Aldgate (London City Gate, until 1761) History

Aldgate General Facts:
  • One of the 7 historic London City Gates through the London defensive wall from Roman times.
  • Was called Eastgate in the Saxon period.
  • Aldgate was the easternmost gateway through London Wall.
  • It lead from the City of London to Whitechapel & the east end of London.
  • The name is derived from Ale-gate, which literally means open to all.
  • Unlike at all other city entrances, no tolls were ever demanded at this gate.
  • The current form of the word, Aldgate, does not occur until 1486 - 1487.
  • Reconstruction of Roman Gateway at Aldgate (image opposite) - showing the double arch and an old cemetery (upper right).
Aldgate Local Hisory:
  • Believed that a gate at Aldgate was already spanning the road to Colchester in the Roman period, when the London City Wall itself was constructed.
  • Like many other Roman city gates, Aldgate had a double arch.
  • The gateway stood at the corner of the modern Duke's Place.
  • Rebuilt between 1108-47, & rebuilt again in 1215.
  • Jews settled to the north of the gate, beginning in 1181, until their expulsion in 1290 by King Edward I.
  • The area from this time became known as Old Jewry.
  • The Jews were later welcomed back by Oliver Cromwell, and again settled in the Aldgate area.
  • Whitechapel Bell Foundry was founded in Aldgate in about 1420, but was later moved to nearby Whitechapel.
  • Aldgate Pump was at the junction of Aldgate, Leadenhall Street, & Fenchurch Street.
  • The gate was reconstructed completely between 1607 & 1609.
  • Aldgate was finally demolished in the 1761 & briefly re-erected in Bethnal Green.
Aldgate Famous Occupants:
  • In 1374 Geoffrey Chaucer (when he was appointed Controller of Customs for hides, skins & wools) was granted a lease on a dwelling above Aldgate.

Image from Dick Schmitt (cc) with thanks.

Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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