Monument record MYO1715 - York City Walls (Baille Hill to Barker Tower)


Parent record for City Walls between Baille Hill and Barker Tower. This stretch of Wall looks comparatively modern and has certainly been rebuilt many times. Many of the most dramatic changes were due to the coming and expansion of the railway – a pair of arches were made in the Walls north of Tofts Tower to give access to the original York railway station, and its goods facilities, and two road arches were installed at the expense of Tower 18 as part of the development of the new railway station outside the Walls. Within the ramparts, air raid shelters were introduced during the Second World War (the one behind the War Memorial, intended for railway staff, still exists). This is one of the few stretches of wall walk that comes down to pavement level (partly a result of the construction of the approach road of Lendal Bridge (1860-63)). This section terminates with the postern, rebuilt to allow easy access to the railway coal yards outside the Walls. The two railway arches spanning Station Avenue and Station Rise were stabilised in 2004-05 and interpretation panels installed. Conservation Management Plan 2021


Grid reference Centred SE 5997 5154 (641m by 741m)
Map sheet SE55SE
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire
Civil Parish York, City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (32)

Full Description

Includes: Barker Tower and North Street Postern NORTH STREET. Includes: Victoria Bar NUNNERY LANE. Includes: Micklegate Bar MICKLEGATE. Defensive walls, towers, gates and gatehouses between Baile Hill and Barker Tower including Baile Hill Tower, Bitch-daughter Tower and 15 intermediate towers, in addition to the 3 main towers. Walls 1250-60 and 1330-40; major restoration of 1831-32. Walls breached for railway arches in 1839, 1845, 1874 and 1876, latter rebuilt 1965. Baile Hill Tower 1878 when walls adjacent to Skeldergate Bridge (qv) were demolished. Bitch-daughter Tower 1330-40, remodelled 1645. Victoria Bar constructed 1838, foot arches added 1864 and 1877. Micklegate Bar mid C14 incorporating early C12 gate; barbican removed 1826, inner side remodelled by Peter Atkinson jnr. 1827; foot arches 1827 and 1863; figures carved in 1950 by R Ridley; restoration and repairs of 1952 and 1968. North Street Postern rebuilt 1840. Barker Tower early C14, re-roofed in C17, altered 1840, restored 1970. All structures of magnesian limestone ashlar except for walkway partly carried on wall of orange-brown brick and Victoria Bar steps of orange brick with stone treads and cast-iron balustrade and handrail. Barker Tower has plain tiled conical roof with overhanging eaves.
EXTERIOR: wall strengthened by squat weathered buttresses on high bases. Wallwalk paved with stone flags edged with chamfered coping stones; parapet part crenellated, part plain and pierced by musket loops, with sloped coping. Towers are semicircular, rectangular or half-hexagonal, on battered, weathered and double chamfered plinths; some have cruciform slits with or without oillets, some chamfered doorways with shouldered or flat lintels, others no openings; crenellated parapets are unpierced. Baile Hill Tower octagonal on plan; Bitch-daughter Tower irregular circle on plan; Barker Tower circular on plan.
Baile Hill Tower: 2 storeys with embattled parapet. Flight of
steps to wallwalk passes through tower from foot of rampart, through arched doorway with stilted 2-centred head. Other openings are 3 slit lights in chamfered openings and 2 arrow slits with oillets, one blocked.
Victoria Bar: semicircular carriage arch of 2 chamfered orders flanked by single chamfered pedestrian arches. Incised stone above central arch reads: Victoria Bar erected by Public Subscription under the direction of The City Commissioners AD1836 George Hudson Esq Lord Mayor.
Micklegate Bar: 4-storey 3-bay front: outer bays in form of pilaster buttresses with battered bases rising into 2-storey embattled bartizans with cruciform arrow slits. Semicircular carriage arch incorporating portcullis slot, of 2 stepped orders of gritstone voussoirs. First stage has narrow vertical light over arch: in buttresses shoulder-headed doorways originally to barbican walkway, all in chamfered openings. Second stage has similar central light flanked by cruciform arrow slits with oillets. Third floor has two vertical lights. Bartizans joined by embattled parapet over lion's head gargoyle in centre: some merlons pierced by cruciform slits. Heraldry includes carved plaque commemorating restoration of 1727, with shield of arms of Lord Mayor Sir John Lister Kaye; two shields of the Arms of the City of York: the Plantagenet Royal Arms beneath a crested helm. Inner side: carriage arch as on outer side. Each upper storey has two square-headed windows of two pointed lights in chamfered surrounds. Corbel course beneath plain parapet steps up over top floor windows. Shield of Tudor Royal Arms between first floor windows. INTERIOR: portcullis remains are stored on the first floor.
North Street Postern: rebuilt length of wall contains 4-centred carriage arch between pointed side arches of gritstone voussoirs, all chamfered.
Barker Tower: 2 storeys on battered base: conical roof broken by barge- boarded gable with 1-light attic window in quoined opening. Ground floor door beneath outside stairs to first floor has one chamfered jamb with run-out stop. Other openings are vestigial cruciform arrow slits with oillets and two inserted 1-pane windows. First floor doorway has plain lintel. Embrasures of original embattled parapet converted to 1-pane windows by altered roof: two 2x6-pane Yorkshire sashes inserted in C18. INTERIOR: original ground floor openings are splayed with shouldered rere-arches recessed beneath 2-centred arches: 3 survive, 2 altered. (An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York: The Defences: HMSO: 1972-: 90-107).
Listing NGR: SE5968351630

