Gates in the wall of this Citie

A Survey of London. Reprinted From the Text of 1603. Originally published by Clarendon, Oxford, 1908.

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John Stow, 'Gates in the wall of this Citie', in A Survey of London. Reprinted From the Text of 1603, (Oxford, 1908) pp. 27-44. British History Online [accessed 25 May 2024].

John Stow. "Gates in the wall of this Citie", in A Survey of London. Reprinted From the Text of 1603, (Oxford, 1908) 27-44. British History Online, accessed May 25, 2024,

Stow, John. "Gates in the wall of this Citie", A Survey of London. Reprinted From the Text of 1603, (Oxford, 1908). 27-44. British History Online. Web. 25 May 2024,

In this section

Gates in the wall of this Citie.

Gates of London 4. north, south, east, and west, & other as shall be shewed.

Gates in the wall of this Citie of olde time, were foure: to wit, Aeldgate for the east, Aldersgate for the North, Ludgate for the West, and the Bridgegate ouer the riuer of Thames for the South, but of later times for the ease of Citizens and Passengers, diuers other gates and posterns haue beene made, as shall be shewed.

Seuen double gates in the wall of this Citie.

In the raigne of Henrie the second (saith Fitzstephen) there were seuen double gates in the wall of this Citie, but he nameth them not. It may therefore be supposed, hee meant for the first, the gate next the Tower of London, now commonly called the Posterne: the next to be Aeldgate, the third Bishopsgate, the fourth Ealdersgate, the fift Newgate, the sixt Ludgate, the seuenth Bridgegate. Since the which time hath beene builded, the Posterne called Mooregate, a Posterne from Christs Hospitall, towards S. Bartholomewes Hospitall in Smithfield, &c. Now of euerie of these gates, and posterns in the wall, and also of certaine water gates on the riuer of Thames, seuerally, somewhat may, and shall be noted, as I find authoritie, or reasonable coniecture to warrant me.

Posterne by the Tower.; Wall imbattelled about the Tower of London. Ditch about the tower.; Posterne fell downe.

For the first now called the posterne by the Tower of London, it sheweth by that part which yet remaineth, to haue beene a faire & strong arched gate, partly builded of hard stone of Kent, and partly of stone brought from Cane in Normandie, since the Conquest, and foundation of the high tower, and serued for passengers on foote out of the East, from thence through the Citie to Ludgate in the West. The ruine and ouerthrow of this gate and posterne, began in the yeare 1190. the second of Richard the first, when William Longshampe Bishop of Ely, Chancellor of England, caused a part of the Citie wall, to wit, from the said gate towards the riuer of Thames, to the white tower, to bee broken downe, for the enlarging of the said Tower, which he then compassed farre wide about with a wall embattelled, and is now the outer wal. He also caused a broad and deepe ditch to be made without the same wall, intending to haue deriued the riuer of Thames with her tydes, to haue flowed about it, which would not be. But the Southside of this gate being then by undermining at the foundation loosed, and greatly weakned, at length, to wit, after 200. yeares and odde the same fell downe in the yeare 1440. the xviij. of Henrie the sixt, and was neuer since by the Citizens reedified. Such was their negligence then, and hath bred some trouble to their successors, since they suffered a weake and wooden building to be there made, inhabited by persons of lewde life, oft times by inquest of Portesoken ward presented, but not reformed: whereas of former times, the said Posterne was accompted of as other gates of the Citie, and was appointed to men of good credite. Amongst other, I haue read, that in the 49. of Edward the third, Iohn Cobbe was admitted Custos of the said Posterne, and all the habitation thereof, for tearme of his life, by William Walworth, then Maior of London, &c. More, that Iohn Credy Esquire, in the 21. of Richard the second, was admitted Custos of the said Posterne & appurtenances by Richard Whittington Maior, the Aldermen and Communaltie, &c.


Aldgate.; Lib. Trinitate.; Soke or court.

The next gate in the East is called Aeldgate, of the antiquitie or age thereof. This is one and the first of the foure principall gates, and also one of the seuen double gates, mentioned by Fitzstephen. It hath had two paire of gates, though now but one, the hookes remaineth yet. Also there hath beene two Portcloses, the one of them remaineth, the other wanteth, but the place of letting downe is manifest. For antiquitie of the gate, it appeareth by a Charter of king Edgar to the knights of Knighton Guild, that in his dayes the said port was called Aeldgate, as ye may reade in the warde of Portsoken. Also Matild the Queene wife to Henrie the first, hauing founded the Priorie of the holie Trinitie within Aeldgate, gaue vnto the same Church, to Norman the first Prior, and the Chanons that devoutly serued God therein, the Port of Aeldgate, and the soke or franches thereunto belonging, with all customes as free as shee held the same: in the which Charter, she nameth the house Christs Church, and reporteth Aeldgate to be of his demaine.

