- One of the principal gates in the Wall of London, on the western side.Supposed by Stow to be one of the most ancient, but no proof is forthcoming of this.Mentioned by Geoffrey of Monmouth, who stated that King Lud built it, B.C. 66, and was buried by the gate called to this time in the British tongue after his name "Parthlud" and in Saxon "Ludesgata" (p. 137). King Lud seems, however, to be quite a mythical personage, and no reliance can be placed upon the statements made by Geoffrey of Monmouth. He has been followed by later writers, as Matthew of Westminster, Roger of Wendover, but they are only quoting from Geoffrey of Monmouth and not offering any independent testimony.It was probably a gate in the later Roman wall, after the extension of the western boundary of the City.First mention: "Lutgata," 1100-35 (H. MSS. Com. 9th Rep. 25).Other forms : "Ludgate," 1235 (Cal. P.R. H. III. 1232-47, p. 106). "Lutgate," 6 Ed. I. (Ch. I. p.m. 93). "Ludgate," 1285 (MS. D. and C. St. Paul's Lib. L. f. 93).Repaired 1260. Made a free prison 1378. Prison abolished 1419 (Cal. L. Bk. H. p. 97 and note). Rebuilt 1586 (S. 39).Demolished 1760 and materials sold (N. and Q. 5th S. IX. 19).The statues of King Lud and his two sons which ornamented the gate were given by the City to Sir Francis Gosling to set up at the east end of St. Dunstan's Church. However, this was not done, and they were eventually put up in the garden front of St. Dunstan's, a house erected by the Marquis of Hertford in Regent's Park (N. and Q. 7th S. I. 214-15).It has been suggested that the name "Ludgate" is a Celtic survival, "Lud" being a Celtic god of water worship. Another suggestion is that it is derived either from the personal name "Luda," "Lude," "Ludda," or from the O.E. "hlidgeat" or "hlydgeat," a postern, which separated the City from the fields beyond. Bosworth gives the form "ludgeat" = a postern gate (ib. 11th S. IV. 485), and this seems to be a possible derivation.
A Dictionary of London. Henry A Harben. 1918.