An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in London, Volume 3, Roman London. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1928.
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It was customary for a Roman town to bury its dead outside the inhabited area and, where possible, within easy reach of a road. The distribution of Roman burials at various periods in and around London may therefore be expected to throw some light upon the growth of the city and the direction of its approaches.
The evidence is analysed and discussed in the Introduction (p. 29), and here it will suffice to tabulate the material under three headings: (A) Burials within the compass of the Roman town-wall; (B) Burials without, but close to the town-wall; and (C) More remote burials within the London district. Under (A) a further distinction is made between cemeteries which must have been more or less recognised by the urban authorities and are therefore of definite historical significance, and isolated burials, of which the historical implication is necessarily less certain. For the present purpose, a group of three or more burials is regarded as a cemetery.
Certain intentional omissions from the following lists call for notice. First, the tombstones found in various parts of the City and its environs are in no case recorded to have been found in situ and cannot therefore be cited as evidence for the distribution of burials. Secondly, certain burials recorded in previous lists and maps are not clearly of Roman date, and are therefore here omitted. Thirdly, many of the older records of supposed burials are of very doutbful validity and seem rather to indicate discoveries of occupation-débris than of definite interments. Finally, several urns from London now preserved in museums are described as "cinerary," but, though in some cases they are probably derived from burials, definite evidence as to their original purpose is now lacking; only those, therefore, which are still associated with bones are included. It may be added that the retention of all doubtful examples would not in any way modify the distribution of the cemeteries or affect any historical inferences which they may support.
(A). Burials Within the Compass of the Roman Town-Wall.
A.—Camomile Street. In this street, adjoining Bishopsgate, some old houses were pulled down in 1707 and a tessellated pavement (p. 111) was found about 4 ft. below the surface. "Sinking downwards, under the Pavement, only Rubbish occurred for about two Foot: and then the Workmen came to a Stratum of Clay; in which, at the Depth of two Foot more, they found several Urns .... All of these had in them, Ashes, and Cinders, of burn'd Bones. Along with the Urns were found various other Earthen Vessels .... as also a Coin of Antoninus Pius" (which presumably also antedated the pavement). . . . "At about the same depth .... but nearer to the CityWall, and within the Verge of the Pavement, was digg'd up an Human Skull, with several Bones, that were whole, and had not passed the Fire, as those in the Urns had" [J. Woodward, in a letter to Wren, published by T. Hearne in his edition of Leland, VIII (1744), 13].
B.—Under and to the N. of St. Paul's Cathedral, numerous Roman burials have been found since the 17th century, and probably formed part of a single cemetery extending from Warwick Square on the W. to the southern end of St. Martin's-le-Grand on the E. The greater part of the surviving relics from these burials is of early, probably pre-Flavian, date, but one of the urns from Warwick Square may be of the early 2nd century and the inhumationburial from Paternoster Row is not likely to be much earlier than A.D. 200. Whether any of the inhumation-burials found by Wren's workmen at St. Paul's should be regarded as Roman is of course uncertain. Gravestones and burials of early 11th-century date have been found in this neighbourhood, and some of those noted by Wren may be of that period.
Fig. 63, 1. St. Martin's-le-Grand. Grey urn containing burnt bones. Analogous to Silchester type 171, dated vaguely as pre-Flavian. It would be safer to ascribe it to the second half of the 1st century [Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 20, No. 312].
Fig. 63, 2. Dark grey urn containing burnt bones, a fragment of iron, two fragments of glass, some lumps of vitreous matter, a bone pin, bone discs, a globular bead, and a bone object in the form of a flattened oval having on one face six indented dots, and on the other five dots, with four and three dots on the two narrow sides respectively; found May, 1870, at the corner of Newgate Street. The urn is of markedly "Celtic" type; compare Richborough type 19, dated "Claudian" [Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 20, No. 308, and Pl. VI, 10].
Fig. 63, 3. Dark grey urn containing burnt bones. Ornamented with horizontal grooves and vertical combed striations. The type, sometimes known as the butt-shaped beaker, is widely distributed in the Rhineland and southern Britain and, in very slightly varying forms, ranges from the 1st century B.C. to the 2nd century A.D. It occurs with pedestal pottery at Aylesford, Swarling and elsewhere (Smarting, type 34 and p. 126) and with Roman pottery at Wroxeter (1914 Report, type 71) [Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 20, No. 314]. The present example may be ascribed to the 1st century A.D.
Fig. 63, 4. Bowl of reddish-brown ware, with bead-rim, horizontal grooves and perforated base. Contains burnt bones, and was found in 1876. It belongs to the Richborough types 18 and 19, both dated "Claudian" [Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 18, No. 276].
Fig. 63, 5.—Butt-shaped beaker of buff ware, containing burnt bones. Decorated with horizontal grooves and a band of engine-turning. Probably second half of 1st century A.D. See above No. 3 [Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 92, No. 333].
Fig. 63, 6.—Grey urn, said to have contained bones when found, and covered by the bottom of a large buff vessel. It belongs to a pre-Roman type of bead-rim pot, and is not likely to be later than the middle of the 1st century A.D. The find-spot was in the S.W. corner of the General Post Office site [Guildhall Museum].
Cheapside. A burial found in 1879 "near the W. end of Cheapside" probably belongs to the same cemetery. In the gravel "at a depth of about 18 ft. below the footpath of Cheapside .... one of the workmen dug out a mass of rough earthenware, within which, as he said, was a mass of bones. . . . When perfect it must have had a diameter at its widest part of about 11 in. and a height of 8½ in. It is narrow at the base (about 4 in.), increases rapidly in width to a height of 6 in. then contracting again, it terminates in a reflected lip, the aperture being about 7 in. in diameter. . . . The outer surface is dark and apparently discoloured by smoke. . . . The size of the bones indicates a small person, possibly a female. . . . They have been subjected to a great heat. . . . Two of the bones which seem to be portions of the humeri, are partly surrounded by green glass, and this must evidently have been in a state of partial fusion when it became pressed round them" [Journ. Roy. Arch. Inst., XXXIX, 199].
St. Paul's. During the digging for the foundations of Wren's church, below mediæval interments were discovered "British graves, where were found ivory and wooden pins, of a hard wood seemingly box, in abundance, of about 6 in. long; it seems the bodies were only wrapped up, and pinned in woollen shrouds, which being consumed the pins remained entire. In the same row and deeper, were Roman urns intermixed: this was 18 ft. deep or more, and belonged to the colony when Romans and Britains lived and died together. The most remarkable Roman urns, lamps, lachrymatories and fragments of sacrificing vessels, etc., were found deep in the ground towards the N.E. corner of St. Paul's Church, near Cheapside" [Wren, Parentalia, 1750, p. 266].
"In August, 1869, some workmen, excavating a foundation close to St. Paul's Cathedral, exhumed the skeleton of a female nearly perfect. By the side of the skeleton were the bronze armlets and the ring now exhibited . The armlets are of a somewhat common type. The ring has a square front to the hoop, and is surmounted by the peculiar emblem of Diana, the crescent moon. It appears to be intended for the first or second finger" [S. M. Mayhew, Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc., XXVIII, 194].
Paternoster Row. About 1839, near the corner of Cannon Alley, towards the W. end of Paternoster Row, at a depth of rather more than 12½ ft. was found "a skeleton in a framework of tiles, an interment analogous to that found in Bow Lane" [C. Roach Smith, Arch., XXIX, 155]. Roach Smith regarded the burial as "deposited long anterior to the construction of the pavement" which was found at the same time (see Inventory, p. 000).