Mathew Paris.; Ranulph Cogshall.; Aldgate new builded.

More, I reade in the yeare 1215. that in the ciuill warres betweene king Iohn and his Barons, the Londoners assisting the Barons faction, who then besieged Northampton, and after came to Bedford Castell, where they were well receyued by William Beauchampe, and captaine of the same: hauing then also secrete intelligence that they might enter the Citie of London if they would, they remoued their campe to Ware, from whence in the night comming to London, they entred Aeldgate, and placing gardians or keepers of the gates, they disposed of all thinges in the Citie at their pleasure. They spoyled the Friers houses, and searched their Coffers, which being done, Robert Fitzwater, Giffrey Magnauile Earle of Essex, and the Earle of Glocester, chiefe leaders of the armie, applied all diligence to repaire the Gates and walles of this Citie, with the stones taken from the Jewes broken houses, namely, Aeldgate being then most ruinous, (which had giuen them an easie entrie) they repayred, or rather newly builded after the manner of the Normans, strongly arched, with bulwarks of stone brought from Cane in Normandie, and small Bricke called Flanders Tile was brought from thence, such as hath beene here vsed since the Conquest, and not before.

William Dunthorne.; Thomas lord Fawconbridge set vpon Aldgate.; Suburbs burnt.; Rebels wan the bulwarkes of Aldgate.; Lieutenant of the Tower assisted the Citizens against the Rebels.

In the yeare 1471. the xi. of Edwardthe 4. Thomas the bastard Fawconbridge, hauing assembled a riotous companie of shipmen and other, in Essex, and Kent, came to London with a great nauie of ships, neare to the Tower, whereupon the Maior and Aldermen, by consent of a common Councell, fortified all along the Thames side, from Baynards castell to the Tower with armed men, & Gunnes, other instruments of war, to resist the inuasion of the Mariners, whereby the Thames side was safely preserued and kept, by the Aldermen and other Citizens, that assembled thither in great numbers. Whereupon the Rebels being denied passage through the Citie that way, set vpon Aeldgate, Bishopsgate, Creplegate, Aeldersgate, Londonbridge, and along the Riuer of Thames, shooting arrowes and Gunnes into the Citie, fiered the suburbs, and burnt more than threescore houses. And further, on sunday the eleuenth of May, fiue thousand of them assaulting Aeldgate, wan the Bulwarkes, and entered the Citie, but the Porteclose being letten downe, such as had entered were slaine, and Robert Basset Alderman of Aeldgate ward, with the Recorder, commaunded in the name of God to drawe vp the Porteclose, which being done, they issued out, and with sharpe shot and fierce fight, put their enemies backe so farre as S.Bottolphs Church, by which time the Earle Riuers, and the Lieutenant of the Tower was come, with a fresh companie, which ioyning together discomfited the Rebels, and put them to flight, whom the saide Robert Bassett, with the other Citizens, chased to the Miles ende, and from thence, some to Poplar (fn. 1) some to Stratford, slue many, and tooke many of them prisoners. In which space the Bastard hauing assayed other places vpon the water side, and little preuailed, fled toward his ships: thus much for Aeldgate.


Bishops gate.; Lib. Trinitate.

The third and next toward the North, is called Bishopsgate, for that (as it may be supposed) the same was first builded by some Bishop of London, though now vnknowne, when, or by whom: but true it is, that this gate was first builded for ease of passengers towarde the East, and by North, as into Norffolke, Suffolke, Cambridgeshire, &c. The trauellers into which partes before the building of this gate, were forced, passing out at Aeldgate, to goe East till they came to the Miles ende, and then turning on the left hand to Blethenhall greene, to Cambridge heath, and so North, or East, and by North, as their iourney lay. If they tooke not this way, by the East out at Aeldgate, they must take their way by the North out at Aeldersgate, through Aeldersgate streete, and Goswelstreete towardes Iseldon, and by a crosse of stone on their right hand, set vp for a marke by the North ende of Golding lane, to turne Eastward through a long streete, vntill this day called Alderstreet, to another crosse, standing, where now a Smiths forge is placed by Sewers ditch Church, and then to turne againe North towardes Totenham, Endfield, Waltham, Ware, &c. The eldest note that I reade of this Bishopsgate, is that William Blund, one of the Shiriffes of London, in the yere 1210, solde to Serle Mercer, and William Almaine, procurators, or Wardens, of London bridge, all his land with the Garden in the Parish of Saint Buttolph without Bishopsgate, betweene the land of Richard Casiarin, towardes the North, and the land of Robert Crispie towards the South, and the high way called Berewards lane on the East, &c.

