Index to Stow's original Survey of London written in 1598
Gates in the wall of this city of old time were four; to wit, Aeldgate for the east, Aldersgate for the north, Ludgate for the west, and the Bridgegate over the river of Thames for the south; but of later times, for the ease of citizens and passengers, divers other gates and posterns have been made, as shall be shown.
In the reign of Henry II. (saith Fitzstephen) there were seven double gates in the wall of this city, but he nameth them not. It may therefore be supposed, he meant for the first, the gate next the Tower of London, now commonly called the Postern, the next be Aeldgate, the third Bishopsgate, the fourth Ealdersgate, the fifth Newgate, the sixth Ludgate, the seventh Bridgegate. Since the which time hath been builded the postern called Moorgate, a postern from Christ’s hospital towards St. Bartholomew’s hospital in Smithfield, etc. Now of every of these gates and posterns in the wall, and also of certain water-gates on the river of Thames, severally somewhat may, and shall be noted, as I find authority, or reasonable conjecture to warrant me.
For the first, now called the postern by the Tower of London, it showeth by that part which yet remaineth, to have been a fair and strong arched gate, partly built of hard stone of Kent, and partly of stone brought from Caen in Normandy, since the Conquest, and foundation of the high tower, and served for passengers on foot out of the east, from thence through the city to Ludgate in the west. The ruin and overthrow of this gate and postern began in the year 1190, the 2nd of Richard I., when William Longshampe, bishop of Ely, chancellor of England, caused a part of the city wall, to wit, from the said gate towards the river of Thames to the white tower, to be broken down, for the enlarging of the said tower, which he then compassed far wide about with a wall embattled, and is now the outer wall. He also caused a broad and deep ditch to be made without the same wall, intending to have derived the river of Thames with her tides to have flowed about it, which would not be. But the southside of this gate, being then by undermining at the foundation loosened, and greatly weakened; at length, to wit, after two hundred years and odd, the same fell down in the year 1440, the 18th of Henry VI., and was never since by the citizens re-edified. Such was their negligence then, and hath bred some trouble to their successors, since they suffered a weak and wooden building to be there made, inhabited by persons of lewd life, oft times by inquest of Portsoken ward presented, but not reformed; whereas of former times the said postern was accounted of as other gates of the city, and was appointed to men of good credit. Amongst other, I have read, that in the 49th of Edward III., John Cobbe was admitted custos of the said postern, and all the habitation thereof, for term of his life, by William Walworth, then mayor of London, etc. More, that John Credy, Esq., in the 21st of Richard II., was admitted custos of the said postern and appurtenances by Richard Whittington, mayor, the aldermen, and commonalty, etc.
The next gate in the east is called Aeldgate, of the antiquity or age thereof. This is one and the first of the four principal gates, and also one of the seven double gates, mentioned by Fitzstephen. It hath had two pair of gates, though now but one; the hooks remaineth yet. Also there hath been two portcloses; the one of them remaineth, the other wanteth, but the place of letting down is manifest. For antiquity of the gate: it appeareth by a charter of King Edgar to the knights of Knighten Guild, that in his days the said port was called Aeldgate, as ye may read in the ward of Portsoken. Also Matilda the queen, wife to Henry I., having founded the priory of the Holy Trinity within Aeldgate, gave unto the same church, to Norman the first prior, and the canons that devoutly serve God therein, the port of Aeldgate, and the soke or franchises thereunto belonging, with all customs as free as she held the same; in the which charter she nameth the house Christ’s church, and reporteth Aeldgate to be of his domain.
More, I read in the year 1215, that in the civil wars between King John and his barons, the Londoners assisting the barons’ faction, who then besieged Northampton, and after came to Bedford castle, where they were well received by William Beauchampe, and captain of the same; having then also secret intelligence that they might enter the city of London if they would, they removed their camp to Ware, from thence in the night coming to London, they entered Aeldgate, and placing guardians or keepers of the gates, they disposed of all things in the city at their pleasure. They spoiled the friars’ houses, and searched their coffers; which being done, Robert Fitzwalter, Geffry Magnavile Earl of Essex, and the Earl of Glocester, chief leaders of the army, applied all diligence to repair the gates and walls of this city with the stones taken from the Jews’ broken houses, namely, Aeldgate being then most ruinous (which had given them an easy entry), they repaired, or rather newly built, after the manner of the Normans, strongly arched with bulwarks of stone from Caen in Normandy, and small brick, called Flanders tile, was brought from thence, such as hath been here used since the Conquest, and not before.
