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York Watergate marks the position of the north bank of the River Thames before the construction of the Victoria Embankment in 1862. It was built in 1626 by Nicholas Stone, master mason, for George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, to serve as the watergate to York House which the Duke had acquired from the Archbishop of York in 1624. The arms on the river front and the motto "Fidei cotucula crux" (the cross is the touchstone of faith) on the land side, are those of the Villiers family. York House was demolished in 1675 and streets were laid out on the site. In 1893 the gate having fallen into decay, the London County Council obtained parliamentary powers to acquire and preserve it as an object of public interest.