LONDON ARCHAEOLOGIST 1981 vol 4.6

Excavations by Department of Urban Archaeology, Museum of London. (Submitted by J. Schofield, Field Officer.)

S.E. Corner Tower of Baynards Castle. (J. R. Burke- Easton).


Four periods of medieval and post-medieval E-W river-frontages were recorded. Period I was timber; horizontal planks edge-on-edge were nailed to the back of large vertical posts which were supported on their front by angled struts jointed into them. Period II was represented by the construction of a stone rubble, ashlar faced wall whose front line was a little over 5m south of the previous structure. It was at least 2.3m wide at its base and partly founded on timber base-plates which were supported by piles set into the foreshore. Although the structure was extensively robbed; evidence of a n-s drain was recorded on the east of the area. It exited through an intact arch in the wall and timbers abutting it suggest some sort of sluice gate. Also recorded to the west during 1972/3, but outside this excavation, was a line of chalk rubble running north, similar to the remains of the e-w wall, perhaps suggesting a n-s return marking the western limit. Period III was the rebuilding of Baynards Castle, historically dated to 1428, of which only the SE corner tower was within the area. It was roughly an octagonal shape, had a diameter of c 8m, and survived to a maximum height of 2.5m (2.46m od). Built as integral features on the east end of the tower were, i) a garderobe, the sump of which was in situ, with evidence of a system of chutes which allowed disposal from three floors, and exited into the river through ii), an e-w riverwall which ran for at least 10m. An arch was also incorporated through the east end of the wall which allowed the flow of the Period II drain to continue, having been extended 6m. The tower, wall and drain were founded on large timber plank base-plates which were supported by piles. Although this part of the castle was pulled down in 1666, the lower area of river frontage stayed in use until much later, and was subject to a rebuild on the front of the tower, while the garderobe was blocked off and converted into a cess-pit. Period IV was the construction of a C19th brick built wall. Its back face was only 0.5m (20in.) south of the tower, but to its east cut through the period III riverwall.

32 Clements Lane. TQ 3267 8095 (C. I. Evans).
Excavations funded by Guiness Peat Properties Ltd. were conducted in east/west trench (15rn X 3m) inside 32 Clements Lane. The initial occupation of the site, of Neronian date, consisted of slot trenches with associated stake-holes cut into a brickearth slab. There followed a sequence of 1st and early 2nd century interior and exterior surfaces. A sunken Flavian tile and ragstone stairway had been cut through these surfaces in the west of the site, and apparently led to a cellar which must have been situated immediately north of the site. One side of this stairway was incorporated into, and its alignment followed, the construction of a major north/south wall of mid 2nd century date. Associated with this later re-development was a parallel and corresponding wall and a tile drain. Throughout the site, in situ burning and collapse of an early to mid 2nd century fire was found. In the eastern portion there was a north/south alleyway or minor road which pre-dated this burnt horizon. The western side of this thoroughfare was bordered by two successive ditches, the earlier being of Flavian date and the second of late 1st or early 2nd century date; in the later ditch was evidence of a plank-revetted drain. Only a narrow strip of 'dark earth' survived on the site and produced 3rd to 4th century pottery. While no Saxon features were found, a massive, early medieval, robbing shaft produced substantial quantities of late Saxon pottery, All post-Roman horizontal stratigraphy except two medieval cess-pits had been removed by the modern development of the site.

19-20 College Hill. TQ 3250 8087 (M. Barker).
'From mid-January 1981 until the end of March a watching brief and excavation funded by Dundas Properties Ltd. was carried out on the site of the almshouses built c 1426 under the terms of Richard Whittington's will. The contractors excavated an L-shaped trench in the yard area to the W (rear) of 19-20 College Hill and carried out investigations of the foundations of the standing building of the former Mercers' School adjacent to the NW corner of St. Michael Paternoster Royal. The earliest layers exposed were a series of gravels, recorded in a N-S section, adjacent to the church, which may have represented a gravel alleyway or yard. These were overlain by a series of early medieval occupation surfaces with horizontal, spaced medieval tiles. At one horizon a wedge of burnt daub may have represented a hearth area. The uppermost of the occupation surfaces had a well built brickearth and green-glazed tile hearth. These layers had been cut into by burials contemporary with the Whittington almshouses. The L-shaped trench exposed two phases of medieval wall construction. An earlier E-W wall was probably contemporary with the occupation surfaces and was truncated by the later medieval burials. The later phase consisted of wall foundations probably of the almshouses c 1426. There were well constructed ragstone, sandstone and chalk walls forming part of a cellar, its inner walls faced with ashlar blacks and a scrim of whitewash. A carefully shaped greensand block showed evidence of being used for the pivoting of the door jambs leading down into the cellar, which had a fragmentary brick floor remaining. During further excavations adjacent to the S wall of 21 College Hill further truncated medieval walling was exposed, together with a flagstone walkway with one flagstone carved to Corm a slot into which a beam could be laid flat. The walkway appeared to be of a phase of alteration post-dating the almshouses. Most of the S area had been truncated by burials, probably of inmates of the almshouses, which probably continued until 1666.

