Survey of London (1633): Wall about the City of London

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Wall about the Citie of LONDON.
Wall about the Citie of
IN few yeeres after, as Si
meon of Durham
, an anci
ent Writer, reporteth,
Helen, the Mother of
Constamtine the great,
was the first that in
walled this Citie, about the yeere of
Christ, 306. But howsoever those wals
of stone might be builded by Helen, yet
the Britaines (I know) had no skill of
building with stone, as it may appeare
by that which followeth, about the
yeere of Christ, 399. when Arcadius
and Honorius, the sonnes of Theodosius
, governed the Empire, the
one in the East, the other in the West.
For Honorius having received Britaine,
the Citie of Rome was invaded and de
stroyed by the Gothes;
The Ro
left to govern in Britaine.
after which time
the Romanes left to rule in Britaine, as be
ing imployed in defence of their Ter
ritories neerer home. Whereupon the
Britaines, not able to defend themselves
against the invasions of their enemies,
were many yeeres together under the
oppression of two cruell Nations, the
Scots and Picts,
The Scots and Picts invade this Land.
and at length were for
ced to send their Ambassadours, with
Letters and lamentable supplications to
Rome, requiring aide and succour from
thence, upon promise of their continuall
fealtie, so that the Romanes would rescue
them out of the hands of their enemies.
Hereupon, the Romanes sent unto them
a Legion of armed Souldiers, which
comming into this Iland, and encoun
tring with the enemies, overthrew a
great number of them, and drave the
rest out of the frontiers of the Country.
And so setting the Britaines at liberty,
counselled them to make a Wall, ex
tending all along between the two seas,
which might be of force to keepe out
their evill neighbours, and then retur
ned home with great triumph. The
Britaines wanting Masons, builded that
Britaines unskilfull of buil
ding with stone.
not of stone (as they were advised)
but made it of turfe, and that so slender,
that it served little or nothing at all for
their defence. And the enemy percei
ving that the Romane Legion was retur
ned home, forthwith arrived out of
their Boats, invaded their borders, over
came the Countrey, and (as it were)
bare downe all that was before them.
Whereupon, Ambassadours were
eftsoones dispatched to Rome, lamenta
bly beseeching, that they would not suf
fer their miserable Countrey to bee ut
terly destroyed. Then againe, another
Legion was sent, which comming on a
sudden, made a great slaughter of the
enemy, and chased him home, even to
his owne Countrey. These Romanes at
their departure told the Britaines plain
ly, that it was not for their ease or lea
sure, to take upon them (any more) such
long and laborious journies for their de
fence, and therefore bade them practise
the use of Armour and Weapons, and
learn to withstand their enemies, whom
nothing else did make so strong, as their
faint heart and cowardise. And for so
much as they thought, that it would be
no small helpe and encouragement unto
their tributarie friends, whom they
were now forced to forsake: they buil
ded for them a wall of hard stone,
the West Sea to the East Sea,
Wall of stone buil
ded by the Romanes, betwixt the Britains and Scots.
right be
tweene those two Cities, which were
there made to keepe out the enemies, in
the selfe-same place where Severus be
fore had cast his Trench: the Britaines
also putting to their helping hands as
This Wall they builded eight foot
thicke in bredth, and twelve foot in
height, right as it were by a line from
East to West; as the ruines thereof,
(remaining in many places till this day)
doe make to appeare. Which worke
thus perfected, they gave the people
straight charge to looke well to them
selves, they teach them to handle their
weapons, and instruct them in warlike
feats. And lest by the Sea side South
wards, where their Ships lay at harbor,
the enemie should come on Land; they
made up sundry bulwarkes, each some
what distant from other, & so bid them
farewell, as minding no more to return.
This hapned in the dayes of Theodosius
the yonger, almost 500. yeeres after the
first arrivall of the Romanes here, about
the yeere after Christs Incarnation,

Wall about the Citie of LONDON.

