Newgate Prison

Historical Context Essay

Stephen Carver (Independent Scholar - Europe)
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Newgate: the name alone once carried a charge strong enough to turn any law-breaker’s nerve. Other gaols there were, in abundance, in eighteenth century England – but it was Newgate Prison that characterised the worse excesses of the days of the Bloody Code.

Newgate’s history is a long one. It was built early in the twelfth century (the exact date is unclear) when a fifth gate was added to the principle entrances in the wall that surrounded the city of London to create a safe route from Aldgate through West Cheape to the recently restored St Paul’s Cathedral, hence the “new gate”. Apartments above the gatehouse were used as a county gaol for London and Middlesex from its earliest days. After almost three centuries, this original prison had become, in the words of the executors

1523 words

Citation: Carver, Stephen. "Newgate Prison". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 July 2003 [, accessed 10 December 2023.]

772 Newgate Prison 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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