Of the Wells, Conduits, Rivers, &c.22

Of the Wells, Conduits, Rivers, &c.

Passage to the Thames, and is called Ebgate-Lane, but more commonly the Old Swan.



Then is there a Watergate at the Bridge Foot, called Oistergate, of Oisters that were there (of old Time) commonly to be sold; and was the chiefest Market for them, and for other Shell Fish. There standeth now an Engine or Forcier, for the winding up of Water to serve the City, whereof I have already spoken.




The next is the Bridgegate, so called of London-Bridge, whereon it standeth. This was one of the four first and principal Gates of the City, and was long before the Conquest, when there stood a Bridge of Timber; and is the Seventh and last principal Gate mentioned by W. Fitz-Stephen; which Gate being weakly made, when the Bridge was builded of Stone, hath been oftentimes since repaired. This Gate, with the Tower upon it, in the Year 1436. fell down, and two of the farthest Arches Southwards also fell therewith, and no Man perished or was hurt thereby. To the repairing whereof, divers wealthy Citizens gave large Sums of Money, namely, Robert Large, sometime Maior, gave to that Work 100 Marks, Stephen Forster, 20l. Sir John Crosby Alderman, 100l. &c. But in the Year 1471. the Kentish Mariners, under the Conduct of Bastard Fauconbridge, burned the said Gate, and thirteen Houses on the Bridge, besides the Beer-Houses at St. Kaherines, and many other in the Suburbs.

Bridge Gate.

The Bridge-Gate oftentimes repaired by divers good Benefactors.

W. Dunthorne.

Gate at the Bridge-Foot. burned.



The next is Buttolphs Gate, so called of the Parish Church of St. Buttolph near adjoining. This Gate was sometime given, or confirmed by William Conqueror, to the Monks of Westminster, in these Words. Will. Rex Angliæ, &c. William King of England, sendeth Greeting to the Sheriffs, and all his Ministers; as also to all his loving Subjects, French and English, of London. Know ye, that I have granted to God and St. Peter of Westminster, and to the Abbot Vitalis, the Gift which Almundus, of the Port of St. Buttolph, gave them, when he was there made Monk; that is to say, his Lord's Court, with the Houses, and one Wharf, which is at the Head of London- Bridge, and all other his Lands which he had in the same City, in such sort, as King Edward more beneficially and amply granted the same. And I Will and Command, that they shall enjoy the same well, and quietly, and honourably, with Sake and Soke, &c.

Buttolphs Gate.

King William the Conqueror his Gift of the Gate.



The next is Belinsgate, now used as an especial Port of Harbour for small Ships and Boats coming thereto, and is now the largest Watergate on the River of Thames, therefore most frequented, the Queenes-Hith being almost forsaken. How this Gate took that Name, or of what Antiquity the same is, I must leave uncertain, as not having read any ancient Record thereof, more than that Geoffrey Monmouth writeth, that Belin, a King of the Britans, about 400 Years before Christ's Nativity, builded this Gate, and named it Belinsgate, after his own Name; and that when he was dead, his Body being burned, the Ashes in a Vessel of Brass were set in a high Pinacle of Stone over the same Gate. But Cæsar, and other Roman Writers, affirm of Cities, Walls and Gates, as ye have before heard; and therefore it seemeth to me not to be so ancient; but rather to have taken that Name of some later Owner of the Place, haply named Beling; as Somer's Key, Smart's Key, Fresh Wharf, and others thereby, took their Names of their Owners. Of this Gate more shall be said when we come to speak of Belinsgate Ward.


Geofrey Monmouth.

Belin's Urn of Brass.



Then have you a Watergate on the West side of Wool-Wharf or Customer's Key, which is now of late most beautifully enlarged and built. This Gate is commonly called the Watergate, as being at the South End of Water-Lane.

Watergate by the Custom-house.

One other Watergate there is by the Bulwark of the Tower; and this is the last and farthest Watergate Eastward on the River of Thames, so far as the City of LONDON extendeth within the Walls; both which last named Water-Gates be within the Tower Ward.

Watergate by the Tower.

Besides these common Water-Gates, were divers private Wharfs and Keys all along from East to West, on the Banks of the River of Thames. Merchants of all Nations had Landing Places, Warehouses, Cellars, and Stowage of their Goods and Merchandizes; as partly shall be touched in the Wards adjoining to the said River. And therefore concerning these Gates, let this suffice.

Wharfs and Keys.

Now for the ordering and keeping of them in the Night Season, it was appointed in the Year of Christ 1258. by K. Henry III. in the 42. of his Reign, that the Ports of England should be strongly kept, and that the Gates of London should be newly repaired, and diligently watched in the Night, for fear of French Deceits: Whereof one writeth these Verses:

The Gates to be kept and watched.

Matt. Paris.

Per noctem Portæ clauduntur Londoniarum,
MÅ“nia ne fortè Fraus frangat Francigenarum.



Of the Ancient and present Rivers, Brooks, Bournes, Pools, Wells and Conduits of fresh Water, serving the City . And particularly the New River , and Thames Water; The present State of the City, as to Water.

AS the Walls of this City are for Strength and Ornament, and its Gates for Conveniency, so for Conveniency also, together with Health and the Benefits of Life, another Thing is requisite, viz. Water. And therefore the next Matter to be treated of concerning LONDON is, how it hath been, and is watered.]

J. S.

Anciently, until the Time of the Conqueror, and two hundred Years after, this City of London was watered, (besides the famous River of Thames on the South Part) with the River of the Wells (as it was then called) on the West, with a Water called Walbrook running through the midst of the City into the River of Thames, severing the Heart thereof; and with a Fourth Water, or Boorn, which ran within the City through Langboorn Ward, watering that Part in the East. In the West Suburbs was also another great Water, called

London how watered.

The River of the Wells.