LONDON ARCHAEOLOGIST 1983 vol 4.14

CITY OF LONDON: Excavations by Department of Urban Archaeology, Museum of London.

5-12 Fenchurch Street (TQ 3303 8093) (F. Hammer).


Excavation on the S side of Fenchurch Street, between Gracechurch Street and Philpot Lane (by arrangement with Land Securities (Management) Ltd.) recorded 2m (6)ft) of Roman stratigraphy in an area of c. 225 sq m (2400 sq ft). A number of sections along and beneath the two roads forming the sides of the site showed the whole sequence of layers from natural to modern. The area is situated immediately S of the main E/W road through the Roman city, opposite the SE corner of the Forum. Evidence of buildings was found from earliest Roman times. One substantial structure had a tile drain leading to the W. In the centre of the site were traces of two successive buildings on the same alignment and two successive flimsier structures to the E, evidently industrial. They were probably open towards the S and were close to deposits and pits of ash, charcoal and traces of metal.
The earliest Roman occupation probably dated to the 50s A.D., and the associated ceramics were of a remarkably high quality, including many cups and beakers in Lyon ware and at least two mould-made South-Gaulish colour-coated cups of a type which is otherwise almost entirely absent from the City. The coarser wares include products of the Neronian industry identified amongst the kiln waste recovered from Sugar Loaf Court in 1982.
Little Boudiccan fire debris was found, as the area was carefully cleared for a major building in Flavian times. This was a big hall nearly 20m (66ft) long and at least 11m (36ft) wide built on deep gravel, mortar and stone foundations with plastered mudbrick walls. Buttresses strengthened the N wall. Piles inside the building may have supported its roof. Built on to it to the N lay a number of smaller rooms with many successive floors and partition walls of several phases, with little evidence of inhabitation. They seem to have been used as shops or workshops.
On the E side a gravelled alleyway led from the main road to a side entrance with stairs. This was soon overbuilt: a room was found with a substantial opus signinum floor, divided by a plastered and polychrome painted brickearth wall from a kitchen. This included a hearth and shelf, where the pots were still in position when the building burnt down, probably together with the adjoining building to the west, producing a thick layer of debris.
Cutting into it, the succeeding building only survived as N/S partition foundations of chipped ragstone and a very substantial ragstone-mortar foundation, which was seen in section along the E part of the south frontage of Fenchurch Street and returned under Philpot Lane. No traces of a road were seen behind the wall under Philpot Lane at the Roman level. Evidence of the late 3rd c, came from two wells, constructed within one large pit in the NW; fire put them out of use when the charred timber construction collapsed into the shaft. One of these wells was thereafter used as a sump (see this issue, pp. 375-7).
A pit cut into the backfill of this well contained three unbroken pot, upside down, all of which contained charcoal and one an eroded coin. No building was found in association with this foundation deposit or offering, as the upper layers were truncated.

3-5 Bishopsgate (TQ 3303 8117) (G. Milne, C. Milne & N. Bateman).
Archaeological excavations were conducted in six basement rooms of the standing building during an eight-week period in advance of redevelopment. The work was generously funded by London & Edinburgh Securities.
The natural brickearth surface had been truncated at C.+ 12.25m (40.2ft) and sealed by a redeposited brickearth slab at c. 12.50m (41.0ft) O.D. There was evidence to suggest that structural activity in the south of the site (Building 1) was burnt in the mid/late 1st c, and ,that brickearth quarries were subsequently dug to the N of two superimposed timber buildings (Buildings 2 and 3). Structural divisions, a doorway, opus signinum floors and a hearth were associated with the final phase of Building 3, which was superseded in the 2nd c by Building 5. Parts of the masonry foundations of the N wing of this substantial structure were found, associated with opus signinum and tessellated pavements in the final phase. To the N was a timber building, Building 4, which was replaced by timber Building 6. Both this and the masonry Building 5 were physically sealed by dark grey silts containing 3rd and 4th c pottery. These silts were cut by late Saxon features including a hearth, a cellared building, from which came three 11th or 12th c iron knives, and a backfilled well into which a sequence of eleven superimposed brickearth surfaces of a surface-laid building had slumped. Crucible fragments were associated with these floors. Provisional pottery analysis suggests that the site was occupied by the early 11th c, although the surface-laid building may not pre-date the Norman conquest.

Copthall Avenue (TQ 3275 8150) (C. Maloney).
Since September 1983 a watching brief covering an area 60 x 60m (200ft sq), fronting onto London Wall and Copthall Avenue, has been in progress. The Roman road, recorded during the excavation of 1981-2, has been traced for a considerable distance, orientated N.N.E. S.S.W.; additional evidence of the associated timber framed building indicates that it was at least 12m x 3.8m (39 x 12.5ft). Series of posts, gravelled surfaces and various wooden structures, also Roman in date, have been recorded . In the north-east corner of the site, natural gravels of a maximum depth of 3m (10ft), gradually thinned towards the south, where waterlain deposits of the Walbrook stream directly overlie the London clay. During the Roman period the Walbrook was effectively controlled; thereafter the formation of peat indicates that this regulation was not maintained and the area became marshy.

St. Swithin's Lane (TQ 3270 8094) (M. Nally).
Excavations generously funded by Haslemere Estates Ltd. were conducted in the basements of standing buildings at 18 and 20 St. Swithin's Lane. A trench lm x 2m (3ft 3in x 6ft 6in) in No. 20 revealed only modern backfill on top of natural brickearth. A standing medieval vaulted structure parallel to the street frontage was recorded.
In No. 18 two trenches, 3.60m x 6.80m (11.8ft x 22.3ft) and 5.7Gm x 7.90m (18.7ft x 25.9ft), were excavated in plan. Two other smaller trenches were recorded in section. These disclosed a sequence of 1st and 2nd c Roman occupation, including a fence line, wood-lined drain and masonry foundation in the western trench. Foundation trenches had been cut into the natural sand and gravel in the E trench, but there was no evidence of associated occupation surfaces. A large rectangular cut had also been made into the natural, presumably for quarrying purposes. Later Roman activity included a sequence of make-up and floors associated with a collapsed wall.
Medieval walls were recorded running parallel to the street frontage in No. 18, on the same alignment as the standing walls in No. 20. These walls were also observed continuing through No. 19 and presumably represent a single structure. The construction trench of the W wall was dated 1150-1200. A robbed medieval wall was recorded 7m (23ft) to the W of this structure, on the same alignment.
A barrel-well and series of pits belonged to the post medieval period.

St. Bride's House, 10-12 Salisbury Square, 1-4 Dorset Buildings (TQ 3155 8109) (M. Nally).
A watching brief funded by Legal & General Insurance Ltd. conducted at St. Bride's House revealed clay and gravel which sloped south from St. Bride's Church and was truncated by the modern basement level. A series of brick and masonry foundations were observed in a piling trench along the S edge of the site. Several chalk and ragstone foundations of more than one phase of medieval construction were recorded; they were too fragmentary to give coherent plans, Brick and ragstone cellar lining walls were recorded 3m (loft) further W. No dating evidence was associated with these foundations. Construction materials of the brick foundation in the SE corner were dated 1500-1550. These brick foundations could be associated with Bridewell Palace, immediately to the south-east; the remainder more probably with the Inn of the Bishop of Salisbury to the west.

22-6 Blackfriars Lane (TQ 3175 8105) (R. Bluer).
In spring 1983 a watching brief was funded by St Anselm Developments and the Worshipful Company of Apothecaries. A steep cut in the W part of the site was probably the W edge of an early medieval phase of the City ditch, which is known from documentary sources to have been abandoned and filled in in the late 13th c to accommodate the building of Blackfriars.
The backfill took the form of sandy gravels, which appeared as a deep horizon over the whole site, sealing natural gravels. Within the tipping sequence was a layer of black organic silt which was probably domestic rubbish. Cutting into these gravels were several substantial ragstone walls and masonry features.
A reconstructed ground-plan of the Friary (Clapham, Archaeologia 63, 1912) provided provisional identification of these features, despite the truncation of all occupational levels or floors. A 19m (62ft) length of the S wall and a portion of the W wall of the conventual church were recorded, as well as four ragstone foundation piers for the arcading of the S aisle.
At right angles to (and butted onto) the S wall was the E wall of the guest-house, which also served as the outer wall of the W cloister range. No burials were recorded, in contrast to those observed in trial holes previously. Several brick-lined cesspits and a well from the post- Dissolution period were also observed.

26-36 Cloth Fair, 62-7 Long Lane (TQ 3193 8173) (D. Bentley).
During Spring 1983 a watching brief was carried out with a grant from Harbour Group Developments Ltd on this site immediately N of St. Bartholomew the Great church and within the precinct of the 12th century priory. The earliest recorded features were a ditch system perhaps of the Roman period, which fell into disuse. This was overlain by a large number of E/W aligned adult male burials of medieval date, confirming inference from documentary and archaeological sources that this was part of the site of the monastic cemetery. From the 14th c a succession of extension but well-maintained gravelled yard surfaces covered the site, sealing the burials A group of fifteen very worn Penn floor tiles, dating to 1330-1400, were incorporated in the early part of the yard sequence. The surfaces correspond with the suggested site of the medieval Bartholomew Fair. The first structural evidence observed was a row of houses built In the late 16th c. The cellars of several of these houses were constructed of greensand and brick with timbered floors; they cut through the latest gravelled surfaces, and fronted onto a metalled road (the origin of Cloth Fair) which was laid out across the S part of the site adjacent to the ex-priory church. This development was part of a larger scheme, known from documentary sources, involving all the land to the N of the church. It remained partially intact well into the 20th c.

8 Telegraph Street (TQ 3271 8136) (P. Chitwood).
The excavation, made possible by a generous grant from Phoenix Assurance, took place during July-Augu6t 1983 in a 2.3m x 2.5m (7ft 6in x 8ft 2in) area in the basement of a 19th c listed building on the youth side of what was formerly Great Bell Alley.
Initial Roman development consisted of a series of dumps, contained to the N by a timber pile and plank revetment, presumably an attempt to raise the ground level. Further raisings of ground surface followed, first with evidence for a late lst/early 2nd c stone-founded building, open to the E towards the Walbrook and then with a more substantial 2nd c building with a sequence of interior floor surfaces. The raising dumps included fragments of leather garments and shoes. This building was probably demolished in the late 2nd or early 3rd c and its walls robbed (Period I).
The robber trenches were later cut by a ditch which may have served as a drainage channel (Period XI). A further series of dumps was followed by an 11/12th c timber building. possibly wattle-walled, with several phases of gravel and clay occupation layers. Evidence was found for a second structure in approximately the same position as the first, with several associated hearths above dumps levelling the entire area (Period III).
The uppermost activity was truncated by the modern basement (Period IV).

79 Gracechurch Street (TQ 3302 8103) (A. Upson).
A 3-month excavation was carried out in the area of the E range of the first (Flavian) Roman forum, by arrangement with Land Securities Management Ltd.
Excavation revealed some pre-Roman activity, although in the restricted area available no distinct structures could be identified. These deposits were bounded to the E by a steep-sided ditch which separated them from a sequence of well-surfaced gravel metallings, apparently representing a fragment of a N-S road.
The alignment established by these features was not respected by the subsequent building of the walls of the first (Flavian) forum. A N-S flint rubble wall foundation, capped by two tile courses, ran across the E of the site. Evidence from other sites suggests that it originally supported a continuous wall subsequently replaced by a series of square piers. These were used in conjunction with a new ragstone rubble foundation, capped by tiles, found in the present excavation approximately 2m (6.5ft) to the W of the flint foundation. This would seem to be an extension of the E range into the courtyard area; the space between the two walls was well surfaced with hard mortar.
The superstructures of these features were thereafter carefully dismantled and the area covered with a thick deposit of clean sand and gravel to form a raised base for the courtyard surfaces of the second (early 2nd c) forum.
Later features excavated include two pits of Saxon date, an early medieval coursed chalk foundation for a building with its axis perpendicular to Gracechurch Street, and a large early 19th c brick cesspit.

154-6 Fenchurch Street, 15-16 Cullum Street (TQ 3313 8097) (C. Fenn, M. Reid and T. Williams).
A watching brief was conducted for about three months with funds from the Equitable Life Assurance Society. The earliest activity observed was a number of large gravel quarries (Period I) infilled prior to the first phase of structural activity; this consisted of a number of spatially isolated structures destroyed in a first fire (Boudican) (II). The area was subsequently levelled and a second. more extensive phase of structural activity took place: large masonry buildings with floors of opus signinum and plaster work (III). These were destroyed in a second widespread fire which was recorded in several areas immediately below modern basements.
Due to this degree of disturbance only intrusive features survived post-dating the second fire. A number of medieval foundations were recorded, mostly in underpinning holes, conforming to the existing property boundaries. Several wells, of a broad date range, were recorded (IV).

14 Garlick Hill (Sugar Loaf Court) (TQ 3235 8087) (M. Barker).
The second part of the Sugar Loaf Court (Beaver House) with a further grant from the Hudson's Bay Company, excavation took place between February and May 1983, Excavation continued of the trench opened in Sugar Loaf Court in October 1982, and in an extension to the S.
In the Sugar Loaf Court trench, evidence of pre-Flavian and Flavian structures was recovered with direct correlations to others found to the S, which in turn produced evidence of a substantial timber structure on the same alignment as structures excavated to the E in 1982. Again pottery of Neronian date was in association.
The Sugar Loaf Court trench produced evidence of Saxon/early medieval pits and an oven-like structure with a small group of pottery provisionally dated 850-1000. A chalk foundation with associated occupation surfaces followed; the pottery from this phase dated to the 12th c. This building went out of use in the late medieval period and was followed by a phase of pitting in the late 14th or 15th c. To the S of Sugar Loaf Court medieval surfaces were truncated by Victorian cellaring.

LAARC Archive

18 Birchin Lane, EC3 (TQ 32885 81037) (L Miller).
A watching brief funded by Speyhawk and Scottish Equitable at this site immediately W of the forum showed that a number of early stakeholes were overlaid by dumped deposits of green sandy silts up to 1m thick dated to AD 50–70. A succession of four brickearth slabs of building make-ups for internal floors but only one thin opus signinum floor was found and only one internal wall with a brickearth foundation. There was no dating evidence from this building, nor from the redeposited burnt debris which overlay the final Roman make-up. The stratigraphy was truncated at this level by modern disturbance but there were a number of Saxon, medieval and post-medieval pits.

Bank of Argentina, 11 Ironmonger Lane, EC2 (TQ 32530 81250) (P Allen).
In December 1983 a small trench was excavated through stratigraphy sealed below the mosaic recorded by Adrian Oswald in 1949 and subsequently preserved in situ, when it was lifted for relaying on a new base. Above the natural river gravels were a series of rough gravelled external surfaces dated by pottery to the later 1st and early 2nd centuries. Burnt material towards the bottom of the sequence, interpreted by Oswald as Boudican fire debris, was in fact dumped rubbish dated to at least the late 1st c. A thick layer of humic silt accumulated above the latest surface, possibly suggesting a period of disuse before the laying of the mosaic, identified by Oswald as belonging to a town house constructed in the 3rd c.

7–9 Pilgrim Street, 12–13 Ludgate Broadway (TQ 31765 81114) (P Rowsome).
During January-February 1983 a small excavation was carried out to provide evidence of the city ditch S of Ludgate and to study the effect, if any, of the establishment of the Blackfriars. Six periods of activity were recorded, overlying natural and gravel. Natural was cut by a sequence of ditches, the earliest being badly truncated but surviving in the E to a depth of 3.6m. This, perhaps the late Roman defensive ditch, was cut by a wide, deep and steep-sided medieval ditch over 14m wide. Both major ditches ran N-S. The medieval ditch appeared to have been neglected from the mid 13th c and after initial silting was partially backfilled by large gravelly dumps, yielding a small quantity of 12th/13th c pottery, iron and copper objects, a small number of hone stones, some bead-making waste, an iron arrowhead and a bone comb.
There followed a horizon of Roman mortar and building debris, probably a by-product of the documented dismantling of the nearby city wall c 1278 to make way for the Blackfriars friary. Further dumps completed the backfilling of the medieval ditch by the late 13th c, a date corresponding to the establishment of the precinct.
The medieval ditch backfill was overlaid by a shallow ditch running N-S and E-W, which may have served as an inside perimeter or marking-out ditch for either the precinct or specifically its cemetery, to which a single burial recorded nearby around 1900 may have belonged. The sequence was completed by intercutting post-medieval pits and phases of brick building probably of post-Fire date; the latter were sealed by Victorian foundations.

25–26 Lime Street, EC3 (TQ 33095 80965) (T Williams).
Excavation of an area 15m x 3m between January and April 1983 was followed by a watching brief on the whole site in May 1983, both exercises funded by the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers.
The first period of deposits comprised initial levelling with redeposited brickearth prior to the cutting of a N-S ?boundary ditch and a number of quarry pits (Period I). These were infilled as preparation for structural activity; the principal building being constructed of timber sills with a brickearth and daub superstructure, running E-W with a backyard area to the E. These structures were destroyed by fire, probably Boudican (II). Subsequently the area was levelled and left open (III); pottery from the Neronian levels is of interest as there was a higher proportion of amphorae than is usually found on sites away from the waterfront. A large fragment of a Sussex grog-tempered ware jar from a pit in this period may be the only well-dated stratified fragment found so far in London. Further extensive dumping took place for a second E-W building which bore no relation to the earlier property divisions. This building was also destroyed by fire, probably Hadrianic (IV). A substantial group of pottery was recovered from a gully to the E of this building, and a dump of this period produced the first example from a DUA site of stone inlay from Skyros in the Aegean.
Cutting through these deposits was a masonry cellar, well constructed and surviving to a height of 2.7m, with its floor at least 1.6m below contemporary ground level. A probable staircase entered the room from the S and the range continued in that direction. Twenty tegulae were found mortared in two rows on the interior face of the E wall, the first evidence in London of tiles being used as a wall facing. To the E of and respecting the structure was a N-S building which ended in a S-facing apse. It had substantial piled foundations which supported a course foundation of rammed chalk and ragstone, later extensively robbed (Period V). No associated horizontal levels survived due to the level of modern truncation.
The cellared area was reused during the 11th or 12th centuries, as attested by late Saxon shelly ware, and was probably extended to the W in timber (to be replaced in the 14th or 15th c by masonry). This use continued, with numerous modifications, until it was destroyed and infilled in the Great Fire of 1666. Subsequently it provided the basis for property boundaries which persisted to the present (Period VI). A Spanish or N African lead-glazed water-jar in a good mid-17th c assemblage is unique in the Museum’s collection.
Various late Saxon and medieval pits were recorded in the E of the site but due to modern truncation no horizontal activity survived from periods postdating the apsidal-ended building.

42–44 Houndsditch, 23–25 Bevis Marks, EC3 (TQ 33410 81300) (A Westman).
Redevelopment was monitored in October and November 1983 for traces of the NE sector of the city’s defences: the wall there was demolished in 1923 (RCHM 1928, 85). Above natural gravel and possible natural brickearth was a brickearth bank, presumably originally behind the Roman wall. In front of the line of the wall, the bottom of a presumed ditch was recorded in section. Its primary fill contained pottery dated to the early 1st c, probably residual. More extensive features further away from the wall were identified as the bottom of the medieval ditch and silting within it.