City Freeman

David Keys uncovers London's German enclave.

Archaeological excavations and historical research are for the first time revealing a clear picture of a semi-autonomous foreign-run enclave which flourished in the heart of London in medieval times.

Owned and administered by one of Europe's most important powers, the Hanseatic League, the enclave retained its status until 1598 and at its peak covered over 6,000 square yards on the north hank of the Thames. Archaeologists led by Dick Bluer of the Museum of London have excavated the site and have discovered the remains of the Hanseatic guildhall.

German traders were almost certainly established in London by 1000, and c.1170 Henry II allocated part of what is now the site of Cannon Street Station to the merchants of Cologne.

Research carried out by Dr Derek Keene, Director of the University of London's Centre for Metropolitan History, in conjunction with the Museum of London, is now shedding light on the layout of this area and has revealed precisely where at least one great twelfth-century Cologne merchant settled in the English capital.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.