York City Wall

Has been described as a Certain Chain Tower, and also as a Certain Urban Defence

There are major building remains

NameYork City Wall
Alternative NamesBootham Bar; Micklegate Bar; Walmgate Bar; Fishergate Bar; Monk Bar; Castlegate Postern; Fishergate Postern; Layerthorpe Postern; Skeldergate Postern
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityYork
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishYork

Substantial remains of medieval wall and gates. Some parts of the wall reuse Roman wall. Possible new defences earthwork built by Danes in C9. William I dammed the Foss and added water defences to castle and city, and may have strengthened Danish earthworks. Stone walls and gates added from late C11-early C12 and continual additions, improvement and repairs made for the next 400 years. Still provided major defence in Civil War. Regular Murage granted from 1251 until 1449 when granted 'for ever'. An iron chain continued the defences across the river Ouse.

These walls and ditches, together with the castle, the Fishpond of the Foss, and the two rivers made a defensive ring that completely surrounded the city. The restored wall today lies along the whole of that circuit except in three short stretches: a few yards along the front of Museum Gardens, which was ruinous in the late 16th century and upon which houses were probably then built; 125 yards of the wall south-west of Bootham Bar, which were destroyed in 1832 when St. Leonard's Place was made; and between the Old Baile and the river, of which the part between Skeldergate Postern and the river was cleared away with the postern in 1808 and the remainder in 1878. The stretch between Fishergate Postern and the present bank of the Foss was filled by the river until it was canalized in 1793. The walls have been frequently repaired, the repairs often amounting to rebuilding. Throughout the 4,840 yards of its length, for example, were interval towers of varying construction and size; Leland saw them and made a note of their number but it is not the same as that now to be found on the restored walls. (VCH)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSE599522
Latitude53.9602394104004
Longitude-1.08718001842499
Eastings459900
Northings452200
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved

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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 150-6
  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 46-7
  • Hall, Richard, 2010, 'The defences of York' in Lübecker Kolloquium zur Stadtarchäologie im Hanseraum VII: Die Befestigungen (Lübeck: Verlag Schmidt-Römhild) p. 71-86
  • Dean Gareth, 2008, Medieval York (The History Press)
  • Wilson, B. and Mee, F., 2005, The city walls and castles of York: the pictorial evidence (York: York Archaeological Trust - The archaeology of York supplementary series; 1/3)
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) passim
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 116-9
  • Ingham, Bernard, 2001, Bernard Ingham's Yorkshire Castles (Dalesman) p. 126-9
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 282-5
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus and David Neave, 1995, Buildings of England: Yorkshire: York and the East Riding (London) p. 192-4
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 535
  • Waterman, R.D., 1980, The Bars and Walls of York: a Survey. An Assessment of their Condition and State of Repair (City Engineer's Department)
  • Harvey, J., 1975, York (London: Batsford)
  • Barley, M.W., 1975, 'Town Defences in England and Wales after 1066' in Barley (ed) The plans and topography of medieval towns in England and Wales (CBA Research Report 14) p. 57-71 plan p. 67 download/view online
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 352
  • RCHME, 1972, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York Vol. 2: The Defences (London, HMSO) p. 7-55, 90-175
  • Turner, H.L., 1971, Town Defences in England and Wales (London) p. 110-15
  • Tillott, P.M. (ed), 1961, VCH Yorkshire: City of York p. 510-4 online transcription
  • Raine, A., 1955, Mediaeval York (London: John Murray) p. viii-xi, 1-29
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co) p. 232-3
  • Allcroft, A. Hadrian, 1908, Earthwork of England (London) p. 415 online copy
  • Cooper, T.P., 1904, York, the Story of its Walls and Castles (London)
  • Clark, G.T., 1884, Mediaeval Military Architecture in England (Wyman and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 534-48 online copy
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 3 (London) p. 168-9 online copy
  • Britton, John, 1835, The Architectural Antiquities of Great Britain (London) Vol. 4 p. 102-3
  • Lockwood and Cates, 1834, History and Antiquites of the Fortifications of the City of York (London)
  • Allen, T, 1828, A New and Complete History of the County of York Vol. 2 Ch3 p. 34-48 online copy
  • King, Edward, 1782, Observations on Antient Castles (London) p. 82-5

Antiquarian

  • Speed, John, 1611-12, The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain online copy
  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 539-40, 542
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 54 online copy

