Pavement

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York resident and regular contributor. Fascinated by this historic city and always keen to promote local, independent businesses. The man taking the photographs and tweeting from @Jorvik

York Pass

Named in 1378, it’s thought Pavement was given it’s name as it was the first walkway to be paved in York out of all it’s medieval streets.

Originally a central point of York and a hive of activity, Pavement was host to many markets, gatherings, announcements and punishments. One of the more famous, cited on a plaque on the street today, was the beheading of Thomas Percy, Earl of Northumberland who was beheaded here, on 22nd August 1572 for treason, after refusing an offer to spare his life if he renounced Catholicism.

Such was the popularity of Pavement that in 1813, the market cross which had been situated here since 1672 was demolished in order to make more space. One of the churches on Pavement was also demolished, but for a different reason.

The two churches of Pavement

Pavement was once home to two churches. All Saints, which still stands today, just where Pavement forks into Coppergate and High Ousegate, and St Crux, an even more prestigious building which was declared unsafe in 1881 and replaced with St. Crux Parish Hall, which still remains on the site today.

All Saints Church, Pavement

The building you see today was constructed in the 14th century but there is evidence of a previous structure being  in place from as early as the 10th century according to relatively recent excavations of the surrounding area in 1995. Recognised by it’s lantern tower, which was restored after World War I as a war memorial, the original tower was used to guide travellers to safety, through the Forest of Galtres, protecting them from Wolves and robbers.

All Saints is popular with visitors today, in part due to it’s decorative stained glass windows, historical hexagonal pulpit and rumours that it contains the plate which was used to carry the decapitated head of John the Baptist to King Herod.

St. Crux, Pavement

St Crux was not named after a person, the name is a corruption of the phrase ‘Saincte Crusses’ which means Holy Cross.

With it’s first stone laid in 1697, the most prestigious of York’s churches saw no end of structural problems until it’s final sermon in 1881 when it was declared unsafe and it’s congregation were moved to Holy Trinity, King’s Cross.

Right from it’s initial construction, St. Crux required ongoing repairs and maintenance, which was paid for by the wealthy worshippers who lived in and around Pavement and Fossgate. Over time the wealthy residents moved away to the suburbs of York, building new churches there. The dwindling congregation couldn’t afford the upkeep and with bad foundations at the root of all the problems things came to a head in 1878 when the tower began to lean dangerously. The tower was then taken down but in 1881 the whole structure was declared unsafe by the local council.

Several appeals were lodged to rebuild the church, but with costs upwards of £5m and with no getting around it’s poor foundations it was decided to build the new parish hall which stills stands today. A single storey, stone structure, the St Crux parish hall is not as prone to the negative effects of poor foundations and cost a much more thrifty £600,000.

Other Buildings of Interest

Walking along Pavement it’s hard to miss the large black and white Tudor building. Today housing Jones the Bootmaker, this centuries-old building was the birthplace to Sir Thomas Herbert Bart, 1st Baronet as appointed by King Charles II. The plaque adorning the first storey of Herbert House tells us his birth date of 1606 and beneath is a snickelway leading to Lady Peckett’s Yard.

Lady Peckett & The Golden Fleece

The Golden Fleece situated directly opposite the Shambles, is York’s second oldest pub and reportedly the most haunted. With 5 resident ghosts, but over fourteen reported, Lady Peckett is one of the most commonly sighted. She can be found wandering the endless staircases and corridors in the early morning.

Mentioned as far back as 1503, although not officially licensed until 1668 means that the Golden Fleece is second to York’s oldest pub. The Olde Starr on Stonegate acquired it’s license in 1644, some 24 years earlier.

The pub was once a popular coaching inn, owned by the nearby Merchant Adventurer’s Hall and was named after the woollen trade, prevalent in York form 13th to 17th century when visiting businessmen would take lodgings here before negotiating deals and trading goods at the nearby hall.

In later years, ownership passed to John Peckett who was Lord Mayor of York, his wife was Lady Alice Peckett. Lady Peckett’s yard, is where the horses would be stabled overnight while it’s owner stayed at the Golden Fleece.

As well as the infamous Lady Peckett, also to be found wandering the stairs and corridors early morning is another  resident spirit, a WWII Canadian Airman  also believed to have died in the pub. The  bodies of those hung  at nearby Baile Hill were also believed to be stored in the cellar prior to their families collecting them, and it is claimed that some of the ghosts may be attributed to these former prisoners.

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