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T, P. C 


By the Samt Author. 


The Story of its Walls, Bars 
and Castles. 

DemyZvo. Fully Illustrated. 10s. 6d. net. 

" Mr. Cooper has made York his special subject. 
He knows the city from end to end. He has made, 
in consequence, a very interesting book of it." 

" Admirably illustrated, it possesses a permanent 
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" We can assure all who are interested in matters 
of this sort that the narrative is at once fascinating 
and instructive." Pall Mall Gazette. 

" Primarily of interest to archaeologists, this book has 
in it much that will interest all who have a taste for 
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" One of the most interesting histories of York that 
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library." Yorkshire Gazette. 



The History of 
The Castle of York 




Author of 
" York : the Story of its Walls, Bars and Castles: 















THE materials for the History of the Castle of 
York in the following pages have been chiefly 
derived from State papers preserved in the Public 
Record Office. In many instances our pre-conceived 
ideas with regard to the Castle and its Keep are ma- 
terially disturbed, therefore the frequent references to 
primary authorities in the footnotes may not be unwel- 
come to the more discriminating reader. During the 
last few years numerous records have been brought to 
light bearing upon the subjects treated ; these have 
been diligently studied, and several critical disserta- 
tions perused, thus enabling me to present fresh details 
and important facts concerning a hitherto neglected 
phase of Historic York. 

Although my references to the disquisitions by Mrs. 
E. S. Armitage are many, my obligations to her for 
supplying me with valuable information, advice and 
encouragement, deserve a special expression of recog- 
nition. My thanks are due to Mr. Robert Holtby for 
permitting me to see the Records of the Castle ; and 
to Mr. Frederick J. Munby for the courtesy and 
willing readiness with which he gave me access to the 
documents relating to Clifford's Tower and the Castle, 
in his official custody as Clerk to the County Com- 
mittee. I feel indebted to the Sub-Dean of York, 
the Rev. Canon Watson, for his consistent patience, 
and for the use of many rare books of reference under 
his care at the Cathedral Library. The Rev. Edward 
Buhner, M.A., with unvarying kindness, has spared 

vi Preface 

time to read through the proofs, and given me his 
criticisms and scholarly counsel. To Miss Maud 
Sellers, Litt.D., the Rev. T. Ainsworth Erode, B.A., 
Mr. John Henry Hill and Mr. R. Beilby Cook, I 
must express my thanks for help and valuable 
suggestions. For the privilege of reproducing 
photographic facsimiles of original unpublished 
drawings, my grateful acknowledgments are due to 
Dr. W. A. Evelyn ; and to Mr. C. R. Swift for permission 
to illustrate an early sketch of the Great Gate of the 
Castle. For the use of two plans of Clifford's Tower 
I must recognize the kindness of Mr. Basil Mott, C.E., 
and express my thanks to Mr. E. Ridsdale Tate, for an 
original drawing; to Mr. W. Watson, the Museum, 
who supplied me with photographs ; and to Mr. E. 
Warneford Wray and my son, who have drawn plans. 
The list of Yorkshire Sheriffs, compiled by the 
archivists of the Public Record Office, from documents 
in their possession, is included in this volume by per- 
mission of the Controller of H.M. Stationery Office. 

T. P. C. 





HISTORY ....... i 

Introductory Alleged pre-Norman origin of York Castle 
Burhs not moated mounds Domesday Book and cas- 
tles William the Conqueror erects castles at York 
Earth and timber castles Ditches filled with water and 
the Foss Pool formed Castles besieged and destroyed 
The Conqueror devastates Yorkshire -The Castle rebuilt 
and enlarged Motte of castle artificial Excavations in 
motte described Restorations of 1 1 30. 