In the year 1471, the 11th of Edward IV., Thomas, the bastard Fawconbridge, having assembled a riotous company of shipmen and other in Essex and Kent, came to London with a great navy of ships, near to the Tower; whereupon the mayor and aldermen, by consent of a common council, fortified all along the Thames side, from Baynard’s castle to the Tower, with armed men, guns, and other instruments of war, to resist the invasion of the mariners, whereby the Thames side was safely preserved and kept by the aldermen and other citizens that assembled thither in great numbers. Whereupon the rebels, being denied passage through the city that way, set upon Aeldgate, Bishopsgate, Cripplegate, Aeldersgate, London bridge, and along the river of Thames, shooting arrows and guns into the city, fired the suburbs, and burnt more than threescore houses. And further, on Sunday the eleventh of May, five thousand of them assaulting Aeldgate, won the bulwarks, and entered the city; but the portclose being let down, such as had entered were slain, and Robert Basset, alderman of Aeldgate ward, with the recorder, commanded in the name of God to draw up the portclose; which being done, they issued out, and with sharp shot, and fierce fight, put their enemies back so far as St. Bottolph’s church, by which time the Earl Rivers, and lieutenant of the Tower, was come with a fresh company, which joining together, discomfited the rebels, and put them to flight, whom the said Robert Basset, with the other citizens, chased to the Mile’s End, and from thence, some to Popular, some to Stratford, slew many, and took many of them prisoners. In which space the Bastard having assayed other places upon the water side, and little prevailed, fled toward his ships. Thus much for Aeldgate.
The third, and next toward the north, is called Bishopsgate, for that, as it may be supposed, the same was first built by some Bishop of London, though now unknown when, or by whom; but true it is, that the first gate was first built for ease of passengers toward the east, and by north, as into Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, etc.; the travellers into which parts, before the building of this gate, were forced, passing out at Aeldgate, to go east till they came to the Mile’s end, and then turning on the left hand to Blethenhall green to Cambridge heath, and so north, or east, and by north, as their journey lay. If they took not this way, by the east out at Aeldgate, they must take their way by the north out at Aeldersgate, through Aeldersgate street and Goswel street towards Iseldon, and by a cross of stone on their right hand, set up for a mark by the north end of Golding lane, to turn eastward through a long street, until this day called Alder street, to another cross standing, where now a smith’s forge is placed by Sewer’s-ditch church, and then to turn again north towards Totenham, Endfield, Waltham, Ware, etc. 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 highway called Berewards lane on the east, etc.
Next I read in a charter, dated 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 St. Mary Spittle without Bishopsgate, confirmed the same to the honour of God and our blessed Lady, for canons regular.
Also in the year 1247, Simon Fitzmarie, one of the sheriffs of London, the 29th of Henry III., founded the hospital of St. Mary, called Bethlem without Bishopsgate. Thus much for the antiquity of this gate.
And now for repairing the same, I find that Henry III. confirmed to the merchants of the Haunce, that had a house in the city called Guildhalla Theutonicorum, certain liberties and privileges. Edward I. 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; whereupon Gerard Marbod, alderman of the Haunce and other, then remaining in the city of London, for themselves, and all other merchants of the said Haunce, granted two hundred and ten marks sterling to the mayor and citizens; and covenanted that they and their successors should from time to time repair the same gate. This gate was again beautifully built in the year 1479, in the reign of Edward IV., by the said Haunce merchants.
Moreover, about the year 1551, these Haunce merchants, having prepared stone for that purpose, caused a new gate to be framed, there to have been set up, but then their liberties, through suit of our English merchants, were seized into the king’s hand; and so that work was stayed, and the old gate yet remaineth.
Touching the next postern, called Moregate, I find that Thomas Falconer, mayor, about the year 1415, the third of Henry V., caused the wall of the city to be broken near unto Coleman street, and there built a postern, now called Moregate, upon the moor side where was never gate before. This gate he made for ease of the citizens, that way to pass upon causeys into the field for their recreation: for the same field was at that time a parish. This postern was re-edified by William Hampton, fishmonger, mayor, in the year 1472. In the year also, 1511, the third of Henry VIII., Roger Acheley, mayor, caused dikes and bridges to be made, and the ground to be levelled, and made more commodious for passage, since which time the same hath been heightened. So much that the ditches and bridges are covered, and seemeth to me that if it be made level with the battlements of the city wall, yet will it be little the drier, such is the moorish nature of that ground.
