Starting from the Park
Ride bus stop in Piccadily next to the Merchant Adventurers Hall head
North West along Piccadiliy towards
Parliament Street. Just at the entrance to Parliament Street
are the Public Toilets affectionately called the
"Splash Palace" by the locals. Make use of the facilities
before moving on as you will be covering some distance and it
may be a while before you find another one.
The Pavement past the back entrance and goods entrance to Marks
& Spencers. After passing St. Crux church turn left into
Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, Yorks shortest street which quickly
becomes Colliergate. York's most hideous building is on your
right as you turn into Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate. The concrete
eyesore built in the 60s is known as Stonebow. If you pass St
Crux in the morning you may find they are doing a jumble sale and
offering tea/coffee and cakes/biscuits, good value for money in aid of
local causes usually.
Also to your right as you enter
Colliergate you can see the Grecian pillars of the Methodist Chapel in
St. Saviourgate, somehow much more pleasing on the eye than Stonebow.
Colliergate is a fairly plain sort of street
with a couple of estate agents, a charity shop, Post Office, health
food shop , outdoor pursuits shop , Cornish Pasty Shop,. The
oldest looking building is Blackwell and Denton selling and
repairing household appliances. Also of interest on the opposite side
of the road is a hardware shop called Barnitt's. If you lift
your eyes up from the ground level you will see a cat
sculpture climbing up the wall towards an ornate wall clock.
Close by in King's square, watch out for the cat on the roof
of the estate agent. Local architect Tom Adams has them as a signature
to buildings he has worked on. For more on the cats visit "Cats
Barnitt's hardware store has several
entrances along Colliergate where they have bought up other buildings
and merged them into one. In the middle of these several
entrances you can find the York Brewery pub called "The Last Drop Inn".
Barnitt's also bought up the old Territorial Army drill hall
and has another entrance into the gardening section round the corner in
to the right in St. Andrewgate. Walk on down St. Andrewgate
about a 100 yards (metres if you are metricated) to find St. Andrew's
after the church turn to the left into
Bartle Garth and then Bedern where you will find one York's many
"Snickleways" into Goodramgate. Snickleways is a term that was coined
by Mark Jones a former Rowntree Director for his book describing the
many little passageways around the city. As you come out onto
Goodramgate and turn left you will see the interesting timber framed
building used by the National Trust
as a shop.
The nearest National Trust property is the Treasurers House
just around the
corner in Chapter House Street
Around the corner from the National
Trust shop is another York's timber framed buildings, the St.
Williams's College built in 1641 as a college for local priests.
We will pass on along Deangate to Minster Yard and the
Stoneyard. Here the stonework for the Minster is prepared and
carved. The stoneyard stands next to the Minster Songschool.
building now used by the Minster
Song School used to house York College for Girls until the school was
disbanded. Around the corner from the Song School naturally
enough is York Minster one of the must do list for a lot of visitors.
Continue to the northern end of the
Minster and turn right crossing the
paved area to go through the gate into the Dean's Park beside the
follow the path along the east side of the Minster and Chapter House to
the other side of the park and exit through the gate by the Treasurers
House. Alternatively take the path along the edge of the park
that takes you to the Minster Library. This will take you out into the
road that runs past the Treasurers House.
After passing the Treasurers House and
going through the gates turn left into the cobble stoned Chapter House
Street. A few
yards along the road is the ornate entrance to the Treasurers House.
This is a property run by the National trust, complete with a
ghost ( you are nobody in York if you are without a ghost!). At the end
of Chapter House Street the road bends to the right and becomes
Ogleforth is a mix of well kept and
derelict buildings, probably the Dutch House built in the 17th century
is the most interesting building in the street. although there is
another Listed Grade II building in the street, Cromwell House.
Turn left out of Ogleforth and you will see Monk Bar in front
of you. Take the stairs up inside the bar to the walls.
Monkl Bar is used as a small Richard III museum. He was
probably not as bad as Shakespeare paints him!
Just a few yards along the walls you
will be able to see the Bile Beans advert painted on the end of a house
wall. It is in fairly good condition down to the fact that it
was repainted some years ago by the owners of the house.
Outside of the walls is a leafy tree lined road known as Lord
Mayors Walk. Proceed along the walls taking in views of the Minster
with various framings. The view is of the east side of the minster with
the Chapter House roof standing prominent and the Treasurers
House in Front of it.
Towards the northern end of Lord
Walk the walls turn through 90 degrees to the left heading
approximately west. There is a circular tower here known as
Robin Hood Tower currently undergoing restoration and structural
strengthening. Work is expected to be complete by the end of October.
