1, Bailiffgate


BAILIFFGATE 1. 5330 (East Side) No 1 NU 1813 NE 2/10 20.2.52 II* GV 2. Early C18. Three storeys and cellar. Four windows Ashlar front with raised quoins and dressings. Ground floor rendered. Plinth. Slate roof with gable end chimneys and kneelers to raised verges. Moulded cast iron gutter. Glazing bar sash windows, single hung on 2nd floor. Plate glass sashes ground floor. Windows and door have moulded architraves. Steps with curved rails to doorway which is off-centre to right; 8 panel door, top 2 cut away and glazed.


Letter from F. R. Wilson:

I have been often asked the meaning of Bailiff gate. Only this autumn, a learned archdeacon from a southern dioceae, passing through Alnwick asked the question and went away unsatisfied. Bailiffgate is the Law end of walled in town just as I have shown that Bondgate is the Bond end. In ancient times the bailiff was the magistrate that administered justice and settled disputes. He was the Prcetor urbanus. There was also the steward bailiff called a Dispensator, and a country bailiff named a Bailiwick was Prcetoris vel villici provincia.,t/rhe {precise position of Bailiffgate in Alnwick is not generally known. It commenced immediately outside Narrowgate which street ended, and which gate tower formerly stood across the street exactly where my house joins that of Mr Nesbitt of the “Oddfellows Arms” next door. We have discovered, only recently, a large black letter N painted on the corner of the wall of his house, and a large letter on the corner of mine, of the Georgean period, showing that the owners of the respective properties wished them to perpetuate the fact .ended and Bailiffgate commenced. In further confirmation of this one of the deeds of my property, dated Sept. 24, 1728, states that George and John Swinhoe, skinners and glovers, of Sunderland, sells it to Thomas Swinhoe, as “all that messuage, burgage, or tenement, and two gardens, in a certain street called Bailiff gate.” This tenement and two gardens now akirt the town wall and Narrowgate, outside them, and in Bailiffgate, though the modem Board of Health, have extended Narrowgate a few houses further down by affixing their notice on the turn into Bailiffgate, tautologically as Narrowgate Street They have numbered my house 69, Narrowgate Street, whereas it is No. 1 Bailiffgate. Bailiffgate was formerly that quarter, plateau, and ridge immediately outside the walled town, and immediately outside the barbican-protected and walled-in castle adjacent. On it stood the grand old church of St Marie and St Michael. There the soldiers and people were exercised in times of peace. It, too, was protected, and had its gates both near by the naturally protected precipitous water edge. Canongate, leading to the great Abbey of Alnwick, and Watergate leading to the ford and the great north road' leading by St Leonard’s Hospital, and the scene of Malcolm’s exploits. (The Watergate still exists at Chester, as the mediaeval tower and walls outside the town walls there.) From Froissart and many other sources we have fortunately information showing the exact configuration of the walled castle with the walled town in mediaeval times. The entrance to the castle was protected by advanced works, composed of ditches and pallisades, which extended a good distance to the north and west (when William the Lion was taken prisoner beseiging Alnwick Castle), so as to admit, between the first barriers and the castle walls, free space, a sort of place d' armes, which enabled a corps of troops to camp and sustain the first attacks. Viollet le Due shows us a plan of Coucy in France with the town, Castle, and place d' armes, corresponding exactly with ours at Alnwick. He says, further, that in the said place, corresponding with our Bailiffgate; C’etait dans cet espace, qu’etaient disposees les eenries, les communs, et les logementsde la gamison tant qu’elle n’etait pas obligee de se retirer sans I’enceinte du chateau.” (It was in this space where the stables were disposed, the generality, or underservants, and the lodgings of the garrison, so long they wero not obliged to retire within the enclosure of the castle.) Such was Bailiffgate formerly in Alnwick, and such was the place where the bailiff or law-giver administered justice. Feed. R. Wilson, Architect. ALNWICK & COUNTY GAZETTE, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10, 1885








Historic England listing: 1, BailiffgateLink
Keys to the past: 1, BailiffgateLink