The next is the postern of Cripplegate, so called long before the Conquest. For I read in the history of Edmond, king of the East Angles, written by Abbo Floriacensis, and by Burchard, sometime secretary to Offa, king of Marcia, but since by John Lidgate, monk of Bury, that in the year 1010, the Danes spoiling the kingdom of the East Angles, Alwyne, bishop of Helmeham, caused the body of King Edmond the Martyr to be brought from Bedrisworth (now called Bury St. Edmondes), through the kingdom of the East Saxons, and so to London in at Cripplegate; a place, saith mine author, so called of cripples begging there: at which gate, it was said, the body entering, miracles were wrought, as some of the lame to go upright, praising God. The body of King Edmond rested for the space of three years in the parish church of St. Gregorie, near unto the cathedral church of St. Paul. Moreover, the charter of William the Conqueror, confirming the foundation of the college in London, called St. Martin the Great, hath these words: “I do give and grant to the same church and canons, serving God therein, all the land and the moore without the postern, which is called Cripplegate, on either side the postern.” More I read, that Alfune built the parish church of St. Giles, nigh a gate of the city, called Porta Contractorum, or Cripplesgate, about the year 1099.
This postern 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 writ of Edward I. in these words: “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. etc.” This gate was new built by the brewers of London in the year 1244, as saith Fabian’s manuscript. Edmond Shaw, goldsmith, mayor in the year 1483, at his decease appointed by his testament his executors, with the cost of four hundred marks, and the stuff of the old gate, called Cripplesgate, to build the same gate of new, which was performed and done in the year 1491.
The next is Ældresgate, or Aldersgate, so called not of Aldrich or of Elders, that is to say, ancient men, builders thereof; not of Eldarne trees, growing there more abundantly than in other places, as some have fabled, but for the very antiquity of the gate itself, as being one of the first four gates of the city, and serving for the northern 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 fourth principal gate, and hath at sundry times been increased with buildings, namely, on the south, or inner side, a great frame of timber hath been added and set up, containing divers large rooms and lodgings; also on the east side is the addition of one great building of timber, with one large floor, paved with stone or tile, and a well therein curbed with stone, of a great depth, and rising into the said room, two stories high from the ground; which well is the only peculiar note belonging to that gate, for I have not seen the like in all this city to be raised so high. John Day, stationer, a late famous printer of many good books, in our time dwelt in this gate, and built much upon the wall of the city towards the parish church of St. Anne.
Then is there also a postern gate, made out of the wall on the north side of the late dissolved cloister of Friers minors, commonly of their habit called Grey friars, now Christ’s church and hospital. This postern was made in the first year of Edward VI. to pass from the said hospital of Christ’s church unto the hospital of St. Bartlemew in Smithfield.
The next gate on the west, and by north, is termed Newgate, as latelier built than the rest, and is the fifth principal gate. This gate was first erected about the reign of Henry I. or of King Stephen, upon this occasion. The cathedral church of St. Paul, being burnt about the year 1086, in the reign of William the Conqueror, Mauritius, then bishop of London, repaired not the old church, as some have supposed, but began the foundation of a new work, such as men then judged would never have been performed; it was to them so wonderful for height, length, and breadth, as also in respect it was raised upon arches or vaults, a kind of workmanship brought in by the Normans, and never known to the artificers of this land before that time, etc. After Mauritius, Richard Beamore did wonderfully advance the work of the said church, purchasing the large streets and lanes round about, wherein were wont to dwell many lay people, which grounds he began to compass about with a strong wall of stone and gates. By means of this increase of the church territory, but more by inclosing of ground for so large a cemetery or churchyard, the high and large street stretching from Aldegate in the east until Ludgate in the west, was in this place so crossed and stopped up, that the carriage through the city westward was forced to pass without the said churchyard wall on the north side, through Pater noster row; and then south, down Ave Mary lane, and again west, through Bowyer row to Ludgate; or else out of Cheepe, or Watheling street, to turn south, through the old Exchange; then west through Carter lane, again north by Creede lane, and then west to Ludgate: which passage, by reason of so often turning, was very cumbersome and dangerous both for horse and man; for remedy whereof a new gate was made, and so called, by which men and cattle, with all manner of carriages, might pass more directly (as afore) from Aldegate, through West Cheape by Paules, on the north side; through St. Nicholas shambles and Newgate market to Newgate, and from thence to any part westward over 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 been a gaol, or prison for felons and trespassers, as appeareth by records in the reign of King John, and of other kings; amongst the which I find one testifying, that in the year 1218, the 3rd of King Henry III., the king writeth unto the sheriffs of London, commanding them to repair the gaol of Newgate for the safe keeping of his prisoners, promising that the charges laid out should be allowed unto them upon their account in the Exchequer.