The tower is actually a Victorian rebuild of what they
thought a mediaevil tower should look like nad replaces an earlier
tower that stood on the spot. Various have been ascribed to
the tower through the ages starting with Bawing tower, Frost Tower and
finally Robin Hood Tower in 1622. I have not found any
references as to why it was called Robin Hood Tower yet. but it is a
name that has stuck.
From Robin Hoods Tower the wall passes
along the back of Gillygate shaded by leafy trees. During the
1960s Gillygate was almost the scene of a wanton civic vandalism.
It was planned to knock down most of Gillygate and take down
a large number of trees in Bootham Park Hospital to create a new inner
ring road. A number of properties had been bought up in Gillygate but
several property owners resisted the attempts to coerce them to sell.
It almost went as far as compulsory purchase orders but the council
pulled back at the last minute and are now the owners of a lot of
properties in Gillygate, amongst them several are now listed buildings.
Bootham Bar marks the end of this section of walls.
From the bottom of the steps turn to the right to go under
the Bar into High Petergate. For those needing a comfort
break there are public toilets here.
For those that maybe feel a bit dry
and dusty at this point drop into the "The Hole In The Wall" public
house for some refreshment if it is open. There are other
pubs along High Petergate that might also be of interest as
alternatives there is the York Brewery "Three Legged Mare" named after
a hanging device not that horse that you put your money on, or almost
next to the Minster is "The York Arms" popular with the acting
fraternity. High Petergate crosses Duncombe Place and the
church of St. Michael Le Belfry nestles under the shadow of
Across the road from St. Michael le
Belfrey is the birthplace of Guy Fawkes in what is now called Guy
Fawkes Hotel. He is probably one of the most famous sons of
York. There are some who say he is the only man
ever to enter Parliament with honest intentions. He was
involved in the gunpowder plot to blow up the King and Parliament
during the persecution of Catholics. Guy Fawkes baptismal
record is part of the parish records of the church next door, St.
Miachael le Belfrey. At the next junction turn right into
Stonegate. The name Stonegate derives from stone being brought for
building the Minster from the river by the Guildhall up through
Stonegate. There are many interesting buildings in Stonegate
and in the photograph you can see the Sign that stretches across the
street for Ye Olde Starre Inne. It is actually set back from
the street and you enter through a passageway, see fourth photo along
in the set below. This is a street to lift up your eyes above
ground level for all sorts of interesting building adornments including
the Stonegate Devil!
OK fellas, Stonegate is a shopping
street and your wallet will end up haemorraging badly if your wife or
girlfriend is with you. In particular try not to let get
anywhere near Mulberry Hall, they seem to get the urge to spend, spend
spend in there! Steer them through into Little Stonegate when
you see the figurehead.
Sorry fellas, your wallets are still
not out of the danger zone. Mulberry Hall has another
entrance in Little Stonegate and an eye catching display window.
Hurry on down to Oscars for a drink to calm your trembling
nerves! At the end of the stereet is an entrance into WP
Brown department store but
turn left into Back Swinegate for a revitalised and renovated area of
York that used to be rather derelict.
As you walk along Back Swinegate you
will find a couple of interesting "snickleways" the first is "Nether
Hornpot Lane" leading to St. Sampson's Square and the second is Finkle
Street also leading to St. Sampsons Square. At the end of the
street turn right into Swinegate also part of the renovated area.
There are some intersting places to
eat along this street including the Buzz Bar serving Japanese food and
beer and having Japanese prints by Hiroshige and Housai on the wall.
At the Junction with Church street cross the road into
On reaching the market turn left and
walk along the short cobbled section of Newgate turning right
into the Shambles. The name derives from the Anglo Saxon
"fleshamells" meaning the place where the butchery trade was carried
out. In mediaevil times the place would be literally swimming with
blood and guts. The window sills of some of shops are still
broad and this is where joints of meat were displayed for sale.
Although ther are no butchers in the Shambles nowadays it is
all tourist nik naks and restaurants there is one remaining butcher in
Little Shambles that runs off at right angles into the market.
About half way down the Shambles is
the shrine of St. Margaret Clitherow, a convert to Catholicism after
Henry VIII had dissolved the monastries she held services in here house
and hid priests. She was tried but would not plead. Not
entering a plea was considered a crime in itself and she was sentenced
to death by being laid on a sharp stone, a door placed on her which was
then weighted own with heavy rocks and stones. The
process took about fifteen minutes to cause her death.
She was canonized in 1970. The shrine is said to be
in the house where she lived in the Shambles.
The photgraph on the right shows a scene that many tourists do not see,
it is during the lull in the evening after day trippers have gone home
and the evening ghost walkers have not yet emerged and the Shamble is
Continue to the end of the Shambles and turn right onto Pavement and
then left onto Piccadily to return to the starting point by the
Merchant Adventurers Hall.
Circular Walk 1
Circular Walk 3
Circular Walk 4
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