Survey of London: Antiquity of London

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A Suruay of London, conteyning the o
riginall, antiquitie, increase, moderne estate, and description of that Cittie.
AS Rome the chiefe Citie of the world to glorifie it selfe, drew her originall from the Gods, Goddesses, and demy Gods, by the Troian progeny. So this famous Citie of London for greater glorie, and in emu
lation of Rome, deriueth it selfe from the very same originall. For (as Ieffery of Monmoth, the Welche Historian repor
teth Brute descended from the demy god Eneas, the sonne of Ve
, daughter of Iupiter, aboute the yeare of the world 2855. the yeare before Christes natiuitie, 1108. builded a Citie neare vn
to a riuer now called Thames, and named it Troynouant. or Tre
tum hath the writen Copies.
King Lud afterwarde not onely repayred this Cittie, but also added fayre buildings, Towres, and wals, and called it after his owne name Caire-Lud
Caire-Lud, the Citie of Lud, but Luds town is a Saxon word.
or Luds towne, and the strong gate which he builded in the west part of the Cittie, hée likewise for his owne honor named it Ludgate.
This Lud had issue two sons, Androgeus, and Themantius, who being not of age to gouerne at the death of their Father: their Unckle Cassibilan, tooke vpon him the crowne, about the eight yeare of whose raigne1 , Iulius Cesar ariued in this land with a greate power of Romains to conquer it, the manner of which con
quest I will summarily set down out of his own Commentaries, which are of farre better credit, then the relations of Geffery Monmouth.
Cesars Co
mentaries. liber. 5.
The chiefe gouernement of the Britons, and ordering of the warres, was then by common aduice committed to Cassibilan, whose Signiorie was seperated from the Cities towardes the sea coast, by the riuer called Thames, about fourescore miles from the sea, this Cassibilan in times past, had made continuall warre vpon the Cities adioyning, but the Britons being moued with

Antiquity of London.
the Romaines inuasion, had resolued in that necessitie to make him their Soueraigne and Generall of the warres (which continued hot betwéene the Romains and them) but in the meane while, the Trinobantes
Trinobants Citizens of London
which was then the strongest Cittie well neare of al those countries (and out of which Citie a young gentleman cal
led Mandubrace, vpon confidence of Celars helpe, came vnto him into the maine land of Gallia now called France, and thereby es
caped death, which he should haue suffered at Cassibilans hande,) sent their Ambassadors to Cesar, promising to yeeld vnto him, and to doe what he should commande them, instantly desiring him, to protect Mandubrace from the furious tirannie of Cassibilan, and to send him into their Cittie, with authority to take the gouern
ment thereof vpon him. Cesar accepted the offer, and appointed them to geue vnto him 40. Hostages, and withall to finde him graine for his army, and so sent he Mandubrace
Mādubrace and the Trinobants yeeld to Cesar, and he defended them.
vnto them.
When others saw that Cesar had not onelie defended the Tri
against Cassibilan, but had also saued them harmeles from the pillage of his own souldiers, then did the Conimagues, Se
gontians, Ancalits, Bibrokes
, and Cassians, likewise submit themselues vnto him, and by them he learned that not farre from thence was Cassibilans towne,
Cassibilans towne west from Lon
for Ce
saith 80. miles from the sea, Cities of the Britaines were com
bersom woods for
fortified with woods, and marish ground, into the which hee had gathered a greate number both of men and cattell.
For the Brittons call that a town (saith Cesar) when they haue fortified a combarsom wood with a ditch and rampire, and the
ther they resorte to abide the approach of their ennemies, to this place therefore marched Cesar, with his Legions, hee founde it ex
cellentlie fortified both of nature, and by mans aduice: neuerthe
lesse he resolued to assault it in two seuerall places at once, where
upon the Brittons being not able to endure the force of the Ro
, fled out at an other parte, and left the towne vnto him: a greate number of cattell he found there, and many of the Britons he slew, and other he tooke in the chase.
Whilst these thinges were a doing in these quarters, Cassibi
sent messengers into Kent, which lieth vpon the sea, in which there raigned then 4. particular kinges, named Cingetorix, Car
uil, Taximagul
, and Segonax, whome he commanded to raise all