Bishopsgate street without. Charter.

Next I reade in a Charter dated the yeare 1235. that Walter Brune, Citizen of London, and Rosia his wife, hauing founded the Priorie or new Hospitall of our blessed Lady, since called Saint Marie Spittle without Bishopsgate, confirmed the same to the honour of God and our blessed Ladie, for Chanons regular.


Also in the yeare 1247. Simon Fitzmarie one of the shiriffes of London, the 29. of Henrie the third, founded the Hospitall of Saint Marie, called Bethlem without Bishopsgate. Thus much for antiquitie of this gate.

Lib. Customs. London.; Bishopsgate repayred by the Marchants of the Haunce. Bishopsgate was builded.

And now for repayring the same, I find, that Henrie the third confirmed to the Marchants of the Haunce, that had an house in the Citie called Guildhalla Theutonicorum, certaine Liberties and Priuiledges. Edward the first also confirmed the same. In the tenth yere of whose raigne, it was found that the said Marchants ought of right to repaire the said gate called Bishopsgate. Whereupon Gerard Marbod, Alderman of the Haunce and other, then remaining in the Citie of London: for themselues, and all others Marchants of the said Haunce, graunted 210. Markes sterling to the Maior and Citizens. And couenanted that they and their successors should from time to time repaire the same gate. This gate was againe beautifully builded in the yeare 1479. in the raigne of Edwarde the fourth, by the saide Haunce Marchaunts.

Bishopsgate prouided to haue beene new builded.

Moreouer, about the yeare 1551. these Haunce Marchants hauing prepared stone for that purpose, caused a new gate to bee framed, there to haue beene set vp, but then their liberties through sute of our English Marchantes, were seazed into the Kings hande, and so that worke was stayed, and the olde Gate yet remaineth.

Posterne of Moregate.

Postern called Mooregate.

Touching the next Posterne, called Moregate, I finde that Thomas Falconer Maior about the yeare 1415. the thirde of Henry the fift, caused the wall of the Cittie to be broken neare vnto Colemanstreete, and there builded a Posterne, now called Moregate, vpon the Moore side where was neuer gate before. This gate he made for ease of the Cittizens, that way to pass vpon causeys into the fielde for their recreation: For the same field was at that time a Marrish. This Posterne was reedified by William Hampton Fishmonger, Mayor, in the yeare 1472. In the yeare also 1511. the third of Henry the eight, Roger Achely Mayor caused Dikes and Bridges to bee made, and the ground to bee leuiled, and made more commodious for passage, since which time the same hath beene heighthened. So much that the Ditches and Bridges are couered, and seemeth to me that if it be made leuell with the Battlements of the Cittie Wall, yet will it bee little the dryer, such is the Moorish nature of that ground.

Posterne of Cripplegate.

Postern of Cripplegate. Abbo Floriacensis. Burcharde.; Lib. S. Bartholomew.

The next is the Posterne of Cripplegate, so called long before the Conquest. For I reade in the historie of Edmond king of the East Angles, written by Abbo Floriacensis, and by Burchard somtime Secretarie to Offa king of Marcia, but since by Iohn Lidgate Monke of Bery, that in the yeare 1010. the Danes spoiling the kingdome of the East Angles, Alwyne Bishoppe of Helmeham, caused the body of king Edmond the Martyre to bee brought from Bedrisworth, (now called Bury Saint Edmondes,) through the kingdome of the East Saxons, and so to London in at Cripplegate, a place sayeth mine Author so called of Criples begging there: at which gate, (it was said) the body entering, miracles were wrought, as some of the Lame to goe vpright, praysing God. The Body of King Edmond rested for the space of three yeares in the Parrish Church of Saint Gregorie, neare vnto the Cathedrall Church of S. Paule. Moreouer the Charter of William the Conqueror, confirming the foundation of the Colledge in London, called S.Martin the greate, hath these wordes. I doe giue and graunt to the same Church and Canons, seruing God therein, All the land and the Moore, without the Posterne, which is called Cripplegate, on eyther part of the Posterne. More, I reade that Alfune builded the parish Church of S.Giles, nigh a gate of the Citie, called Porta contractorum, or Criplesgate, about the yeare 1090.

