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Lancaster Town Wall

In the civil parish of Lancaster.
In the historic county of Lancashire.
Modern Authority of Lancashire.
1974 county of Lancashire.
Medieval County of Lancashire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SD47316191
Latitude 54.05046° Longitude -2.80626°

Lancaster Town Wall has been described as a Urban Defence although is doubtful that it was such.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.


C14 masonry wall planned but probably never built or never completed. (Bond 1987)

The Wery Wall is a surviving fragment of Roman walling on the east slope of Castle Hill adjacent to the rear of Mitre House. It measures 4.0m by 3.0m by 3.0m high and is situated on a very steep bank running north south. Only the rubble core of the wall remains, with no facing stones. Historical documents suggest that there was considerably more of this wall in existence in the 18th century, but its full course cannot now be traced. The remains represent a section of a bastion of the last Roman fort on the site, which probably dates to the fourth century.
The visible earthwork rampart in Vicarage Field follows the line of the earlier Roman defences but is not itself apparently Roman. In the west, its highest point, it overlies the Roman ditches. The rampart consists of a thick mound of black earth up to 4ft deep, and west of which there had been an attempt to build a stone revetment from material robbed from the Roman wall. Medieval green-glazed pottery found suggests that this rampart is medieval. In 1316 Lancaster had a single grant of Murage and these earthwork defences may be connected with the Priory or Castle, which both stand on the plateau of the hill within part of the area of the Roman fort. (Lancs CC HER)

The old waul of the circuite of the priory cummith almost to Lune bridge. Sum have therby supposid that it was a peace of a waul of the toune. But yn deade I espiyd in no place that the toune was ever waullid. (Leland)

The grant of murage of 1316 was actually a grant for murage and pavage and was given at the same time as a grant to Leicester, another town held by Thomas, earl of Lancaster. The mention of murage in this context may not actually reflect an intent to build walls in Lancaster (it may be a clerical simplification of two grants; writing the two in the same form). The VCH suggests part of the town (including the priory) was within the circuit of a Roman fort but much of the town, even from a relatively early a period, was outside this circuit and there is nothing to suggest any attempt was ever made to defend this area which probably included the market. The remains of a medieval wall in Vicarage field would seem to be the priory boundary wall.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:30

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