Henry II. and Castle works Henry visits York, 115575 
Castle turris or wooden keep repaired, 1172 Royal 
apartments in keeps Castle repairs during the reign of 
Richard I. Massacre of the Jews Timber turris and 
other buildings restored, 1191 King John visits York 
Castle ; repairs and work during his reign Irish prison- 
ers ironed, 1210 Geoffrey de Nevill holds York for King 
John, 1215 City fortifications strengthened Henry III. 
visits York Repairs at the Castle, 1218-21 Breaches 
in the palisades repaired, 1225 Turris dismantled by 
storm of wind, 1228 Gaol repaired and a house built for 
the King, 1238 Great Tower erected, 1245-59- Annual 
payments for work Tower chapel finished, vestments, 
chaplain, etc., provided Approved men keeping the 
castle Architectural description of the keep, 



THE PLANTAGENET PERIOD (continued) . . 47 

Edward I.'s castle works Stone for York Castle from 
Tevesdale -City taken into the King's hands, 1280 
Houses in Castle repaired Earl of Strathern imprisoned, 

jjo/ Castle to be securely kept Various repairs, 1308- 

ogParliament held and Great Seal delivered to King in 
the Castle Gaveston's fate Peel and ditch completed 

House in bailey covered with lead Henry de Perci 

and Robert de Clifford forbidden to enter York King's 
horses seized Great floods surround the castle, 1315-16 

. Lance-makers in Castle Edward lodges at Friars Minors 

John de Yakesle makes tents, 1317-18 Fencible men 
garrison the Castle Depredations by Scots, Battle of 
Myton Great Seal handed to the King, 1320 Lancaster 
and Clifford executed Important Parliament held King 
nearly captured by Scots Oaks for Castle works Draw- 
bridge, bretasche, tower, springalds, etc., restored. 

THE PLANTAGENET PERIOD (concluded) ... 66 

Defiant declaration by Robert Bruce Precautionary 
measures at the Castle Edward and his army out-manoeu- 
vred, 1327 Isabel, the Queen Mother, resides in the 
Castle Tower for the Queen's use repaired Henry of 
Lincoln's account for work done House in the Castle 
prepared for the Exchequer, 1327 Depredations by 
Scots, 1333 Stone for Castle bought of the Prior of St. 
Andrew's Yakesle, the King's Pavilioner, employs men 
in the Castle Houses in the Castle repaired for Queen 
Philippa Night watchmen employed Royal Treasury 
at York robbed, mandate to the Mayor Palisades in the 
Castle renewed, 1334 Preparations for Edward's visit 
to the Friars Minors Castle keep tenanted as a residence 
by the Countess of Bogham, 1338 Edward sails for 
Flanders, a ship built at York for his fleet, 1338 Castle 
works in 1345 The keep damaged, 1358 Richard II. 
in the Castle. 


!4oo . 81 

Early aspect of site A Roman burial-place House 5 
on site demolished by Normans Earthen and timber 

Contents ix 


castles erected Wet ditches and large pool formed 
Timber keep substituted by one of stone Isolated posi- 
tion of motte and keep Wooden stockades replaced by 
walls Its three gates described Wooden bretasche used 
The great timber bridge and its approaches Dimen- 
sions of City Gates compared Flanker near the Great 
Gate Small outer bailey formed General use of stock- 
ades Mediaeval buildings in the Castle. 


MENTS, ETC. ....... 89 

Introductory Early gaol, 120507 King John's expedi- 
tion to Ireland, 1210 Irons for Irish prisoners at York 
Henry III. repairs the gaol Iron collars and chains for 
prisoners Payment of gaolers, 122561 Assizes and 
St. Mary's Abbey, 1257 Rescue of prisoner and porter 
of Castle imprisoned, 1274 Prisoners on going in pay 
for hangman's rope Parson of Cave and another tres- 
pass in Foss, 1291 Rees Amereduk drawn and hanged, 
1292 Contempt of Court by Bishop of Durham's bailiff, 
1292 Condemned man escapes to sanctuary Infraction 
of sanctuaries Prisoner led back to Escrick Church, 
1309 Rebellion in Wales, hostages retained at York 
and elsewhere, 1294 Multitudes die in the Castle of 
hunger, 1295 Pardon to Sheriffs for escape of prisoners, 
1298 Hue and cry, malefactors peremptorily beheaded 
Earl of Strathern and household in the Castle, 1307. 



