Thursday, 9 May 2013

London's Roman City Wall - The Obscured - Part 3

As a continuation of my quest to discover the hidden bits London's Roman City Wall (See Part 1; Part 2), I have targeted a number of other buildings located along the line of the eastern section of the Roman city wall.  

After much Googling (other search engines are available), I have found the information available about these potential sites to be obscure and sometimes considerably out of date.  However, not to be put off, I thought I'd use my lunch-hours gainfully and seek out these ancient remnants.

This post refers to a section of Roman Wall located under the appropriately named "London Wall House" located at the meeting point of Nos.18-20 Jewry Street and No. 1 Crutched Friars in EC3, London.

Crutched Friars
Crutched Friars
By the way, the Crutched Friars which give their name to the street are in fact derived from the House of the Friars of the Holy Cross. It seems the Middle English word for "Cross" was "Crouche" from the Latin "Crux" which readily gives the form "Crutched".

Back to the main point! Opposite these Friars is London Wall House, No.1 Crutched Friars.

Roman Wall House, 1 Crutched Friars, London
Roman Wall House
My usual method of entry was employed: asking nicely if they have a Roman Wall hiding in their basement, which in this case provoked immediate positive action from the very nice chap who answered the main door.

I mentioned to the chap that the information I had gathered said the wall was incorporated into the Directors' dining room in the basement, and so I was somewhat surprised when he grabbed a set of keys and led me back out of the building and further along the street to the entrance of a former nightclub known as Club II AD (That's 2 AD. See what they did there?). 

Club II AD
Club II AD
He unlocked the glass doors and we headed down stairs to basement level into the eerie gloom of the deserted former nightclub.  Light-switch duly located, I was escorted the length of the whole club and at the far north-east corner the wall was to be found.

Roman Wall at Roman Wall House
First sight of Wall behind former bar of club. Note the diagonal alignment with flooring.
The wall is on a diagonal alignment to rest of the building, which would mean this section is positioned just slightly north of the section under Emperor House mentioned in my earlier post, in order for the alignment of the two sites to make sense.  

Closer view of wall

From what I have found out it was discovered in 1905 and described then as a 12m (40ft) length of inner facing wall, standing to a height of 2.5-3m (8-9ft) with the base 2.6m (8.5ft) below the present ground level.  Above the usual triple levelling course of brick were four courses of squared ragstone, a triple bonding-course, size courses of squared ragstone and a double bonding-course with the usual offsets.

Detail view of Roman Wall

The wall is set on black concrete underpins, with the original red sandstone base missing.  The northern end provides a small cross-section of the wall.

Roman Wall at Roman Wall House

There was also an information panel next to the bar, but providing on general information on the London Wall rather than anything specific to the section on display.

Information Panel

So that's it for now.  I have still yet to get access to some wall sections under other buildings in this area and I hope to post the results when I finally do.

For more general background information on the city wall and Roman London please refer to the Museum of London's web site on this topic.  Better still, go make a personal visit to this often overlooked but truly excellent (and free) museum.



  1. Brilliant, I am building a collection of detail about the London Wall, which includes an 1905 picture of the same wall at Roman Wall House -

    1. Those are great archive photos you have found! I may use that source when I refresh this post as part of a migration process to a new site.
      Regards CC.

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