[Descript. of Lond.] The MILTARY GOVERNMENT. [by Sir T. More.]458

[Descript. of Lond.] The MILTARY GOVERNMENT. [by Sir T. More.]

Observation is, That I have it from no less a Person than the famous Sir Tho. More, some time Lord Chancellor of England; yet concealing this his native City, under the Name of Amaurote, the chief City in his imaginery Isle of Utopia, in that ingenious Book of his own Writing. His Description of which Amaurote doth in every particular thing mentioned, so exactly square and correspond with our City of LONDON, that I make little doubt that Writer did thereby mean the same Place. And by repeating whereof from him, we gain thus much, that we learn several things which have not yet been noted in this voluminous Work; namely, what old LONDON was two or three hundred Years ago.

The Agreement of the Amaurote with LONDON, appeareth partly in this, that he saith, It stood upon the side of a low Hill, in fashion almost of a Square: That the River that washeth one side of it, sixty Miles beyond that City, falleth into the Ocean. That it is compassed about with high and thick Walls, and goeth about three Sides or Quarters of the City, and to the fourth Side the River itself (which he called Anyder) serveth for a Ditch: That there was a Bridge over this River, made not of Piles or of Timber, but Stone-Work, with gorgeous and substantial Arches, at that Part of the City that is farthest from the Sea; to the end that Ships may go along, fore by all the Sides of the City without Let.

So then concluding this Amaurote from this and the like Description of it to be meant the same with LONDON, we may venture to apply the rest of the Account of it following, unto the other Parts of our City: As first, Concerning the River and the Watering of the City. Secondly, The Situation and Walls thereof. Thirdly, The Streets and Houses. And first for

The RIVER and Watering of the CITY.


THE River Anyder riseth four and twenty Miles above Amaurote, out of a little Spring; but being encreased by other small Floods and Brooks that run into it; and among others, two somewhat bigger ones. Before the City it is half a Mile broad; [hardly so much now as it was in former Days, being pent in and straitned to a narrower Space, by the later Buildings on each side] and further, broader. By all that space that lyeth between the Sea and the City, and a good sort of [Land] also above; the Water ebbs and flows 6 Hours together, with a swift Tide: When the Sea flows in to the length of 30 Miles, it fills all the Anyder with salt Water, and drives back the fresh Water of the River. And somewhat further it changeth the sweetness of fresh Water with saltness. But a little beyoind that, the River waxeth sweet, and runneth foreby the City fresh and pleasant. And when the Sea ebbs and goes back again, this fresh Water follows it almost to the very Fall into the Sea, &c.

The River Thames described.

They have also another River, which indeed is not very great, but it runneth gently and pleasantly; for it riseth even out of the same Hill that the City standeth upon, and runneth down aslope through the midst of the City into Anyder. [This must be the River of the Wells that ran down by Walbrook.] And because it ariseth a little without the City, the Amaurotians have enlcosed the head Spring of it with strong Fences and Bulwarks; and so have joyned it to the City. This done, to the intent that the Waters should not be stopped, nor turned away, nor poisoned, if their Enemies should chance to some upon them. From thence the Water is derived and brought down in Chanals or Brooks divers ways into the lower Parts of the City. Where that cannot be done, by reason that the Place will not suffer it, there they gather the Rain Water in great Cisterns, which doth them as good Service. [This it seems was all the supply of Water the City had in that Age, which is now much more plentifully served.] Then next for,

Another River described.



That it stood by the side of a low Hill, in fashion almost square. The breadth of it began a little beneath the top of the Hill, and still continued by the space of two Miles, until it came to the River Anyder. The length of it, which lyeth by the River side, was somewhat more.

The City is compassed about with an high and thick Wall, full of Turrets and Bulwarks. A dry Ditch, but deep and broad, and overgrown with Bushes, Briers and Thorns, goeth about three Sides or Quarters of the City. To the fourth Side, the River itself serveth for a Ditch.



The Streets be appointed and set forth very commodious and handsome, both for Carriage, and also against the Winds. The Streets be full twenty Foot broad. The Houses be of fair and gorgeous Buildings; and in the Street side, they stand joined together in a long Row through the whole Street, without any Partition or Separation. On the Backside of the Houses, through the whole length of the Street, lye large Gardens, which be closed in round about with the Backparts of the Street. Every House hath two Doors, one to the Street, and a Postern Door on the Back-side into the Garden. These Doors be made with two Leaves, never locked nor bolted; so easie to be opened, that they will follow the least drawing of a Finger, and shut again of themselves.

They set great Store by their Gardens. In these they have Vineyards, and all manner of Fruits, Herbs, and Flowers, so pleasant, so well furnished, and so finely kept, that I never saw any thing more fruitful, nor better trimmed in any Place. And their Study and Diligence herein cometh not only of Pleasure, but also of a certain Strife and Contention that is betwixt Street and Street, concerning the trimming, husbanding and flourishing of their Gardens, every Man for his own Part. And verily, you shall not lightly find in all the City, any thing that is more commodious, other for the Profit of the Citizens, or for Pleasure.


And therefore it may seem, that the first Founder of the City minded nothing so much as did these Gardens. They say, That King Utopus himself, even at his first beginning, appointed and drew forth the Platform of the City into this Fashion and Figure that it hath now, by his gallant garnishing and the beautiful setting forth of it. Whereunto he saw what one Man's Age would not suffice, that he left to his Posterity.

Their Chronicles, which they keep written with all diligent Circumspection, containing the History of 1760 Years, even from the first Conquest of the Island, record and witness, that the Houses in the Beginning were very low, and like homely Cottages, or poor Shepherd's Houses, made at all Adventures of every rude piece of Wood that came first to Hand; with Mud-Walls, and ridged Roofs thatched over with Straw. But now the Houses be curiously builded after a gorgeous and gallant sort, with three Stories, one over another.

The Houses.