Monument record MYO1080 - ST MARYS ABBEY REMAINS PRECINCT WALLS

Summary

Remains of defensive precinct wall of St Mary's Abbey surviving on the north-west and north-east sides of the abbey precinct. It is approximately 150 metres long from Queen Margaret's Arch and Postern Tower to St Mary's Tower, including two intermediate towers. The defensive wall is approximately 400 metres long from St Mary's Tower to the Water Tower on Marygate Landing, with three intermediate towers. The walls were erected in 1266, then raised, crenellated and extended in 1318. St Mary's Tower and Water Tower were erected in 1324. Queen Margaret's Arch and Postern Tower were erected in 1497 and Postern Tower was raised and altered in the 17th century. St Mary's Tower was repaired in 1644 following Civil War damage. Pedestrian arches were entered beside Queen Margaret's Arch and the Water Tower circa 1836.

Location

Grid reference Centred SE 5992 5219 (344m by 302m)
Map sheet SE55SE
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire
Civil Parish York, City of York, North Yorkshire

Map

Type and Period (17)

Full Description

Includes: St Mary's Tower MARYGATE. Defensive wall approximately 150 metres long from Queen Margaret's Arch and Postern Tower to St Mary's Tower, including 2 intermediate towers; defensive wall approximately 400 metres long from St Mary's Tower to the Water Tower on Marygate Landing, and 3 intermediate towers. Walls 1266, raised, crenellated and extended 1318; St Mary's Tower and Water Tower 1324, St Mary's Tower repaired 1644 following Civil War damage; Queen Margaret's Arch and Postern Tower 1497, Postern Tower raised and altered in C17. Pedestrian arches beside Queen Margaret's Arch and the Water Tower inserted c1836. MATERIALS: walls and towers of magnesian limestone except Postern Tower which is red brick faced with ashlar; Postern and St Mary's Towers have tiled roofs, respectively hipped and conical. EXTERIOR: walls with crenellations vary from approximately 2 to 5 metres in height and have irregularly spaced dwarf buttresses with offsets and steeply sloped copings. Some merlons are pierced with cruciform arrow slits; others retain grooves to house wooden shutters protecting embrasures, three of which are fitted with replicas. Queen Margaret's Arch: stub wall attached to Postern Tower contains segmental arch, chamfered and with defaced coved hoodmould on outer side; inner side rebated for gates and flanked by buttresses with offsets. Bronze plaque of 1899 incorrectly records date of arch as 1503. Inserted arch adjacent has shouldered head.
Postern Tower (sometimes known as Bootham Tower): 2 storeys and attic, on moulded plinth. Vertical panelled door in 4-centred arch in moulded surround with flat hoodmould and sunk spandrels: similar doorway to left side now blocked by 2-light window. Upper floor windows are inserted in splayed openings except for single segment-headed light in moulded surround over door. In right side, C19 ground floor window is of 3 diamond latticed lights with board shutters on ornate C-hinges. INTERIOR: brick newel staircase in thickness of wall. Openings have 4-centred arches of chamfered brick. St Mary's Tower: 2 stages, an irregular circle on plan, originally with chamfered plinth. Doorway to Bootham has board door in moulded surround with restored 4-centred arch with keyblock. To right is 2-light window with trefoiled heads in chamfered square-headed surround. Upper stage has three re-used 2-light windows with ovolo-moulded mullions and transoms and moulded sills, and one cruciform arrow slit with oillets. Inner side has wide chamfered doorway with 2-centred head and C20 board door. Two upper stage doorways led to wallwalk on each side, both in chamfered surrounds, one with corbelled head, one with flat lintel. Water Tower (sometimes known as Marygate Landing Tower): originally 2 stages, now sunk in sloping ground to wallwalk level. Exterior is circular on plan, interior hexagonal, with single opening to each inner face: chamfered doorway to wallwalk has shouldered head, four cruciform slits have oillets to the arms, one vertical slit at wallhead has chamfered opening. INTERIOR: openings are splayed and have shouldered lintels. Adjacent pedestrian gateway is 4-centred double chamfered arch. Scheduled Ancient Monument. (An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York: RCHME: The Defences: HMSO: 1972-: 160-173; An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York: RCHME: Outside the City Walls East of the Ouse: HMSO London: 1975-: 14-22).
Listing NGR: SE5979952130

Derived from English Heritage LB download dated: 22/08/2005

NMR Information:
Sources
1 An inventory of the historical monuments in the City of York. Volume II: the defences 13 Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, England
2 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest City of York, 14-Mar-1997


Tower A (river end of Marygate next to Water Tower) - Semi-circular interval tower 120' north of Water Tower forming part of the prcinct wall of St Mary's Abbey. Probably built 1266-1318, it is 10 feet in diameter externally and projecting 5 feet. The masonry is largely original.

Tower B (between Tower A and St Olave's Church on Marygate)- Interval tower, part of the precinct wall of St Mary's Abbey, 215 feet north of Tower A. It is a 19th century replacement of a tower in an identical position which is shown on Archer's Map of York of 1682, but is not shown on subsequent maps and must have been demolished circa 1700. It is almost identical to Tower A being 10 feet in diameter and projecting 5 feet from the wall, and if a direct copy of the original indicates that the original tower was of circa 1266-1318.

Tower C (opposite entry to Galmanhoe Mews on Marygate) - A rectangular interval tower open to the rear, part of St Mary's Abbey precinct wall. The four arrow slits are of a type elsewhere identified with the walling of 1318. Restored 1952.

Tower D (also known as fire damaged tower located on Bootham in between St Mary's Tower and Art Gallery) - Interval tower on the north-east part of St Mary's Abbey precinct wall. Half-round to the front facing Bootham and semi-odtagonal inside, pen to the rear with two short projecting stub walls. Two-storeyed with an open crenellated parapet walk. probably 1266-1318.

Tower E- (on Bootham next to Art Gallery) Interval tower on the north-east part of St Mary's Abbey precinct wall. Half-round to the front facing Bootham and semi-odtagonal inside, pen to the rear with two short projecting stub walls. Two-storeyed with an open crenellated parapet walk. probably 1266-1318. On one merlon, a very eroded pinnacle survives, an unusual feature also occurring at Conway Castle, built 1283-9.

Postern/Bootham Tower (Exhibition Square) - Interval tower built in 1497 together with the adjoining archway, (The Postern, SE 65 SW 633), and part of the north-east precinct wall of St. Mary's Abbey. Originally two-storeyed, it was converted to three storeys in the 17th century by insertion of a floor in the upper part.


NMR, NMR data (Unassigned). SYO2214.

RCHME, 1972, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York, Volume II The Defences (Monograph). SYO63.

Bertram Hyde Ltd, 2005, St. Mary's Precinct Conservation Management Plan (Unpublished document). SYO1736.

Sources/Archives (3)

  • --- Unpublished document: Bertram Hyde Ltd. 2005. St. Mary's Precinct Conservation Management Plan.
  • --- Unassigned: NMR. NMR data.
  • --- Monograph: RCHME. 1972. An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York, Volume II The Defences.

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (5)

Related Events/Activities (7)

Record last edited

Feb 5 2021 3:40PM

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