Cripplegate a prison for trespassors.; Record.; Criplesgate new builded.

This Posterne was sometime a prison, whereunto such Citizens and others, as were arrested for debt, or common trespasses, were committed, as they be now to the Compters, which thing appeareth by a writte of Edward the first in these wordes: Rex. vic. London, Salutem: ex graui querela B. capt. & detent. in prisona nostra de Criples gate pro x.l. quas coram Radulpho de Sandwico tunc custod. Ciuitatis nostræ London & I. de Blackwell ciuis recognit. debit. &c. This gate was new builded by the Brewers of London, in the yeare, 1244. as sayth Fabians Manuscript. Edmond Shaw Goldsmith, Maior, in the year 1483. at his decease appoynted by his testament his executors, with the cost of 400. Markes, and the stuffe of the old gate, called Cripplesgate, to build the same gate of new, which was performed and done, in the yeare 1491.


Ældersgate.; In a booke called Beware the cat.

The next is Ældresgate, or Aldersgate, so called not of Aldrich, or of Elders, that is to say, auncient men, builders thereof, nor of Eldarne trees, growing there more aboundantly then in other places, as some haue fabuled, but for the very antiquity of the gate it self, as beeing one of the first 4 gates of the city, & seruing for the Northerne parts, as Aldegate for the East, which two gates being both old gates, are for difference sake called, the one Ealdegate, and the other Aldersgate. This is the 4. principall gate, and heath at sundry times beene increased with buildinges, namely on the south or innerside, a great frame of timber hath beene added and set vp, contayning diuers large roomes, and lodgings: also on the East side, is the addition of one great building of Timber, with one large floore paued with stone, or tile, and a Well therein curbed with stone, of a great depth, and rising into the said roome, two stories high from the ground: which Well is the onely peculiar note belonging to that gate, for I haue not seene the like in all this Citie, to be raysed so high. Iohn Day Stationer, a late famous Printer of many good books, in our time dwelled in this gate, and builded much vpon the wall of the Citie towards the Parish Church of S. Anne.

Posterne out of Christs hospitall.

A posterne out of Christes Hospitall.

Then is there also a Posterne gate, made out of the wall on the North side of the late dissolued cloyster of Friers minors, commonly of their habit called Gray friers, now Christs Church, and Hospitall. This Posterne was made in the first yeare of Edward the sixt, to passe from the said Hospitall of Christs Church, vnto the Hospitall of S. Bartlemew in Smithfield.


Newgate. Powles church in London new builded.; Newgate first builded, and the cause why.; Close role. Newgate a iayle or prison house. The king repayred it.

The next gate on the West, and by North, is termed Newgate, as latelier builded then the rest, and is the fift principall gate. This gate was first erected about the raigne of Henrie the first, or of king Stephen, vpon this occasion. The Cathedrall Church of saint Paule, being burnt about the yeare 1086, in the raigne of William the Conquerour, Ma<u>ritius then Bishop of London, repayred not the olde Church, as some haue supposed, but began the foundation of a new worke, such as men then iudged would neuer haue beene performed, it was to them so wonderfull for height, length, and breadth, as also in respect it was raysed vpon Arches or vaults, a kind of workmanship brought in by the Normans, and neuer knowne to the Artificers of this land before that time, &c. After Mauritius, Richard Beamore did wonderfully aduaunce the worke of the said Church, purchasing the large streetes, and lanes round about, wherein were wont to dwell many lay people, which grounds he began to compasse about with a strong wall of stone, and gates. By meanes of this increase of the Church territorie, but more by inclosing of ground for so large a cemitorie, or churchyard: the high and large street stretching from Aldegate in the East, vntill Ludgate in the West, was in this place so crossed and stopped vp, that the cariage through the citie westward, was forced to passe without the said churchyard wall on the North side, through Pater noster row: and then South downe Aue Mary lane, and againe West through Bowyer row to Ludgate: or else out of Cheepe, or Watheling streete to turne south, through the old Exchange, then west through Carter lane: againe north vp Creede lane, and then west to Ludgate. Which passage, by reason of so often turning, was very combersome, and daungerous both for horse and man. For remedie whereof a new gate was made, and so called, by which men and cattell, with all manner of carriages might passe more directly (as afore) from Aldegate, through west Cheepe by Paules, on the North side, through saint Nicholas shambles, and Newgate market to Newgate, & from thence to any part westward ouer Oldborne bridge, or turning without the gate into Smithfielde, and through Iseldon to any part North and by West. This gate hath of long time beene a Gaile, or prison for fellons and trespassers, as appeareth by Records in the raigne of king Iohn, and of other kings, amongest the which I find one testifying that in the yeare 1218. the third of king Henrie the third, the king writeth vnto the shiriffes of London, commaunding them to repayre the Gaile of Newgate, for the safe keeping of his prisoners, promising that the charges layd out should be allowed vnto them vpon their accompt in the Exchequer.