Moreover, in the year 1241, the Jews of Norwich were hanged for circumcising a Christian child; their house called the Thor was pulled down and destroyed; Aron, the son of Abraham, a Jew, at London, and the other Jews, were constrained to pay twenty thousand marks at two terms in the year, or else to be kept perpetual prisoners in Newgate of London, and in other prisons. In 1255, King Henry III. lodging in the tower of London, upon displeasure conceived towards the city of London, for the escape of John Offrem, a prisoner, being a clerk convict, out of Newgate, which had killed a prior that was of alliance to the king, as cousin to the queen: he sent for the mayor and sheriffs to come before him to answer the matter; the mayor laid the fault from him to the sheriffs, forasmuch as to them belonged the keeping of all prisoners within the city; and so the mayor returned home, but the sheriffs remained there prisoners by the space of a month and more; and yet they excused themselves, in that the fault chiefly rested in the bishop’s officers; for whereas the prisoner was under custody, they at his request had granted license to imprison the offender within the gaol of Newgate, but so as the bishop’s officers were charged to see him safely kept. The king, notwithstanding all this, demanded of the city three thousand marks for a fine.
In the year 1326, Robert Baldoke, the king’s chancellor, was put in Newgate, the 3rd of Edward III. In the year 1337, Sir John Poultney gave four marks by the year to the relief of prisoners in Newgate. In the year 1385, William Walworth gave somewhat to relieve the prisoners in Newgate, so have many others since. In the year 1414, the gaolers of Newgate and Ludgate died, and prisoners in Newgate to the number of sixty-four. In the year 1418, the parson of Wrotham, in Kent, was imprisoned in Newgate. In the year 1422, the first of Henry VI., license was granted to John Coventre, Jenken Carpenter, and William Grove, executors to Richard Whittington, to re-edify the gaol of Newgate, which they did with his goods.
Thomas Knowles, grocer, sometime mayor of London, by license of Reynold, prior of St. Bartholomew’s in Smithfield, and also of John Wakering, master of the hospital of St. Bartholomew, and his brethren, conveyed the waste of water at the cistern near to the common fountain and chapel of St. Nicholas (situate by the said hospital) to the gaols of Newgate, and Ludgate, for the relief of the prisoners. Tuesday next after Palm Sunday 1431, all the prisoners of Ludgate were removed into Newgate by Walter Chartesey, and Robert Large, sheriffs of London; and on the 13th of April the same sheriffs (through the false suggestion of John Kingesell, jailor of Newgate) set from thence eighteen persons free men, and these were let to the compters, pinioned as if they had been felons; but on the sixteenth of June, Ludgate was again appointed for free men, prisoners for debt; and the same day the said free men entered by ordinance of the mayor, aldermen, and commons, and by them Henry Deane, tailor, was made keeper of Ludgate prison. In the year 1457, a great fray was in the north country between Sir Thomas Percie, Lord Egremond, and the Earl of Salisbury’s sons, whereby many were maimed and slain; but, in the end, the Lord Egremond being taken, was by the king’s counsel found in great default, and therefore condemned in great sums of money, to be paid to the Earl of Salisbury, and in the meantime committed to Newgate. Not long after, Sir Thomas Percie, Lord Egremond, and Sir Richard Percie his brother, being in Newgate, broke out of prison by night, and went to the king; the other prisoners took the leads of the gate, and defended it a long while against the sheriffs and all their officers, insomuch that they were forced to call more aid of the citizens, whereby they lastly subdued them, and laid them in irons: and this may suffice for Newgate.
