The Tears of a Clown

Now if there's a smile upon my face…

Walking old York’s Walls (3)

Concluding with the third part of the York wall walk, it was time to move on as the skies became ever darker. Regaining the wall I looked over some modest looking flats which lay beyond a short field of chest high grass. In the distance I see two teenagers out of the school for the day approaching, one on the wall and one determinedly fighting his way through the overgrown grass with just his head appearing, for some reason! I must be getting old for I remember well when I used to do this type of thing. Oh, okay then – it still happens occasionally.

View from the walls of the Minster, currently under refurbishment

The Red Tower appears on the horizon. Uniquely for the wall because it’s made of red brick, the stonemasons of the day were pretty tetchy about this fact, so put out in fact that it led to the murder of one of the bricklayers. Industrial relations in 1490?. Much of it now gone but stands in memory to that clash. Afterwards a break now occurs in the wall for a few minutes alongside a busy road.

The wall never did exist in this part of the town. Instead William the Conqueror dammed the River Foss which created a lake known as The King’s Fishpool. Sadly this is now a road. This particular area was largely inhabited by the Jewish community, (named Jewbury) after they were ordered out of the city. Look carefully and a part of a Roman fortress can be spotted too. There’s still a medieval urinal too – always handy when you’re out on a wall walk…

Roman fortress remains

After stopping to study Layerthorpe Bridge, there simply wasn’t the time (or inclination – I’d got a wall to walk!) to view the interior of the excellent Monk Bar which is now a museum. The bar is still very impressive and ornate. In its more practical original usage it was apparently a handy place to drop the odd barrel of boiling oil or a missile here and there on any invaders. Nowadays it’s more a hot latte thankfully.

Layerthorpe Postern

Monk Bar

Ice House from a dwelling near the wall

Proceeding from Monk Bar to Bootham Bar, I considered this the most attractive part of the walk so far. There were many more visitors in this area and rightly so. Attempting to avoid mugging into people’s holiday snaps, I somehow managed to avoid heading over the wall down the banks simultaneously and headed past the Victorian Robin Hood’s Tower. Believe it or not, this trim looking tower is reinforced with recycled tram rails!

Approaching Bootham Bar

Bootham Bar

A walking tour inside Bootham Bar

The walk over almost two miles and 2000 years of history drew lazily to a close. Not before Bootham Bar though which once saw huge Roman Legions marching north to attempt to invade Scotland. Could someone remind me please of what happened next? Aah yes, I remember – Scotland 1 Rome 0. Bring it on.

The walk’s end at Earlsborough Terraceby the River Ouse

In truth it’s difficult to serve justice in words to this fascinating short walk through history. I sincerely hope a few of the images I took along the way might help in that quest. If you find yourself in this part of the world with a couple of hours spare why not take a walk back into time yourself? For the modest effort required I’d certainly recommend it.


July 6, 2008 - Posted by | On The Road, Times Gone By | , , ,


  1. All this is just amazing! Thanks for sharing such wonderful photo’s with us all:).

    Peace to you:)


    Comment by marie | July 6, 2008

  2. Thank you for continuing to visit Marie. I appreciate your comments and only wish I could think of more suitable additions to your own beautiful posts.

    For a short walk and not too much effort I’d recommend the York walls to anyone. They are a fascinating insight into the city’s history and completely free!

    Comment by Stuart | July 7, 2008

  3. It’s good to see York Minster getting some TLC. Hereford Cathedral seems to have a team of masons dedicated to it almost full time.
    A lot of people suggest that the Catholic Church should demand its stolen property back; but I prefer to see the CofE taking good care of what they nicked. It’s an expensive endevour and I think they do it rather well-and I suspect they do it better than we would.

    Comment by Mum6kids | July 7, 2008

  4. An interesting thought.

    I suppose if we asked for everything back they’d stolen that would be one heck of a list!

    Comment by Stuart | July 7, 2008

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