Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 03, 2019
Webpage updated: July 02, 2021




Gates with drawbridges were provided in the town wall at various points on main roadways.  These were often the last part of the wall to be removed or demolished.

The gates in a clockwise direction from the North, or Old Town, Gate were:-

Old Town or North Gate: the first gate here was destroyed by the French (Bretons) in 1379.  The last one was built in 1759 and removed circa 1809.  The area outside the Gate, upon which Cobourg Place, Pound Street, the Plymouth Public Free Schools and New Town were subsequently built was known as "Old Town Without".

Near this spot formerly stood the
"Old Town" or "Northern Gate"
which was first erected about 1378.
In 1379 the Gate was partly destroyed
by the French.
It was repaired and lasted until 1759,
when it was rebuilt,
and finally removed about 1809.

This engraved stone formerly stood over the fine wooden doorway of number 63 Old Town Street
 until during the post-war reconstruction it was re-sited close to Timothy Whites and Taylors.
It disappeared when the present Drake Circus Shopping Centre was built but has now re-appeared
just to the north of the entrances in Cornwall Street.

A replica of the Old Town Gate erected for the visit of the Royal Agricultural Show in 1890.

Gasking, Gascoigne, or Gascoyne's Gate was removed in 1768 in order to widen the main road from the Town to Exeter.  At that time, before the construction of The Embankment, the main road to Exeter ran through this Gate, and up Lipson Road, down the steep, winding and dangerous Lipson Hill, and in to what is now Old Laira Road.  A commemorative tablet was erected in June 1817:

Near this Spot stood a GATE called
GASCOYNE'S GATE, and which for the
Purpose of throwing open and widening the
STREET, was taken down in the Year 1768,
and to Commemorate the same this TABLET
was put up by order of the MAYOR, and
COMMONALTY, 4th June, 1817.

Friary Gate: removed 1763.

Martyn's Gate was part of the original Town Wall around Plymouth.  Briton Side or Breton Side, was outside this Gate and people who loved beyond it were known as Breton Boys.  That area was destroyed by the French, who were prevented from taking the Gate and thereby gaining  access to the Town.  When the Wall was extended to protect that area, Coxside Gate, or New Gate, was erected.  Martyn's Gate survived until 1789 when it was demolished at following an accident to one of the servants of the royal princes was injured while passing through it in a carriage.  The cost of its removal was raised by public subscription.

Coxside or East or New Gate was erected when the Town Wall was extended to include Breton Side.  It was removed shortly after 1809.  Jory's Almshouses stood nearby.

Barbican or South Gate: removed in 1831.

Hoe Gate: the last to be removed, in 1863.   Strenuous efforts were made to preserve Hoe Gate, which had become the property of a Mr T W Fox.  However, he could not be persuaded and sold the materials for 44.

Hoe Gate from the north side.
City of Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery.

Hoe Gate from the north (Hoegate Street) and from the south (the Hoe)
From a postcard.

Frankfort or West Gate: although rebuilt in 1661, was removed in 1783.  When the expansion of road traffic led to the removal of this gate, a tablet was inserted into the walls of the Globe Hotel, which was inscribed:

Near this Place Formerly Stood FRANKFORT GATE
which with others Formed the Principle Entrances into
the TOWN then Inclosed by a Wall Erected for the greater
Protection thereof by the MAYOR and COMMONALTY
Under the Authority of the CHARTER of HENRY the VI. 
But in course of Years this Mode of defence Ceasing to be
of any Effect, the GATE was taken down in 1783 and
the Streets and Avenues adjoining Considerably
Widened and Improved:  This TABLET was put up
By order of the MAYOR and COMMONALTY
1st June 1813.

It was only after these Gates had been removed that Plymouth started to grow to the north and east.