Online Encyclopedia

HIGHGATE

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 455 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HIGHGATE, a northern district of London, England, partly in the metropolitan borough of St Pancras, but extending into Middlesex. It is a high-lying district, the greatest elevation being 426 ft. The Great North Road passes through Highgate, which is supposed to have received its name from the toll-gate erected by the bishop of London when the road was formed through his demesne in the 14th century. It is possible, however, that " gate " is used here in its old signification, and that the name means simply high road. The road rose so steeply here that in 1812 an effort was made to lessen the slope for coaches by means of an archway, and a new way was completed in 1900. In the time of stage-coaches a custom was introduced of making ignorant persons believe that they required to be sworn and admitted to the freedom of the Highgate before being allowed to pass the gate, the fine of admission being a bottle of wine. Not a few famous names occur among the former residents of Highgate. Bacon died here in 1626; Coleridge and Andrew Marvell, the poets, were residents. Cromwell House, now a convalescent home, was presented by Oliver Cromwell to his eldest daughter Bridget on her marriage with Henry Ireton (January 15, 1646/7). Lauderdale House, now attached to the public grounds of Wateriow Park, belonged to the Duke of Lauderdale, one of the " Cabal " of Charles II. Among various institutions may be mentioned Whittington's almshouses, near Whittington Stone, at the foot of Highgate Hill, on which the future mayor of London is reputed to have been resting when he heard the peal of Bow bells and " turned again." Highgate grammar school was founded (1562—1565) by Sir Roger Cholmley, chief-justice. St Joseph's Retreat is the mother-house of the Passionist Fathers in England. There is an extensive and beautiful cemetery on the slope below the church of St Michael.
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