Inside Bishops Gate, the strong urban form and 'ideal plan' of the historic city of Londonderry largely survives.
Bishops Gate at the top of the circuit, has a design based upon Roman Triumphal Arches. This arch was built 100 years after the Great Siege of Derry in 1789. It was funded by Bishop Hervey who was also Earl of Bristol. The keystone to this side represents the River Foyle and to the inner side represents the River Boyne.
Church Wall, beside the Cathedral has a number of sentinel posts or ‘bartizans’. This section, near Bishops Gate had a row of Georgian Houses to the inner side until destroyed following a bomb blast in the late 1980’s.
St Columb's is well worth a visit. This is the Elvin memorial dating from 1673 commemorating one of the first mayor's of the city. He died when he was 102! That means that he was in his forties at the time of the Plantation and 43 at the time of the construction of the walls in 1614. His memorial is Jacobean in style and a good example of the type. However it also reflects a departure from the front rank of London ideas relatively soon after the Plantation. At the same time in London, Sir Christopher Wren was building St Paul's Cathedral.
St Columb's Cathedral, inside the Walls, is the oldest intact building in the city. Built in 1633, it was the first purpose built Protestant Cathedral in the British Isles. It has string stylistic links to London churches of the same period.
Along this section is the Sally Port. A secret exit from the city away from the main approaches. The tunnel beyond is blocked up after a few metres but it is believed that it led to the St Columb's Cathedral in the churchyard beyond.
Go through New Gate to see the exterior of the Walls. Built low and to a batter to deflect cannon balls, regular projecting bastions allow flanking fire at regular intervals. The external stone is two metres thick with eight metres of earth to the rear.
Further up the Walls is New Gate, the first opening in the wall that was not part of the original plan. It was created in 1787 but closed again shortly afterwards because associated noise was said to have disturbed performances in the city's first theatre. This was housed in the yellow building on this drawing. The present gate dates from 1866.
Further up the Walls, the Playhouse. A fantastic venue with a confident modern extension. It is well worth the visit and you are sure of a good welcome.
From the gate you can see Carlisle Road Methodist Church. A fine exercise in Perpendicular Gothic with fantastic acoustics dating from 1903.
Marks of Time
Sketches of buildings in the North West and further afield with a little information about their history.