A History of York
from Baine's Gazetteer (1823)

Part 5

No more visits from the crown

From this period to the rebellion, in 1745, the annals of York are not marked by any extraordinary transactions; but at that momentous crisis, the city, as well as the county, gave the most unequivocal proofs of its loyalty and attachment to the reigning dynasty, and to the reformed religion. On the 23d of July, 1746, his Royal Highness, the Duke of Cumberland, on his return to London, from the defeat of the rebels, at Culloden, visited York, and was received with the honours due to his illustrious rank, and eminent services. In 1757, the new regulations, for levying the militia, produced a spirit of insubordination in Yorkshire, and a vast body of farmers, labourers, and artizans, from upwards of thirty parishes, assembled at York, and demolished two houses, without Monk bar; in one of which the deputy-lieutenants were expected to assemble, to receive the constables' returns. Since the reign of Charles I. York, which was in former times the residence of Emperors and Kings, has not been visited by any English sovereign; though it has often been honoured with the presence of different branches of the royal family.

In our own times, the present sovereign of these realms, while Prince of Wales, visited the city of York, accompanied by his royal brother, who derives his title from this ancient metropolis. On Monday, the 24th of August, 1789, in the race week, their Royal Highnesses arrived on the race ground, in their carriage, and alighted at some distance from the Grand Stand, whence they rode about on horseback, to gratify public curiosity by a sight of their persons. When the day's sport was over, they repaired to the carriage of Earl Fitzwilliam, whose guests they were, and entered the city amidst the congratulations of the populace. The following day, the corporation presented the Heir-apparent with the freedom of the city, in an elegant gold box; and on Thursday, in the race week, he dined at the Mansion-House, in company with a large assemblage of the nobility and gentry of the county. On the following Saturday, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke of York, proceeded to Castle Howard, having previously ordered Lieutenant Colonel St. Leger, to pay into the hands of Walter Fawkes, Esq. High-Sheriff of the county, two hundred guineas, for the relief of debtors in the castle. In 1791, Charles James Fox visited York, at the races, a grand dinner was given him and many noblemen and gentlemen at the Mansion House, and he was presented with the freedom of the city in a gold box, accompanied by a copy of a resolution passed by the corporation, in which he was complimented on "the constant and beneficial exertions of his abilities in support of the British Constitution, upon the true principles of the glorious revolution; of the rights of every degree of citizens; and of the peace, liberty, and happiness of mankind." In November, 1795, Prince William Frederick, of Gloucester, on his return from Scarborough, to the South, spent some time in York, and was presented with the freedom of the city, in a gold box. In 1805, the Right Hon. John Earl St. Vincent, whose courage and talents as a naval commander are so well known, honoured this city with a visit, and received its freedom, in a box of "heart of oak."

On the 26th of August, in the present year, while his Royal brother and Sovereign, George IVth was in Scotland, his Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, honoured this city with a visit, and partook of the hospitalities of the Corporation, at the Mansion-house, where a public dinner was given to his Royal Highness, on which occasion the freedom of the city was presented to him in a gold box, accompanied by an address expressive of the admiration of that "splendid career of useful beneficence, and spirited patriotism which gave a brilliant lustre to his exalted birth.

The present-day walls and gates of York with its wards

The city of York as it now stands, is nearly two miles and three quarters in circuit. There are no existing records to show when the walls were built. They were no doubt in existence in the time of the Saxons and Danes, as well as during the Roman government; and they were re-edified, if not actually re-built in the reign of Edward I., to protect the city against Scotch invaders, who penetrated to its gates. After the siege of York, in 1644, the walls stood in great need of repairs, and the three following years were employed in that necessary duty. The coroding hand of time has ever since been at work, and they are now falling rapidly into decay. In several places, the delightful promenade formed by them is already interrupted, and if the hand of reparation does not alter for the better, what time changes for the worse, it is not difficult to foresee what will be the end.

The entrance into the city is by four principal gates or bars, and five posterns, or smaller entrances; the gates are, MICKLEGATE-BAR, to the South West, adorned with lofty turrets, finely embattled, over the Roman arch, already described, hangs a large shield, bearing the arms of England and France; and on each side one of less size, decorated with the city arms: this is at the entrance from Tadcaster. BOOTHAM-BAR, to the North West, on the road leading to Edinburgh, is an ancient structure, built almost wholly of grit; but though the materials are Roman, the architecture is Gothic. MONK-BAR, to the North East, on the entrance from Malton and Scarborough. is a stately gate, bearing the arms of France quartered with those of England on the battlements. And WALMGATE-BAR, on the South East, leading to Beverley and Hull; the foundations of this bar are formed of large blocks of grit, but the arches are modern, having undergone a thorough repair, in 1648, after the gate had been almost demolished by the siege.

The Posterns are, North-street-postern, Skeldergate-postern, Castlegate-postern, Fishergate-postern, Layerthorp-postern, and Longwalk-postern. There are also six bridges, the New Ouse bridge, built under the direction of Mr. Peter Atkinson, architect. The first stone of this bridge was laid with considerable pomp, on the 10th, of December, 1810, and the work was completed in March, 1820; the Right Hon. George Peacock, filling at both these periods the office of Lord Mayor. The old bridge, after having existed for six centuries, was then removed, and gave place to this handsome modern erection. A new bridge, over the Foss, leading into Walmgate, cotemporary with the new Ouse bridge, and built by the same architect, at the expense of the corporation, serves to mark the public spirit of the present age. The other bridges, which are all over the Foss, at different points, claim no particular observation.

This city is divided into four districts, which take their names from the four gates, and are called, Micklegate-ward, Bootham-ward, Monk-ward, and Walmgate-ward. Micklegate-ward, in the South West part of the city, is incompassed on one side by the city walls, and on the other, by the river Ouse. It contains six parishes, namely, Bishop-hill, the elder and younger; Trinity; St. Martin's; St. John's, and All Saints. Bootham-ward occupies the North West angle of the city, and has in its district, the parishes of Belfrey's; St. Helen's, and St. Martin's. Monk-ward is the North East part, and comprises, Trinity; St. Cuthbert's; St. Saviour's; Christ's; and St. Sampson's. Walmgate-ward is on the North East, and contains seven parishes, namely, St. Margaret's; St. Dennis; St. George; Crux; All-Hallow's; St. Mary's; and St. Michael's. These four divisions comprise the whole city, within the walls, except the close of the Cathedral.

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Data transcribed from:
Baines Gazetteer 1823
Scan, OCR and html software by Colin Hinson.
Checking and correction by Richard Tetley.