- One of the seven double gates of the City referred to by Fitz Stephen, leading out of the City on the north.Earliest mention found in records : "Ad portam episcopi" (Domesday Book, Middlesex).Mentioned in a charter of King Stephen to the monastery of St. Pancras, Lewes, confirming the grant of land at Bissopesgate which Goder the priest gave (Cal. of Doc. in France, 1135-54, Rolls, S., ed. Round, p. 509).Stow says that it was built by one of the Bishops of London, but he does not know which (S. 31), and that this is the origin of the name.Wheatley says it was erected by Bishop Erkenwald, died 685, but he gives no authority for the statement.It is interesting to note that in a grant made by G. Bishop of London to the Canons of St. Paul's in 1181-8, the gate is referred to as "his gate called Bissupesgate" (H. MSS. Com. 9th Rep. 25)."Bisshopesgate" is also mentioned in the account of the foundation of the Knightengild by Cnut or Edgar (959-1035) in the Liber Trinitatis, and although the account is somewhat legendary, the mention of Bishopsgate in those early times may be authentic enough.It appears from early records that the Bishop of London was bound to make the hinges of Bishopsgate, and that he received one stick from every cart laden with wood, as it entered the gate. Also that the Hanse merchants were charged with the safe-keeping and repair of this gate, and that therefore they were free from paying toll on going in or out with their goods (Cal. L. Bk. C. p. 41).The gate was rebuilt by the Hanse merchants in 1479 (S. 32). Repaired 1648. Taken down in 1731, and a less ornamental one erected in its place at the cost of the City (Maitland, I. 24). The two gates are shown in the 1st and 2nd editions of Strype's Stow, 1720, and 1755.Taken down 1760, the site being indicated by two tablets fixed on the houses at the corners of Camomile Street and Wormwood Street respectively, Nos. 1 and 64 Bishopsgate Street Without.It seems probable from the remains found at the junction of Bishopsgate and Wormwood Street that a gate existed on the site in Roman times, and it may possibly have been one of the four original gates of the City and been merely rebuilt by one of the Bishops.See Old Watch House.
A Dictionary of London. Henry A Harben. 1918.
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