Covent Garden was once the bustling centre of an Anglo-Saxon trading town.
Established about a mile to the west of Londinium—the old Roman settlement now known as the City of London or “the Square Mile”—was a 7th-century Anglo-Saxon trading town called Lundenwic, centered around the area that is now Covent Garden.
Described by the English monk, Bede the Venerable, in the 8th century as “a trading centre for many nations who visit it by land and sea”, the Old English term -wic derived from the Latin word vicus for “trading town”—so Lundenwic meant “London trading town”.
During Viking invasions in the 9th century, the Danish “Great Heathen Army” sacked Londinium and held it until 886 when Alfred the Great, “King of the Anglo-Saxons”, recaptured it and repaired the Roman walls.
As trading shifted to Londinium once more, Lundenwic was abandoned and became a wasteland.
A trading centre for many nations who visit it by land and sea
Lundenwic became known as Ealdwic, meaning “old trading town”.
Recent excavations in Covent Garden have revealed that the early Anglo-Saxon settlement once stretched from where the National Gallery is now to the area called Aldwych—some 150 acres.