The Shiriffes of London prisoners in the Tower for escape of a prisoner out of Newgate.

Moreouer in the yeare 1241. the Jewes of Norwich were hanged for circumcising a Christian child, their house called the Thor was pulled downe and destroyed. Aron the sonne of Abraham a Jew, at London, and the other Jewes, were constrayned to pay twentie thousand markes at two termes in the yeare, or else to be kept perpetuall prisoners in Newgate of London, and in other prisons. 1255. King Henrie the third lodging in the Tower of London, vpon displeasure conceyued towards the citie of London, for the escape of Iohn Offrem a prisoner beeing a Clearke conuict, out of Newgate, which had killed a Prior that was of alliance to the king, as coosen to the Queene: he sent for the Maior and shiriffes to come before him, to answere the matter: the Maior layd the fault from him to the shiriffes, forsomuch as to them belonged the keeping of all prisoners within the citie, and so the Maior returned home, but the shiriffes remayned there prisoners, by the space of a Moneth and more, and yet they excused themselues in that the fault chiefly rested in the Bishops officers: for whereas the prisoner was vnder custodie, they at his request had graunted licence to imprison the offender within the Gaile of Newgate, but so as the Bishops Officers were charged to see him safely kept. The king notwithstanding all this, demaunded of the citie 3000. Markes for a fine.

The Kinges Chancellor prisoner in Newgate.; Prisoners in Newgate and Ludgate dyed.

In the yeare 1326. Robert Baldoke the kings Chancellor was put in Newgate, the third of Edward the 3. In the yeare, 1337. sir Iohn Poultney gaue foure Markes by the yeare, to the reliefe of prisoners in Newgate. In the yeare 1385. William Walworth gaue somewhat to relieue the prisoners in Newgate, so haue many others since. In the yeare 1414. the Gaylers of Newgate & Ludgate died, and prisoners in Newgate to the number of 64. In the yere 1418. the person of Wrotham in Kent was imprisoned in Newgate. The yeare 1422. the first of Henrie6. licence was granted to Iohn Couentre, Ienken Carpenter, and William Groue, executors to Richard whittington, to reedifie the Gaile of Newgate, which they did with his goods.

Newgate new builded.; Water conueyed to Newgate and Ludgate.; Prisoners of Ludgate remoued to Newgate.; L. Egremonde & other broke prison out of Newgate.

Thomas Knowles Grocer, sometime Maior of London, by licence of Reynold Prior of saint Bartholomews in Smithfield, and also of Iohn wakering, maister of the Hospitall of saint Bartholomew, and his brethren, conueyed the waste of water at the Cesterne nere to the common fountaine, and Chappell of saint Nicholas (situate by the saide Hospitall) to the Gailes of Newgate, and Ludgate, for the reliefe of the prisoners. Tuesday next after Palme sunday, 1431. all the prisoners of Ludgate were remooued into Newgate by Walter Chartesey, and Robert Large, shiriffes of London. And on the 13. of Aprill, the same shiriffes (through the false suggestion of Iohn Kingesell Gailer of Newgate) set from thence eighteene persons free men, and these were led to the Compters pinioned as if they had been fellons, but on the xvi. of June, Ludgate was againe appoynted for free men prisoners for debt, and the same day the sayd free men entered by ordinance of the Maior, Aldermen and Commons, and by them Henrie Deane tayler was made keeper of Ludgate prison. In the yeare 1457. a great fray was in the North country, betweene sir Thomas Percie Lord Egremond, and the Earle of Salisburies sonnes, whereby many were maymed and slaine; but in the end the Lord Egremond being taken, was by the kings counsell found in great default, and therefore condemned in great summes of money, to be payed to the Earl of Salisburie, and in the mean time committed to Newgate. Not long after sir Thomas Percie Lord Egremond, and sir Richard Percie his brother beeing in Newgate, brake out of prison by night, and went to the king, the other prisoners tooke the Leades of the gate, and defended it a long while against the shiriffes, and all their Officers, insomuch that they were forced to call more aide of the Citizens, whereby they lastly subdued them, and laid them in irons: and this may suffice for Newgate.