The Britaines after this continuing a
lingring and doubtfull warre with the
Scots and Picts; made choice of Vortiger
to be their King and Leader: which man
(as saith Malmesbury) was neither valo
rous of courage, nor wise of counsell, but
wholly given over to the unlawfull lusts
of his flesh.
The Bri
given to glutto
ny, drun
kennesse, pride, and contenti
The people likewise (in short
time) being growne to some quietnesse,
gave themselves to gluttony and drun
kennesse, pride, contention, envie, and
such other vices, casting from them the
yoke of Christ. In the meane season, a
bitter Plague fell among them,
The Brī
gued for their sinful life.
ming in short time such a multitude,
that the quicke were not sufficient to bu
rie the dead: and yet the remnant re
mained so hardned in sinne, that neither
death of their friends, nor feare of their
owne danger, could cure the mortality
of their soules; wherupon a great stroke
of vengeance ensued upon the whole
sinfull Nation. For, being now againe
infested with their old neighbours, the
Scots and Picts, they consult with their
King Vortiger,
and send for the Saxons,
who shortly after arrived here in Bri
; where,
The Saxons sent for to defend the Britaines, but they drave thē into the Moun
saith Bede, they were re
ceived as friends: but as it proved, they
minded to destroy the Countrey as ene
mies. For after they had driven out the
Scots and Picts, they also drave the Bri
, some over the Seas, some into the
waste mountaines of Wales and Cornwall,
and divided the Countrey into divers
Kingdomes amongst themselves.
These Saxons were likewise ignorant
of building with stone,
Saxons un
skilfull of building with stone.
untill the yeere
680. for then it is affirmed, that Bennet,
Abbot of Wirrall
, Master to the reve
rend Bede,
Bennet, a Monke, brought in Masons.
first brought Artificers of
stone houses, and glasse windowes into
this Iland, amongst the Saxons: Arts,
before that time, unto them unknowne,
and therefore used they but woodden
buildings. And to this accordeth Poly
Woodden churches, and goldē priests.
who saith, that then had yee
woodden Churches; nay woodden Cha
lices, and golden Priests; but since, gol
den Chalices, and woodden Priests.
And, to knit up this Argument, King
, in his Charter to the Abbey of
, dated the yeere of Christ
974. hath words to this effect: All the
Monasteries in my Realme
ries of rot
ten timber
to the outward
sight, are nothing but worm-eaten and rotten
Timber, and boords; and that worse is,
within they are almost empty and void of di
vine Service
Thus much be said for walling, not
onely in respect of this Citie, but gene
rally also of the first within the Realme.
Now to returne to our Trinobant, (as
sar cals it;) the same is (since) by
Tacitus, Ptolomæus, and Antonius, called
Londinium, Longidinium; of Ammianus,
, and Augusta, who calleth it
also an ancient Citie. Of our Britaines,
; of the old Saxons, Lunden
, Lundenbirig, Londennir
. Of stran
gers, Londra and Londres; of the inha
bitants, London: whereof you may read
a more large and learned Discourse, and
how it tooke the name, in that Worke
of my loving friend, Master Camden,
now Clarenceaulx, which is called Bri
Concerning Mr. Camden, in his more
absolute relation of London, the Argu
ment we have now in hand; I will be so
bold as to borrow his owne words, as he
hath set them downe in his Britania.
Summing over the severall names then
given and attributed thereto, as former
ly hath beene declared: hee comes to
his owne iudgement:
For mine owne part,
Camden in his Britan
ning the name of London.
(saith hee) seeing
that sar and Strabo doe write, that the
ancient Britaines called those Woods and
Groves, by the name of Cities and Townes,
which they had fenced with Trees, cast down
and plashed, to stop up all passage: Seeing
also I have understood, that such Woods or
Groves are in the British Tongue named
Of British Townes and Cities
I incline a little to the opinion,
that London thence tooke name, as one
would say, by way of excellencie; The Citie,
or A Citie thicke of Trees. But if herein I
faile of the truth; let me (with good leave)
give my conjecture. And here would I have
no man to charge me with inconstancie, while
I disport in conjecture; that whence it had
the fame,
London re
ceived nama frō Ships and shipping.
thence also it took name, even from
Ships, which the Britaines in their language
call Lhong: so that Londinum may seeme
to sound as much as a Ship-Road, or Citie
of Ships
. For the Britaines terme a Citie
Dinas Brit.
whence the Latines have fetched
their Dinum.
Dinum Lat.
And hence it is, that else
where it is called Longidinium; and in
the Funerall Song or Dumpe of a most anci
ent British
* Poet.
* Bard, Lhong-porth, that is,

Wall about the Citie of LONDON.

