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 firstname.lastname@example.org.