Ludgate.; Roger of Wendouer. Mathew Paris.; Ludgate new builded.; Jewes houses spoyled.; Patent.; Ludgate again new builded.; Ludgate inlarged in the raigne of H. the sixt.

In the West is the next, and sixt principal gate, and is called Ludgate, as first builded (saith Geffrey Monmouth) by king Lud a Briton, about the yeare, before Christs natiuitie 66. Of which building, and also of the name, as Ludsgate, or Fludsgate, hath beene of late some question among the learned, wherefore I ouerpasse it, as not to my purpose, onely referring the reader to that I haue before written out of Cæsars Commentaries, and other Romaine writers, concerning a towne or Citie amongst the Britaines. This gate I suppose to be one of the most auncient: and as Aldgate was builded for the East, so was this Luds gate for the West. I reade, as I tolde you, that in the yeare 1215. the 17. of king Iohn, the Barons of the Realme, being in armes against the king, entred this Citie, and spoyled the Jewes houses, which being done, Robert Fitzwater, and Geffrey de Magna villa, Earle of Essex, and the Earle of Gloucester, chiefe leaders of the Armie, applied all diligence to repayre the gates and wals of this Citie, with the stones of the Jewes broken houses, especially (as it seemeth) they then repayred or rather new builded Ludgate. For in the yeare 1586, when the same gate was taken downe, to bee newe buylded, there was founde couched within the wall thereof, a stone taken from one of the Jewes houses, wherein was grauen in Hebrewe caracters, these wordes following. [Hebrew text]. Hæc est statio rabbi Mosis filii insignis Rabbi Isaac: which is to say, this is the Station or ward of Rabbi Moysis, the sonne of the honourable Rabbi Isaac, and had beene fixed vpon the front of one of the Jewes houses as a note, or signe that such a one dwelled there. In the yeare 1260. this Ludgate was repayred and beautified with Images of Lud, and other Kings, as appeareth by letters pattents, of licence giuen to the Citizens of London, to take vp stone for that purpose, dated the 45. of Henrie the third. These Images of Kings in the raigne of Edward the sixt had their heades smitten off, and were otherwise defaced by such as iudged euery Image to be an Idoll, and in the raigne of Queene Marie were repayred, as by setting new heades on their olde bodies, &c. All which so remayned vntill the yeare 1586. The 28. of Queene Elizabeth, [when] the same gate being sore decayed, was cleane taken downe, the prisoners in the meane time remaining in the large Southeast quadrant to the same gate adioyning, and the same yere the whole gate was newly and beautifully builded, with the Images of Lud, and others, as afore, on the East side, and the picture of her Maiestie, Queene Elizabeth on the West side. All which was done at the common charges of the Citizens, amounting to 1500. poundes or more.

Ludgate a free prison. Record, Guilde hall.

This gate was made a free prisone in the yeare 1378. the first of Richard the second, Nicholas Brembar being Maior. The same was confirmed in the yeare 1382. Iohn Northampton being Maior, by a common Councell in the Guild hall: by which it was ordained, that all freemen of this citie, should for debt, trespasses, accounts, & contempts, be imprisoned in Ludgate, and for treasons, fellonies, & other criminall offences committed to Newgate, &c. In the yeare 1439, the tenth of king Henrie the sixt, Iohn Wels being Maior, a court of common Councell established ordinances, (as William Standon, and Robert Chicheley, late Maiors before had done) touching the guard and gouernment of Ludgate, and other prisons.

Also in the yeare 1463, the third of Edward the fourth, Mathew Philip, being Maior, in a common Councell, at the request of the well disposed, blessed, and deuout woman Dame Agnes Forster, widow, late wife to Stephen Forster Fishmonger, sometime Maior, for the comfort and reliefe of all the poore prisoners, certain Articles were established. Imprimis, that the new workes then late edified by the same Dame Agnes, for the enlarging of the prison of Ludgate, from thenceforth should be had and taken, as a part and parcell of the said prison of Ludgate, so that both the old and new worke of Ludgate aforesaid, be one prison, gailekeeping, and charge for euermore.

