for a long and doubtful siege of London while
the new armies of the English were forming.

The Londoners took time to consider their next step. They had within
their walls Edgar Atheling, grandson of Edmund Ironside; they had many
of the Bishops; they were quite strong enough to refuse submission: but
they had also among themselves many “men of Rouen”; they were already
familiar with the Normans; their Bishop, William, was of French, if
not of Norman, origin. They took time, then, to consider; there was no
hurry; they could keep out William as long as they pleased, just as
they had kept out Cnut. They began, probably on the advice of the two
earls, by electing young Edgar Atheling as their king. Why, however,
did William sit down at Berkhampstead? It has been suggested that he
could thus cut off the earls from their earldoms. But when they wished
to withdraw from London, they did so, and betook themselves to these
earldoms without molestation, so that William did not cut them off. The
reason for thus withdrawing is not apparent, though one can understand
that the Atheling was unable to persuade or to command them to unite
against the common enemy, and they retired to their own country,
leaving the Londoners to themselves, seemingly without any promise or
pledge to raise new armies in their own earldoms.

It is also suggested that, by harrying the country around, William was
cutting off the City and depriving it of supplies. He certainly did
harry the country, as is proved by the depreciation in the value of
land wherever his footsteps had been (see _English Historical Review_,
vol. xiii. No. 49). But, first of all, the harrying of the country
was necessitated by the needs of the army which had to be fed; and
secondly, London never was cut off: the river remained open, and Essex,
once the garden of England, was not touched and still remained open.

In other words, neither the burning of Southwark, nor the harrying of
the country, nor any threats of the Conqueror moved the proud City
at all. She who had beaten off Cnut—still living in their memory as
the great king—even when he had command of the river and had invaded
the City by land, who had broken down six sieges of the Danes, was
certainly not going to surrender at a word because the invader had won
a single victory.


Vit. MS., A. xiii.]

William, for his part, did well to consider before attacking London.
Thirty years before, as he knew perfectly well, another king had
ridden to London like himself, only to find the gates shut. Cnut laid
siege to London: he was beaten off: he had to divide the kingdom with
Edmund Ironside. Not till London admitted him was he truly King of
England. William certainly knew this episode in history very well,
and understood what it meant. In the north there were Saxon lords who
needed nothing more than the support and encouragement of London to
raise an army equal to that of Harold’s, and to march south upon him.
William, who had many friends in London, therefore waited.

In London there was much running to and fro; much excitement, with
angry debates, in those days. The funeral procession, simple and plain,
carrying the body of Harold from the field of battle to the Abbey of
Waltham, had passed through the City. It must have passed through the
City, because there was no other way. The King was dead; who was to
succeed him? And some said Edgar Atheling; and some said nay, but
William himself—strong as Cnut; just as Cnut; loyal to his people as

First they chose the Atheling, but when the great bell of St. Paul’s
rang for the Folkmote, to Paul’s Cross all flocked—the craftsmen in
their leathern doublets, the merchants in their cloth. All assembled
together; all the citizens and freemen of the City, according to a
right extending beyond the memory of man, and a custom as old as
the City itself, claiming for every man the right of a voice in the
management of the City.

Standing above the rest was the Bishop; silent at first amid the
uproar, silent and watchful, beside him the Atheling himself, a
stripling unable to wield the battle-axe of Harold; beside him, also,
the Portreeve, the chief civil officer of the City; behind the Bishop
stood his clergy and the canons of St. Paul’s. Outside the throng stood
the “men of Rouen” and the “men of Cologne,” who had no voice or vote,
but looked on in the deepest anxiety to learn the will of the people.


  _Augustin Rischgitz._


Then arose an aged craftsman, and after him another, and yet a third,
and the burden of their words was the same: “I remember how King Cnut
besieged us, and behind our walls we laughed at him.”

And all the people cried, “Yea! yea!”

“And he drew his ships by the trench that he cut in the mud round the
bridge, and we fought the ships and beat him off.”

And all the people cried, “Yea! yea!”

“And we would have none but our own king, Edmund Ironside.”

And all the people cried, “Yea! yea!”

Meantime the Bishop listened and bowed his head as if in assent. And
when all had spoken, he said, “Fair citizens, it is true that King
Cnut besieged you and that you beat him off, like valiant citizens.
Remember, however, that in the end you made Cnut your king. Was he a
just king—strong in battle and in peace merciful—was he, I say, a good

And all the people lifted up their voices, “Yea, yea.” For the memory
of King Cnut was more precious with them than that of any other king
since the great King Alfred.

Much more the Bishop said. In the end, by order, as he said, of the
Folkmote—whom he had persuaded to their good, he set off with the
Portreeve and Edgar Atheling. He was ready to offer the submission
of the City on conditions. What were those conditions? They were
almost certainly similar to those which the city of Exeter afterwards
proposed: viz. that William should promise to be a law-abiding king. He
made that promise. He entered the City, whose gates were thrown open to

[Illustration: A NORMAN KNIGHT

MS. 2, A. xxii.]

London made William king. What did William do for London in return? He
gave her, probably soon after his coronation, his famous Charter. It
could not have been before his coronation, because he describes himself
as king, and from the nature of the contents it must have been given
very shortly after his reign began. This document is written on a slip
of parchment no more than six inches in length and one in breadth. It
contains four lines and a quarter.

There are slight variations in the translation. The following is that
of Bishop Stubbs:—

“William, King, greets William, Bishop, and Gosfrith, Portreeve, and
all the burghers within London, French and English, friendly; and I
do you to wit that I will that ye be all law worthy that were in King
Edward’s day. And I will that every child be his father’s heir after
his father’s day. And I will not endure that any man offer any wrong to
you. God keep you.”

It is the first charter of the City.

This charter conveys in the fewest possible words the largest possible
rights and privileges. It is so clear and distinct that it was
certainly drawn up by the citizens themselves, who knew then—they have
always known ever since—what they wanted. We can read between the
lines. The citizens are saying: “Promise to grant us three points,
these three points, and we will be your loyal subjects. Refuse them,
and we will close our gates.” Had the points been put into words by the
keenest of modern lawyers, by the most far-seeing lawyer of any time,
they could not have been clearer or plainer. They leave no room at all
for evasion or misconception, and they have the strength and capability
of a young oak sapling.

The points were these: Every man was to have the rights of a freeman,
as those rights were then understood, and according to the Saxon

Secondly, every man was to inherit his father’s estate.

Thirdly, the King would suffer no man to do them wrong.

       *       *       *       *       *

Consider what has grown out of these three clauses. From the first
we have derived the right, among other things, for which every man
of our race would fight to the death—the right of trial by our
fellow-citizens, _i.e._ by jury. I do not say that the citizens
understood what we call Trial by Jury, but I do say that without this
clause, trial by jury could not have grown up. London did not invent
the popular method of getting justice; but she did preserve the rights
of the freeman, as understood by Angle, Saxon, and Jute alike, and by
that act preserved for all her children developments yet to come; among
others, this method of trial, which has always impressed our people
with the belief that it is the best way of getting justice that has yet
been invented.

As for the second, the right of inheritance. This right, which includes
the right of bequest, carries with it the chief spring of enterprise,
industry, invention, and courage. Who would work if the fruits of his
work were to be taken from his children at his death by a feudal lord?
The freeman works with all his heart for himself and his family; the
slave works as little as he can for his master. The bestowal of this
right was actually equivalent to a grant—a grant by charter—to the
City—of the spirit of enterprise and courage. Who would venture into
hostile seas, and run the gauntlet of pirates, and risk storm and
shipwreck, if his gains were to be swept into the treasury of a feudal

As for the third point, the promise of personal protection, London was
left with no one to stand between the City and the King. There never
has been any one between the King and the City. In other cities there
were actually three over-lords—king, bishop, earl,—and the rights
of each one had to be separately considered. The citizens of London
have always claimed, and have always enjoyed, the privilege of direct
communication with the sovereign. No one, neither earl nor bishop, has
stood between them and their King, or claimed any rights over the City.

[Illustration: NORMAN HORSEMEN



From the Bayeux Tapestry.]

Now these liberties, and others that have sprung from them, we have
enjoyed so long that they have become part of ourselves. They are like
the air we breathe. When an Australian or an American builds a new
town, he brings with him, without thinking of it, the rights of the
freeman, the right of inheritance, the right of owning no master but
the State. We cannot understand a condition of society in which these
rights could be withheld. Picture to yourself, if you can, a country
in which the king imposed his own judges upon the people; a king who
could order them as he pleased; could sentence, fine, banish, imprison
or hang without any power of appeal; who could make in his own interest
his own laws without consulting any one; who could seize estates at
their owner’s death and could give the heirs what he pleased, as much
or as little; who could hand these heirs over to be the prey of a
feudal lord, who only suffered them to live in order that he might rob
them. That was the position of a city under a feudal lord, but it was
never the position of London.

It must be added that William’s Charter conferred no new liberties or
privileges upon the City. London asked for none: the City was content
with what it had. William surrendered none of the power or authority of
the sovereign. London asked for no such surrender. We shall see, in the
charters which followed, how jealously the royal authority was guarded.

From a modern point of view it would seem an unpatriotic thing for the
City to throw over the Saxon heir; but we must remember that Cnut, the
best and strongest king they had had since Alfred, was a Dane, that the
City was full of Normans, and that the memory of the Saxon Ethelred
was still rankling among them. What better argument could the Bishop
advance than the fact that William was known everywhere to be a just
man, faithful to his word, and strong—the strongest man in western
Europe? Above all things the country desired in a king, then and
always, so long as kings ruled and after kings began to reign, was that
he should be strong and faithful to his word.

The principal citizens[24]—among them Edgar Atheling himself—rode
forth, met William, and giving hostages, made their submission, and he
“concluded a treaty with them,” that is, he promised to respect their
laws. According to the _A.S. Chronicle_, William “vowed that he would
be a loving lord” to the City.

William was crowned at Westminster. It is uncertain whether the
rival whom he had slain had been crowned at Westminster or at St.
Paul’s—probably the latter, as the cathedral church of London. William,
in that case, was the first of our kings to be crowned at Westminster.
The place was chosen because it contained the tomb of the Confessor, to
whom William claimed to succeed by right.

Dean Stanley has told the story of this memorable coronation with
graphic hand. It was on Christmas Day. The vast Cathedral, which,
newly built, was filled with the burgesses of London—sturdy craftsmen
for the most part—“lithsmen” or sailors, merchants—anxious to know
whether the old custom would be observed of recognising the voice of
the people. It would: every old custom would be jealously observed. But
there was suspicion: outside, the Cathedral was guarded by companies
of Norman horse. Two prelates performed the ceremony: for the Normans,
Godfrey, Bishop of Coutances; for the English, Aldred, Archbishop of
York. Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, had fled into Scotland. When
the time came for the popular acclamation, both Bishops addressed the
people. Then came the old Saxon shout of election, “Yea—yea.” The
Norman soldiers, thinking this to be an outbreak of rebellion, set fire
to the Abbey Gates—why did they fire the Gates?—upon which the whole
multitude, Saxon and Norman together, poured out in terror, leaving
William alone in the church with the two Bishops and the Benedictine
monks of St. Peter’s. A stranger coronation was never seen!

Stanley points out the connection, which was kept up, of the Regalia
with King Edward the Confessor.


“The Regalia were strictly Anglo-Saxon, by their traditional names: the
crown of Alfred, or of St. Edward, for the King; the crown of Edith,
wife of the Confessor, for the Queen. The sceptre with the dove was
the reminiscence of Edward’s peaceful days after the expulsion of the
Danes. The gloves were a perpetual reminder of his abolition of the
Danegelt—a token that the King’s hands should be moderate in taking
taxes. The ring with which, as the Doge to the Adriatic, so the King
to his people was wedded, was the ring of the pilgrim. The coronation
robe of Edward was solemnly exhibited in the Abbey twice a year, at
Christmas and on the festival of its patron saints, St. Peter and St.
Paul. The ‘great stone chalice,’ which was borne by the Chancellor
to the altar, out of which the Abbot of Westminster administered the
sacramental wine, was believed to have been prized at a high sum ‘in
Saint Edward’s days.’ If after the anointing the King’s hair was not
smooth, there was King Edward’s ‘ivory comb for that end.’ The form of
the oath, retained till the time of James II., was to observe ‘the
laws of the glorious Confessor.’ A copy of the Gospels, purporting to
have belonged to Athelstane, was the book which was handed down as that
on which, for centuries, the coronation oath had been taken. On the
arras hung round the choir, at least from the thirteenth century, was
the representation of the ceremony, with words which remind us of the
analogous inscription in St. John Lateran, expressive of the peculiar
privileges of the place:—

    ‘Hanc regum sedem, ubi Petrus consecrat aedem,
    Quam tu, Papa, regis; inungit et unctio regis.’

The Church of Westminster was called, in consequence, ‘the head, crown,
and diadem of the kingdom.’

[Illustration: BISHOPS

Royal MS. 2, B. vi.]

The Abbot of Westminster was the authorised instructor to prepare each
new king for the solemnities of the coronation, as if for confirmation;
visiting him two days before, to inform him of the observances, and
to warn him to shrive and cleanse his conscience before the holy
anointing. If he was ill, the Prior (as now the Subdean) took his
place. He was also charged with the singular office of administering
the chalice to the King and Queen, as a sign of their conjugal unity,
after their reception of the sacrament from the Archbishop. The Convent
on that day was to be provided, at the royal expense, with 100 simnels
(that is, cakes) of the best bread, a gallon of wine, and as many fish
as became the royal dignity.”

The coronation happily over, William began to build his Tower. The
City should be fortified against an enemy by its strong wall—the
stronger the better—but he was not going to allow it to be fortified
against himself. Therefore he would build one Tower on the east and
another on the west of the City wall, so that he could command ingress
or egress, and also the river above or below the bridge. The Tower
on the east became the great White Tower, that in the west was the
Castle Montfichet. He was, however, in no hurry to build the greater
fortress: the City was loyal and well disposed, he would wait: besides,
he had already one foot in the City in Montfichet Tower. So it was not
until eleven years after Hastings that he commanded Gundulf, Bishop
of Rochester, to undertake the work. The history of the Tower will be
found in its place. It took more than thirty years to build.


_Archæologia_, vol. i.]

One of the many great fires which have from time to time ravaged London
occurred in 1077, and another in 1087 or 1088; this burned St. Paul’s.
Maurice, Bishop of London, began at once to rebuild it. Matthew of
Westminster, writing at the beginning of the fourteenth century, says
“_necdum perfectum est_.”

It is a great pity that William’s _Domesday Book_ does not include
London. Had it done so, we should have had a Directory, a Survey, of
the Norman City. We should have known the extent of the population,
the actual trades, the wealth, the civic offices, the markets, motes,
hustings, all. What we know, it is true, amounts to a good deal; it
seems as if we know all; only those who try to restore the life of
early London can understand the gaps in our knowledge, and the many
dark places into which we vainly try to peer.

A second Charter granted by William the Conqueror is also preserved at
the Guildhall. It is translated as follows:—

“William the King friendly, salutes William the Bishop and Sweyn the
Sheriff, and all my Thanes in East Saxony, whom I hereby acquaint that
I have granted to Deorman my man, the hide of land at Geddesdune, of
which he was deprived. And I will not suffer either the French or the
English to hurt them in anything.”

Of this Deorman or Derman, Round (_Commune of London_, p. 106) makes
mention. Among the witnesses to a Charter by Geoffrey de Mandeville,
occurs the name of “Thierri son of Deorman.” It is impossible not
to suppose that this “Deorman” is the same as William’s “man” of
the Charter. Thierri belonged to a rich and prosperous family; his
son Bertram held his grandfather’s property at Navington Barrow in
Islington, and was a benefactor to the nuns of Clerkenwell. Bertram’s
son Thomas bestowed a serf upon St. Paul’s about the beginning of the
thirteenth century.

It has always been stated that William the Conqueror brought Jews
over with him. But Mr. Joseph Jacobs (_Jews of Angevin England_),
investigating this tradition, inclines to believe that there were no
Jews in England before the year 1073 or thereabouts, when there is
evidence of their residence in London, Oxford, and Cambridge. Their
appointed residence in London was Old Jewry, north of Cheapside.

Stanley recalls the memory of one of those mediæval miracles which seem
invented in a spirit of allegory in order to teach or to illustrate
some great truth. It was a miracle performed at the tomb of Edward the

“When, after the revolution of the Norman Conquest, a French and
foreign hierarchy was substituted for the native prelates, one Saxon
bishop alone remained—Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester. A Council was
summoned to Westminster, over which the Norman king and the Norman
primate presided, and Wulfstan was declared incapable of holding his
office because he could not speak French. The old man, down to this
moment compliant even to excess, was inspired with unusual energy.
He walked from St. Catherine’s Chapel, where the Council was held,
straight into the Abbey. The King and the prelates followed. He laid
his pastoral staff on the Confessor’s tomb before the high altar.
First he spoke in Saxon to the dead king: ‘Edward, thou gavest me the
staff: to thee I return it.’ Then, with the best Norman words that
he could command, he turned to the living king: ‘A better than thou
gave it to me—take it if thou canst.’ It remained fixed in the solid
stone, and Wulfstan was left at peace in his see. Long afterwards King
John, in arguing for the supremacy of the Crown of England in matters
ecclesiastical, urged this story at length in answer to the claims
of the Papal Legate. Pandulf answered, with a sneer, that John was
more like the Conqueror than the Confessor. But, in fact, John had
rightly discerned the principle at stake, and the legend expressed the
deep-seated feeling of the English people, that in the English Crown
and Law lies the true safeguard of the rights of the English clergy.
Edward the Confessor’s tomb thus, like the Abbey which incases it,
contains an aspect of the complex union of Church and State, of which
all English history is a practical fulfilment.” (_Westminster Abbey_,
p. 35.)

The City already contained a mixed population of Saxons, Danes,
Normans—“men of Rouen,” and Germans—“men of the Emperor.” There were
also Norwegians, Flemings, Gascons, and others of foreign descent in
the City when William succeeded. Without insisting too strongly on
the actual magnitude of the trade, small indeed compared with that
which was to follow, we may point to this gathering of various peoples
as a proof that the trade of London was already considered by the
whole of western Europe as considerable, and, indeed, of the highest
importance. Many more Normans came over after the Conquest. It is
said that they chose London in preference to Rouen, because it was
“fitter for their trade, and better stored with the merchandise in
which they were wont to traffic.” There was also a large settlement
of craftsmen in London and in other towns; among them, especially,
were weavers and builders. Of these the weavers became, and remained
for many generations, extremely unpopular. Cunningham (_Growth of
English Industry and Commerce_, p. 179) suggests an explanation for the
otherwise unintelligible hostility of the people towards the weavers.
He thinks that before the Conquest weaving was not a national industry;
that weavers were brought over by William and remained foreigners, not
as taking “scot and lot” with the people.

William appears to have been true to his word as regards the City: he
neither oppressed the people himself, nor did he suffer others to do
them any harm.


[24] “Aldred, Archbishop of York; Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester;
Walter, Bishop of Hereford; Edgar the Atheling; the Earls Edwin
and Morcar, and other Londoners of the better sort.” (Florence of

                              CHAPTER II

                             DOMESDAY BOOK

The following are the returns of _Domesday Book_ for the villages round
London which are included in this Survey. The translations are those of
the Rev. William Bawdwen, 1812:—

_Stepney._—“In Osuluestan (Ossulston) hundred, the Bishop of London
holds Stibenhede (Stepney) for thirty-two hides. There is land to
twenty-five ploughs. Fourteen hides belong to the demesne, and there
are three ploughs there; and twenty-two ploughs of the villanes. There
are forty-four villanes of one virgate each; and seven villanes of half
a hide each; and nine villanes of half a virgate each; and forty-six
cottagers of one hide; they pay thirty shillings a year. There are
four mills of four pounds and sixteen shillings save fourpence. Meadow
sufficient for twenty-five ploughs. Pasture for the cattle of the
village, and fifteen shillings. Pannage for five hundred hogs, and
forty shillings. Its whole value is forty-eight pounds; and it was
worth the same when received; in King Edward’s time fifty pounds. This
manor was and is part of the see.

In the same village Hugh de Berneres holds five hides and one virgate
of land under the bishop. There is land to four ploughs. There is one
plough in the demesne; and the villanes have three ploughs. There is
one villane of half a hide; and six villanes of three virgates; and two
bordars of half a virgate; and three cottagers of two acres and a half;
and one mill of sixty-six shillings and eightpence. Meadow sufficient
for four ploughs. Pannage for one hundred and fifty hogs, and three
shillings and a half. The whole is worth six pounds; the same when
received; in King Edward’s time seven pounds. Sired held two hides and
a half of this manor, he was a canon of St. Paul’s, he might give and
sell it to whom he would without leave of the bishop. In King Edward’s
time the canons of St. Paul held two hides and a half for their Sabbath
day’s support (_de dominico victu suo_); and Doding held one virgate,
and one mill of the proper manor of the bishop; he could not give or
sell it without his leave.

In the same village the wife of Brien holds five hides of the bishop.
There is land to two ploughs and a half. There is one plough in the
demesne, and the villane might make one plough. There is one villane of
half a hide; he pays four shillings a year for his house; and another
villane of half a hide, pays eight shillings. Roger the sheriff holds
a half a hide, and fifteen bordars of ten acres, pay nine shillings.
Pannage for sixty hogs. Pasture for the cattle of the village, and five
shillings. It is altogether worth sixty shillings; when received the
like; in King Edward’s time one hundred shillings. William, the bishop,
held this land in demesne, in the manor of Stibenhede (Stepney), on the
very day on which King Edward died.

In the same village Rannulf Flambard holds three hides and a half of
the bishop. There is land to five ploughs. There are two ploughs in
the demesne; and three ploughs belonging to the villanes. There are
fourteen bordars of one hide and a half. Meadow for two ploughs and
two shillings. There is no pasture. Wood (_nemus_) to make hedges. It
is altogether worth four pounds. Goduin held this land under Bishop
William. In King Edward’s time he could not give nor sell it without
leave of the bishop. [_Orig._ 127, _b._ 1.]


From the original in the Public Record Office.]

In the same village William de Ver holds one hide of the bishop. There
is land to one plough, and it is there in the demesne. This land is
worth sixteen shillings; the like when received; in King Edward’s time
twenty shillings. In King Edward’s time, William, the bishop, held this
land in demesne with his manor of Stibenhede (Stepney).

In the same village Engelbric, a canon, holds of the bishop one hide
and one virgate. There is land to one plough, and it is there in the
demesne. There is one villane of one virgate; and four bordars of seven
acres each; and one cottager. It is worth altogether forty shillings;
the like when received; in King Edward’s time forty shillings. The same
canon held it of Bishop William. In King Edward’s time he could not
sell it.

In the same village the Bishop of Lisieux holds one hide and a half
of the Bishop of London. There is land to one plough; and there is a
half a plough there; and a half may be made. There are two bordars of
five acres each; and two cottagers of four acres; and one cottager. In
the whole it is worth forty shillings; the like when received; in King
Edward’s time fifty shillings. Bishop William held this land in demesne
on the very day King Edward died.

In the same village, William, the chamberlain, holds one hide and a
half, and one virgate, of the bishop. There is land to one plough and
a half. There is one plough in the demesne; and a half may be made.
There is one villane of one virgate; and six bordars of five acres. It
is in the whole worth thirty shillings; when received the like; in King
Edward’s time forty shillings. Bishop William held this land in demesne
on the day on which King Edward died.

In the same village Aluric Chacepul holds one hide of the bishop. There
is land to one plough, but the plough is wanting. This land is worth
ten shillings; the like when received; in King Edward’s time thirteen
shillings and fourpence. Bishop William held this land in demesne in
King Edward’s time.

In the same village Edmund, son of Algot, holds one mill of the bishop,
which is worth thirty-two shillings and sixpence; the like when
received; but it was not there in King Edward’s time.

In the same village Aluuin, son of Britmar, holds one mill which is
worth twenty shillings; the like when received; in King Edward’s time
the like. He himself held it of Bishop William.”

_Fulham._—“In _Fvleham_ (Fulham) the Bishop of London holds forty
hides. There is land to forty ploughs. Thirteen hides belong to the
demesne, and there are four ploughs there. Among the freemen (franc)
and the villanes are twenty-six ploughs; and ten more might be made.
There are five villanes of one hide each; and thirteen villanes of one
virgate each; and thirty-four villanes of half a virgate each; and
twenty-two cottagers of half a hide; and eight cottagers with their own
gardens. Foreigners and certain burgesses of London hold amongst them
twenty-three hides of the land of the villanes. Thirty-one villanes
and bordars dwell under them. Meadow for forty ploughs. Pasture for
the cattle of the village. For half the stream ten shillings. Pannage
for one thousand hogs, and seventeen pence. Its whole value is forty
pounds; the like when received; in King Edward’s time fifty pounds.
This manor was and is part of the see.

[Illustration: WILLIAM I. AND II.


Royal MS. 14 C VII.]

In the same village Fulchered holds five hides of the Bishop of London.
There is land to three ploughs. There is one plough in the demesne;
and one plough of the villanes, and a third may be made. There are six
villanes of half a hide; and four cottagers of eight acres; and three
cottagers. Meadow for one ox. Pasture for the cattle of the village.
Pannage for three hundred hogs. Its whole value is sixty shillings; the
like when received; in King Edward’s time one hundred shillings. Two
sokemen held this land; they were vassals of the Bishop of London; they
could not give or sell without leave of the bishop in King Edward’s
time. [_Orig._ 127, _b._ 2.]

_Manor._—In the same village the canons of St. Paul hold of the King
five hides for one manor. There is land to five ploughs. Three hides
belong to the demesne, and there are two ploughs there. The villanes
have two ploughs, and a third may be made. There are eight villanes of
one virgate each; and seven villanes of half a virgate each; and seven
bordars of five acres each; and sixteen cottagers; and two bondmen.
Meadow for five ploughs. Pasture for the cattle of the village. Pannage
for one hundred and fifty hogs. It is worth, in the whole, eight
pounds; the same when received; in King Edward’s time ten pounds. The
same canons of St. Paul held this manor in demesne in King Edward’s
time, and it is for their support (_de victu eorum_).”

_Rugmere._—“Ralph, a canon, holds _Rugemere_ (Rugmere). It answered for
two hides. There is land to one plough and a half. There is one plough
in the demesne, and half a plough may be made. Wood (_nemus_) for the
hedges, and four shillings. This land is worth thirty-five shillings;
the same when received; in King Edward’s time forty shillings. It was,
in King Edward’s time, and is now in the demesne of the canons.”

_St. Pancras._—“The canons of St. Paul hold four hides to _Scm
Pancratium_ (St. Pancras). There is land to two ploughs. The villanes
have one plough, and another plough may be made. Wood for the hedges.
Pasture for the cattle, and twentypence. There are four villanes who
hold this land under the canons; and seven cottagers. Its whole value
is forty shillings; the same when received; in King Edward’s time sixty
shillings. This manor was and is in the demesne of St. Paul.”

_Islington._—“In _Isendone_ (Islington) the canons of St. Paul have two
hides. Land to one plough and a half. There is one plough there, and a
half may be made. There are three villanes of one virgate. Pasture for
the cattle of the village. This land is and was worth forty shillings.
This laid and lies in the demesne of the church of St. Paul.

In the same village the canons themselves have two hides of land. There
is land there to two ploughs and a half, and they are there now. There
are four villanes who hold this land under the canons; and four bordars
and thirteen cottagers. This land is worth thirty shillings; the same
when received; in King Edward’s time forty shillings. This laid and
lies in the demesne of the church of St. Paul.”

_Hoxton._—“In _Hochestone_ (Hoxton) the canons of St. Paul have one
hide. Land to one plough, and it is now there; and three villanes hold
this land under the canons. Pasture for the cattle. This land was and
is worth twenty shillings. This laid and lies in the demesne of the
church of St. Paul.

_Manor._—The canons hold _Hochestone_ (Hoxton) for three hides. There
is land to three ploughs, and they are there; and seven villanes
who hold this land; and sixteen cottagers. It is worth in the whole
fifty-five shillings; the same when received; in King Edward’s time
sixty shillings. This manor belonged and belongs to the church of St.

The canons of St. Paul have, at the bishop’s gate, ten cottagers of
nine acres, who pay eighteen shillings and sixpence a year. In King
Edward’s time they likewise held them, and they had the same.”

_Westminster._—“In the village where the church of St. Peter is
situate, the abbot of the same place holds thirteen hides and a half.
There is land to eleven ploughs. Nine hides and one virgate belong to
the demesne, and there are four ploughs therein. The villanes have six
ploughs, and one plough more may be made. There are nine villanes of
one virgate each; one villane of one hide; and nine villanes of half a
virgate each; and one cottager of five acres; and forty-one cottagers
who pay forty shillings a year for their gardens. Meadow for eleven
ploughs. Pasture for the cattle of the village. Pannage for one hundred
hogs. And twenty-five houses of the knights of the abbot and of other
vassals, who pay eight shillings a year. Its whole value is ten pounds;
the same when received; in King Edward’s time twelve pounds. This manor
was and is in the demesne of the church of St. Peter, of Westminster.

In the same village Bainiard holds three hides of the abbot. There
is land to two ploughs, and they are there in the demesne, and one
cottager. Pannage for one hundred hogs. Pasture for the cattle. There
are four arpents of vineyard, newly planted. Its whole value is sixty
shillings; when received twenty shillings; in King Edward’s time six
pounds. This land belonged and belongs to the church of St. Peter.”

_Hampstead._—“The Abbot of St. Peter holds _Hamestede_ (Hampstead) for
four hides. Land to three ploughs. Three hides and a half belong to the
demesne, and there is one plough therein. The villanes have one plough,
and another may be made. There is one villane of one virgate; and five
bordars of one virgate; and one bondman. Pannage for one hundred hogs.
In the whole it is worth fifty shillings; the same when received; in
King Edward’s time one hundred shillings.

In the same village Rannulf Pevrel holds under the abbot, one hide of
the land of the villanes. Land to half a plough, and it is there. This
land was and is worth five shillings. This manor altogether laid and
lies in the demesne of the church of St. Peter.”

_Tyburn._—“The abbess of Berking holds _Tiburne_ (Tyburn) of the King;
it answered for five hides. Land to three ploughs. There are two hides
in the demesne, and there is one plough therein. The villanes have two
ploughs. There are two villanes of half a hide; and one villane of half
a virgate; and two bordars of ten acres; and three cottagers. Pasture
for the cattle of the village. Pannage for fifty hogs. For herbage
fortypence. It is worth in the whole fifty-two shillings; the same
when received; in King Edward’s time one hundred shillings. This manor
always belonged and belongs to the church of Berking.”

[Illustration: NORMAN SOLDIERS

Harl. MS., Roll Y. 6.]

_Eia._—“Geoffry de Mandeville holds _Eia_ (qu. Ealing). It answered
for ten hides. There is land to eight ploughs. In the demesne are
five hides, and there are two ploughs therein. The villanes have five
ploughs, and a sixth may be made. There is one villane of half a hide;
and four villanes of one virgate each; and fourteen others of half a
virgate each; and four bordars of one virgate; and one cottager. Meadow
for eight ploughs, and for hay sixty shillings. For pasture seven
shillings. Its whole value is eight pounds; when received six pounds;
in King Edward’s time twelve pounds. Harold, son of Earl Ralph, held
this manor, whom Queen Eddid protected (_custodiebat_) with the manor
on that very day on which King Edward died. Afterwards William, the
chamberlain, held it of the Queen in fee for three pounds a year rent;
and after the death of the Queen he held it in the same manner of the
King. There are now four years since William relinquished the manor,
and the rent (that is twelve pounds) is not paid to the King from it.

In the same hundred Ralph holds of Geoffry one hide and a half. There
is land to one plough, and it is there; and four bordars of fourteen
acres; and one bondman. Meadow for one plough. Pasture for the cattle,
and thirteen pence. Wood (_nemus_) for the hedges. This land is worth
twenty shillings; when received, and in King Edward’s time, thirty
shillings. Two of King Edward’s sokemen held this land; they might sell
it to whom they would.”

_Stepney._—“Robert Fafiton holds four hides of the King in _Stibenhed_
(Stepney). There is land to three ploughs, and they are now there.
There is one villane of fourteen acres; and another of twelve acres;
and Roger, the sheriff, has one hide; and a bordar of half a hide and
half a virgate. Pannage for sixty hogs, and four shillings. It is
worth in the whole twenty shillings; the same when received; in King
Edward’s time eight pounds. Sired, a canon of St. Paul’s, held this
manor; he might sell it to whom he would. In King Edward’s time the
Bishop of London disputed his right to it (_reclam se habe debere_).
Besides these four hides there are now fifty-three acres of land, which
were not there in King Edward’s time, which Hugh de Berneres usurped
on the canons of St. Paul, and added it to this manor, as the hundred

Robert, son of Rozelin, holds of the King three hides and a half in
_Stibenhed_ (Stepney). Land to two ploughs. Two hides are in the
demesne, and there is one plough therein. The villanes have one plough.
There is one villane of one virgate; and eight bordars of half a
virgate each; and four cottagers of nineteen acres. Meadow for two
ploughs; and wood for the hedges (_nemus ad sepes_). The whole is worth
fifty-three shillings; when received ten shillings; in King Edward’s
time four pounds. Aluuin Stichehare held this land for one manor; he
was a vassal of King Edward’s; he might sell it to whom he would. The
Bishop of London claims it.”

_Chelsea._—“Edward de Sarisberie holds _Chelched_ or _Cercehede_
(Chelsea) for two hides. There is land to five ploughs. One hide is
in the demesne, and there are now two ploughs there. The villanes
have one plough, and two ploughs might yet be made. There are two
villanes of two virgates; and four villanes of half a virgate each; and
three bordars of five acres each; and three bondmen. Meadow for two
ploughs. Pasture for the cattle of the village. Pannage for sixty hogs,
and fifty-two pence. Its whole value is nine pounds; the same when
received, and always. Wluuene, a vassal of King Edward’s, held this
manor; he might sell it to whom he would.”

_Kensington._—“Aubrey de Ver holds _Chenesit_ (Kensington) of the
Bishop of Constance. It answered for ten hides. There is land to ten
ploughs. There are four ploughs in the demesne there, and the villanes
have five ploughs, and a sixth might be made. There are twelve villanes
of one virgate each; and six villanes of three virgates. A priest has
half a virgate; and there are seven bondmen. Meadow for two ploughs.
Pasture for the cattle of the village. Pannage for two hundred hogs.
And three arpents of vineyard. Its whole value is ten pounds; when
received six pounds; in King Edward’s time ten pounds. Eduuin, a thane
of King Edward’s, held this manor, and might sell it.”

[Illustration: NORMAN LONDON.]

_Islington._—“Derman holds of the King half a hide in _Iseldone_
(Islington). There is land to half a plough. There is one villane
there. This land is and was worth ten shillings. Algar, a vassal of
King Edward’s, held this land, and he might sell and give it.”

_Lisson Green._—“_Lilestone_ (Lilestone) answered for five hides.
Eideua holds it of the King. There is land to three ploughs. Four hides
and a half are in the demesne, and there are two ploughs there. The
villanes have one plough. There are four villanes of half a virgate
each; and three cottagers of two acres; and one bondman. Meadow for one
plough. Pasture for the cattle of the village. Pannage for one hundred
hogs. For herbage threepence. Its whole value is sixty shillings; the
same when received; in King Edward’s time forty shillings.’ Edward, son
of Suan, a vassal of King Edward’s, held this manor, and might sell it.”

According to the _A.S. Chronicle_, King William held a great Council,
and had much discourse “as to how the land was holden and by what men.
He sent over all England into every shire his men, and let them inquire
how many hundred hides were in each shire, and what land and cattle the
King himself had in the shire, and what rent he ought to receive yearly
in each. He let them also inquire how much land his archbishops had,
and his other bishops and his abbots, and each and what and how much
every man had who held land within the kingdom, as well on land as on
cattle, and how much each was worth.”

It must be remembered that the King under the Feudal system was the
overlord of all estates, and there was no land which was not under the
King as overlord. In the Survey of Middlesex there is no manor returned
as belonging to the Crown. In Ossulston Hundred, the King held 12½
acres of “No man’s land”; he also had thirty cottagers in one place and
two in another. Twenty-two owners of manors in Middlesex are entered in
_Domesday_, of these the Church had by far the largest share, viz. the
Archbishop of Canterbury, the Abbot of Westminster, the Abbot of the
Holy Trinity at Rouen, the Abbess of Barking, and the Bishop and Canons
of St. Paul. The last owned the principal part of Ossulston Hundred.

