Probably Roman in origin

Postcard from a set of 'Ancient gates of Canterbury', and drawing.

Notes - taken from William Urry's account (1948):

Burgate (the Borough Gate) is mentioned in Anglo-Saxon Documents. This structure had probably survived from Roman times.

As in the case of Northgate and Westgate, there was a parish church, so it would seem from manuscript references of the 12th century, on top of the gate; it was dedicated to St. Michael. Roman town gates were sometimes constructed with a chamber above, an example will be found in the Newport Arch at Lincoln, and it is possible that the Roman Burgate was of this design, and that the little parish church occupied this chamber.

In 1322 Sir Bartholomew de Badlesmere, Lord of Leeds Castle, was involved n a violent quarrel with Edward II. and his Queen. He was executed at Blean, one of his manors, and his head was stuck on Burgate.

In 1475, the gate was rebuilt of brick by three Canterbury citizens, John Franingham, John Nethersole and Edmund Minot. It now consisted of two octagonal towers, with pointed roofs, connected by an arch turned in stone. In 1548, stone was plundered from the recently dissolved Abbey of St. Augustine over the way to repair the gate. It appears that Alderman Twyne, Mayor 1553-4, lived in the chambers over the arch.

Burgate was taken down piecemeal, the last substantial remnants disappearing in 1822; some early brickwork incorporated in a nearby wall is all that survives today above ground, though recent excavations for a cable trench uncovered some of the footings of the northern tower just under the surface.


Copyright Stephen Bax 2000. Click here for terms of use.