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Ward of Cripplegate
6px Ward of Cripplegate shown within Greater London
OS grid referenceTQ327811
Sui generis City of London
Administrative area Greater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district EC3
Dialling code 020
Police City of London
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament [[London (European Parliament constituency)#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.London]]
UK ParliamentCities of London and Westminster
London Assembly City and East
List of places
Coordinates: 51°31′08″N 0°05′38″W / 51.519°N 0.094°W / 51.519; -0.094{{#coordinates:51.519 |-0.094

|primary |name= }} Cripplegate was a gate in the London Wall and a name for the region of the City of London outside the gate. The area was almost entirely destroyed in the Blitz of World War II and today it is the site of the Barbican Estate and Barbican Centre. The name is preserved in the church of St Giles-without-Cripplegate, in the Cripplegate ward of the City, and in a small road named Cripplegate Street which lies slightly to the north of the site of the Wall between Viscount Street and Bridgewater Street.[1]

The ward of Cripplegate straddles the (now former) line of the Wall and the old gate and is often (even today)[2] divided into "Within" and "Without" parts, with a beadle and a deputy (alderman) appointed for each part. Since the 1994 (City) and 2003 (ward) boundary changes, most of the ward is Without, with the ward of Bassishaw having expanded considerably into the Within area.


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The name of the gate has uncertain origins. It could be derived from the Anglo-Saxon term crepel, meaning a covered way or underground passage. Supporting this is the gate's mentions in the fourth law code of Æthelred the Unready and a charter of William the Conqueror from 1068: in both these documents the spelling used is 'Crepelgate' ('Saxon London', by Alan Vince, 1990, p43). However it is not certain this is the origin of the name.[4]

Other theories suggest it is so-called because of the cripples who used to beg there; however this is unsubstantiated. Additionally the body of St. Edmund the Martyr was said to have been carried through it in 1010 on its way from Bury St Edmunds to St. Gregory's church to save it from the Danes and Lydgate, a monk of Bury, claimed that the body cured many lame peasants as it passed through the gate.

The name of the nearby medieval church of St Giles-without-Cripplegate lends credence to the "cripple" suggestion, as St Giles is the patron saint of cripples and lepers.[5]

Cripplegate ward

Cripplegate is one of the 25 ancient wards of the City of London, each electing an alderman to the Court of Aldermen and commoners (the City equivalent of a councillor) to the Court of Common Council of the City of London Corporation. Only electors who are Freemen of the City are eligible to stand. In the early 12th century, the area was originally referred to as Alwoldii which was probably the name of the current alderman.[6] The early records are unreliable as regards who the Aldermen were, but from 1286 there is a more reliable list of Aldermen available.[6]

In popular culture

The second wedding in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral takes place in the fictional church of St Mary-in-the-Fields, Cripplegate, EC2[7] It was filmed in the chapel of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.[8]

See also


  1. ^ A-Z London. Geographer's A-Z Map Co Ltd. 2001. p. 162. ISBN 0-85039-753-7. 
  2. ^ Cripplegate Ward News - note use of "Within" and "Without" on page 4
  3. ^ Herbert, William, The History of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of London (London, Wm Herbert, 1836) pp. 80-81 at
  4. ^ Harben, Henry (1918). A Dictionary of London. London. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Caroline Fiona Gordon (1985), The Ward of Cripplegate in the City of London, London: Cripplegate Ward Club 
  7. ^ Sic : Cripplegate is in the EC3 postcode area.
  8. ^ Four Weddings and a Funeral at

External links