The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
At the distance of feet south of Newgate, was situated Ludgate, which, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, derived its name from king Lud, a Briton, who, according to that author, built it about years before the birth of Christ.
But as Geoffrey's pretended history is now universally acknowledged to be the mere production of an inventive brain, his
|assertion has no weight with the judicious; for it is certain that the ancient Britons had no walled towns. This name, therefore, is with much greater appearance of probability, derived from the rivulet Flood, Flud, Vloat, Fleote, or Fleet, which ran into Fleet-ditch, and it was very probably called Ludgate, instead of its original name, Fludgate.|
In the year , this gate was constituted a prison for poor debtors, who were free of the city; and it was afterwards greatly enlarged by sir Stephen Forster.
This gentleman had been a prisoner there, and was begging at the gate, when a rich widow passing by, asked him what sum would procure his discharge; and, on his answering (which at that time was a considerable sum) she generously advanced the money.
His liberty being thus obtained, his kind benefactress took him into her service, in which, by his indefatigable application to business, and his obliging behaviour, he gained the affections of his mistress, and married her; after which he had such great success in trade, that he became lord mayor of London, and obtained the honour of knighthood.
In his prosperity, sir Stephen thought of the place of his confinement, and, acquainting his lady with a design he had formed of enlarging the prison, she also determined to contribute to the execution of so benevolent a plan.
Hereupon, they caused several of the houses near the gate to be pulled down, and in their stead erected a strong stone building, containing the following rooms, viz. the porch, the paperhouse, the watch-hall, the upper and lower lumberies, the cellar, the long ward, and the chapel; in the last of which were the following inscriptions:
These venerable founders not only settled a salary for a chaplain of this prison, but ordered that all the rooms in these additional buildings should be for ever free to all unfortunate citizens, and that they on providing their own bedding, should pay nothing at their discharge for lodging or chamber rent; but the avaricious disposition of the keepers broke through this appointment, and for many years they took rent for the rooms, contrary to the express order of the generous donor,
Of the appearance of the gate previous to and during the fire,
|the annexed engraving is a correct representation; with the old church of , the steeple of Bow-church, &c. in the distance.|
This engraving is from an original painting which in , was in the possession of Mrs. Lawrence, .
On the east side of the gate was niches, in which were the effigies of king Lud and his sons, and on the west side that of queen Elizabeth. When the gates of this city were taken down, sir Francis Gosling obtained these statues from the city, with the intention to set them up at the west end of St. Dunstan's church,
, but there was only room for , Queen Elizabeth.
The remainder were consigned to the bone house, where they remain at present.
On the north side of is Stationers'-hall-court, at the north-west corner of which, is
 Engraved in Smith's Antiquities of London, 4to. 1795.