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Tours > Ancient York > Micklegate Bar

David Ford, History Editor Ancient York
by David Nash Ford BA,
Editor, History on Britannia

Micklegate Bar
At the southern end of Micklegate

Micklegate BarMicklegate Bar was previously known as 'Mickleith' meaning Great Gate. It is York's southern and main entrance to the city, spanning the old London Road. The present structure is largely the 12th century stone replacement of an earlier wooden Norman gate. It has reused Roman stone in its walls, including several coffins! It's barbican has long disappeared, though the entrance doors survive. Displayed above are the Royal Arms of King Edward III. Inside is a small museum portraying the history of the gate as well as civic York.

Being the most frequently used entrance to the city, Micklegate was the preferred site to display the severed heads of traitors. Sir Harry 'Hotspur' Percy (1403); Richard, Duke of York (1460); the Lancastrian Leaders captured at the Battle of Towton (1461); the Earl of Northumberland (1572); Puritan Conspirators (1663) and Jacobite Rebels (1746) all appeared on long poles above its crenellations. More pleasing decorations were used when English monarchs were welcomed into the city with great pageantry.

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