Warwick Square. In 1881, during alterations to the premises of Messrs. J. Tylor and Sons, about 100 ft. within the town-wall south of Newgate were found at least eight incineration-burials, now in the British Museum. They lay in disturbed gravel at a depth of 18 or 19 ft. They are described by A. Tylor, Arch., XLVIII, 221, and include:—
Pl. 56. Four leaden cylinders or "ossuaria" were found near the stone vase. One of them is ornamented with pairs of plain concentric circles; another bears on the inside of the bottom an eight-rayed star-pattern, regarded as Mithraic; whilst a third has a band of astragalus or reel-pattern and a panel showing a charioteer driving a four-horse chariot. This cylinder enclosed a fine two-handled glass vessel covered with a glass lid, and containing the burnt bones.
Fig. 63, 7. Cooking-pot containing burnt bones; dark brown ware burnt light red and black on exterior. Smoothed lattice-pattern. This type with the short rim is not likely to be later than c. 150. Most of the Balmuildy (Antonine) types are of derivative form, and type 48 at Newstead (also Antonine) is perhaps a little later than the present example. At the Brecon Gaer it occurs in early 2nd-century associations (c. A.D. 100–140).
Fig. 63, 8. Urn containing burnt bones, with lid. Grey ware with smoothed chevron and wave-patterns. The type is akin to Richborough (1st Report) type 51, which is "probably of early date," and belongs to the same class as Richborough types 4 and 5, which are Claudian. It occurs in the so-called "Upchurch" wares, which are not well dated but seem to converge upon the period A.D. 40–100. Compare also Silchester type 171 (pre-Flavian).
Fig. 63, 9. Urn containing burnt bones, with lid. Dark grey ware. Smoothed wave-pattern round shoulder. Of the same class as No. 22; comparable with Richborough (1st Report) type 42, which "may be mid 1st century" and type 64, which is "probably 1st century." Compare Silchester Pottery, Plate LXXVIII, 6, which belongs to a group ascribed with probability to "just before the middle of the 1st century."
Fig. 63, 10. Newgate Street. Glass vessel containing burnt bones found in December, 1851. The type is not well dated, but is probably not later than the beginning of the 2nd century. It is not quite certain whether this burial was found just within or just without the line of the city-wall, but the former is more likely [British Museum].
(ii) Isolated Burials.—Eight or more burials have been found along the southern slopes of the two hills. Five of these burials, including one by inhumation, lay to the E. of the Walbrook. Farther N., an incineration-burial was found in Lombard Street and another near the Bank of England, probably on the E. bank of the Walbrook; whilst again to the N. an incineration-burial comes from Coleman Street, and two others from the street called London Wall. Whether the last two were found just within or just without the line of the Roman wall is uncertain, and they are therefore historically of little value. A similar reservation applies to the glass vessel from Newgate Street and to the urn and two cists from Broad Street; indeed one of the cists (from Winchester House) may not represent a burial at all. It will be observed that only three inhumation-burials which can be claimed with probability as Roman come under this heading. On the other hand, only one of the surviving urn-burials seems to be earlier than the Flavian period.
Fig. 63, 11. Mark Lane. Beaker of reddish ware containing burnt bones. Found on the site of No. 36 Mark Lane, 1866. For the type, compare Wroxeter (1912) type 36, dated "80–110 or 120 A.D." See also Essex Arch., Soc. Trans., XVI (n.s.), 24 ff. [Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 90, No. 278].
St. Dunstan's Hill, Great Tower Street. In 1863, under the old wall of the churchyard was found "a mass of concrete and a cavity, which seemed to have been moulded upon a wooden coffin, and contained some human remains." The grave was covered with flanged roofing-tiles, and the concrete contained pounded brick [Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc., XX, 297, Pl. 19]. The form of burial is very similar to those of the early archbishops at St. Augustine's, Canterbury, and suggests the probability of a Saxon date.
Fenchurch Street. A cylindrical lead canister with contracted neck was found in Fenchurch Street, probably towards the eastern end of the street, in 1833, and is now in the British Museum [V. C. H., London, I, 11].
St. Michael's, Crooked Lane. In 1831, under the southern boundary of St. Michael's churchyard, was found a black thumb-pot, stated to be "sepulchral," and to have been associated with "two shallow circular earthenware pans, containing ashes and two coins of Vespasian" [A. J. Kempe, Arch., XXIX, 191 and 199].
Fig. 63, 12. Lawrence Pountney Lane. Grey urn, formerly containing burnt bones. Analogous to Richborough type 49, dated "1st or early 2nd century" and to Wroxeter (1913) type 32, dated A.D. 90–120. [British Museum, Roach Smith Coll.].
Cannon Street. In 1852, not far W. from the Walbrook, in what was then called New Cannon Street, at the bottom of a deep trench was found a human skeleton lying E. and W. accompanied by nails 2–7 in. long, having flat heads and quadrangular shafts apparently indicating a former coffin. The burial was possibly Roman [Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc., X, 190].
Queen Street. At some unspecified point in this street between Upper Thames Street and Watling Street were found in 1842, "five cinerary urns of a very rude style of art; in one of them the remains of human bones adhered. ... Of the contents of the other four, when first found by the workmen, I have no means of judging" [Gent. Mag., 1843, I, 21].
Bow Lane. In the autumn of 1839, a skeleton identified as that of an old man was discovered lying N. and S. in the middle of Bow Lane, opposite to Robin Hood's Court and at the corner of Little St. Thomas Apostle (now absorbed in Cannon Street) in a grave " formed with large drain-tiles placed edgeways." The depth is variously given as 12 and 15 ft. "Firmly clenched between the teeth of the skeleton was a 2nd brass coin, so much corroded as to be quite illegible," according to one account, but ascribed to Domitian in another [Kelsey, Description of Sewers, 269 (cited in Arch., LX, 237); Gent. Mag., 1840, I, 420; Arch., XXIX, 146; Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc., XXXIX, 435].
Fig. 63, 13. Bank Station. "Fragment of a large amphora, the neck and handles of which had been removed to form a cist or coffin for the interment; it contained a wide-mouthed urn of grey ware, 5 in. high, and an olla of Upchurch ware decorated with dots, 7½ in. high; fragments of bones also were in the urns. Bank Station, Central London Railway, 1897." The two vessels contained by the amphora are: (i) Grey bowl analogous to Richborough types 18 and 19, both Claudian, and to Silchester Pottery, Pl. LXXXVIII, 8, similarly dated; and (ii) a "poppyhead" beaker of a long-lived type of 1st and 2nd-century date [Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 106, No. 17].
Fig. 64, 14. Coleman Street. Dark grey urn with smoothed trellis-pattern; contains burnt bones. Said to have had a cover when found. Probably first half of 2nd century [compare Wheeler, The Roman Fort near Brecon, Fig. 96, C 25, dated c 100–120; Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 84, No. 120].
Fig. 64, 17. Broad Street. Dark grey beaker, one of two containing burnt bones, found in 1872. [Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 94, No. 385] The beaker is of the "poppy-head" type, decorated with groups of raised dots. A large number of these beakers is found at Richborough, where "they appear to belong to the 2nd century, some being not far removed from the year A.D. 100," but the type also occurs plentifully with 1st-century wares from the Kentish marshes [Richborough Report, I, p. 98].
Broad Street. A leaden cist containing a black beaker of Castor or similar ware decorated with lozenge-pattern and rosettes in yellow slip was found in Broad Street in 1872 [Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc., XXVIII, 171; Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 92, No. 330, and Pl. XLII, 14].
(B). Burials Without, but Close to the Town-Wall.
