One of the surviving jewels of Roman Britain, Newport Arch is the oldest arch in the UK still actively used by traffic.
The arch is the inner face of the north gate of the Upper Roman City of Lindum Colonia in its 3rd-century form (with medieval additions and modifications to the north). Part of the connecting wall survives in the nearby Newport Cottage.
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Newport Arch was the north gate to the Roman city.
The gate was originally built of wood and was later rebuilt in stone. As the north gate of the city, it carried the major Roman road Ermine Street northward in an almost straight line to the Humber.
What you can see today are the rear arches. If you look on the ground the outline of part of the rest of the gate is marked out.
The gate had a single carriageway flanked by two pedestrian arches with two semi-circular towers. The base of one of these towers can still be seen to one side of the gate by walking through the arch and looking though the iron railings on your left. This shows that the modern street level is now around 3m higher than the original Roman ground level. You can still see traces of the masons’ tool marks on some of the large stones.
Newport Arch is the oldest arch in the country to still have traffic and pedestrians moving through it.
As William Marshal cleared the baricade from Westgate to attack the French at Castle Hill, he ordered Ranulf of Chester to commit a diversionary attack on the old Roman north gate, known today as Newport Arch.
As the fighting ensued in front of Lincoln Castle, finally Ranulf of Chester broke through the North Gate and stormed up the Bailgate to reinforce William’s knights.
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