The largest manor round London was Stepney: at a very early period
the hamlets of Shoreditch, Stratford Bow, Hackney, Bethnal Green,
Whitechapel, Spitalfields, St. George’s in the East, Shadwell and
Limehouse are supposed to have been carved out of the great manor and
parish: in other words, the original parish of Stepney extended from
the great north road of Bishopsgate Without to the River Lea. That a
great part of Ossulston Hundred belonged to St. Paul’s is shown by
the fact that Twyford, Willesden, Harlesden, Totehill, St. Pancras,
Islington, Newington, Horton, Hoxton, and Drayton all belonged to this
church. The Abbot of Westminster held the manor—only second in size to
Stepney—of his church, that of Hampstead, that of Hendon, and another
manor, probably Belsize. There were only eight lay proprietors of
manors in the county.

It is clear from the _Domesday_ that London was confined within its
wall; that Westminster had no existence as a town; that outside the
walls the only parish inhabited, except by farmers, was a part of
Stepney; and that the northern part of the county, as is proved by the
“pannage” for swine, was covered with forest beginning beyond Islington
and Kentish Town, and covering Hampstead and Highgate, and so east and
west to Willesden on the west and the Essex Forest on the east.

In other words, there lay, all around London, a broad belt of manors
belonging to the Church. We may consider how the ownership of this land
would affect building and settlement outside the walls. We find, what
we should expect, the first settlement on the Moorland immediately
north of the walls; Smithfield and Clerkenwell the first suburbs. We
then find houses built as far as the “Bars” in the Whitechapel Road,
then in Holborn, and then in Fleet Street and in Bishopsgate Without.
Beyond the Bars there are difficulties; they seem to be surmounted in
Chancery Lane and St. Giles’s, also along the Strand, but not on the
east side, nor on the north. It would be interesting had one the time
to trace the gradual removal of the prohibition to build on the part of
the Bishop of London, the Abbot of Westminster, and the Chapter of St.

                              CHAPTER III

                             WILLIAM RUFUS

This king—of a strange and inexplicable personality—gave no Charter
to the City so far as is known, nor do there appear to have been any
events of importance in London itself during his reign. One or more
destructive fires, a hurricane, and a famine, or at least a scarcity,
are mentioned.

William Rufus followed his father’s example in being crowned at
Westminster. And as the Conqueror was crowned by a Norman and a Saxon
Bishop, so he also was crowned by the Norman Archbishop of Canterbury
and the last Saxon Bishop, Wulfstan.

In the Chronicle of Florence of Worcester, it is mentioned that
on the outbreak of the Civil War, the year after the accession of
William Rufus, he collected his army in London; that it consisted
mainly of English whom he made loyal by promising “just laws”; that
while William was besieging Pevensey, the garrison of Rochester fell
upon the people of Canterbury and London with fire and sword. Had
the King taken from London the power of defence? Were there no walls
and gates, or were there traitors within the walls and gates? The
_A.S. Chronicle_ says nothing of this massacre; it speaks, however,
of discontent. When the rebellion in favour of Robert broke out, the
King “was greatly disturbed in mind; and he sent for the English, and
laid his necessities before them, and entreated their assistance. He
promised them better laws than had ever been in this land, and forbade
all unjust taxes, and guaranteed to his subjects their woods and
hunting. But these concessions were soon done away. Howbeit the English
came to the aid of their lord the King, and they then marched towards

William spent very little time in London or at Westminster. Once he
held his Christmas at the King’s House, Westminster, and twice he held
Whitsuntide there. At the feasts of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide
the King feasted in public, wearing his crown.

In the year 1092, Florence of Worcester says that a fire destroyed
nearly the whole of London. The _A.S. Chronicle_ does not notice the
event. Like the alleged massacre in London by the men of Rochester, we
may suppose that the damage was exaggerated.


_Archæologia_, vol. xxvii.]

The slender annals of the City during this reign do not, therefore,
tell us much. As for its internal condition, the trade and the
prosperity of the place, it is not to be supposed that in a time of
continual wars, internal and external, the trade of London could
possibly advance; nor is it likely that when the hand of the King was
heavy with exactions and unjust taxation upon the rest of his kingdom,
London would escape. In reading the history of this king, one is
continually wishing that a layman had written an account of his sayings
and doings. The ecclesiastics were embittered against a man who was
not only a derider of the Church, but also a robber of the Church; who
held in his own hand, keeping them vacant, bishoprics and monasteries;
who dared to say that he had no belief in saints; who discouraged the
conversion of Jews, and even persuaded the Jews to hold a public debate
with Christians as to the tenets of their faith, promising to become a
convert if they should defeat the Christians. This part of the story
is, however, doubtful. William of Malmesbury believed it. He says, “The
thing was done, to the great fear of the Bishops and clergy, fearing
with pious solicitude for the Christian faith, and from this contest
the Jews received nothing but confusion, though they often boasted that
they had been conquered not by argument but by power.” One would like
to have been present at the debate.

The few glimpses we get of London do not point to prosperity or to
contentment. The _A.S. Chronicle_ (A.D. 1097) says, “Many shires which
are bound to duty in works at London were greatly oppressed in making
the wall round the Tower, in repairing the bridge which had been almost
washed away, and in building the King’s Hall at Westminster. These
hardships fell upon many.”

The memory of the general misery of the time is preserved in a
curiously suggestive manner: by the record of those strange and
monstrous events which only occur in times of trouble and injustice.
There was an earthquake; there was a very late harvest; lightning
struck the head off a crucifix. There was a deluge of rain such as had
never before been seen; there was a hard frost which froze rivers;
there was a rapid thaw which tore away bridges; there was a famine, so
severe, in some parts, that the dying wanted attention and the dead
wanted burial; there was a comet; there were stars which fought with
each other; there was a high tide which ran up the Thames and inundated
many villages; the devil appeared in person to many, speaking to them
in woods and secret places. It is not reported what he said, which is
a pity; he seems, however, to have been in a gracious mood, no doubt
because things were going on quite to his liking. Lastly, a spring at
Finchampstead began to flow with blood, an omen which filled everybody,
except the King, with terror and gloomy forebodings. The King, it is
reported, laughed at the omen.

William’s sudden and tragic death—clearly a proof of Heaven’s
displeasure—gave rise to a whole group of omens and dreams. The Abbot
of Cluny is reported to have told the brothers on the very morning
after the death, long before the news could have arrived, that King
William was “last night brought before God, and that he was sentenced
to damnation.” The King himself was terrified by a dream the night
before his death; a monk had a terrible dream which he brought to the
King the very morning of his death. And so on. The point remains that
all these monstrous signs and portents indicate a time of general
terror, when no one knew what taxes or burdens might be laid upon him
by a king who was strong of will, not afraid of Pope or Bishop, or
anything that the Church could do or threaten: a king of strange freaks
and uncertain temper: influenced by no one; feared for his courage;
respected for his success in war; beloved by his favourites; prodigal
and extravagant; a free-thinker; a man of no private morality; and of
so little respect for the Church that he made his Bishops and Abbots
strip off the gold from their shrines, and melt down their chalices.
Wherever he went his Court was composed chiefly of young men who
wore flowing hair and extravagant dress; who, as the Chronicle says,
“rivalled women in delicacy of person, minced their gait, and walked
with loose gesture and half-naked.” They plundered the country far and
wide; what they could not devour they sold or destroyed. If it was
liquor, they washed their horses’ legs with what they could not drink.
“Droves of harlots” followed the Court. No wonder the fountain of
Finchampstead ran with blood. At the same time, it must be remembered
that the ecclesiastics who wrote these things were not likely to take a
favourable view of their oppressor.

                              CHAPTER IV

                                HENRY I

[Illustration: SEAL OF ST. ANSELM]

William Rufus was killed on Thursday, August 2, 1100, and buried on
Friday. Henry rode off to London without the least delay: he arrived
on Saturday; conferred with the leading citizens on the same day, and
was actually crowned at Westminster on Sunday. Haste such as this shows
not only his desire to get crowned before his elder brother could
interfere, but points to the danger to the realm if the throne were
vacant even for a single day. J. R. Green, in a paper on the election
of Stephen, dwells upon the importance and the power of the citizens
of London, who could thus of their own authority elect and crown a
king. But, in fact, the City only repeated in the case of Stephen
their action in the case of Henry. The latter rode at headlong speed
from the New Forest to London—he must have ridden night and day. To be
sure, it was the height of summer, when the roads were dry and hard. He
presented himself before the Bishop and Portreeve and the notables of
London. “Make me your king,” he said. “In return I will give you what
you most desire, peace and order. I will do more. I will marry Maude,
daughter of Malcolm, King of Scots, and of Margaret, sister of Edgar,
heiress of the line of Alfred, and will make the crown secure and the
country free from civil war.” They agreed. It is generally believed
that the citizens made a bargain with Henry for new privileges. What
they wanted most was a strong king, who would make peace and keep it;
enforce his laws; put down highway robbery and oppression and piracy,
and make trade possible. There was not much thought of new privileges,
but first and foremost—of order. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, was
absent. The King was crowned by Maurice, Bishop of London, who had the
greatest share in his election. Three months later the King’s wife,
Maude, the Saxon heiress, was also crowned in the Abbey, and feasted in
the Red King’s Hall, to the unspeakable joy of the whole country.

It has generally been stated that Henry bestowed upon the City the
famous Charter, by which their liberties were greatly widened, in
the very first year of his reign, as a reward for their support and
election. There are, however, strong reasons for believing that at
the beginning of his reign he confined himself to promises or to a
confirmation of his father’s Charter, and that the document known as
his Charter was granted in reality in the year 1130, five years before
his death. What the City obtained from Henry was a time of peace: when
criminals had no mercy to expect; when a man might drive his caravan
of pack-horses from fair to fair without fear of robbers; and the King
acted up to his promise that none should do his people wrong. That he
was an expensive king: that he demanded money without end or stint, was
pardoned in return for the priceless boon of peace and order.

I have thought it best to consider Henry’s Charter in a separate
chapter, clause by clause, in connection with the gradual rise of the
power of the Londoners, as is fitting for the most important of all the
Charters by which London rose to liberty and greatness. It will suffice
here to indicate generally the nature of the Charter by quoting the
words of Bishop Stubbs, _Constitutional History_, p. 439:—

 “The Charter of Henry I. shows a marked advance. The City is
 recognised as a distinct unity, although that unity depends on
 hereditary succession only: it is independent of county organisation,
 the county in which it lies is itself let at ferm to the citizens; it
 is placed on a level with the shires, it is to have a sheriff of its
 own and a justiciar: as a greater privilege still, it is to elect its
 own sheriff and justiciar, and to be open to no other jurisdiction
 than that of its own elected officers. The citizens are not to be
 called before any court outside their own walls, and are freed from
 Danegeld, from scot and lot, from responsibility from the murder-fine
 and obligation to trial by battle: they are freed from toll and other
 duties of the kind throughout all England, at the ports as well as
 inland. They are to possess their lands, the common lands of their
 township, and their rights of coursing in Chiltern, Middlesex, and
 Surrey. Yet with all this no new incorporation is bestowed: the
 churches, the barons, the citizens, retain their ancient customs; the
 churches their sokens, the barons their manors, the citizens their
 township organisation, and possibly their guilds.”


  _Valentine and Sons, Ltd._


In the year 1125 there was done a deed of justice grim and terrible:
one which caused the ears of all who heard it to tingle. One does
not know how far London was concerned with it. But that there were
“moneyers” or minters in London is certain. Three, viz. Achard, Lefwin
Besant, and Ailwin Finch, were moneyers of London in 1149. And nothing
is said as to any exception in favour of London. There had been grave
and universal complaints about the coinage, which was debased by those
who struck it. Henry considered the subject, he doubtless tested
the coins; he made up his mind that all were guilty, and thereupon
“commanded that all the minters in England should be deprived of their
right hands and should be also, in another well-known manner,
mutilated. And this “because a man may have a pound and yet not be
able to spend a penny in the market.” He means that the pound might
consist of debased money. Accordingly, Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, sent
over all England, and invited every minter to come to Winchester at
Christmas, without letting any one know what awaited him: and when they
obediently journeyed thither, thinking probably they were to receive
some new privilege, his men took them one by one, cut off their right
hands and deprived them of their manhood. “All this was done within
twelve days, and with much justice, because they had ruined this land
with the great quantity of bad metal they had all corrupted.” A strong
king, truly! One can imagine the discourse of the unhappy minters
on the way. Some signal mark of the King’s favour was coming, some
promotion from the Bishop, larger powers, greater profits. The Bishop
said never a word of his purpose; he received them courteously; he
invited them as to a feast; and then, one by one—Alas! Poor Minters!
Never more did they debase the coinage. This summary and terrible act
of justice, if it included London, must have fallen upon some of the
most eminent merchants in the City: not, one hopes, upon Orgar the
Proud, of whom we hear more in connection with deeds and documents of
the time and as one of the notables of the City.

In the year 1126 a famine fell upon the land.

In 1132 a fire which began at the house of Gilbert Becket in West Chepe
destroyed the greater part of the north-east quarter of London.

During this reign the Priory of the Holy Trinity, that of St. Mary
Overies, and the Priory and Hospital of St. Bartholomew were founded.
It is generally asserted that the Benedictine Nunnery of Clerkenwell
was founded by one Jordan Briset in 1100, but Mr. H. J. Round has now
proved that both this nunnery and the Priory of St. John were founded
about the year 1145. Queen Maude also founded the Lazar-House of St.
Giles in the Fields. (See _Mediæval London_, vol. ii. p. 311.)

There were grave complaints by ecclesiastics against the luxury and
effeminacy of the age—but every age has its complaints of luxury.
Young men wore their hair as long as women. They also dressed with as
much splendour and attention as women; they crowned themselves with
wreaths of flowers. Despite the revival of religion, the corruption of
morals attributed to William Rufus was continued under his successor:
the King himself was notorious for his amours and infidelities. He was
led to repentance in his old age by one of those dreams which fill up
a good part of the Chronicles. In this dream he saw pass before him a
procession. First marched the ploughmen with their tools; next, the
craftsmen with theirs; then came the soldiers bearing arms, and with
them the Barons and Knights. Last of all came the clergy with their
Bishops. But the latter were armed with their croziers, and they ran
upon the King as if they would kill him with these hallowed weapons.
The dreamer sprang out of bed and seized his sword to defend himself.
When he awoke, behold! it was a dream. But the terror remained, and
Henry set himself to repentance and amendment. No doubt he remembered
how a dream of warning had been sent to his brother, by neglect of
which he came to his untimely end.

The importance of this reign to the City of London lies mainly in the
Charter which we are about to discuss: we must not, however, forget the
order which Henry I. established and maintained in every part of his
kingdom. This order was especially valued in a place like London, which
could only carry on its trade in security when order was maintained.
And though London contained so many citizens of Norman birth and
descent, the great mass of the people were English, and could not fail
to be pleased when Henry showed that he threw himself upon the support
of his English subjects, when he married an English wife, and restored
through her the line of Alfred to the throne. A great king, a strong
king, a just king. What more could the times desire?

                               CHAPTER V

                        THE CHARTER of HENRY I


Claud MS., A. iii. (contemporary).]

We know that in the memorable and brief document which is called
William’s Charter, the laws and customs of Edward the Confessor were
simply confirmed. Probably the City asked no more and wanted no more.
Sixty years later the City, having prospered and grown and being wiser,
wished for a definition of their laws and liberties, which was given
them by Henry the First. I say sixty, and not thirty years, because, as
has been already advanced, it seems probable that Henry’s Charter was
granted in the year 1130, and not, as has been generally assumed, at
the beginning of his reign. I now propose to take this Charter clause
by clause.

  “Henry, by the grace of God, King of England, to the archbishop of
 Canterbury, and to the bishops and abbots, earls and barons, justices
 and sheriffs, and to all his faithful subjects of England, French and
 English, greeting.

 Know ye that I have granted to my citizens of London, to hold
 Middlesex to farm for three hundred pounds, upon accompt to them and
 their heirs: so that the said citizens shall place as sheriff whom
 they will of themselves: and shall place whomsoever, or such a one as
 they will of themselves, for keeping of the pleas of the crown, and of
 the pleadings of the same, and none other shall be justice over the
 same men of London: and the citizens of London shall not plead without
 the walls of London for any plea. And be they free from scot and lot
 and danegeld, and of all murder: and none of them shall wage battle.
 And if any one of the citizens shall be impleaded concerning the
 pleas of the crown, the man of London shall discharge himself by his
 oath, which shall be adjudged within the City: and none shall lodge
 within the walls, neither of my household, nor any other, nor lodging
 delivered by force.

 And all the men of London shall be quit and free, and all their goods,
 throughout England, and the ports of the sea, of and from all toll
 and passage and lestage, and all other customs: and the churches and
 barons and citizens shall and may peaceably and quietly have and hold
 their sokes with all their customs; so that the strangers that shall
 be lodged in the sokes shall give custom to none but to him to whom
 the soke appertains, or to his officer, whom he shall put there: And
 a man of London shall not be adjudged in amerciaments of money but of
 one hundred shillings (I speak of the pleas which appertain to money);
 and further there shall be no more miskenning in the hustings, nor
 in the folkmote, nor in any other pleas within the City: and in the
 hustings may sit once a week, that is to say, on Monday: And I will
 cause my citizens to have their lands, premises, bonds and debts,
 within the City and without: and I will do them right by the law of
 the City, of the lands of which they shall complain to me:

 And if they shall take toll or custom of any citizen of London, the
 citizens of London in the City shall take of the borough or town,
 where toll or custom was so taken, so much as the man of London gave
 for toll, and as he received damage thereby; and all debtors, which do
 owe debts to the citizens of London, shall pay them in London, or else
 discharge themselves in London, that they owe none: but, if they will
 not pay the same, neither some to clear themselves that they owe none,
 the citizens of London, to whom the debts shall be due, may take their
 goods in the City of London, of the borough or town, or of the country
 wherein he remains who shall owe the debt: And the citizens of London
 may have their chaces to hunt, as well and fully as their ancestors
 have had, that is to say, in Chiltre, and in Middlesex and Surrey.

     Witness the bishop of Winchester, and Robert son of Richier, and
     Hugh Bygot, and Alured of Toteneys, and William of Alba-spina and
     Hubert the King’s chamberlain, and William de Montfichet, and
     Hangulf de Teney, and John Bellet, and Robert son of Siward. At

The Charter of Henry the First must be considered both on account of
the liberties and privileges it grants, and the light it throws upon
the government of the City.

First—The Charter is addressed, not to the City of London with which it
was concerned, but to “The Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishops
and the Abbots, Earls and Barons, Justices and Sheriffs, and all his
faithful subjects, French and English, of all England.”

Why was it not addressed to the City? Because as yet there was no City
in the modern sense of the word. It might have been addressed to the
Bishop and the Portreeve, as William’s Charter: it was addressed to the
whole country, because the concessions made to London were understood
to concern the whole country.

From a historical point of view, the constitution of London at this
time is of very great importance, for the simple reason that, after the
Norman Conquest, London, by a succession of fortunate events, almost
wholly escaped the changes and innovations introduced by the Normans.
In the midst of the feudal oppressions and exactions which weighed
down the rest of the kingdom, London still preserved untouched and
undisturbed the free and independent rights which had belonged to all
the towns of the kingdom—there were not many—in Saxon times. In this
respect London was not only the one surviving Saxon City, she contained
also the very Ark of the English constitution itself.


Let us now return to Henry’s Charter, taking it point by point.

(1) He grants to the citizens the Farm of Middlesex for £300 yearly

That is to say, the citizens of London were to have the right of
collecting the King’s demesne revenues within the limits of the County
of Middlesex. These revenues consisted of dues and tolls at markets,
ports, and bridges, with fines and forfeitures accruing from the
penal provisions of forest laws, and from the fines from the Courts
of Justice. They were collected by the Sheriff or the Portreeve for
the King; or they were farmed by the Sheriff, who paid a fixed sum for
the whole, making his own profit or his own loss out of the difference
between the sum collected and the sum paid. Now if the collection
of dues was granted to the citizens, a corporate body was thereby
informally created, though the people might not understand entirely
what it meant.

This grant has given rise to some controversy. The views and arguments
advanced by Mr. J. H. Round (_Geoffrey de Mandeville_, App. P, pp. 347
_et seq._) appear to me to satisfy all the conditions of the problem
and to meet all the difficulties. In what follows, therefore, I shall
endeavour to explain the meaning of the concession and its bearing upon
the early administration of the City in accordance with the views of
this scholar and antiquary.

The important words of the Charter are these:—

“Sciatis me concessisse civibus meis London(iarum), tenendum Middlesex
ad firmam pro ccc libris ad compotum, ipsis et hæredibus suis de
me et hæredibus meis ita quod ipsi cives ponent vicecomitem qualem
voluerint de se ipsis: et justitiarium qualem voluerint de se ipsis, ad
custodiendum placita coronæ meæ et eadem placitanda, et nullus alius
erit justitiarius super ipsos homines London(iarum).”

Does this grant mean the shrievalty of Middlesex apart from London or
of Middlesex including London? “In the almost contemporary Pipe Roll
(31 Hen. 1) it is called the Ferm of ‘London.’”

In the Charters granted to Geoffrey, Stephen gives him the
“Shrievalties of London and Middlesex,” while the Empress gives him the
“Shrievalty of London and Middlesex.” Again, “the Pipe Rolls of Henry
the Second denote the same _firma_ as that of ‘London,’ and also as
that of ‘London and Middlesex.’” In the Roll of Richard the First there
is the phrase “de veteri firma _Comitat’_ Lond’ et Middelsexa.” And
Henry the Third grants to the citizens of London—

“Vicecomitatum Londoniæ et de Middelsexia, cum omnibus rebus et
consuetudinibus quæ pertinent ad predictum Vicecomitatum, infra
civitatem et extra per terras et aquas ... Reddendo inde annuatim ...
trescentas libras sterlingorum blancorum.”

Round also maintains that the Royal Writs and Charters bear the same
witness. When they are directed to the local authorities it is to those
of London, or of “London and Middlesex,” or of “Middlesex.” The three
are, for all purposes, used as equivalent terms. “There was never but
one ferm and never but one shrievalty.”

I need not follow Round in his arguments against other opinions. The
treatment of Middlesex, he says, including London, was exactly like
that of other counties. The _firma_ of Herts was £60; that of Essex
£300; that of Middlesex, the very small shire, because it included
London, and for no other reason, was £300 also.

In other counties the “reeve” took his title from the “shire.” In
Middlesex, where the “port” was the most important part of the shire,
the “reeve” took his name from the port. The Vicecomes of “London,” or
“London and Middlesex,” was the successor of the Portreeve, or he was
the Portreeve under another name. The Shirereeve and the Portreeve,
then, are never mentioned together; writs are directed to a Portreeve,
or to a Shirereeve, but never to both. William the Conqueror addresses,
in Anglo-Saxon, the Portreeve; in Latin, the Vicecomes. Round sums up
(p. 359):—

 “This conclusion throws a new light on the Charter by which Henry
 I. granted to the citizens of London Middlesex (_i.e._ Middlesex
 inclusive of London) at Farm. Broadly speaking, the transaction in
 question may be regarded in this aspect. Instead of leasing the
 _corpus comitatus_ to any one individual for a year, or for a term
 of years, the king leased it to the citizens as a body, leased it,
 moreover, in perpetuity, and at the low original _firma_ of £300
 a year. The change effected was simply that which was involved in
 placing the citizens, as a body, in the shoes of the Sheriff ‘of
 London and Middlesex.’”

We find Stephen and the Empress in turn bestowing upon Geoffrey de
Mandeville the shrievalty of London and Middlesex. Therefore no regard
at all was paid to Henry’s Charter by Stephen or the Empress.


  _Valentine & Sons, Limited._


From all this it follows that if Henry’s Charter should be dated 1130,
the citizens enjoyed the right of electing their Sheriffs and paying
the moderate rent of £300 for five years only, out of the whole
century. Let me once more quote Round (p. 372):—

 “We see then that, in absolute contradiction of the received belief
 on the subject, the shrievalty was not in the hands of the citizens
 during the twelfth century (_i.e._ from ‘1101’), but was held by them
 for a few years only, about the close of the reign of Henry I. The
 fact that the sheriffs of London and Middlesex were, under Henry II.
 and Richard I., appointed throughout by the Crown, must compel our
 historians to reconsider the independent position they have assigned
 to the City at that period. The Crown, moreover, must have had an
 object in retaining this appointment in its own hands. We may find
 it, I think, in that jealousy of exceptional privilege or exemption
 which characterised the _régime_ of Henry II. For, as I have shown,
 the charters to Geoffrey remind us that the ambition of the urban
 communities was analogous to that of the great feudatories, in so far
 as they both strove for exemption from official rule. It was precisely
 to this ambition that Henry II. was opposed; and thus, when he granted
 his charter to London, he wholly omitted two of his grandfather’s
 concessions, and narrowed down those that remained, that they might
 not be operative outside the actual walls of the City. When the
 shrievalty was restored by John to the citizens (1199), the concession
 had lost its chief importance through the triumph of the ‘communal’
 principle. When that civic revolution had taken place which introduced
 the ‘communa’ with its mayor—a revolution to which Henry II. would
 never, writes the Chronicler, have submitted—when a Londoner was
 able to boast that he would have no king but his mayor, then had the
 sheriff’s position become but of secondary importance, subordinate, as
 it has remained ever since, to that of the mayor himself.”

As to the “independent position” of the City spoken of in this passage,
perhaps that has been partly exaggerated. At the same time, when we
consider (1) that London, as Stubbs states and Round agrees, was a
bundle of communities, townships, parishes, and lordships, of which
each had its own constitution; that (2) as Stubbs states and Round
agrees, by Henry’s Charter, “no new incorporation is bestowed; the
churches, the barons, the citizens retain their ancient customs”; (3)
the really great concession made by Henry; and (4) the continuance of
the form, if not the reality, of the Folkmote, we must acknowledge
that the independence of the City was relatively great. And we must
remember, further, that the Sheriff, or the Portreeve, was not the
Mayor, nor was he the Justiciar; he was the financial officer of the
King to look after the _firma_, and the taxes, fines, etc. The various
jurisdictions and lordships had their own Courts; the City was not a
corporate body; it had no head, unless it was the chief of that shadowy
association, the Guild Merchant; it had no commune, and it had no Mayor.

(2) Henry gave them the right to appoint their own Justiciar.

Under the Saxon kings, criminal cases were tried in the Courts held by
the Sheriff in his hundred, or the lord over his demesne. There were
thus a very great number of Courts, the fines and forfeitures of which
went to the owner of the _soc_ or estate. William the Conqueror secured
to himself the proceeds of these trials, together with the revenues
arising from the new feudal tenures, by establishing the _aula regis_,
the King’s Court, with the Chief Justiciar who sat in it. The _aula
regis_ went with the King wherever he went. Before long, persons were
appointed to be itinerant justices, so that the _aula regis_ included
and suspended all older Courts. These new and uncertain jurisdictions
were extremely unpopular. If, however, a city could obtain the
privilege of electing its own Justiciar for its own cases, there would
be some security of obtaining justice without delays—the Justiciar
holding his office on good behaviour only; also that the ancient laws
and customs would be observed; that there would be no temptation to
impose arbitrary and grievous fines; that the numerous extortions
connected with the new feudal tenure, possible where the royal revenues
largely depended upon the amounts so raised, might in some measure be

The office of Justiciar of London presents many difficulties,
partly because there is no evidence, with a few exceptions, of the
existence of such an officer. The office, Round contends (_Geoffrey de
Mandeville_, p. 373), “represents a middle term, a transitional stage,
between the essentially _local_ shirereeve and the central ‘_justice_’ of
the King’s Court.” He shows that—

 “The office sprang from ‘the differentiation of the sheriff and the
 justice,’ and represented, as it were, the localisation of the central
 judicial element. That is to say, the _justitiarius_ for Essex, or
 Herts, or London and Middlesex, was a purely local officer, and yet
 exercised, within the limits of his bailiwick, all the authority
 of the king’s justice. So transient was this state of things that
 scarcely a trace of it remains. Yet Richard de Luci may have held the
 post, as we saw, for the county of Essex, and there is evidence that
 Norfolk had a justice of its own in the person of Ralf Passelewe.
 Now, in the case of London, the office was created by the Charter of
 Henry I., a charter which was granted (as I contend) towards the end
 of his reign, and which expired with the accession of Henry II. It is,
 therefore, in Stephen’s reign that we should expect to find it [the
 office of justiciar] still in existence; and it is precisely in that
 reign that we find the office _eo nomine_ twice granted to the Earl of
 Essex, and twice mentioned as held by Gervase, otherwise Gervase of

We find a good deal more.

In the second year of Stephen, the King was called upon to decide
between the Priory of the Holy Trinity and the Constable of the Tower
concerning certain lands on East Smithfield. Among those present in
Court was one Andrew Buchuinte—“Bucca uncta”—an Italian by origin, with
many other burgesses of London. The King called upon Andrew to speak in
the name of the citizens as their Justiciar. This same Andrew is found
as a witness at the investiture of the Priory with the Cnihten gild’s
soke in 1125, and again as a witness in the agreement between Ramsey
Abbey and Holy Trinity, between 1125 and 1130. During the existence of
the office of Justiciar, the King addressed him by name, followed by
the Sheriff and the citizens.

In 1339, Andrew had ceased to be Justiciar. He was succeeded by Osbert
Octodenarius—“Huit deniers”—whom Garnier calls

              Une riche hume Lundreis
    Ke mult ert koneiiset de Frans et d’Engleis.

This Osbert was Thomas à Becket’s kinsman and first employer.

In 1141 the Empress addresses a writ to Osbert Octodenarius, as the
Justiciar, according to Round’s conclusion, his name being followed by
that of the Sheriff.

Eleven years before this, in 1130, the name of Gervase appears as
Justiciar; it is in the very year of Henry’s Charter. Round connects
this Gervase with Gervase of Cornhill without any reasonable doubt.

Lastly, we find, as stated above, Geoffrey de Mandeville appointed
Justiciar by Charter of the Empress. He calls himself “Comes Essex
et Justiciarius Londoniæ” in a document of 1142-43. It is therefore
certain that this great Earl counted it among his chief honours to be
the Justiciar of London. Considering the history of this lord, we may
well understand the kind of justice which he would mete out to the
unfortunate citizens.

(3) He granted that they should not plead without the City walls.

This gave the parties to a civil case the same kind of protection as
the preceding clause gave to defendants in a criminal case. The _aula
regis_ travelled with the King. Plaintiff, defendant, and witnesses had
to travel about with the King also, until they could get their case
heard. It was a grievance exactly like that of the present day, when
more cases are set down for the day than can possibly be heard, and
plaintiff, defendant, and witnesses, and solicitors have to attend,
day after day, until their case comes on; those who come up from the
country have to live in hotels at great cost; those who live in London
have to neglect their business at great loss. It is strange that we
should now be submitting to a system quite as iniquitous and, one would
say, as intolerable, as that from which London was relieved early in
the second quarter of the twelfth century.

(4) The citizens were to be “free from Scot and Lot and Danegeld and
all Murder.”

Scot and Lot must be taken together as meaning the levy of taxes by
any kind of authority for public purposes. Every citizen had, for
civic purposes, to pay his Scot and Lot, _i.e._ his rates, according
to his means. Danegeld was a tax of so much for every hide of land (a
hide being probably one hundred acres). It was originally imposed for
the purpose of resisting, expelling, or buying off the Danes. It was
abolished in the reign of Henry the Second. In any case of murder the
hundred in which the murder took place had to pay a fine. This, in a
populous city, where violence was rife and murders were frequent, might
become a burden of a very oppressive kind. Exemption, therefore, was a
privilege of some importance.

(5) None of the citizens should be called upon to wage battle.

When we consider that the only justification of ordeal by battle was
the theory that the Lord Himself would protect the right, we ask
whether the Age of Faith had already passed away. It had not, but here
and there were glimmerings of change. According to G. Norton, no man
was ever compelled to fight in order to prove his innocence.

 “If any man charged another with treason, murder, felony, or other
 _capital_ offence, he was said to _appeal_ him, and was termed an
 appellant; and the defendant, or party charged, was at liberty either
 to put himself upon his country for trial, or to defend himself by
 his _body_. If he chose the latter, the appellant was bound to meet
 him on an appointed day in marshalled lists, and the parties fought
 armed with sticks shod with horn. The party vanquished was adjudged
 to death, either as a false accuser or as guilty of the charge. If
 the defendant could maintain his ground until the stars appeared,
 the appellant was deemed vanquished; if the defendant called for
 quarter, or was slain, judgment of death was equally passed upon
 him.”—_Historical Account of London_, p. 360.

(6) A man might be allowed to “purge himself by oath.”

By this ancient method the accused appeared in Court accompanied
by his friends, compurgators. He swore that he was innocent. His
compurgators swore that they believed in his innocence. The number of
compurgators was generally twelve.

(7) The citizens were allowed to refuse lodging to the King’s household.

This permission removed a fruitful cause of quarrel. It was intolerable
that any man-at-arms might enter any house and demand lodging and
entertainment in the King’s name. With the Tower in the east of London,
and Baynard’s Castle in the west, and the King’s house a mile or so
outside the City, there seems no reason why the King should have
claimed this right.

(8) The citizens were to be free of toll, passage, and lestage.

Many people can remember the turnpike toll, the nuisance it was, and
the trouble it gave; how, near great cities, roads were found out
by which the toll could be evaded. Let them suppose a time when the
turnpike toll was multiplied a hundredfold. There were tolls for
markets, tolls of passage—fords and ferries, of lestage, a toll of so
much for every last of leather exported, tolls of stallage, tolls of
murage, tolls of wharfage, tolls of cranage, tolls through and tolls
traverse (_i.e._ tolls for repair of road or street). Then imagine the
relief of the London merchant travelling with his wares and his long
train of loaded pack-horses from one market-town to another, and from
fair to fair, when he was told that henceforth he should travel free
and pay no toll. Why did the King grant this privilege, one of the
largest and most beneficent in this Charter? Surely in wise recognition
of the fact that the more free and unfettered trade was made, the more
it would develop and increase, and make his kingdom rich and strong.

(9) No man was to be assessed beyond his means.

The penalty of a fine by way of punishment is at once deterrent and
inconvenient. It does not degrade, like flogging; it does not make a
man useless and costly, like imprisonment; it does not inflict public
disgrace, like the pillory. At the same time, in the hands of a harsh
magistrate, it may ruin a man to be fined above his power to pay. The
strong feeling on the subject shown in this clause was also illustrated
later on, when in Magna Charta it was enacted that a man might be
assessed, but “so as not to deprive him of his land, or of his stock in
husbandry or in trade.” To this day the ancient feeling against heavy
fines survives in the unwillingness always shown by juries to award
heavy damages.

(10) There should be no _miskennings_ in the Courts, and the hustings
should be held every Monday.

What were miskennings? Nobody knows. It is interpreted to mean that
a man shall not unjustly prosecute another in any of the City Courts
by deserting his first plea and substituting another. According to
Norton,[25] it is the same as miscounting, and it means false pleading
or mispleading. He goes on to show that the Normans brought with them
considerable proficiency in jurisprudence, and a “mischievous dexterity
in special pleading, by which the rights of suitors were often made to
depend on the ingenuity of the _countors_ (lawyers), rather than on the
real merits of the case.”

I have considered this Charter clause by clause, because in it Henry
seems to have given the citizens everything that they could ask or
obtain by purchase. London was left, save in one respect, absolutely
free. In fact, the citizens never did ask for more. The Charter
was framed in order to allow the City to get rich without let or
hindrance. One right the King reserved: that of taking their money for
himself; and this right, there can be no doubt, was the reason why
he surrendered all the rest; the reason why London was encouraged to
grow so wealthy and so strong. It was a right, however, which was not
felt to be a grievance. It was the very essence of things that in a
mediæval kingdom the King should be free to tax his subjects. It will
be observed that the rights conferred by the Charter of William are
not recited here. Probably they were recognised as a matter of common
usage, so that it was no longer necessary to repeat them.


[25] _Commentaries on the History, Constitution, and Chartered
Franchises of the City of London_, by George Norton.

