Burgate: St. Michael’s Gate: Burgate-Way: Borough Gate

Old Burgate.
Cross. F. W., & Hall. J. R. 1882. Rambles Round Old Canterbury. Cross & Hall.


  • Town Gate, Canterbury, Kent.
  • OSGB – TR 1527 5773.


Medieval Town Gate flanked by octagonal towers. May originally have had a double arch.

Was a major Roman gateway to the town of Durovernum Cantiacorum. A road ran from this gate to Richborough (Rutupiae). Roman pottery and coins have been found in the location of the gate.

Believed to be the gate through which St. Augustine entered the city after landing in Kent.

Gave access from the town to St. Martin’s Church.

Held the arms of Archbishop Juxon.

Was the principal road into Canterbury, the ‘chief gate’.

The former location of the gate is marked by a stone.



270                   First gateway on site possibly constructed.

605                   Mentioned in relation to access.

1066                 Repaired or rebuilt.

12th C                Parish church of St. Michael was over the gate.

1322                 Bartholomew, Lord Badlesmere, and some knights entered the Cathedral in full armour and carrying their swords and strode to the Shrine of Thomas Becket. This was unacceptable at the time for all weapons had to be left at the door, as churches and cathedrals were places of sanctuary. The outraged congregation appealed to Edward II, who had Bartholomew, Lord Badlesmere hung, drawn and quartered for such an outrage. His head was placed on a spike on the Burgate.

1475                 Rebuilt. The benefactor’s names were John Franingham, John Nethersole, and Edmund Minot.

1490’s               St. Michael’s Church was rebuilt to the north of the gate.

1492                 The Archbishop stated that the Church was exempt from paying towards the repair of the City walls, despite earning money from all the pilgrims entering and leaving via the Burgate. The locals stated they would smash all the windows in the Burgate and church, ruin their mills and evict the Church’s tenants from their buildings. The Church was then held responsible for the upkeep of a section of the wall from the Burgate to the wall which enclosed the Convent Garden.

c.1502               The gate was finished.

1524                 Rebuilt of brick and included crenellations.

1538                 Repaired with stone from St. Augustine’s Abbey.

1542 -1543       Repaired with stone from St. Augustine’s Abbey.

1548-1549          More stone was taken from St. Augustine’s Abbey to repair the gate.

c.1640               Illustration on map shows a portcullis and gun ports.

1643                 Wooden gates burnt by Parliament.

1648                 The wooden gates were burnt down by Puritans.

1660                 New wooden gates were finally installed.

1684                 The tower of St. Michael’s Church remained.

17th C                Converted into a dwelling. More windows were added, and tiles were placed on the roof.

1781                 The middle section of the gate was demolished, and the dwelling was in need of repair.

1785                 The wooden gates were removed.

18th C                Upper story was added.

1809                 The south front of the gate was demolished.

1822                 The tower on the northern side was demolished so the street could be widened.

1871                 Iron Age coin found in the area.

1965                 Field Investigation.

1988                 Excavated.

20th C                The outline of the tower was marked on the street.



References & Bibliography.

An Inhabitant. 1850. The Strangers’ and Visitors’ Companion and Guide to Canterbury and Environs. Dowden.

Brent. J. 1860. Canterbury in the Olden Time. John Brent.

Cox. J. C. 1895. Canterbury; a Historical and Topographical Account of the City. Methuen and Co.

Cross. F. W., & Hall. J. R. 1882. Rambles Round Old Canterbury. Cross & Hall.

Godfrey-Faussett. T. G. Canterbury Till Domesday. The Archaeological Journal, Volume 32, pp. 370-393.

Gostling. W. 1777. A Walk in and about the City of Canterbury. Simmons and Kirkby.

Holman. D. 2005. Iron Age Coinage and Settlement in East Kent. Britannia, 36, 1-54. Retrieved February 11, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org.rp.nla.gov.au/stable/30030479.

Ireland. W. H. 1828. England’s Topographer, Or, A New and Complete History of the County of Kent: From the Earliest Records to the Present Time: Including Every Modern Improvement, Volume 1. Geo. Virtue.

Jennings. W. 1860. The New Canterbury Guide-Book: An Accurate Account of the Antiquities of Canterbury. Forming a Complete Hand Book for the Visitor, to this Ancient City. W. Jennings.

Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 1891. Volume 47. British Archaeological Association.

Mate. M. 1984. Property Investment by Canterbury Cathedral Priory 1250-1400. Journal of British Studies, 23(2), 1-21. Retrieved February 11, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org.rp.nla.gov.au/stable/175424.

Somner. W., & Battely. N. 1703. The Antiquities of Canterbury: In Two Parts. The First Part. The Antiquities of Canterbury; Or a Survey of that Ancient City, with the Suburbs and Cathedral, &c, Volume 1. R. Knaplock.

Ward. H. 1843. Canterbury Guide. Henry ward.

Woodhouse. R. I. 1895. The Life of John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury. Longmans, Green & Company.



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