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Property destruction in Civil War London

Stephen Porter

At the start of the Civil Wars, in 1642, London’s medieval city wall was renovated, but it soon became apparent that an entirely new defensive system was required, to be built considerably beyond the existing line. It was not only that extensive suburbs – together with Southwark and Westminster – now contained a greater population than did the intra-mural area, but also that earthwork defences of some complexity would be needed to withstand a bombardment by cannon. A consequence of the new fortification programme was the ejection of tenants or owners of the ground upon which the earthworks were built, and claims for compensation were still being pursued in 1649. In general, however, because London was neither besieged nor suffered a major fire during the Civil War period, much less property was destroyed here than in many other English towns and cities.

[Transactions 35 (1984), pp 59 – 62; abstract by Francis Grew, 16-Oct-1997]

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