In the west is the next, and sixth principal gate, and is called Ludgate, as first built (saith Geoffrey Monmouth) by King Lud, a Briton, about the year before Christ’s nativity, 66. Of which building, and also of the name, as Ludsgate, or Fludsgate, hath been of late some question among the learned; wherefore I overpass it, as not to my purpose, only referring the reader to that I have before written out of Cæsar’s Commentaries, and other Roman writers, concerning a town or city amongst the Britons. This gate I suppose to be one of the most ancient; and as Aldgate was built for the east, so was this Ludsgate for the west. I read, as I told you, that in the year 1215, the 17th of King John, the barons of the realm, being in arms against the king, entered this city, and spoiled the Jews’ houses; which being done, Robert Fitzwater and Geffrey de Magnavilla, Earl of Essex, and the Earl of Gloucester, chief leaders of the army, applied all diligence to repair the gates and walls of this city, with the stones of the Jews’ broken houses, especially (as it seemeth) they then repaired, or rather new built Ludgate. For in the year 1586, when the same gate was taken down to be newly built, there was found couched within the wall thereof a stone taken from one of the Jews’ houses, wherein was graven in Hebrew characters these words following: Hæc est statio Rabbi Mosis, filii insignis Rabbi Isaac: which is to say, this is the station or ward of Rabbi Moyses, the son of the honourable Rabbi Isaac, and had been fixed upon the front of one of the Jews’ houses, as a note or sign that such a one dwelt there. In the year 1260, this Ludgate was repaired, and beautified with images of Lud, and other kings, as appeareth by letters patent of license given to the citizens of London, to take up stone for that purpose, dated the 25th of Henry III. These images of kings in the reign of Edward VI. had their heads smitten off, and were otherwise defaced by such as judged every image to be an idol; and in the reign of Queen Mary were repaired, as by setting new heads on their old bodies, etc. All which so remained until the year 1586, the 28th of Queen Elizabeth, when the same gate being sore decayed, was clean taken down; the prisoners in the meantime remaining in the large south-east quadrant to the same gate adjoining; and the same year the whole gate was newly and beautifully built, with the images of Lud and others, as afore, on the east side, and the picture of her majesty Queen Elizabeth on the west side: all which was done at the common charges of the citizens, amounting to fifteen hundred pounds or more.
This gate was made a free prison in the year 1378, the 1st of Richard II., Nicholas Brembar being mayor. The same was confirmed in the year 1382, John Northampton being mayor, by a common council in the Guildhall; by which it was ordained that all freemen of this city should, for debt, trespasses, accounts, and contempts, be imprisoned in Ludgate, and for treasons, felonies, and other criminal offences, committed to Newgate, etc. In the year 1431, the 10th of King Henry VI., John Wells being mayor, a court of common council established ordinances (as William Standon and Robert Chicheley, late mayors, before had done), touching the guard and government of Ludgate and other prisons.
Also in the year 1463, the third of Edward IV., Mathew Philip, being mayor, in a common council, at the request of the well-disposed, blessed, and devout woman, Dame Agnes Forster, widow, late wife to Stephen Forster, fishmonger, sometime mayor, for the comfort and relief of all the poor prisoners, certain articles were established. Imprimis, that the new works 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 parcel of the said prison of Ludgate; so that both the old and new work of Ludgate aforesaid be one prison, gaol keeping, and charge for evermore.
The said quadrant, strongly built of stone by the beforenamed Stephen Forster, and Agnes his wife, containeth a large walking-place by ground of thirty-eight feet and a half in length, besides the thickness of the walls, which are at the least six foot, makes altogether forty-four feet and a half; the breadth within the walls is twenty-nine feet and a half, so that the thickness of the walls maketh it thirty five feet and a half in breadth. The like room it hath over it for lodgings, and over it again fair leads to walk upon, well embattled, all for fresh air and ease of prisoners, to the end they should have lodging and water free without charge, as by certain verses graven in copper, and fixed on the said quadrant, I have read in form following:—
This place and one other of his arms, three broad arrow-heads, taken down with the old gate, I caused to be fixed over the entry of the said quadrant; but the verses being unhappily turned inward to the wall, procured the like in effect to be graven outward in prose, declaring him to be a fishmonger, because some upon a light occasion (as a maiden’s head in a glass window) had fabled him to be a mercer, and to have begged there at Ludgate, etc. Thus much for Ludgate.
Next this is there a breach in the wall of the city, and a bridge of timber over the Fleet dike, betwixt Fleetebridge and Thames, directly over against the house of Bridewel. Thus much for gates in the wall.
Water-gates on the banks of the river Thames have been many, which being purchased by private men, are also put to private use, and the old names of them forgotten; but of such as remain, from the west towards the east, may be said as followeth:—
The Blacke-friers stairs, a free landing-place.
Then a water-gate at Puddle wharf, of one Puddle that kept a wharf on the west side thereof, and now of Puddle water, by means of many horses watered there.
Then Powle’s wharf, also a free landing-place with stairs, etc.
Then Broken wharf, and other such like.
