Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders


2008/09/10 Walking tour of York: Shambles and City Wall

Posted on September 12, 2009 by daviding

Included in the OR50 program was a selection of social activities.  I chose the walking tour of the City of York.  The core of the city is ringed by walls dating back to Roman times.  I doubt that original wall were constructed sufficiently wide to permit today’s normal automobile traffic.

DI_20080910 105130 York citywall

The bus dropped us off near the Yorkshire Gardens, and we walked towards the town centre, along the inside of the wall.

DI_20080910 105600 York citywall walk westward

We started our walking tour by the lawn by the wall.

DI_20080910 105226 York wall lawn

Just before crossing the Lendal Bridge, we could look down onto the road beside the riverside.

DI_20080910 105252 York LendalBridge lower

The passing centuries inside the city walls have allowed the maturity of urban forestry.

DI_20080910 105900 York citywall view inner

The River Ouse flows through the middle of York.

DI_20080910 105804 York OuseRiver

Our walk continued down Lendal Lane.

DI_20080910 110018 York Lendal

The Guildhall is the official office of the City of York.

DI_20080910 110138 York Guildhall

We stopped by the Mansion House at St. Helen’s Square for an historical briefing.

DI_20080910 110226 York StHelensSquare MansionHouse

St. Helen’s Church is prominent at the square.

DI_20080910 110248 York StHelensChurch

The tour continued from lower Stonegate …

DI_20080910 110548 York Stonegate lower

… and on to upper Stonegate.

DI_20080910 110604 York Stonegate upper

There’s small details on the buildings, such as this red “Printer’s Devil”.

DI_20080910 110954 York Stonegate devil

Almost hidden amongst the buildings are small passageways like this one at Langdon Lane.

DI_20080910 110740 York LangdonLane

The lane opens up into Coffee Yard, and Barley Hall.

DI_20080910 111036 York Coffee Yard

Barley Hall, dating back to the 1360s, houses exhibitions and can be rented for events.  It was closed, but I got a snapshot of the interior through the window.

DI_20080910 111138 York BarleyHall interior

Our tour continued north through the passageway, to another street.

DI_20080910 111234 York Coffee Yard north exit

Public art has been posted at various places in York, including Grape Lane.

DI_20080910 111418 York GrapeLane painting

Our walk continued northbound up Swinegate.

DI_20080910 111454 York Swinegate north

The Central Mission Hall no longer has functions for religious purposes.

DI_20080910 111528 York CentralMissionHall

We continued past another church.

DI_20080910 111620 York ChurchSt

Since we were late in the afternoon, Newgate market was closing down.

DI_20080910 111734 York Newgate market

Just off from the market, we entered The Shambles.

DI_20080910 111752 York LittleShambles

Turning right to head south, the second floors of the buildings on this narrow street overhang ground floor shops that historically would have housed butchers.

DI_20080910 111812 York Shambles view south

There are still a few traditional food stores, but the area now seems to cater to tourists.

DI_20080910 112108 York Shambles view south

After peeking in a few stores, we turned back north.

DI_20080910 111918 York Shambles view north

A few stores, like this high-end jewellery retailer, have been significantly renovated in the Shambles.

DI_20080910 111900 York Shambles view north

Around the corner was King’s Square.  At our feet were some tombs that have not been well-maintained.

DI_20080910 112234 York KingsSquare tomb

On the roof is one of the cat statuettes that homeowners in York have commissioned.

DI_20080910 112222 York KingsSquare rooftop cat

From King’s Square, we continued up Goodramgate.

DI_20080910 112450 York Goodramgate

The tour included a visit to the Holy Trinity Church on Goodramgate.

DI_20080910 112540 York HolyTrinityGoodramgateChurch gate

Beyond the narrow entry gate is a walled courtyard.  Holy Trinity Church dates back to the 12th century.

DI_20080910 112600 York HolyTrinityGoodramgateChurch

In the 17th and 18th century, the pews were partitioned into small compartments that families would share on days of worship.  Slipping in or out of a sermon would be unlikely, with latches on the doors.

DI_20080910 112818 York HolyTrinityGoodramgateChurch pews

The wealthy might get compartments a little farther from the pulpit, but the poor would sit close under the view of the minister.

DI_20080910 112950 York HolyTrinityGoodramgateChurch pulpit

Farther back in the church is the altar, under a stained glass window.  There were some descriptions about the history and renovations planned for the church, displayed on easels.

