Listed Building: THE ROMAN TOWN WALL (116851)

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Grade I
Volume/Map/Item 584, 17, 1
Date assigned 02 December 1971
Date last amended


1. The Roman Town Wall 995 TL 9925 NW 1/1 TL 9925 NE 2/1 TL 9925 SW 4/1 TL 9925 SE 5/1 TM 0025 SW 6/1 TL 9924 NW 8/1 TM 02 NW 17/1 I 2. Probably of the late C3. Originally some 3,100 yds in length, forming a rectangle of about 1,000 yds east-west, and 510 yds north-south with rounded corners. Traceable throughout except in the south-west corner where it was much damaged by the 1648 siege. The 3 most important visible lengths are on Balkerne Hill on the west including the Balkerne Gate (qv), in the Castle Park on the north including the north-east Postern Gate and the great vaulted drain under, and the south-east corner in Priory Street. Built of layers of septaria, interspersed with 4-fold course of brick, the lowest course going right through the wall, with a core of rubble and cement. Considerable lengths of the wall still reach a height of 15 ft, and it is on average 8 ft thick. The wall was strengthened in each corner and where it was met by the internal streets by an internal solid tower the base of one can be seen in the stretch on Balkerne Hill. The wall was extensively repaired during the reign of Richard II, 1389-1399 when it was strengthened by the addition of external semi-circular solid bastions, 4 of these remain in Priory Street. The wall was further considerably damaged in the 1648 seige, there is much brick patching in evidence in Priory Street, dating probably from the early C18. There follows a detailed description of the wall's course and construction commencing at the Balkerne Gate (qv) in the centre of the west side and proceeding in a clockwise direction. All measurements are approximate. All heights are of the outside face of the wall. The ground level on the inside is often considerably higher due to the bank of earth built as part of the fortifications. A. Palkerne Gate to North Hill 455 yds, condition good. Beginning at the Balkerne Gate (qv) the wall runs due north down the east side of Balkerne Hill. 30 yds of Roman wall (for details of construction see previous notes), 12 ft high. 15 yds of mediaeval refacing, 12 ft high. 30 yd breach caused in the Civil War. 60 yds of Roman wall, 10 ft high, built on a bank. 40 yd breach filled by modern red brick wall. Approximately 280 yds of Roman wall running to the rear of the old "Coach and Horses Inn" on North Hill, 10 ft high dropping to 8 ft, with considerable mediaeval repairs, particularly in the north-west angle. B. North Hill to East Hill 1,100 yds, condition fragmentary. 80 yds of Roman wall considerably altered. Beginning between No 30 North Hill and No 1 Middleborough. 10 ft high dropping to 3 and 4 ft in yard of No 1. Behind Nos 2 and 4 Northgate Street (Northgate House) 3 ft high; then fading at the rear of Nos 8, 10 and 12 Northgate Street to the corner of Short Cut Road. 260 yds, no visible remains. The row of houses, Nos 22A-32 (even) Northgate Street are built on the course of the wall, it then runs beside or under the road to the corner of Castle Park. 40 yds with a footpath on top of remains, only modern facing visible. 15 yds to the park gate, 3 ft high, Roman with much modern facing. 12 yd gap for park gate. 120 yds, Roman wall with much mediaeval and later facing, 8-12 ft high. 5 yd gap for park gate. 90 yds of Roman wall with later facing, 10 to 12 ft high. Duncan's Gate (postern) with drain under and remains of fallen tower. 35 yds, Roman, 8 to 10 ft high, running beside No 40 Castle Road. Modern arch through to Castle Road. 100 yds to the north-east angle, Roman, 8 to 10 ft high, buttressed at angle. From the north-east angle to East Hill the wall forms the garden wall to all the houses on the east side of Roman Road (Nos 55-15 odd, Nos 14-2 consec) except for Nos 23, 21, 19, 17, 15, 14, 13, 12 and 11 where it has been largely destroyed, Thus:- 70 yds, Roman with mediaeval facing, 8 to 10 ft high; along the Private Burial Ground and Nos 55, 53, 51 and 49 Roman Road. 30 yds, Roman, 6 ft high, behind Nos 47, 45, 43, 41 and 39 Roman Road. 60 yds behind Nos 37, 35, 33, 31, 29, 27 and 25 Roman Road where it has been virtually destroyed, at first a low wall of a few old stones with modern brick, then higher but completely rebuilt. 65 yds behind Nos 23, 21, 19, 17, 15, 14, 13, 12 and 11 Roman Road, no visible remains. 80 yds to East Hill, no significant remains behind Nos 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 Roman Road and between Nos 89 and 90 East Hill. C. From East Hill to Queen Street 490 yds, condition good. 80 yds, Roman, 12 ft high with mediaeval stone and modern brick facing along St James' Churchyard to the mediaeval Bastion (see previous notes). 70 yds, Roman with mediaeval stone repairs, 12 ft high, to smith-east angle and second mediaeval bastion. 50 yd breach (Civil War) rebuilt in C18 in red brick, 12 ft high. 200 yds to Bastion V. Roman with extension repairs. Height varies between 12 and 8 ft. 40 yds, Roman, 8 ft high, with red brick Bus Depot above. 25 yd gap through bus depot buildings. 25 yds to St Botolph's Street, between Nos 48 and 50, no visible remains. D. Queen Street to Scheregate 285 yds to Scheregate, condition good. 60 yds to Bastion behind No 10 Short Wyre Street. Between Nos 1 and la St Botolph's Street and then behind Nos 1-10 (consec) Short Wyre Street. These houses have their rear walls built on the Roman wall, including the Bastion under No 10, but little remains of the original stonework. 225 yds from the Bastion to the Scheregate. Destroyed behind No 11 Short Wyre Street. Roman, 6 to 8 ft high behind Nos 27-14 (consec) Eld Lane. Gap with modern filling behind No 13 Eld Lane. Roman, 10 ft high to No 6A Eld Lane. Breach between No 6A and No 5 Eld Lane. C18 red brick wall, 10 ft high. Roman, 10 ft high, to Scheregate behind Nos 5-1 (consec) Eld Lane and between No 1 Eld Lane and No 2 Scheregate Steps. Incorporated in the buildings, partly destroyed and partly invisible. Scheregate (qv) - mediaeval, E. Scheregate to Head Street 225 yds, fragmentary to Head Street, Between No 3 Scheregate Step and No 6A Sir Isaac's Walk, no visible remains. 20 yds beneath the car park. 6 ft high, but mostly rebuilt, some stonework. Visible stonework behind No 6 Eld Lane. Bottom garden wall behind Nos 36 to 48 (consec) St John's Street, running under the southern side of Eld Lane. Very fragmentary. Running through buildings to Head Street. No visible remains, probably quite destroyed. F. Head Street to the Balkerne Gate 400 yds, fragmentary. Running at rear of Nos 3-33 Crouch Street, and Nos 2, 3, 4 and 5 Church Walk, the rear walls of the latter being built above the Roman wall. No visible remains, probably largely destroyed. 30 yds, 10 ft high, behind Nos 35, 36 and 37 Crouch Street forming garden wall of St Mary's Cottage, Church Walk. South-west angle destroyed. 20 yds, Roman, 6 ft high, behind No 8 Balkerne Lane, 25 yd gap. 20 yds Roman to postern gate behind, 10 ft high, behind Nos 14, 15 and 17 Balkerne Lane, No 17 is built into the postern gate. From the postern gate to the Balkerne Gate, 100 yds, Roman, 12 ft high, in good condition, running behind Nos 18 and Nos 25 to 31 (consecutive). The following buildings are connected with, and have possible ownership of, various portions of the Roman Wall. A. Buildings structurally connected with visible remains Balkerne Lane No 17 The Hole in the Wall Public House. Church Walk Nos 2, 3, 4 & 5. Eld Lane Nos 1, 1b, 1c, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6a, 7, 11, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27. Middleborough No 1 Northgate Street Nos 2, 4, 10 and 12. North Hill Nos 30 and 31. Queen Street Eastern Counties Bus Depot. Sir Isaac's Walk No 6. Short Wyre Street Nos 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. B. Buildingss with possible invisible remains incorporated in the foundations: nothing certain. Crouch street. Nos 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 25, 27, 31, 33 and 41. East Hill Nos 89 and 90 St Botolph's Street Nos 1 and la. Scheregate Nos 2 and 3. Short Wyre Street Nos 1, 2, 3a, 3b and 11. Sir Isaac's Walk Nos 6a and 6b. C. Buildings not directly connected with the wall but it forms part of the property boundary. Balkerne Hill Gilberd Lodge. Balkerne Lane Nos 8, 18, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31. Castle Road No 40. Crouch Street Nos 35 and 37. East Hill Church of St James. Nos 89 and 90. Eld Lane Nos 1a, 6, 8, 9, l0, 13, 14, 15 and 19. High Street Easthill House. Queen street Eastern Counties Bus Depot. Roman Road Nos 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 25, 27, 29, 31, 33, 35, 37, 39, 41, 43, 45, 47, 49, 51, 53, 55 and the Private Burial Ground. The following of the foregoing buildings are of merit in themselves, and can be found listed under their respective streets. Balkerne Lane No 17 The Hole in the Wall Public House. Church Walk St Mary's Cottage. Crouch Street Nos 17 and 19. No 37. East Hill Church of St James. No 89 Eld Lane No 1 Nos 3 and 4 No 5. High Street Easthill House. Middleborough No 1. Northgate Street Nos 10 and 12. Scheregate No 2. No 3. Sir Issac's Walk No 6a. No 6b. Listing NGR: TL9942125504

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Grid reference TL 99421 25503 (point)
Map sheet TL92NE

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Record last edited

Nov 6 2019 4:47PM

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