as originally published in Austin's Monthly Magazine from November 1832 to June 1939
Compiled and transcribed by R. W. Orland, 2005
I'm sincerely grateful to the Shelton family for their kind permission and encouragement to publish these works.
J. B. Shelton's post-war book A Night in Little Park Street can be viewed here (in PDF format).
I. GOSFORD GATE EXCAVATIONS
Gosford Gate was without doubt the second gate to be built, the first being New Gate, protecting the London road. The White Friars, who established their Monastery 13 years before the first gate was built, kept the wall in repair from New Gate to Gosford Gate. The wall was 16-ft. high and 6-ft. wide to the bottom of Gulson Road, and on reaching the round tower at the end of Herbert's Row, was built 9-ft. wide. On excavating recently at Gosford Gate site, the foundations of St. George's Chapel were discovered. The chapel was built about 1400, and was the home of the Shearmen and Tailors. One piece of oak beam about 6-ft. long by 12-ins. wide was found at a depth of 14-ft. 6-ins., made with a peg hole, and morticed, to support an upright corner frame to prevent it sinking in the mud. Eight piles of oak, measuring 4-ft. 6-ins. to 6-ft., were found at the same depth, supporting the buttress of the Gate, also two beams, although sawn off, which once formed the support to the drawbridge. A number of stepping stones were found in the river bed, denoting the Gos (or Gorse) Ford. Under the other corner of the gate an oak tree measuring 2 feet across was dug in and is still there. The piles and beams had been used in some former building, possibly of a Saxon or Norman house, and although worm-eaten in some parts, are mostly in a sound condition, and can be seen in Mr. J. B. Shelton's yard, in Little Park Street. The river bed was thrown further back for 100 yards in 1860-62, and during excavations the old river bed and banks were found. In two places on the bank were ashes over which were pieces of Norman pottery and bones of animals which had been in the cooking. At a depth of 6 feet a very fine piece of the City wall was discovered with ashlar stones and plinth intact This wall has been covered over; to be revealed again at some future date. The Mill of the White Friars stood a little further on, and the piles which formed the sides of the dam have been dug out. A very fine photograph of the wall and oak piles in position has been taken. Quite a lot of 14th century pottery was discovered, also a steel punch for blacksmiths' use. This Gate was attacked by Edward 4th, who was kept out of the City, and again in 1644 fears were entertained, when men and women were fetched in haste, even on a Sunday, to dig trenches for protection for the Gate, and another stream was made at a distance from the Gate, where Dover Bridge later stood. Gosford Gate was taken down in 1765.
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