River Fleet has been reduced to a trickle in a
culvert under New Bridge Street that emerges under
Blackfriars Bridge, but before the development of London it was the largest river in the area after the Thames. It formed the western boundary of the Roman city of London and the strategic importance of the junction of the Fleet and the Thames means that the area was probably fortified from early times.
Richard of Cirencester suggests that
Canute spent Christmas at such a fort in 1017, where he had
Eadric Streona executed.
 Some accounts claim this was triggered by an argument over a game of chess; Historian William Page suggests that Eadric held the fort as
Ealdorman of Mercia and after his death it may have been granted to
Osgod Clapa, who was a "staller", a standard-bearer and representative of the king (see
This fort was apparently rebuilt after the
Norman invasion by Ralph Baynard, a follower of
William the Conqueror and
sheriff of Essex.
 It was on the riverfront inside the
Roman walls; a second Norman fort,
Montfichet's Tower was c70 metres (230 ft) to the north.
 The site of Baynard's Castle was adjacent to the church of
St. Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe, on the southern side of 160
Queen Victoria Street (the former
Times office and now
The Bank of New York Mellon Centre); archaeologists have found fortifications stretching at least 50 metres (160 ft) south, onto the site of the proposed development at 2
 This may be the Bainiardus mentioned in the
Domesday Survey (1087) who gave his name to springs near
Paddington called Baynard's Watering, later shortened to
The castle was inherited by Ralph's son Geoffrey and his grandson William Baynard, but the latter forfeited his lands early in the reign of
Henry I (1100–1135) for supporting Henry's brother
Robert Curthose in his claim to the throne.
 After a few years in the hands of the king, the castle passed to
Eustace, Count of Boulogne by 1106.
John Stow gives 1111 as the date of forfeiture.
 Later in Henry's reign, the lordship of
soke of Baynard's Castle were granted to the king's steward,
Robert Fitz Richard (1064–1136).
 The soke was coterminous with the parish of St. Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe, which was adjacent to the Norman castle;
 the soke roughly corresponds to the
eponymous ward of the City of London.
 Both Dunmow and Baynard's Castle were eventually inherited by his grandson,
 (d. 1234).