Gates, and Posterns. 19

Gates, and Posterns.

and then West to Ludgate. Which Passage, by reason of so often turning, was very cumbersome and dangerous, both for Horse and Man. For Remedy whereof, a new Gate was made, and so called, by which Men and Cattle, with all manner of Carriages, might pass more directly (as before) from Aldgate through West Cheap by S. Pauls on the North side, through S. Nicholas Shambles and Newgate Market to Newgate. And from thence to any Part Westward over Holborn-bridge, or turning without the Gate into Smithfield, and through Iseldon, to any Part North and by West.

Newgate first Builded, and the Cause why.

This Gate hath of long time been a Goal or Prison for Felons and Trespassers, as appeareth by Records in the Reign of King John, and of other Kings; amongst the which I find one testifying, that in the Year 1218, the Third of King Henry the Third, the King writeth unto the Sheriffs of London, commanding them to repair the Goal of Newgate for the safe keeping of his Prisoners, promising that the Charges laid out should be allowed unto them upon their Accompt in the Exchequer.

Newgate a Goal or Prison-house.

Close Roll.

The King repaired it.

Moreover in the Year 1241, the Jews of Norwich were hanged for circumcising a Christian Child; their House called the Thor was pulled down and destroyed. Aaron the Son of Abraham, a Jew at London, and the other Jews were constrained to pay Twenty Thousand Marks, at two Terms in the Year, or else to be kept perpetual Prisoners in Newgate of London, and in other Prisons.

Jews of Norwich.

An. 1255, King Henry the Third lodging in the Tower of London, upon displeasure conceived towards the City of London, for the Escape of John Offrem, a Prisoner, (being a Clark convict,) out of Newgate, which had killed a Prior that was of Alliance to the King, as Cousin to the Queen, sent for the Maior and Sheriffs to come before him to answer the Matter. The Mayor laid the Fault from him to the Sheriffs, forasmuch as to them belonged the keeping of all Prisoners within the City. And so the Maior returned home, but the Sheriffs remained there Prisoners by the space of a Month and more; and yet they excused themselves, in that the Fault chiefly rested in the Bishops Officers; for whereas the Prisoner was under Custody, they (at his Request) had granted License to imprison the Offender within the Goal of Newgate; but so as the Bishops Officers were charged to see him safely kept. The King, notwithstanding all this, demanded of the City 3000 Marks for a Fine.

The Sheriffs of London Prisoners in the Tower, for Escape of a Prisoner out of Newgate.

In the Year 1326. Robert Baldocke, the King's Chancellor, was put in Newgate, the Third of Edward the 3d.

The King's Chancellor Prisoner in Newgate.

In the Year 1237, Sir John Poulteney gave Four Marks by the Year to the Relief of Prisoners in Newgate.

In the Year 1385, William Walworth gave somewhat to relieve the Prisoners in Newgate; so have many others since.

In the Year 1414, the Goalers of Newgate and Ludgate Dyed, and Prisoners in Newgate to the Number of 64.

In the Year 1418, the Parson of Wrotham in Kent was imprisoned in Newgate.

The Year 1422, the First of Henry 6. License was granted to John Coventre, Jenken Carpenter, and William Grove, Executors to Richard Whittington, to Re-edify the Goal of Newgate, which they did with his Goods.

Newgate new Builded.

Thomas Knowles, Grocer, sometimes Maior of London, by License of Reynold, Prior of S. Bartholomews in Smithfield, and also of John Wakering, Master of the Hospital of S. Bartholomew, and his Brethren, conveyed the Wast of Water, at the Cistern near unto the common Fountain, and Chapel of S. Nicholas, (situate by the said Ho- spital) to the Goals of Newgate and Ludgate, for the Relief of the Prisoners.

Water conveyed to Newgate and Ludgate.

Tuesday next after Palm Sunday, 1431, all the Prisoners of Ludgate were conveyed into Newgate, by Walter Chartsey, and Robert Large, Sheriffs of London. And on the 13th of April, the same Sheriffs (through the false Suggestion of John Kingesell, Goaler of Newgate) did fetch from thence 18 Persons, Freemen, and these were led to the Compters Pinioned, as if they had been Felons. But on the 16th of June, Ludgate was again appointed for Freemen, Prisoners for Debt, and the same Day the said Freemen entred by Ordinance of the Maior, Aldermen and Commons; and by them Henry Deane, Taylor, was made Keeper of Ludgate.

Prisoners of Ludgate removed to Newgate.

In the Year 1457, a great Fray was in the North Country, between Sir Thomas Percy, Lord Egremond, and the Earl of Salisibury's Sons, whereby many were maimed and slain; but in the End the Lord Egremond being taken, was by the King's Council found in great Default, and therefore condemned in great Sums of Money, to be payed to the Earl of Salisbury, and in the mean time committed to Newgate. Not long after, Sir Thomas Percy, Lord Egremond, and Sir Richard Percie his Brother being in Newgate, brake out of Prison by Night, and went to the King; the other Prisoners took the Leads of the Gate, and defended it a long while against the Sheriffs and all their Officers, insomuch that they were forced to call more Aid of the Citizens, whereby at last they subdued them, and laid them in Irons.

L. Egremond, and others, brake Prison out of Newgate.

Among the Criminals that this Prison used to be filled with, were formerly abundance of naughty Women that had murthered their Bastard Children, either by throwing them into Houses of Office, or otherwise. But now of later Years they have better consulted for their own Lives, as well as the Lives of the poor Infants, by laying them privately in the Night-time at the Doors of Men's Houses, whereby they are taken care of by the Parishes where they are found. And of these Foundlings, some Parishes, especially those without the Walls, have great Numbers to their considerable Charges. They are Christened, and Surnamed, commonly after the Name of the Parish of S. Dunstan's in the East, in the Year 1708, between the 15th of August, and the 21st of September, which occasioned an Advertisement to be put into the Postman, That if any would come and inform the Churchwarden, where any of these Children were born, or who laid them down, should for each Discovery have Twenty Shillings. And these Advertisements are now become frequent.]


J. S.

The East-side of this Gate was begun to be Repaired in the Year 1630, Sir James Cambell, Knt. being Maior; and finished the Year following, Sir Robert Drury, Baronet, being Mayor.

This Gate is the Common Goal for the County of Middlesex, and was wholly destroyed in the general Conflagration, Anno 1666, but now Rebuilt far more strong, and convenient for that Purpose: It hath a Postern for Foot Passengers.] And this may suffice for Newgate.

Only let it be added, that Mr. Robert Dow, Merchant Taylor, that Deceased 1612, appointed the Sexton or Bellman of S. Sepulchres, to pronounce solemnly two Exhortations to the Persons condemned: For which, and for Ringing the Passing Bell for them as they are carried in the Cart by the said Church, he left 26s. 8d. Yearly for ever.

Exhortations spoken to the Felons condemned.

J. S.

The Exhortation to be pronounced to the condemned Prisoners in Newgate, the Night before their Execution.


You Prisoners that are within,
Who for Wickedness and Sin,