The Great Gate

The Front Gate was completed in 1516.

The carving is of the coat of arms of the Foundress, Lady Margaret Beaufort. The curious beasts on either side are yales, mythical animals having elephants' tails, antelopes' bodies and goats' heads, with horns which can supposedly swivel from back to front!

Above is a statue of St. John the Evangelist: at his feet is an eagle, the traditional symbol of the Saint. He holds a poisoned chalice, with a snake representing the legend that he charmed the poison out in the form of a serpent and then drank safely.

The tower was built by William Swayne, the master mason who was also employed at King's College Chapel; here he produced a fine fan vault on a much smaller scale. The heavy wooden gates date from 1665, and have traditional linen-fold panels.