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This article is about the city gate. For Bargate Electoral Ward, see Bargate (ward).
Bargate is located in Southampton
Location within Southampton
General information
Type Gatehouse
Architectural style Medieval
Location Southampton City Centre
Coordinates 50°54′10″N 1°24′15″W / 50.9027°N 1.40415°W / 50.9027; -1.40415
Construction started circa 1180
Completed circa 1180
Owner Southampton City Council
Technical details
Floor count 2

The Bargate is a medieval gatehouse in the city centre of Southampton, England. Constructed in Norman times as part of the fortified walled city, the Bargate was the main point of entry and exit to and from the north. Since Southampton is on the south coast, this made the Bargate the main gateway to the city. The Bargate is a Grade I listed building[1] and a scheduled monument.[2]


The Bargate from the south in 1917
The Bargate from the south circa 1930, flanked by buildings and with tram lines running through the arch
The Bargate from the south

The Bargate was built circa 1180 AD, constructed of stone and flint.[2] Additional archways were added in 1764 and 1774.[3] Further alterations were made to the building around 1290, when large drum towers were added to the north side, with arrow slit windows.[3]

A two-storey extension was made to the south side towards the end of the thirteenth century, with four windows lighting the upstairs room.[3] In the middle of the four windows is a statue of George III in Roman dress, which replaced a wooden statue of Queen Anne.[3] Work was also carried out to the interior of the upper room during the thirteenth century, when the stone fireplaces were installed.[3] The embattled north front was added to the building around 1400.[3] In 1605, the city's curfew and alarm bell was added to the southwest corner of the building.[3] A sundial was added a century later.[3]

The room above the gate itself has known several uses. It was originally used as the city's guildhall, until the 1770s.[4] It was at this point that the city began to grow to the north of the gate.[5] Also during the eighteenth century, five panels containing painted shields were added to the building.[3]

In 1765, a passage was cut through the eastern side of the arch for pedestrians. A further passage through the western side was added later.[5]

Following the establishment of Southampton's police force in February 1836, the upper room was used as a prison.[6]

The Bargate was separated from the adjoining town walls in the 1930s.[3] The monument again served as the police headquarters for the city during the Second World War.[7]

The Bargate Shopping Centre was built next to the structure itself in 1989.[5]

After being closed to the public for several years, the upper room was opened in March 2006 as an art gallery.[4]


  1. ^ Southampton City Council: Listed buildings in Southampton Accessed 13 September 2007.
  2. ^ a b Davis, Philip (24 July 2008). "SOUTHAMPTON TOWN WALL AND GODS HOUSE TOWER". The Gatehouse. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Sites and Monuments" (PDF). Southampton City Council. Archived from the original on 1 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  4. ^ a b About the Bargate (Accessed 26 February 2008)
  5. ^ a b c Lambert, Tim: A brief history of Southampton (Accessed 22 February 2007)
  6. ^ Hampshire Constabulary History Society: The Southampton Police Force 1836 - 1956 (Accessed 22 February 2007)
  7. ^ "bargate exhibition - ArtVaults in Context". Archived from the original on 19 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-30.