Tunsgate is one of many such thoroughfares in Guildford, though now unrecognisable from its original form – having been widened to embrace the motor car – and more recently pedestrianised. In old Guildford “gate” meant passage, or alleyway, and this one used to run to the long-since vanished Tuns Inn (originally the Three Tuns Inn) on the High Street. A “tun” is a large beer or wine cask.
Later on we walk down Angel Gate, and if you have the time to seek it out, Milk Gate is worth walking up – just for the sense of how narrow it is.
Tunsgate arch was originally the site of the corn-market – where farmers from the surrounding areas would sell their produce. The corn-market was one of 3 such markets, which have probably been held in Guildford since Saxon times.
Under the arch you’ll find a memorials to Guildford born men Alfred Victor Smith and Francis Grenfell who were both awarded the Victoria Cross after incidents at Gallipoli in 1915 and Belgium 1914 respectively.
In 1979 Guildford and Freiburg signed a formal “promise of lasting friendship … and an undertaking to maintain regular mutual liaison, to exchange our experiences and to support the coming together of our citizens in every sphere”.
Passing under Tunsgate Arch you’re back on the High Street.
Turning around, and looking up at the arch you’ll see Guildford’s coat of arms facing the High Street, with the sword of justice referring to the law court, and a horn of plenty representing the corn-market.
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