The Watergate formerly stood at the bottom of the High Street and allowed access from the walled town to the Town Quay. It was probably built in the late 14th century with early 15th century additions. By the early 19th century it was very dilapidated and was regarded as an obstruction to traffic. Englefield, writing in 1801, described it as an ancient gate with a low pointed arch and machicolations above. There were two good-sized rooms above the gate with wainscot ceilings and ornamental chimney-pieces. Englefield speculated that the original customs house was accommodated in these rooms.

Englefield also wrote that the gate had become so defaced with houses built against it on either side that it was difficult to make out its original form. He reports that the demolition of a house built against the gate had brought down the machicolations and left the gate in a very dilapidated state. It was demolished in 1804. Fragments of the western tower still remain south of Porter's Lane (image 3).

1. Watergate

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A Thomas Rowlandson drawing of the Watergate, 1796. The steps to the Globe Inn are centre left.

2. Watergate

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A pencil drawing by T. G. Hart, 1796

remains of the Watergate.

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Photograph, c.2010

Further reading:

History of Southampton, by Rev. J. S. Davies, p94-97. (HS/h)
Southampton Occasional Notes, 2nd Series, by ‘Townsman’, p4. (HS/h)
Medieval Southampton, by Colin Platt, passim. (HS/h)
Southampton Occasional Notes, by ‘Townsman’, p75. (HS/h)
Historic Buildings of Southampton, by Philip Peberdy, p23-25. (HS/k)
Excavations in Medieval Southampton, by Colin Platt (ed), p67-70. (HS/f)
Southampton Archaeological Society Bulletin, No. 14, p3, 6. (HS/f)
Buildings of England: Hampshire and the I.O.W., by Nikolaus Pevsner and David Lloyd, p549. (H/i)
A Walk Through Southampton, by Henry C. Englefield, p18-19, 87. (HS/h)


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