At the eastern end of the wall, by the riverside, was a strong fort, succeeded later by the White Tower. There the wall followed a line slightly westward of the Minories to Aldgate; then it curved to the northwest, between Bevis Marks and Houndsditch ("the ditch beyond the wall") to Bishopsgate, where it followed the line still known as "London Wall" to Cripplegate.

It next took a southern course to Aldersgate, and behind St. Botolph's Church, to Newgate; thence to Ludgate and along Pilgrim Street to the Fleet river (which then flowed in the valley now known as Farringdon Street). It skirted this stream to its junction with the Thames, where another strong fort was erected.

This line corresponds roughly with the present boundaries of the City of London, with the exception of the "liberties," or wards, still known as "without," added at a later time.There were three Gates, Aldgate (Ale-gate or All-gate, i.e., open to all), Aldersgate and Ludgate (Lydgeat, a postern); and afterwards a postern (Postern Row marks the spot) on Tower Hill. The City Corporation erected tablets marking the sites of the gates.

On the northern side was an outwork or barbican (the modern site of the Barbican Estate preserves its memory). Later, other gates were added, the names of which are still preserved in Billingsgate, Bishopsgate, Moorgate, Cripplegate (from the Anglo-Saxon crepel-gate, a covered way), New-gate and Dow-gate (Celtic dwr, water).

Under the Saxons London became the metropolis of the kingdom of Essex. Bede, writing in the early part of the eighth century, refers to London as the "mart of many nations resorting to it by sea and land." The city was constituted the capital of England by Alfred the Great, York and Winchester having previously enjoyed that dignity in succession - the former under the Romans, the latter under the Saxons. In 994, the first bridge across the Thames was built.

The White Tower, in the Tower of London, was erected by William I in 1078, on the site of the Roman fort already noticed. The same king granted a charter to the city (see p. 21) confirming the burghers in the rights enjoyed by them under Edward the Confessor. William Rufus in 1097 founded Westminster Hall. King John granted the citizens several charters, and in Magna Charta it was expressly stipulated that London should have all its ancient privileges and customs as well by land as by water.

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Wat Tyler's Rebellion took place in 1381, with the picturesque part played by the Lord Mayor of that time. Reference must also be made to Jack Cade's Rebellion (1450), immortalized in Shakespeare's Henry VI: "Now is Mortimer lord of this city!" cried the insurgent leader, when he struck his sword on the London Stone.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, so rapid had become the increase of London, that both Elizabeth and James I. issued proclamations against any further extension of the city.In the Strand, between London and Westminster, were many splendid residences of the nobility, with fine gardens reaching to the Thames. The names of most of the streets in the Strand - such as Essex, Norfolk, Burleigh, Buckingham and Northumberland - still preserve these aristocratic associations.

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