Antiquitie of London.
their forces, and suddenly to set vppon, and assault the Romaines, in their trenches, by the sea side: the which when the Romaines perceiued, they salied out vpon them, slew a greate sorte of them, and taking Cingetorix their noble Captaine prisoner, retired themselues to their Campe in good safety.
When Cassibilan harde of this, and had formerly taken many other losses, and found his countrie sore wasted, and himselfe left almost alone by the defection of the other Cities, he sent Ambassa
dors by Connius of Arras, to Cesar, to entreate with him, concer
ning his own submission, the which Cesar did accept, and taking Hostages, assessed the Realme of Britaine,
Britaine sessed to pay a yerely tri
bute to the Romaines.
to a yearely tribute, to be payed to the people of Rome, giuing straight charge to Cas
, that he should not séeke any reuenge vpon Mandubrace or the Trinobantes, and so withdrew his armie to the sea againe.
Thus farre out of Cesars Commentaries concerning this Hi
storie, which happened in the yeare before Christes natiuitie 54. in all which processe there is for this purpose to bee noted, that Cesar nameth the Citie of Trinobantes, which hath a resem
blance with Troy noua or Trinobantum, which hath no greater difference in the Orthographie, then changing b. into v. and yet maketh an error which I will not argue, onely this I will note that diuers learned men do not thinke ciuitas Trinobantum
Trinobant, new Lon.
to be well and truely translated, the Citie of the Trinobantes: but it should rather be the state, comonalty, or Signiory, of the Trino
: for that Cesar in his Comentaries vseth the worde ciui
, onely for a people liuing vnder one, and the selfe same Prince and law but certaine it is that the Cities of the Britaines,
Cities of the Britans not artificially builded with houses nor walled. with stone
were in those daies neither artificially builded with houses, nor strongly walled with stone, but were onely thicke and combarsom woodes plashed within and trenched aboute: and the like in effect do other the Romaine and Greeke autors directly affirme, as Strabo Pomponius Mela, and Dion a Senator of Rome, which flourish
ed in the seuerall raignes of the Romaine Emperours, Tiberius Claudius, Domitian, and Seuerus, to wit that before the ariuall of the Romains, the Britons had no townes but called that a town which had a thicke intangled wood, defended as I saide with a ditch and banke, the like whereof the Irishmen our next neighbors

Antiquity of London.
doe at this day call Paces, but after that these hether partes of Britaine were reduced into the forme of a Prouince by the Ro
, who sowed the seedes of ciuilitie ouer all Europe, this Citie whatsoeuer it was before, began to bee renowned, and of fame.
For Tacitus, who first of all Autors nameth it Londinum, sayth that in the 62. after Christ it was albeit, no Colonie of the Romaines, yet most famous
London most famus for Mar
chantes and intercourse.
for the greate multitude of Mar
chantes, prouision, and intercourse. At which time in that notable reuolte of the Br2itons from Nero, in which 70000. Romaines & their leager fellowes were slaine, this Citie with Verulam nere S. Albons, and Maldon, then all famous: were ransacked and spoiled.
For Suetonius Paulinus then Lieftennant for the Romaines in this Isle, abandoned it: as not then forseyied, and left it to the spoile.
Shortly after, Iulius Agricola, the Romaine Liefetennant, in the time of Domitian, was the first that by adhorting the Bri
The Britons had no hou
ses, but cot
publikely, and helping them priuately, wun them to builde houses for themselues, temples for the Gods, and courtes for Iu
stice, to bring vp the noblemens children in good letters and hu
manity, and to apparrell themselues Romaine like, whereas be
fore (for the most parte) they went naked, painting their bodies &c. as all the Romaine writers haue obserued.
The Britons went naked their bodi
es painted.
True it is I confesse, that afterwarde many Cities and Towns in Britaine vnder the gouernement of the Romaines, were wal
led with stone, & baked bricks, or tyles, as Richborrow, or Rypta
, in the Isle of Thanet, til the channell altered his course, be
sides Sandwitch, in Kent, Verulamium
Richborow in Kent Verulami
um. Cilcester Roxcester Kenchester. Keyland. Of the wal, about Lon
besides S. Albones, in Hartfordshire, Cilcester, in Hampshire, Roxcester in Shrop
shire, Kenchester
in Herefordshire, thrée miles from Hereford towne, Ribchester, 7. miles aboue Preston, on the water of Rib
le, Aldeburge
a mile from Borrowbridge, or Wathelingstreet, on Vre Riuer and others, & no doubt but this our Citie of Lon
, was also walled with stone, in the time of the Romaine go
uernement here, but yet very lately, for it seemeth not to haue beene walled in the yeare of our Lorde 296. because in that yeare