With the exception of a stretch of rather less than half-a-mile immediately W. of Moorfields, the Roman town-wall is almost continuously surrounded by Roman cemeteries from the Tower northwards and westwards to Ludgate. For convenience, however, it is possible to group the burials roughly into three districts: (1) those from the Minories and the adjacent area to the E., formerly known as Goodman's Fields; (2) those in the neighbourhood of Bishopsgate, extending from Moorfields on the W. to Spitalfields on the E.; and (3) those in the neighbourhood of Newgate, from Smithfield on the N. to Farringdon Street on the S. and from the direction of Cripplegate on the E. to Holborn on the W. Burials in Shadwell and Stepney are possibly outliers of the Goodman's Fields cemetery, and others W. of the Fleet continue the lines from Newgate and Ludgate, but all these will be included in Section C.
1. Aldgate, The Minories and Goodman's Fields.—The principal sites are Haydon Square and vicinity, Mansell Street, and Great and Little Alie Streets, all of which come within the area formerly known as Goodman's Fields, extending from the Minories to Church Lane, Whitechapel, and from Commercial Road to the River. Strype states "In Goodman's Fields without Aldgate was a Roman Burying Place. For since the Buildings there about 1678, have been found there (in digging for foundations) vast quantities of Urns and other Roman utensils. . . . Some of these Urns had ashes of bones in them, and brass and silver money; and an unusual Urn of copper, curiously enamelled in colours, red, blue and yellow" [Strype's Stow, II, Appendix, 23]. Gough also notes that "in the foundations of the new church in Goodman's Fields among many parcels of bones were found urns" [Gough's Camden, II, 17].
More recent discoveries, noted below, show that the cemetery was in use from the 1st to the 4th century, although not more than two or three of the surviving urns are earlier than the 2nd century. Upwards of a dozen cremation-burials and of four inhumation-burials are individually recorded, whilst many others of both classes are more vaguely indicated.
Fig. 64, 18. Aldgate. Urn containing burnt bones found beneath a house in Aldgate nearly opposite the Aldgate station of the Metropolitan Railway, 1902. Grey ware, with smoothed lattice-pattern. 2nd century [London Museum, A. 28531/1].
Minories. A rough sketch of a black Roman urn (of uncertain date) containing bones is included amongst notes from the Gardiner MSS. now in the possession of Dr. Philip Norman. The sketch bears the note "East side of Minories" and the urn was found during the Aldgate extension of the Inner Circle Railway in 1882. The same series includes a sketch of a "thumb-pot" with the note "Blackwall Yard, Aldgate Extension, urn with interment."
Fig. 64, 19. Minories. Buff urn with lid containing burnt bones. Found at the back of Holy Trinity Church. Akin to Richborough type 28, dated "mid or late 1st century" [Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 84, No. 111].
Pl. 57, 58. Minories. In 1854 a sarcophagus, apparently of Barnack rag, was found by workmen digging for the foundations of warehouses for the L. and N.W. Railway Company in Haydon Square between the Minories and Mansell Street. The exact spot is described as "the N.W. corner of Haydon Square, about 15 ft. from Sheppy yard." The sarcophagus lay E. and W. at a depth of 15 ft. Various interments, without coffins and possibly of Mediaeval date, lay above it. Its length is nearly 5 ft., its width about 2 ft., its height, including cover, 22 in. The front and sides are ornamented, the back plain. A central sunk medallion contains a youthful male head and shoulders in low relief, and is flanked by a gadroon ornament; the ends of the sarcophagus are each carved with a basket of fruit. The stone lid, which was held in position by rough iron clamps, is ridged and bears a foliage-pattern on the face. Within the sarcophagus was a leaden coffin containing the bones "of a boy of about 10 to 12 years of age, together with a quantity of lime," the head lay at the E. end. The lid of the coffin is ornamented with scallop-shells and lines of astragalus. The greater part of the group is now in the British Museum. A coin of Valens found at the same time is sometimes associated with the burial, but without reason [C. Roach Smith, Coll. Antiq., III, 46 (plates); Brit. Mus. Guide to Roman Britain, 101 (plate 00)].
Haydon Square. "On pulling down the remains of the convent of St. Clare or Minoresses, in 1797, on the S. or E. part of the present Haydon Square, .... two complete urns, filled with bones, ashes, etc., were taken up" [T. Allen, Hist. Lond., I, 29].
Mansell Street. In 1843, a small leaden coffin containing the remains of a child was found; the coffin was void of ornament save for a beading of astragalus which ran round the bottom. In the immediate vicinity and on the same level, were found skeletons, urns with burnt bones, coloured glass beads and bracelets in bronze and jet [C. Roach Smith, Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc, II, 299; Coll. Antiq., III, 55; Proc. Soc. Ant. (1st Ser.), I, 57].
Fig. 64, 20. Mansell Street. Inhumation-burial, at the head of which were found two small flanged cups of imitation Samian ware, one red and the other now black. Their form is that of Dragendorff 38, a Samian type usually of Hadrian-Antonine date; but imitations, though usually not quite of this fabric, lasted to the end of the 4th century [London Museum, A. 20581–2].
Fig. 64, 22. Mansell Street. Small glass phial and urn containing burnt bones. The phial has a quatre-foiled lip. The urn is of grey ware and is ornamented with a band of smooth lattice-pattern. It is of Hadrian-Antonine type [cf. Curie, Newstead, Pl. XLVIII, 48; Wheeler, Roman Fort near Brecon, Fig. 98, C. 42–3; London Museum, A. 20352–3].
Fig. 64, 23. Mansell Street. Inhumation-burial, at the head of which was a small beaker of Castor ware, buff clay with reddish-brown surface, and design painted in thin white slip; closely similar to Richborough I, No. 96, dated to the 4th century; cf. also May, Silchester Pottery, Pl. LII, late 3rd and 4th century [London Museum, A. 20579]. The present example is probably c. A.D. 300.
Fig. 64, 24. Mansell Street. Buff urn containing burnt bones and found in the "middle of Mansell Street, Whitechapel, 10 ft. deep, July, 1843." Bi-conical bowl with flat reeded rim and girth-grooves; similar to Richborough I, No. 11, dated "Claudian" [British Museum, Roach Smith Coll.].
Fig. 64, 25. Mansell Street. Light buff jug with screw-neck, from the "Roman cemetery, Mansell Street, July, 1843." Compare Richborough I, No. 70, and Silchester type 118, both probably late 1st or early 2nd century [British Museum, Roach Smith Coll.].
Fig. 65, 26. Great Alie Street. A burial-group found here in 1904 consisted of (i) an amphora of coarse red ware with neck and handles in position but separate from the body to admit (ii) a dark grey urn (26, ii) containing burnt bones and covered by (iii) a dark-grey dish. The urn resembles Wroxeter (1913) type 60, dated "late 1st and early 2nd century," and the group is probably of early 2nd century date [Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 395, No. 113].
Figs. 64 and 65, 27–8. Little Alie Street, Whitechapel. A group of four pots, two of which contain burnt bones with a glass phial was found in August, 1913, at a depth of about 15 ft. Just above them was a human skull, but it is not clear that the skull had any connection with the pottery. The group, now in the London Museum, consisted of: (i) Grey urn (A. 11693) containing burnt bones; cf. Richborough, 1st Report, No. 19, dated to the Claudian period, and May, Silchester Pottery, Pl. LXXVIII, 8, and p. 191, dated to the same period. In the urn was an indeterminate fragment of an iron fibula. (ii) Grey urn (A. 11694) containing burnt bones; cf. Richborough, No. 26, dated mid 1st century, and Silchester Pottery, Pl. LXXVIII, dated to the Claudian period. (iii) Grey urn (A. 11696), empty, of type analogous to preceding, (iv) Samian cup (A. 11697) of form 27. (v) Glass phial (A. 11695). The whole group is probably of mid 1st-century date.
