Top 10 Ruins in London

1 London Wall & Roman Fort (Find out more) The Roman fort of Londinium was built around AD120, just north-west of the main population settlement. It covered 12 acres and was almost square in size, 200m along each length. As Londinium grew, the fort was later absorbed into the defensive wall that surrounded the city. […]

1 London Wall & Roman Fort (Find out more)

The Roman fort of Londinium was built around AD120, just north-west of the main population settlement. It covered 12 acres and was almost square in size, 200m along each length. As Londinium grew, the fort was later absorbed into the defensive wall that surrounded the city.

The wall was built between 190 and 225 AD, it continued to be developed by the Romans until at least the end of the 4th century. Along with Hadrian’s Wall and the road network, the London Wall was one of the largest construction projects carried out in Roman Britain. Once built, the wall was 2 miles long and about 6 m high, encircling the entire Roman city.

2 Billingsgate Roman Bath House (Find out more)

The remains of the Billingsgate Roman bath house date from the 2nd-3rd century AD and were first discovered in 1848 during construction of the London Coal Exchange.

They remained preserved in the buildings basement, until further redevelopment at the site in the late 1960’s gave archaeologists the opportunity to further explore the ruin.

Pottery has shown that the house was erected in the late 2nd century, comprising of a north wing and east wing (with a hypocaust system – underfloor heating) around a central courtyard. At this time, the building was situated on the waterfront of the River Thames.

3 Lesnes Abbey (Find out more)

Lesnes Abbey is a ruined abbey in the London Borough of Bexley which is classed as an ancient scheduled monument.

After the Norman Conquest in 1066, the area of Lesnes passed into ownership of Bishop Odo, as mentioned in the Domesday Survey. The year 1178 saw the foundation of the Abbey of St Mary and St Thomas the Martyr at Lesnes by Richard de Luci, Chief Justiciar of England.

It was one of the first monasteries to be closed after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1524, and the monastic buildings were all pulled down, except for the Abbott’s Lodging.

4 The Crystal Palace (Find out more)

The Crystal Palace was an iron and plate-glass building originally built in London Hyde Park to hold the Great Exhibition in 1851.

At 564 metres long, with an interior height of 128 feet, there were more than 14,000 exhibitors displaying the latest technological developments from the industrial revolution.

On November 1936, a fire broke out and within hours the palace was completely destroyed. It was reported that the intensity and glow of the fire could be seen across eight counties. Winston Churchill at the time said, “This is the end of an age”.

5 Barking Abbey (Find out more)

Barking Abbey was a royal monastery in Barking London, described as “one of the most important nunneries in the country”.

It was founded in the 7th century by Saint Erkenwald (later Bishop of London) and dedicated to Saint Mary.

The Abbey had grown to become one of the most powerful monastic institutions in England, but was closed in 1539 as part of Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. After the dissolution, the abbey was demolished and much of its wealth was sold off.

6 Roman Amphitheatre (Find out more)

The Roman amphitheatre of Londinium is situated in a vaulted chamber beneath the Guildhall gallery complex. Discovered in 1998 during a planned expansion of the Guildhall, the remains are displayed in situ and are now a protected monument.

London’s first Roman amphitheatre was built in AD70, constructed of wood, but was later renovated during the 2nd century with rag-stone walls and a tiled entrance.

Able to hold thousands of spectators, the size of the amphitheater is displayed on street level, where the circumference of the arena is marked with a black circle on the paving of the courtyard in front of the hall.

7 St Dunstan-in-the-East (Find out more)

The original church dates back to the Norman period around 1100 AD, with an aisle added in the late 14th century.

During the Great Fire of London the church was severely damaged but survived being demolished. Instead it was renovated and further added to by Sir Christopher Wren. During WW2, the church was severely damaged in the Blitz with only Wren’s tower and steeple surviving.

St Dunstan-in-the-East remained a ruin until 1967 when the City of London Corporation decided to turn the site into a public garden.

8 St John the Evangelist Ruins (Find out more)

The ruins of “St John the Evangelist” consist of a brick built church that was consecrated in 1632. It stands next to the current St Johns Church, a Victorian construction that was consecrated in 1850.

Sir John Wolstenholme paid for the 1632 Stuart church after the land was gifted by Sir Thomas Lake.

The site has been a place of worship since the Roman period, where it’s believed there stood a compitum shrine, possibly from the ruins of Roman Sulloniacis in the area.

9 Winchester Palace (Find out more)

Winchester Palace is a an early 13th century palace built for the Bishops of Winchester in Southwark.

The palace was used until the 17th century, when it was converted into accommodation for tenements and warehouses until a fire destroyed most of the Palace in 1814.

Many notable figures in history were entertained at the palace, including King James I of Scotland in 1424 when he married Joan Beaufort.

10 Royal Garrison Church of St George (Find out more)

St George’s Garrison Church in Woolwich was built in the 1860s to serve as the church and chapel of the Royal Artillery Barracks.

The church was struck by a German bomb in 1944 during the Blitz, leaving it a roofless ruin.

Despite the damage, mosaics and standing walls in a neo-byzantine style of architecture survived, along with marble tablets commemorating the names of artillery men who fell in battle and received the Victoria Cross.

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1 comment

  1. jmarin

    Roman Britain is sitill an historic reality and not a work of fiction. One might say that this Latin domination ended with the Anglo-Saxon conquests followimg 415 A.D. yet another significant date 1066 was to prove that Latins were not altogether finished since French for many subsequent years was the official language of state.

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