Antiquitie of London.
when Alectus the Tyrant3 was slaine in the field, the Frankes ea
sily entred London, and had sacked the same, had not God of his greate fauour, at the very instant brought along the riuer of Tha
, certaine bandes of Romaine Souldiers, who slew those Frankes in euerie streete of the Cittie.
In few yeares after, as Simeon of Durham, an ancient wri
ter reporteth, Hellen the mother of Constantine the greate, was the first that inwalled it aboute the yeare of Christ 306. howsoe
uer those wals of stone might be builded by Helen, yet the Brit4ōs, (I know) had no skil of building with stone, as it may appeare by that, which followeth about the yere after Christ, 399, when Ar
& Honorius the sonnes of Theodosius Magnus, gouerned the Empire, the one in the East, the other in the West, for Ho
hauing receiued Britaine, the Citie of Rome was inuaded and destroyed, by the Gathes after which time the Romaines left
The Ro
maines left to gouerne Britaine.
to rule in Britaine, as being, imployed in defence of their Ter
ritories nerer home, whereupon the Britains not able to defende themselues against the inuasions of their enemies, were many yeres together vnder the oppression of two most cruell nations, the Scots and Pictes,
The Scots and Picts inuade this land.
and at the length were forced to send their Ambassadors with letters and lamentable supplications, to come, requiring aide and succour from thence, vpon promise of their con
tinuall fealtie, so that the Romaines woulde rescue them out of the handes of their ennemies. Hereupon the Romaines sent vnto them a Legion of armed Souldiers, which comming into this I
land, and incountering with the ennemies, ouerthrew a great number of them, and draue the rest out of the frontiers of the countrie, and so setting the Britaines at liberty, counselled them to make a wall, extending all along betwéene the twoo seas, which might be of force to kéepe out their euill neighboúrs, and then re
turned home with greate triumph: But the Britaines
Britaines vnskilfull of building with stone
wanting Masons builded that wall not of stone as they were aduised, but made it of turfe, and that so slender, that it serued litle or nothing at al for their defence: and the ennemie perceiuing that the Ro
maine Legiō
was returned home, forthwith arriued, out of their boates, inuaded the borders, ouercame the countrie, and as it were, bare down al that was before them.


  1. I.e. 54 BCE (SM)
  2. Letter missing; context obvious. (SM)
  3. Letter missing. (SM)
  4. Letter missing; context obvious. (SM)

Cite this page

MLA citation

Stow, John, and William fitz Stephen. Survey of London: Antiquity of London. The Map of Early Modern London, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 20 Jun. 2018,

Chicago citation

Stow, John, and William fitz Stephen. Survey of London: Antiquity of London. The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed June 20, 2018.

APA citation

Stow, J., & fitz Stephen, W. 2018. Survey of London: Antiquity of London. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London. Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from

RIS file (for RefMan, EndNote etc.)

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

A1  - Stow, John
A1  - fitz Stephen, William
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - Survey of London: Antiquity of London
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
PY  - 2018
DA  - 2018/06/20
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  -
UR  -
ER  - 


RT Web Page
SR Electronic(1)
A1 Stow, John
A1 fitz Stephen, William
A6 Jenstad, Janelle
T1 Survey of London: Antiquity of London
T2 The Map of Early Modern London
WP 2018
FD 2018/06/20
RD 2018/06/20
PP Victoria
PB University of Victoria
LA English
OL English

TEI citation

<bibl type="mla"><author><name ref="#STOW6"><surname>Stow</surname>, <forename>John</forename></name></author>, and <author><name ref="#FITZ1"><forename>William</forename> <surname><nameLink>fitz</nameLink> Stephen</surname></name></author>. <title level="a">Survey of London: Antiquity of London</title>. <title level="m">The Map of Early Modern London</title>, edited by <editor><name ref="#JENS1"><forename>Janelle</forename> <surname>Jenstad</surname></name></editor>, <publisher>U of Victoria</publisher>, <date when="2018-06-20">20 Jun. 2018</date>, <ref target=""></ref>.</bibl>





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