The said quadrant strongly builded of stone, by the before named Stephen Forster, and Agnes his wife, containeth a large walking place by ground of 38. foot, & halfe in length, besides the thicknesse of the walles, which are at the least sixe foote, makes all togither 44 foote and a halfe, the bredth within the walles is 29. foote and a halfe, so that the thicknesse of the walles maketh it 35. foote and a halfe in bredth. The like roome it hath ouer it for lodgings, and ouer it againe faire Leades to walke vpon well imbattailed, all for fresh ayre, and ease of prisoners, to the ende they should haue lodging, and water free without charge, as by certaine verses grauven in Copper, and fixed on the saide quadrant, I haue read in forme following.


Deuout soules that passe this way, for Stephen Forster late Maior, heartily pray,
And Dame Agnes his spouse, to God consecrate, that of pitie this house made for Londoners in Ludgate,
So that for lodging and water prisoners here nought pay,
as their keepers shal all answere at dreadful doomes day.

This place, and one other of his Armes, three broad Arrow heades, taken downe with the old gate, I caused to be fixed ouer the entrie of the said Quadrant, but the verses being vnhappily turned inward to the wall, procured the like in effect to be grauen outward in prose, declaring him to be a Fishmonger, because some vpon a light occasion (as a maidens heade in a glasse window) had fabled him to bee a Mercer, and to haue begged there at Ludgate, &c. Thus much for Ludgate.

A breach in the wal again. Bridewell.

Next this, is there a breach in the wall of the Citie, and a bridge of timber ouer the Fleet dike, betwixt Fleetebridge and Thames directly ouer against the house of Bridewel. Thus much for gates in the wall.


Water gates on the bankes of the Riuer Thames haue beene many, which beeing purchased by priuate men, are also put to priuate vse, and the olde names of them forgotten, but of such as remaine, from the West, towards the East, may be sayde as followeth.

Blacke Fryers stayers.

The Blacke Friers stayres, a free landing place.

Puddle wharf

Then a water gate at Puddle wharfe, of one Puddle that kept a wharfe on the West side thereof, and now of Puddle water, by meanes of many horses watred there.

Powles wharf.

Then Powles wharfe, also a free landing place with staires, &c.

Broken wharf.

Then broken wharfe, and other such like.

Queen Hith.

But Ripa Reginæ, the Queenes Banke, or Queene Hithe, may well be accounted the verie chiefe and principall watergate of this citie, being a common strand or landing place, yet equall with, and of olde time farre exceeding Belins gate, as shall be shewed in the warde of Queene Hithe.

A lad of 18 yeares olde drowned in a Channell at Downgate.

The next is Downe gate, so called of the sodaine descending, or downe going of that way from Saint Iohns Church vpon Walbrooke vnto the riuer of Thames, wherby the water in the chanell there hath such a swift course, that in the yere 1574. on the fourth of September, after a strong shower of raine, a lad of the age of xviii. yeares, minding to haue leapt ouer the channell, was taken by the feete, and borne downe with the violence of that narrowe streame, and caried toward the Thames with such a violent swiftnesse, as no man could rescue or stay him, till hee came against a Cart wheele, that stoode in the watergate, before which time hee was drowned and starke dead.

Marchantes of the Haunce, landed their corne betwixte their house & the blackfryers.

This was sometime a large water gate, frequented of ships, and other vessels, like as the Queene Hith, and was a part thereof, as doth appeare by an inquisition made in the 28. yeare of Henry the third, wherein was found, that aswell corne as fish and all other thinges comming to the Port of Downegate, were to bee ordered after the customs of the Queenes Hith, for the kings vse, as also that the corne arriuing between the gate of the Guild hall of the marchants of Cullen: the (Styleyeard) which is East from Downegate, and the house then pertayning to the Archbishoppe of Canterbury, west from Baynardes Castle, was to be measured by the measure, and measurer of the Queenes soke, or Queene Hith. I reade also in the 19. of Edward the thirde, that customs were then to be paid for ships & other vessels resting at Downegate, as if they roade at Queene Hith, and as they now doe at Belingsgate. And thus much for Downegate may suffice.

Wolfes gate in the Ropary. Lib. Horne. Lib. S. Albani.

The next was called Wolfes gate in the roparie in the Parrish of Alhallowes the lesse, of later time called Wolfes lane, but now out of vse: for the lower part was builded on by the Earle of Shrewsburie, and the other part was stopped vp and builded on by the Chamberlaine of London.

Ebdgate. Lib. trinitate. Lib. S. Albani. Record E. 3.

The next is Ebdgate, a Watergate, so called of old time, as appeareth by diuers records of tenements neare vnto the same adioyning. It standeth neare vnto the church of S. Laurence Pountney, but is within the parish of S. Marten Ordegare. In place of this gate, is now a narrow passage to the Thames, and is called Ebgate lane, but more commonly the Old Swanne.


