Look around any map of London and you’ll find the echoes of long-forgotten individuals. Cena, Padda, Fulla… ancient farmers who had no idea their names would live on down the centuries as Kennington, Paddington and Fulham.
Could the dairyman whose cheese farm (Ces wican) once graced the banks of the Thames have conceived that his humble business would live forever as Chiswick? People of Croydon: whatever happened to the valley of crocuses (Crogdene) after which your town is named. And who knew that the perennial football chant of ‘Wember-ley, Wember-ley, Wember-ley’ is actually pretty close to the area’s original name of Wemba Lea (Wemba’s forest clearing).
We’ve never seen these Anglo-Saxon hamlets and farms mapped out before, so we thought we’d give it a go. The period shown covers 500-1050 AD, between the retreat of the Romans and the coming of the Normans. Once the Romans had cleared off, the area around Londinium was settled by a hotch-potch of Germanic peoples usually termed Anglo-Saxon. Their main trading port of Lundenwic was probably centred on what is now the Covent Garden and Aldwych (meaning ‘old port’) areas, but we know little about the full extent and organisation of this early London.