But, Ripa Regina, the Queene’s bank, or Queene hithe may well be accounted the very chief and principal water-gate of this city, being a common strand or landing-place, yet equal with, and of old time far exceeding, Belins gate, as shall be shown in the ward of Queene hithe.
The next is Downe gate, so called of the sudden descending or down-going of that way from St. John’s church upon Walbrooke unto the river of Thames, whereby the water in the channel there hath such a swift course, that in the year 1574, on the fourth of September, after a strong shower of rain, a lad, of the age of eighteen years, minding to have leapt over the channel, was taken by the feet, and borne down with the violence of that narrow stream, and carried toward the Thames with such a violent swiftness, as no man could rescue or stay him, till he came against a cart-wheel that stood in the water-gate, before which time he was drowned and stark dead.
This was sometimes a large water-gate, frequented of ships and other vessels, like as the Queene hithe, and was a part thereof, as doth appear by an inquisition made in the 28th year of Henry III., wherein was found, that as well corn as fish, and all other things coming to the port of Downegate, were to be ordered after the customs of the Queene’s hithe, for the king’s use; as also that the corn arriving between the gate of the Guild hall of the merchants of Cullen (the Styleyard), which is east from Downegate, and the house then pertaining to the Archbishop of Canterbury, west from Baynarde’s Castle, was to be measured by the measure, and measurer of the Queene’s soke, or Queene hithe. I read also, in the 19th of Edward III., that customs were then to be paid for ships and other vessels resting at Downegate, as if they rode at Queene hithe, and as they now do at Belingsgate. And thus much for Downegate may suffice.
The next was called Wolfes gate, in the ropery in the parish of Allhallowes the Lesse, of later time called Wolfes lane, but now out of use; for the lower part was built on by the Earle of Shrewsburie, and the other part was stopped up and built on by the chamberlain of London.
The next is Ebgate, a water-gate, so called of old time, as appeareth by divers records of tenements near unto the same adjoining. It standeth near unto the church of St. Laurence Pountney, but is within the parish of St. 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 Swan.
Then is there a water-gate at the bridge foot, 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 up of water to serve the city, whereof I have already spoken.
The next is the Bridge gate, so called of London Bridge, whereon it standeth. This was one of the four first and principal gates of the city, long before the Conquest, when there stood a bridge of timber, and is the seventh and last principal gate mentioned by W. Fitzstephen; which gate being new made, when the bridge was built was built 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 therewith. To the repairing whereof, divers wealthy citizens gave large sums of money; namely, Robert Large, sometime mayor, one hundred marks; Stephen Forster, twenty pounds; Sir John Crosbye, alderman, one hundred pounds, etc. 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. Katherine’s, and many others in the suburbs.
The next is Buttolphe’s gate, so called of the parish church of St. Buttolph, near adjoining. This gate was sometimes given or confirmed by William Conqueror to the monks of Westminster in these words: “W. rex Angliæ, etc., William, king of England, sendeth greeting to the sheriffes, 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 S. Buttolph gave them, when he was there made monke: that is to say, his Lords 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, etc.”
The next is Bellinsgate, used as an especial port, or harbour, for small ships and boats coming thereto, and is now most frequented, the Queen’s hithe being almost forsaken. How this gate took that name, or of what antiquity the same is, I must leave uncertain, as not having any ancient record thereof, more than that Geoffrey Monmouth writeth, that Belin, a king of the Britons, about four hundred years before Christ’s nativity, built this gate, and named it Belin’s gate, after his own calling; and that when he was dead, his body being burnt, the ashes, in a vessel of brass, were set upon a high pinnacle 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, happily named Beling, or Biling, as Somar’s key, Smart’s key, Frosh wharf, and others, thereby took their names of their owners. Of this gate more shall be said when we come to Belin’s gate ward.
Then have you a water-gate, on the west side of Wool wharf, or Customers’ key, which is commonly called the water-gate, at the south end of Water lane.
One other water-gate there is by the bulwark of the Tower, and this is the last and farthest water-gate 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.
Besides these common water-gates, were divers private wharfs and keys, all along from the east to the west of this city, on the bank of the river of Thames; merchants of all nations had landing-places, warehouses, cellars, and stowage of their goods and merchandises, as partly shall be touched in the wards adjoining to the said river. Now, for the ordering and keeping these gates of this city in the night time, it was appointed in the year of Christ 1258, by Henry III., the 42nd of his reign, that the ports of England should be strongly kept, and that the gates of London should be new repaired, and diligently kept in the night, for fear of French deceits, whereof one writeth these verses: