Monument record MYO4234 - YORK CITY WALLS (BARKER TOWER/NORTH ST POSTERN TOWER)

Summary

Barker Tower, now the North Street Postern Tower, built in the early 14th century, re-roofed in 17th century, altered in 1840, restored in 1970. It was used as a boom tower. Used as a mortuary from 1879, but restored in 1930. Now used as a cafe. Two storeys on battered base: conical roof broken by barge- boarded gable with 1-light attic window in quoined opening.

Location

Grid reference SE 5995 5191 (point)
Map sheet SE55SE
Civil Parish York, City of York, North Yorkshire

Map

Type and Period (6)

Full Description

North Street Postern Tower or Barker Tower is of the 14th century, possibly after 1315, since no tower is mentioned in the Custody of that date. It is circular with a conical tiled roof. The tower is first mentioned in 1376 as 'the tower on the water of Ouse behind the tannery', and in 1380, 1403, and c. 1420 as Barkertowre. Here one end of the chain blocking the river was secured. It was usually let to the ferryman operating the ferry across the Ouse to St. Leonard's Landing (discontinued after the opening of Lendal Bridge in January 1863), as in 1546 to Jennet Collynwood. In the earliest known views it appears much as at present, but by 1806 a brick house had been added to the S.; the latter was removed in 1840. The tower was used as a mortuary from 1879, was restored in 1930, and until further restoration in 1970 served as a store for the Parks Department

The tower is well designed and built of good ashlar, though with an irregular join in the N.E. face where lengths of walling meet. The ground floor, above a solid and slightly battered base, has walls 3½ ft. to 4¾ ft. thick and is entered by a doorway on the S. with a shoulder-headed arch. There are five recesses, each with splayed sides and an arched head, a shoulder-headed arch inside the recess, and a splayed opening to the outer wall. The windows have all been more or less altered but were possibly originally rectangular with flat lintels and with cross arms and long slits below. At the S. side of the room, which is paved with stone slabs and bricks, are remains of a wooden staircase and a brick chimney, both probably 18th-century. Three small store rooms have been contrived under the external stone steps of 1840 which lead to the upper floor. This last was originally an open flat roof since the moulded parapet and merlons and stone spouts to drain the roof still exist, although four windows have been formed in the embrasures and two larger windows have been cut through the parapet wall. The room, formerly divided by a boarded partition, has a brick fireplace in the S. wall. The floor is of bricks and stone slabs on joists. The beams of the conical roof, much repaired, were hidden by a ceiling removed, with the partition, in 1970. A stone chimney with an embattled top emerging through the roof on the S. was built after 1863, replacing a brick chimney.
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/york/vol2/pp90-107


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).

NMR:

Barker Tower, now the North Street Postern Tower, built in the early 14th century, re-roofed in 17th century, altered in 1840, restored in 1970. It was used as a boom tower. Used as a mortuary from 1879, but restored in 1930. Now used as a shop. Two storeys on battered base: conical roof broken by barge- boarded gable with 1-light attic window in quoined opening.
The York Town Walls are Listed. (Legacy Listed Building Number 463065). For the designated record please see The National Heritage List for England. (1-3)

The York Town Walls are scheduled. For the designated record please see The National Heritage List for England. (4-5)

1 An inventory of the historical monuments in the City of York. Volume II: the defences 106-7 Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, England
2 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest City of York, 14-Mar-1997
3 World Wide Web page English Heritage. 2011. The National Heritage List for England, <http://list.english-heritage.org.uk/resultsingle.aspx?uid=1259262> [Accessed 14-Oct-2011]
4 Scheduled Monument Notification unknown
5 World Wide Web page English Heritage. 2011. The National Heritage List for England, <http://list.english-heritage.org.uk/resultsingle.aspx?uid=1004910> [Accessed 14-Oct-2011]


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

NMR, 2019, NMR data (Digital archive). SYO2214.

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Digital archive: NMR. 2019. 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 (2)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Jan 27 2022 3:51PM

Feedback?

Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.