York City Wall — 13 July 2022 — York, United Kingdom

Editor note:

More from Tom  

We are in York; luggage is in our apartment and therefore it is time to go exploring.  

I hadn’t taken 20 steps when I could see Monks Bar in the very near distance poking out above the buildings in front of me.  Monks Bar is one of the primary gates through the old city wall.  Monks Bar was built in stages in the 1400s with the last stage – top story – completed by Richard III in 1484.  Monks Bar originally was constructed with a gated barbican and a series of murder holes from which defenders dropped rocks, etc. on to attackers.

The City Wall was primarily built in the 13th century and extensively renovated in the 1800s.

The city wall fortifications consisted of two sections of wall, one swamp, and one lake (for the king to fish).  The stone wall is very narrow and not particularly high.  However, most of the stone wall is built on top of a previous dirt mound fortification so that from outside an opposing army was looking at 20’ of a very steep dirt incline and then 10 to 15 feet of stone wall.  This made it very difficult to bring siege machines close to the wall and almost impossible to lean a ladder against the wall.  I wouldn’t want to be part of an attacking force.

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