Roman Wall

One of the iconic and most visited places in London is the Tower. The earliest part of the structure that can be seen today is the White Tower (the central keep) which dates from Norman times (11th century).

I wonder how many people who arrive at Tower Hill station on the underground realise that as they leave the station they pass an even older part of London – part of the original Roman city wall. They may see the large section of the wall outside the station but may think it is contemporary with the Tower and indeed much of what you see is Medieval in date. But never wanting to waste what was to hand the Medieval wall built here used the remaining Roman foundations and wall on which to build their new wall. Thus the lower courses actually date from the 2nd-3rd centuries.

Other pieces of the Roman wall exist in the city but this is probably the largest. Looking at the picture on the left at least 4 bands of the characteristic red tile inserts can be seen and examination of both pictures gives a good idea of how much of the Roman wall, around 4m at its highest point, was left for the Medieval builders to build upon.

This stretch of wall runs north-south and continues south through what is now the Tower, where is evidence of a Roman gate in the area of the moat and then on towards the river. A small remnant of the wall can be seen in the Tower grounds near the remains of the Wardrobe Tower.


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