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

City of York Council, 1991, 1991 City Walls Structural Survey (Unpublished document). SYO2265.

YAT, 1996, York City Walls, Chainage 492- 587 (Unpublished document). SYO706.

YAT, 2004, York City Walls Chainage 352-400 (inc Sadler Tower) (Unpublished document). SYO850.

YAT, 2004, York City Walls Chainage 822-906 (Unpublished document). SYO537.

YAT, 2004, York City Walls Chainage 949-1000 Watching Brief (Unpublished document). SYO944.

PLB, 2004, York City Walls Conservation Management Plan (Unpublished document). SYO1733.

PLB, 2004, York City Walls Interpretation and Access (Unpublished document). SYO1734.


Dr Bill Fawcett, John A Ives and Alison Sinclair, 2013, YORK CENTRAL AUDIT OF HERITAGE ASSETS,NOVEMBER 2013 (Report). SYO1457.

York Archaeological Trust, 2017, York Station and Queen St Bridge DBA (Unpublished document). SYO2053.

Donald Insall Associates, 2021, York City Walls Conservation Management Plan (Unpublished document). SYO2629.

Sources/Archives (11)

  • --- Report: Dr Bill Fawcett, John A Ives and Alison Sinclair. 2013. YORK CENTRAL AUDIT OF HERITAGE ASSETS,NOVEMBER 2013.
  • --- Unpublished document: PLB. 2004. York City Walls Conservation Management Plan.
  • --- Unpublished document: PLB. 2004. York City Walls Interpretation and Access.
  • --- Unpublished document: York Archaeological Trust. 2017. York Station and Queen St Bridge DBA.
  • --- Unpublished document: City of York Council. 1991. 1991 City Walls Structural Survey.
  • --- Unpublished document: Donald Insall Associates. 2021. York City Walls Conservation Management Plan.
  • --- Unpublished document: YAT. 2004. York City Walls Chainage 822-906.
  • --- Unpublished document: YAT. 1996. York City Walls, Chainage 492- 587.
  • --- Unpublished document: YAT. 2004. York City Walls Chainage 352-400 (inc Sadler Tower).
  • --- Unpublished document: YAT. 2004. York City Walls Chainage 949-1000 Watching Brief.

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (45)

Related Events/Activities (11)

Record last edited

Apr 7 2021 12:05PM


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