2. Bishopsgate, Moorfields, Spitalfields.—The Roman road which issued from Bishopsgate was flanked for considerable distances on both sides by cemeteries which were in use from the 1st probably to the 4th century. The cremation-burials within the town-wall at Bishopsgate (above, p. 153) were presumably an early portion of the same large cemetery.
Bishopsgate. "On rebuilding Bishopsgate church .... they found an arched vault 14 ft. deep with large equilateral Roman bricks, and in it two skeletons perfect .... Dr. Stukeley saw there in 1726 a Roman grave made of great tiles or bricks 21 in. long which kept the earth from the body." A small urn containing a little thigh-bone was found under the street adjoining [Gough's Camden, II, 17].
Bishopsgate Street. In the Guildhall Museum is a coffin, probably Roman, of bastard Portland stone, found in 1891 opposite Widegate Street and Artillery Row, about the centre of the E. front of Liverpool Street Station. Near by was found another coffin in 1875, containing a skeleton, at a depth of 13 ft. below the surface of Bishopsgate Street [V.C.H. London, I, 16 and 90; Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 106, No. 9].
Fig. 65, 31. Bishopsgate. Urn containing burnt bones. Light buff ware. Similar to urns from Rhenish sites, where they are dated to the first half of the 1st century A.D. [cf. May, Silchester Pottery, Pl. LXIX, 121, and p. 149; London Museum, A. 16100].
Spitalfields (between Bishopsgate and Bethnal Green). Stow records that, on the E. side of St. Mary Spittle churchyard, "lieth a large field, of olde time called Lolesworth, now Spittle field, which about the year 1576, was broken up for Clay to make Bricks, in the digging whereof many earthen pots, called Vrnae, were found full of ashes, and burnt bones of men, to wit, of the Romans that inhabited here .... euerie of these pots had in them with the Ashes of the dead, one peece of Copper mony, with the inscription of the Emperour then raigning: some of them were of Claudius, some of Vespasian, some of Nero, of Anthonius Pius, of Traianus, and others. . . . There hath also beene found in the same field divers coffins of stone, containing the bones of men .... Moreover there were also found the sculs and bones of men without coffins, or rather whose coffins (being of great timber) were consumed .... I there behelde the bones of a man lying (as I noted) the heade North, the feete South, and round about him, as thwart his head, along both his sides, and thwart his feete, such nailes were found, wherefore I coniectured them to be the nailes of his coffin, which had beene a trough cut out of some great tree, and the same covered with a planke, of great thicknesse, fastned with such nayles, and therefore I caused some of the nayles to be reached up to mee, and found under the broad heades of them, the olde wood, skant turned into earth, but still retaining both the graine, and proper colour" [Survey of London (Ed. Kingsford), I, 168].
Fig. 66, 33. Liverpool Street. (i) Dark grey urn containing burnt bones. Decorated with smoothed latticepattern. With the urn is the following note: "This urn with another, with the greater part of the covers, and each containing burnt bones, were found in an amphora of globose form. The neck with the handles had been cut so as to take in the urns; the neck had been replaced to form a cover. Several urns with bones were found in the same excavations. Liverpool Street, January 1872." (See also J. E. Price, Proc. Soc. Ant. (2nd Scr.). VI, 170.) The type of the present urn suggests a date of c. A.D. 150–250. (ii) Grey urn containing burnt bones; found with above in amphora. For date compare No. 34. The present vessel seems to be of somewhat earlier date than that usually assigned to (i), but the two are presumably contemporary [Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 84, No. 112].
New Broad Street. Roach Smith illustrates the lead and iron frame worth of a wooden coffin "bound with iron bands, excavated many years since, opposite New Broad Street. . . . It lay at a depth of 14 ft.; and as the foreman of the works told me, in a bank to the left, or outside, of the course of the old Houndsditch." The engraving shows a human skull within one end of the coffin [Coll. Antiq., VII, 180].
Fig. 66, 34–5 (i and ii). Blomfield Street, Moorfields. When excavating in 1868 (or 1863) for the additions to the Eye Infirmary in Blomfield Street, on the E. bank of the Walbrook, "on the ground adjoining the highway leading from Bishopsgate Street to Norton Folgate and Spitalfields," a wooden cist, about 18 in. square, was found, covered by an amphora reversed and with the neck removed. The cist contained two urns (one of them being surrounded by the fragments of a wooden cask), and a glass jug with an earthenware cover. All contained human bones [J. E. Price, Trans. Lond. and Midd. Arch. Soc., III, 492 (plate); Journ. Roy. Arch. Inst., LX, 170; Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 40, No. 153; 83, No. 103; 84, No. 113]. One of the urns, of reddish-buff ware (Fig. 34) is closely derived from Richborough type 28, dated "mid or late 1st century," and from Silchester Pottery, PI. LXXVIII, 6, of c. A.D. 40–60; it probably dates from late in the 1st or early in the 2nd century. The other earthenware vessel (Fig. 35, ii), of buff ware, is comparable with Richborough type 79, dated 1st and 2nd centuries. The glass jug (Fig. 35) is of a type common on Roman sites dating from c. A.D. 80–150. The whole group is probably of late 1st century date.
Fig. 66, 36. Moorfields. Buff urn of bi-conical form, with reeded rim and three horizontal grooves. It contains burnt bones with traces of a cloth wrapper, and the following note: "Urn with child's bones which appear to have been wrapped in some sort of linen (linum). Moorfield, Mr. Mayhew." The form is similar to Richborough type 11, dated "Claudian" [Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 84, No. 113].
Fig. 66, 37. Finsbury Circus. Dark grey urn decorated with smoothed lattice-pattern and containing burnt bones. It was found on the site adjoining the London Institution towards the E., and lay in the surface of the gravel at a depth of about 11 ft. from the present surface. (See Arch., LXXI, 94.) This type is difficult to date; the fact that the diameter of the shoulder is greater than that of the rim suggests that the example is not later than the 3rd century, and a period c. A.D. 150–250 is suggested [See Silchester Pottery, pp. 155 ff., Guildhall Museum, M.A. 2566].
Fig. 66, 38. Site of Moorgate Street Tube Station. Grey urn containing burnt bones, found 30 ft. from the surface in 1902. Grey ware. Similar to Wroxeter (1913) type 60, dated late 1st or early 2nd century A.D. [British Museum].
Moorfields. In 1873, the oak coffin of a child was found in Moorfields, but the exact spot is not recorded. The coffin contained a cup of white ware, a jar of red ware, three small bracelets of jet, a ring of gold wire, and a well-preserved gold coin of Salonina, wife of Gallienus (A.D. 253–268). The find is now in the British Museum [Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc., XXXI, 209].
3. Newgate, Smithfield, Farringdon Street.—The Roman road from Newgate was flanked by a considerable cemetery on its northern side (in the Smithfield area) and by some burials on the comparatively narrow strip of ground between the town-wall and the Fleet River to the S. The burials were continued westward along Holborn and Oxford Street, but those W. of the Fleet are described separately under Section C. (below p. 163). Few of the cinerary urns survive, but they indicate that the cemetery was in use in the 1st century, and the series of inhumation-burials is presumably of 3rd or 4th century date.
