Sunday, September 21, 2014

Question from Peter - City Bars and Gates

Dear Tudor Q&As

Query re City Bars & Gates.

I have a reference to a house that was the last before the city Bar (also written as Barre sometimes). The implication is that the Bar marked the limit of the city boundary. But what exactly was the Bar. Was it an actual structure or a notional boundary?

Could you confirm that the word "Gate" meant road or street as well as gate as we understand it today?

Very many thanks for your help.


Marilyn Roberts said...

Peter, a map of the city of York will answer your questions.
As you rightly say, ‘bar’ means an entry through the city wall, whereas ‘gate’ means a street, the most interestingly named street in York is probably Whipmawhopmagate (whip-ma-whop-ma-gate), York’s shortest street, which lies between Colliergate and Fossgate. Others that come to mind are Walmgate and Skeldergate.

Both ‘gate’ and ‘bar’ used in these contexts remind us of the Viking rule in the north of England.

The Richard III Museum is located in the four storey gatehouse of the city walls called Monk Bar and the Henry VII Museum in Mickelgate Bar. The severed heads of Henry Percy (‘Harry Hotspur’) 1403, and Richard III’s father and brother in 1461 were among those displayed on spikes on the four storey Micklegate Bar.

The other main entrances to the city, which would be closed at curfew, are Bootham Bar and Walmgate Bar; all still exist, as do the city walls, and are in very good condition.

Unknown said...

Many thanks Marilyn for your fulsome explanation.