- One of the principal gates in the City Wall, at the northern end of St. Martin's le Grand, and leading into Aldersgate Street, on the site now occupied by No.62 in that street (Rocque, 1746).Stow speaks of it as one of the first four gates of the City, serving the northern districts (S. 34), and this view receives confirmation from the considerable Roman remains that have come to light in the neighbourhood from time to time.Earliest mention found in records "Ealdredesgate," Etheldred's Institutes, 10 and 11 Cent. (Thorpe's Anc. Laws, p.127). But the MSS. are of the 13th century, or the latter part of the 12th century, and not authoritative as to the original form of the name.Other forms "Aldredesgate," Reg. Clerkenwell Priory (12th century), quoted by Dugdale, IV. 83 (Cott. MS. Faust. B. 11. B.M.). "Aldredesgate," 49 H. III. (Anc Deeds, A. 1983). " Aldridesgate," 53 H. III. (ib. A. 1870). " Aldretheggate," 54 H. III. (ib. A. 1590). "Aldrethesgate," 54 H. III. (ib. A. 1530). " Alresgate," 1272-3 (Ct. H.W. I. 14). " Aldresgate," 1274 (ib. '9). "Aldreidesgate," 1285 (Cal. L. Bk. A. p.210). "Allereddesgate," 1291 (Ct. H.W. I. p.100). " Aldrichesgate," 1283 (ib. 67). " Aldersgate," 1307 (ib. 192). (But this is probably not the form in the M.S.) "Alcheresgate," 28 Ed. I. (Cal. L. Bk. C. p.37). " Aldrichgate," 1316 (ib. 264). " Aldrisgate," 1349 (ib. 547). "Aldrichegate," 1349 (ib. 605). "Alderichesgate," 1349 (ib. 622). " Aldrechegate," 1351 (ib. 665). " Alderychgate," 1361 (ib. IT. 17). "Alderichgate, Alderichegate," 1361 (ib. 27). "Alderesgate," 1363 (ib. 81). "Aldrychegate," 1380-1 (ib. 222). "Aldrychgate," 1407 (ib. 370). "Aldrychesgate," 1433 (ib. 465). "Aldrisshgate," 1436-7 (ib. 481). "Althergate, Altergate," 16th Century (Machyn's Diary).In 1335 it was ordained that the gate should be covered with lead and a small house made under it for the gate-keeper (Cal. L. Bk. F. p.15). It was taken down and rebuilt 1617, repaired and beautified in 1670 after the Fire and again in 1739 by the Lord Mayor.In 1750 the apartments over the gate were occupied by the Common Crier, and the eastern postern, which had been shut up, was reopened.The materials of the gate were sold for £91, in April, 1761, and the gate taken down.With reference to the derivation of the name, Stow says it was so named for the very antiquity of the gate, as being one of the first four gates of the City, but this derivation is obviously wrong, as in none of the forms in which the word is met with could it possibly denote" Old Gate."The name is almost certainly derived from the personal name" Ealdred "or " Aidred," The form found in Etheired's "Instituta Londoniae" quoted above, but Mr. Loftie's statement that the Aldred in question lived in the time of the first Mayor of London (i.e. at the end of the 12th century) is clearly wrong.The name appears in so many forms, as shown in the list set out above, that it may be of interest to classify the several forms according to the derivations which (taken by themselves) they would suggest, appending to each separate form the number of times it occurs, in the Court of Hastings Wills, Liber Albus, etc., Riley's Memorials, City Letter books, and other authorities consulted.1. Aldred's Gate: Aldredes (5), Aldrides (3), Allereddes (1), Aidrethe (1). In all ten instances between 1263 and 1343.2. Aldrich's Gate: Aldrich (15), Aldriche (13), Aldreche (1), Aldrych (1), Aldryche (2), Aldryches (1), Alderich (1), Alderiche (4), Aldriches (32), Alderiches (1), Alderych (1), Aldrissh (1). In all seventy-three instances between 1283 and 1587. 3. Ealdor's Gate, i.e. the gate of the prince or alderman ; Alderes (1), Aldres (47), Aldris (1), Alders (4), Alder (2), Aldir (1), Alther (5), Alter (1). In all sixty-two instances between 1214 and 1597.The form " Alres " occurs once in 1272, and although so early, must be a corruption from one of the other forms. It is remarkable that the forms suggesting "Aldred" should occur so infrequently, and that the other forms should make their appearance so early. But in dealing with the derivations of names, it is the earliest forms that are the most important, however scanty in number they may be.Remains of a Roman ditch were found here on the site of the General Post Office, 75 ft. wide and 14 ft. deep, much wider than the remains in other parts, and it is suggested that it may have been part of a later scheme for strengthening the defences of the City (Arch. LXIII. p.278).
A Dictionary of London. Henry A Harben. 1918.
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