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LONDON CIVIL WAR DEFENCES

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The Civil War defences of London were created in 1642-3, and extended for some 11 miles. From Wapping on the North side of the Thames, the general course of the lines ran north-west to Shoreditch, west to Hyde Park, and south to Tothill Fields. It resumed at Vauxhall on the south bank, ran north-east to St Georges Fields, east to the Elephant and Castle and then north-east to complete the circuit at Rotherhithe. There are difficulties in reconciling the nature of the available evidence and trying to establish the number, nature and position of individual works. These included a mixture of hornworks, rectangular and bastioned forts, star forts, and other positions and batteries. Between the various strong points was a rampart fronted by a ditch. There may be remains of the defences in Hyde Park, within the grounds of the Imperial War Museum, and at Rotherhithe. Despite the scale of the works, no contemporary map of them exists. The Scottish traveller William Lithgow walked the circuit in April 1643, describing and locating 28 earthworks. The earliest plots are one of 1720 in Wiliam Stukeley's `British Coins', which depicts 15 roughly drawn strongpoints, and a map by George Vertue of 1739 which shows 21 works, plus 2 works extended from the main line at Islington. Rocque's map of London of 1746, and the revised edition of 1769, show ground disturbance which might have been, and in some cases were, traces of the defences, but these need careful interpretation. See the individual works for descriptions, the numbering following Smith and Kelsey.

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