Smithfield. J. E. Price notes that the result of the excavations in connection with the erection of the Dead Meat and Poultry Market was "a full corroboration of opinions formerly expressed as to the locality having been extensively used as a Roman cemetery" [Trans. Lond. and Midd. Arch. Soc., III, 195]. The same writer records that about 1865, in the course of the excavations for the Finsbury Extension of the Metropolitan Railway, in "the N.W. corner of Smithfield, not far from West Street, and near where the two inns, the Ram and the Rose, were standing but a short time since," were found a skeleton "enclosed in a coffin or cist, with a small black urn of Upchurch ware placed at the crown of the skull. The other objects, a patera, ampulla, mortarium, etc., such as are usually found in Roman sepulchres, were near the left-hand side of the cist. There was not sufficient of the wood remaining to measure with accuracy the length of the coffin, but it appeared to have been but little over 4 ft. It was lying E. and W., slightly inclined to the N.E. The body had been placed on small transverse pieces of wood unworked, and of varying thickness; these had the appearance of having been branches of trees cut up into equal lengths. They were lying on the London clay, the bones upon them; and pieces of timber had been placed around to form the sides, head, and foot of the cist, much in the same way as the tile tombs of the Romans were constructed." A coin of Gratian was found at the same time, but whether it was in any way associated with the burial is not clear [Trans. Lond. and Midd. Arch. Soc., III, 37].
Fig. 66, 40. Smithfield. Dark grey urn containing burnt bones, found in 1865 near St. Bartholomew's Hospital. Decorated with smoothed lattice-pattern. The type seems to be that of c. A.D. 150–250 [See Silchester Pottery, 155 ff.; Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 84, No. 122].
Fig. 66, 41. Smithfield. Grey urn containing burnt bones. Decorated with smoothed lattice-pattern. Found near St. Bartholomew's Hospital, in West Smithfield, 1865. The type is Antonine, and may be ascribed to the period c. A.D. 140–200 [Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 84, No. 119].
Smithfield. In 1749, during the digging of a sewer in West Smithfield near the end of Hosier Lane, a leaden coffin about 4 ft. long, 21 in. broad, and 18 in. deep was found at a fairly deep level in clayey gravel. It lay towards the buildings behind St. Sepulchre's Church, but its direction is not stated. Inside were some bones and skulls, which suggest that, as in other cases, the coffin may have been used for more than one body, but the discovery was not well observed. The lid bore embossed scallop-shells. Other bones were found in the vicinity [Soc Ant. MS. Min., VI, 2; V.C.H. London, I, 19].
Smithfield. "At the corner of Clothfair an urn, containing burnt bones, was discovered a few years back, and similar relics have been brought to light in Giltspur Street, in front of St. Sepulchre's Church. During the formation of a new sewer in Cock Lane numerous bone pins, mortaria, Samian ware and other objects, were found in conjunction with human remains." Amongst these, at a depth of 12 ft., was a coffin (probably of wood) containing a skeleton with bronze armlets on the wrists [J. E. Price, Trans. Lond. and Midd. Arch. Soc., III, 37; Arch. Rev., I, 276].
Smithfield. In 1877, during the excavations for the Medical School of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, at the N. end of Giltspur Street, two oolite coffins, each 6 ft. 8 in. long and 2 ft. 4½ in. wide, were found close together, at a depth of 11 ft., lying approximately E. and W. They had massive stone lids. One enclosed a leaden coffin ornamented on the sides with cable-mouldings arranged in a diamond pattern, and containing the body of a woman; whilst the more northerly contained the bodies of a man and a woman, the head of the former being at the W. end and that of the latter at the E. end. Both coffins are now on the staircase of the library of the hospital [Arch. Journ., XXXIV, 197; Trans. Lond. and Midd. Arch. Soc, V, 293].
Well Street, Jewin Street (near the Cripplegate bastion). In 1846 were discovered sepulchral interments from which "some urns, one containing burnt bones" were exhibited [Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc, II, 273]. These burials are presumably outliers of the same large cemetery.
Christ's Hospital (now part of the General Post Office). "In 1826, various sepulchral remains were discovered in excavating the site of the New Hall of Christ's Hospital; they consisted of burnt bones, vases, a few coins, and broken pottery" [T. Allen, Hist, of Lond., I, 32].
Fig. 67, 42. Old Bailey. Urn, with lid, containing burnt bones. Found in August, 1914. Lid of buff ware; urn of grey ware ornamented with shallow vertical grooves. The urn is a simplified form of an early or mid Ist-century type, e.g., from a pit of that date at Silchester [May, Silchester Pottery, PI. LXXVIII, 6 and p. 191]. It also approaches Richborough, 1st Report, No. 26, dated mid 1st century, but is inferior in finish and perhaps later [London Museum, A. 13696 and 13982].
Fig. 67, 43. Holborn Viaduct. Grey urn containing burnt bones. Found in March, 1867. Similar to Silchester Pottery, PI. LXXVIII, 5, found in a pit approximately of Claudian date [Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 19, No. 299].
Seacoal Lane. A rag-stone coffin, possibly Roman, and now in the Guildhall Museum, [Cat. p. 106, No. 8] was found in 1873, near Seacoal Lane, which formerly joined Snow Hill and Fleet Lane, running along the left bank of the Fleet. It lay at a depth of 12 ft. from the surface and is 7 ft. 9 in. long, 4 ft. 2½ in. wide, and 3 ft. deep. It contained a skeleton surrounded with lime. Near by were observed evidences of another interment, with fragments of Roman pottery, etc. The account, however, of the whole discovery is vague [J. E. Price, Rom. Antiq. Nat. Safe Deposit, 52].
Newcastle Street. Near by, in Newcastle Street, "vast quantities of human remains" were found at two points in 1844, at depths of from 5 to 7 ft., but their date is uncertain [Journ. Roy. Arch. Inst., I, 162].
(C). More Remote Burials Within the London District.
The dividing line between these and the cemeteries described in Section B. is often a somewhat artificial one, but it is clearly desirable to distinguish outlying and in some cases isolated groups from the main cemeteries beneath the town-walls. Historically the most important of these groups is, or should be, that from the Southwark district, but before crossing the river, it is convenient to complete the survey of those on the northern side.
1. Burials in the Shadwell and Stepney area are perhaps a somewhat distant extension of the Goodman's Fields cemetery (above, p. 157). At Shadwell in 1858, an imperfect lead coffin was found 9 ft. below the surface N. of Shadwell Basin and near the S.W. corner of St. Paul's churchyard. The coffin lay E. and W., but the direction of the head is not stated [Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc., XIV, 357, where it is wrongly suggested that this coffin was identical with that found in the 17th century in Radcliffe Field (see below].
At Stepney, early in the 17th century, near the angle of Love Lane and Cable Street, "within the parish of Stepney in Middlesex, in Radcliffe field .... there was found two monuments, the one of stone, wherein was the bones of a man, the other a chest of lead, the upper part being garnished with scallop-shells and a crotister border. At the head of the coffin and the foot, there were two jars, of a three-feet length, standing, and on the sides a number of bottles of glistening red earth, some painted, and many great vials of glass, some six, some eight square, having a whitish liquour within them. Within the chest was the body of a woman, as the chirugians judged by the skull. On either side of her there were two sceptres of ivory, 18 in. long, and on her breast a little figure of Cupid, neatly cut in white stone. It seemed (said Sir Robert Cotton from whom I had this relation) these bodies were burned (sic) about the yeare of our Lord 239, being there were found divers coins of Pupienus, Gordian, and the emperours of that time" [Weever, Funeral Monuments, 1631, p. 30]. It will be observed that the association of the coins with the burials, though assumed, is not clearly stated and is at least open to doubt.
2. A burial found in 1862 at Bethnal Green was perhaps an outlier of the Spitalfields cemetery (above, p. 159). In that year a leaden coffin which had evidently been buried in a wooden casing was found at Camden Gardens (replaced by Corfield Street) behind the police station. The ends are decorated with astragalus-pattern in saltire, and the coffin contained slaked lime. It is now in the British Museum [Proc. Lond. and Midd. Arch. Soc., 1860–3, 78].
3. At Old Ford and Bow, 1½ miles farther E., a number of burials have been found in the vicinity of the Roman road to Colchester. An amphora of buff ware, containing burnt bones, is preserved in the British Museum from Old Ford; its type is not well dated but is probably not later than the beginning of the 2nd century (Fig. 67, 44). Another burnt burial is contained in a grey urn of 1st century type, now in the Guildhall Museum (Fig. 67, 45; see Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 20, No. 313). Two other burnt burials (noted below) come from this district, but most of the known interments were by inhumation. In 1844, "about 150 yards S. of the old ford over the river at Stratford-le-Bow," was found a leaden coffin containing the remains of a skeleton imbedded in lime. The lid was ornamented with an incised swastika near the centre. In and about 1866 several other burials by cremation and inhumation were found in the same area. A rectangular stone coffin was discovered "in the vicinity of Old Ford, near Bow, associated with pottery. Another of the same character was excavated not long since .... near the Saxon Road and Coborn Road, Bow, some 60 yards S. of the Roman highway. The coffin lay upon the gravel beneath some 30 in. of superincumbent soil. Its length is about 6 ft. 6 in., width 2 ft. 1 in., 2 in. less at the foot. The lid is slightly ridged. In it were contained the bones of a full-sized man .... which appeared to have been buried, as the custom was, in lime. Its situation was E. and W. and the arms of the skeleton were drawn down at the side differing in this respect from that found some years ago in the same locality [a rectangular stone coffin, see Trans. Lond. and Midd. Arch. Soc., I, 192]. In the latter case the arms of the skeleton were crossed on the breast .... At a distance of some 2 ft. S. of the coffin a large collection of [Roman] pottery was discovered." The plate shows pottery of the 2nd or 3rd century. Two of the urns "contained burnt bones." Subsequently two more monolithic sarcophagi were found, some 200 yards S. of the previous group [Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc., II, 300; Arch., XXXI, 308 (plate); Trans. Lond. and Midd. Arch. Soc., I, 192, and III, 206 (plates); Coll. Antiq., III, 55; V.C.H. London, I, 21].
4. Farther E. again, an interesting group of inhumationburials was found in 1864 at East Ham. Workmen excavating for ballast for sewers across the marshes to Barking, came upon a Roman cemetery "about a quarter of a mile westward of the church of East Ham, at the foot of the upland just bordering upon the marshes .... The workmen came first upon a massive stone sarcophagus, quite plain, 6 ft. 9 in. in length by 2 ft. 1 in. wide, covered by a heavy coped lid. It contained two skeletons placed side by side, their heads at the opposite ends. A surgeon pronounced them to be of adults in middle age. Three leaden coffins were next found, lying like the sarcophagus, north and south. . . . Near the coffins and in a line with them were found two skeletons which had been enclosed in coffins of wood; and about twenty urns, most of them containing burnt bones. As Mr. King conjectures, the excavations had touched the southern verge of an extensive cemetery." The coffins (Pl. 58) are now in the British Museum. One measures 4 ft. 10¼ in. by 11½ in. at the top and 9 in. at the bottom; it is decorated with astragalus and scallop-shell pattern. Another, only 2 ft. 4 in. in length is decorated with the same motifs. The fragment of the third shows concentric circles, lines of cable-moulding, and two small masks [C. Roach Smith, Coll. Antiq., VII, 190 (plate); Journ. Roy. Arch. Inst., XXI, 94; Gent. Mag. (N.S.), XV, 91; Trans. Essex. Arch. Soc., III, 104].
5. Towards the northern corner of the triangular expanse of gravel on which London stands, a series of burials has been found both at Upper and at Lower Clapton. The sites lie nearly a mile to the E. of the Great North Road, and in the absence of known structural remains in the neighbourhood, the reason for their situation is not apparent. "During some repairs at Temple Mills, on the borders of Hackney Marsh, in the year 1783, an urn was found full of Roman coins .... from Julius Caesar to Constantine the Great, several medals, a stone coffin (with the skeleton in it entire) measuring 9 ft. 7 in. long, and an inscription on it unintelligible; it is added, that in removing the old foundation a vault was discovered in which were several urns, but very imperfect, and that it is very remarkable the vaults for centuries past are supposed to have been 16 ft. under water. In the year 1814, Mr. Bros, who was making some improvements in his grounds in Springfield Lane, at Upper Clapton, a short distance from the River Lea and the marsh, discovered several stone coffins, and other relics of antiquity. The first coffin was found in the N. side of the sloping line which forms part of the pleasure-ground, 60 ft. above the level of the marsh; the coffin was about 7 ft. long and 4 ft. wide, of hewn stone, lying about 6 ft. under ground. Near this, in the year 1837, another was found, and at about the same depth; both coffins lying N. and S. The latter one contained the remains of two human skeletons, male and female .... A great quantity of human bones were also found near the last coffin and some rude pottery, most of which was broken by the workmen" [Trans. Lond. and Midd. Arch. Soc., III, 196; Gent. Mag., LIII, 899].
The most important discovery in this district, however, was a white marble sarcophagus (PI. 57), found in 1867 and now in the Guildhall Museum. It was unearthed "at the rear of the London Orphan Asylum, Clapton, on the brow of the hill passing down to the marshes and river Lea, within a few feet of an old path just demolished which ran from Homerton to Lea Bridge, via Brooksby's Walk, in the direction from S. to N. and another way, for many years past but a private road to a farm, running W. to E., viz. from Clapton Square, via Clapton Alley or Passage, to the Lea river .... The coffin was found on the natural gravel, 2 ft. 6 in. from the surface, lying due E. and W., the foot to the E..... It is about 6 ft. 3 in. long, 1 ft. 3 in. wide and 1 ft. 6 in. deep; the thickness being about 2½ in. . . . No vestige of a lid or covering has been found, but at each end are evidence of clamp fastenings." It is plain save on the front, which is fluted and has a central bust on a pedestal bearing an inscription (see p. 173) [Trans. Lond. and Midd. Arch. Soc., III, 191 (plates and map of the site); Journ. Roy. Arch. Inst., 1874, 352; Guildhall Museum Cat., p. 106, Pl. LVI].
6. The Roman cemetery outside Newgate (above, p. 161) straggled across the Fleet to Holborn Circus, Gray's Inn Road and, presumably in scattered groups, considerably farther W. along the line of Oxford Street, as far as Notting Hill.
In Holborn, a few years before 1842, "Roman remains were met with at Holborn Hill at the depth of 18 ft. They consisted of an earthen urn, filled with burnt bones, and a large quantity of broken pottery, of a pale red kind, enclosed in an oaken case, measuring 2 ft. 9 in. square" [C Roach Smith, quoting R. Kelsey, Arch., XXIX, 146].
Again, shortly before June, 1833, during the laying of a sewer opposite St. Andrew's Church, Holborn, "a square enclosure of oak timber was found, in which were deposited a number of Roman urns" [Gent. Mag., 1833, I, 549]. Another account states: "A Roman sepulchre, consisting of a cubical coffer of 3-in. oak, 2 ft. 9 in. on every side, and containing a few remains of human bones, with the rib bone of some quadruped and a considerable quantity of pottery, the greater part of which was broken, was met with in 1833 at a depth of 18 ft. embedded in the blue clay. Five of the jars which were found unbroken were presented to the City Library. The situation of it was opposite to Messrs. Thompson and Fearson's gin shop, eastward of Union Court" [R. Kelsey cited in Arch., LX, 238]. Near by was found a Roman pavement (p. 147).
Farther W. on the site of the Birkbeck Bank, almost opposite Gray's Inn Road, a "cinerary urn containing bones" was found about 1905. It lay about 160 ft. S. of the Holborn curbstone, just N.E. of the circular counter. It is now in the British Museum. It is of dark grey ware with smoothed lattice-pattern (Fig. 67, 46), and is probably not later than the middle of the 2nd century [Trans. Lond. and Midd. Arch. Soc. (N.S.), I, 258 (plan)].
Two cremation-burials come from Gray's Inn Road itself. Fig. 67, 47, is an urn of grey ware (containing burnt bones), with smoothed lattice-pattern. It is an early example of its type, probably not later than the middle of the 2nd century. Its globular form and indented base connect it with 1st-century types such as Richborough, 1st Report, Pls. XXI–XXII, but its rim is that of 2nd century cooking-pots [London Museum, A. 11700]. Fig. 67, 48, found near the preceding is an urn of buff ware (also containing burnt bones), with reeded rim and two pairs of incised girth-lines. Closely similar to Richborough No. 11, dated to the Claudian period. The biconical form seems to be pre-Flavian [London Museum, A. 11699].
Farther W. again, in Southampton Row, has been found another urn containing burnt bones (Fig. 67, 49). It is of grey ware with 'rustication' in low relief. A well-known late 1st-century type [cf. Wroxeter, 1913, No. 50; London Museum, A. 1705].
A short distance farther W., on the S. side of New Oxford Street, shortly before 1864, a cylindrical leaden cist, containing burnt bones and two denarii of Vespasian (wrongly ascribed to Severus) was found on the site of Messrs. Watney, Combe, Reid and Co's former brewery, near the N. end of Endell Street. It measured 8 in. in height and 7½ in. in diameter [Proc. Soc. Ant. (2nd series), II, 376].
Fig. 68, 50. Farther W., in the Quadrant Arcade, Regent Street, a dark grey urn containing burnt bones, with a buff bowl used as a cover, was found in the gravel at a depth of 9 ft., and is now in the London Museum [A. 27623]. The bead-rimmed urn is of early type; a similar example was found at Silchester with pottery dating "just before the middle of the 1st century" [Silchester Pottery, Pl. LXXVIII, 8].
Over two miles farther W. again, at Notting Hill, an inhumation-cemetery, probably of Roman date, was discovered in 1841. In digging the foundations for new buildings" in Victoria Park, near the Hippodrome, Notting Hill, workmen found a monolithic coffin (said to be of Purbeck) with rounded end, at a depth of 6 ft. from the surface. It was 6 ft. 8 in. long and 2 ft. 3 in. broad, and contained a skeleton in lime. It was placed N. and S., the head lying to the N. Adjoining were found the remains of wooden coffins containing bones, but quite rotten. Several pins of bone or ivory were also discovered" [Trans. Lond. and Midd. Arch. Soc., III, 209; Gent. Mag., 1841, II, 499].
7. The proximity of the Ludgate to the Fleet seems to have prevented Roman burial immediately beneath its walls, but a short distance W. of the river along the line of Fleet Street a cremation-cemetery has been discovered near the junction of Shoe Lane, and scattered burials farther W. again at Trafalgar Square and perhaps Westminster may conveniently be included in the same series.
The Shoe Lane cemetery, discovered in 1927, lay about 200 yards W. of Ludgate and a short distance within the southern angle of the junction of the Lane with Fleet Street. Eight cremation-burials are known from the site.
Fig. 68, 51. Shoe Lane. Grey urn containing burnt bones. The bulbous form and heavy bead-like rim are generally pre-Flavian characteristics, but the type is not closely dated [London Museum, A. 28574].
Fig. 68, 52. Shoe Lane. Grey urn containing burnt bones. Somewhat analogous to preceding; the rim approaches that of early or mid 1st-century types [cf. No. 31 above from Bishopsgate. London Museum, 27.90/2].
Fig. 68, 53. Shoe Lane. Urn containing burnt bones. Grey ware with band of smoothed lattice-pattern. The spreading rim, projecting beyond the widest girth of the body of the vessel, is usually a 4th-century characteristic. Cremation-burials, however, are very rare after the first half of the 3rd century [London Museum, 27.90/1].
Fig. 68, 54. Shoe Lane. Grey urn containing burnt bones. A pre-Roman type which lasted well into the 3rd century A.D. The neck-mouldings of the present example are unusually sharp and suggest a date not later than the end of the 1st century [London Museum, 27.90/3].
Fig. 68, 56. Shoe Lane. Dark grey urn, ornamented with a band of lattice-pattern and containing bones. This type, with widely overhanging rim, is usually ascribed to the 4th century and not likely to be earlier than the middle of the 3rd. Compare May, Silchester Pottery, 160 [London Museum, 27.90/7].
Fig. 68, 57. Shoe Lane. Light grey urn containing burnt bones. Akin to, but probably later than, Wroxeter (1913) type 60, dated late 1st or early 2nd century. The present example is more likely to be Antonine or later. [London Museum, 27.90/6].
Fig. 68, 59. Nearly a mile farther W., on the site of the Charing Cross Hospital, a grey-buff urn with lid and burnt bones has been found. It is similar to Richborough type 42, which "may be mid 1st century," but the present example is slimmer, probably of somewhat later date [London Museum, A. 27217].
A short distance farther W., at St. Martin's-in-theFields. "Sir Hans Sloane had a glass vase shaped like a bell found among ashes in a stone coffin taken up in digging the foundation of the portico of this church, 14 ft. under ground" [Gough's Camden, II, 17].
Westminster. In 1869 a sarcophagus (Pl. 57) of Oxfordshire oolite was found on the N. side of the Abbey and is now preserved in the vestibule of the Chapter House. It bears on the front an inscription (see p. 173) between two Amazon shields. The lid has a large cross in relief and is almost certainly an addition made when the coffin was re-used, perhaps in Saxon times. In the absence of other evidence, therefore, it is not certain that the coffin represents a Roman burial in the immediate vicinity. It may easily have been brought by water from a Roman cemetery farther down the river. At the same time there are evidences of Roman occupation at Westminster (p. 148).
8. Southwark. Many burials, both by cremation and by inhumation have been found in the vicinity of the approaches to London Bridge from the S. They seem to have been most numerous in and adjoining the Old Kent Road (with Tabard and Trinity Streets), Great Dover Street, and Borough High Street, i.e., along the line of the arterial road from Kent. An outlier to the W. is represented by a cremation-burial from St. George's Fields.
In date the burials appear to extend from the 1st to the 3rd or 4th century, but unfortunately the records are, for the most part, very vague, and relics which can with certainty be identified with any of the discoveries are hard to find. That we should know so little of the chronology of the cemetery is peculiarly unhappy in view of the early character of some of the miscellaneous "finds" from the area and the potential significance of the material as a whole in relation to the earliest phase of London.