An Harbour or Haven of Ships. And
by this very terme
Bononia, or Bolen in
France, which Ptolomee calleth Gessori
acum Navale, in the British Glossarie
is named Bolunglhong:
How ma
ny cities have deri
ved their names frō Ships.
as Naupactus,
Naustathmos, Nauplia, Navalia Au
gusti, &c.
But of these, none hath better right to as
sume unto it the name of a Ship-Roade, or
Haven, than our London. For in regard
of both Elements, most happy and blessed it
The situ
ation of London.
as being situated in a rich and fertile
soile, abounding with plentifull store of all
things, and on the gentle ascent and rising of
an Hill, hard by the Thames side, the most
milde Merchant (as one would say) of all
things that the world doth yeeld: which
swelling at certaine houres with the Ocean
Tides, by his safe and deepe Channell (able
to entertaine the greatest Ships that be) dai
ly bringeth in so great riches from all parts,
The bene
fit of the Thames eb¦bing and flowing, & also of the shipping.

that it striveth at this day with the Mart-Townes
of Christendome for the second
Prize, and affordeth a most sure and beau
tifull Road for Shipping. A man would say
that seeth the Shipping there, that it is (as
it were) a very Wood of Trees, disbranched
to make glades and let in light: So shaded
it is with Masts and Sayles.
Who was the first Founder,
ning the first foun
der of London.
is by length
of time growne out of knowledge: and in
truth, very few Cities there are, that know
theier owne first Founders, considering they
grew up to their greatnesse by little and lit
tle. But as other Cities, so this of ours, fa
thereth her originall upon the Trojans, as
verily beleeving that Brute (the Nephew in
the third descent of great Æneas) was the
builder thereof.
Brute sup
posed to bee the builder.
But whosoever founded it;
the happy and fortunate estate thereof hath
given good proofe, that built it was in a good
houre, and marked for life and long conti
Antiquity of London.
And that it is for Antiquity Ho
nourable, Ammianus Marcellinus giveth
us to understand; who called it in his time,
(and that was 1200. yeeres agoe) An old
. And Cornelius Tacitus in like
manner, who in Nero’s dayes, 1540. yeeres
since, reported it to have bin a place Very fa
mous for fresh trade, concourse of Mer
chants, & great store of victuals, and all
things necessary
. This onely at that time
was wanting to the glory thereof,
London no free Citie, nor Colonie in the Romanes time.
that it had
the name neither of a free City, nor of a Co
. Neither verily could it have stood with
the Romanes profit, if a Citie flourishing
with Merchandize, should haue enjoyed the
right of a Colonie or Free Citie. And there
fore it was (as I suppose) that they ordained
it to be a Præfectura:
London a Præfectura, governed by Officers yeerely sent to it from Rome.
for so they termed
all Townes where Marts were kept, and Iu
stice ministred: Yet so, as that they had no
Magistrates of their owne: but Rulers were
sent every yeere to governe in them, and for
to minister Law, which in publike matters,
namely of Taxe, Tributes, Tolles, Customes,
Warfare, &c. they should have from the Se
nate of Rome. Hence it commeth that Ta
, the Panegyrist, and Marcellinus
call it onely a Towne.
And although it was not in name loftier;
London flourished equall with any other place.

yet in wealth, riches and prosperity, it flou
rished as much as any other: yea and conti
nued in manner alwaies the same, under the
dominion of Romanes, English-Saxons,
and Normans, seldome or never afflicted
with any great calamities. In the reigne of
Nero, when the Britaines had conspired to
recover and resume their liberty under the
leading of Boadicia;
Suetonius Paulinus, Lieute
nant for Rome.
the Londoners could
not with all their weeping teares, hold Sue
tonius Paulinus
, but that after he had le
vied a power of the Citizens to aide him, he
would needes dislodge and remove from
thence, leaving the Citie naked to the enemy;
who forthwith surprized and slew some few,
whom either weaknesse of sexe, feeblenesse of
age, or sweetnesse of the place had detained
This City of Londō having bin destroy
ed & burnt by the Danes & other Pagan
The Citie of London dsstroyed by the Danes and againe re
about the yeere of Christ 839;
was, by Alfred, King of the West-Saxons,
in the yeere 886. repaired, honourabley
The Citie of London lay waste, & not in
habited for the space of almost 50 yeeres.
and made againe habitable:
Who also committed the custody there
of unto his sonne in law, Ethelred, Earle
of Mercia, unto whom before he had gi
ven his daughter Ethelfled.
And that this Citie was then strong
ly walled, may appeare by divers acci
dents; whereof William of Malmesbury
that about the yeere of Christ, 994
the Londoners did shut up their gates, and
defended their King, Ethelred, within
their Wals against the Danes.
In the yeere 1016. Edmund Ironside,
reigning over the West-Saxons, Canutus
the Dane
, bringing his Navy unto the
west part of the Bridge, did cast a trench
about the Citie of London, and then at
tempted to have won it by assault: but

