When the gate went up in 1620, Lille still belonged to the Spanish Netherlands and it formed part of a new city wall erected more towards the North. The enlargmeent of 1617-1621 meant an additional 75 acres had to be protected and the defensive purpose of the construction can be seen in the crenellated corniche and the channel allowing the drawbridge to be raised and lowered. It was at this gate that an Austrian major prensented himself in 1792, carrying the ultimatum of the Duke of Saxe-Teschen, vainly demanding the city's surrender. The two lateral opening were made in the 19th century so that trams could pass through. On the left of the gate is the "House of Old Men" which dates from 1624.