2-3 Cross Key Court, Copthall Avenue. TQ 3275 8148 (C. Maloney).
Excavation here was generously funded by Commercial Union Properties Ltd. The earliest deposits on the site, located in the upper reaches of the Walbrook stream, are waterlain silts, contained within a bank of clay, which are thought to be Rood deposits of a tributary of the Walbrook; and a gravel surface, probably a road, bordered by a ditch. Above this surface was a N-S road constructed on a foundation of turves laid over a raft of twigs and branches set on to sand. Overlying the flood deposits, a series of organic dumps which levelled up the area for building contained pottery of mid 2nd century date. The building, set 'E-W, lay beside the road; it had three or more rooms and several modifications. Parallel to the E edge of the road was a timber drain. In the late 2ndlearly 3rd century an ?embankment of clay and gravel, aligned E-W, was laid containing material possibly from a glass kiln. The latest known Roman features were two N-S ditches, one of which silted up by or in the 3rd century, possibly representing attempts at draining the area. There is little evidence of activity from the late Roman to early medieval periods except for a 10th century ?surface, a series of pits dating to the llth/l2th centuries, and a N-S ditch. A thick deposit of peat must represent the marsh which developed in this area from the Roman period onwards; the boggy nature of the ground was alleviated by the dumping of large quantities of clay in the 12th century. Into this clay tanks, possibly for the storage of shellfish, were cut in the 13th century. Large quantities of slag and crucibles and a mould for the casting of bronze buckles were found in 14thilSth century deposits, perhaps indicating metal working in the vicinity. 17th and 18th century deposits confirmed that the area of excavation formed gardens of properties fronting onto London Wall to the N; rarely for a City site, the building had no basement. WC.

8-10 Crosswall. TQ 3360 8100 (J. Maloney).
For work in 1981 and the recovery of a Roman tombstone fragment, see this issue, p168. LA Round Up – see 1979

Miles Lane. TQ 3284 8075 (L. M. B. Miller).
For further work in 1981 and conclusions see article in this issue, pp. 143-7. LA Round Up – see 1980


Christchurch, Newgate St. TQ 3200 8137 (R. Lea).
Observations in the north aisle and the E half of the remaining nave were made during the preparations for occupation by temporary offices. Stripping of the turf and levelling involving removal of Blitz debris revealed an arched brick vault 4.5m X 8m aligned N-S at least 3m deep below the Wren period floor in the NW corner of the church, Wren pier bases for the N arcade and one from the S, a brick pulpit base c 2m square set on the diagonal, centred about 1.5m N of the S arcade in the fourth bay from the W end, previously unrecorded and probably representing the position of the first pulpit in the Wren church. The arched brick vault was in a state of partial collapse and machine removal of its contents revealed about ten intact 18th century lead coffins stacked against the N wall. A blocked spiral staircase and a smaller vault cut through under the main N wall of the Wren church above were also observed. Fragments of the Wren font as photographed in RCHM and mouldings probably dating from the pre-Wren parish church were recovered from Blitz debris in the fill of the vault. The restoration of the fabric of the Wren walls of the church was also monitored.