                              CHAPTER VI


The election of Stephen by London is a fact the full importance of
which, in the history of the City, was first brought out by the late
J. R. Green. This importance signified, in fact, a great deal more
than the election of a king by the City of London, a thing by no means
new in the history of the City. First, we know that many Normans
flocked over to London after the Conquest. Normans there were before
that event, but their numbers rapidly increased in consequence. By
this time we see that the immigrants no longer considered themselves
Normans only, but Londoners as well. William’s Charter especially
recognises and provides for this fusion when he “greets all the
burgesses in London, Frenchmen and Englishmen, friendly.” The Normans
were his subjects as well as the English: they were not, therefore,
aliens in his English cities. For instance, Gilbert Becket, father
of the Archbishop, was by birth a burgher of Rouen, and his wife was
the daughter of a burgher of Caen. But his son Thomas was always an
Englishman. The Normans in London, therefore, took their part without
question in the election of a king of England. And they elected Stephen
rather than Henry, the son of the Empress, because Henry was also the
son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, and the hatred of Norman for Angevin was
greater even than the hatred of Welshman for Englishman. It survived
the immigration of the Norman into England; it found expression when
King Henry died, and when his stepson Geoffrey of Anjou seemed likely
to claim the throne of England, as he claimed the duchy of Normandy,
in right of his wife. In Normandy, however, the people rose as one
man, and chased him out of the dukedom. In London, the City seems to
have assumed the power of electing the King of England, as in the case
of Henry, and without consulting bishop, abbot, or noble, did elect
Stephen, the nephew of King Henry, and crowned him in Westminster.
There were, in fact, two forces working for Stephen. The first was this
said Norman jealousy of Anjou. The second was perhaps stronger. The
religious revival of which we spoke as belonging to the reign of Henry,
was spreading over the whole of western Europe. Green calls it the
first of the great religious movements which England was to experience.
He seems to forget, however, that there was a much earlier religious
movement, which filled the monasteries and weakened the country, by
draining it of fighting-men, in the eighth century.

 “Everywhere in town and country men banded themselves together for
 prayer, hermits flocked to the woods, noble and churl welcomed the
 austere Cistercians as they spread over the moors and forests of the
 North. A new spirit of enthusiastic devotion woke the slumber of the
 older orders, and penetrated alike to the home of the noble Walter
 d’Espec at Rievaulx, or of the trader Gilbert Becket in Cheapside.
 It is easy to be blinded in revolutionary times, such as those of
 Stephen, by the superficial aspects of the day; but, amidst the
 wars of the Succession, and the clash of arms, the real thought of
 England was busy with deeper things. We see the force of the movement
 in the new class of ecclesiastics that it forces on the stage. The
 worldliness that had been no scandal in Roger of Salisbury becomes a
 scandal in Henry of Winchester. The new men, Thurstan, and Ailred, and
 Theobald, and John of Salisbury—even Thomas himself—derive whatever
 weight they possess from sheer holiness of life or aim.”—_Historical

The outward sign of this movement was the foundation of many religious
houses, and the building of many churches. The number and importance
of the foundations created in or about London, not taking into account
those founded in the country, within a space of about twenty years,
indicate in themselves a widespread, deep-rooted, religious feeling.
It was an age of fervent faith; Stephen himself, rough soldier that he
was, felt its influence.

Now this religious fervour was openly scorned and scoffed at and
derided by the Angevins. Contempt for religion was hereditary with
them. From father to son they gloried in deriding holy things. In
the words of Green: “A lurid grandeur of evil, a cynical defiance of
religious opinion, hung alike round Fulc Nerra, or Fulc Rechin, or
Geoffrey Plantagenet. The murder of a priest by Henry Fitz-Empress,
the brutal sarcasms of Richard, the embassy of John to the Moslems
of Spain, were but the continuance of a series of outrages on the
religious feelings of the age which had begun long ere the lords of
Anjou became Kings of England.”

To the reasons why the City had taken upon itself to elect and to
crown Stephen, viz. the Norman hatred of Anjou, and resentment against
the man of no religion, must be added two more: the conviction that a
strong armed man, and not a woman, was wanted for the country; and a
general restlessness which, the moment the old king was dead, broke out
everywhere in acts of lawlessness and robbery.

It was not yet a time when peace was possible, save at intervals;
the barons and their following must needs be fighting, if not with
the common enemy, then with each other. The burghers of London, as
well as the barons, felt frequent attacks of those inward prickings
which caused the fingers to close round the hilt and to draw the
sword. Historians have not, perhaps, attached enough importance to
the mediæval—is it only mediæval?—yearning for a fight. There is
nothing said about it in any of the Chronicles, yet one recognises its
recurrence. One feels it in the air. Only a strong king could keep down
the fighting spirit, or make it find satisfaction and outlet in local

Never in this country, before or after, was there such an opportunity
for gratifying this passion to be up and cutting throats. Historians,
who were ecclesiastics, and therefore able to feel for and speak of the
sufferings of the people, write of the horrors of war. The fighting-men
themselves felt none of the horrors. Though the country-people
starved, the men of war were well fed; though merchants were robbed
and murdered, the men of war were not hanged for the crime; to die on
the battlefield, even to die lingering with horrible wounds, had no
terrors for these soldiers; nay, this kind of death seemed to them
a far nobler lot than to die in a peaceful bed like a burgher. Dead
bodies lay in heaps where there had been a village—dead bodies of men,
women, and children, which corrupted the air. The shrieks of tortured
men rang from the castles, and the despairing cries of outraged maidens
from the farmhouse. The towns were laid in ruins, the cultivated lands
were laid desolate, the country was deserted by the people, yet these
things were not horrors to the men of war, they were daily sights. For
nearly twenty years the battlefield was the universal death-bed of the
Englishman; and since harvests were burned, cattle destroyed, rustics
murdered, priests and merchants robbed, one wonders how, at the end
of it, any one at all was left alive in England. As for the City of
London, it paid dearly for the choice of a king; and in the long run it
had to see the other side, the House of Anjou, come to reign over its

[Illustration: A FIGHT

Nero MS., D. J. (12th cent.).]

Henry died on the 1st of December 1135. Twenty-four days afterwards,
Stephen received the crown from the hands of the Archbishop. During the
interval the country had become, suddenly, a seething mass of anarchy
and violence. A strong hand had held it down for more than thirty
years—a period, one would think, long enough for a spirit of obedience
to law and order to grow up in men’s minds. Not yet: the only obedience
was that due to fear; the only respect for law was that inspired by the
hardest and most inflexible of kings. The words used by the author of
the _Gesta Stephani_ were doubtless much exaggerated, but they point
to an outbreak of lawlessness which was certainly made possible by the
removal of Henry’s mailed hand.

“Seized with a new fury, they began to run riot against each other;
and the more a man injured the innocent, the higher he thought of
himself. The sanctions of the law, which form the restraint of a rude
population, were totally disregarded and set at naught; and men, giving
the reins to all iniquity, plunged without hesitation into whatever
crimes their inclinations prompted.... The people also turned to
plundering each other without mercy, contriving schemes of craft and
bloodshed against their neighbours; as it was said by the prophet,
‘Man rose up without mercy against man, and every one was set against
his neighbour.’ For whatever the evil passions suggested in peaceable
times, now that the opportunity of vengeance presented itself, was
quickly executed. Secret grudgings burst forth, and dissembled malice
was brought to light and openly avowed.” (Henry of Huntingdon.)

Then Stephen, crossing over from Ouissant (Ushant) with a fair wind,
landed at Dover, and made haste to march to London, where he counted
upon finding friends. His succession, indeed, was no new thing
suddenly proposed; there had been grave discussions, prompted by the
considerations above detailed, as to adopting Stephen as the successor.
In addition to his reputation as a soldier, Stephen possessed the charm
of personal attraction and generosity.

The City, however, as in the case of William the Conqueror and his son
Henry, elected Stephen king after a solemn Covenant that, “So long
as he lived, the citizens should aid him by their wealth and support
him by their arms, and that he should bend all his energies to the
pacification of the kingdom.”

Round (see below) discusses this covenant and the assertion in the
_Gesta_ that the Londoners claimed the right of electing the king. He
compares the oath taken by king or overlord at certain towns in France,
such as Bazas in Aquitaine, Issigeac in the Perigord, Bourg sur Mer in
Gascony, and Bayonne. At all these places the oath was practically in
the same form: the citizens swore obedience and fidelity to the king,
while the king in return swore to be a good lord over them, to respect
and preserve their customs, and to guard them from all injury. This
oath was, in fact, William the Conqueror’s Charter. It was probably
neither more nor less than this which the citizens of London exacted
from Stephen. Six years later it was the same oath which they exacted
from the Empress. Now, as the French towns referred to did not speak
or act in the name of the whole kingdom or the province, may not the
action of London in 1135 have been, not so much to assert their right
to elect the king, as their resolution to make their recognition
of a successor to the throne, when the succession was disputed, the
subject of a separate negotiation?


Royal MS. B VI.]


Royal MS. B VI.]

At the first Easter after his coronation, Stephen held his Court at
Westminster, where he assembled a National Council, to which were
bidden the Bishops and Abbots and the Barons, “cum primis populi.” The
Easter celebrations had been gloomy of late years, owing to the sadness
which weighed down Henry after the death of his son. This function
revived the memory of former splendours—“quâ nunquam fuerat splendidior
vestibus.” That this Council was attended by the greatest barons of
the realm, is proved by the fact that two Charters there granted
are witnessed, one by fifty-five, and the other by thirty-six men,
including thirty-four noblemen of the highest rank.

_Geoffrey de Mandeville_ by Mr. J. H. Round is much more than a
biography: it is a scholarly—a profound—inquiry into the history of
England, and especially London, under King Stephen.

Geoffrey de Mandeville was the son of William de Mandeville, who
was Constable of the Tower in 1101; and the grandson of Geoffrey de
Mandeville, who appears to have come from the village of Mandeville
near Trevières in the Bessin, the name being Latinised into “De Magna

The elder Geoffrey founded a Benedictine priory at Hurley.

The younger Geoffrey appears at Stephen’s Court in 1136 as a witness
to certain deeds. He was created Earl of Essex in 1140: the date being
fixed by Round.

But the Empress was already in England: in 1141 (February 2) her great
victory at Lincoln placed her for the time in command of the situation,
and made Stephen a prisoner. She repaired to Winchester, where (March
2, 1141) she was elected “Domina Angliae.” She was received by the
Legate, the clergy, and the people, the monks and nuns of the religious
houses. She also took over the castle, with the crown and the royal

What follows is a remarkable illustration of the power of London. It is
thus described by Sharpe (_London and the Kingdom_, vol. i. p. 48):—

“But there was another element to be considered before Matilda’s new
title could be assured. What would the Londoners, who had taken the
initiative in setting Stephen on the throne, and still owed to him
their allegiance, say to it? The Legate had foreseen the difficulty
that might arise if the citizens, whom he described as very princes of
the realm by reason of the greatness of their City (_qui sunt quasi
optimates pro magnitudine civitatis in Angliâ_), could not be won over.
He had therefore sent a special safe conduct for their attendance, so
he informed the meeting after the applause which followed his speech
had died away, and he expected them to arrive on the following day.
If they pleased they would adjourn till then. The next day (April 9)
the Londoners arrived, as the Legate had foretold, and were ushered
before the Council. They had been sent, they said, by the so-called
‘commune’ of London; and their purpose was not to enter into debate,
but only to beg for the release of their lord the King. This statement
was supported by all the barons then present who had entered the
commune of the City, and met with the approval of the archbishop and
all the clergy in attendance. Their solicitations, however, proved of
no avail. The Legate replied with the same arguments he had used the
day before, adding that it ill became the Londoners, who were regarded
as nobles (_quasi proceres_) in the land, to foster those who had
basely deserted their King on the field of battle, and who only curried
favour with the citizens in order to fleece them of their money. Here
an interruption took place. A messenger presented to the Legate a paper
from Stephen’s Queen to read to the Council. Henry took the paper,
and after scanning its contents, refused to communicate them to the
meeting. The messenger, however, not to be thus foiled, himself made
known the contents of the paper. These were, in effect, an exhortation
by the Queen to the clergy, and more especially to the Legate himself,
to restore Stephen to liberty. The Legate, however, returned the same
answer as before, and the meeting broke up, the Londoners promising to
communicate the decision of the Council to their brethren at home, and
to do their best to obtain their support.”

The negotiations dragged on. There are clear indications of tumults
and dissensions in the City: Geoffrey de Mandeville strengthened the
Tower; Aubrey de Vere, his father-in-law, formerly Sheriff and Royal
Chamberlain to Henry I., was slain in the streets; the Norman party
were not likely to yield without a struggle. However, in June 1141, a
deputation of citizens was sent to the Empress, who waited for them at
St. Albans. She made one promise, presumably the same made by William
her grandfather, by Henry her father, and by Stephen, that she would
respect the rights and privileges of the City; she was then formally
received by the notables, who rode out to meet her, according to
custom, at Knightsbridge.

“Having now obtained[26] the submission of the greatest part of the
kingdom, taken hostages and received homage, and being, as I have just
said, elated to the highest pitch of arrogance, she came with vast
military display to London, at the humble request of the citizens.
They fancied that they had now arrived at happy days, when peace and
tranquillity would prevail.... She, however, sent for some of the more
wealthy, and demanded of them, not with gentle courtesy, but in an
imperious tone, an immense sum of money. Upon this they made complaints
that their former wealth had been diminished by the troubled state of
the kingdom, that they had liberally contributed to the relief of the
indigent against the severe famine which was impending, and that they
had subsidised the King to their last farthing: they therefore humbly
implored her clemency that in pity for their losses and distresses
she would show some moderation in levying money from them.... When
the citizens had addressed her in this manner, she, without any of
the gentleness of her sex, broke out into insufferable rage, while
she replied to them with a stern eye and frowning brow, ‘that the
Londoners had often paid large sums to the King; that they had opened
their purse-strings wide to strengthen him and weaken her; that they
had been long in confederacy with her enemies for her injury; and that
they had no claim to be spared, and to have the smallest part of the
fine remitted.’ On hearing this, the citizens departed to their homes,
sorrowful and unsatisfied.”


  _Valentine and Sons, Ltd._


The Empress came to London because she desired above all things to
be crowned at Westminster. This was impossible, or useless, without
the previous submission of London, and she did not gain her desire.
It is readily understood that there were malcontents enough in the
City. Her imperious bearing increased the number. Moreover, at this
juncture, Stephen’s Queen, Maud, arrived at Southwark with a large
army and began, not only to burn and to ravage the cultivated parts
of south London, but sent her troops across the river to ravage the
north bank. The Empress felt that she was safe within the walls. But
suddenly, at the hour of dinner, the great bell of St. Paul’s rang out,
and the citizens, obedient to the call, clutched their arms and rushed
to Paul’s Cross. The Empress was not in the Tower, but in a house or
palace near Ludgate. With her followers she had just time to gallop
through the gate and escape: her barons deserted her, each making for
his own estates; and the London mob pillaged everything they could find
in the deserted quarters. Then they threw open the gates of London
Bridge and admitted Stephen’s Queen; this done, they besieged the
Tower, which was commanded by Geoffrey de Mandeville.

The Empress had stayed in London no more than three or four days.
During this time, or perhaps before her entry into the City, she
granted a Charter to Geoffrey de Mandeville, in which she recognised
him as Earl of Essex—“concedo ut sit comes de Essex”—she also
recognised him as hereditary Constable of the Tower, and gave him
certain lands.

A Charter, or letter, from the Archbishop of Rouen to the citizens of
London, quoted by Round, also belongs, it would seem, though he does
not give the date, to this time:—

“Hugo D. G. Rothomagensis archiepiscopus senatoribus inclitis civibus
honoratis et omnibus commune London concordie gratiam, salutem eternam.
Deo et vobis agimus gratias pro vestra fidelitate stabili et certa
domino nostro regi Stephano jugiter impensa. Inde per regiones notae
vestra nobilitas virtus et potestas.”

The Normans of Normandy, then, were watching the struggle of Norman
_v._ Angevin in England with the greatest anxiety. The situation was
changed; Stephen’s Queen was in London: but the earl was still in the
Tower. It was necessary to gain him over. For this purpose she bribed
him with terms which were good enough to detach him from the side of
the Empress. This Charter is lost, but it is referred to by Stephen six
months later as “Carta Reginæ.” There remains only one “Carta Reginæ,”
which is, however, important to us because it names Gervase as the
Justiciar of London (see p. 285).

Geoffrey meanwhile proved his newly-bought adherence to the King by
seizing the Bishop of London in his palace at Fulham, and holding him
as a prisoner. A few weeks later, Geoffrey, with a large contingent
of a thousand Londoners, fully armed, was assisting at the rout of

On the 1st of November the King was exchanged for the Earl of
Gloucester. The importance of the event, as it was regarded by the
City of London, is curiously proved by the date of a private London
deed (Round, _G. de M._, p. 136): “Anno MCXLI., Id est in exitu regis
Stephani de captione Roberti filii regis Henrici.”

At Christmas 1141 the King was crowned a second time, just as, fifty
years later, after his captivity, Richard was crowned a second time.
Round ascribes Stephen’s second Charter to Geoffrey to the same date.
This Charter gave Geoffrey even better terms than he had received from
the Empress. He was confirmed as Earl of Essex and as Constable of the
Tower: he was made Justiciar and Sheriff of London and Middlesex: and
he was confirmed as Justiciar and Sheriff of the counties of Essex and
Hertford. The Charter acknowledges that Geoffrey was Constable of the
Tower by inheritance.

In a few months, Stephen being dead, and his troops dispersed, Geoffrey
went over again to the side of the Empress, and once more was rewarded
by a Charter, the full meaning of which will be found in Round. It was
the last of his many bargains. Matilda’s cause was lost with the fall
of Oxford (December 1142).

It would seem that the first care of Stephen was to conciliate the
Church, which had grievous cause for complaint. In the words of the
_Gesta Stephani_: “because there was nothing left anywhere whole and
undamaged, they had recourse to the possessions of the monasteries, or
the neighbouring municipalities, or any others which they could send
forth troops enough to infest. At one time they loaded their victims
with false accusations and virulent abuse; at another they ground them
down with vexatious claims and extortions; some they stripped of their
property, either by open robbery or secret contrivance, and others they
reduced to complete subjection in the most shameless manner. If any
one of the reverend monks, or of the secular clergy, came to complain
of the exactions laid on Church property, he was met with abuse, and
abruptly silenced with outrageous threats; the servants who attended
him on his journey were often severely scourged before his face, and
he himself, whatever his rank and order might be, was shamefully
stripped of his effects, and even his garments, and driven away or left
helpless, from the severe beating to which he was subjected. These
unhappy spectacles, these lamentable tragedies, as they were common
throughout England, could not escape the observation of the Bishops.”

A Council was held in London as soon as the King’s cause seemed secure.
It was there decreed that “any one who violated a church or churchyard,
or laid violent hands on a clerk or other religious person, should be
incapable of receiving absolution except from the Pope himself. It was
also decreed that ploughs in the fields, and the rustics who worked at
them, should be sacred, just as much as if they were in a churchyard.
They also excommunicated with lighted candles all who should contravene
this decree, and so the rapacity of these human kites was a little
checked.” (Roger of Wendover.)

It is significant, however, that in the _Gesta Stephani_ some of
the Bishops—“not all of them, but several”—assumed arms, rode on
war-horses, received their share of the booty, and imprisoned or
tortured soldiers and men of wealth who fell into their hands, wherever
they could.

In September 1148, after this Council, Stephen held a Court at St.
Albans. Among the nobles who attended was the great earl, Geoffrey de
Mandeville, a man, says Henry of Huntingdon, more regarded than the
King himself. His enemies, however, calling on the King to remember
his past treacheries, easily persuaded him that new treacheries were
in contemplation. Perhaps the King understood that here was a subject
too powerful, one who, like the Earl of Warwick later, was veritably a
king-maker, and was readily convinced that the wisest thing would be to
take a strong step and arrest him. This, in fact, he did.

Geoffrey was conveyed to London and confined in his own Tower, whither
a message was brought him that he must either surrender all his castles
to the King, or be hanged. He chose the former. So far as London is
concerned he vanishes at this point. It is not, however, without
interest to note that on his release he broke into open revolt. Like
Hereward, he betook himself to the fens and the country adjacent. He
seized upon Ramsey Abbey; he turned out the monks, and converted the
House into a fortified post; he stabled his horses in the cloisters;
he gave its manors to his followers; he ravaged the country in all
directions. He was joined by large numbers of the mercenaries then in
the country. He occupied a formidable position protected by the fens;
he held the castle of Ely; he held strong places at Fordham, Benwick,
and Wood Walton. He sacked and burned Cambridge and St. Ives, robbing
even the churches of their plate and treasures: all the horrors of
Stephen’s long civil wars were doubled in the ferocious career of this
wild beast; the country was wasted; there was not even a plough left;
no man tilled the land; every lord had his castle; every castle was a
robber’s nest.

“Some, for whom their country had lost its charms, chose rather to
make their home in foreign lands; others drew to the churches for
protection, and constructing mean hovels in their precincts, passed
their days in fear and trouble. Food being scarce, for there was a
dreadful famine throughout England, some of the people disgustingly
devoured the flesh of dogs and horses; others appeased their insatiable
hunger with the garbage of uncooked herbs and roots; many, in all
parts, sunk under the severity of the famine and died in heaps; others
with their whole families went sorrowfully into voluntary banishment
and disappeared. Then were seen famous cities deserted and depopulated
by the death of the inhabitants of every age and sex, and fields white
for the harvest, for it was near the season of autumn, but none to
gather it, all having been struck down by the famine. Thus the whole
aspect of England presented a scene of calamity and sorrow, misery
and oppression. It tended to increase the evil, that a crowd of
fierce strangers who had flocked to England in bands to take service
in the wars, and who were devoid of all bowels of mercy and feelings
of humanity, were scattered among the people thus suffering.”—_Gesta

Miracles were observed testifying to the wrath of God. The walls
of Ramsey Abbey sweated blood. Men said that Christ and His saints
slept. Yet, for their comfort, it was reported that the Lord was still
watchful, because, when Geoffrey lay down to rest in the shade, behold!
the grass withered away beneath him.

The end came. Happily before long Geoffrey was wounded fighting on the
land of the Abbey which he had robbed; he treated his wound lightly; he
rode off through Fordham to Mildenhall, and there he lay down and died.
He had been excommunicated: he died without absolution; there was no
priest among his wild soldiery, and men said openly that no one but the
Pope could absolve so great a sinner. His body, enclosed in a leaden
coffin, was brought to London by some Templars: they carried it to
their orchard in the old Temple (at the north-east corner of Chancery
Lane) and there hung it up, so that it should not pollute the ground.
And the citizens of London came out to gibe at their dead foe. After
twenty years Pope Alexander III. granted absolution, and the body of
the great traitor at last found rest. It may be remarked, as regards
the lasting hatred of the Londoners, that their enemy, whose unburied
body they thus insulted, was only justiciar over them for two years
or so. Great must have been his tyranny, many his iniquities, for his
memory to stink for more than twenty years.

We know very little of the condition of London at this time: its
trade, both export and import, must have been greatly damaged; when
the Empress made her demands for money, the citizens had to assure her
of their poverty and inability to comply with them; the fire of 1136,
which destroyed nearly the whole City, must have involved thousands in
ruin; there were factions and parties within the walls. At the same
time the City possessed men and arms. London, we have seen, could send
out a splendid regiment of a thousand men: not ragamuffins in leathern
doublets and armed with pikes, but men in full armour completely

As regards the power of Geoffrey, it is certain that the free, proud,
and independent City, the maker of kings, the possessor of charters
which secured all that freemen could desire, must have been deeply
humiliated at its new position of dependence upon the caprice of a
soldier without honour and without loyalty: but it was only temporary.
And yet we find that the City was represented at the Convention of
Winchester. It is therefore certain that though London might be
stripped of its charters, it had to be reckoned with. At any moment
the citizens might close their gates, and then, even if the enemy
garrisoned the Tower, it was doubtful whether the whole force that
Matilda could command could compel the opening of their gates.

It will be shown immediately that part of Henry’s Charter, that of
the possession, at least, of a City justiciar, remained in force
during Stephen’s reign. It cannot be proved that the other part of
the Charter, which conferred upon the City the right of electing the
justiciar and the sheriffs, was also observed. Maitland says that in
the year 1139 the citizens bought the right of electing their sheriffs
for the sum of one hundred marks of silver. He gives no authority for
the statement, of which I find no mention in Stow, Holinshed, Round
or Sharpe. It would seem possible in this time of general confusion
and continual war for the right to be claimed and exercised without
question. It would also seem possible, for exactly the same cause, that
the King would sell the right, year by year, or for the whole of his

There is an episode passed over by historians which seems singularly
out of place in a time of continual civil war. It is strange that
in the year 1147, when all men’s minds in London were presumably
watching the uncertain way of war, there should be found citizens who
could neglect the anxieties of the time and go off crusading. This,
however, actually happened. A small army—say, rather, a reinforcement,
of Crusaders, consisting of Englishmen, Germans, and Flemings, sailed
in company, bound for Palestine. They were led by Count Arnold of
Aerschot, Christian Ghestell, Andrew of London, Vernon of Dover, and
Henry Glenville. They put in at Lisbon, and instead of fighting the
Saracens in Palestine, joined the Portuguese and fought the Moors at
Lisbon. By their aid the city was taken, lost, and retaken. Roger de
Hoveden thus comments on the expedition:—

“In the meantime a naval force, headed by no influential men, and
relying upon no mighty chieftain, but only on Almighty God, inasmuch
as it had set out in a humble spirit, earned the favour of God and
manifested great prowess. For, though but few in number, by arms they
obtained possession of a famous city of Spain, Lisbon by name, and
another, called Almeida, together with the parts adjacent. How true is
it that God opposes the proud, but to the humble shows grace! For the
army of the king of the Franks and of the emperor was larger and better
equipped than the former one, which had gained possession of Jerusalem:
and yet they were crushed by a very few, and routed and demolished
like webs of spiders: whereas these other poor people, whom I have
just mentioned, no multitude could resist, but the greater the numbers
that made head against them, the more helpless were they rendered. The
greatest part of them had come from England.”

At last, after nineteen years of fighting, peace was made. Stephen
was to reign as long as he lived: he was then to be succeeded by
Henry. Henry of Huntingdon does justice to the general rejoicing that

“What boundless joy, what a day of rejoicing, when the king himself
led the illustrious young prince through the streets of Winchester,
with a splendid procession of bishops and nobles, and amidst the
acclamations of the thronging people: for the king received him as his
son by adoption, and acknowledged him heir to the crown. From thence
he accompanied the king to London, where he was received with no less
joy by the people assembled in countless numbers, and by brilliant
processions, as was fitting for so great a prince. Thus, through God’s
mercy, after a night of misery, peace dawned on the ruined realm of


[26] _Gesta Stephani._

                              CHAPTER VII

                      FITZSTEPHEN THE CHRONICLER

To the reign of Henry the Second belongs the only description of London
in the twelfth century that we possess. It is, of course, that of
FitzStephen. I transcribe it in full; and as this description belongs
to the Norman rather than the later Plantagenet period, to the twelfth
rather than the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, I place it in the
Book of Norman London.



_De Situ (Nobilissimae Civitatis London)_

Inter nobiles Urbes Orbis, quas Fama celebrat, Civitas Londonia,
Regni Anglorum Sedes, una est quae Famam sui latiùs diffundit, Opes
& Merces longiùs transmittit, Caput altiùs extollit: Felix est Aeris
Salubritate, Christiana Religione, Firmitate Munitionum, Natura Situs,
Honore Civium, Pudicita matronali, Ludis etiam quàm jocunda: & Nobilium
est foecunda Virorum: quae singula semotim libet inspicere.

_The Situation thereof_

Amongst the noble Cities of the World, honoured by Fame, the City of
London is the one principal Seat of the Kingdom of England, whose
Renown is spread abroad very far: but she transporteth her Wares and
Commodities much farther, and advanceth her Head so much the higher.
Happy she is in the Wholesomeness of the Air, in the Christian
Religion, her Munition also and Strength, the Nature of her Situation,
the Honour of her Citizens, the Chastity of her Matrons: very pleasant
also in her Sports and Pastimes, and replenished with honourable
Personages: All which I think meet severally to consider.

_De Clementia Coeli_

Ibi siquidem emollit Animos Hominum Clementia Coeli, non ut sint in
Venerem (putres) sed ne feri sint & bestiales, (sed) potius benigni &

_The Temperateness of the Air_

In this Place, the Calmness of the Air doth mollify Men’s Minds, not
corupting them with venereal Lusts, but preserving them from savage and
rude Behaviour, and seasoning their Inclinations with a more kind and
free Temper.

_De (Christiana ibi) Religione_

Est ibi in Ecclesia Beati Pauli Episcopalis Sedes, quondam fuit
Metropolitana, & adhuc futura creditur, si remeaverint Cives in
Insulam: Nisi forte Beati Thomae Martyris Titulus Archiepiscopalis,
& Praesentia corporalis, Dignitatem illam Cantuariae, ubi nunc est,
conservet perpetuam. Sed cum utramque Urbium harum Sanctus Thomas
illustraverit, Londoniam Ortu, Cantuariam Occasu: Ipsius Sancti
Intuitu, cum Justitiae Accessu, habet altera adversus alteram,
quod amplius alleget. Sunt etiam, quod ad Christianae Fidei Cultum
pertinet, tum in Londonia, tum in Suburbano, tredecem majores Ecclesiae
Conventuum, praeter minores Parochianas, centum viginti sex.

_Of the Christian Religion there_

There is in the Church of St. Paul a Bishop’s See: It was formerly a
Metropolitan, and, as it is thought, shall recover the said Dignity
again, if the Citizens shall return back into the Island: except,
perhaps, the Archiepiscopal Title of St. Thomas the Martyr, and his
bodily Presence, do perpetuate this Honour to Canterbury, where now
his Reliques are. But seeing St. Thomas hath graced both these Cities,
namely, London with his Birth, and Canterbury with his Death; one Place
may alledge more against the other, in Respect of the Sight of that
Saint, with the Accession of Holiness. Now, concerning the Worship of
God in the Christian Faith: There are in London and in the Suburbs 13
greater Conventual Churches, besides 126 lesser Parish Churches: (139
Churches in all).

_De Firmitate (& Situ) Urbis_

Habet ab Oriente Arcem Palatinam, maximam & fortissimam, cujus & Area
& Muri à Fundamento profundissimo exurgunt: Cemento cum Sanguine
Animalium temperato. Ab Occidente duo Castella munitissima: Muro Urbis
alto & magno duplatis Heptapylae Portis intercontinuante, (Spatio)
turrito ab Aquilone per Intercapedines. Similiterque ab Austro Londonia
murata & turrita fuit: Sed Fluvius maximus piscosus Thamensis, Mari
influo refluoque qui illac allabitur, Moenia illa Tractu Temporis
alluit, labefactavit, dejecit. Item sursùm ab Occidente Palatium Regium
eminet super Fluvium eundem, Aedificium incomparabile, cum Antemurali
& Propugnaculis, duobus Millibus ab Urbe, Surburbano frequenti

_On the Strength and Scite of the City_

It hath on the east Part a Tower Palatine, very large and very strong,
whose Court and Walls rise up from a deep Foundation: The Morter is
tempered with the Blood of Beasts. On the West are two Castles well
fenced. The Wall of the City is high and great, continued with seven
Gates, which are made double, and on the North distinguished with
Turrets by Spaces. Likewise on the South London hath been enclosed
with Walls and Towers, but the large River of Thames, well stored with
Fish, and in which the Tide ebbs and flows, by Continuance of Time,
hath washed, worn away, and cast down those Walls. Farther, above in
the West Part, the King’s Palace is eminently seated upon the River: an
Incomparable building, having a wall before it, and some Bulwarks. It
is two miles from the City, continued with a suburb full of people.

[Illustration: MARCH. FIELD WORK


From _The Old English Calendar_ (11th cent.), Cotton MS.]

_De Hortis (Consitis)_

Undique extra Domos suburbanorum Civium Horti Arboribus consiti
spatiosi, & speciosi, contigui habentur.

_Of the Gardens planted_

Everywhere without the Houses of the Suburbs, the Citizens have Gardens
and Orchards planted with Trees, large, beautiful, and one joining to

_De Pascuis_

Item à Borea sunt Agri Pascui, & Pratorum grata Planities, Aquis
Fluvialibus interfluis: Ad quas Molinarum versatiles Rotae citantur cum
Murmure jocoso. Proximè patet Foresta ingens, Saltus nemorosi Ferarum,
Latebrae Cervorum, Damarum, Aprorum, & Taurorum sylvestrium.

_Of their Pastures_

On the north Side are Fields for Pasture, and open Meadows very
pleasant: among which the River Waters do flow, and the Wheels of the
Mills are turned about with a delightful Noise. Very near lieth a
large Forest in which are woody Groves of wild Beasts; in the Coverts
whereof do lurk Bucks and Does, wild Boars and Bulls.

_De Agris_

Agri Urbis sationales non sunt jejunae Glareae, sed pingues Asiae Campi
qui faciunt laetas Segetes, & suorum Cultorum repleant Horrea cerealis
Jugere Culmi.

_Of their Fields_

The arable Lands are no hungry pieces of Gravel Ground: but like the
rich fields of Asia, which bring plentiful Corn, and fill the barns of
those that till them with a dainty Crop of the Fruits of Ceres.

_De Fontibus_

Sunt & circa Londoniam ab Aquilone suburbani Fontes, praecipui Aqua
dulci, salubri, perspicua, & per claros Rivo trepidante Lapillos. Inter
quos Fons Sacer, Fons Clericorum, Fons Sancti Clementis nominatiores
habentur, & adeuntur celebriori Accessu, & majori Frequentia Scholarium
& urbanae Juventutis in Serotinis aestivis ad Auram exeuntis. Urbs sanè
bona, cùm bonum habeat Dominum.

_Of their Wells_

There are also about London, on the North of the Suburbs, choice
Fountains of Water, sweet, wholesome and clear, streaming forth among
the glistening Pebble-stones: In this Number, Holy Well, Clerkenwell,
and Saint Clement’s Well, are of most Note, and frequented above the
rest, when Scholars and Youths of the City take the air abroad in the
Summer Evenings. A good city when it hath a good Lord.

_De Honore Civium_

Urbe ista Viris est honorata, Armis decorata, multo Habitatore
populosa, ut Tempore bellicae Cladis sub Rege Stephano Bello apti, ex
ea exeuntes qui ostentati, haberentur 20,000 Equitum armatos, & 60
mille Peditum aestimarentur. Cives Londoniae ubicunque Locorum prae
omnibus aliis Civibus Ornatu Morum, Vestium, & Mensae, Locatione,
spectabiles & noti habentur.

_Of the Citizens’ Honour_

This City is honoured with her Men, graced with her Arms, and peopled
with a multitude of inhabitants. In the fatal Wars under King Stephen,
there went out to a Muster, Men fit for war, esteemed to the Number of
20,000 Horsemen, armed, and 60,000 Footmen. The Citizens of London are
known in all places, and respected above all other Citizens, for their
civil Demeanour, their good Apparel, their Table, and their Discourse.

_De (Pudicita) Matronis_

Urbis Matronae ipsae Sabinae sunt.

_Of their Chastity, and the Matrons_

The Matrons of the City may be parallelled with the Sabine Women.

[Illustration: MATRON AND MAID

MS. (12th cent.).]

_De Scholis_

In Londiniis tres principales Ecclesiae: viz. Sedes Episcopalis,
Ecclesia S. Martini, Scholas celebres habent & Privilegio & antiqua
Dignitate, plerumque tamen Favore personali alicujus vel aliquorum
Doctorum, qui secundum Philosophiam noti & praeclari habeantur. Et alii
ibi sunt Scholae de Gratia & Permissione. Diebus Festis ad Ecclesias
Festivas Magistri cum Discipulis suis Conventus, Gratia Exercitationis,
celebrant. Disputant ibidem Scholares, quidam demonstrativè, dialecticè
alii: alii recitant Enthymemata: hii meliùs perfectis utuntur
Syllogismis. Quidam ad Ostentationem exercentur Disputationem, quae est
inter Colluctantes. Alii ad Veritatem, ea quae est Perfectionis Gratia:
Sophistae Simulatores Agmine & Inundatione Verborum beati judicantur.
Alii paralogizantur: Oratores aliqui quandoque Orationibus rhetoricis
aliquid dicunt apposite ad persuadendum, curantes Artis Praecepta
servare, & ex Contingentibus nihil omittere. Pueri diversarum Scholarum
Versibus inter se convixantur: aut de Principiis Artis Grammaticae, aut
de Regulis Praeteritorum vel Futurorum contendunt: Sunt alii, qui, in
Epigrammatibus, Rithmis & Metris Fescennina Socios suppressis Nominibus
liberius lacerant, Loedorias jaculantur & Scommata, Salibus Socraticis
Sociorum, vel forte Majorum Vitia tangunt, ne mordacius Dente rodant
procaciori, audacioribus Convitiis Auditores multum videre parati:
Ingeminant tremulos Naso crispante Cachinnos.

