The Priory of St Bartholomew was suppressed in 1539, and the hospital would, no doubt, have followed suit. The City fathers petitioned Henry, asking that he grant the hospital back to the City. On 27th December 1546, he finally granted the "Hospital formally known as St Bartholomew's" to the City of London.

Henry VIII had done right by the hospital, so the hospital felt duty bound to do right by Henry, albeit it took them almost two hundred years to show their appreciation.

In 1701, the hospital's governors decided that the north gate should be rebuilt and, in 1702, they agreed to pay John Strong, Junior Mason - and a member of the Strong family of Masons who, at the time, were labouring away at rebuilding nearby St Paul's Cathedral with Sir Christopher Wren - the princely sum of £550 to erect for them a splendid new gatehouse.

And, over the arch, they placed a statue of Henry VIII the despotic King who, for all his faults, was responsible for ensuring that the hospital survived his break with Rome and could continue to administer to the sick of London. The so-named Henry VIII entrance to the hospital continues to be the main public entrance; and the statue of King Henry VIII above the gate is the only remaining statue of him in London.

More Info: