Anglo Saxon London Map: Updated

M@
By M@ Last edited 10 months ago
Anglo Saxon London Map: Updated
Click or tap for higher resolution.
Central London was once largely marshland. The first major Anglo Saxon settlement was Lundenwic (now Covent Garden/Aldwych). Later, King Alfred re-established a town within the old Roman walls, known as Lundenburh.
Central London was once largely marshland. The first major Anglo Saxon settlement was Lundenwic (now Covent Garden/Aldwych). Later, King Alfred re-established a town within the old Roman walls, known as Lundenburh.
South London, with some familiar place names.
South London, with some familiar place names.
North-west London, with the 'nose-shaped hill' (Neasdun), Wemba Lea and the curling River Brent, which still flows through the area.
North-west London, with the 'nose-shaped hill' (Neasdun), Wemba Lea and the curling River Brent, which still flows through the area.
The eastern Thames, showing Charlton, Woolwich and Plumstead and, to the north, the important abbey town of Barking (Bercingum).
The eastern Thames, showing Charlton, Woolwich and Plumstead and, to the north, the important abbey town of Barking (Bercingum).

Click here for the full-resolution Anglo-Saxon map (3.2 MB).

Last updated January 2016 to correct the name of Rotherhithe, and to add the Anglo-Saxon name for Watling Street.

In 2011, we put together a map showing the London area in Anglo Saxon times (roughly speaking, 500-1066AD). It's pieced together from many resources, showing our guess at the roads, rivers, forests and marshland that characterised the region. The main purpose was to highlight the many villages, hamlets and farmsteads whose names are still part of modern London. For example, the map shows 'Wemba Lea', the land belonging to a local chieftain by the name of Wemba. We know nothing about Mr Wemba, yet his name is familiar to millions, perhaps billions, through its continuation into our own times as Wembley. Similarly, Croydon is a corruption of Crog Dene, which meant something like 'valley of the crocuses'.

We've now updated the map, based on feedback and further research. Close-ups can be seen below, or we've provided a link to download the full picture. We'd love to receive further information: perhaps we've got the route of a road slightly wrong, or maybe (inevitably?) there's a whole village missing somewhere. We'd like this map to become a team effort, gradually improving as Londonist readers provide new information.

The map comes with a few caveats. We're attempting to show a period of several hundred years in one map. Some features might not have been present for the whole of that time span, and names changed. Features like marshland, forest coverage and farmland are often conjectural in their extent, as are certain roads. Corrections or additions can be left in the comments below, or by emailing matt@londonist.com.

Click here for the full-resolution Anglo-Saxon map (3.2 MB).

Last Updated 18 January 2017

Dominic Sayers

You've got STYBBANHYPE but I think it should be STYBBANHYÞE (with a thorn character not a "p")

If you can't find a thorn in your font then it should be spelled STYBBANHYTHE (which is how the thorn is pronounced)

John Hannay

'Neasden…where all the birds sing in the treesden'

A Cat From London

I would like to have this map while I'm reading Edward Rutherfurd's London book : http://acatfromlondon.wordpres...

Sean Stone

I was wondering what the distance scale would be on the map or at least an approximation.

Chris Ramsbottom

What are the chequerboards please?

Sean F Gallagher

This is awesome. Thank you.

Katie Lowe

Very nice. Not quite sure why some of the names are inflected, and others not.

Geoff Boxell

Impressive - I've printed a copy off to frame & join my other maps of London. I am originally from Wendle's wurth & have written a novel about the Norman Conquest that has a lot of its action in the Wandle (Wendle) Valley it, and others, available from Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/pro... . Do we get updates when you publish more maps etc?

jentaff

The double d in Hamor Smydde is pronounced th in old British/Welsh

Sean F Gallagher

I have used this map as a reference as I write my historical fantasy novel, Mysts Of Mythos. This is a wonderful resource. Thank you so much for putting it together and posting it online. www.mystsofmythos.com

Mike S

Fascinating that you have what looks like commons by Plumstead. I'd be really interest to know what the references for those are

Vera O'Reilly

I see my home town of Tooting there (Totinge) is shown with what looks like a couple of farmsteads? and fields. I believe in fact it was on a river - The Graveney - a tributary of the Wandle which itself was a tributary of the Thames, and had several lakes. Altogether quite a wet area.

Amira Attard-Shareif

this is wonderful...is Tottenheale what is now known as Tottenham Hale??? Do you know the origins/meaning of the name?

Steve Moran

Croydon - Valley of the Crocuses. Er ... not any more lol. I once lived in "The Glade, Old Coulsdon" just south of there. Not a blade of glade to be seen"

Faheem vanoo

Hi Matt great work The Thames reach is quite visible, great to have it well routed in modern era.Do you know when the river walls were built.

Robert Smith

Wemba Lea. So Football fans sing the name with the correct pronunciation

Sean F Gallagher

Thank you so much for your time and effort. This is a great resource for those of us interested in the history of Anglo-Saxon England.

Robert Howard

In my seventies now and an East Midlander for over forty years, I still say I am from Wembley and everyone knows instantly. I also tell people I grew up in Middlesex. A lovely fun map. As far as I am aware the first recorded mention of Wemba Lea dates back to c825AD, but there is no entry in the Domesday Book of 1086AD and the same applies for a good few other pre-Norman settlements in Middlesex.

Lili Shane

i would like to know exactly what maps were incorporated into this and how similar the artistic styles are. are you trying to reflect the anglo-saxon style? what references are you using?

James Waygood

So, Wimbledon is so called because of one guy living on top of a hill (one man dune)!? 0.o

Maria F

I had a map print a bit similar to this but I think it was only based on the Domesday book (the print was from the exhibition). However my birth town Kingsbury (NW London) is not on this one- it was referred to as Chingesberie if I recall. Can it be included too?

Kevin Morgan

And way before this time the Romans crossed the river at the lowest ford
- at Brentford - in one of the key battles to beat the Celtic tribes.
And when the Romans left everyone was worried about the raiding ....
Saxons! And the straight Roman road heading SSW from London bridge that went through Mertone (now Merton) and Mordune (now Morden) went to the spring at Ewell, where I live!

Phil Songhurst

Dear Londonist. How might I best contact you to see if you might be willing to allow us to use some or all of this lovely map on an information panel at a museum in Harrow where we're talking about the development of the area in Anglo Saxon times. We need an urgent response if possible as we need to go to print a week today. Yours in hope . Phil.