_Of their Schools_

In London, three famous Schools are kept at three principal Churches,
St. Paul’s, the Holy Trinity, and St. Martins: which they retain
by Privilege and ancient Dignity: Yet for the most Part, by Favour
of Some Persons, or some Teachers, who are known and famed for
their Philosophy, there are other schools there, upon Good will
and Sufferance. Upon the Holidays, the Masters with their Scholars
celebrate Assemblies at the Festival Churches. The Scholars dispute for
exercise sake: some use Demonstrations, others topical and probable
Arguments: some practise Enthymems, others do better use perfect
Syllogisms: some exercise themselves in dispute for ostentation, which
is practised among such as strive together for Victory: others dispute
for Truth, which is the Grace of Perfection. The Sophisters, which are
Dissemblers, turn Verbalists, and are magnified, when they overflow in
Speech and Abundance of Words: some also are entrapped with deceitful
Arguments. Sometimes certain orators, with rhetorical Orations, speak
handsomely to persuade, being careful to observe the precepts of Art,
who omit no matter Contingent. The Boys of divers Schools wrangle
together in versifying, or canvas the principles of Grammar, or dispute
the rules of the preterperfect and future Tenses. Some there are that,
in Epigrams, Rhymes and Verses use that trivial way of abuse. These do
freely quip their Fellows, suppressing their names, with a Fescennine
and railing Liberty: These cast out most abusive jests: and, with
Socratical witty expressions, they touch the Vices of their Fellows,
or perhaps of their Superiors, or fall upon them with a satyrical
Bitterness, and with bolder Reproaches than is fit. The hearers,
prepared for Laughter, make themselves merry in the mean Time.

_De Dispositione Urbis_

Singulorum Officiorum exercitatores, singularum Rerum Venditores,
singularum Operarum suarum Locatores, quotidiano Mane per se sunt
Locis distincti omnes, ut Officiis. Praeterea est in Londonia supra
Ripam Fluminis inter Vina in Navibus, & Cellis vinariis Venalia,
publica Coquina: Ibi quotidiè pro Tempore est invenire cibaria
Fercula, assa, frixa, elixa, Pisces, Pisciculos, Carnes grossiores
Pauperibus, delicatiores Divitibus, Venationum, Avium, Avicularum. Si
subitò veniant ad aliquem Civium Amici fatigati ex Itinere, nec libeat
jejunus expectare, ut novi Cibi emantur, coquantur, dent Famuli Manibus
limphas Panesque, interim ad Ripam curritur, ibi praesto sunt omnia
Desiderabilia. Quantalibet Militum vel Peregrinorum Infinitas intrat
Urbem qualibet Diei vel Noctis Hora, vel ab Urbe exitura, ne vel hii
nimium jejunent, vel alii impransi exeant, illuc si placeat divertunt,
& se pro Modo suo singuli reficiunt: Qui se curare volunt molliter,
accipiunt Anserem, ne Affricam Avem vel Attagen Ionicum non opus ut
quis quaerant, appositis quae ibi inveniuntur Deliciis: Haec equidem
publica Coquina est & Civilitati plurimum expediens, & ad Civilitatem
pertinens: Hinc est quod legitur in Gorgia Platonis, juxta Medicinam
esse Coquorum Officium, Simulachrum, & Adulationem quartae Particulae

_How the Affairs of the City are Disposed_

The several Craftsmen, the several Sellers of Wares, and Workmen for
Hire, all are distinguished every Morning by themselves, in their
places as well as Trades. Besides, there is in London upon the River’s
Bank a public Place of Cookery, among the Wines to be sold in the
shops, and in the Wine Cellars. There every day you may call for any
dish of Meat, roast, fryed or sodden: Fish both small and great:
ordinary Flesh for the poorer Sort, and more dainty for the Rich as
Venison and Fowl. If Friends come upon a sudden, wearied with Travel,
to a Citizen’s House and they are loth to wait for curious preparations
and dressings for Fresh Meat: let the servants give them water to
wash, and Bread to stay their Stomach, and, in the mean time, they run
to the water side, where all things that can be desired are at hand.
Whatsoever multitude of Soldiers, or other Strangers, enter into the
City, at any Hour of the Day or Night or else are about to depart:
they may turn in, bate here, refresh themselves to their Content, and
so avoid long Fasting and not go away without their dinner. If any
desire to fit their dainty tooth, they take a Goose: they need not to
long for the Fowl of Africa, no, nor the rare Godwit of Ionia. This is
the publick Cookery, and very convenient for the State of a City, and
belongs to it. Hence it is, we read in Plato’s Gorgias, that next to
the Physician’s Art is the Trade of Cooks, the Image and Flattery of
the fourth part of a City.

_De Smithfield_

Est ibi extra unam Portarum statim in Suburbio quidam planus Campus
Re & Nomine. Omni sexta Feria nisi sit major Festivitas praeceptae
Solemnitatis, est ibi celebre Spectaculum Nobilium Equorum venalium.
Spectaturi vel empturi veniunt, qui in Urbe assunt, Comites, Barones,
Milites, Cives plurimi. Juvat videre Gradarios Succussatura nitente
suaviter ambulantes: Pedibus lateraliter simul erectis quasi a
subalternis & demissis: Hinc Equos, qui Armigeris magis conveniunt,
durius incendentes, sed expedite tamen, qui quasi a Contradictoribus
Pedes simul elevant, & deponunt: Hinc nobiles Pullos juniores, qui
nondum Fraeno bene assueti, altius incedunt mollis Crura reponunt:
Hinc summarios Membris validis & vegetis. Hinc dextrarios preciosos,
elegantis Formae, Staturae honestae, micantes Auribus, Cervicibus
arduis, Clunibus obesis. In horum Incessu spectant Emptores, primo
Passum suaviorem, postea Motum citatiorem, qui est quasi à contrariis
Pedibus anterioribus simul Solo amotis & admotis, & posterioribus
similiter. Cum talium Sonipedum Cursus immineat, & aliorum forte qui
similiter sunt in Genere suo ad Vecturam validi, ad Cursuram vegeti:
Clamor attollitur, vulgares Equos in Partem ire praecipitur: Sessores
Alipedum Pueri: Tres simul, aliquando bini Certamini se praeparant,
docti Equis imperare, indomitorum lupatis temperant Fraenis Ora: hoc
maximè praecaverit ne alter alteri Cursum praecipiat. Equi similiter
pro Modo suo ad Certamen Cursus illius se attollunt: tremunt Artus,
Morae impatientes, stare Loco nesciunt, facto Signo Membra extendunt,
Cursum rapiunt, Agilitate pervicaci feruntur: Certant sessores Laudis
Amore, Spe Victoriae Equis admissis subdere Calcaria, & nec minus
urgere eos Virgis & ciere Clamoribus. Putares omnia in Motu esse,
secundum Heraclitum, & salsam omnino Zenonis Sententiam, dicentis,
quoniam, non continget moveri, neque Stadium pertransire. Parte alia
stant seorsim Rusticorum Peculia, Agrorum Instrumenta, Sues longis
Lateribus, Vaccae distentis Uberibus, Corpora magna Boum, lanigerumque
Pecus: Stant ibi aptae Aratris, Trahis & Bigis Equae: quarundam Ventres
Foetibus protument: alias, editi Foetus obeunt Pulli lasciviores,
Sequela inseparabilis.

[Illustration: A HORSEMAN

Harl. MS., 4751 (13th cent.).]

_Of Smithfield_

Without one of the Gates is a certain Field plain (or smooth) both in
Name and Situation. Every Friday, except some greater Festival come in
the way, there is a brave sight of gallant Horses to be sold: Many come
out of the City to buy or look on, to wit, Earls, Barons, and Knights,
Citizens, all resorting thither. It is a pleasant Sight there to
behold the Nags well fleshed, sleik and shining, delightfully walking,
and their Feet on either Side up and down together by turns: or also
trotting Horses, which are more convenient for Men that bear Arms:
these, although they set a little harder, go away readily, and lift up
and set down together the contrary Feet on either Side. Here are also
young Colts of a good Breed, that have not been well accustomed to the
bridle: these fling about, and by mounting bravely, shew their mettle.
Here are the principal Horses, strong and well limbed. Here also are
Brest Horses, (fit to be joined by couples) very fair and handsome, and
sleek about the Ears, carrying their Necks aloft, being well fleshed,
and round about the Buttocks. The Buyers first look at their soft and
slow pace, and after cause them to put on with more speed, and behold
them in their Gallop. When these Coursers are ready to run their Race,
and perhaps some others, which in their kind are both good for carriage
and strong for Travel: The People give a Shout, and the Common Hacknies
are commanded to go aside. They that ride are Boys: three together, and
sometimes two make matches among themselves, being expert in governing
their Horses, which they ride with Curb Bridles, labouring by all Means
that one get not the race from the Other. And the very Beasts, in like
Manner, after their Fashion, are eager for the Race, while their Joints
tremble, and impatient of Delay, endure not Standing still in a Place.
When the Token is given, they stretch out their Limbs, and run with all
Activity and Speed: the Riders spurring them on, for the love of Praise
or the hope of Victory: and exciting them by whips and cries. You would
think everything were in motion with Heraclitus: and Zeno’s Opinion to
be false, saying that nothing moves from place to place. In another
part stand the Country People with Cattle and Commodities of the Field,
large Swine and Kine with their Udders strutting out, fair-bodied Oxen,
and the woolly flock. There are also Cart-Horses, fit for the Dray, the
Plough, or the Chariot: and some Mares big with Foal: together with
others that have their wanton colts following them close at their Side.

_De Navibus & Mercimoniis_

Ad hanc Urbem, ex omni Natione quae sub Coelo est, navalia gaudent
Institores habere Commercia. Aurum mittit Arabs, Species & Thura
Sabaeus, Arma Scythes, Oleum Palmarum divite Silva. Pingue Solum
Babylon, Nilus Lapides preciosos. Seres purpureas Vestes. Norwegi,
Russi, varium Grisium, Sabelinas. Galli sua Vina.

_Concerning Shipping and Merchandise_

To this City Merchants bring in Wares by Ships from every Nation
under Heaven. The Arabian sends his Gold, the Sabean his frankincense
and Spices, the Scythian Arms: Oil of Palms from the plentiful Wood:
Babylon her fat soil, and Nilus his precious Stones: the Seres send
purple Garments: they of Norway and Russia, Trouts, Furs, and Sables:
and the French their Wines.

_De Antiquitate & Politia_

Urbe Roma secundum Chronicorum Fidem satis antiquior est. Ab eisdem
quippe Patribus Trojanis haec prius à Bruto condita est, quam illa à
Remo & Romulo. Unde & adhuc antiquis eisdem utitur Legibus communibus
Institutis. Haec similiter illis Regionibus est distincta: Habet annuos
pro Consulibus Vicecomites: habet senatoriam Dignitatem & Magistratus
minores: Eluviones & Aquaeductus in Vicis: Ad Genera Causarum
deliberativae, demonstrativae, judiciales Loca sua, Fora singula: habet
sua Diebus statutis Comitia.

_Its Antiquity and Government_

According to the Report of Chronicles, it is more ancient than the
City of Rome: For, both being descended from the same Trojan Stock,
Brute built this, before Remus and Romulus did the other. Whence still
it useth the same ancient Laws and common Institutions. For this our
City, like to that, is distinguished by Wards and several Limits: it
hath Sheriffs every year, answerable to their Consuls: it hath Aldermen
enjoying the dignity of Senators, besides inferior Magistrates: it
hath also common Sewers, and conveyances for Water in the Streets.
Concerning Causes in Question, there are several Places and Courts for
Causes deliberative, demonstrative, and judicial: Upon their set Days
also they have their Common-council and great Assemblies.

_De Consuetudinibus Ecclesiarum_

Non puto Urbem esse, in qua sint probabiliores Consuetudines in
Ecclesiis visitandis, Ordinatis Dei honorandis, Festis feriandis,
Eleemosynis dandis, in Hospitibus suscipiendis, in Desponsationibus
firmandis, Matrimoniis contrahendis, Nuptiis celebrandis, Conviis
ornandis, Convivis hilarandis, etiam in Exequiis curandis & Cadaveribus

_Of the Customs of the Churches_

I think there is no City that hath more approved Customs, for
frequenting the Churches, for honouring God’s Ordinances, observing
of Holidays, giving Alms, entertaining Strangers, Confirmation of
Contracts, making up and celebrating of Marriages, setting out of
Feasts, welcoming the Guests, and, moreover, in Funeral Rites, and
burying of the Dead.

_Pestes Civitatis_

Solae Pestes Londini sunt, immoderata Stultorum Potatio, & frequens

_The Pests of London_

The only Plagues of London are immoderate drinking of idle Fellows, and
often Fires.

_Frequentia Nobilium_

Ad haec, omnes ferè Episcopi, Abbates, & Magnates Angliae, quasi Cives
& Municipes sunt Urbis Londoniae: Sua ibi habentes Aedificia praeclara,
ubi se recipiunt, ubi Divites Impensas faciunt, ad Consilia, ad
Conventus celebres in Urbem evocati, à Domino Rege, vel Metropolitano
suo, seu propriis tracti Negotiis.

_Frequented by Nobles_

Moreover, almost all Bishops, Abbots, and Noblemen of England are,
as it were, Citizens and Freemen of London. There they have fair
dwellings, and thither they do often resort, and lay out a great deal
of Money: and are called into the City to Consultations and solemn
Meetings, either by the king, or their Metropolitan, or drawn by their
own business.

_De Ludis_

Amplius, & ad Ludos Urbis veniamus, quoniam non expedit utilem tantum &
feriam Urbem esse, nisi dulcis etiam sit & jocunda. Unde & in Sigillis
summorum Pontificum, usque ad Tempora Leonis Papae, ex altera Parte
Bullae, sculpto per Impressionem Piscatore Petro, & supra eum Clave
quasi Manu de Coelis ei porrecta, & circa eum Versu,

    Tu pro me Navem liquisti, suscipe Clavem.

Ex altera Parte impressa erat Urbs, & Scriptura ista, Aurea Roma. Item
ad Laudem Cæsaris Augusti & Romae dictum est:

    Nocte pluit tota, redeunt Spectacula mane,
      Divisum Imperium cum Jove Cæsar habes.

_Of Sports and Pastimes_

Let us also come at last to their Sports and Exercises: For it is
expedient that a City be not only commodious for Gain, and serious in
Business, but also pleasant and delightful. Therefore, to the time of
Pope Leo, the Popes gave in their seals, on one side of their Bull, St.
Peter like a Fisherman, and over him a Key reached forth to him, as it
were from Heaven, by the hand of God, and this Verse about it:

    For me Thy Ship thou didst forsake,
    Therefore the Key of Heaven take.

On the other part was stamped a City, with this Inscription, Golden
Rome. Also, this was written to the Praise of Cæsar Augustus and Rome:

    All night the Sky distils down watry Showers,
      The Morning clears again to show the Play:
    Great Jove and Cæsar have their several hours,
      And in this Universe by turns bear Sway.

_De Repraesentatione Miraculorum_

Londonia pro Spectaculis theatralibus, pro Ludis scenicis, Ludos habet
sanctiores, Repraesentationes Miraculorum, quae sancti Confessores
operati sunt, seu Repraesentationes Passionum, quibus claruit
Constantia Martyrum.

_Representation of Miracles_

London, instead of common Interludes belonging to the Theatre, hath
Plays of a more Holy Subject: Representations of those Miracles which
the holy Confessors wrought, or of the Sufferings wherein the glorious
constancy of Martyrs did appear.

_De Pugna Gallorum & Ludo Pilae_

Praeterea quotannis Die, quae dicitur Carnivalia, ut a Puerorum Ludis
incipiamus, omnes enim Pueri fuimus, Scholarum singuli Pueri suos
apportant Magistro suo Gallos gallinaceos Pugnatores & totum illud
Antemeridianum datur Ludo Puerorum vacantium, spectare in Scholis
suorum Pugnas Gallorum. Post Prandium exit in Campos omnis Juventus
Urbis, ad Ludum Pilae celebrem. Singulorum Studiorum Scholares
suam habent Pilam: singulorum Officiorum Urbis Exercitatiores suam
singuli Pilam in Manibus. Majores Natu Patres, & Divites Urbis in
Equis spectatum veniunt Certamina Juniorum, & Modo suo inveniuntur
cum Juvenibus, & excitari videtur in eis Motus Caloris naturalis,
Contemplatione tanti Motus & Participatione Gaudiorum Adolescentiae

_Of Cock-fighting and Ball_

Moreover, that we may begin with the Schools of Youth, feeling once
we were all Children: Yearly at Shrovetide, the Boys of every School
bring fighting cocks to their Masters, and all the Forenoon is spent at
School to see these Cocks fight together. After dinner all the Youth
of the City goeth to play at Ball in the Fields: the Scholars of every
study have their Balls. The Practisers also of all the Trades have
every one their Ball in their hands. The ancienter Sort, the Fathers,
and the wealthy Citizens, come on Horseback to see the Youngsters
contending at their sport, with whom, in a Manner, they participate
by Motion: stirring their own natural heat in the View of the active
Youth, with whose Mirth and Liberty they seem to communicate.

[Illustration: TILTING

Royal MS. 2, B. vii.]

_De Ludis bellicosis in Campis_

Singulis Diebus Dominicis in Quadragesima post Prandium exit in
Campum Juvenum recens Examen in Equis bellicosis & in Equis Certamine
primis: quorum quisque sit aptus in Gyros currere doctus Equo.
Erumpunt a Portis catervatim Filii Civium laici, instructi Lanceis &
Scutis militaribus: Juniores Hastilibus Ferro dempto praesurcatis,
Simulachra Belli cient & agonisticam exercent Militiam. Adveniunt
& plurimi Aulici Rege in Vicino prosito & de familiis Consulum &
Baronum Ephebi nondum Cingulo donati Militiae Gratia concertandi.
Accendit singulos Spes Victoriae: Equi feri adhiniunt, tremunt Artus,
Fraenos mandunt, impatientes Morae stare Loco nesciunt. Cum tandem
Sonipedum rapuit Ungula Cursum, Sessores Adolescentes divisis Agminibus
hii praecedentibus instant, nec assequuntur: hi Socios dijiciunt &

_Sports in Lent_

Every Sunday in Lent, after Dinner, a Company of young Men ride out
into the Fields on Horses which are fit for War, and principal Runners:
Every one among them is taught to run the Rounds with his Horse. The
Citizens’ Sons issue out through the gates by Troops, furnished with
Lances and warlike Shields: The younger sort have their Pikes not
headed with Iron, where they make a representation of Battle, and
exercise a skirmish. There resort to this Exercise many Courtiers, when
the King lies near Hand, and young Striplings out of the families of
Barons and great Persons, which have not yet attained to the warlike
Girdle, to train and skirmish. Hope of Victory inflames every one. The
neighing and fierce Horses bestir their Joints and chew their Bridles,
and cannot endure to stand still: At last they begin their Race, and
then the young Men divide their troops: some labour to outstrip their
leaders, and cannot reach them: others fling down their Fellows and get
beyond them.

[Illustration: TILTING IN BOATS

Royal MS. 2, B. vii.]

_De Ludis Navalibus_

In Feris Paschalibus ludunt quasi Praelia navalia: In Arbore siquidem
Mediamna Scuto fortiter innexo, Navicula multo Remo & Raptu Fluminis
cita, in Prora stantem habet Juvenem, Scutum illum Lancea percussurum:
qui, si Scuto illi Lanceam illidens frangat eam, & immotus persistat,
habet Propositum, Voti compos est: si vero Lancea integra fortiter
percusserit, & per fluentem Amnem dejicietur, Navis Motu suo acta
Praeterit. Sunt tamen hinc inde secus duae Naves stationariae, & in eis
Juvenes plurimi, ut eripiant Percussorem Flumine absorptum cum primo
emersus comparet, vel summa rursus cum bullit in Unda. Supra Pontem
& in Solariis supra Fluvium, sunt qui talia spectent, multum rideri

_Sea Fights_

In Easter Holidays they counterfeit a Sea Fight: a Pole is set up in
the middle of the River, with a Target well fastened thereon, and a
young Man stands in a Boat which is rowed with Oars, and driven on with
the Tide, who with his Spear hits the Target in his Passage: with which
Blow, if he break the Spear and stand upright, so that he hold Footing,
he hath his Desire: but, if his Spear continue unbroken by the Blow,
he is tumbled into the Water, and his Boat passeth clear away: But on
either side this Target two Ships stand in Ward, with many young Men
ready to take him up, after he is sunk, as soon as he appeareth again
on the top of the water: The Spectators stand upon the Bridge, and
in Solars upon the River to behold these Things, being prepared for

_De Ludis Aestivalibus, ut Lucta & hujusmodi_

In Festis tota Aestate Juvenes Ludentes exercentur, in Saliendo,
in Arcu, in Lucta, Jactu Lapidum, amentatis Missilibus ultra Metam
expediendis, Parmis Duellionum. Puellarum Cytheraea ducit Choros, &
Pede libero pulsatur Tellus, usque imminente Luna.

_Summer Sports_

Upon the Holidays all Summer, the Youth is exercised in leaping,
Shooting, Wrestling, casting of Stones, and throwing of Javelins fitted
with Loops for the Purpose, which they strive to fling beyond the mark:
they also use Bucklers, like fighting Men. As for the Maidens, they
have their exercise of dancing and tripping until Moonlight.

[Illustration: DANCING

Prudentius MS., 24199 (11th cent.).]

_De Pugna Aprorum, Taurorum, & Ursorum_

In Hyeme singulis fere Festis ante Prandium, vel Apri spumantes pugnant
pro Capitibus & Verres fulmineis accincti Dentibus addendi Succidiae,
vel pingues Tauri cornupetae, seu Ursi immanes cum objectis depugnant

_Fighting of Boars, Bulls and Bears_

In Winter almost every holiday before Dinner, the foaming Boars fight
for their heads, and prepare with deadly Tushes to be made Bacon: or
else some lusty Bulls, or huge Bears are baited with Dogs.

_De Ludentibus supra Glaciem_

Cùm est congelata Palus illa magna quae Moenia Urbis aquilonia alluit,
exeunt lusum super Glaciem densae Juvenum Turmae: Hii ex Cursu Motu
captato citatiore, Distantia Pedum posita, magnum Spatium Latere altero
praetenso perlabuntur. Alii quasi magnos Lapides molares de Glacie
Sedes sibi faciunt: Sessorem unum trahunt plurimi praecurrentes,
Manibus se tenentes: in tanta Citatione Motus aliqui Pedibus lapsi
cadunt omnes proni. Sunt alii super Glaciem ludere doctiores, singuli
Pedibus suis aptantes, & sub Talaribus suis alligantes Ossa, Tibias
scilicet Animalium & Palos Ferro acuto subposito tenentes in Manibus,
quos aliquando Glaciei illidunt: tanta Rapacitate feruntur, quanta Avis
volans, vel Pilum Balistae. Interdum autem magna procul Distantia ex
Condicto, duo aliqui ita ab oppositis veniunt, curritur: Palos erigunt,
se invicem percutiunt: vel alter, vel ambo cadunt, non sine Laesione
corporali, cùm post Casum etiam Vi Motus feruntur ab invicem procul:
&, qua Parte Glacies Caput tangit, totum radit, totum decorticat.
Plerumque Tibia cadentis, vel Brachium, si super illud ceciderit,
confringitur. Sed Aetas avida Gloriae, Juventus cupida Victoriae, ut in
veris Praeliis fortius se habeat, ita in simulatis exercetur.

_Sport upon the Ice_

When that great Moor, which washeth Moorfields, at the North Wall of
the City, is frozen over, great Companies of Young Men go to sport upon
the Ice: then fetching a Run, and setting their feet at a distance,
and placing their Bodies sideways they slide a great Way. Others take
heaps of Ice, as if it were great Millstones and make Seats: Many going
before, draw him that sits thereon, holding one another by the Hand: in
going so fast, some slipping with their feet all fall down together,
some are better practised to the Ice and bind to their shoes Bones as
the Legs of some Beasts, and hold Stakes in their hands headed with
sharp Iron, which sometimes they strike against the Ice: and these Men
go on with Speed as doth a bird in the air, or darts shot from some
warlike Engine: sometimes two Men set themselves at a Distance and run
one against another as it were at Tilt, with these Stakes wherewith one
or both parties are thrown down, not without some hurt to their Bodies:
and after their fall, by reason of the violent Motion are carried a
good distance one from another: and wheresoever the Ice doth touch
their head it rubs off all the skin and lays it bare: and if one fall
upon his leg or arm it is usually broken: But young Men being greedy
of honour and desirous of Victory, do thus exercise themselves in
Counterfeit Battles, that they may bear the Brunt more strongly, when
they came to it in good Earnest.

_De hiis qui delectantur in Avibus_

Plurimi Civium delectantur ludentes in Avibus Coeli, Nisis,
Accipitribus, & hujusmodi, & in Canibus militantibus in Silvis.
Habentque Cives suum Jus Venandi in Middlesexia, Hertfordseira & tota
Chiltra, & in Cantia, usque ad Aquam Craiae.

_Sport with Birds and Dogs_

Many citizens take delight in Birds, as Sparrow-hawks, Goss-hawks, and
such-like, and in Dogs to hunt in the woody ground. The Citizens have
authority to hunt in Middlesex, Hertfordshire, all the Chilterns, and
in Kent, as far as Gray-water.

[Illustration: THE CHASE

Royal MS. 2, B. vii.]

_Virtus Londonensium_

Londonienses, tunc Trinovantes dicti Caium Julium Cæsarem qui nullas
nisi Sanguine fuso Vias habere gaudebat, repulerunt. Unde Lucanus,

    Territa quaesitis ostendit Terga Britannis.

_The Valour of Londoners_

The Londoners once called Trinovants, repulsed C. Julius Cæsar who
commonly paved his way with blood: whereupon Lucan:

    He was afraid and foil’d by Briton’s Hand,
    That first presumed to invade their Land.

_De hiis quos Civitas London peperit_

Civitas Londonia peperit aliquos, qui Regna plurima & Romanum sibi
subdiderunt Imperium: & plurimos alios, quos Mundi Dominos Virtus
evexit ad Deos, ut fuerat, in Appollinis Oraculo, Bruto promissum:

    Brute, sub occasu Solis, trans Galliae Regna,
      Insula in Oceano est undique clausa Mari:
    Hanc pete: namque tibi Sedes erit illa perennis,
      Haec fiet Natis altera Troja tuis.
    Hic de Stirpe tua Reges nascentur, & ipsis
      Totius Terrae subditus Orbis erit.

Et Temporibus Christianis, nobilem illum edidit Imperatorem
Constantinum, qui Urbem Romam & Imperialia Insignia omnia Deo donavit,
& beato Petro & Sylvestro Papae, qui & Statoris exhibuit officium, &
se non amplius Imperatorem, sed Sanctae Ecclesiae Romanae Defensorem
gavisus est vocari: &, ne Pax Domini Papae occasione praesentiae ejus
secularis strepitus tumultu concuteretur, ipse ab urbe Domino Papae
collata, omnino discessit, & sibi Civitatem Bizantium edificavit.
Londonia & modernis Temporibus Reges illustres magnificosque peperit.
Imperatricem Matildem, Henricum Regem tertium, & beatum Thomam
Archiepiscopum Christi Martyrem gloriosum, quali non candidiorem ipsa
tulit, nec quo fuerit devinctior alter omnibus Bonis totius Orbis

_Natives of London_

The City of London hath brought forth some who have subdued many
kingdoms, and the Empire of Rome to themselves: and many others who
being Lords of this World were deified in another: as Apollo’s oracle
did promise Brute:

    Brute, thou shalt find an Island in the West,
      Beyond the Gauls, environ’d with the Main;
    Direct thy journey thither for thy Rest,
      And there a second Troy shall rise again.
    Kings from thy Heirs and Conquerors shall spring,
      Who will the World into subjection bring.

And in the times of Christianity, it brought forth the noble Emperor
Constantine, who gave the City of Rome and all the Imperial arms to
God, and to St. Peter, and Silvester the Pope, whose stirrup he refused
not to hold, and pleased rather to be called Defender of the Holy Roman
Church, than Emperor any more. And, lest the peace of our Lord the
Pope should suffer any disturbance by the Noise of secular affairs,
he left the City and bestowed it on the Pope and founded the City of
Constantinople for his own Habitation. London also in these latter
times hath brought forth famous and magnificent princes: Maud the
Empress: King Henry the Third, and Thomas the Archbishop, a glorious
martyr of Christ, than whom no man was more innocent, or more devoted
to the general Good of the Latin World.

In connection with this important document certain notes are necessary.
There were, FitzStephen says, thirteen larger conventual churches and
126 lesser parish churches. The thirteen conventual churches were,
one supposes, St. Paul’s, to which was attached a college of Priests,
St. Martin’s le Grand, The Priory of the Holy Trinity, St. Mary
Overies, the Hospital of St. Katherine by the Tower, the Priory of St.
Bartholomew, the Priory of St. John, the Nunnery of Clerkenwell, the
Hospital of St. James, St. Mary Spital, the Hospital of St. Thomas of
Acon, the Hospital of St. Giles, and the Abbey of Bermondsey. It is
possible, however, that his list did not include houses so far from
London as St. Giles, St. James, and Bermondsey. It certainly did not
include Westminster Abbey. The number of parish churches indicates
that the City was now completely divided into parishes. Little change,
if any, was made in the City parishes from the time of the Confessor
till the Great Fire. After this many of the old parish churches were
not rebuilt; and at the present day we continually witness a ruthless
destruction of old churches and old associations. We have already tried
to get some idea of the number of the inhabitants from other sources;
we may try again by considering the number of the churches. Every man
in the City belonged of course to his parish church; every man was
compelled to obey the Church, to fast on fast days, and to attend mass
regularly on Sundays and holy days. If we allow 800 souls only, men,
women, and children, for each church, we have a total of 108,200. And
this, subject to oscillations caused by losses from plague or from war,
sometimes as much as 100,000, and sometimes dropping to 50,000, I take
to have been the average population of London for many centuries.

[Illustration: THE WHITE TOWER]

FitzStephen’s “Palatine” Tower is the White Tower, and the other
two towers are Baynard’s Castle and Montfichet, both built near
the junction of the Fleet with the Thames. FitzStephen speaks with
pardonable exaggeration of the northern fields, which were still
undrained and covered with bog and quagmire. The “tillage fields”
were those belonging to the monks of Westminster south of Holborn and
Oxford Street. The seven gates were those of Aldgate, Bishopsgate,
Cripplegate, Aldersgate, Newgate, Ludgate, and Bridgegate. Note that
the river-side wall by this time had disappeared; it had either fallen
down or been taken down. The foundations have been partially uncovered
in modern times. The river wall became practically useless after the
erection of the Tower and the spread of warehouses along the bank. The
bridge could be used to prevent the passage of ships under the arches,
so that the upper part of the river was safe, while the Tower might be
trusted to defend the small part of the town below the bridge, which,
besides, could only be approached by the narrow stairs or the quays.

“The artisans of the several crafts, the vendors of the various
commodities, and the labourers of every kind, have each their separate
stations which they take every morning.” This shows that the people
exposed their wares and carried on their industries in certain assigned
spots. Here they had their selds, which were large sheds protected
from the weather, in which the things were exposed for sale. A modern
fruit-market is a seld; formerly there were selds for everything, and
the seld might be a single shanty or it might be a great market like
Leadenhall. The names of the modern streets preserve the memory of
these selds. Honey Lane, Milk Street, Soper’s (Soaper’s) Lane, Wood
Street, The Poultry, Friday Street (where food proper for Friday was
sold) and so forth. FitzStephen affords a pleasant glimpse of a busy
and prosperous city. Would that the writer had gone into a little more
detail! As it is we are thankful for what we get: we could not spare
one word of what is written.

And he tells us so much in a few words. What, for instance, can be more
complete and more suggestive to the imagination than his description
of the London matrons in one word, pithy and full of meaning? They are
“Sabines!”—“Sabinae sunt!”

    “Quod si pudica mulier in partem juvans,
        Domum atque dulces liberos:
        Sabina qualis.”—

                             CHAPTER VIII

                      THE STREETS AND THE PEOPLE

The City at this time occupied the same area as the Roman Augusta. The
conditions of marsh and moor on all sides remained very little changed
from the prehistoric days when London had not yet come into existence
save for beaten paths or roads leading to north-west and east, and a
causeway leading south. Right through the middle of the town flowed
the Walbrook, which rose in the moor and ran into the river by means
of a culvert. In the Norman time the Walbrook was one of the chief
supplies of water that the town possessed. London relied for her water
on the Fleet river on the west, on the Walbrook in the midst, on wells
scattered here and there about the City, and upon certain springs, of
which we know little. At this day, for instance, there is a spring
of water under the south-west corner of the Bank of England, which
still flows, as it always has done, along the channel of the ancient
Walbrook. But as yet there were no conduits of water brought into the

Within the town there were 126 parish churches, all of which belonged
to Saxon London, a fact which is proved by the patron saints to whom
they are dedicated. The Norman Conquest added nothing to the list of
churches. Before the Conquest the only Religious House within the walls
was that of St. Martin’s le Grand, which was a College of Canons (see
p. 212). A legend describes the foundation of a small nunnery at the
south end of the ferry over the river. There was also the Cathedral
establishment. As yet there were no mendicant friars preaching in
the street and begging in the houses, nor did any monastery rear its
stately church or receive the offerings of the faithful. The parish
church had no foundations or endowments of chantry, obit or day of
memory. The Cathedral establishment was small and modest compared with
that of the thirteenth century. The Bishop lived in his palace close to
St. Paul’s. The Cathedral would be called a stately church even now; it
was low with thick pillars and round arched windows, which were already
filled with painted glass. The parish churches were quite small, and
for the most part of wood: the name of All Hallows Staining, or All
Hallows Stone, shows that it was an exceptional thing for a church to
be built of stone.


Tib. MS., B. v. (11th cent.).]

There were two fortresses in the City, as we have seen, both belonging
to the King. The modern idea of a street with its opposite row of
houses all in line must be altogether laid aside when we go back to the
eleventh century. It is, in fact, quite impossible to lay down a street
as it actually existed at that time. The most important street in the
City, Thames Street, did certainly possess a tolerably even line on its
south side; the old course of the river wall and the quays compelled
a certain amount of alignment; but on the north side the street was
sometimes narrow, sometimes broad, because there was no such reason for
an even line; sometimes a great house pushed out a gabled front into
the street; sometimes a garden interposed or a warehouse stood back,
leaving a broad space in front. As for regularity of alignment, no one
thought of such a thing; even down to the reign of Queen Elizabeth only
the main streets, such as Cheapside, possessed any such regularity. In
one of the exhibitions, a few years since, there was a show which they
called a street of Old London. The houses were represented as being all
in line, as they would be to-day, or as they were in Cheapside in the
time of Elizabeth. Considered as a street of Plantagenet London, the
thing was absurd, but no one took the trouble to say so, and it pleased


From Claud MS., B. iv. (11th cent.).]

On the north part of the City the manors, which were the original
wards of the City, were still in the eleventh century held by families
who had been possessed of them for many generations; even since the
resettlement of the City by Alfred. The names of some of the old City
families survive. For instance, Bukerel, Orgar, Aylwyn, Ansgar, Luard,
Farringdon, Haverhill, Basing, Horne, Algar, and others. On the south
part, along the river, it is probable that they had long since been
sold and cut up, just as would happen in modern times, for building
purposes. The northern quarter, however, was not so thickly built
upon, and the manors still preserved something of a rural appearance
with broad gardens and orchards. Therefore, in this quarter, the
industries of the City found room to establish themselves. It must be
remembered that a mediæval city made everything that was wanted for
the daily life. In modern times we have separated the industries: for
instance, the thousand and one things that are wanted in iron are made
in Birmingham; our knives and cutlery are made in Sheffield; but in the
eleventh century London made its own iron-work, its own steel-work, its
own goldsmiths’ and silversmiths’ work, its saddlery, its leather-work,
its furniture, everything. The craftsmen gathered together according to
their trades: first, because the craft was hereditary by unwritten law
and custom, so that the men of the same trade married in their trade,
and formed a tribe apart; they were all one family; next, because there
was but one market or place of sale for each trade, the saddlers having
their own sheds or shops, the goldsmiths theirs, and so on; a separate
craftsman, if it had been possible for such a man to exist, would have
found it impossible to sell his wares, except at the appointed place.
Of shops there were none except in the markets. Next, the workmen had
to live together because they had in their own place their workshops
and the use of common tools and appliances; and lastly, because a trade
working for little more than the needs of the City must be careful not
to produce too much, not to receive too many apprentices, and to watch
over the standard of work. Every craft, therefore, lived together,
under laws and regulations of its own, with a warden and a governing
body. The men understood, long before the modern creation of trades
unions, what was meant by a trades union; they formed these unions, not
only because they were created in the interests of all, but because
they were absolutely necessary for mere existence.

