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York Cathedral Precinct

In the civil parish of York.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of York.
1974 county of North Yorkshire.
Medieval County of Yorkshire Ainsty & York.

OS Map Grid Reference: SE602522
Latitude 53.96187° Longitude -1.07969°

York Cathedral Precinct has been described as a probable Fortified Ecclesiastical site.

There are no visible remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

May 18. 1285. Westminster. 13 Edward I. - Licence for the dean and chapter of St. Peter's, York, to enclose the churchyard and precinct of their church with a stone wall 12 feet high all round, for the better security of the canons and for the prevention of nocturnal incursions of thieves in the streets and lanes in the said precinct, and of night wanderers committing homicides, fornications and other evil there; the said wall to be provided with competent gates and posterns, which are to be left open from dawn to night. (CPR p. 164)

The Cathedral of York, with its precincts, was enclosed by a wall about three quarters of a mile in length. There were in it four gates, one at Petergate facing Little Blake Street; another opening into Petergate opposite Stonegate; a third at the end of College Street opposite the Bedern; and a fourth at Uggleforth (Fairbank referencing 'Allen')

In 1285 the chapter was licensed to enclose its churchyard and precinct with a stone wall 12 ft. high and the wall was to be provided with gates or posterns. In Drake's time the gates to the precinct were four in number: the principal one at the present Minster Gates, the others at the end of Lop Lane (now Duncombe Place), opposite the entrance to the Bedern, and 'in Ogleforth'. A boundary which would have reached these gates and at the same time included the Old Deanery could have followed the boundary of St. John-del-Pyke parish as mapped by the Ordnance surveyors in 1852 and it is perhaps not too much to assume that such a boundary discloses the ancient precinct. The gates themselves have left little or no trace though they were all standing in Drake's time. The remains of that at the end of Lop Lane seem to have been removed about 1827, but Peter Prison, which lay just inside them, was not demolished until 1835. The approach to this gate was widened by demolishing some houses on the south side of Petergate in 1860 to form the present Duncombe Place. The rest of the gates had all but disappeared by 1818. The site of that at the end of College Street (formerly Vicars Lane or Little Alice Lane) is marked by a brick and timber structure which probably embraces parts of the earlier gatehouse and the solar to which the Bedern gallery ran. The fourth gate probably lay at the junction of Ogleforth and Chapter House Street close to the church of St. John-del-Pyke. East of this and outside the precinct, between the city wall and Goodramgate, lay Pyke parish. (VCH)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1285 May 18 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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