ETC. (continued) ...... 100 

Rise and fall of the Knights Templar Inquisitions at 
York Templars imprisoned Langton, Bishop of Lich- 
field, in prison Courts of Exchequer and King's Bench 
held in the Castle Domesday Book and other documents 
brought to York Houses in Castle repaired for Court 
of Exchequer, etc. Prisoners pardoned by Edward II. 
John del Castel, prisoner, taken before the King at 
Pickering Orders to keep rebels safe Earl of Moray 
immured, 133940 Ears of malefactors cut off Notifi- 
cation for John le Quyltemaker William Holgate, gaoler, 
charged with extorting money and allowing prisoners to 
escape, 1388 Gift of bread to prisoners by master of the 
Hospital of St. Leonard. 

x Contents 



Military service of Castle-guardDomesday references 
The Scotland family and Richmond Castle Castle-guard 
at Skipsea Lands in Givendale held by military tenure 
Examples of Castle-guard services at York Castle 
Burdensome incidents of tenures abolished. 


Early Castle Mills Holy Trinity Priory and tithe of mills 
Granted to Knights Templar Ditch to mills blocked 
Henry III. grants timber for repairs, 1231 Value of 
mills, 1270 Suppression of Templars, mills surrendered 
to King, 1311 Mills and pond washed away, 1315-16 
Repairs to new mills, piling of pool, and Foss head, 1315- 
3 9 _Citizens drowned in mill race, 1376 Accounts for 
repair of mills, etc., 1379 Mills granted to St. Leonard's 
Hospital, 1464 Suppression of Hospital, mills surren- 
dered to Crown again, 1539 Mills sold by Queen Eliza- 
beth to Francis Guilpyn Yearly rent-charge out of mills 
for Hospital, Heslington, 1608 Channel of River Foss 
deepened, 1727 Little Foss drained, 1731 Mills rebuilt, 
1778 River Foss made navigable, 1793 Poetical allu- 
sion to smoke nuisance, 1797 Mills taken down, 1856 
Rent of Fishpond of Fosse still paid to Crown Receivers 
Oldtime bakers and Castle mills. 



A Royal free chapel Granted to Knights Templar 
Suppression of Templars, 1 3081 2 Contents of chapel 
Edward II. retains chapel and increases chaplain's stipend 
Rents of chapel in arrear Names of chaplains 
Riotous citizens damage chapel, 1382 Chapel granted 
to new Guild of St. George, 1447 Suppression of Guild, 
1 546 Corporation of York obtain possession of chapel 
Festival of St. George's Day, 1554 Chapel demolished 
for its stone, 1571 Manufactory built on its founda- 
tions Substructure of chapel and tenements taken 
down, and site cleared, 1856. 

Contents xi 



Decrease of lawlessness in England and on the borders 
of Scotland Motehall in Castle restored, 1451 Nicholas 
Leventhorpe appointed Surveyor of Castles, 1472 Flet- 
chers and bowmakers work in the Castle, 1474 Liberties 
of City and Castle adjusted, 1478 Projected reparations 
by Edward IV., 1478 Richard III. dismantles the Castle 
Lord Mayor Todde reports Castle in ruins, 1487 
Leland describes Castle in ruins, 1534 Thomas Crom- 
well, Vicar-General, mentions Castle as in ruins Con- 
templated erection of new Hall in Castle, 1580 Spolia- 
tion of Castle works during Elizabeth's reign. 


Early Mints at York Archiepiscopal Mint Royal Mint 
established in the Castle Houses built for moneyers, 
J 353 Coinages at York Mint buildings erected in 
Castle, 1423 Thomas Haxey, Treasurer of the Cathedral, 
appointed Warden of the Mint, 1423 Mintmasters 
Mint in the Castle discontinued, 1 546 ; established in 
Hospital of St. Leonard Minster Plate used for coining 
Later Mints at York. 