They lived, I say, together and close to each other; each craft with
its own group of houses or cottages—perhaps mere huts of wattle and
daub with thatched roofs and a hole in the roof for the smoke to go
out. And they lived in the north part of London, because it was thinly
populated and removed from those to whom the noise of their work might
give offence. One proof of the comparative thinness of population in
the north quarter is furnished by the fact that south of Cheapside
there were more than twice as many churches as in the north.

Now, when these people began to cluster together, which was long before
the Norman Conquest, in fact, soon after Alfred’s settlement, they
built their cottages each to please himself. Thus it was that one house
faced the east, another the south, another the north-west. The winding
ways were not required for carts or vehicles, which could not be used
in these narrow lanes; only for a means of communication by which the
things the craftsmen made might be carried to Cheapside or Eastcheap
or wherever their productions were exposed for sale. On the north side
of Cheapside, therefore, London presented the appearance of a cluster
of villages with their parish churches. Each village contained the
craftsmen of some trade or mystery. Perhaps the same parish church
served for two or more such villages. This part of London was extremely
picturesque, according to our ideas. The parish churches were small,
and, as I have already said, mostly built of wood; around them were
the houses and workshops of the craftsmen; the green churchyard lay
about the church; on the north between the houses and the wall were
orchards and gardens. The lane from the village to West or East
Chepe lay between the houses, winding and turning, sometimes narrow,
sometimes broad; the prentices carried the wares, as they were made, to
the market, where they were exposed for sale all day; from every one
of these villages, from six in the morning till eight in the evening,
the sounds of labour were heard: the clang of the hammer on the anvil,
the roar of the furnace, the grating of the saw, and the multitudinous
tapping, beating, and banging of work and industry; it was a busy and
industrious place, where everything was made in the City that was
wanted by the City.

We shall have to consider the gilds or guilds in connection with the
rise of the Companies separately. It must be remembered, however, that
guilds were already in existence, and that there were many of them.
(See _Mediæval London_, vol. ii. p. 108.)

We have been speaking of the northern quarter of London. Let us turn
next to that part which lay south of Cheapside. The removal of the
river wall followed, but gradually, the reclaiming of the foreshore
along the north bank.

[Illustration: LONDON WALL]

We have seen how the first ports of London—Walbrook and
Billingsgate—were constructed. The former, a natural harbour but very
small, was protected by towers or bastions on either side, and was
provided with quays, resting on piles driven into the mud. The latter
was simply cut out of the mud and shingle, kept in shape by piles
driven close together and provided with quays laid upon the piles. As
trade increased the quays increased, not only laterally, but by being
advanced farther out into the foreshore. Consider that the process was
going on continually, that not only did the quays extend, but that
warehouses and houses of all kinds were built upon the sloping bank.
The section shows what was going on. The quay (_Q_) resting on piles
driven into the bed of the river (_ab_), in front of the sloping bank
(_bc_); the warehouse erected behind it, resting against the wall: the
level space (_cd_) cleared for the wall (_W_), where is now Thames
Street: the low hill behind (_de_). The wall was in the way: without
authority, without order, the people pierced it with posterns leading
to quays and stairs; without authority they gradually pulled it down.

It is impossible to say when this demolition began; the river wall was
standing in the time of Cnut: it appears no more. When Queen Hythe
(Edred’s Hythe) was constructed, in size and shape like the port of
Billingsgate, either a postern had to be made for it, or a postern
already existed.

The reclaiming of the foreshore (see p. 125) was a very important
addition to the area of London: it added a slip of ground 2200 yards in
length by an average of 100 yards in breadth, _i.e._ about forty-five
acres of ground, which was presently covered with narrow lanes between
warehouses. The lanes, many of which remain and are curious places
to visit, led to river stairs, and were the residences of the people
employed in the service of the port.

As for the removal of the wall, exactly the same process was followed
in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when the people began
gradually to take down the City wall; they built against it, before it,
and behind it; and, no one interfered.

The lower part of the town was by far the more crowded: if we take a
map of London and count the churches immediately north and south of
Cheapside and Cornhill, this fact comes home to us very clearly. Thus,
there are north of that boundary, thirty-one; south of the boundary
there are sixty-eight, counting roughly. The lower part of the town
contained the wharves and the warehouses, the lodgings of the people
employed in the work of loading and unloading the ships, the taverns
and the places of refreshment for the sailors and such persons; the
narrow lanes and the absence of any historical houses in the part south
of Thames Street show that the place, after the reclaiming of the
foreshore, was always what it is now, either a place for warehouses
or for the residence of the service. A great many of the merchants
lived on the rising ground north of Thames Street. Hence we find here
a great many Companies’ Halls: here Whittington, later on, had his
lordly house in which he interviewed kings; here, in the time we are
considering, such Norman nobles and knights as had houses in the City
all lived. Thus in Elbow Lane lived Pont de l’Arche, second founder of
St. Mary Overies. The Earls of Arundel had a house in Botolph Lane,
Billingsgate; Lord Beaumont—but this was later—lived beside Paul’s
Wharf; Henry FitzAylwin, first Mayor of London, lived close beside
London Stone.

I do not suppose that any of the houses in Norman London could
compare with the palaces erected by the merchants of the fourteenth
century,—there was no such place as Crosby Hall among them; but still
they were good and stately houses. There was a large hall in which
the whole family lived: the fire was made in a fire-place with open
bars; the smoke ascended to the roof, where it found a way out by the
lantern; the windows were perhaps glazed; certainly glass merchants
appeared in the country in the eleventh century; if they were not
glazed they were covered with a white cloth which admitted light; the
two meals of the day were served on tables consisting of boards laid on
trestles; the servants all slept on the floor on the rushes, each with
a log of wood for a pillow, and wrapped in his blanket; the master of
the house had one or more bedrooms over the kitchen called the Solar,
where he slept in beds, he and his wife and family. At the other end
of the hall was a room called the Ladies’ Bower, where the ladies of
the house sat in the daytime with the maids. If you want to see an
admirable specimen of the mediæval house with the Hall, the Solar, and
the Bower, all complete, you may see it at Stokesay Castle, near Ludlow.

In the craftsmen’s cottages the people seem to have all slept on
straw. In the fourteenth century, however, we find the craftsmen amply
provided with blankets, pillows, and feather-beds.

We can, in fact, at this period, divide the City into parallel belts,
according to the character and calling of the residents. Everything
to do with the export, import, and wholesale trade was conducted in
Thames Street, and on its wharves: the porters, stevedores, servants,
and sailors lived in the narrow lanes about Puddle Dock at one end of
Thames Street, and Tower Hill at the other. That is the first belt—the
belt of the port. The rising ground on the north was the residence
of the merchants and the better sort. That is the second belt. Next
comes the breadth of land bounded by Watling Street and Eastcheap on
the south, and by an imaginary line a little north of Cheapside on the
north, this was mainly given over to retail trade, and it is the third
belt. My theory is illustrated by the names. Thus I find in this retail
belt all the names of streets indicating markets, not factories.

[Illustration: A NORMAN HALL]

The fourth belt is that quarter where the industries were carried
on: namely, the large part of the City lying north of Cheapside and
Cornhill. Let me repeat that London was a hive of industries: I have
counted belonging to the fourteenth century as many as 284 crafts
mentioned in the books; and of course there must have been many others
not mentioned.

I have called attention to the fact that in the eleventh century there
was but one Religious House in the City of London. Considering the
great number which sprang up in the next hundred years, this seems
remarkable. Let us, however, remind ourselves of an important feature
in the history of religion and of Religious Houses in this country. I
mean the successive waves of religious enthusiasm which from time to
time have passed over our people. In the eighth century there fell upon
Saxon England one of these waves—a most curious and unexampled wave—of
religious excitement. There appeared, over the whole country, just
the same spirit of emotional religion which happens at an American
camp-meeting or a Salvation Army assembly,—men and women, including
kings and queens, earls and princesses, noble thanes and ladies, were
alike seized with the idea that the only way to escape from the wrath
to come was by way of the monastic life; they therefore crowded into
the Religious Houses, and filled them all. After the long struggle with
the Danes, for two hundred years there was no more enthusiasm for the
religious life, for all the men were wanted for the army, and all the
women were wanted to become mothers of more fighting men.

The coldness with which the religious life was viewed by the Londoners
was therefore caused by the absolute necessity of fighting for
their existence. One Religious House, and that not a monastery but
a college, was enough for them: they wanted no more. But London was
never irreligious; there was as yet no hatred of Church or priest;
there was as yet no suspicion or distrust as to the doctrines taught
by Mother Church. For three hundred years the citizens felt no call to
the monastic life. In the reign of Henry the First a second wave of
religion, of which I have already spoken twice, fell upon the people,
and especially the people of London. It was the same wave that drove
the French to the Crusades. Under the influence of this new enthusiasm,
founders of Religious Houses sprang up in all directions. Already in
1086, Aylwin, a merchant of London, had founded St. Saviour’s Abbey, in
Bermondsey. In Bermondsey Abbey it was intended to create a foundation
exactly resembling that of St. Peter’s, Westminster. Like the latter
House, Bermondsey Abbey was established upon a low-lying islet among
the reeds of a broad marsh near the river. The House was destined to
have a long and an interesting history, but to be in no way the rival,
or the sister, of Westminster. Another Religious House was that of St.
Bartholomew’s Hospital and Priory, founded by Rahere, variously stated
to have been a jester, a minstrel, a man of mean extraction, and a man
of knightly parentage. His origin matters nothing; yet his Foundation
exists still, and still confers every year the benefits of an hospital
upon thousands of those who suffer and are sick. (See _Mediæval
London_, vol. ii. p. 250.)

Every one knows the Church of St. Mary Overies, commonly called the
Church of St. Saviour, across the river. That church belonged to the
Religious House founded, or rebuilt and magnified, by two Norman
knights. We have spoken of St. Giles in the Fields already. There was
a Nunnery founded at Clerkenwell about the year 1100; there was also
a House of St. John (see _Mediæval London_, vol. ii. p. 270). The
last of the Houses due to this religious revival is the Priory of the
Holy Trinity, Aldgate. This was founded by one Norman as a House of
Augustinian Canons. The Queen, Henry the First’s Saxon Queen, Matilda,
endowed it with land and with the revenues of Aldgate. It must be
acknowledged that this religious revival was both of long continuance
and of real depth, since so many were seized by it and moved either to
found Houses of Religion, or to take upon them the vows of religion.

[Illustration: THREE BISHOPS

Nero MS., C. iv. (12th cent.).]

There is one more illustration of this religious revival of the twelfth
century. This is the Cnihten Gild or Guild. One writer would see in
this guild the lost Merchant Guild of the City, of which I have already
spoken (see _Mediæval London_, vol. ii. p. 113), and in the action of
the leaders the destruction of the Merchant Guild. Others would see
in it a Guild for the defence of the City. I confess that I cannot
understand why the Merchant Guild of the whole City should be destroyed
by the action of fifteen leaders, nor how a commercial association
for the good of all could be broken up by a few of its more important
members. It would be also very difficult to make out that this Cnihten
Gild did in any sense correspond to the Merchant Guild; and I would ask
what a Merchant Guild had to do with fighting? Yet Stow undoubtedly
preserves a tradition of battle about the Cnihten Gild. The theory
that there was a Company or Guild whose duty it was to organise the
defence of the City, to be the officers of a Militia containing every
able-bodied man within the walls, seems to account for everything.
Now this body of citizen soldiers had already six times beaten off the
Danes; they therefore possessed an honourable record. When William took
possession he was careful to disturb nothing; therefore he did not
disturb the Cnihten Gild. If the object of their existence, however,
was the defence of the City, they had nothing more to do; for when
William built the White Tower in the east and Montfichet in the west,
he said to the citizen soldiers, practically, “I will take care of your
defence; your work is done.”

This may be theory and imagination. To me it seems to account for the
Cnihten Gild more naturally than the supposition of a Merchant Guild.
For one does understand the coming of a time when it was no longer
necessary to have such a Guild of defence; but one does not understand
how any time, or any combination of circumstances, would make it
necessary, or even permissible, for the leaders to surrender or to
destroy the Merchant Guild, which regulated the whole trade of the City
and was above and before all other Guilds.

The facts of the case are as follows: their meaning and importance have
been misunderstood until they were explained by Mr. J. H. Round. In the
year 1881, however, a paper on the subject was read before the London
and Middlesex Archæological Society by Mr. H. C. Coote. They are,
briefly, as follows:—

The land which now forms the Ward of Portsoken, _i.e._ the “Soc”
or “Socn” of the City, was in the hands of a certain body known as
the Cnihten Gild. There were fifteen of them whose names have been
preserved. They were Raulf, son of Algod; Wulward le Doverisshe;
Orgar le Prude; Edward Upcornhill; Blackstan, and Alwyn his cousin;
Ailwin, and Robert his brother, sons of Leofstan; another Leofstan,
the Goldsmith, and Wyzo his son; Hugh, son of Wulgar; Orgar, son of
Dereman; Algar Fecusenne; Osbert Drinchewyn, and Adelard Hornewitesume.
These men, all London citizens of position, held the lands on trust as
members of the Gild.

It was called the Cnihten Gild: the Soldiers’ Guild. They possessed,
among other things, a Charter of King Edward the Confessor. It ran as

“Eadward the King greeteth Ælfward the bishop and Wulfgar the portreeve
and all the burgesses of London as a friend. And I make known to you
that I will that my men in the English Gild of Knights retain their
manorial rights within the city and without over their men; and I will
that they retain the good laws (_i.e._ the privileges) which they had
in King Eadgar’s day and in my father’s and Cnut’s day; and I will also
(?)[27] with God and also man and I will not permit that any man wrong
them but they shall all be in peace and God preserve you all.”

There had been Charters, therefore, of Edgar, Ethelred, and Cnut. The
Charter of Edward presupposes the existence of the Gild in the time of
Edgar. Now, under the Saxon customs a Gild was legally constituted when
the members created it; the consent of the King was an invention of
Norman times. Yet it seems probable that the Gild was first founded in
the reign of Edgar for reasons advanced by Coote.

“Immediately before that King’s accession to the throne there had
arisen a very cogent necessity for the City to look out for increased
protection—for some regular and settled means which should ensure
her citizens against sudden and stealthy attacks during that chronic
warfare to which the age had been for some time tending. There had
been a civil war caused by the disgust of a part of the nation at King
Eadwig’s unparallelled profligacy, and in that war, as it is expressly
stated by historians, the outskirts of London had suffered much. During
its pendency there had been fighting and devastation on both sides of
the Thames in the immediate vicinity of the City.”

The Cnihten Gild, therefore, appears to have been an association
founded for the purpose of providing for every occasion a permanent
standing garrison of defence. The ruling body contained a certain
number of leading London citizens: they were the officers of the Gild.
They administered the funds and property belonging to the Gild, and
were useful in repairing the wall and gates, and in providing arms. It
was only by means of the Gild, in which the members were under oath of
obedience, that such a garrison could be got together and maintained.
How many members the Gild at first contained is not known. It is,
however, probable that by the year 1125, when the fifteen named above
are described as “of the ancient stock of noble English soldiers,” the
Gild had become a small survival still owning property; though, as we
have seem, they could have had no duties to perform.

William, however, recognised the existence of the Gild and granted
them a Charter. This is lost, but the Charter of William Rufus, which
remains, refers to it.

“William, King of England, to Bishop M. and G. de Magnaville and R.
Delpare and his lieges of London, Greeting. Know ye that I have granted
to the men of the _cnihtene gild_ their gild and the land which belong
to them, with all customs, as they were in the time of King Edward and
my father. Witness, HENRY DE BOTH, at Rethyng.”

And Henry I. also granted them a Charter in which he refers to those of
his father and his brother:—

“Henry, King of England, to Bishop M., to the _gerefa_ of London, and
to all his Barons and lieges of London, French and English, Greeting.
Know ye that I have granted to all the men of the _cnihtene gild_ their
gild and land which belong to them, with all customs, as were better
in the time of King Edward and my father, and as my brother granted to
them by writ and his seal, and I forbid upon pain of forfeiture to me
that any man dare do them an injury in respect of this. Witness, R. DE
MOUNTFORD and R. BIGOT and H. DE BOOTH, at Westminster.” (_London and
Middlesex_, 1881, vol. v. p. 488.)

Sixty years after the Conquest, the Gild, realising that the original
reason for their association no longer remained in existence, proposed
to dissolve. What were they to do with the property for which they were
trustees? It was the property of the City: it had to be used for the
benefit of the City. What better, according to the light of the time,
could they do with it than hand it over to the Church and to ask for
the prayers of holy men? Accordingly they asked permission of the King
to convey the property to the Priory of the Holy Trinity. His consent
was obtained. The King appointed as Commissioners for the conveyance
Aubrey de Vere (who was afterwards killed in a street riot) and Gervase
of Cornhill, and the document was signed by the members of the Gild
whose names have been already set forth.

The following document is quoted by Mr. Coote from the records of the
Hustings Court at Guildhall:—

“Anno ab incarnacione domini Millesimo centissimo octauo et Anno regni
gloriosi Regis Henrici octauo fundata est ecclesia Sancte Trinitatis
infra Algate Londoñ per venerabilem Reginam Matildam uxorem Regis
predicti, et Consilio sancti Archipresulis Anselmi data est dicta
ecclesia Normanno Priori primo tocius regni Canonico. A quo tota
Anglia Sancti Augustini Regula ornatur et habitu canonicali vestitur
et congregatis ibidem fratribus augebatur in dicta ecclesia multitudo
laudancium deum die ac nocte ita quod tota ciuitas delectabatur in
aspectu eorum. In tantum quod anno ab incarnacione domini millesimo
centesimo vicesimo quinto quidam burgenses Londonie ex illa antiqua
nobilium militum Anglorum progenie, scilicet Radulfus filius Algodi
Wulwardus le Doverisshe, Orgarus le Prude, Edwardus Upcornhill,
Blackstanus et Alwynus cognatus eius, Ailwinus et Robertus fratur eius
filii Leostani, Leostanus Aurifaber, et Wyzo filius eius, Hugo filius
Wulgari, Algarus fecusenne (_sic_) Orgarus filius Deremanni, Osbertus
Drinchewyn, Adelardus Hornewitesume (_sic_) conuenientes in capitulo
ecclesie Christi que sita est infra muros eiusdem ciuitatis iuxta
portam que nuncupatur Algata dederunt ipsi ecclesie et canonicis Deo
seruientibus in ea totam terram et socam que dicebatur de Anglissh
Cnithegilda urbis que muro adiacet foras eandem portam et protenditur
usque in fluuium Thamesiam. Dederunt inquam suscipientes fraternitatem
et participium beneficiorum loci illius per manum Normanni Prioris
qui eos et predecessores suos in societatem super textum evangelii
recepit. Et ut firma et inconutta (_sic_ for inconcussa) staret hec
eorum donacio cartam sancti Edwardi cum aliis cartis prescriptis
quas inde habebant super altare optulerunt. Et deinde super ipsam
terram seisiuerunt predictum priorem per ecclesiam sancti Botulphi
que edificata est super eam et est ut aiunt capud ipsius terre. Hec
omnia facta sunt coram hiis testibus Bernardo Priore de Dunstap’l, etc.
etc. Miserunt ergo predicti donatores quendam exseipsis, Ordgarum
scilicet le Prude, ad regem Henricum petentes ut ipse donacionem eorum
concederet et confirmaret. Rex vero libenter concessit predictam socam
et terram prefate ecclesie liberam et quietam ab omni servicio sicut
elemosinam decet et cartam suam sequentem confirmauit.” (_London and
Middlesex_, 1881, vol. v. pp. 477-478.)

The “soc” thus transferred was the right to administer justice, civil
or criminal, to, and in respect of, the men or under-tenants of the
Gild. The right, therefore, belonged henceforth to the Prior of the
Convent who, when Portsoken became a Ward, was, _ex officio_, Alderman
of that Ward.

It is very remarkable that writers on this conveyance have always, down
to Mr. Round, assumed that the fifteen who constituted the Gild entered
the Priory and assumed the vows of the Order.

The Latin words are, however, quite clear. I repeat them: “Dederunt,
inquam, suscipientes fraternitatem et participium beneficiorum loci
illius per manum Normanni Prioris qui eos et predecessores suos in
societatem super textum evangelii recepit.”

That is:—

“Taking up the fraternity and share in the benefits of that place by
the hand of Norman the Prior, who received them and their predecessors
into the Society on the text of the Gospels.”

There was attached to every monastery a fraternity whose numbers were
not limited: their duties were not defined: probably there were no
duties except attendance once a year or so, and gifts to the House
according to the power and means of the giver. At the hour of death the
members put on the robe of the Order. The Gild, therefore, entered the
Fraternity and obtained, by their gift of this land, all the benefits
that the Fraternity would claim from its connection with the House for
themselves _and their predecessors_.

Their predecessors could not enter the House; nor could they, since
they were on exactly the same footing as their predecessors.

Round illustrates the point by a note:—

“Good instances in point are found in the Ramsey Cartulary where, in
1081, a benefactor to the abbey ‘suscepit e contra a domino abbate
et ab omnibus fratribus plenam fraternitatem pro rēge Willelmo, et
pro regina Matilda, et pro comite Roberto, et pro semetipso, et uxore
sua, et filio qui ejus erit heres, et pro patre et matre ejus, ut sunt
participes orationum, elemosinarum, et omnium beneficiorum ipsorum, sed
et omnium fratrum sive monasteriorum a quibus societatem susceperunt
in omnibus sicut ex ipsis.’ Better still is this parallel: ‘Reynaldus
abbas, et totus fratrum conventus de Rameseya cunctis fratribus qui
sunt apud Ferefeld in gilda, salutem in Christo. Volumus ut sciatis
quod vobis nostram fraternitatem concessimus et communionem beneficii
quam pro nobismet ipsis quotidie agimus, per Serlonem, qui vester fuit
legatus ad nos, ut sitis participes in hoc et in futuro saeculo.’ The
date of this transaction was about the same as that of the admission of
the Cnihten Gild to a share in the ‘benefits’ of Holy Trinity; and the
grant was similarly made in return for an endowment.” (_The Commune of

But he proves the point still more clearly when he traces the
subsequent history of the fifteen for many years after the conveyance
in act and deed outside the Priory.

The marriage of priests was a burning subject of the day. Practically,
priests in England were as much married then as the Anglican clergy are
now; they married, as will be shown presently, into families of good
position, and occupied much the same position as they do at present.
But it was resolved at Rome that celibacy should be enforced among the
clergy. The evidence of the Chronicles is somewhat conflicting. There
were two important Synods on ecclesiastical affairs—the first held in
1102, and the second in 1108. The celibacy of the clergy appears to the
historian a smaller matter than the investiture of any ecclesiastical
dignity by the hand of a layman.

Florence of Worcester (_circa_ 1118) mentions the Synod of 1102, and
says nothing about the question of celibacy, but refers the decrees on
the subject to the year 1108. He also gives in full seventeen canons
passed at the Synod of 1125 held at Westminster, by John de Cremona. He
says nothing about the Cardinal’s confusion and shame. He also quotes
the decrees of the Synod of 1127.

Henry of Huntingdon (_circa_ 1154) says:—

“At the feast of St. Michael, the same year—1102—Anselm, the
archbishop, held a synod at London, in which he prohibited the English
priests from living with concubines, a thing not before forbidden. Some
thought it would greatly promote purity; while others saw the danger in
a strictness which, requiring a continence above their strength, might
lead them to fall into horrible uncleanness, to the great disgrace
of their Christian profession. In this synod several abbots, who had
acquired their preferment by means contrary to the will of God, lost
them by a sentence conformable to his will.”

And under the year 1125, he describes the visit of John de Cremona,
with the discovery which brought his mission to a hurried conclusion.

“At Easter, John of Cremona, Cardinal of Rome, came into England, and
visited all the bishoprics and abbeys, not without having many gifts
made him.”

“This Cardinal, who in the council bitterly inveighed against the
concubines of priests, saying that it was a great scandal that they
should rise from the side of a harlot to make Christ’s body, was the
same night surprised in company with a prostitute, though he had that
very day consecrated the host. The fact was so notorious that it could
not be denied, and it is not proper that it should be concealed. The
high honour with which the cardinal had been everywhere received was
now converted to disgrace, and, by the judgment of God, he turned his
steps homewards in confusion and dishonour.”

Roger of Wendover (d. 1256) says that in 1102 Anselm excommunicated
priests who had concubines. He says that the Council of 1108 was
occupied with the question of investiture. As to the affair of 1125, he
simply copies Henry of Huntingdon.

Matthew of Westminster (_circa_ 1320) says that in 1102 Anselm,
at a Synod held in St. Paul’s, excommunicated priests who kept
concubines—or, in plain words, were married.

The Synod of 1108, he says, was occupied by the question of
investiture. About the Cardinal, John of Cremona, he merely says:—

“The said John, who in the council had most especially condemned all
priests who kept concubines, being detected himself in the same vice,
excused the vice because he said that he was not himself a priest, but
a reprover of priests.”

The three strenuous efforts made in 1102, 1108, and in 1125, show the
importance attached to the question of priests’ marriages by the Church
of Rome.

The deans of 1102, the canons of 1125, and the statutes of 1127 are a
revelation of the abuses which were then prevalent in the Church. It
would be interesting to compare these ordinances with the condition
of the Church in the following centuries. The canons (see Appendix)
declared the whole of the Church offices except marriage, viz., chrism,
oil, baptism, penance, visitation of the sick, Holy Communion and
burial, open to all without fee; they forbade the inheritance of Church
patronage; they ordered clerks holding benefices to be ordained priests
without delay; that the office of Dean or Prior should be held by a
priest; and that of Archdeacon by a deacon at least; that the Bishop
alone should have the power of ejecting any person from a benefice;
that an excommunicated person should not receive communion from any;
that pluralists should be made illegal; that priests should have no
women in their houses except such as were free from suspicion; that
marriage should be prohibited; that sorcerers should be excommunicated;
that priests who kept their concubines should be deprived of their
benefice; that the concubines should be expelled the parish; that
priests should not hold farms; that tithes be paid honestly; that no
abbess or nun was to wear garments more costly than lamb’s wool or
cat’s skin.

These regulations were stringent in the highest degree. Nevertheless
they appear to have been totally disregarded. A hundred years later,
when the Interdict was laid upon England, we find that the priests’
concubines throughout the country had to pay ransom.

For the priests did not give up their wives: they continued to marry;
they also continued to present their sons to benefices. In a word, the
law became, like most of the mediæval laws, ineffectual, because there
was no means of enforcing it and the opinion of the people was against
it. On the one hand, there was the danger of the priesthood becoming an
hereditary caste, and of benefices descending as by right from father
to son—a danger which the subsequent history of the Anglican Church
shows to have been imaginary or exaggerated; on the other hand, there
were the great dangers resulting from the enforced suppression of the
most powerful passion, the most overwhelming of all passions, in some
men simply irresistible, by denying the natural custom of wedlock. And
as history abundantly proves, these dangers were not imaginary.

As to the quarrel between Henry and Anselm, that belongs to the history
of the country rather than to that of London.


[27] The original word in charter is _luc_, untranslated.—ED.

                              CHAPTER IX

                              SOCIAL LIFE

Let us pass on to consider the daily life of the people. To begin with,
they were a busy people; there were no idle men: everybody followed
some pursuit; there were the wholesale merchants, the retailers, and
the craftsmen. I have submitted a rough division of London streets
into belts. In thinking of the aspect of the City, understand that
there were no shops in the streets at all; nor was there any crying of
things up and down the streets. All the retail trade was carried on in
the markets, West Chepe and East Chepe, and the wholesale trade was
conducted in Thames Street beside the quays and the warehouses.

The markets were, first, Billingsgate for fish, salt, onions, other
fruits and roots, wheat and all kinds of grain; every great ship paid
for “standage” twopence; every small ship one penny; a lesser ship one
penny; a lesser boat a halfpenny; for every two quarters of corn the
King was to have one farthing; on a comb of corn, one penny; on every
tun of ale going out of England, fourpence; on every thousand herrings,
a farthing, etc. Queenhithe, or Edred’s Hithe, was probably of later
date than Billingsgate.

London had already among her inhabitants many merchants of foreign
descent; they came from Caen and from Rouen, from Germany and from
Flanders. The “Emperor’s Men” had already set up their steelyard and
begun to trade within walls of their own, protected by strong gates,
and possessed of extensive privileges. The men of Lubeck, Hamburg,
and the Flemings, who did not belong to the “Gildhalla Teutonicorum,”
also set up their fortified trading-houses. I do not suppose that the
connection which was afterwards established between London and the
country gentry had yet been established; indeed it is impossible,
seeing that most of the manors of England had been granted to the
Norman followers of King William, and as yet these new masters of the
soil were in no sense English. But, as we have seen, many of the nobles
already had their town houses in London.

In the “Dialogus Scaccario,” printed in full in Madox’s _History of
the Exchequer_, and in Stubbs’s _Select Charters_, there is a most
valuable passage on the fusion of the Normans and the English. It is as

“In the early condition of the Kingdom after the Conquest, those who
were left of the subject English used to lay snares secretly against
the race of Normans suspected and hateful to them: here and there,
wherever the chance offered, they murdered Normans in their forests
and remote places, in punishment for which, when the Kings and their
ministers for several years raged against the English with exquisite
modes of torture, yet found that they would not wholly desist, it
was at length resolved that the Hundred in which a Norman was found
murdered, if the murderer was not discovered or took to flight,
should be condemned to pay a large sum of money, sometimes as much as
thirty-six or even forty-three pounds, according to the character of
the place and the frequency of the crime....”

“Now, however, the English and the Normans living together and
intermarrying with each other, the two nations are so mixed that it is
difficult to distinguish, among free men, who is English and who is
Norman by descent.”

The fusion of the races was more easy in London than in the country,
partly because the Normans had already been settled in the place and
were carrying on the very considerable trade which existed with Rouen,
Caen, and other northern ports: partly, because there was no rankling
sense of injury, such as that which filled the hearts of dispossessed
Saxon Thanes. The Norman king kept his word with London; he oppressed
no citizen; he deprived no citizen of his property. Moreover, the
Normans appear to have taken the lead in many things. Their superior
refinement has been somewhat exaggerated, especially when we read of
the accomplishments and the learning of the Anglo-Saxon ladies. But
there can be no doubt that they introduced habits of temperance in
the matter of strong drink. The Norman merchant was held in honour
by the Norman knight, and the Norman noble had his town house in
the City. Young Thomas Becket was a friend of Richer de l’Aigle of
Pevensey; ecclesiastical dignitaries were his father’s guests; and in
the chapter which follows on a Norman family, we shall see how they
intermarried—Saxon and Norman, noble and burgher.

[Illustration: BUILDING A HOUSE

Claud MS. B. IV. (11th Century).]

FitzStephen’s account, though most interesting, leaves out a great many
things which we should like to know. He brings before our eyes a city
cheerful and busy: the young people delighting in games of all kinds,
especially archery, wrestling, mock fights, skating; he shows us a
place of great plenty and containing within its walls as much freedom
and as much happiness as any mediæval city could expect; he shows us
the craftsmen living each in his own quarters; he shows us the monastic
houses and the schools of children; he shows us a town in which all
went well so long, he says, with significance, as there was a good
king. Now the Norman kings were not without their faults, but one thing
must be allowed them,—they were strong kings, and at this time and
for many centuries to come, London wanted above all things a strong
king, and if you look back at history you will find that a strong
king meant a just king. In fact, though we are as yet far off from an
ideal London, FitzStephen makes us understand that the people already
possessed in Norman London an amount of liberty which was greater than
that enjoyed by any city of France or Spain, and equal probably to that
enjoyed by the people of Ghent and Bruges.

[Illustration: A FAMILY GROUP

Claud MS., B. 4. (11th cent.).]

London has always been a City of great plenty. As yet the stretches of
foreshore and marsh all down the river were uninhabited, as most of
them remain to the present day. All these marshes abounded with birds
innumerable: the river was full of fish—fish of all kinds; the supplies
of cattle and of sheep and swine came from the meadows belonging to
Westminster Abbey, and from the farms of Middlesex. The forest of
Middlesex, which began at Islington, stretched north over an extensive
tract; the forest of Essex was a continuation to the east, covering
what were afterwards Epping and Hainault Forests; the villages of Essex
and Middlesex were clearings in the forest. I suppose that the people
bred horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs for the London markets.

If the north part of London, where the craftsmen worked, was
picturesque with the cottages among the trees, the south part was also
picturesque, for the houses of the merchants were there, each with its
hall and its garden. Churches stood everywhere. Most of them were quite
small, plain village churches; here and there a Saxon church, like
that at Bradford on Avon, narrow and dark, no glass in the windows,
no pavement on the floor; and down the narrow lanes we could watch
the river with the ships going up and down, the Yeo heave Ho! of the
outward-bound, and the hymn to the Virgin for safety on the voyage
from those who worked their way up with the flood tide to deep anchor
below the bridge.

As for the people of the City, I venture to quote my own words from
another book (_London_, p. 68):—

“It is an evening in May. What means this procession? Here comes a
sturdy rogue marching along valiantly, blowing pipe and beating tabor.
After him, a rabble rout of lads and young men, wearing flowers in
their caps, and bearing branches and singing lustily.

The workman jumps up and shouts as they go past; the priest and the
friar laugh and shout; the girls, gathering together, as is the
maidens’ way, laugh and clap their hands. The young men sing as they
go and dance as they sing. Spring has come back again—sing cuckoo;
the days of light and warmth—sing cuckoo; the time of feasting and of
love—sing cuckoo. The proud abbot, with his following, draws rein to
let them pass, and laughs to see them—he is, you see, a man first and
a monk afterwards. In the gateway of his great house stands the Norman
earl with his livery. He waits to let the London youth go by. The earl
scorns the English youth no longer; he knows their lustihood. He can
even understand their speech. He sends out largesse to the lads to
be spent in the good wines of Gascony and of Spain; he joins in the
singing; he waves his hand, a brotherly hand, as the floral greenery
passes along; he sings with them at the top of his voice—

    Sing cuccu—cuccu—nu sing cuccu;
    Sing cuccu; sing cuccu nu!

Presently the evening falls. It is light till past eight; the days
are long. At nightfall, in summer, the people go to bed. In the great
houses they assemble in the hall; in winter they would listen to music
and the telling of stories, even the legends of King Arthur. Walter Map
or Mapes will collect them and arrange them; and the French romances,
such as ‘Amis et Amils,’ ‘Aucassin et Nicolette,’ though these have not
yet been written down. In summer they have music before they go to bed.
We are in a city that has always been fond of music. The noise of crowd
and pipe, tabor and cithern, is now silent in the streets. Rich men
kept their own musicians. What said Bishop Grossetête?—

    Next hys chamber, besyde hys study,
    Hys harper’s chamber was fast ther by.
    Many tymes, by nightes and dayes,
    He hade solace of notes and layes.
    One asked him the resun why
    He hadde delyte in minstrelsy?
    He answered hym on thys manere
    Why he helde the harpe so dere:
    The virtu of the harpe thurh skill and right
    Wyll destrye the fendys myght,
    And to the cros by gode skeyl
    Ys the harpe lykened weyl.


Harl. MS., 4751 (13th cent.).]

He who looks and listens for the voice of the people in these ancient
times hears no more than a confused murmur: one sees a swarm working
like ants; a bell rings, they knock off work; another bell, they run
together, they shout, they wave their hats; the listener, however,
hears no words. It is difficult in any age—even in the present day—to
learn or understand what the _bas peuple_ think and what they desire.
They want few things indeed in every generation; only, as I said
above, the three elements of freedom, health, and just pay. Give them
these three, and they will grumble no longer. When a poet puts one of
them on his stage and makes him act and makes him speak, we learn the
multitude from the type. Later on, after Chaucer and Piers Plowman
have spoken, we know the people better—as yet we guess at them, we do
not even know them in part. Observe, however, one thing about London—a
thing of great significance. When there is a Jacquerie—when the people,
who have hitherto been as silent as the patient ox, rise with a wild
roar of rage—_it is not in London_. Here, men have learned—however
imperfectly—the lesson that only by combination of all for the general
welfare is the common weal advanced. I think, also, that London
men, even those on the lowest level, have always known very well
that their humility of place is due to their own lack of purpose and
self-restraint. The air of London had always been charged with the
traditions and histories of those who have raised themselves: there
never has been a city more generous to her children, more ready to hold
out a helping hand: this we shall see illustrated later on: at present
all is beginning. The elementary three conditions are felt, but not yet
put into words.