5 Philpot Lane. TQ 3312 8088 (F. Hammer).
A watching brief recovered information from 17 holes for concrete piling, spread over an area of c 220 sq m to the W of Philpot Lane. The site lay about 60m S of the SE corner of the Hadrianic forum. The sections showed seven periods of activity. In Period I were quarries of brickearth and sand, later levelling of the area and a few traces of a flimsy structure in the E and some construction in the W; a spread of destruction material appearing at the fringe seemed to come from a fire to the S or E outside the site. Period II consisted of two buildings, of which the SW had substantial ragstone foundations and an inner flint foundation bonded with mortar. It seems to have survived into the late Roman period. The other, a timber and brickearth structure in the E running under modern Philpot Lane and having a gravelled area to the W, was extended in three phases until it reached a property boundary in the W marked by a stone foundation. After its destruction in Period 'III a new structure was built in the E with ragstone foundations and an opus signinum floor, also crossing the line of Philpot Lane. In Period IV dark earth and pit fills provided evidence of Saxon occupation, although much cut away. Two ragstone and chalk walls of Period V survived at the W and S boundaries of the site; they were perhaps contemporary with the surviving 15th century vaulted undercroft S of the site. Evidence of post-medieval date (Period VI) consisted of two drains, a few portions of walls, a pit and a substantial levelling layer of destruction debris which was cut by Period VIT Victorian stanchions.

Pudding Lane. TQ 3294 8072 (G. Milne).
The nine month excavation, funded by English Property Corporation and the National Provident Institution. was primarily designed to examine the development of the Roman waterfront. The north bank of the pre-urban river was located, into which a double row of piles had been driven. In the 1st c a substantial timber-framed waterfront structure was erected to the south (i.e. in what was the open river), and was itself later replaced by an infilled timber fronted quay, which survived to its full height of 2m. Contemporary working surfaces and warehouses with colonnaded frontage, stone walls and timber floors were also recorded. The development of these structures and associated drains was traced into the late Roman period, as was the history of a substantial masonry structure to the north. This incorporated a mosaic floor, hypocaust and an apsidal ended mosaic walled ?bath. The dark earth which sealed the Roman levels was cut by pits of ?9th to 11th c date. The multi-phase remains of two sunken floored buildings were found, cut or sealed by later medieval features. Associated external surfaces, pits and two wells were also recorded.

Fish Street Hill. TQ 3292 8071 (G. Milne).
The five month excavation was funded by E.P.C., N.P.I. and the DoE, and was primarily designed to examine waterfront development near the suspected position of the Roman bridge. The discovery of a substantial timber framed structure erected in the open river in the mid 1st c close to the assumed line of the bridge led to the suggestion that it may be part of the sub structure of a bridge. Two phases of quay structure (the latest erected In 70-80 A.D.) seemed to post date its construction, and were similar to the structures examined on the adjacent Pudding Lane site to the east (see above). The subsequent development of the area in the 2nd c was also examined.

St. Paul's Churchyard. TQ 3200 8112 (R. Lea).
A trench 2m square and 1.3m deep was cut for tree planting in St. Paul's Churchyard 10m S of the S facade of the W transept and 20m E of the line of the W front. In the W half of the trench a brick structure at least 0.8m wide, possibly a burial vault, was observed running on a NNW-SSW axis about 0.45m below the present ground surface. A blocked round arch of four orders was found in its E face. Limestone blocks were used in the blocking and in the main structure itself, which was overlain by demolition debris including limestone, mortar, brick, tile and ash containing no finds.

St Peter's Hill 223-5 Upper Thames St. TQ 3203 8091 (T. Williams).
Excavations conducted over an eight month period revealed a Roman to post-medieval sequence. There was little evidence of activity prior to a cutting of terraces into the hillside provisionally dated to the late 2nd or early 3rd century. The excavated area encompassed the lowest terrace and the retaining wall of a higher terraces, agreeing with the sequence found to the E by P Marsden underneath the present Salvation 4 building. On the lower terrace massive ,N-S and E-W foundations were constructed of oak piles, rammed chalk and limestone blocks. The N-S foundation was about 3.75m wide and the E-W foundation 8.5m wide. These formed the W and S segments of a massive structure for which the upper terrace wall formed the N element. The internal surface consisted of a good quality opus signinum floor while to the W gravels were dumped to make up an external surface. These gravels sealed a lattice of timber possibly associated with the construction phase. The probably 4th century riverside wall, which ran just to the S of the structure, was constructed after the monumental building was at least partially dismantled, though it may have utilised some of the latter's S-most parts. Evidence of a late Roman timber building with beaten earth floors was uncovered on the N half of the site, again possible utilising parts ,of the monumental structure. Saxon activity survived only under Peter's Hill and Upper Thames Street, both of which were sectioned as part of the excavation. Under the former a sequence of structural and occupational activity was identified, yielding a quantity of grass-tempered pottery, but the area was too small to allow firm conclusions. Both streets appear to have been laid out in the 12th century, Upper Thames Street using the Roman riverside wall as its S boundary. Street surfaces survived on both streets from the 12th to 20th centuries. Various related medieval properties were excavated and although the pre-13th century material is fragmented the spatial distribution of the early pits suggests various properties. The W wall of St Peter's church, possibly of the 12th century, was examined in relationship to the development of Peter's Hill. A sequence of Great )Fire deposits consisted of burnt brick cellars, the destruction of the church and subsequent substantial dumping over the whole area, agreeing with documented raising of street levels by the Thames. A rebuilt wall on the site of the church incorporated a large quantity of moulded stonework which should allow considerable insight into the appearance of the pre-Fire church. A marked continuity of street frontages and property divisions can be traced from the 13th century to the post-Fire period and this .continuity only ceased with the construction of a Victorian warehouse on the site.


