Petergate

Petergate

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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

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Petergate (named due its proximity with the Minster dedicated to St Peter) is a lively and quaint shopping thoroughfare and part of the newly branded Minster Quarter. On the site of the Roman Via Principalis, the Romans’ 1st century main east-west route through their fortress, Petergate runs from York’s oldest city gate Bootham Bar – the Roman Prima Porta Dextra or right gate, to Kings Square – Porta Sinistra, the left gate.

Plaque on Petergate

Plaque on Petergate

High Petergate – from Bootham Bar to Stonegate – was the medieval route into York from the North. A few remaining medieval buildings jostle here with Georgian and those of other period styles. Among the various hostelries is The Hole in the Wall pub – likely to be a reference to Bootham Bar.  Originally known as ‘The Board Inn’ it is said to be haunted by mysterious footsteps. Immediately before the pub’s entrance a proper hole in the wall opens into Little Peculiar Lane – the shortest of all York’s many ‘snickelways’ (passageways).

Look out for The Three Legged Mare pub, known locally as the Wonky donkey; it takes its name from a traditional three man hanging device.

Opposite St Michael le Belfrey Church is the Guy Fawkes Inn, having an old house behind it which allegedly is that of the Gunpowder Plot perpetrator. Guy Fawkes was christened in St Michael le Belfrey and did live in the locale. Another pub, The York Arms, stands on the site of Peter’s Prison, and in use as such until 1837, where convicted criminals were held after trial at Minster Court.

Sir Thomas Herbert, a high-ranking courtier to Charles I, lived in the splendid Petergate House, remaining with the King to the point of his execution.

Looking carefully up at the buildings note the fire insurance plaques situated high up. In the 18th and 19th century these ‘firemarks’ identified the building’s insurers and thus which private fire brigade would attend in case of need.

Fire Plaque on High Petergate

Fire Plaque on High Petergate

At the junction with Stonegate, where Minster Gates opens out revealing the Minster, you can find Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and learning, gazing down from above a corner shop, denoting the former home of a writers’ meeting place and bookshop.

Minerva

Minerva

Low Petergate meanders on from Stonegate to King’s Square with its radiant atmosphere and great mix of cafés, gift shops, chocolatiers, dazzling outfitters and a magical Christmas Shop.

Along the way spot two more snickelways: Mad Alice Lane and Hornpot Lane.

Hidden away off the pedestrianised street is Talbot Court whose impressive wrought iron gate leads to a medieval half-timbered courtyard.

Entrance to Talbot Court

Entrance to Talbot Court

At Number 62, an early 18th-century house, dwelt the celebrated watch and clock maker Henry Hindley – supplier to York Minster and the Mansion House. Later the house became Dr Alexander Hunter’s notorious York Lunatic Asylum and more latterly the York College for Girls.

Number 62 Petergate - former Lunatic Asylum

Number 62 Petergate – former Lunatic Asylum

Quaint symbolic sculptures can be seen above several shop doorways announcing the shop’s goods from a time when many people were illiterate. Number 76 displays one of an American Indian boy, but find others and discover their meanings.

Indian boy above 76 Petergate

Indian boy above 76 Petergate

And don’t miss the splendid views of the Minster towering over Low Petergate’s higgledy-piggledy roof tops.

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