27 August 2016 | 22 °C

History, Maps | By: M@

Anglo Saxon London Map: Updated

Anglo Saxon London Map: Updated
The full map in overview. A high-resolution version can be found by clicking below.
The full map in overview. A high-resolution version can be found by clicking below.
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.
The Thames near Chiswick, which means 'cheese farm'.
The Thames near Chiswick, which means 'cheese farm'.
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).

Three years ago, 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 in the gallery above, 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 19 August 2016

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.