Ye Olde Starre Inne

Ye Olde Starre Inne

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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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Ye Olde Starre Inne, one of York’s most historic pubs, is a Grade II listed building said to date back to 1644, the year of the siege of York by the Roundheads, when it was first licensed.  The inn does have the longest continuous licence of any pub in York, and it claims to be the oldest.

You cannot fail to see the inn’s sign (from 1733), which proudly hangs over and across Stonegate, directing you on through the narrow snickelway to a courtyard and finally the inn. The inn’s spectacular views of the upper part of York Minster make it worth visiting, if for that alone, especially when the Minster is floodlit, but you’ll be tempted in to try its huge choice of real ales and good old English food.

The ‘old star’ is said to be King Charles I, in line with the then landlord’s Royalist stance in the 1640s. Unfortunately for the landlord the Roundheads gradually invaded the inn and went on to make use of its 10th-century cellar as both a hospital and mortuary during the Civil War.  In 1662 a Thomas Wyeville bought the building for £250. It was yet again sold in the early 19th century when it still had a bargain price of only £850.

Ye Olde Starre Inne - Famous for its sign straddling Stonegate

Ye Olde Starre Inne – Famous for its sign straddling Stonegate

Formerly the inn was readily accessible via its stable yard from where customers could easily see the building. In the 1730s the stable yard had buildings added; consequently the access was narrowed leaving just a passage way to the inn, adversely affecting trade. The landlord at the time Thomas Bulmer decided to display a sign over nearby Stonegate directing people to the inn, and paid five shillings (25 pence today) per year to those on whose premises the sign impinged. Originally smaller than it is today Ye Olde Starre Inne was extended and refurbished over 30 years ago.  Inside the entrance is a courtyard complete with a well; at one time this was the only source of fresh water for the whole locality.

The inn boasts a fair few resident ghosts. One of these is a Royalist officer of 1644 from the time of the English Civil War, complete with a beaver hat, doublet and smart breeches, who takes up an authoritative position. Then there are two black cats that may have been buried alive, bricked up, in the large pillar in the bar, as was the strange custom at one time. There have been some sightings of an old lady slowly climbing the stairs, but she has been witnessed only by children. Apparently on some occasions the blood curdling screams of the injured and dying soldiers can be heard coming up from the depths of the cellar.

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