This is the medieval gateway and tower complex situated at the south east angle of the town walls and leading from Winkle Street to the platform and quay on Canute Road and then on to the Saltmarsh. The complex was named after nearby God's House Hospital, although it has many alternative names including the South Castle and, because it provided access to the saltmarsh, Saltmarsh Gate.

The gate, which was also known as Lambcote Gate and the tower over it as Lambcote Tower, was built in two stages over the late 13th century to early 14th century. An original simple gatehouse was built in the late 13th century and in the early 14th century it was extended to its current dimensions. At the same time a large room, possibly a guard room, was built above the gateway. The great tower at the eastern end of the building and the adjoining gun platform were built in the 15th century to strengthen the gate's flank defences. The tower was also called Mill Tower (or Mill House) from the tidal mill installed at its east extremity and worked by the waters of the town moat.

From the 18th century various parts of the complex were used as gaols. The Bridewell was established in 1707 in rooms over the gate. To this was added, in 1775, the debtors' prison in the tower and the felons' gaol in the gallery. The building served as a prison until 1855, when a new town gaol was built in Ascupart Street.

The building stood empty for about 20 years before being used as a storage area for the Harbour Board. In 1957 the tower was converted into the town’s Archaeological Museum. It is Grade II listed.

God’s House Field
A field near God's House Gate and apparently crossed by the public way to Porters Mead and the ferry.

God's House Stair
A 15th century stairway leading to the town well from the south side of Winkle Street. It was 64 feet east of God's House Gate.

God's House Street
There are 17th century references to this street, which presumably refer to Winkle Street.

1. God's House Tower and Gate

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Photograph, c.2010

2. God's House Gate

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Photographed from Winkle Street, c.2010

3. God's House Tower and Gate

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Frank Mcfadden’s etching of God’s House Tower and Gate, c.1890


Further reading:

History of Southampton, by Rev. J. S. Davies, p99-103. (HS/h)
Historic Buildings of Southampton, by Philip Peberdy, p20-22. (HS/k)
Building of England: Hampshire and the I.O.W., by Nikolaus Pevsner and David Lloyd, p551-2. (H/i)
Southampton Occasional Notes 2nd Series, by ‘Townsman’, p9, 34. (HS/h)
Excavations in Medieval Southampton, Vol. 1, by Colin Platt (ed), p62-67. (HS/f)


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