From inside the Bargate.


From inside the Bargate.

The north face of the Bargate.


The north face of the Bargate.

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lectures and talks

A View From The Bargate

What might the mayor of Southampton see as he prepared to sit in his court in the upper chamber of the Bargate building. What views would he have been particularly interested in: the comings and goings of the many traders who used the port; a troop of visiting players, minstrels, or bear wards would soon be applying for licences to perform; the town pound where stray animals were locked up waiting for their owners to retrieve them; the Mill of the White Horse, grinding flour for the many bakers who looked to the mayor to agree the assize of bread, which several of them would be fined for subsequently breaking.

To the south could be seen the corner of East street, where the town's official brothel was located and where married men who tarried were subject to fines, from the roof of the building they could see the Southampton water and arriving Venetian Galleys, at the entrance gate he would see the carved lions with their collars of gold and the paintings of the legendary founder of Southampton, Sir Bevis and that of his companion, Ascupart knowing he had paid for their construction.

Past miscreants might still be in the stocks and he might wrinkle his nose at the smells wafting up from the Bargate Jakes, one of several public conveniences all of which had colourful names such as the house of sighs and the little house of easement.