Wall about the Citie of LONDON.

the Citizens repulsed him, and drave
them from their Wals.
Also in the yeere 1052. Earle Godwin,
with his Navie sayled up by the South
end of the Bridge, and so assailed the
Walles of this Citie.
William Fitzstephen, in the reigne of
Henry the second
, writing of the Wals
of this Citie
The Citie of London walled round a
bout by the River of Thames.
hath these words: the wall
is high and great, well towred on the North
side, with due distance betweene the Towres.
On the South side also, the Citie was walled
and towred: but the fishfull River of
, by his ebbing and flowing, hath
long since subverted them.
By the North side, he meaneth from
the River of Thames in the East, to the
River of Thames in the West: for so
stretched the Wall in his time, and the
Citie being farre more in length from
East to West, than in breadth from
South to North; and also narrower at
both ends, than in the middest, is there
fore compassed with the Wall on the
Land side, in forme of a bow, except
denting in betwixt Cripplegate and Al
. But the Wall on the South
side, along by the River of Thames, was
straight, as the string of a bow, and all
furnished with Towres or Bulwarkes,
(as we now terme them) in due distance
every one from other, as witnesseth our
Author, and our selves may behold for
the Land side. This may suffice for
proofe of a Wall, and forme thereof a
bout this Citie, and the same to have
beene of great Antiquity, as any other
within this Realme.
And now touching the maintenance
and repairing the said Wall,
Wals of London re
I read, that
in the yeere 1215. the 6. of King Iohn,
the Barons entring the City by Ealdgate,
first took assurance of the Citizens, then
brake into the Iews houses, searched their coffers,
CoThis text has been supplied. Reason: Type apparently malformed or fractured. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on evidence internal to this text (context, etc.). (CH)gshal.
to fill their owne purses: and af
ter, with great diligence repaired the
wals and gates of the Citie, with stones
taken from the Iewes broken houses. In
the yeere 1257. Henry the third caused
the wals of this Citie, which were sore
decayed, and destitute of Towres and
Towrets, to be repaired in more seeme
ly wise than before, at the common char
ges of the Citie. Also, in the yeere 1282
King Edward the first, having granted
to Robert Kilwarby, Archbishop of Can
, licence for the enlarging of the
Blacke Friers Church, to breake and take
downe a part of the Wall of the Citie,
from Ludgate to the River of Thames: He
also granted to Henry Waleis, Maior, and
the Citizens of London, the favour to
take toward the making of the wall, and
inclosure of the Citie, certaine customs,
or toll, as appeareth by his Grant. This
wall was then to be made from Ludgate
west to Fleetbridge, along behinde the
houses, and along by the water of the
Fleet unto the River of Thames. More
over, in the yeere 1310. Edward the se
commanded the Citizens to make
up the Wall already begunne, and the
Tower at the end of the same Wall,
within the water of Thames, neere unto
the Blacke Friers, &c. 1322. the second
of Edward the third, the Wals of this
Citie were repaired.
It was also granted
by King Richard the second, in the tenth
yeere of his reigne
, that a toll should be
taken of the wares, sold by Land or by
Water, (for tenne yeeres) towards the
repairing of the Wals, and cleansing of
the Ditch about London. In the 17. of
Edward the fourth
, Ralph Ioseline Maior,
caused part of the Wall about the Citie
of London to be repaired; to wit, betwixt
Ealdgate and Aldersgate. He also caused
the Moore-field to be searched for clay,
and bricke thereof to be made and burnt:
he likewise caused chalke to be brought
out of Kent, and to be burnt into lime in
the same Moore-field, for more furthe
rance of the worke. Then the Skinners,
to beginne in the East, made that part
of the Wall, betwixt Ealdgate and Buries
, towards Bishopsgate; as may ap
peare by their Armes in three places
fixed there. The Maior, with his Com
panie of Drapers, made all that part be
twixt Bishopsgate and Alhallowes Church
in the same Wall, and from Alhallowes
towards the Posterne called Mooregate.
A great part of the same Wall was re
paired by the Executors of Sir Iohn Cros
, late Alderman, as may appeare by
his Armes in two places there fixed:
And other Companies repaired the
rest of the VVall to the Posterne of Crip
In a Record which I have seene, and
affirmed also by Iohn Rouse, and (after
him) by Raphael Holinshed, I finde thus