DI_20080910 113554 York HolyTrinityGoodramgateChurch altar

Coming out of the shopping district, one of the lanes leads to York Minster.

DI_20080910 114228 York Minster Gates

York Minster is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, and nearly impossible to photograph with the widest of lenses.  Here’s the view west that includes the tower.

DI_20080910 114302 York Minster west

Outside the Minster is a bronze of Constantine I, who ruled Britannia under the Roman Empire from York in the first century.

DI_20080910 114352 York Constantine bronze

As we walked around the east end of the Minster, we found stonework in preparation for installation in the renovation.

DI_20080910 114740 York Minster construction

Some of the more complicated pieces had been deconstructed and numbered for later reassembly.

DI_20080910 114812 York Minister deconstruction

We continued on Goodramgate towads Monk Bar.   A “bar” is a gatehouse.

DI_20080910 115100 York Goodramgate MonkBar

The gate reveals the thickness of the walls.

DI_20080910 115206 York MonkBar gate

Just beside the wall is an entry to access the walks on the top of the walls.

DI_20080910 115234 York MonkBar wall entrance

The stairs aren’t intended for two-way traffic.

DI_20080910 115326 York MonkBar stairs up

We started the walk from Monk Bar, towards the northwest.

DI_20080910 115348 York citywall MonkBar nw

The height of the walls was taller than me.  With the thick walls, I couldn’t see very well even at the ports.

DI_20080910 115404 York citywall Monkbar port

As we continued walking northwest, the city buildings cleared to parkland.

DI_20080910 115432 York citywall port

Set into the stone is a marker of the “Gateway to Roman Fortress”.

DI_20080910 115504 York citywall marker

We might have assumed that restoration of the wall happened in the 20th century, but this plaque was set in 1898, after almost a decade of work.

DI_20080910 115550 York citywall restoration plaque

Looking south from the wall, beyond some houses, the towers of the Minster arise.

DI_20080910 115610 York citywall view Minster

At a slight jog of the wall, I could see the ditch on the north side, covered by a well-kept lawn.

DI_20080910 115730 York citywall ditch

Most of the walk is flat.  We climbed a few steps at the northwest corner of the wall.

DI_20080910 115708 York citywall stairs

The sentry post was up a few more steps.

DI_20080910 115842 York citywall sentry post

From this high point, the wall turned southwest.

DI_20080910 115936 York citywall sw

On this segment, the grassy ditch was inside the wall, with trees on the outside.

DI_20080910 115912 York citywall ditch

This took us around to a slightly different view of the Minster.

DI_20080910 120108 York citywall view Minster

At Bootham Bar, we ended our wall walk, taking the stairs down.

DI_20080910 120356 York BoothamBar stairs down

The landing on the Bootham Bar stairs gives a good view of the King’s Manor, now used by the University of York.

DI_20080910 120420 York BoothamBar view KingsManor

There’s a lot of traffic outside the wall at Bootham Bar.

DI_20080910 120430 York BoothamBar stairs down

Our tour group paused for a few moments for everyone to catch up.

DI_20080910 120612 York BoothamBar landing

King’s Manor dates back to the 16th century.

DI_20080910 120730 York Bootham KingsManor

St Mary’s House, constructed in the early 20th century, provides spiritual services not only university students, but also the community at large.

DI_20080910 120954 York StMarysHouse citywall

We walked south on Marygate, outside the city wall.

DI_20080910 121102 York Marygate

Marygate leads to the Yorkshire Museum and Gardens.

DI_20080910 121246 York Marygate wall

I continued past the path to a small entry through the wall near the abbey.

DI_20080910 121300 York Marygate wall

At the gardens, the Multangular Tower is one of the best preserved parts of the wall.

DI_20080910 121320 York MultangularTower

St. Mary’s Abbey dates back to the 11th century, and has been in ruins since the 16th century with Henry VIII.

DI_20080910 121350 York StMarysAbbey ruins

We finished the tour near the place where we had started.  We didn’t have time to explore the museum or gardens any more.

DI_20080910 121528 York citywall MuseumGardens

We finished the tour crossing back over the River Ouse.

DI_20080910 121656 York OuseRiver

When I was in high school, British history was a major focus for Grade 9.  In York, history lives on into the 21st century.

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