Montfichet's Tower

Montfichet's Tower
Part of the Fortifications of London
Ludgate Hill, London
Millennium Bridge & St. Pauls.jpg
View of the site in 2009; the castle was behind the white building on the horizon.
Type Castle,
possibly motte-and-bailey
Site history
Built late 11th century
Demolished 1213

Montfichet's Tower (also known as Montfichet's Castle and/or spelt Mountfitchet's or Mountfiquit's) was a Norman fortress on Ludgate Hill in London, between where St Paul's Cathedral and City Thameslink railway station now stand. First documented in the 1130s, it was probably built in the late 11th century. The defences were strengthened during the revolt of 1173–1174 against Henry II.

It was demolished in 1213 by King John and the site sold in 1275 to build the great Dominican priory of Blackfriars. Archaeological excavations in 1986–90 uncovered waste pits and the remains of ditches between Carter Lane and Ludgate Hill.

Background

Today the 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 biggest 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. [1]

The Normans reinforced the area by building two castles inside the Roman walls that ran north-south, giving their name to the street of Old Bailey and then roughly following the modern Blackfriars Lane down to the Thames. Baynard's Castle was built where the wall met the river overlooking the mouth of the Fleet, roughly where the Bank of New York's Mellon Centre stands at 160 Queen Victoria Street. [2] Montfichet's Tower was further north on Ludgate Hill overlooking the strategic route west, through Ludgate and over the Fleet, that would become Fleet Street. [2]

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