The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3

Allen, Thomas

1827

Ludgate.

 

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

596

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:

This chapel was erected and ordained for the divine worship and service of God, by the right honourable sir Stephen Forster, knight, some time lord mayor of this honourable city, and by dame Agnes his wife, for the use and godly exercise of the prisoners in this prison of Ludgate, anno 1454. Devout soules that passe this way, For Stephen Forster, late maior, heartily pray, And Dame Agnes, his spouse to God consecrate, That of pitie this house made for Londoners in Ludgate. So that for lodging and water, prisoners here nought pay, As their keepers shall all answere at dreadful doomes-day.

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,

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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

 
 
Footnotes:

[] Engraved in Smith's Antiquities of London, 4to. 1795.

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 Title Page
 Dedication
 CHAPTER I: The site, extent, buildings, population, commerce, and a view of the progressive increase of London
 CHAPTER II: List of the parishes and churches in London, with their incumbents, &c
CHAPTER III: History and Topography of Aldersgate Ward
CHAPTER IV: History and Topography of Aldgate Ward
CHAPTER V: History and Topography of Bassishaw Ward
CHAPTER VI: History and Topography of Billingsgate Ward
CHAPTER VII: History and Topography of Bishopsgate Ward, Without and Within
CHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of Bread-street Ward
CHAPTER IX: History and Topography of Bridge Ward Within
CHAPTER X: History and Topography of Broad-street Ward
CHAPTER XI: History and Topography of Candlewick Ward
CHAPTER XII: History and Topography of Castle Baynard Ward
CHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of Cheap Ward
CHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of Coleman-street Ward
CHAPTER XV: History and Topography of Cordwainer's-street Ward
CHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of Cornhill Ward
CHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Ward Within
CHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Yard Without
CHAPTER XIX: History and Topography of Dowgate Yard
CHAPTER XX: History and Topography of Farringdom Ward Within
CHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of Farringdon Ward Without
CHAPTER XXII: History and Topography of Langbourn Ward
CHAPTER XXIII: History and Topography of Lime-street Ward
CHAPTER XXIV: History and Topogrpahy of Portsoken Ward
CHAPTER XXV: History and Topography of Queenhithe Ward
CHAPTER XXVI: History and Topography of Tower Ward
CHAPTER XXVII: History and Topography of Vintry Ward
CHAPTER XXVIII: History and Topography of Wallbrook Ward