This gate, which was situated 1265 feet south west of
Cripplegate, was according to the opinion of Stow,
one of the original gates of the city.
Maitland observed that its antiquity is by no means implied in the meaning of the word Alder, which derive from Aldrich, a Saxon; others from seniors or old men by whom the gate was built, or from the great number of Alder trees which formerly grew in that neighbourhood. He thought that either of these derivations is more probable than that which was conferred upon it on account of its age.
In ancient times this gate was enlarged on several occasions, with additional building. John Day, an eminent printer during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Lived in this gate and built considerably on the wall of the City towards the parish church of St. Anne.
The general condition of Aldersgate had deteriorated so badly that the Lord Mayor, Alderman and Common Council ordered it to be demolished in 1616 and rebuilt that year, Mr William Parker, a Merchant Taylor having bequeathed £1000 towards the expense of the new edifice.
In a large square over the arch of the gate was the figure of King James I on a horseback, in the same posture as when he made his entry through the gate, on his journey into the City to take possession of the Crown. Above his head were quartered the arms of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Aldersgate was damaged during the great fire in 1666; but was repaired and beatified, at the expense of the City in the year 1670, during the mayoralty of Sir Samuel Stirling.
The apartments over the gate were appropriated to the use of the Common Crier of the City; and by the sides of the gate were two posterns for the convenience of foot passengers.