Gates and Posterns. 16

Gates and Posterns.

Gate Northwards. The Bottom of the Foundation of this Gate being 16 Foot Deep, and 8 Foot Broad. The Foundation thus laid, the Gate was substantially and famously finished Anno 1609, in the Maioralty of Sir Humphrey Weld, Kt.

Ornaments about this Gate.


Upon the Top of the Gate Eastward stands a fair Golden-Sphere with a goodly Vane on it.

Ornaments on the Gate.

On the upper Battlements (as vigilant Centinels, and as it were kept waking by Fame's Golden Trumpet) are placed the Figures of two antient Soldiers, each holding a Stone Ball in his Hand, as denying the Entrance of any bold Enemies, such as are not Friends to the City.

Beneath in a large Square stands the imaginary Figures of King James the First in gilt Armor. At whose Feet on either side lyeth a Golden-Lyon, and a Chained Unicorn, both Couchant; the First the Supporter for England, and the Second that for Scotland. Their Couching is an Emblem of the Union of the two Kingdoms. As also, it denotes their Awe and Humility in the Presence of so great a Person.

Figure of K. James the 1st.

Then on the West-side of the Gate stands highest of all, the Figure of Fortune curiously Carved and Gilt with Gold, standing upon a Maund or Globe, with a prosperous Sail spreading over her Head, and looking gracefully upon the City.

The Figure of Fortune;

Beneath this Figure in a large Square are placed the King's-Arms richly Carved, with the Motto


And a little below


Somewhat lower, and to grace each Side of the Gate, are placed two Female Persons, the one the Emblem of Peace with a Dove upon one of her Hands, and a Gilded Wreath or Garland in the other. And on the other, or North-side standeth the Figure of Charity, with a Child at her Breast, and another in her Hand: Implying (as may be conceited) that where Peace and Love and Charity do prosper, and are truly embraced, that City shall be for ever blessed.

And of Peace and Charity.

Over the Arch of the Gate is this Inscription fairly Engraven:

Senatus Populusque Londinensis.
Fecit, 1609.

And underneath,


Thus much for the Description of the Outside of the Gate.

On the North-side of the Arch is a Postern for Foot Passengers: And the Rooms over this Gate are the Dwelling House of one of the Lord-Maior's Carvers; who is also one of the Sergeants of the Chamber for the time being.

This Gate is for the Lord-Maior's Carver.



The third and next Gate 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 the Certainty thereof is unknown, when and by whom. And in Uncertainties one may have leave to Conjecture.


Took its Name perhaps from Bishop Erkenwald, or Bishop William: both Bishops of London.

Perhaps Erkenwald, Son of King Offa, and Bishop of London, was the first Builder of it, who built much upon charitable Accounts. Our Histories mention to Religious Houses by him Founded, one at Chertsey in Surry, and another at Berking in Essex, where he Deceased about 685. And by reason of his Munificence and good Deserts to the Londoners, he was very dear to them; and being Canonized, his Shrine at Pauls was much honoured. And there being the Effigies of two Bishops upon this Gate, as Erkenwald might be the Founder of it, so I would give the next Honour, (that is, for the Reparation of it) to Bishop William the Norman, that was Bishop of London in William the Conqueror's time. Which Bishop was a great Benefactor to the City, partly by procuring from that King all their Privileges as amply as they were enjoyed before-time, and partly by other good Deeds. Insomuch that the Citizens of later Times, in Gratitude to his Memory, caused a Latin Epitaph, together with a Copy of Verses, to be set upon the Place in St. Pauls where he was buried. After all, the Founder is uncertain.]

J. S.

But true it is, that this Gate was first builded for the Ease of Passengers toward the East, and by North; as into Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, &c. The Travellers into which Parts (before the Building of this Gate) were forced (passing out at Aeldgate) to go East till they came unto the Miles-End, and then turned on the Left Hand to Blethenhall-Green, [now called Bednal-Green,] to Cambridge-heath, and so North, or East, and by North, as their Journies lay. If they took not this Way by the East out at Aelgate, they must then take their Way by the North out at Aldersgate through Aldersgate-street, and Goswell-street, towards Iseldon: and by a Cross of Stone on their Right Hand, set up for a Mark by the North-end of Golden-Lane, to turn Eastward through a long Street, unto this Day called Alder-street, [or Oldstreet], to another Cross standing, where now a Smith's Forge is placed by Sewers-ditch-Church, [or Shoreditch-Church] and then to turn again North towards Totenham, Enfield, Waltham, Ware, &c.

A further Way winding about.

The eldest Note that I read of this Bishopsgate, is, that William Blund, one of the Sheriffs of London, in the Year 1210, sold to Serle Mercer, and William Almaine, Procurators or Wardens of London-Bridge, all his Land, with the Garden, in the Parish of St. Buttolph without Bishopsgate, between the Land of Richard Casiarin, towards the North, and the Land of Robert Crispie towards the South, and the High-way called Beardwards-lane on the East, &c.

Notes concerning this Gate.

Lib. Trin.

In Bishopsgatestreet without was a Lane called Bearwards-Lane.

Next, I read in a Charter, Dated in the Year 1235, that Walter Brune, Citizen of London, and Rosia his Wife, having Founded the Priory or new Hospital of our blessed Lady, since called S. Mary Spittle, without Bishopsgate, confirmed the same to the Honour of God and our Blessed Lady, for Canons regular, the 19th of Henry 3.


S. Mary Spittle.

Also in the Year 1247, Simon Fitz-Mary, one of the Sheriffs of London, in the 29th of Henry the Third, Founded the Hospital of St. Mary called Bethlem without Bishopsgate. Thus much for Antiquity of this Gate.

S. Mary Bethlem. Record.

And now for repairing the same: I find, that Henry the 3d confirmed to the Merchants of the Haunse, that had a House in the City called Guildhalla Theutonicorum, certain Liberties and Privileges: Edward the First also confirmed the same; in the Tenth Year of whose Reign it was found, that the said Merchants ought of right to repair the said Gate called Bishopsgate.

Reparations of Bishopsgate by Merchants of the Haunse.

[About the beginnining of which King's Reign they were presented by some of the Wards to the Judges Itinerants sitting at the Tower for their Neglect thereof in these words, Quod Teutonici non sustentent Bishopsgate, quam bene sustentare deberent; pro qua liberi sunt in Civitate, ad dampnum Civitat. i.e. That the Dutch do not sustain Bishopsgate so well as they ought to do; (for which they are free in the City) to the Cities damage.]

Presented for Neglect.

J. S.

Baga Quo Warrant. Lond.