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

Allen, Thomas

1827

Bishopsgate.

 

The exact date of the foundation of this gate is not known. Mr. Strype conceives it was erected by Erkenwald, son of Offa king of Mercia, and bishop of London, whom historians mention as the founder of religious houses, at Chertsey, in Surrey, and another at Barking, in Essex, where he died, anno , and was afterwards canonized.

The most ancient notice of this gate. according to Stowe, was that William Blund, of the sheriffs, in , sold to Serle Mercer and William Almaine, procurators, or wardens of , all his land, with the garden in the parish of St. Botolph without, Bishopsgate.

Henry III. confirmed to the merchants of the Hanse, who had a house in the city called , certain liberties and privileges on condition that they repaired this gate; Edward I. also confirmed the same; but it appears they did not fulfill the agreement, for in this reign they were presented by some

150

of the wards to the judges itinerant, sitting in the Tower in these words,

That the Dutch do not maintain Bishopsgate so well as they ought to do, to the damage of the city; although they were made free of it on that account.

Upon this Gerard Marbod, alderman of the Hanse, and others of their country, granted to the mayor and commonalty, and covenanted that they and their successors should repair the gate from time to time. In the year the gate was beautifully rebuilt by those merchants.

On the south side over the gateway, was placed a stone image of a bishop with a mitre on his head: he had a long beard, eyes sunk, and an old mortified face, and was supposed to represent St. Erkenwald.

On the north side was another figure of a bishop with a smooth face, reaching out his right hand to bestow his benediction, and holding a crosier in his left, who is thought to have been bishop William the Norman. This last was accompanied by other figures in stone, supposed to represent king Alfred, and his son Eldred, earl of Mercia. In the year , the above-mentioned merchants prepared stone for rebuilding the gate; but that company being dissolved about this period, a stop was put to the work, and the old gate remained till the year , when it was quite taken down, and rebuilt at the expense of the city. When it was almost finished, the arch of the gate fell down; but though it was a great thoroughfare, and this accident happened in the middle of day, no person was hurt.

Over the gateway of the new erection, was a carving of the city arms, supported by dragons, and on each side of the gate was a postern for the convenience of foot passengers.

The rooms in the ancient gate were appropriated to the use of of the lord mayor's carvers; but, in the stead thereof, he was paid per annum by the city. The site of the gate is marked by a tablet, with the following inscription surmounted by a mitre:

On this place stood BISHOPSGATE.

In the latter part of , a mutilated statue of white marble, measuring about feet inches in height was discovered near the bite of this gate, in forming what is now called , which unites the ancient site of with . It evidently represents St. Peter attired in a dalmatia and cope, with a chasuble on his left arm; he holds a key in his right hand and a book in his left; and bears the pall. It is of coarse workmanship, headless; and beneath the feet is an ornamented slab. It is not improbable that this was of the statues which adorned the ancient gate, and might justly be described as a bishop; this saint always appearing with a mitre and tiara on his head.

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In and Hen. VIII. an act was passed for paving several streets.

The strete or highwaye leadynge from Bishopsgate to above Shordyche church,

was described, in common with others named, to

be very foule, and full of pyttes, and sloughes, very perillous and noyouse, as well for all the kings subjects throughe, and by them repayynge and passynge, as well on horsebacke as on foot, as also with carriage, and very necessarye to be kept cleane, for the avoydynge of corrupt savours, and occasion of pestilence.

The principal part of Grace, or Grass-church street, so called from a grass market formerly held there, is in this ward; it is a good street, inhabited principally by respectable shopkeepers.

Leadenhall herb-market, the principal entrance to which is from Grace-church-street, is also in this ward.

is a long and spacious street, and consists principally of handsome buildings; but, as it all escaped the fire of , except the south end, many of the houses still remain, specimens of the ancient architecture of London.

The south end of this street was again burned in the year , and an elegant row of buildings erected on the spot. In clearing the rubbish, to lay the foundations of the new buildings, the remains of an ancient church or chapel were discovered, which had long served as cellaring to the houses that covered this relic of antiquity; but when, or by whom, this old church was founded, cannot be traced. The inside of it measured feet in length, and in breadth, The roof was only feet inches from the floor, occasioned by the raising of the ground in this part of the city

It was conjectured, that the premises here mentioned were the remains of a church, which once stood at the top of, or above, , dedicated to St. Andrew the Apostle; from which the other church, at the corner of , dedicated to the same saint, was distinguished by the addition of .

About feet farther to the north, and under the house, where the fire was supposed to have begun, there was another stone building, feet long, feet broad, and feet high, with a door on the north side, a window at the east end, and the appearance of another at the west end. This building was covered with a semicircular arch, made of small pieces of chalk, in the form of bricks, and rubbed with stone, resembling the arches of a bridge: but this structure did not appear to have any connection with the ; nor does any ancient his tory give us the least account thereof, nor of any religious or other remarkable foundation in this neighbourhood, that could be so strangely buried.

On the site of the above building was erected

 
 
Footnotes:

[] It is engraved on wood, from a drawing by Mr. Fisher in the Gent. Mag. vol. xcvi. part 2, page 209.

[] Engraved in the Gent's Mag. vol. xxxvi. p. 55.

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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