We are at present in the boyhood of a city which after a thousand years
is still in its strong and vigorous manhood, showing no sign, not the
least sign, of senility or decay. Rather does it appear like a city in
its first spring of eager youth. But the real work for Saxon and Norman
London lies before. It is to come. It is a work which is to be the
making of Great Britain and of America, Australia, and the Isles. It is
the work of building up, defending, and consolidating the liberties of
the Anglo-Saxon race.”

The question of slavery—whether it was common in London, and how long
it lasted, is very difficult. When William told his new subjects that
they were “law worthy,” he meant that the freemen were law worthy;
none but freemen had any privileges at all. No one was allowed to have
the freedom of the City unless he was known to be of free condition:
and “even if, after he had received the freedom, it became known that
he was a person of servile condition, through that same fact he lost
the freedom of the City” (_Liber Albus_, p. 30). Witness the case of
Thomas le Bedell, Robert le Bedell, Alan Underwoode, and Edmund May,
who in the year 1301 lost their freedom because it was discovered
that they held land in villeinage of the Bishop of London. The serfs
or villeins held their land “in villeinage” or “in demesne.” They had
no rights, and were the absolute property of their lords, who could
dispossess them at any moment. Of the lower or dependent class, there
were many subdivisions; all these were more or less serfs, holding
their lands by the tenure of certain services; in the whole of England,
according to _Domesday Book_, there were about 225,000 of these people,
so that, if each of them had a wife and four children, there were a
million and a quarter of cultivators of the soil who were also serfs.
There is evidence, in plenty, that the condition of these people under
the Normans rapidly improved; the Norman knight could not understand
all the distinctions; he lumped the people all together and treated
freemen and villani in much the same manner. Some of the villeins grew
rich; some were emancipated formally; some passed through no form of
emancipation; there remained, however, certain disabilities: they were
not admitted to the freedom of the City of London, and we hear of
complaints made about their admission to holy orders.

If we try to apply these facts to London we are baffled by a difficulty
already indicated. Were there serfs in the City? If so, how many? What
work did they undertake? Remember—a point already advanced—that in a
city of many industries, if any industry or craft becomes regarded as
especially the work of a slave, no freeman will ever after touch it;
and if the slave is emancipated, he will never again do any of that
work. But in London there has never been any prejudice against any kind
of work. I cannot understand how London, at such a time, could have
been composed entirely of freemen; but of the slaves, if there were
slaves, I can find no trace, no memory, and no indication.


There is, however, the ancient Saxon custom that obtains in all free
boroughs, if a villein fled from his master and found shelter within
the walls for a year and a day unclaimed, he thereby became free. Now
it is true that mere residence is not enough; a man must remain all
that time unclaimed. May we not see in this law the determination
that within the walls of London there should be no slave at all? In
the _Liber Albus_ all that I can find on the subject is that persons
holding land in villeinage shall not be allowed the freedom of the
City: this fact seems rather to point in the direction of allowing none
but freemen in the City. In 1288 the attorney of the Earl of Cornwall
preferred a claim in the Hustings against nine men, the bondmen of
the Earl, runaways. The decision of the Court is not given, but it is
clear that the men, who were villagers, hoped to remain unclaimed in
London, and that they were disappointed. On the whole, therefore, I
am of opinion that London would not allow any but freemen to live and
work within her walls. And we may remember the clause (No. 24) in the
Ordinances of the Council of 1103, to the effect that there shall be no
more buying and selling of men, “which was hitherto accustomed.”

We have already seen what were the exports of London under the Saxons
and Danes. Of course they remained the same under the Normans. Wool
was the staple. England subsisted, so to speak, upon her wool. It went
to Bruges, to Germany, and to Italy. The imports were, as before,
wine from Germany and La Rochelle; spices, gums, cloth of gold, silk,
and the finer weapons. New communications were opened up with the
Continent, and England lost her ancient isolation, when her people
could freely cross into Normandy, where their King was Duke. Trade was
carried on by means of the tally. This was a piece of wood, generally
willow wood, about nine inches long, cut into notches. Thus, a notch an
inch and a half across at the widest or the outside part means £1000;
an inch across £100; half an inch £20; and a long, narrow, sloping
notch £10. Other convenient marks denoted single pounds, shillings, and

The great fire of 1135 destroyed the whole of London from the Bridge
to the Fleet river. It is sometimes said that this fire destroyed
everything that was Saxon. Perhaps it did. But things moved very slowly
in the eleventh century; we need not believe that there was any change
at all in the buildings that succeeded Saxon London; the huts of the
craftsmen, once burned down, were rebuilt on exactly the same plan,
the frame houses of the merchant were rebuilt exactly as they had been
before. What we may regret were the little Saxon churches—would that we
had one or two of those left to us—and in addition, everything still
remaining of Roman London. We shall never know what remains of Roman
villas, temples, basilicas, baths, perished in this and other mediæval
fires, of which there were so many.

It must have been mortifying to the English merchant that the whole
of the foreign trade, the export and import trade, was carried on by
strangers; the Port of London for a long time had no ships, or next
to none, of her own. The Flemings and the German ships came and went
in fleets too strong to be attacked; otherwise the narrow seas were
swarming with pirates. There were English pirates, Norman pirates,
and French pirates; none of them were anxious to respect a ship of
their own nationality; it seemed as if by merely living in a seaport
one became naturally a pirate. Our sailors were simply undisciplined
pirates. When Henry the First raised a fleet, the men mutinied and half
of them went over to the enemy. The only chance of the London merchants
was to send out a fleet strong enough to fight and beat off these
pirates. This, however, they could not do; therefore for many a year
to come the foreign trade of London remained with the men of Hamburg,
Cologne, and Bruges.

On the government of London at this period we have spoken fully in
the second volume on _Mediæval London_, where will be found a chapter
called “The Commune” (p. 11).

                               CHAPTER X

                            A NORMAN FAMILY

In Appendix K to _Geoffrey de Mandeville_, Mr. J. H. Round presents a
little group, belonging to this period, of three families, together
with a collection of facts and figures which, despite their scantiness,
enable us to obtain more than a glimpse of the London Baron; the owner
of manors and socs within and without the City; the merchant and the
banker; the servant and the officer of the King; the Saxon who was also
the companion and equal of the Norman nobles. “Few discoveries,” says
Mr. Round, “in the course of these researches have afforded me more
satisfaction and pleasure” than the investigation into the origin of
Gervase de Cornhill, which led to the recovery of this group of the
Norman period. It is difficult to imagine greater satisfaction for
one who burrows among the documents of the past than thus to chance
upon a chain of facts which bring to light a whole family, with its
history, at the time when the Normans and the English were beginning to
intermarry, shortly before the time when it was said—

“Jam cohabitantibus Anglicis et Normannis, et alterutrum uxores
ducentibus vel nubentibus, sic permixtae sunt nationes, ut vix discerni
possit hodie, de liberis loquor, quis Anglicus, quis Normannus sit

The most important of these families is that descended from one
Herlwin, who, since his son was sheriff in 1130 when he was certainly
not a very young man, was probably born before the Conquest. Since
his name is simply stated without the Norman addition showing his
parentage, we may gather that the Saxons after the Conquest retained
the usage of giving the name without such qualification. Concerning
Herlwin, Mr. Round tells us nothing except that he had at least three
sons and one daughter. One of the sons, Ralph FitzHerlwin, was sheriff
in 1130. The daughter, Ingenolda, married Roger, “nephew of Hubert.”
Ralph FitzHerlwin’s son Robert married Mary, niece of Nicolas, priest
of St. Michael Chepe. Nicolas himself was the son of Algar, priest of
the same church. This priest Algar held the living on lease from St.
Paul’s; his son succeeded him, and presented in his turn the living
to his nephew by marriage, Robert FitzRalph, the grandson of Herlwin.
We see, therefore, that priests married openly and blamelessly, and
that they were able in some cases, as when they held a benefice, to
bequeath, or to transfer it to their heirs. Probably Nicolas had
no sons, or Robert FitzRalph would have had to look elsewhere for a
living. It is also apparent that the parish priests were recruited from
the governing class of the City, and that this class intermarried with
the children of the clergy.

Roger, “nephew to Hubert,” was evidently a man of great consideration.
He was chosen by the King in 1125 with Aubrey de Vere to invest
the House of the Holy Trinity with the Portsoken when the Cnihten
Gild handed it over to the monks. He was sheriff in the same year:
he is mentioned in an earlier document as one of the “Barons of
London,”—“Hugoni de Bocheland, Rogero, Leofstano, Ordgaro, et omnibus
aliis baronibus Lundoniae.” Mr. Round has found two Royal Charters,
one of which conveys to him the Manor of Chalk. Roger was one of the
multitude who were affected by the great religious enthusiasm of the
time: he must needs go on pilgrimage, and went to Jerusalem, dying on
the way there or back, if he did not die in the Holy City itself. It
will be remembered that another city magnate, Gilbert Becket, also went
on pilgrimage to Jerusalem at the same time. The son Gervase was called
De Cornhill, as the heir of his wife’s father, Edward de Cornhill or
Hupcornhill. Mr. Round notes, on the form Hupcornhill, similar forms
at Colchester, as “Opethewalle” and “Hoppeoverhumber,” _i.e._ the man
who came “up from beyond the Humber.” He was sheriff in 1155, and is
mentioned as Justiciar of London in the only Charter left of those
granted by Stephen’s Queen, “Sciatis quod dedi Gervasio Justicianis de
Londonia X marcetas terrae.”

This Gervase of Cornhill or Gervase FitzRoger was one of the most
prominent of the London citizens during the reigns of Stephen and Henry
II. He was born about the year 1110 and he died about the year 1183.
He was a landowner in the City and in the country. The Manor of Chalk,
which had been granted to his father, Roger, was afterwards granted to
him. In the records of the Duchy of Lancaster (1123-1136) is a grant
of land in “Eadintune” by William Archbishop of Canterbury to Gervase
and Agnes his wife. Agnes is described as the daughter of Edward of
Cornhill and Godeleve his wife. The name of Gervase occurs twice under
Stephen and “innumerable times” (Round) under Henry II., both in a
public and a private capacity. Gervase was not only a merchant: like
all successful merchants of the time he advanced money on mortgage and
obtained lands by foreclosing.

The strange history of the Cnihten Gild and its dissolution has already
been told. The light of reality is thrown upon this event when we read
that Edward of Cornhill was one of the Gild; that Edward of Southwark,
the father of Godeleve, and William of Southwark her brother, were
witnesses of the deed conveying Portsoken to the Holy Trinity Priory,
as well as Roger, Gervase’s father.

Turn again to Gervase of Cornhill. His son Henry, Sheriff of London,
Kent, and Surrey, married Alice, a daughter and heiress of the English
branch of the De Courceys. She afterwards married Warin FitzGerald.
The daughter of Henry and Alice, Joan de Cornhill, married Hugh de
Neville, Forester of England. I think that nothing, so far discovered,
better illustrates the position of the London merchants than this
genealogy and these facts, rescued by a laborious antiquary from the
scanty records of the time. We see the Barons of London on an equality
with the Norman aristocracy, acting with them, and intermarrying
with them; acquiring lands in the country; going on pilgrimage to
the Holy Land; becoming the principal actors in that most remarkable
event,—the Dissolution of the venerable Saxon Gild and the transfer of
the property which they held in trust to a Religious House. We see a
merchant of London holding the post of Justiciar. I wish it had been
possible for Mr. Round to have carried his researches further into the
annals of this family. One knows not where their descendants might be
found at the present day.

One more episode in the history of Gervase has been unearthed by Mr.
Round (_Feudal England_, p. 471).

The manor of Langham in Essex, near Colchester, was part of the
property of the great Clare family. It was given by Richard de Clare,
some time before the year 1086, to Walter Tirel, who married his
daughter Adeliza. Sometime between 1138 and 1148, Hugh Tirel sold
the manor, or raised money upon it, the purchaser, or the lender,
being Gervase of Cornhill, who obtained possession of it either by
foreclosing the mortgage or by purchase, Hugh Tirel himself taking
a part in the Crusade, while the London merchant, staying at home,
profited by the religious enthusiasm of the time. Fifty years later,
Richard I. granted permission to Henry, son of Gervase of Cornhill,
to enclose and impark his woods at Langham. “Thus,” says Round, “did
the wealthy Londoner become a country squire some centuries ago.” (See
Appendix V.)

        Algar,                                  Herlwin.                  (?)
      Priest of                                    │                       │
  St. Michael Chepe.                               │                       │
          │                                        │                       │
      ┌───┴────┐                    ┌─────────┬────┴───┬────────┐          │
      │        │                    │         │        │        │          │
    Nicolas, Daughter=Baldwin     Ralph    William,  Herlwin, Ingenolda=  Roger
   Priest of         de Arras.  FitzHerlwin     living 1130.    │       (Sheriff
  St. Michael.                 (Sheriff 1130).                  │         1125.)
                                     │                          ├───(to A)
                                     │                          │
                        Mary = Robert FitzRalph,               Alan.
                                  Priest of                     │
                              St. Michael Chepe.                │
                                                           Roger FitzAlan.

                (?)             Edward Southwark.
                 │                    │
                 │                    │
                 │              ┌─────┴────┐
                 │              │          │
            Edward Cornehill=Godeleve.  William
                            │          of Southwark.
             A──────┐       │
                    │       │
                 Gervase=Agnes de Cornhill.
                        │             │            │
  Alice de Courci =   Henry        Reginald       Ralph
  heiress of the    de Cornhill.  de Cornhill.  de Cornhill.
    English de    │                   │
     Courci.      │                   └───────────────┐
                  │                                   │
           Joan de Cornhill = Hugh de Nevill,       Reginald
                           Forester of England.   de Cornhill.

[Transcriber’s Note: While there is no explicit link in the original
between the Algar tree and the rest, the layout and the text suggest
that Mary is the daughter of Baldwin de Arras and his anonymous wife.]


                              APPENDIX I

                         THE RIVER EMBANKMENT

Let us add to this account that of the discoveries made in the Parish
of St. Michael Crooked Lane in connection with the approaches of the
new London Bridge:—

“On cutting through the present embankment of the river, it appeared,
as might be expected, to be of comparatively modern construction. The
outward wall was upright, and of Kentish rag, in courses of about
fourteen inches, and about one foot in the bed. It was backed by
quantities of chalk and great lumps of madrepore; the latter supposed,
from being of foreign produce, to have been brought hither by ships as
ballast, and thrown against the wall as rubbish to fill up the vacant

Proceeding northwards, the ground was found to be a mass of marsh,
extending from the river’s edge to about sixty feet beyond Thames
Street, evidently from its having once formed part of the bed of the
river. It shelved up towards Thames Street, and was dug into from ten
to twenty-four feet deep at that part, to find a safe foundation for
laying the south abutment of the land arch built across Thames Street;
but the soil proved to be so loose that vast quantities of solid
materials were obliged to be sunk for making a secure foundation. This
was also the case in laying the foundations of the walls of all the
brick arches which support the northern approach; though in no place
was the soil found of so marshy a nature as here.

The site of the ancient ‘Oyster gate’ was identified by cart-loads
of oyster shells being found on the spot. This place had been hid in
the reign of Elizabeth, by building what Stowe calls the artificial
_forcier_ or engine for increasing the supply of Thames water to
the metropolis, and which was succeeded by the later Waterworks. In
digging at the greatest depth on this site, there was turned up part
of a leathern sandal, singularly looped on the sides, which had been
apparently lost in the mud; also some fragments of Roman pottery, and a
few coins.

The principal discovery here, and beyond it northwards, however, was of
two separate ancient lines of embankment, one being on the _south_ side
of Thames Street, and the other at some distance.

The first embankment, on the south side of Thames Street, was found
about ten feet below the surface of the street, and was traced to the
depth of more than twenty feet. It was formed of large solid trees of
oak and chesnut, about two feet square, roughly hewn, having camp
sheathings, and strong timber waltlings spiked to the piles, the whole
of great strength and massiveness.” (_St. Michael Crooked Lane_, pp.

The original embankment lower down the river at Dagenham was “composed
of large trunks of trees, similar to what were discovered on the above
occasion in Thames Street, only that _yew trees_ were used instead of
_oaks_. On digging down about twenty-two feet, at a place called the
_Moor-logg_ (a marsh which must have aboriginally resembled Southwark),
they met with a vein of divers sorts of rotten wood (yew timber only,
which was found amongst it, being not decayed), which lay about three
feet and a half or four feet underneath the surface of the marsh
ground belonging to the levels, about ten feet in depth, and with very
little mixture of earth that could be discerned amongst it. Underneath
it there was about twelve or fifteen inches depth of blue clay, then
gravel and sand. A great part of this Moor-logg seemed to be comprised
of small brushwood; and many hazel-nuts had been taken up in digging,
which the captain had in his hand, and looked to have been firm, but
upon a very little pressure they broke to dust. Several of the yew
trees found were fourteen or sixteen inches diameter, and perfectly
sound excepting the sap. The willow or sallow trees were, many of
them, found of two feet and upwards diameter, and retained a whitish
colour, like touchwood. Above the vein mentioned they found, as in
Thames Street, stags’ horns. The same sort of marsh ground was found at
Woolwich and Deptford.” (_St. Michael Crooked Lane_, pp. 15-16, note.)

In 1826 an excavation in Tooley Street brought to light a curious

“The first few feet were made ground, merely rubbish; then came a
thick, close, sedimentary deposit of alluvial clay and Thames-river
mud, averaging about seven to ten feet thick, which evidently had its
origin in the tidal and sedimentary matter from the adjacent river.
Below this mud and clayey deposit was a close stratum of peat, tightly
compressed, varying materially in thickness in different places along
the street, but averaging from two to four and five feet in thickness.
This peat was chiefly composed of vestiges of hazel trees, hazel-nuts
in beautiful preservation, fragments of oak, beech, and other trees,
and leaves and stems of various plants confusedly intermixed; the wood
and hazel-nuts and the oak differing in no respect, in their character,
from what might be grown at the present time in the same neighbourhood.
This peat and wood had undergone no apparent chemical change. It was
highly saturated with moisture, had rather an agreeable odour, and was
of a light brown colour. Fragments of the hazel and oak wood, on being
kept in a dry situation for two or three months, shrunk into about
one-tenth of their original size by the evaporation of the combined
water, but left the outside bark in its original shape, while the
remaining inside, ligneous fibre of the hazel or oak became, on cutting
it with a knife, nearly as black and as hard as ebony. Below this
stratum of peat came the usual angular fragments, called by geologists
diluvial gravel; consisting of fragments of flint, reposing on the
great argillaceous deposit of the blue London clay.” (_St. Michael
Crooked Lane_, pp. 16-17, note.)

Returning to St. Michael’s, “the 2nd embankment was discovered about
sixty feet beyond the north side of Thames Street, towards Crooked
Lane, and was of a completely different character from the one just
described. It was composed of strong elm piles, from eight to ten feet
long, closely driven together in the ground, with a waling-piece, or
brace, at the top.” (_Ibid._ pp. 16-18.)

                              APPENDIX II

                       THE RIVERSIDE DISCOVERIES

_The following extracts from Archæologia, vol. iii., give fuller
information on the results of excavation along the river-side._

“It is well known that, to arrive at the solid clay in Thames Street
for the purpose of planting foundations, a considerable depth must be
attained. It must be remembered that, apart from the accumulation of
centuries since the Roman occupation, the levels of this neighbourhood
were greatly altered at the time of the Great Fire. The slope of the
various hills leading from Cannon Street to the river was entirely
changed, and in Thames Street the roadway was in many places raised
from 3 to 7 feet. In watching, therefore, the sinking of the shafts
which were to receive the piers of the railway arches, it was possible
to trace the successive mementoes of London’s history from the last
century back to the Roman period. There were the traders’ tokens,
bellarmines, and other late pottery, mediæval spurs, daggers, objects
in leather, and lastly occurred the coins, styli, pins in bone and
bronze, personal ornaments, etc., associated with quantities of the
bright red Samian pottery. From 20 to 25 feet appeared to be the
average depth of the Roman level, and here, driven into the clay along
the whole extent of the excavations, were numerous piles and transverse
beams extending right across the street, and forming a complete network
of timber. Many of these beams measured as much as 18 inches square,
and all were of great strength and durability. They doubtless formed
the old water-line and Thames embankment fronting the southern portion
of Roman London. Such beams were observed on both sides of the street,
and many had probably been supports for the Roman buildings which so
plentifully existed in the neighbourhood of Bush Lane and Scots Yard.
Towards Cannon Street were large masses of Roman masonry, such as have
been described by Mr. Roach Smith in the twenty-ninth volume of the
_Archæologia_. Much of this had to be removed, and it was interesting
to observe how completely the old walls defied the appliances of modern
engineering, the necessary dislodgment being only effected by the aid
of gunpowder; in some cases, I believe, the veritable _Roman_ walls now
form foundations for the support of the railway arches. In some places
could be detected the junction of the clay and gravel with the soft
black earth and refuse, betokening the old course of the Wallbrook,
which at Dowgate dock flowed into the Thames. From the great quantity
of antiquities, it has been suggested that this particular spot may
have been an ancient rubbish-shoot, such as the celebrated pit at the
Royal Exchange. The beautiful preservation of the coins and metal
objects favours the idea that the whole had been formerly covered by
the Thames.”

“From the Steelyard there is a very elegant bronze in low relief,
respecting which various conjectures have been made. Mr. Smith
pronounces it a figure of Hope; and he refers to the coins of Claudius,
with a similar figure, inscribed ‘SPES AVGVSTA.’ It seems to have been
affixed to a coffer or to some object as a decoration. It is now in the
possession of Mr. Cecil Brent, to whom we owe so much for the interest
he has so successfully taken in the antiquities of Roman London.

Of coins may be selected large and middle brass of Claudius, Nero,
Vespasian, and Domitian; but their reverses are all well known.

Pottery is well represented, large quantities of Samian having been
found, including some fine examples, bearing _incuse_ patterns, which
are extremely uncommon. There are also some good specimens of Upchurch
pottery; one of the black vessels appears to have had a handle, and is
of an unusual type.

In glass there are pieces known as pillar moulding, which are very
rare in London, though in some parts of England perfect vessels of
this kind have at times been found, and are duly recorded in Mr. Roach
Smith’s _Collectanea Antiqua_, as well as in his _Roman London_.
Pins, needles, knives, and spoons have been found in large numbers
both in bone and bronze. Among the spoons is a perfect example of
the long-stemmed spoon, with a narrow bowl at one end and an oblong
termination at the other. Such are figured by Mr. Roach Smith, who
considers them to have been employed in extracting unguents, etc.,
from the small long-necked bottles familiarly known as lachrymatories.
Two of similar form were, he says, discovered in a metal case with a
box of colours, and a variety of implements and glass bottles, in the
grave of a female painter near Fontenay; and, as the whole of the minor
objects clearly appertained to the profession of the defunct, these
spoons were doubtless used for extracting liquids from the bottles for
mixing and preparing colours, in which process the oblong ends were
probably of service. We have also some good Roman keys, a few fibulæ,
the beam of a pair of scales, and, among the minor relics, a little
fish-hook; a plentiful supply too of Roman leather. Some of the sandals
are beautifully preserved, and indicate the moisture of the soil in
which they were embedded. Most of these (as is usual) are of small and
medium size, having doubtless belonged to females and young people;
but there are those that have evidently belonged to the other sex. The
round-topped nails with which the soles are so densely studded are,
with other appearances of strength, evidences that they once belonged
to feet accustomed to a firm and heavy tread.”

“The numerous piles and transverse beams which extended across Thames
Street were traced for a considerable distance along the river bank,
and in an upward direction towards Cannon Street. So complete a network
of timber did they form, and so massive and durable were the means
employed for holding the entire fabric together, that it is evident
it was intended to resist a heavy strain or pressure. The Wallbrook
here flowed into the Thames, and the drainage of the old city being
on a different scale to what it now is, it is probable that the soil
of the locality would be damp and yielding, and that some protection
for the foundations of the buildings reared along the water line would
be necessary against the inroads of the river. Above this embankment
buildings of great magnitude must have existed, if we may judge from
the strength and solidity of these foundations. Mr. Thomas D. E.
Gunston, who paid great attention to the excavations at the time, took
copious notes, from which he has courteously permitted me to condense
the more important particulars. Running nearly in a line with Bush
Lane was an immense external wall, some 200 feet long, 10 feet high,
and 12 feet in thickness, formed of ragstone, chalk, and a variety of
materials bound together with mortar in the ordinary Roman fashion. At
an angle were foundations 8 feet wide, of flint and rubble supporting
smaller walls, some 3 feet wide, composed principally of bonding tiles
18 inches by 12. These were connected by a series of cross walls 2
feet 6 inches thick, and built of flat tiles 14 inches by 11, also
set on rubble footings 4 feet in width. Still nearer Cannon Street
were the remains of an apartment 50 feet by 40, floored with a coarse
red concrete; this was connected with a second, which had access to
a third but smaller room. A long series of smaller apartments were
satisfactorily traced, with floors of coarse tesseræ of red and yellow
brick in cubes about an inch square. Some little distance in front
of the centre apartment in this series was a square piece of paving
comprised of oblong bricks on edge, known as ‘herring-bone pavement.’
Adjoining a thick rubble wall was a large portion of a mosaic pavement,
comprised of half-inch cubes of black, white, red, and grey tesseræ,
worked into a simple pattern and surrounded by a double border of black
and grey stones of a compact nature, and from 4 to 6 inches square, but
varying in thickness. In close proximity to this human remains were
found. There were evidences of strong timber drains, or waterways,
one 5 feet beneath the foundations of the building, and having a
steep incline to the river. This measured 4 feet across, and was 18
inches deep, the boards forming the sides being 4 inches and those at
the bottom 6 inches in thickness. The other channels were of smaller

Within several of the rooms wall paintings remained, the designs in
various colours; some divided by lines and bands into panels, others
ornamented by a trellis-pattern, or powdering of fancy-coloured spots:
besides a quantity of roofing, hypocaust, and building tiles; fragments
of pottery, glass, and articles of personal and domestic use. On many
of the tiles were the letters PPBR, LON, such as have been observed
before to be worthy of notice, as ‘recording the fact of their having
been made by the first cohort of the Britons stationed at Londinium’;
others were scored with geometrical figures, or small squares worked
with a diamond pattern.”

                             APPENDIX III

                        STRYPE ON ROMAN REMAINS

In the Appendix to his edition of _Stow_, 1720, Strype devotes a short
chapter to the antiquities found in London, which I have thought of
sufficient importance to be transcribed in full.

“There are preserved, either in public Repositories, or in more private
Custody, many Antique Curiosities: Found chiefly in digging Foundations
for the Building of London after the great Fire, and occasionally at
other Times.

In the Repository of the Royal Society in Gresham College, there is a
large Glass Urn, that holds about a Gallon; and hath a few Shivers of
Bones in it: It was taken up since the Fire in Spittlefields. The Glass
is somewhat thick, bellying out, and contracting towards the Mouth with
a Lip.

But the Collections made by Dr. John Woodward, Professor of Physic in
Gresham College, is by much the most considerable of any. For, besides
an ancient marble Bust of Jupiter, a Marble Head with a Phrygian Tiara,
a Grecian Basso-Relievo, a Votive Shield, exhibiting the Sacking of
Rome by the Gauls; the Embossment of which is allowed by the greatest
Judges to be the finest and most exquisite that all Antiquity hath
left us: Several Icunculi of the Deities, both Egyptian and Roman: A
considerable Variety of Amulets, Periapta, Phalli, Bullæ, Scarabæi:
Gems with historical Sculpture, Heads, etc. graven upon them. Camei
and Intaglias of Egyptian, Grecian, and Roman Work: Many Roman,
Greek, Syrian, and other Medals: Roman Weights: A Roman Semi-Congius:
Urns, Lachrymatories, and other Things, procured from Alexandria,
Constantinople, Rome, etc. And besides, an ancient Roman Altar from the
Picts Wall in Northumberland, with a considerable Inscription upon it:
Several ancient Weapons of Brass, Thuribula, Pateræ, Urns, etc., found
in the remoter Parts of this Kingdom, Cumberland, the Isle of Man,
Yorkshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Devonshire,
etc. He hath a vast Variety of ancient Instruments, Utensils, Vasa,
and the like, that have been discovered in several Places in and
about this City: In particular, several Vessels of religious Use, and
employed in the Sacrifices, as for Example, Præfericula, Simpula,
Pateræ, Thuribula, Labra, digged up; together with Horns, Teeth, and
other Parts of the Beasts that were offered in Sacrifice; above twenty
Sepulchral Urns of various Forms and Sizes: Likewise, Lanxes, Amphoræ,
Crateres, Scyphi, Gutti, Pocula, Ollæ nummariæ clausæ; Parts of the
Plasmata fictilia, in which the embossed Vasa were molded; and Lamps of
various Sorts. The precedent Vessels are of Pot or Earth; several of
them extremely fine, well baked, some curiously glazed, and the Colours
very beautiful.

As to their Forms, they are universally very elegant and handsome. And
indeed the Doctor, the Possessor of them, well observeth, that the
Remains of these Works of the Romans shew them to have been a People of
an exact Genius, good Fancy, and curious Contrivance.

’Tis observable also in this Collection, that the Things are fair,
well preserved, and intire; which, considering the great Number and
Diversity of them; how brittle Pots and Glasses are, and how liable to
be defaced, injured, and dashed in Pieces, is the more extraordinary.

He hath likewise in his cabinet of Antiquities a Glass Urn, with a
Cover; also a Scyphus; divers Ampullæ, Phialæ, and Lachrymatories of
Glass, that are very fair and perfect. Then, there are several Pieces
of British Money, coined both before and after the Descent of the
Romans upon this Island. As also Roman Numismata, coined here: (Besides
Saxon, Danish, and Norman Coins, which, as well as others, are very
fair, and happily preserved). Likewise, Styles of Ivory, Bone, and
Steel: Several Fibulæ, Aciculi, Bullæ, Claves, Armillae, Annuli, Beads
of various Sorts; Aleæ, Tessaræ, Pectines, Calcaria, Spicula, Jacula.
Likewise Tiles, Pieces of Lithostrata, or tessellated Pavements of
Earth, Glass, Paste, Enamel, and gilded.

So that Dr. Woodward’s Musæum is a Treasury of all Sorts of Commodities
and Utensils, sacred and profane, of ancient Heathen Rome: As Vessels
for Sacrifice, and for other subordinate Uses in Sacris. Vessels also
for Uses Domestic, Sepulchral, Military, Personal, for wearing and
dressing: Also divers Pieces of Art relating to Building, or Sculpture,
explanatory of some Parts of Roman History.

Besides these Remains of Roman skill and Workmanship, here are also
reposited several Gothic Historical Carvings, in Copper, Ivory, and
Wood; the Work of some of them very good: Impresses on Lead, and leaden
Seals, that have been affixed anciently to Popes’ Bulls; with various
other Things, all well chosen, of real Importance, and serviceable to
some useful Design.

One great Intention of this learned Gentleman (as he hath assured me)
in amassing together so great a number of these Things, and that with
so great Diligence, Trouble and Expence, was in order to clear and
give Light to those ancient Writers who mention and treat of them,
viz. the Greeks and Romans; which he hath read and studied with great
Exactness. Another of his Ends herein was, to illustrate the History
and Antiquities of this great and noble City; out of the Ruins of which
these Things were retrieved, upon the Occasion of that great digging,
(greater indeed than ever happened from the Foundation of it before)
and the removal of Rubbish that was made in all Parts, after the late
great Fire. And, indeed, the Medals and Coins, the various Figures,
Historical Embossments, and Inscriptions upon the Vases, contribute
very much to that End. And farther, from the various Places in which
the Urns were found reposited, (which, according to the Laws of the
twelve Tables, were to be buried without the Walls) he is able to
ascertain the ancient Bounds of this City, whilst Roman: From several
Things discovered in laying the Foundation of St. Paul’s Church, to
shew, not only that there was anciently a Temple there; but also, by
some Instances to prove that it was dedicated to Diana, according to
the ancient Tradition, notwithstanding that a very learned Antiquary as
well as Divine, has lately offered to the contrary.

Indeed, the far greater Part of these Things is so very considerable,
that it would afford much Satisfaction to inquisitive People, to see
Icons graved of them; and that the Possessor could have spared so much
Time from his Business, and his other Studies, as to have writ his own
Observations and Reflections upon them, that I might have entered them
(as I requested of him) in this Work.

In Black Fryars, in clearing away the Rubbish, in order to building
after the great Fire, they came to a thick Wall, very probably a Part
of the Foundation Wall of the Old Fryery. In which Wall was placed
somewhat like a Cupboard, shut. Which being opened, in it were found
four dead Men’s Heads, reposited in fine Pewter Cases, made for them;
round, only flat on one side; and a thick Cover of Pewter, having
a Ring fastened on the Top, for the more convenient taking it off,
or putting it on. Three of these Heads are now lost; likely enough
conveighed beyond Sea, where they may serve for Relicks. That which
remained is, or was lately, in the Possession of Mr. Prestbury; a
Sopemaker in East Smithfield, who shewed it me Oct. 2, 1703. We took
out the Head from the Case: It had been wrapt in black Silk, which
was then grown rotten. The Skin was like a Piece of tanned Leather,
or Bacon. The Hair of the Temples yellow, but upon the Head the Hair
was red, short, and thick, and would not be pulled off. There was a
Tonsure, or round bare place on the Crown of the Head, that bespake him
to have been in Holy Orders: the Nose flat, as tho’ a piece of it had
been cut off: The Mouth gaping: The Teeth in the Head found, ten in
Number; the rest had been pulled out. The Feature still discoverable.
There remained a great deal of Dust of a brownish Colour in the Case.
On the Side of the Cover was scratched this Name in a bad Character, I.
Cornelius. There was one Corpse found near it under Ground, without a
Head. These seem to have been Fryars of this religious House, or some
of their Benefactors, or their Saints or Martyrs. Whose Heads, perhaps,
were taken out and shewn upon extraordinary Days and Occasions: And
upon the Dissolution of the House (it may be) here concealed.

Near the Foundation of Charing Cross, at a great depth, were Stones
found, which seemed to be a Sort of coarse Marble, of a blackish
colour, and cut into several plain Sides, but irregular. From whence,
saith Dr. Crew, they may be argued to be very ancient. These were given
by Sir Joseph Williamson to the Museum in Gresham College.

In Mark Lane a strange Brick was found 40 Years before, or better,
about 28 Foot deep in the Ground, by Mr. Stockley, while he was digging
a Foundation and Cellars for an House which he built for Mr. Woolly. On
this Brick was formed Sampson (as I had it from J. Bagford) with the
Jaw Bone of an Ass in his right Hand, and his left Hand lifted up; with
two Foxes before him, running together, with Firebrands at their Tails;
scaring them into high standing Corn hard by. This, methinks, might
have belonged to the House of some Jew dwelling thereabouts; signifying
his malice to some neighbouring Christian Merchant that dealt in Corn.
For ’tis remarkable, that near this Place where this Brick was found,
was also digged up burnt Wheat, to the Quantity of many Quarters; very
black, but yet sound: Probably it was some Granary consumed by Fire.

But take what the said Mr. Bagford hath since writ in his letter to
Mr. Hearn of Oxford: That this brick was of a Roman Make, of a curious
red Clay, and in Bass relief; and was a Key Brick to the Arch: And the
burnt Wheat was conjectured to have lain buried ever since the burning
of the City 800 Years before. And that it is preserved in the Museum
belonging to the Royal Society in Fleet Street. And that Mr. Waller’s
Conjecture of it was, that it had been made and set there by some Jew,
settling here, in the Arch of his own Granary.

A Piece of Mosaic Work found deep under Ground in Holborn, near St.
Andrew’s Church, inlaid with black, white, and Red Stones in squares
and other regular Figures. In the abovesaid Museum.

In digging for the Foundations of St. Paul’s Cathedral at the West End
since the Fire, was found variety of Roman sacrificing Vessels, whereof
a great quantity of the Fragments were digged up. They were made of a
curious red Earth; the Glazing of them still remains, which is curious.
They are of divers Shapes and Sizes, as Occasion should require them
to be made Use of in their Sacrifices. And in many, the Potter’s Name
was stamped at the Bottom. Some of these Mr. Bagford, a Citizen of
London, studious of Antiquities and especially of such as relate to
the said city, took up with his own Hands. Farther, on the South Side
of the said West End was found a Potter’s Kiln, the Shape of which was
circular. In this the abovesaid sacrificing Vessels probably were made.
It was near to the Temple where Diana was worshipped, for the more
Convenience of the People that came thither to sacrifice; that they
might be furnished with all Sorts of Vessels they had Occasion for,
at the Time when they made their Sacrifices. And likewise thereabouts
were found several Moulds of Earth, some exhibiting Figures of Men,
of Lions, of Leaves of Trees, and other Things. These were used to
make Impression of those Things upon the Vessels. These Moulds are
also among the forementioned curious Collections of Dr. Woodward. The
representation of the aforesaid Pottery, drawn with a Pen, is in the
Possession of Sir Hans Sloan, Bart, M.D., of the Royal Society, with a
Description of it added.

Also, at the South Side of St. Paul’s Church, at the Beginning to build
it after the Fire, were found several Scalps of Oxen, and a large
Quantity of Boars Tusks, with divers earthen Vessels, especially Pateræ
of different Shapes.

In Canning Street, nigh Bush Lane, was found pretty deep in the Earth,
a large Pavement of Roman Mosaic Work. Dr. Hook gave a Piece of it to
the Repository in Gresham College.

In Goodman’s Fields, without Aldgate, was a Roman burying Place. For,
since the Buildings there, about 1678, have been found there (in
digging for Foundations) vast Quantities of Urns, and other Roman
Utensils, as Knives, Combs, etc., which are likewise in the Possession
of Dr. Woodward. Some of these Urns had Ashes of Bones of the Dean
in them, and Brass and Silver Money: And an unusual Urn of Copper,
curiously enamelled in Colours, Red, Blue, and Yellow.

In Kent Street, all along the Gardens on the right Hand side of the
Road going out of Town, have been digged up several Roman Vessels, as
Urns, Ampullæ, and other things; and among the rest, an Head of Janus,
cut in Stone, that is still preserved, being placed over the Door at
the entry of one of those Gardiners Houses. Money was offered for this
Janus Head, but it would not be taken; being kept superstitiously, as
tho’ it were found by Revelation in a Dream; a Woman, about the Time it
was found, dreaming she was brought to Bed of a child with two Faces.

At Peckham was a very large Urn of Glass digged up in the Highway,
which is now in Gresham College. For these last Accounts I am beholden
to my Friend, the abovesaid Mr. Bagford, late deceased in the Charter
House, having been a Brother there.

In April, in the Year 1707, divers Roman Antiquities were found in
digging by the Wall near Bishopsgate Within. Mr. Joseph Miller, an
Apothecary, living very near the Place, while the Labourers were
digging for Foundations and Cellars, for some new Houses to be built in
Camomile Street, did first discover several of these Antiquities; which
he communicated to Dr. John Woodward of Gresham College aforesaid:
Who, according to his wonted Exactness, gave this Narration of them in
a Letter to Sir Christopher Wren, which he courteously let me peruse.
‘About four Foot under Ground was discovered a Pavement, consisting of
Diced Bricks, the most red, but some black, and others yellow; each
somewhat above an Inch in Thickness. The Extent of the Pavement in
Length was uncertain, it running from Bishopsgate for sixty Foot, quite
under the Foundation of some Houses not yet pulled down. Its Bredth was
about ten Foot, terminating on that Side, at the Distance of three Foot
and an Half from the Wall.

‘Sinking downwards under the Pavement, only Rubbish occurred for about
two Foot, and then the Workmen came to a Stratum of Clay in its natural
State. In which, at the Depth of three Foot more were found several
Urns. Some of them were become so tender and rotten, that they easily
crumbled and fell to Pieces. As for those that had the Fortune better
to escape the Injuries of Time, and the Strokes of the Workmen, they
were of different Forms; but all of very handsome Make and Contrivance,
as, indeed, most of the Roman Vessels we find ever are. Which is but
one of the many Instances that are at this Day extant of the Art of
that People, of the great Exactness of their Genius, and Happiness of
their Fancy. These Urns were of various Magnitudes; the largest capable
of holding three full Gallons, the least somewhat above a Quart. All
these had in them Ashes and Cinders of burnt Bones.

‘Along with the Urns were found various other earthen Vessels; as, a
Simpulus, a Patera of a very fine red Earth, and a bluish Glass Viol
of that Sort that is commonly called a Lachrymatory. On this there
appeared something like Gilding, very fine.’

There were likewise found several Beads, one or two Copper Rings, a
Fibula of the same Metal, but much impaired and decayed; as also a Coin
of Antoninus Pius, exhibiting on one Side the Head of that Emperor,
with a radiated Crown on, and this Inscription, ANTONINUS AUG....

At about the same Depth with the Things beforementioned, but nearer to
the City Wall, and without the Verge of the Pavement, was digged up an
human skull, with several bones that had not been burnt, as those in
the Urns had. But for a larger and more satisfactory Account of these
Antiquities, I refer the Reader to the said learned Doctor’s Letter,
now printed at large by Mr. Hearne, with Leland’s Itinerary, in Octavo.

An Elephant’s Body was found in a Field near to Sir John Oldcastle’s,
not far from Battle Bridge, by Mr. John Coniers, an Apothecary, and a
great Searcher after Antiquities, as he was digging there.

Some years ago, on the South Side of Ludgate, was taken up out of the
Rubbish a Roman Inscription, taken Notice of by learned Men.

Coming in at Ludgate, in the Residentiary’s Yard of St. Paul’s, was
discovered some Years ago an Aqueduct, close adjoining to the Wall
of the City. And such another was found after the Fire by Mr. Span
in Holiday Yard in Creed Lane, in digging the Foundation for a new
Building. And this was carried round a Bath, that was built in a Roman
Form, with Nieches at an equal Distance for Seats.

Anno 1716, in digging for the Foundation of a new Church, to be erected
where the Church of St. Mary Woolnoth in Lombard Street stood, at
the Depth of about 15 foot, and so lower to 22 foot were found Roman
Vessels, both for sacred and domestic Uses, of all Sorts, and in great
Abundance, but all broken: And with all were taken up Tusks and Bones
of Boars and Goats. As also many Medals, and Pieces of Metals; some
tesselated Works, a Piece of an Aqueduct; and at the very bottom a
Well filled up with Mire and Dirt; which being taken away, there arose
a fine Spring of Water. Dr. Harwood, of the Commons, hath been very
exact in taking Notice from Time to Time of these Antiquities; and hath
sorted and preserved a great many of the most curious and remarkable of
them; and supposeth, by probable Conjecture, that here was not only a
Pottery, but also, that on this Place, or near it, stood the Temple of
Concord; which our Roman Historians speak of to have been in this City,
when called Trinobantum. These Sheards were in such vast Quantities,
that many Cart Loads were carried away with the Rubbish, and the Roads
about St. George’s Fields in Southwark mended with them.

Anno 1718, in the Month of May, the Workmen pulling down a Wall at
Bridewel Hospital, found a Gold Ring an Inch and Quarter broad,
enamelled: Having the Resemblance of Christ on the Cross engraved on
it, with a mourning Heart, and a Pillar with a Cock on the Top. The
Inscription was in Arabic; and some Antiquaries who saw it, reckoned
it to be 1500 Years since it was made. This is related in the _Weekly
Journal_, No. 1047.

This is what I could, by diligent Enquiry of my Friends, collect,
concerning Antiquities found in London.” (Strype, _Stow’s Survey_, Vol.
II. Appendix IX. pp. 21-24.)

                              APPENDIX IV

                        THE CLAPTON SARCOPHAGUS

_Extract from a paper read before the Society of Antiquaries in 1867
(see L. and M. Archæological Society, vol. iii.)._

“The site is levelled ground, recently meadow-land and market-gardens,
situate at rear of the London Orphan Asylum, Clapton, on the brow of
the hill, passing down to the marshes and river Lea, within a few feet
of an old path just demolished which ran from Homerton to Lea Bridge,
_viâ_ Booksby’s Walk, in the direction from south to north, and another
way, for many years past but a private road to a farm, running west to
east, viz. from Clapton Square, _viâ_ Clapton Alley or Passage, to the
Lea river. These paths intersect each other near the spot; they are
very ancient, and, in all probability, old Roman ways. The coffin was
found on the natural gravel, 2 feet 6 inches from the surface, lying
due east and west, the foot to the east; it is of white coarse-grained
marble, and is cut from a solid block. It is about 6 feet 3 inches
long, 1 foot 3 inches wide, and 1 foot 6 inches deep; the thickness
being about 2½ inches. The inner surface is smooth, with a rise of
half an inch at one end, to serve as a rest for the head. No vestige
of a lid or covering has been found, but at each end are evidences of
clamp fastenings. It is plain on all sides but the front, which is
ornamented with a fluted pattern, the channels being filled to a third
of their height with a bead, and is an excellent illustration of cabled
fluting. The medallion in the centre is deeply cut, about 12 inches
in diameter, and encircles a well-executed bust, possibly a portrait
of the deceased. This is much damaged, with the exception of the hair
and the folds of the toga about the shoulders. These are as sharp
and clear as if just cut. The right hand is supported by the thumb
(apparently hooked within the folds across the breast), the fore and
middle fingers being stretched to their full length, and in an upward
direction. The third and fourth fingers are doubled in. Beneath the
medallion is an inscription in Roman letters, but, unfortunately, it
has not yet been deciphered. This side of the coffin is finished off by
two Corinthian pilasters, as shown in the illustration. I am informed
that, on clearing away the superincumbent débris, the coffin was found
to contain a skeleton, in the position of ordinary Christian burial,
with black mould about it. The skull soon fell to pieces, and the bones
were much decayed; those remaining comprised portions of the head of a
femur (right), middle third of left femur, portions of left tibia and
fibula, and two pieces of ribs. I should judge the deceased to have
been a small-boned man, about 6 feet high, and rather knock-kneed; and
take him to have been a civilian of rank, possibly a jurist, but not
a military man. Not far from the sarcophagus a small brass coin of
Gallienus was discovered.”

“The only sarcophagus that has been found in London which bears any
resemblance to that under consideration is the one from Haydon Square,
Minories, and that only in the fact of its being ornamented on its
front and side; the lid too, which is sharply ridged, is decorated with
a foliated pattern. It is formed of ragstone, and more roughly made
than that from Clapton. In the centre is a bust in bas-relief, and on
either side a striated pattern, such as may be frequently observed on
examples from abroad. At York, sarcophagi have been discovered with
inscriptions upon them on plain labels; others have had objects in
relief. At Avisford in Sussex, a fine example was exhumed containing
glass, pottery, etc., which has been described in the _Journal of the
Sussex Archæological Society_ and other antiquarian publications.

In Gaul and Italy, marble sarcophagi are, of course, the rule; the
material was at hand, and easy of access; consequently the ruins of the
Roman towns produce countless instances of ornamented marble tombs.”

“Fig. 1, Plate 6, is in the museum of Mr. Gunston, and was discovered
in the vicinity of Old Ford, near Bow, associated with pottery.
Another of the same character was found not long since in the same
locality on some property belonging to Mr. Joseph Wilkinson. He has
very kindly sent me all the particulars concerning it. He describes it
as being excavated from some ground held by him for building purposes
near the Saxon Road and Coborn Road, Bow, some 60 yards south of the
Roman highway. The coffin lay upon the gravel beneath some 30 inches
of superincumbent soil. Its length is about 6 feet 6 inches, width
2 feet 1, 2 inches less at the foot. The lid is slightly ridged. In
it were contained the bones of a full-sized man in a good state of
preservation. There was a fracture across the lid through which a
quantity of gravel had fallen, covering as it were the skeleton, which
appeared to have been buried, as the custom was, in lime. Its situation
was east and west, and the arms of the skeleton were drawn down at the
side, differing in this respect from that found some years since in the
same locality, and described by Mr. B. H. Cowper in our Journal. In
the latter case the arms of the skeleton were crossed upon the breast,
and the form of the coffin similar to that in Fig. 1. At a distance
of some 2 feet south of the coffin a large collection of pottery was

“In May last I received a letter from my friend Mr. H. W. King, Hon.
Sec. Essex Archæological Society, announcing that two more sarcophagi
of a similar character had been found in the same locality, in the
course of excavations for buildings on a site some 200 yards south of
the former discoveries.”

                              APPENDIX V

“With one of these Norman burghers the life of St. Thomas brings
us in contact, and, scanty as are the details of the story, they
agree in a very striking way with the indications afforded us by the
charter of the king. The story of the early years of Thomas Becket has
very naturally been passed over with little attention by his modern
biographers in their haste to fight the battle of his after-career.
But long before he became St. Thomas, Archbishop Thomas, or Thomas
of Canterbury, he was known as Thomas of London, son (to use his own
boast) of ‘a citizen, living without blame among his fellow-citizens.’
So completely was the family adopted into the City, that the monks
of Canterbury could beg loans from the burgesses on the plea that
the great martyr was a Londoner born; and on the City seal of the
fourteenth century, London addressed him as at once her patron and her
son: ‘Me, quae te peperi, ne cesses, Thoma, tueri.’ The name of his
father, Gilbert Becket, is one of the few that remain to us of the
Portreeves, the predecessors of the Mayors, under Stephen; he held a
large property in houses within the walls; and a proof of his civic
importance was long preserved in the annual visit of each newly-elected
chief magistrate to his tomb in the little chapel which he had founded
in the churchyard of Paul’s. Yet Gilbert was one of the Norman
strangers who followed in the wake of the Conqueror. He was by birth
a burgher of Rouen, as his wife was of a burgher family of Caen; he
claimed kinship with the Norman Theobald, and received the Norman Baron
de l’Aigle as a guest.

But the story of the Beckets does more than illustrate the outer
position of the Norman colony: it gives us a glimpse, the more precious
because it is unique, of its inner life. Students of hagiology learn to
be cautious about the stories of precocious holiness, the apocryphal
gospels of the infancy, which meet them at the outset of most saints’
lives; but it is remarkable that in the life of St. Thomas there is
no pretension of the kind. In the stead of juvenile miracles we are
presented with the vivid little picture of a London home, which sets
the Norman colony fairly before us. We see the very aspect of the house
(the Mercers’ Chapel, in Cheapside, still preserves its site for us),
the tiny bedroom, the larger hall opening directly on the bustle of
the narrow Cheap. We gain a hint from the costly coverlet of purple,
sumptuously wrought, which Mother Rohese flings over her child’s
cradle, of the new luxury and taste which the Conquest had introduced
into the home of the trader as into the castle of the noble. A glance
at the guests and relatives of the family shows how the new colony
served as medium between the city and the Court: the young Baron Richer
of Aquila is often there, hunting and hawking with the boy, as he grows
up; Archdeacon Baldwin and Clerk Eustace look in from Canterbury, to
chat over young Thomas and his chances of promotion in the curia of
Archbishop Theobald; there is a kinsman, too, of Gilbert’s, a citizen
of his own stamp, Osbern Huitdeniers, ‘of great name and repute, not
only among his fellow-burghers, but also with those of the Court.’
Without the home, the Norman influence makes itself felt in a new
refinement of manners and breeding; the young citizen grows up free
and genial enough, but with a Norman horror of coarseness in his
geniality. London shares in the great impulse which the Conquest has
given to education; the children of her citizens are sent to the new
Priory of Merton; the burghers flock to the boys’ exercises at the
schools attached to the three principal churches of the town. The chief
care of Rohese was for her son’s education; in his case it is finished
at Paris, before the young Londoner passes to the merchant’s desk.”
(_Historical Studies_, J. R. Green.)


  Abbot of Westminster, 258, 271

  Abbot’s Mill, 11

  Abridge, 154

  Addle Street, 244

  Ælfric, Dialogues of, 204

  Æsc, 135

  Agas’ map, 114, 117

  Agricola, Julius, 22, 59, 60

  Albinus, 60

  Aldborough, 92

  Aldeburg, 22

  Aldermanbury, 116, 244

  Aldersgate Street, 116

  Aldrœnus, 145

  Aldwulf, Bishop of Rochester, 164, 165

  Alfred, King, 155, 165, 167, 168, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 180, 185,
   191, 197, 198, 212

  Alfred, son of Ethelred, 192

  Algar, 323

  Alhune, Bishop, 165

  Allectus, 22, 64, 66, 67, 68

  Alphage, Archbishop of Canterbury, 170, 173;
    translation of remains of, 191-192, 234

  Amesbury, slaughter of Britons at, 146

  Ammandinus, Valerius, 35

  Amphitheatre, 83, 85, 86, 87, 88, 91, 139

  Amusements: badger-baiting, 227, 315;
    ball, 312;
    bear-baiting, 227, 315;
    bone-throwing, 173;
    bull-baiting, 227, 312, 315;
    casting stones, 315;
    chess, 228;
    cock-fighting, 312;
    dancing, 227, 315;
    dice, 228;
    “flyting,” 172-173;
    hawking, 227, 228, 317;
    hunting, 227-228, 317;
    ice-sports, 316;
    juggling, 173;
    jumping, 227;
    leaping, 229, 315;
    mock battles, 313;
    racing, 313-314;
    rowing, 227;
    running, 229, 313;
    sea-fights, 314;
    shooting, 315;
    skating, 227;
    swimming, 227;
    taeflmen, 228;
    throwing the javelin, 315;
    tumbling, 173, 226;
    wrestling, 229, 315

  Anderida, 135, 148

  Andreds Wald, 4

  Androgeus, 19

  Angevins, 289, 290

  Angles, 74, 145

  _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_, 132, 135, 148, 149, 155, 158, 165, 166, 167,
   168, 173, 174, 175, 179, 180, 185, 189, 190, 191, 192, 200, 256,
   270, 272, 273

  Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, 334, 335, 336

  Ansgar, 323

  Antoninus’ Wall, 58, 60

  Arles, Council of, British Bishops at, 74, 105

  Armentarius, Galerius, 64

  Armorica, 145

  Army of Britain: extent of, in fourth century, 69;
    character of, 73

  Artesian Wells, 14

  Arthur, King, 147, 148

  Arts and Crafts: 41, 42, 45, 76, 93, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 104,
   105, 106, 107, 109, 110, 201, 224, 261, 323, 327

  Arundel, Earls of, 326

  Asclepiodotus, 67, 68

  Athelstan, King, 39, 133, 168, 179, 180, 191, 200, 205

  Augustine, 147, 155

  Augustus, 22, 53

  Aurelian, 61

  Aurelius, 145, 146, 147, 148

  Ausonius, 89

  Avienus, 41

  Aylwin, founder of Bermondsey Abbey, 323, 328

  Bagford, John, 96

  Bamborough, 182

  Bamfleet, 176

  Bank of England, spring beneath, 29, 321

  Barge Yard, 29

  Barking Abbey, 212;
    Charter of, 164

  Basing, 323

  Batavians, 64

  Baths, 80, 83, 87, 88, 106, 133

  Battersea, 26

  Bawdwen, Rev. William, 262

  Beaumont, Lord, 326

  Becket, Gilbert, 289, 346, 363

  Becket, Thomas, 289, 318, 363

  Bede, 36, 39, 76, 77, 154, 155, 158, 161, 162, 163, 164, 208, 209,
   210, 213, 232

  Belgravia, 12

  Belinus, 18

  Bericus, 54

  Berkhampstead, 250

  Bermondsey, 26

  Bermondsey Abbey, 212, 328

  Berthwulf, King of Mercia, 166

  Bevis, Sir, of Hampton, 133

  Billeting, 287

  Billingsgate, 18, 82, 125, 126, 153, 154, 156, 198, 244, 337

  Bishopsgate, 121, 123, 124, 136, 244, 325

  Bishopsgate Street, 81

  Bitterne, 60, 61, 63, 65

  Black, Mr. W. H., 98 _note_

  Blackfriars, 88

  Blackwell Hall, 18

  Boadicea, 43, 46, 50, 57

  Bonney, Prof. T. G., 24

  Bonosus, 61

  Bordeaux, in fourth century, 89, 90

  Botolph Lane, 326

  Botolph Wharf, 105

  Boulogne, 62, 63, 64, 66

  Bow Lane, 96

  Bradwell, 64

  Bread Street, 30, 245

  Bretagne, 78

  Bridge Creek, 26

  Bridge Gate, 125

  Bridges, 28, 55, 130, 132;
    London, 45, 105, 106, 126, 127, 128-132, 154, 156, 185, 186, 187,
     189, 194;
    Stanstead, 177

  Briset, Jordan, 277

  Britain, anarchy, lawlessness and oppression in, 73;
    disorder after Roman withdrawal, 135, 136,
  165, 183;
    division of, 69, 73;
    famine in, 298;
    government of, 69;
    revolts in, 57;
    spirit and character of its people, 75, 76, 77, 78;
    under Cnut, 190, 191;
    unrest in, 68, 290, 291, 292, 298

  Brook Street, 11

  Brunanburgh, Battle of, 179

  Brute, 17, 18

  Buchuinte, Andrew, 285

  Buckerel, 323

  Bull and Mouth Street, 116, 124

  Burgred, King of Mercia, 165

  Caerleon, 19, 58

  Cæsar, Julius, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 53, 56

  Cambridge, 167;
    sacked and burned, 298

  Camden, 119, 133

  Camomile Street, 96, 118, 123, 124

  Camulodunum. See _Colchester_

  Candlewick Street, 133

  Canterbury, 74, 147, 155, 166, 198

  Canulf, King of Mercia, 165

  Carausius, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 69

  Carpenters’ Hall, 96

  Cars Dyke, 63, 64

  Caruil, 21

  Carus, 61

  Cassius, Dion, 22, 54, 55, 128, 129

  Cassivelaunus, 19, 20, 53

  Catena, Paulus, 70, 71, 73, 113

  Cedda, Bishop of London, 163

  Chaffers, Mr. W., 99

  Charmouth, 163, 166

  Charter of Geoffrey de Mandeville, 260

  Charter of Henry I., 200, 276, 279-288

  Charterhouse, pump at, 13

  Charters of William the Conqueror, 160, 253, 254, 260, 288, 292

  Cheapside, 30, 96, 324

  Chelsea, 26, 268

  Chepe, 244

  Chertsey Abbey, 212

  Chester, 58, 74, 138

  Chesters (Northumberland), 93

  Chichester, 94

  Chippenham, 173

  Chlorus, Constantius, 64, 66, 67, 68

  Cholera, 13

  Christianity, 40, 74, 75, 85, 105, 108, 109, 110, 161, 162, 163, 164,
   194, 195, 221, 222, 289, 290, 302, 327-329

  Christ’s Hospital, 124

  Chrysanthus, 73

  Church, The, 105, 161, 201, 214, 215, 217, 219, 222, 230, 310-311,
    land held by, 262-271;
    and William Rufus, 272, 274;
    plundered by Stephen, 297

  Churches, destruction of, 167, 211-212;
     number of, in twelfth century, 302, 321;
     Saxon and Danish, 214;
     All Hallows, 115, 124, 244;
     All Saints, 85;
     Bradford on Avon, Saxon church at, 213;
     Christ Church, Canterbury, 133;
     Greenstead, Essex, 39, 213;
     St. Alban’s, Wood Street, 164;
     St. Andrew’s, Rochester, 155;
     St. Botolph, 244;
     St. Clement Danes, 192, 194;
     St. Ethelburga, 244;
     St. Giles in the Fields, 328;
     St. John, Walbrook, 28;
     St. Magnus, 173;
     St. Martin’s, 212;
     St. Mary le Bow, 29, 30, 137;
     St. Mary Woolnoth, 96;
     St. Michael’s, Crooked Lane, 85, 106;
     St. Olave, Hart Street, 182;
     St. Olave, Jewry, 182;
     St. Olave, Silver Street, 182;
     St. Olave, Tooley Street, 182;
     St. Osyth, 244;
     St. Paul’s, 36, 37, 96, 155, 161, 184, 190, 212, 259, 270, 318,
     St. Peter’s, Thorney (afterwards Westminster Abbey), 37, 38, 39,
      40, 192, 194, 212, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 253, 256, 257,
      258, 260, 261, 328;
     St. Saviour’s, 328;
     St. Stephen upon Walbrook, 28, 29

  Cilcester, 22

  Cingetorix, 21

  Circus, The, 91

  Cirencester, 173

  City Ditch, 28

  City Wall, 28, 29

  City Wards, 157

  Claudius, 23, 54, 55

  Clausentum. See _Bitterne_

  Clerkenwell, 27;
    Benedictine Nunnery at, 260, 277, 328

  Cnihten Gild, 206, 285, 329-334, 346;
    Charters of, 330, 331

  Cnut, 39, 183, 184, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 200, 228, 234, 251

  Coinage, 42, 62, 63, 64, 67, 68, 111, 202, 243, 244

  Coinred, King of Mercia, 164

  Colchester, 23, 43, 56, 58, 74, 94;
     massacre at, 57

  Coldringham Abbey, 212

  Coleman Street, 244

  Collegia privata, 206, 207

  Comius of Arras, 21

  Commodus, 60

  “Compter,” the, 122

  Compurgation, 280, 286, 287

  Conscription, 68

  Constans, 70, 145

  Constantine, 73

  Constantine, brother of Aldrœnus, 145

  Constantine, cousin of Arthur, 147, 148

  Constantine the Great, 68, 69, 119, 120,  318

  Conyers, John, 96, 110

  “Cookery, Place of,” 306-307

  Cooper’s Row, Crutched Friars, 121

  Coote, Mr. H. C., 330, 331, 332

  Corner, Mr. G. R., 118

  Cornhill, 81, 96, 244

  Coronation Service of Ethelred, 236-242

  Crayford, Battle of, 132, 135, 148

  Criminals, punishment of, 215, 216, 217

  Cripplegate, 124

  Crooked Lane, 127

  Crosby Hall, 326

  Crowland Abbey, 203, 212

  Crusaders, 300

  Cunningham, 261

  Cunodagius, 18

  Custom-house, the, 105

  Danegeld, 276, 280, 286

  Danes, 165, 166, 167, 168, 176, 177, 179, 182, 183, 184, 186, 191;
    character of, 170, 171, 173;
    in London, 169-175;
    religions of, 170, 173

  Danish Remains, 245

  Deva. See _Chester_

  Diana, Temple of, 95, 96

  Diocletian, 61, 63, 64, 69, 105

  Divitiacus, King of Soissons, 42

  Dogs, 228

  _Domesday Book_, 198, 212, 259, 262-271, 342

  Domitian, 63

  Dorchester, 138

  Dover, 23, 34, 74, 94, 132

  Dover Street, 38

  Dowgate, 82, 125, 153, 156

  Drinking, 220, 221, 226, 227, 311

  Dryburgh Abbey, 203

  Dubritius, Archbishop of London, 147

  Duckworth, Dr. Dyce, 100

  Dulcitius, Duke, 72

  Dunstan, 212, 214, 232

  Dunwallo, Mulmutius, 18

  Dyfan, 36

  Eadbald, King, 161, 163

  Eadric, 184, 234

  Eadwig, King, 331

  East Cheap, 158, 337

  Edgar, King, 39, 180, 185, 215, 219, 232, 233

  Edgar the Atheling, 250, 251, 252, 253, 256

  Edgware Road, the, 36, 129

  Edmund, King of East Anglia, 167

  Edmund, King of the English, 180

  Edmund Atheling, 184

  Edmund Ironside, 184, 190

  Edred, King, 180

  Edred’s Hythe. See _Queenhithe_

  Edric the Fisherman, 38

  Education, 58, 59, 224, 228, 229, 230, 303, 304

  Edward the Confessor, 39, 192, 194, 234, 235, 236, 243, 260-261

  Edward the Elder, 179, 200

  Effeminacy, 76, 77, 274, 277

  Egbert, Archbishop, 219

  Egbert, King, 165, 166

  Egyptian Rule, the, 40

  Eia (? Ealing), 267

  Elbow Lane, 326

  Eleutherius, Pope, 36

  Eli, King, 95, 96

  Elton, Charles I., 41, 50, 160

  Ely Abbey, 203, 212

  Embroidery, Anglo-Saxon, 224, 225

  Emma, Queen, 39, 224

  Erkenwald, Bishop of London, 163, 164, 212

  Ermin Street, 136

  Ethandun, 173

  Ethelbald, King of Mercia, 164, 165

  Ethelbert, King, 155, 161, 180

  Ethelred, Earl, 232

  Ethelred, son-in-law of Alfred, 175, 176, 177

  Ethelred the Unready, 39, 180, 182, 183, 184, 186, 187, 204, 219

  Ethelwerd, 145, 148

  Ethelwulf, King, 166

  Evans, Sir J., 10

  Execution, places of, 217

  Exeter, 218;
    “Fortress” of, 168

  Fabyan, 134, 198

  Famine of 1126, 277

  Farringdon, 323

  Fenchurch Street, 244

  Ffagan, 36

  Fire of London, the, 27, 81, 96

  Fires, London, 130, 189, 197, 198, 234, 243, 259, 272, 277, 299, 311,

  FitzAylwin, Henry, first Lord Mayor of London, 133, 336

  FitzStephen, 115, 144, 301-320, 338, 339

  Fleet Prison, 86

  Florence of Worcester, 272, 334

  Folkmote, 217, 230, 252, 280, 284

  Fortresses, 64, 69

  Fountains Abbey, 203

  Frank Pledge, the, 217

  Franks, the, 23, 64, 65, 68

  Freeman, 180

  Friday Street, 245, 320

  Frith Guild, 205, 206

  Fulham, 168, 173, 174, 264

  Gallienus, 60

  Garlickhithe, 244

  Gauls, 43, 53, 62

  Gavelkind, 158, 159, 160

  Geoffrey of Monmouth, 17, 19, 145, 148

  Germanus, 145

  Gervase of Cornhill, 285, 332, 345, 346, 347

  Gesoriacum. See _Boulogne_

  Geta, Cneius Osidius, 54

  Gildas, 73, 76, 105

  Giltspur Street, 122, 124

  Glanville, 159

  Glastonbury Abbey, 212, 232;
    lake-dwellings at, 33

  Gloucester, 23

  Godwin, Earl, 192, 194

  Gomme, Mr. G. L., 142, 143, 144

  Government, officers of, under Constantine the Great, 69

  Gracechurch Street, 244

  Granta, 64

  Gratian, Emperor, 73

  Great Dean’s Yard, Westminster, pump at, 13

  Great Tower Street, 244

  Green Arbour Court, 86

  Green, J. R., 141, 275, 289, 290

  Grossetête, Bishop, 240-241

  Grunhilda, 182

  Guest, Edwin, 54, 55, 94, 128, 129

  Guilds, 76, 205-208, 224

  Guithelin, Archbishop of London, 145

  Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester, 259

  Gurbodus, 18

  Hadrian, 60

  Hadrian’s Wall, 57, 58, 60

  Hales, Professor, 50, 142

  Hallowing of St. Peter’s, Thorney, miracle of, 37, 38, 231

  Hampstead, 24, 142, 266

  Hampstead Barrow, 50

  Hampstead Heath, 13

  Harold, King, 183, 191, 192, 194, 251

  Harthacnut, King, 191, 192, 220

  Harwood, John, 96

  Haverhill, 323

  Hay Hill, 11

  Hedge Lane, 95

  Helena, 68

  Hengist, 135, 145, 146, 147

  Henry of Huntingdon, 145, 148, 292, 297, 298, 300, 334

  Henry the First, 275-278

  Henry the Second, 283, 284, 285, 286, 289, 300

  Henry the Third, 318

  Herlwins, the, 345-346

  Himilco, 40

  Holborn, 132

  Holborn Hill, 88

  Hollinshed, 299

  Holy Trinity, Priory of the, 133, 277, 285, 328, 332

  Honey Lane, 245, 320

  Honey Lane Market, 30

  Honorius, 73

  Horn, 17

  Horne, 323

  Houndsditch, 115

  Howell, James, 133

  Hoxton, 265

  Hurley, Benedictine Priory at, 293

  Hustings, the, 194, 217, 280

  Hythe, 23

  Iceni, the, 57

  Inheritance, Right of, 254

  Inscriptions and sculptures, list of important Roman, 107-108

  Invasions, Danish, 165, 166, 167;
    Roman, 20, 21, 23, 53, 54, 60;
    Saxon, 36, 37

  Iona Abbey, 212

  Ipswich, 185

  Islington, 265, 270

  Jacobs, Joseph, 260

  Jarrow Abbey, 212

  Jarumnan, Bishop of Lichfield, 183

  Jews in England, 260;
    cemetery of, 86;
    debate with Christians, 273

  John, King, 284

  John of Cremona, Cardinal of Rome, 334, 335

  Jonson, Ben, 27

  Julianus, Didius, 60

  Justus, Bishop of Rochester, 155, 162, 163

  Jutes, 74, 145

  Keltoi, the, 54

  Kemble, J. M., 164

  Kemp, Mr., 96

  Ken Street, Southwark, 96

  Kencester, 22

  Kensington, 268-270

  Kilburn, 26

  King’s Street, 96

  Knightsbridge, 26

  Lactantius, 110

  Lake-dwellers, 33, 34

  Lambeth, 26, 34, 37, 56

  Lambeth Hill, 244

  Langbourne, 80

  Language in fourth century, 70

  L’Arche, Pont de, 326

  Laurentius, Archbishop of Canterbury, 162, 163

  Lazar-house of St. Giles in the Fields, 277

  Leadenhall Street, 244

  Lewis, Hayter, 138

  Lincoln, 94, 138, 146

  Lindisfarne Abbey, 212

  Lisson Grove, 270

  Living, Archbishop, 190

  Locrine, 18

  Loftie, Rev. W. J., 85, 222

  Lollesworth. See _Spitalfields_

  Lollianus, 60

  Lombard Street, 244

  London, agriculture in, 144;
    an annual Fair, 48, 65;
    and the Romans, 48, 49;
    and William the Conqueror, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254;
    appearance of, 197-200;
    attacked by Olaf and Swegen, 182, 183;
    besieged by Cnut, 184, 185;
    Cnut’s trench, 184, 185, 187, 188;
    Citadel of, 59, 79, 80, 84, 87, 88, 128, 130, 131, 132, 138, 147,
    described by FitzStephen, 301-318;
    desertion and ruin of, 136, 137, 140, 141, 142, 143, 145, 153, 170,
    division of, 81;
    first mentioned by Tacitus, 22, 23, 55, 68;
    fleet at, 194;
    food supply of, 50, 169, 229, 339;
    Government and officers of Government, 75, 91, 215, 280, 281, 282,
     283, 284, 310, 344;
    growth of, and conditions governing growth, 12-14;
    houses of, 229, 230, 322-324, 326;
    importance of, in tenth century, 180, 181;
    life in, 88, 89, 90, 91;
    massacre at, 57, 59, 130;
    overlord of, 158, 159, 160;
    pen picture of, 83, 84;
    plundered, 68;
    poorer part of, 83, 84, 88, 93;
    population of, 190, 230, 319, 320;
    prehistoric monuments of, 50;
    prehistoric settlements at, 33, 34;
    public lands of, 143, 144, 199, 200, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283;
    residential, 49, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 87, 88, 92, 271,
     326-327, 339;
    settlers in, 261, 289;
    site of, 3, 4, 5, 23-32, 54, 55, 139;
    social life of, 340, 341;
    spirit of its people, 76;
      taken by Alfred, 174;
      by Danes, 166;
      by Saxons, 146, 148;
    the lake fortress, 34;
    tradition of origin and foundation, 17, 18;
      under Alfred, 177;
      under Henry I., 276, 278;
      under William Rufus, 273-274

  London Stone, 80, 133-134, 156, 326

  London Wall, 71, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 112-124, 128, 132, 133, 142, 153,
   177, 210

  Long Acre, 95

  Lothbury, 244

  Luard, 323

  Lucius, King, 36

  Lud, King, 18, 19

  Ludgate, 18, 19, 50, 244

  Lympne (or Lymne), 74, 92, 94

  Lysons, Samuel, 91

  Madox, 337-338

  Magnentius, 70, 92

  Maitland, 30, 124, 134, 164, 177, 179, 187, 189, 299

  Maldon, 182, 185

  Mandeville, Geoffrey de, 282, 283, 285, 293, 294, 296, 297, 298, 299

  Mandubrace, 20, 21

  Manners and customs, 43, 45, 49, 53, 219-230, 304

  Marcellus, Ulpius, 60

  Marcus, Emperor, 73

  Marius, 60

  Martial, 59, 63

  Martinus, 70, 71

  Marylebone, 11

  Maryport (Cumberland), 93

  Matilda, Empress, 282, 285, 292, 293, 294, 295, 296, 297, 299, 318

  Matthew of Westminster, 145, 148, 259, 335

  Maude, Queen, 276, 277, 294, 295, 296

  Maurice, Bishop of London, 259

  Maurusius, Victorinus, 61

  Maximian, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66

  Maximus, Magnus, 72, 73

  Measurement, Roman standard of, 119, 120

  Medehamstede. See _Peterborough_

  Mela, Pomponius, 22

  Mellitus, Bishop of London, 147, 148, 155, 161, 162, 163, 194

  Menapii, 64

  Mercer’s Hall, 30

  Merlin, prophecy of, 147

  Middlesex Forest, 32

  Mildred, Bishop of Worcester, 165

  Milk Street, 30

  Mincing Lane, 59, 125, 225, 244

  Minters, under Edward the Confessor, 243;
    under Harold, 244;
    under Henry I., mutilation of, 276-277;
    under William the Conqueror, 244

  Miskennings, 287

  Mithraism, 75

  Monasteries, 201, 203, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212

  Monkwell Street, 124

  Montfichet Tower, 259

  Morality, state of, 247, 276, 301-302, 305

  Mordred, sons of, 147, 148

  Murder, fines for, 286

  Mutilation, 216, 217, 276-277

  National Council at Westminster in 1136, 293

  Nennius, 145, 148

  Nero, 22

  Newgate, 82, 85, 123

  Newgate Street, 118, 132, 158

  Niger, 60

  Norman families, 345-347;
    genealogies of, 348

  Norman house, a, 326

  Normans and English, fusion of, 338, 345

  Norton, G., 286, 287, 288

  Nunneries, 225

  Nuns, costumes of, 225-226, 336

  Ockley, 166

  Offa, King of Essex, 164

  Offa, King of Mercia, 38, 39, 164, 232

  Olaf, King of Norway, 182, 185, 186, 187

  Old Bailey, 118, 124

  Old Broad Street, 244

  Old Jewry, 260

  Old Kent Road, 84

  Ongar, 154

  Orgar, 323

  Osbert, Octodenarius (or Osbern Huitdeniers), 285, 363

  Osborne, 190, 191

  Oswy, King of Northumbria, 163

  Othere, 203

  Oxford Street, 79, 132

  Oyster Gate, 351

  Park (or Tyburn) Lane, 36, 129

  Parks, Green, 13, 129;
    Hyde, 13;
    St. James, 13

  Parliament, Acts of, 27

  Paulinus, Suetonius, 22, 57

  Paul’s Wharf, 326

  Pax Romana, 68, 74

  Penances, 214, 215

  Pendragon, Uther, 145, 146, 147, 148

  Pertinax, 60

  Peter of Colechurch, 132, 189

  Peterborough Abbey, 167, 212

  Pevensey, 64

  Picts, Raids of, 63, 65, 68, 71, 73, 112, 145

  Pie Corner, 99, 100

  Pirates, 62, 64, 65, 112

  Plautius, Aulus, 23, 54, 55, 56, 128

  Pluralism, 325

  Plymouth, 166

  Poor, feeding of, 219, 220

  Population of Britain, 43

  Porchester, 64

  Portland, 166

  Ports, London, 82, 83, 87, 125, 126, 129, 132

  Portsoken, 206, 333, 346

  Posidonius, 41, 142

  Post Office, St. Martin’s-le-Grand, 115

  Postumus, 60

  Poultry, The, 245, 320

  Prasutagus, 57

  Prestwich, Professor J., 9, 13, 15

  Price, Mr. J. E., 122, 123, 134

  Priests, marriage of, 334-336, 345-346

  Probus, Emperor, 61

  Professional life in Bordeaux and London, 89, 90

  Ptolemy, 84

  Puddle Dock, 83, 327

  Pytheas, 40, 41, 42, 45

  Queen Street, 96

  Queenhithe, 82, 83, 126, 198, 244, 325, 337

  Rahere, 328

  Ramsey Abbey, 212, 298

  Reading, 167

  “Recordatorium Civitatis,” 18

  Reculver, 204

  Religions, Pagan, 75, 81, 108, 109, 110, 161, 173, 221, 222, 223

  Religious foundations, 208-215, 290, 328

  Repton, 167

  Ribchester, 22

  Richborough, 22, 23, 64, 73, 85, 94, 204

  Rivers: Effra, 26, 31;
    Falcon, 23;
    Fleet, 4, 12, 26, 27, 28, 29, 86, 321;
    Lea, 12, 14, 26, 30, 31, 54, 55;
    Ravensborne, 26, 31;
    Severn, 56;
    Thames, 4, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 29, 31, 34, 46, 50, 55, 100, 128,
     129, 131, 139, 142, 155, 158, 166, 186, 302, 351;
    Tyburn, 26, 27;
    Walbrook, 26, 28, 29, 30, 34, 46, 55, 59, 81, 84, 85, 88, 321;
    Wandle, 26, 31;
    Westbourne, 26

  Roads, 36, 42, 44, 49, 56, 58, 59, 79, 88, 94, 129, 132, 139, 202,
   203, 204, 205, 245

  Robert of Gloucester, 232

  Robinson, Thomas, 159

  Rochester, 74, 155, 166, 174

  Rocque, 31

  Roger of Wendover, 145, 147, 148, 297, 335

  Roman occupation, 59;
    end of, 73

  Roman remains, 29, 30, 35, 46, 59, 80, 81, 88, 91, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99,
   100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 118, 119,
   134, 137, 138, 353-355;
    Strype on, 356-360.

