Friday, 21 February 2020

Did Bail Gate Stand Here?

Bailgate  is one of Lincoln's  oldest  streets  roughly following the  line of  the  Roman Ermine Street, it is also part of an area historically known as "The Bail", from the outer bailey of the castle.
Norman House
In the Middle Ages Lincoln was made up of four self governing areas, the City, Beaumont Fee, the Close and the Bail.   These areas were managed through their own courts and by-laws.  The freemen made the laws and carried them out.  The system was as democratic as it could be, as only freemen were allowed, and expected, to be involved in the running of a district.

The Bail was an area which included Castle Hill and Bailgate from the north of Christ's Hospital Terrace to Newport Arch.

All these areas of Lincoln were physically divided from each other by gates: the gates into the Bail were Newport Arch, a gate from the Close at the junction of Bailgate and Eastgate, Exchequer gate, the now lost western gate of which spanned the road east of Bailgate, and the Bail gate.



The Bail gate stood, according to Adam Stark, about ninety feet south of the location of the Roman south gate of the upper town.  This distance places the gate at the south-west corner of The Norman House (formerly known as Aaron the Jews House). Records of this gate are scant and there is no accurate indication of its location but the image on the right shows a repair to the south-west corner of the Norman House, the small medieval stone, compared to the larger worked stone of the "repair".  Is this where the east side of the Bail gate stood?  The west side of the gate would be near the southern corner of Wordsworth Street; all the buildings on that side were cleared when the County Hospital was built in the late 18th century so we can not see where the west side of the gate would be.  This is a likely location as Steep Hill, Bailgate, Michaelgate and Christ's Hospital Terrace all meet here.  The entrance to Bailgate (the street) would be narrower than it is now.  The gate was still standing in 1810.

Wordsworth Street did not exist at the time of the Bail gate, it was built after Christopher Wordsworth's death in 1885, He was bishop of Lincoln from 1869 until his death.

This is an 18th century drawing of Newland Gate,
was Bail Gate a similar design?

Read more about Lincoln's Gates 







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