Journals

  • Burton, Peter, 2010-11, 'Original castle gates and doors – A Survey' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 24 p. 246-59 online copy
  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • Kemp, R., 1985, 'The hole in the wall' Interim: Archaeology in York Vol. 20.2 p. 15–17
  • Curr, G.G., 1984, 'Who saved York walls? The roles of William Etty and the Corporation of York' York Historian Vol. 5 p. 25–38
  • Pearson, N., 1982, 'City walls tower 11' Interim: Archaeology in York Vol. 8.3 p. 16–20
  • Kenyon, J.R., 1981 'Early Artillery Fortifications in England and Wales: a Preliminary Survey and Re-appraisal' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 138 p. 213-4
  • Kenyon, J.R., 1977, 'Early Gunports' Fort Vol. 4 p. 85
  • (Davison), 1972, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 16 p. 191-2 download copy
  • Radley, J., 1972, 'Excavations in the defences of the City of York: an early medieval stone tower and the successive earth ramparts' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 44 p. 38-64
  • Miller, 1934, The Archaeological Journal Vol. 91 p. 380-3 online copy
  • Raine, 1926, Yorks. Phil. Socy p. 14-16 (on Multiangular Tower)
  • Eaton, 1905, The Builder Vol. 89 p. 207 (on the Red Tower)
  • 1889, The Antiquary Vol. 20 p. 214-16 (on restoration)
  • Clark, G.T., 1875-6, The defences of York' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 4 p. 2-42 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1874, 'The defences of York' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 31 p. 221-61 (Reprinted in 1887, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 6 p. 1-42 and MMA) online copy
  • King, Edward, 1782, 'Sequel to the observations on Ancient Castles' Archaeologia Vol. 6 p. 258-61 (reprinted Antient Castles)

Guide Books

  • Ward, W.R., 1976 (2 edn), The Walls of York: A Guided Tour (Dalesman)

Primary Sources

  • Stenton, D.M. (ed.), 1930, The Chancellor’s Roll for the eighth year of the reign of King Richard the First, Michaelmas 1196 (Pipe Roll 42) (Pipe Roll Society Publications 45)
  • Ferrar, Wm. (ed), 1914, Early Yorkshire Charters Vol. 1 p. 215-6, 240, 250 online copy
  • Hardy, T.D. (ed), 1833, Rotuli litterarum clausarum in turri Londinensi asservati (Record Commission) Vol. 1 p. 195b (grant of timber)
  • Hardy, T.D. (ed), 1833, Rotuli litterarum clausarum in turri Londinensi asservati (Record Commission) Vol. 1 p. 456b (pardon of £100 towards walls)
  • Hardy, T.D. (ed), 1844, Rotuli litterarum clausarum in turri Londinensi asservati (Record Commission) Vol. 2 p. 34b (grant of money) online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1891-1916, Calendar of Patent Rolls (1225-1232) p. 32-3; p. 55; (1247-1258) p. 88; p. 400; (1258-1266) p. 13; p. 261; (1266-1272) p. 58; (1281-1291) p. 119; p. 435; (1292-1301) p. 481; (1307-1313) p. 73; (1317-1321) p. 395; (1334-1338) p. 36; (1340-1343) p. 255; (1348-1350) p. 34; (1350-1354) p. 466; (1358-1361) p. 360; (1361-1364) p. 389; (1364-1367) p. 241; (1367-1370) p. 269; (1377-1381) p. 36; (1381-1385) p. 116; (1385-1389) p. 235; (1389-1392) p. 497; (1396-1399) p. 37; (1399-1401) p. 224; (1401-1405) p. 333; (1405-1408) p. 166; p. 431; (1408-1413) p. 184; (1413-1416) p. 154; (1416-1422) p. 134; p. 179; p. 262; (1422-1429) p. 425; (1429-1436) p. 70; (1436-1441) p. 19; (1441-1446) p. 69; (1446-1452) p. 221-2 (murage grants) online copies via University of Iowa LibrariesMaxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1895, Calendar of Close Rolls Edward II (1318-1323) Vol. 3 p. 350 (levy of tallage) [view online copy (requires subscription but searchable) > http://www.british-history.ac.uk/source.aspx?pubid=1080] [alternative online copy > http://archive.org//details/cu31924091068985]
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1901, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III (1476-85) p. 409 (remission of fee farm) online copy
  • - < >Also see the Gatehouse murage pages for full details of murage [grants > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/murindex.html], [petitions > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/mupindex.html ] and [other such > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/muaindex.html]. < >