  Roman villa, 91, 92, 138

  Round, Mr. J. H., 260, 277, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 292, 293, 296,
   299, 330, 333, 345, 346, 347

  Rowena, 146

  Royal Exchange, New, 100

  Rugmere, 265

  Sabinus, Flavius, 54

  Sacred relics, 39, 40, 210

  St. Albans, 22, 43, 75, 147, 297;
    massacre at, 57;
    government of, 74

  St. Alphege, Churchyard of, 115, 124

  St. Bartholomew, Priory of, 277, 328

  St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, 277, 328

  St. Botolph’s Churchyard (Postmen’s Park), 116

  St. Dunstan’s Hill, 96

  St. Ethelburga, 164

  St. Etheldreda, 224

  St. Giles’s, Cripplegate, Churchyard of, 85, 115

  St. Ives, sacked and burned, 298

  St. John, Priory of, 277, 328

  St. Mary Overies, 85, 326;
    Priory of, 212, 277

  St. Osyth, 163, 164

  St. Pancras, 265

  Sandwich, 22, 182, 185, 204

  Saxon incursions, 74

  Saxon remains, 243-245

  Saxons, 145, 146, 147, 148, 155, 161, 162, 165, 166, 172;
    characteristics of, 135, 136;
    in London, 136, 137, 138, 139, 142, 143, 157, 158, 160

  Schools: Holy Trinity, 303;
    St. Anthony’s, 228;
    St. Martin’s-le-Grand, 212, 228, 305;
    St. Mary-le-Bow, 228;
    St. Paul’s, 212, 228, 305;
    Westminster, 243

  Scots, raids of, 59, 60, 63, 65, 68, 71, 73, 112, 145

  Seacoal Lane, 86

  Sebert, King, 37, 39, 155, 161, 232;
    sons of, 161, 162, 163

  Sees of London, York, and Caerleon,  creation of, 19

  Seething Lane, 244

  Segorax, 21

  Selds, 320

  Senate, British, 64

  Seneca, 110

  Serpentine, the, 26

  Settlers, fusion of, 69, 70

  Severus, 60

  Shaftesbury, Nunnery at, 212

  Sharpe, 293, 299

  Sheppey, 166

  Shops, 337

  Shore, Mr. T. W., 158, 160

  Sigebert, King of the East Saxons, 163

  Sighelm, 168

  Sighere, King of East Saxons, 163

  Silchester, 80, 94, 137

  Size Lane, 164, 244

  Slaves, 44, 83, 85, 89, 92, 137, 160, 162, 170, 171, 201, 216, 217,
   218, 230, 342, 343

  Smith, Mr. C. Roach, 67, 74, 86, 99, 100, 101, 110, 111, 115, 118,
   124, 125

  Smith, Mr. Worthington, 10

  Smithfield, 271;
    fair at, 307-309

  Soper’s Lane, 320

  Southampton, 34, 166

  Southwark, 12, 84, 88, 186, 188, 249, 250, 295

  “Speculum,” 18

  Spitalfields, Cemetery at, 96-98

  Springs, 13, 29, 32;
    Badewell, 27;
    Clerkenwell, 27, 304;
    Fagswell, 27;
    Finchampstead, 27;
    Godwell, 27;
    Holy Well, 304;
    Loderswell, 27;
    Radwell, 27;
    St. Chad’s Well, 27;
    St. Clement’s Well, 304;
    Shepherd’s Well, 26;
    Skinnerswell, 27;
    Well Walk, Hampstead, 13

  Spurrell, Mr. F. C. J., 10

  Staines, 185, 186

  Stangate, 129

  Stangate Street, Lambeth, 36

  Stanley, Dean, 11, 256, 257, 258, 260-261

  Stephen, 275, 282, 285, 289-300

  Stepney, 262-264, 268

  “Sticking,” 222, 223

  Stokesay Castle, near Ludlow, 326

  Story, Joseph, 143

  Stow, 17, 29, 96, 97, 98, 115, 119, 121, 133, 245, 299, 329, 356-360

  Strabo, 22, 23

  Strype, 17, 96, 97, 98, 115, 133, 356-360

  Stubbs, Bishop, 276, 284, 337-338

  Stukeley, Dr., 62, 63, 64, 95

  Sturbridge, 47

  Sturleson, Snorro, 130, 186

  Superstitions and credulity, 210, 211, 221, 222, 223, 274, 298

  Swegen, King of Denmark, 182, 183

  Sylvius, 63, 64

  Synods, 334, 335

  Taxation, 73, 190, 273, 276, 280, 286, 287, 288, 337

  Taximagul, 21

  Temples in Roman London, 81

  Tertullian, 74, 105

  Tessellated pavements discovered in London, list of, 103-104

  Tetrici, the, 60

  Thames Embankments, discoveries in, 351-355

  Thames foreshore, 105, 106, 125, 126, 127, 198, 325

  Thames Street, 82, 93, 124, 157, 198, 322, 326, 327, 337

  Thames Valley, 3, 4;
    ancient implements found in, 10, 11;
    earth movements in, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11;
    fossils of, 6, 9, 10, 11;
    geological strata of, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

  Thanet, Isle of, 36, 41, 42, 166, 167

  Theatre: in Roman London, 83, 85, 86, 90, 91;
    miracle plays, 312

  Theodosius, 71, 72, 73, 113

  Theomantius (or Temanticus), 19

  Theonus, Archbishop of London, 147, 148

  Thorney, 11, 26, 27, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 43, 44, 46, 53,
   129, 132, 135, 192, 231-236

  Thorpe, Benjamin, 164, 215

  Threadneedle Street, 81

  Tin mines, 41, 42

  Tintern Abbey, 203

  Tite, Sir William, 28, 29, 30, 100, 105, 112, 124

  Titus, 56

  Tolls, 287

  Tombs, 96, 97, 98, 100, 106, 107, 361-362;
    as landmarks, 107

  Tomlinson, Thomas, 30

  Tothill, 26

  Tower of London, 88, 259, 294, 296, 302

  Tower Hill, 115, 124, 244, 327

  Trade, 23, 34, 37, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 49, 55, 58, 70, 74, 76, 79,
   88, 93, 94, 110, 132, 135, 136, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 148, 153,
   154, 155, 156, 157, 169, 170, 174, 175, 179, 180, 181, 198, 199,
   200-208, 218, 261, 273, 306-307, 323-324, 337, 339;
    and coinage, 42, 202, 203;
    imports and exports, 46, 47, 132, 143, 310, 343-344

  Trades Unions, 224

  Traitors and rebels, punishment of, 171

  Treves, Roman, compared with Roman London, 86-88

  Trial by Ordeal, 215, 216, 286

  Trials, criminal, 284;
    civil, 286

  Trinobantes, 20, 21, 54, 55

  Turner, Sharon, 203

  Tyburn, 11, 266

  Tynemouth Abbey, 212

  Tyrants, the Thirty, 60

  Urbicus, Lollius, 60

  Uriconium, 137

  Valentinian, 71

  Valentinus, 72

  Vere, Aubrey de, 294, 332

  Verulam. See _St. Albans_

  Vespasian, 54, 56

  Victorinus, 60

  Village tenure, 143

  Vortigern, 145, 146, 147

  Vortimer, 146, 148

  Walbrook, 30, 47, 56, 81, 85, 88, 125, 126, 198, 244, 325

  Wall, river-side, 124-127, 153, 177, 184, 302, 320, 325

  Walsingham, 232

  Waltham Abbey, 251

  Walworth, 84

  Wandsworth Island, 31

  Wantsum, the, 204

  Wards, 323

  Ware, 177

  Wareham, 168

  Warren, Sir Charles, 96

  Water Companies, 13

  Water supply, 13, 14, 15, 321

  Watling Street, 36, 37, 53, 88, 128, 129, 132, 136, 139, 244;
    Gate of, 124

  Weapons, 42, 45, 172, 217, 218

  Wearmouth Abbey, 211-212

  Weever, 119

  Westbourne Street, Chelsea, 26

  Westbourne Terrace, 26

  West Chepe, 158

  West Chepe Market, 29, 30, 337

  Westminster, 27, 56, 194, 266;
    King’s House at, 195, 234, 235, 272, 303

  Whitaker, W., 11, 13

  Whittington, 326

  Wihtred, King, 158

  William of Malmesbury, 273

  William Rufus, 272-274, 275

  William the Conqueror, 249-261, 270;
    coronation of, 256, 257, 258

  Wilson, Archbishop, 219, 220

  Winchelsea, 26

  Winchester, 146, 147, 166, 167, 192, 296;
    Nunnery at, 212

  Windows, 110, 111

  Witan, 183, 190

  Witanagemots: at London, 165, 166, 180;
    at Oxford, 191

  Women: as courtesans, 274;
    education of, 224;
    morality of Danish, 171;
    occupations of, 224, 230;
    punishment of, 217, 222;
    treatment of captured, 162

  Wood Street, 244, 320

  Woodchester, Roman villa at, 91, 92

  Woodward, H. B., 15

  Woodward, Dr. John, 96, 118

  Wool Quay, 105

  Wren, Sir Christopher, 107, 134

  Wright, Thomas, 60, 72, 74, 75, 190-191, 201, 215, 218, 224, 225

  Wroxcester, 22, 94

  Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 261

  Wulnoth, Abbot of St. Peter’s, Thorney, 234

  Wyngaerde’s Map, 114

  York, 19, 58, 63, 68, 69, 73, 74, 94, 146, 147, 198;
    government of, 75

_Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, _Edinburgh_

                         [Publisher's Device]

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The first instalment of Sir Walter Besant’s “Magnum Opus,” “The Survey
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                       IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
                         BY SIR WALTER BESANT
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                      IN THE TIME OF THE STUARTS
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                         SYNOPSIS OF CONTENTS


James I.—Sir Walter Raleigh—Persecution of Roman Catholics—New
River—_Booke of Sportes_—Colony of Virginia—Charles I.—Outbreak of
Plague—Forced Loan—Assassination of Buckingham—Exasperation in the
City—The Short Parliament—Attack on Spanish Ambassador—Strafford’s
Death—The Civil War—The Trained Bands—Execution of the King—The
Commonwealth—The Fifth Monarchy Men—Cromwell’s Death—The
Restoration—Execution of the Regicides—Act of Uniformity—Charles
closes the Exchequer—Quarrels between the City and the Commons—Court
of Charles II.—James II.—Titus Oates’ sentence—Rising of Monmouth—The
Bishops sent to the Tower—The Landing of William of Orange—Capture
of Jeffreys—William III.—Lord Mayor’s Day—Queen Anne—The Case of


The Puritan Character—The Laudian Persecution—Abolition of the Book
of Common Prayer—Fanaticism—Zachary Crofton—James Naylor—Conventicles
become Churches—Superstitions—William Lilly—Services for the
Cramp Ring and King’s Evil—Sanctuary—Social Distinctions in the
City—Crimping—Saltpetre-’Prentices—Trade—Silkworms—Imports—The Bank of
England—The Royal Exchange and the New Exchange—Coinage—City Companies
in Debt—The Irish Estates.


Former Plague Records—Desertion of City—Pest Houses—Pepys’
Account—Defoe’s Account—Regulations for the Plague-stricken—The
Symptoms of the Plague—Strange Nostrums—Charms—The Aspect of the
City before the Fire—The Beginning of the Fire—The Destruction of
Property—Amount of Damage estimated—What the Fire left—Origin of
the Fire—People camped on Moorfields—Plans for Rebuilding—Another
Plot to burn the City—Contemporary Evidence—Evelyn’s Account—Pepys’
Account—London rebuilt—Ogilby’s Map—The Suburbs and the City—Confusion
of Property after the Fire—The River—Insanitary Condition of the
City—Shops glazed for the first Time.


Cost of Living—Rents—Furniture—Beer and other Drinks—No Forks in
Use—Cost of Food—The Popularity of the Tavern—The First Use of
Tea—The Virtue of Coffee—Coffee-Houses—Chocolate-Houses—Tobacco
now universal—Puritanic Fashions—Dress of Gallants and
Courtiers—Wigs—Pocket Mirrors—Patches and Powder—Kissing as common
as Shaking Hands—Servants—City Tradesmen—Customs at Weddings—Funeral
Ceremonies—No Coffins for Poor People—Places of Resort—Hyde Park and
St. James’s Park—Spring Gardens—Leper Hospital at St. James’s—James
I.’s Menagerie—New Spring Gardens at Vauxhall—Attractions of
the Shop Girls—Theatres—The First Introduction of Women to the
Stage—The Cockpit—Nell Gwynn—The Time of the Performances—Variation
of the Plays—Wearing of Masks—Coarseness—Music very popular—The
Fine Arts—Arundelian Collection—Raffaelle’s Work—Sports and
Amusements—Puritan Suppression of Sunday Games—Bear-baiting and other
Brutal Sports—Fairs—Athletic Sports—Hunting—Predilection of King
James I. for the Chase—Bowling-Alleys—Fencing—Mohocks—Wrestling—St.
Bartholomew’s Fair—Coaches—Tolls for Road Repair—Punishment and
Crime—Severity of the Punishments—Branding, Pillory, Boring through
the Tongue with a Hot Iron—Case of Alexander Leighton—Earl of Oxford’s
False Marriage—Lord Sanquhar’s Revenge—Prisoners for Debt—Tricks—“The
Brave Shifter”—Usurers—Brokers—Public Morality and the Lord Mayor’s
Proclamation—General Notes—Scarcity of Public Inns—Gentlemen carried
Large Fans—Strange Processions—Horn Fair.


The Court of Charles II.—List of the London Clergy ejected—List of
Almshouses founded in the Seventeenth Century—Composition of the Lords
and Commons—The New Buildings of London—Rules for Enlargement of the


“Most readable and interesting.... It is a mine in which the student
alike of topography and of manners and customs may dig and dig again
with the certainty of finding something new and interesting.”—_The

“No lover of London can fail to be grateful to the late Sir Walter for
his many carefully studied pictures of its ancient life, pictures often
quaint and amusing, and bearing always the mark of earnest and minute
research.... The general reader will find in this volume a world of
interesting suggestion.”—_The Daily Chronicle._

“We are again reminded of the vast debt which London owes to the late
Sir Walter Besant by the appearance of this sumptuously printed and
beautifully illustrated book, the second volume of his great Survey
of London—unquestionably his _magnum opus_, upon which his fame will
chiefly rest.... A book which should be in the library of every one
who takes an intelligent interest in the history and development of
London.”—_The Daily Telegraph._

“The pen of the ready writer here is fluent; the picture wants nothing
in completeness. The records of the city and the kingdom have been
ransacked for facts and documents, and they are here marshalled with
consummate skill. In surveying the political history of London from
James I. to Queen Anne, Sir Walter Besant reveals himself as an
unsparing and impartial historian, and in this respect alone the work
must command our admiration and our praise. But there is also included
the most vivid presentation of the story of the Great Plague and
the Great Fire that has ever been brought between the covers of one
book.”—_The Pall Mall Gazette._

“There is not a dull page in the book, and the fact that the treatment
is somewhat discursive makes the volume more delightful. We can give no
idea of its variety and its charm, but every one who wishes to know the
London of two hundred and fifty years ago will feel, as he opens this
volume, that he has stepped back into that world of great events, and
will live again through its civil discord, its Plague, and Fire, and
its strange superstitions.”—_The London Quarterly Review._

“_Nothing at all like it has ever been attempted before._”—WALTER

The third instalment of Sir Walter Besant’s“Magnum Opus.”

                       IN THE TIME OF THE TUDORS
                         BY SIR WALTER BESANT
 _In One Volume, Demy 4to, Cloth, Gilt Top, 440 pages. Containing 146
 Illustrations, mostly from Contemporary Prints, and a reproduction of
 Agas’s Map of London in 1560._

                            PRICE 30s. NET



  1.  HENRY VII.
  3.  EDWARD VI.
  4.  MARY.




  1.  WITH STOW.


  1.  THE MAYOR.
  2.  TRADE.


  8.  THE POOR.


“Altogether it forms without question not only a monument to Sir Walter
Besant’s affectionate enthusiasm for London, and devotion to what
he regarded as the great task of his life, but an almost unrivalled
popular presentation of English life and manners in the metropolis
during the age of the Tudors.”—_Glasgow Herald._

“A vivid and fascinating picture of London life in the sixteenth
century—a novelist’s picture, full of life and movement, yet with the
accurate detail of an antiquarian treatise.”—_The Contemporary Review._

“Of books on London we hail all and every one, since none can be
so wholly bad that nothing can be learnt from its perusal; of this
exceptionally able achievement we believe that, whilst its high aim
should act as a stimulus to further endeavour, it will be long before
the literature of ancient London is enriched by a more fascinating work
of introspection.”—_The Times._

“There is not space to analyse this fine book to any adequate extent,
and the temptation to enlarge upon it grows with the perusal of its
fascinating pages.... For the student, as well as for those desultory
readers who are drawn by the rare fascination of London to peruse its
pages, this book will have a value and a charm which are unsurpassed by
any of its predecessors.”—_Pall Mall Gazette._

“We know of no book that is calculated to interest lovers of this great
city of ours to a greater degree than this posthumous contribution
of a gifted writer to what he himself loved so well—the history of
London.”—_Daily Chronicle._

“This splendidly appointed volume, with its wealth of illustrations
from the work of contemporary artists, as well as writers, is in
keeping with its important subject, and, with its companion volumes,
forms a monumental work that will assuredly go down to the far
future.”—_Aberdeen Free Press._

“_I have been walking about London for the last thirty years, and I
find something fresh in it every day._”—WALTER BESANT.

The fourth instalment of Sir Walter Besant’s“Magnum Opus.”

                            MEDIÆVAL LONDON
        Vol. I. Historical and Social · Vol. II. Ecclesiastical
                         BY SIR WALTER BESANT
  _In Two Volumes, Demy 4to, Cloth, Gilt Top. Profusely Illustrated._
                             EACH 30s. NET


                                VOL. I.


1. Henry II. 2. Richard I. 3. John. 4. Henry III. 5. Edward I. 6.
Edward II. 7. Edward III. 8. Richard II. 9. Henry IV. 10. Henry V. 11.
Henry VI. 12. Edward IV. 13. Richard III.


1. General View. 2. Port and Trade of London. 3. Trade and Gentility.
4. The Streets. 5. The Buildings. 6. Furniture. 7. Wealth and State of
Nobles and Citizens. 8. Manners and Customs. 9. Food. 10. Sport and
Recreation. 11. Literature and Science in London—§ I. The Libraries of
London; § II. London and Literature; § III. The Physician. 12. Fire,
Plague, and Famine. 13. Crime and Punishment. 14. Christian Names and

                               VOL. II.


1. The Records. 2. The Charter of Henry the Second. 3. The Commune. 4.
The Wards. 5. The Factions of the City. 6. The Century of Uncertain
Steps. 7. After the Commune. 8. The City Companies.


1. The Religious Life. 2. Church Furniture. 3. The Calendar of
the Year. 4. Hermits and Anchorites. 5. Pilgrimage. 6. Ordeal. 7.
Sanctuary. 8. Miracle and Mystery Plays. 9. Superstitions, etc. 10.
Order of Burial.


1. General. 2. St. Martin’s-le-Grand. 3. The Priory of the Holy
Trinity, or Christ Church Priory. 4. The Charter House. 5. Elsyng
Spital. 6. St. Bartholomew. 7. St. Thomas of Acon. 8. St. Anthony’s.
9. The Priory of St. John of Jerusalem. 10. The Clerkenwell Nunnery.
11. St. John the Baptist, or Holiwell Nunnery. 12. Bermondsey
Abbey. 13. St. Mary Overies. 14. St. Thomas’s Hospital. 15. St.
Giles-in-the-Fields. 16. St. Helen’s. 17. St. Mary Spital. 18. St.
Mary of Bethlehem. 19. The Clares. 20. St. Katherine’s by the Tower.
21. Crutched Friars. 22. Austin Friars. 23. Grey Friars. 24. The
Dominicans. 25. Whitefriars. 26. St. Mary of Graces. 27. The Smaller
Foundations. 28. Fraternities. 29. Hospitals.

                            PRESS OPINIONS

“Like its predecessors, it is a work framed in a style at once popular
and erudite, embracing a historical sketch of each reign included,
and supplementary chapters on the commercial and social conditions of
the period. No book could be suited better than this is to occupy an
honoured place on the family bookshelf.”—_Globe._

“Each volume that appears not merely reveals more vividly the magnitude
of the undertaking, but the skill and knowledge, the historic
imagination, and the picturesque sensibility of the writer. Two volumes
were wisely devoted to Mediæval London. The first set before us the
historical and social aspects of the capital, and did so with the
charm that belongs to a living picture; the second volume, which is
now published, is also marked by movement and colour, and in its pages
are described the ecclesiastical life of the community and the great
religious houses which flourished long before any man had dreamed of
such a movement as the Reformation.”—_Standard._

“It is unquestionably one of the most valuable of the books that have
been published this year. Every ‘London’ collector who can afford to do
so, will, of course, buy it; but it is deserving of a far wider circle
of readers, and it is to be hoped that it will be placed promptly upon
the lists of every public library in the land.”—_The Record._

“It is a mine of wealth to the student, a joy to the antiquary, and a
kaleidoscopic picture of times that were full of moving and changing
events that rendered the history of London, more than at any other
period, the history of the nation that was in the making.”—_Pall Mall

“Written in the charming and fascinating style of which the author was
a master. It is a mine of curious and interesting information for the
historical student. It is a model of lucid arrangement, and presents a
living and moving picture of days long gone by.”—_Aberdeen Free Press._

“For the general reader, this work, for its liveliness and variety,
will do what Chaucer and Langland do for the serious student of the
Middle Ages.”—_Tribune._

“_This work fascinates me more than anything I have ever done._”—WALTER

Chips from Sir Walter Besant’s“Magnum Opus.”

                       THE FASCINATION OF LONDON
                      EDITED BY SIR WALTER BESANT
     _In Fcap. 8vo, each volume containing a Map of the District._
               CLOTH 1/6 NET, LEATHER 2/- NET EACH.


A Survey of London, a record of the greatest of all cities—this was the
work on which Sir Walter Besant was engaged when he died. He said of it
himself, “This work fascinates me more than anything I’ve ever done.
Nothing at all like it has ever been attempted before.”

Two of the volumes in this great work were to be devoted to a
perambulation of London, street by street, and enough has been done to
warrant its publication in the form originally intended; but in the
meantime it is proposed to select some of the most interesting of the
districts, and to publish them as a series of booklets, interesting
alike to the local inhabitant and the student of London, because it is
in these street associations that the chief charm of London lies. The
difficulty of finding a general title for the series was very great,
but the solution has been found in the words of the man who loved
London, and made himself her chronicler. The work “fascinated” him, and
it was because of these historical associations that it did so; these
links between past and present in themselves largely constitute “The
Fascination of London.”




                            AND ST. LUKE’S

                           & STOKE NEWINGTON
                           [_in the Press._

                           PUTNEY AND FULHAM

                            AND MARYLEBONE

                            AND BLOOMSBURY


                             BELGRAVIA AND

                           AND THE EAST END
                           [_In the Press._


                             =THE THAMES=


                            PRESS OPINIONS

“We have here, in fact, just what will give people who do not know
their London a new interest in every walk they take, and indicate
to those who want more the lines on which their studies may be

“It is scarcely necessary to write any words of commendation when
the great knowledge of the editor and the literary charm with which
he always writes of London are taken into consideration.”—_Pall Mall

“The book, and the series of which it is a part, will be welcomed by
those who already possess that detailed knowledge of London and its
associations in which Sir Walter Besant delighted, and a perusal of its
pages by those less fortunate will do much to add to the number of his
disciples.”—_County Council Times._

“This is a very pleasant little book, the work of a competent observer,
who knows what to look for and how to deal with what he finds.”—_The

“Delightful guides. They are just the handbooks to make walks in London
interesting, for they re-people every street with the figures which
have lived in it in the past.”—_The Pilot._

“We fancy that even the most observant and studious lover of the
metropolis will find much in these dainty little volumes to instruct
and surprise him. The glamour of bygone years and the spirit of to-day
jostle each other on every page.”—_Christian World._

“Well written, and valuable historically.”—_St. James’s Gazette._

“These little volumes are of great value in the keeping of fact and
tradition pleasantly alive.”-_The Academy._

“Those who love their London, and are interested in its local history,
should not fail to procure this interesting little volume.”—_The

“The handy and informing topographical series issued by Messrs. Black
under the happy title of ‘The Fascination of London.’”—_The Antiquary._

                          BEAUTIFUL BOOKS ON
  (Post Free 20/6)      EACH 20s. NET      (Post Free 20/6)
                  _Square Demy 8vo, Cloth, Gilt Top._

                          LONDON VANISHED AND

“A most beautiful as well as a most interesting book.... It should
teach the citizens of this great capital to love and respect their
city, both for its beauty and for the history and tradition which is
their heritage, and of which some lasting memorials still exist around
them.”—_Daily News._

“Mr. Norman can talk about old London as well as he paints it, and his
chapters are full of noteworthy historical, archæological, and literary
lore.”—_Literary World._

                         THE SCENERY OF LONDON
                       DESCRIBED BY G. E. MITTON

“None but a highly-gifted artist who was also a profoundly sympathetic
student of the contributing factors of London’s wonderful appeal to
the eye and imagination could have caught so much of its potent and
infinitely diversified charm, or conveyed its colour and atmosphere and
the many and various conditions with such almost invariable fidelity
as Mr. Marshall has done in these delicate and delightful sketches;
while Miss Mitton has here given fresh and most acceptable proof of
that ‘extensive and peculiar’ knowledge of London which rendered her so
valued a coadjutor of the late Sir Walter Besant.”—_The World._

                            FAMILIAR LONDON

“Miss Barton yields to no artist as the pictorial chronicler of London.
She gives us the London we know and love, the London which is part of
the workaday lives we spend in the market of the universe.”—DOUGLAS
SLADEN in _The Queen_.

“We cannot recall a collection of London pictures that catches and
conveys better the spirit, the genius, and the charm of modern London
with deeper subtlety and finer execution.”—_Literary World._

                          LONDON TO THE NORE
                     PAINTED BY W. L. WYLLIE, R.A.
                       DESCRIBED BY MRS. WYLLIE

“Now, at last, comes a volume which gives us the whole soul and figure,
so to speak, of the great fleet-bearing, commercial, and warlike
stream which constitutes the greatest port in the world—the port of
London.”—_Daily Graphic._

“It is an impressionist view in prose of what the workaday river is.
The book is superbly illustrated by coloured pages of the never-ending
scenes and pictures of men and things that Father Thames opens up to
all who venture on his broad waters.”—JOHN BURNS, M.P., in the _Daily

“This charming work is in every way welcome, and every Londoner who
reads it will prize it. The reproductions are exquisitely done.”—_Pall
Mall Gazette._

                              THE THAMES
                   PAINTED BY MORTIMER MEMPES, R.I.
                       DESCRIBED BY G. E. MITTON

“There is in it just the desired touch of historical reminiscence,
with never a line of pedantry, nor a phrase in doubtful taste.... The
pictures themselves are characteristic of their author’s happiest
manner, which is but another way of saying that they are certain of
popularity.”—_The Standard._

“Rarely in the long series of coloured books have author and artist
been so evenly matched. Miss Mitton writes as one who revels in
the charms of the Upper Thames, and Mr. Mempes adds colour to the
picture of beauty. Together they have produced a wholly delightful
volume.”—_Review of Reviews._

                         BEAUTIFUL BOOKS ABOUT
        _Square Demy 8vo._      LONDON      _Cloth, Gilt Top._
      (Post free 7/11)      EACH 7/6 NET      (Post free 7/11)

                          =WESTMINSTER ABBEY=
                   PAINTED BY JOHN FULLEYLOVE, R.I.
                     TEXT BY MRS. A. MURRAY SMITH
          _Containing 21 Full-Page Illustrations in Colour._

“Alike as a guide for those who are about to pay a visit to the Abbey,
and also as a very attractive memento of visits already paid, this
volume provides what very many people will delight to see, and will
greatly prize.”—_Literary World._

“Mr. Fulleylove has accomplished a difficult task with distinction, and
an admirable sense of poetry in architecture.”—_T. P.’s Weekly._

                          THE TOWER OF LONDON
                   PAINTED BY JOHN FULLEYLOVE, R.I.
                         TEXT BY ARTHUR POYSER
     _Containing 20 Full-Page Illustrations in Colour and a Plan_.

The Tower of London stands as an epitome of English history in stone
and lime. It is, as it should be, a never-failing object of interest
to all of us from the days when we went to see it as children to the
days when we take our grandchildren to see it. But a hurried visit to
the old buildings can never satisfy our desire to know more of the
history and the romance, as well as the darker record, of the Tower
and its surroundings. The existing books on the subject are either the
small paper-covered guide-books, or the more costly descriptions in
two and four volumes which cannot appeal, by reason of their bulk and
high price, to every one. This new book on the Tower comes to fill the
middle place. It can be used as a guide, and afterwards, when placed
on the bookshelf, will, by the aid of Mr. Fulleylove’s delightful
water-colours and the author’s sketches of the drama and romance of
Tower history, be found to stand as a descriptive and pictorial record
of one of the most interesting buildings in the world.

                             INNS OF COURT
                        PAINTED BY GORDON HOME.
                         TEXT BY CECIL HEADLAM
          _Containing 20 Full-Page Illustrations in Colour._

                      PAINTED BY GEORGE M. HENTON
                             DESCRIBED BY
          _Containing 20 Full-Page Illustrations in Colour._

     _Demy Quarto, Cloth._      MAPS OF OLD LONDON      PRICE 5s.
                        EDITED BY G. E. MITTON

For the first time there is offered to the public, at a price which
puts it within the reach of all, an atlas containing a series of maps
and plans showing the growth of London from mediæval times. These
maps have hitherto only been obtainable separately, at high prices
and in many sheets; they were reduced for the purposes of the Survey
of London, Sir Walter Besant’s monumental work, and in response to a
suggestion the publishers now issue them in a compact and convenient
form. To trace the spread of the city from the reign of Elizabeth—to
which the first map belongs—through the succeeding centuries, is a work
of absorbing interest, and the student of Old London will learn more
from such a study than by reading many folios of print. Every Londoner
should possess this atlas and search out in it the growth and changes
that have taken place in his own locality.

                              KEW GARDENS
                  PAINTED BY T. MOWER MARTIN, R.C.A.
                  DESCRIBED BY A. R. HOPE MONCRIEFF.
           _Containing 24 Full-Page Illustrations in Colour.
                  Large Crown 8vo, Cloth, Gilt Top._

       (Post free 6/4)      PRICE 6S. NET      (Post free 6/4)

Kew Gardens to-day contain what seems the completest botanical
collection in the world, but before being given up to public pleasure
and instruction, this demesne was a royal country seat, specially
favoured by George III. This homely King had two houses here, and
began to build a more pretentious palace, a design cut short by his
infirmities, but for which Kew might have usurped the place of Windsor.
For nearly a century it had a close connection with the Royal Family.

                            THE CHILDREN’S
                            BOOK OF LONDON
                            BY G. E. MITTON
         _Containing 12 Full-Page Illustrations in Colour by_
                           JOHN WILLIAMSON.
                 _Square Crown 8vo, Cloth, Gilt Top._

                              PRICE 6s.

“Children who have never seen London will read it with joyous
anticipation of the delights in store for them, and those who have
spent their young lives in its borders will recognise the scenes they
know and the sights they see with unfailing delight.”—_Truth._


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