Swan Lane/Upper Thames Street. TQ 3273 8070 (G. Egan).
Excavation in the basement of the multi-storey car park at Swan Lane was made possible by a grant from the developers, Edger Investments, and through the cooperation of National Car Parks Ltd. Some worn timbers were found in situ at the edge of the River Thames in the Saxon period, immediately to the S of a consolidated surface of gravel and Roman building rubble. These features were overlain by an eroded late Saxon clay bank against which foreshore material had accumulated. To the S, 12th-13th century dumping reclaimed at least 18m of land from the river, probably in more than one operation, but any revetting structures, with the exception of a single cruciform timber back brace, had been removed. The first activity on this newly-made land was represented by a highly complicated series of at least 35 hearths, each constructed with a burning surface of mortar laid over vertically set rooftile fragments, surrounded by a key-hole shaped kerb of ragstone and horizontal rooftile fragments. These hearths included a vertical series of six superimposed burning areas (from which samples were taken for archaeological dating by the Ancient Monuments Laboratory), and up to five horizontal rows, though contemporaneity is difficult to demonstrate. The nature of this riverside industrial activity may be clarified by the analysis of samples recovered during excavation; these include some montmorillonite (fuller's earth) identified by the Mineralogy Dept. of the Natural History Museum. The hearths were truncated at the N by an early 13th century undercroft, the stone-built entrance of which survived in detail, with the imprints from removed steps that would have led up towards medieval Thames Street to the N. After most of the usable building stone had been removed, the undercroft area had been backfilled with a series of dumps, including some substantial flints and a deposit of fine sandy material, perhaps from stoneworking. To the S the hearths were overlain by several later medieval stone, and post-medieval brick foundations. The implied N-S property boundaries seem to have shifted towards the end of the period represented in at least one area. Unusually for this part of London, no evidence of the Great Fire of 1666 was excavated. The latest feature uncovered was a brick-lined cistern, probably from the 18th or 19th century buildings on the site.

9 The Arches, Crutched Friars. TQ 3350 8090 (R. Lea).
During refurbishment a human skeleton was discovered aligned E-W, lm E of a chalk foundation c 1.1m wide which ran N-S immediately below the modern cellar floor. The site falls within the NE corner of the precinct of the Crutched Friars.

Apothecaries Wall, Water Lane. TQ 31 75 8105 (D. Bluer).
A watching brief recorded human bones from trial holes in basements in advance of development. Two holes, each c lm square, were examined. The first yielded eleven stratified but disarticulated bones of an adult, possibly male; the grave cut could not be discerned because of disturbance. The second hole contained two graves, only one of which contained stratified material: seven teen disarticulated bones and one skull, belonging to three individuals, an adult, an adolescent of 14-18 years and a child of ten. The grave fill was truncated by a pit containing building material and a sherd of Guy's Hospital ware, provisionally of 16th or 17th century date, of previously unrecorded form. The area of the trenches is known to have been the S aisle of the nave of the late 13th century church of the Blackfriars.

LAARC Archive.

Alderman’s House, 34–37 Liverpool Street, EC2. TQ 33200 81530 (H. White).
A possible quarry pit was succeeded by an E-W aligned burial of 3rd c date. Two medieval and one post-medieval cess- or rubbish pits were recorded and, at the W end of the site, a 17th c brick walled cellar had been set into the natural brickearth.