Rivers and other Waters serving this Citie.

written: In Anno 1477. by the diligence
of Ralph Ioseline, Maior of London, the
Wall about London was new made, be
twixt Aldgate and Creplegate. He caused
the Moore-fields to be searched for clay,
and bricke to be made and burnt there.
He caused chalke also to be brought out
of Kent, and in the same Moore-fields to
be burnt into lime, onely for the furthe
rance of that worke. The Maior, with
his company of Drapers, made all that
part betwixt Bishopsgate and Alhallowes
in the same wall.
Bishopsgate new buil
Bishopsgate it
selfe was new built by the Merchants
Almanes of the Stillyard. And from Al
in the wall, towards
Mooregate, a great part of the same was
builded, of the goods, and by the Exe
cutours of Sir Iohn Crosby, sometimes
an Alderman, and Maior of London, as
may appeare by his Armes thereon fi
xed in two places. The Company of
Skinners made that part of the wall be
tweene Ealdgate and Buries markes, to
wards Bishopsgate; as may appeare by
their Armes in three places fixed. The
other Companies of the Citie, made
the other deale of the wall: which was
a great worke to be done in one yeere.
The Goldsmiths repaired from Cre
towards Aldersgate, and there the
worke ceased. The circuit of the wall
of London on the lands side, to wit, from
the Tower of London in the East, unto
Circuit of the Wall from the East to the West, and according
ly to eve
ry gate.
is 82. Perches: from Ealdgate
to Bishopsgate, 86. Perches: from Bi
in the North, to the Posterne of
Creplegate, 162. Perches: from Creple
to Aldersgate, 75. Perches: from Al
to Newgate, 66. Perches: from
Newgate in the West, to Ludgate, 42.
Perches: in all, 513. Perches of assise.
From Ludgate to the Fleet-Dike West
about 60. Perches: from Fleet-bridge
South to the River Thames, about 70.
Perches: and so the Totall of these Per
ches amounteth to 643. every Perch
consisting of 5. yardes and an halfe;
which doe yeeld 3536. yards and an
halfe, containing 10608. foot, which
make vp two English miles, and more
by 608. foot.

Cite this page

MLA citation

Stow, John, Anthony Munday, Anthony Munday, and Humphrey Dyson. Survey of London (1633): Wall about the City of London. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 05 May 2022, Draft.

Chicago citation

Stow, John, Anthony Munday, Anthony Munday, and Humphrey Dyson. Survey of London (1633): Wall about the City of London. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed May 05, 2022. Draft.

APA citation

Stow, J., Munday, A., Munday, A., & Dyson, H. 2022. Survey of London (1633): Wall about the City of London. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London (Edition 7.0). Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from Draft.

RIS file (for RefMan, RefWorks, EndNote etc.)

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

A1  - Stow, John
A1  - Munday, Anthony
A1  - Munday, Anthony
A1  - Dyson, Humphrey
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - Survey of London (1633): Wall about the City of London
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
ET  - 7.0
PY  - 2022
DA  - 2022/05/05
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  -
UR  -
ER  - 

TEI citation

<bibl type="mla"><author><name ref="#STOW6"><surname>Stow</surname>, <forename>John</forename></name></author>, <author><name ref="#MUND1"><forename>Anthony</forename> <surname>Munday</surname></name></author>, <author><name ref="#MUND1"><forename>Anthony</forename> <surname>Munday</surname></name></author>, and <author><name ref="#DYSO1"><forename>Humphrey</forename> <surname>Dyson</surname></name></author>. <title level="a">Survey of London (1633): Wall about the City of London</title>. <title level="m">The Map of Early Modern London</title>, Edition <edition>7.0</edition>, edited by <editor><name ref="#JENS1"><forename>Janelle</forename> <surname>Jenstad</surname></name></editor>, <publisher>U of Victoria</publisher>, <date when="2022-05-05">05 May 2022</date>, <ref target=""></ref>. Draft.</bibl>