Bishops Gate

The City Walls were originally defended by four fortified gates, Shipquay Gate, Butcher’s Gate, Bishop’s Gate and Ferryquay Gate, two of which were shut by portcullises and the other two by drawbridges.

Bishop’s Gate, one of the original entrances to the City, was originally battlemented and approached by a drawbridge.  By 1622 strong double-planked gates had been added but nonetheless, it was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting during the siege.

When King James came here in 1689, he rode up to the Bishop’s Gate, confident that the defenders would be intimidated by his superior numbers and would accept his terms; but the Protestant defenders cried “No Surrender”, and fired on the King and his troops.  James was horrified and saw this as an act of treason: history records it as the start of the Siege of Derry.

The original gate was replaced in 1789 by the present structure - a triumphal arch, paid for by the Earl Bishop of Londonderry, Frederick Augustus Hervey, to mark the first centenary of the closing of the gates by The Apprentice Boys of Derry.  The sculpted head on the keystone represents the River Boyne (inscribed 1690).