George's Gate or Newingate (now destroyed)
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First mentioned in Norman times

Postcard from a set of 'Ancient gates of Canterbury', and drawing.
The building outside, to the right of the gate, was at one time a wig-maker's shop, with a sign for Perukes up outside.

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

This gate stood at the top of the Town at the opposite end to Westgate. It is first mentioned in Norman times. What its name means is not clear. Possibly it may mean 'New Gate.'

There seems originally to have been no entry into the City between Burgate and Ridingate, and when this new gate was opened a short cut to the Dover Road at Landsdown developed, meandering across the fields on the line of Dover Street and Oaten Hill.

About 1470 it was rebuilt on the model of Westgate, though somewhat smaller in dimensions.

In the 18th century, after it had lost all significance as a defence work it became a storehouse, magazine for military stores and finally a conduit for the water supply of the City. For some reason or other the local garrison maintained a permanent guard on the gate. Why is not apparent. It was probably because of an order given for some temporary emergency and never rescinded.

The soldiers are reported as having addressed pleasantries to young ladies passing through. As a result so the story goes, the Mayor requested the abolition of the guard. The garrison-commander refused, so the Mayor (in 1801) removed the gate. The conduit was removed to the building now known as the Zoar Chapel in Burgate Lane.

Just without the gate the Canterbury Cattle Market has been held for approaching a thousand years. The area was known through the Middle Ages by the Saxon name of 'Rethercheap' or market for horned beasts.


Cattle market (ceased 1956)

The antiquary William Somner assigns the name to the Oaten Hill area but he is mistaken. Recruiting was carried on before Newingate on market days in the 18th century. Water colours of the time, such as that by Paul Sandby, show smocked peasants walking up to accept the King's Shilling, while their womenfolk make efforts to stop them. The foundations of the gate still exist beneath the roadway at the top of the Town.

 

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