Moorgate was a gate on the north side of London’s city wall. It was not one of the original Roman gates but was created in the 15th century.

To the immediate north of the city wall was an area of marshland where the River Walbrook flooded, and that area was known as Moorfields. It had proved difficult to drain and was left as a recreation area for Londoners, notably for skating when it froze over during cold winters, open air markets and shows, and ‘ale gardens’. A postern gate was created to allow pedestrians to pass through the wall to reach Moorfield at what is now the southern end of the street Moorgate.

During the mayoralty of Thomas Falconer in 1415 it was decided to replace the postern with the larger gate that became known as Moorgate. At the same time, a causeway was created through Moorfields, dividing it in two. The gate was enlarged in 1472 and again in 1511. As with the other gates, it was created with residential rooms in the upper floors. Moorgate survived the Great Fire but was then so dilapidated it had to be rebuilt in 1673. At that time it was considered more magnificent than the other city gates.

The drainage of Moorfields was eventually achieved by dumping rubbish, allowing a greater range of activities, such as archery, grazing animals, and drying of cloth. Trees provided shade and it became a pleasant place for Londoners to take walks. Moorgate was demolished in 1761 and its stone used to support the newly-widened central arch of London Bridge.

<Back to The City Wall and Gates of London

Sources include:

  • Alan Brooke ‘Gates of the City of London’

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