The West Gate was one of the town’s principal gates in the medieval period as it led directly onto the West Quay, the town's only commercial quay. Its earliest name, Florence Stout's Gate, dates it to the later 14th century. A grant of 1399 shows Florence Stout in occupation of a tenement and an adjoining quay, with no mention of gate or wall. This appears to be a property to the south of the gate.
The gateway was built in three sections surmounted by crenellations. The gate has a long tunnel and was defended by a heavy door and a double portcullis. In the 18th century a slate roof was added and the upper rooms were used as a dwelling, sometimes known as the Pigeon House. Local 19th century photographer Thomas Hibberd James stated that the West Gate made a lovely little cottage. The entrance was reached by way of the steps to the Guard House (Westgate Hall), to the left of the gate.
In 1745 the portcullis, now an obstruction to traffic, was removed. The grooves in the road made by the portcullis are still visible.

West Gate

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Engraved by Samuel Rawle from a drawing by J Nixon, c1807

West Gate

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Photograph, c.2000

Further reading:
Historic Buildings of Southampton, by Philip Peberdy, p40-42. (HS/k)
Excavations in Medieval Southampton, by Colin Platt (ed), p70-72. (HS/f)
History of Southampton, by Rev. J. S. Davies, p90-95. (HS/h)
Southampton Archaeological Society Bulletin, No. 16, p2. (HS/f)
Southampton Archaeological Society Bulletin, No. 17, p10-13. (HS/f)


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