Borough High Street. A vague account of discoveries made during the construction of "the great sewer" in 1818 includes the following: "The first indication of a cemetery occurred nearly opposite the Red Cross public house, No. 200, in the Borough High Street, where was found a quantity of bones, Roman utensils usually found with the dead, cinerary and other urns .... and other remains .... until the works had extended to 750 ft. eastward in King Street; probably the extent of the Cemetery." This account seems to indicate occupationdébris rather than a cemetery, but it goes on to state that in King Street (during the same work), at "about 80 ft. from the Borough entrance, it appears that a body had been deposited, surrounded on all sides by Roman remains." It proceeds also to describe, with illustrations, four Roman glass vessels excavated (apparently during the same work) "from a depth of 7 or 8 ft. in the carriage way of Union Street," where "they were found with the skeleton of a human body, which had been laid upon oak planks, having narrow ledges on each side and at the ends" [W. Taylor, Annals of St. Mary Overy, 1833, 11 ff.]. Another contemporary writer adds little to the above, save to state that the excavation in question "commenced near the Town Hall, and then proceeded southward to Union Street, and northward to York Street, at which point the sewer joins those already constructed." He claims to have found a few fragments of burnt bones in one vessel, but all the pottery was more or less broken [Gent. Mag., 1833, I, 401]. A little farther N., Brock's map marks the discovery of a "human skull in Samian tazza."
Scarcely more satisfactory are the notices of supposed burials found in 1897 "in the course of excavations in the Borough High Street, Southwark, in a line running direct west from St. George's Church to Gravel Lane, Blackfriars." The finds included "a fine cinerary urn, terracotta lamps, vases, a tear-bottle, and other relics. A fine example of a Celtic bronze coin was found with these remains, which bears on its obverse a representation in relief of the head of a chief, and on its reverse the head of a boar, with circular and half-circular symbols in resemblance to what is known as ring-money. The coin was found with other coins of Nero and Claudius" [Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc. (N.S.), IV, 95; Antiq., XXXIV, 71]. From the accounts, as it stands, it is not clear that the remains actually included burials.
In or before 1825, "in digging for the erection of a steam-engine at Messrs. Barclay and Perkins' Brewery [on the W. side of Borough High Street], a human skeleton was discovered, and between the legs was found a vessel with several Roman coins, chiefly of the lower empire, in it" [Gent. Mag., 1825, II, 633].
Fig. 69, 60. Tabard Street. Urn containing burnt bones. Grey ware. Apparently a 2nd century type, but without closely dated analogy; it seems to be the prototype of Wroxeter, 1913, No. 60, dated 1st or early 2nd century [London Museum, A. 21411].
Old Kent Road. "Corroborative of the extent of the city on the Surrey side of the Thames, may be mentioned the burial ground in the Kent Road on which the Dissenters' chapel stands, when the deposits of urns containing burnt bones and coins have been so frequently and in such numbers discovered, as to leave no doubt of the coeval populousness of the neighbourhood. ... To the present day scarcely does an interment take place in the modern burying place without revealing a portion of the unexhausted remains of the Roman cemetery" (C. Roach Smith, Arch., XXIX, 149].
The chapel and burying-ground lay in Deverell Street, Dover Road. Kempe adds, in 1835, that "upwards of twenty urns have been discovered, in most of which a quantity of calcined human bones have been found. . . . These vases are found about 6 ft. below the present level of the ground. . . . They have been deposited just below the stratum of natural loam which is immediately above the alluvial gravel bed, of which the substratum in this neighbourhood is composed" [A. J. Kempe, Arch., XXVI, 467].
Previously, in 1811, labourers opened the ground "near the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, Kent Road, in order to lay down some wooden pipes had found a leaden coffin; the lid was bordered and divided into five compartments, by the bead and fillet [astragalus] ornament. In the upper compartment were two figures of Minerva; the three intermediate ones were diagonally crossed by the same ornament, and the lower compartment contained two escallop shells. The whole appeared to have been cast in a mould" [Arch., XVII, 333 (plate); Coll. Antiq., III, 54].
Fig. 69, 61. Old Kent Road. Grey urn containing burnt bones, "found in a Roman burial place near Old Kent Road, 1838." Of the same class as Richborough, 1st Report, type 64, dated "probably 1st century," type 47 which "may be mid 1st century." Compare also Silchester Pottery, PI. LXXVIII, 5, probably mid 1st century. The general appearance of the type may be described as not later than Flavian. [British Museum].
Fig. 69, 62. Old Kent Road. Dark grey urn containing, burnt bones "found in a Roman burial place near the Old Kent Road, 1838." Round the middle is an incomplete zone of smoothed wave-pattern. Compare Silchester Pottery, PI. LXXIX, 12, 13, found with mid 1st century pottery [British Museum].
Grove Street (probably The Grove, now part of Ewer Street). In 1864, a Mr. Gunston announced to the British Archæological Association "that on May 1 there were discovered, in digging a trench at the corner of Grove Street, Southwark, two skeletons; and between them the remains of an earthen olla which had been filled with small brass coins, 554 of which he had secured; which consisted entirely of rude imitations of the imperial money of the second half of the 3rd century, some bearing the busts and names of Victorinus, Tetricus I and II, and Claudius Gothicus" [Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc, XX, 339].
At Battersea, in 1794, a passer-by saw some labourers dig up four skeletons from a depth of 2 ft. One of the skeletons was buried with lime in a leaden coffin (Pl. 57), and a sketch of the lid shows that it was ornamented with the characteristic Roman cable-mouldings and scallop-shells [Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc, II, 300].
Fig. 69, 64. At Wandsworth, on St. Anne's Hill, a dark grey urn with smoothed trellis pattern containing burnt bones has been found; it is now in the London Museum (A. 20902). The relatively wide diameter of the girth and the marked convexity of the outline suggest a date not later than the middle of the 2nd century.
Fig. 69, 65. At Woolwich, in an excavation in 1841 at the Arsenal, a grey vessel containing burnt bones has been found and is now in the British Museum. The general type of the vessel was long-lived, but the wide girth and sharp mouldings of the present example suggest a 1st-century date. With it were found 15 other pottery vessels. In 1851 or 1853 three or more vessels were found in the same area, some of which contained bones or ashes [Illus. Lond. News. Apr. 9th, 1853, illustration]. In 1856 the same area yielded three or four vessels, now in the possession of Mr. F. C. Elliston Erwood. They are reported to have contained bones [W. T. Vincent. Warlike Woolwich, 65, illustration].
Fig. 69, 66. At Blackheath "some specimens of Roman pottery" were discovered in the Earl of Dartmouth's kitchen-garden, in 1802. "They were found at the depth of about 2 ft. below the present surface of the garden, and a few inches only below the surface of the gravel, and consequently the original surface of the ground in which they were discovered. There were found in the larger urns fragments of bones which had been submitted to the action of fire" [Arch., XV, 392 (plate)]. The urns were given to the British Museum, and of the two here illustrated the taller still contains burnt bones. It is of grey ware and represents a long-lived type which is difficult to date; the cordon-mouldings round the shoulder suggest, however, a period not later than the beginning of the 2nd century. The other, which does not now contain bones, is a 1st-century type; compare Silchester Pottery, type 171, which is probably pre-Flavian, and Richborough type 27, dated mid 1st century.
At Plumstead, in 1887, a lead coffin containing a skeleton was found in Wickham Lane, together with two pottery vessels. A second inhumation burial was found immediately adjacent, together with two broken pots. The coffin is now in the Maidstone Museum and the pottery is in the possession of Mr. F. C. Elliston Erwood [Proc. Soc Ants., XI, 308; XII, 6; XIII, 245; Arch. Cant., XVII, 10]. Burials, including an urn containing bones, have been found from time to time, on Plumstead Marshes [Arch. Cant., XVIII, 309–13; Arch. Journ., XVIII, 269].