From the collapse of the Roman city to the accession of Queen Elizabeth I – what was life like in Medieval London?
Medieval London was destroyed by invaders, racked by famine, fire and disease, and torn apart by religious and political controversy. But it grew to become one of the wealthiest and most important cities in Europe.
Discover the story of London in the middle ages through the collections in our Medieval gallery.
Not to be missed on your visit
Brooch decorated with gold and garnets, mid 7th century
This beautiful brooch, from the Saxon town of Lundenwic, was discovered in the grave of a woman during an excavation in Covent Garden.
Recreated late Saxon house
This reconstruction of a typical house shows what everyday life was like in the late Saxon town of Lundenburg.
Viking battle axes, early 11th century
From the late 900s to 1066, Viking raiders armed with weapons like these attacked London, led by Scandinavian rulers like Swein Forkbeard of Denmark.
Learn about the trades of London
These jugs, made in Surrey for the London market, showcase some of the daily life of people who lived in London as it became a bustling commercial centre.
Step back into the heart of medieval London
The gallery includes interactive maps to explore how London grew from the remains of the Roman city. You can also walk into an immersive exploration of the Black Death.
Wince-inducing pointy shoes
These pointed medieval shoes, known as a 'poulaine', were the height of fashion in the late Medieval period. The toes had to be stuffed with moss to keep their shape.
Twin altarpiece panels, around 1500
These opulent painted and gilded panels show the Angel Gabriel telling the Virgin Mary that she will give birth to Jesus. They would have flanked an altar.
Crucifix containing a splinter of the True Cross
This small enamelled gold cross has a small cavity that was used to hold a holy relic - believed by its owner to be a fragment of the cross on which Jesus was crucified.
Pilgrim badge depicting a scene from the life of St. Thomas Becket, around 1350
These badges would have been brought back by pilgrims from religious sites, such as Canterbury Cathedral, where St Thomas Becket was martyred in 1170.
Two sides of a rosary bead, 16th century
This bead is carved from bone, with a woman's face on one side and a skull on the other. Known as a "memento mori" it is meant to encourage thoughts of death and the soul.
The gallery is open during the museum's normal hours:
10am – 5.40pm
The gallery is on the entrance floor and can be accessed by lift.
Entry free, no ticket required.
Medieval London also of interest
Meet the beasts of London
Visit our interactive exhibition to discover the history of London's animals.
See the city through experimental photography in our free exhibition.
Plan your visit
The man in the mud
Who was the mystery medieval Londoner and how did he die in the river Thames?
Read the story