The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
This gate was situated at the distance of feet south-west from the spot where Aldersgate did stand; and it is the opinion of most of our antiquarians, that it obtained its name from being erected
|in the reign of Henry I. several years after the original gates of the city.|
Howel dissents from this opinion, and asserts that it was only repaired in the above mentioned reign, and that it was anciently denominated Chamberlain gate: but if this be true, it is very extraordinary that this gate is not once mentioned before the conquest.
It appears, however, from ancient records, that it was called Newgate, and was a common jail for felons taken in the city of London, or the county of Middlesex, as early as the year ; and that so lately as the year , Newgate, and not the Tower, was the prison for the nobility and great officers of state. Newgate, being much damaged by the fire of London in was repaired in the year .
The west side of this gate was adorned with ranges of Tuscan pilasters with their entablatures, and in the intercolumniations were niches, in of which was a figure representing Liberty, having the word inscribed on her cap; and at her feet a cat, in allusion to the story of sir Richard Whittington.
The east side of the gate was likewise adorned with a range of pilasters, and in niches the figures of Justice, Mercy, and Truth.