Of the Ancient Town-Ditch. 11

Of the Ancient Town-Ditch.

Time, upon the before-mentioned additional Work, it was found needful to build the present City Wall. This is made of Brick, of the Statutable Size, and the Model now in use, and Topped Battelment-ways with Copings of Stone. It is Two Foot in Thickness, and Six in Height; and is without doubt the same that was built in the Year 1477. in the Reign of Edward IV. Bishopsgate it self was built two Years after, in the Form it still retaineth. The Workmen lately employed there, sunk considerably lower than the Foundations of this Gate; and by that means learned, they lay not so deep as those of the old City Wall by four or five Foot. Thus far Dr. Woodward.

Concerning Buildings next these Walls, was this Order made of old, That every Tenement situate near the Walls, ought to be Sixteen Foot distant from them.]

Buildings near the Walls.

J. S.

Through this Wall of London, there are several Gates and Posterns, which shall hereafter be spoken of distinctly. Between which there were anciently some small Bulwarks or Watch-Towers dispersed, but of no certain Distance one from the other, neither of equal Greatness, nor Shape. In all there were about the Wall Fifteen, viz.

Gates and Bulwarks on the Walls

R. B.

The Postern by the Tower and Aldgate3
Aldgate and Bishopsgate.3
Bishopsgate and Moorgate.1
Creplegate and Aldersgate.4
Aldersgate and Newgate.2
Newgate and Ludgate.2

The Circuit of the Wall of London, on the Lands side, to wit, from the Tower of London in the East, unto Aldgate, is 82 Perches. From Aldgate to Bishopsgate 86 Perches. From Bishopsgate in the North to the Postern of Crepplegate, 162 Perches. From Creplegate to Ealdersgate, 75 Perches. From Eldrichgate [or Ealdersgate] to Newgate, 66 Perches. From Newgate in the West to Ludgate, 42 Perches. In all 513 Perches of Assize. From Ludgate again to the Fleet Dike, West about, 60 Perches. From Fleet-bridge, South to the River of Thames, about 70 Perches. And so the Total of these Perches amounteth to 643. every Perch consisting of Five Yards and an half. Which to yield 3536 Yards and an half, containing 10608 Foot, which make up two English Miles, and more by 608 Foot.

Circuit of the Wall from East to West.

The Modern Dimension of the Wall about the City.


The Circuit of the Wall taken on the Landside, begirting the City, viz. The Eastern, Northern and Western Parts, from the Thames to the Thames, to wit, from the Tower in the East to the Entrance of Fleet Canal (made since the Fire of London) into the Thames in the West, contains as follows.

The Wall of the Tower to the Postern Gate0130
The Postern Gate to Aldgate.1462
Aldgate to Bishopsgate.1444
Bishopsgate to Mooregate.1664
Mooregate to Crepplegate.1032
Crepplegate to Aldersgate.1265
Aldersgate to Newgate.1037
Newgate to Ludgate.0797
Ludgate to the Canal.0454
Along the Canal to the Thames.0780
In all10065

Which is 610 Poles or Perches about; which is 2 Miles wanting 10 Perches.

The Length of the Line from the Tower to FLEET Canal, taken along by the Thames side.


By the Line of the Wall on the North side, and East and West Ends, and the Line of the Shore of the River of Thames, taken between the Tower Wall in the East, to Fleet Canal in the West, is that Part of the Bounds of the City within the Walls. Now this Thames Line is in Length from East to West 5940 Feet which is 360 Poles or Perches, which is a Mile, and 40 Poles. This added to the Circuit of the Wall which as aforesaid, is two Miles wanting 10 Poles, makes in the whole 3 Miles and 30 Pole.

Extent of the City.

Of the quantity of Ground contained within the Walls of the City, betwixt it and the River of Thames.


The whole Circumference, as before noted, is 16095 Feet, or 3 Miles and 30 Poles. Now if this City did lye in an Orbicular or Circular Form, (which of all Figures is the most capacious) it would contain 525 Acres of Ground. But it is not of that Form, but more Oval, being narrowest at the Ends; and at the broadest Place not of half the Length. So that no such Quantity of Ground can be expected. For by the most Accurate Survey as hath been taken, the Superficial Content of the Ground within the Wall, doth amount unto not above 380 Acres. Such is the Difference between Regular and Irregular Figures of the same Circumference, as is well known to any Person but meanly conversant in the Mensuration of Geometrical Figures.]



Of the Old Town-Ditch without the Wall of the City . The Modern Improvement of Fleet-Ditch. Made convenient for Barges. Dreins, and Sewers . Late Encroachments upon the Walls and Ditch . A Survey taken thereof by Order of the City . The Freedom without the Walls . The Length of the Line of Separation .

FOR the rendring these Walls the stronger, and the more capable of Defence, round the Compass of them without, Earth was taken away to a great Depth and Breadth, and a Ditch made to contain much Water. Of which, Method requires us in the next Place to treat.]

The Town-Ditch.

J. S.

The Ditch, which partly now remaineth, and compassed the Wall of the City, was begun to be made by the Londoners, in the Year 1211, and finished 1213, the 15th of K. John. This Ditch being then made of 200 foot broad, caused no small hindrance to the Canons of the Holy Trinity, whose Church stood near Ealdgate, for that the said Ditch passed through their Ground from the Tower unto Bishopsgate.

Lib. Dunstable.

Ditch about London 200 Foot broad.

Lib. Trin.

The first Occasion of making a Ditch about the City seems to have been this: William Bishop of Ely, Chancellor of England, in the Reign of King

The first Occasion of the Ditch.

J. S.