The early years of Lundenwic

In the 600s the Saxon town of Lundenwic sprang up on a new site, around modern Covent Garden.
Map showing the position of Saxon Lundenwic
Lundenwic was over a mile (2 km) to the west, on the other side of the river Fleet from Roman Londinium

The dig at St Martin-in-the-Fields has produced evidence demonstrating the presence of Saxons on the site well over a hundred years earlier than Lundenwic is generally supposed to have been founded. One pit, which is likely to have been a disturbed grave, produced a ceramic jar datable to around AD 500. Whereas most Roman pottery was wheel-thrown, this is hand-made, in a style that was introduced by Saxon immigrants from the Continent.

Later, probably after AD 650, people of high status were being buried at St Martin-in-the-Fields. They may well have been Christians. The archaeologists have discovered fine jewellery, glass and metal vessels in their graves.

We do not know if there was a church at St Martin-in-the-Fields in the 600s. But it does seem that people attributed special, perhaps sacred, significance to the site throughout the 200 years separating Roman Londinium from Saxon Lundenwic.

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