Then is there a water gate at the Bridge foote, called Oyster gate, of Oysters that were there of old time, commonly to be sold, and was the chiefest market for them, and for other shell fishes. There standeth now an engine or forcier, for the winding vppe of water to serue the cittie, whereof I haue already spoken.

Bridge Gate.

Bridge Gate.; W. Dunthorn. gate at the bridge foote burned.

The next is the Bridge gate, so called of London Bridge, whereon it standeth: This was one of the foure first and principall gates of the cittie, long before the conquest, when there stoode a Bridge of timber, and is the seuenth and last principall gate mentioned by W. Fitzstephen, which Gate being newe made, when the Bridge was builded of stone, hath beene often times since repayred. This gate with the Tower vpon it, in the yeare 1436. fell down, and two of the farthest Arches Southwardes also fell therewith, and no man perished or was hurte therewith. To the repayring whereof, diuers wealthy Citizens gaue large summes of money, namely Robert Large sometime Maior 100. Markes, Stephen Forster 20 l. Sir Iohn Crosbye Alderman 100 l. &c. But in the yeare 1471. the Kentish Marriners vnder the conduct of Bastard Fauconbridge burned the said Gate, and xiii. houses on the Bridge, besides the Beere houses at Saint Katherines, and many other in the Suburbes.

Buttolphs gate.

The next is Buttolphes gate, so called of the parrish Church of S. Buttolph neare adioyning. This gate was sometime giuen or confirmed by William Conqueror to the Monkes of Westminster in these wordes: "W. rex Angliæ, &c. William King of England, sendeth greeting to the Shiriffes and all his Ministers, as also to al his louing subiectes, French and English of London: Know ye that I haue granted to God and S. Peter of Wistminster & to the Abbot Vitalis, the gift which Almundus of the port of S. Buttolph gave them, when he was there made Monke: that is to say, his Lords Court with the houses, & one Wharfe, which is at the head of London bridge, and all other his lands which hee had in the same Cittie, in such sort as King Edward more beneficially, and amply granted the same: and I will and command that they shall enioy the same well and quietly and honourably with sake and soke." &c.

Belinsgate.; Geffrey of Monmouth.

The next is Bellinsgate, vsed as an especiall Porte, or Harborow, for small shippes and boates comming thereto, and is now most frequented, the Queenes Hith being almost forsaken. How this Gate tooke that name, or of what antiquity the same is, I must leaue vncertaine, as not hauing read any ancient recorde thereof, more than that Geffrey Monmouth writeth, that Belin a king of the Britans, about 400. yeares before Christes natiuity builded this Gate, and named it Belins gate, after his owne calling: and that when he was dead, his bodie being burned, the ashes in a vessell of Brasse, were set vpon a high pinacle of stone ouer the same Gate. But Cæsar and other Romane writers affirme of Citties, walles, and gates, as yee haue before heard, and therefore it seemeth to me not to be so auncient, but rather to haue taken that name of some later owner of the place, happily named Beling, or Biling, as Somars key, Smarts key, Frosh wharfe, and others thereby tooke there names of their owners: of this gate more shall be said when we come to Belins gate ward.

watergate by the custome house.

Then haue you a water gate, on the west side of Wooll wharf, or Customers key, which is commonly called the Water gate, at the south end of Water lane.

watergate by the Tower.

One other water gate there is by the bulwarke of the Tower, and this is the last and farthest water gate Eastwarde, on the Riuer of Thames, so farre as the Citie of London extendeth within the walles: both which last named water gates bee within the Tower ward.

wharfes and keyes.; Mathew Paris. Gates of London to be kept and watcht.

Besides these common Water gates, were diuerse priuate wharfes and Keyes, all along from the East to the West of this Citie, on the banke of the Riuer of Thames: Marchants of all nations had landing places, Warehouses, Cellers, and stowage of their goods and Marchandises, as partly shall bee touched in the wardes adioyning to the said Riuer: now for the ordering and keeping these gates of this Citie in the night time, it was appoynted in the yere of Christ, 1258. by Henrie the 3. the 42. of his raigne, that the Ports of England should be strongly kept, and that the gates of London should bee new repayred, and diligently kept in the night, for feare of French deceytes, whereof one writeth these verses.

Per noctem portae clauduntur Londoniarum,
Moenia ne forte fraus frangat Francigenarum,


  • 1. Poplar] Popular 1603, 1633.