Important architectural memorial Origin of the name 
"Clifford's Tower" Robert Aske and others executed upon 
the summit, 1537 Sir Roger Clifford's execution, 1322 
Spoliation of tower by Robert Redhead, 159697 City's 
appeal to Lord Treasurer Burghley Correspondence on 
the subject Redhead's continued depredations Tower 
granted by James I. to Edmund Duffield and John Bab- 
ington, 1614 ; copy of grant Purchased by Francis 
Darley Inherited by Edith Darley/jwho married Robert 

x ji Contents 

tinued) I 7 

The Tower appropriated by the Royalists, 1643 Civil 
War episodes Thomas Dickinson, Lord Mayor, appointed 
Governor, 1647 Cromwell's visit, salute from the tower 
Particulars of garrison Governor Dickinson petitions 
the Government, 1656 House by the Tower sold by Com- 
monalty of York, to Robert Straker and Edward Nightin- 
gale, 1657 ; resold to Audry Bayocke, 1658 Mortgage 
money to be paid at a tomb in the Minster Tower house 
purchased by Richard Sowray, 1671 Henry Cholmeley, 
Knt., claims Clifford's Tower, 1660 Charles II. garri- 
sons it Robert Moore sells the Tower, 1662 Sir Hy. 
Thompson becomes the owner Lord Frescheville's and 
Sir John Reresby's governorships Tower burnt out, 
1684 Lady Thompson conveys the Tower to Richard 
Sowray, senior, 1699 Inherited by his son, Doctor 
Sowray, who bequeaths it in 1709 to his wife for life 
Reversion to Richard Denton. 


cluded) 189 

Richard Denton mortgages his reversionary rights to 
Catherine Bower, 1719 Tower purchased by Samuel 
Waud, senior, 1726 Inherited by Samuel Waud, junior 
Bequeathed to Samuel Wilkes Waud, 1797 Tenants of 
Tower House County Gaol enlarged Tower threatened 
with destruction Sydney Smith's observations, 1824 
George Strickland's " Reasons for not pulling down Clif- 
ford's Tower " The keep and adjacent property bought 
by Committee of Gaol Sessions, 1825 The Government 
take possession of the Tower under the Prisons Act, 1877 
Prison commissioners covenant to preserve the Tower 
as a National Monument, 1880 Tower restored to the 
custody of the Yorkshire County Committee, 1902 
Restored and foundations underpinned Observations 
made during the progress of the work Conclusion. 

Contents xiii 



Houses of Correction to be provided State of Prison in 
1636 Sir Thomas Widdrington's account of the Castle 
County Hall rebuilt, 1674 County application to use 
stones from St. Mary's Abbey, 1701 New prison com- 
pleted, 1705 Description of building Montgomery's 
rhyme on the Prison Clock Little Foss drained, 1731 
Daniel Defoe's description of the Castle New Assize 
Courts built, 1773-77 New buildings erected, 1780 
Tobias Smollet's impressions of the Castle Roadway to 
Castle Gates widened City boundary at the " Five 
Lions " John Howard's observations on the prison. 




Palisaded wall built in front of scaffold, 180506 An- 
cient inscribed stone found Castlegate Postern Lane 
widened, 1806 Gaol visited by Elizabeth Fry, 1819 
Gaol presented several times Topographical description 
of lands bounding the Castle, 1823 Lands and Clifford's 
Tower purchased New prison and other buildings erec- 
ted, 1825-35 Total cost of new works Exchange of 
land between Corporation and Magistrates Prominent 
Magistrates on Building Committee The Rev. Sydney 
Smith and the necessity of a third annual Assize West 
Riding Assize business removed to Leeds, 1863 Prison 
Act of 1877 and its effect at York Area of Castle divided 
Appointment of Clerks of Gaol Sessions and County Com- 
mittee Castle ceases to be a civil prison, 1900 Taken 
over as a military detention barracks Clifford's Tower 
re-conveyed to county Question of taking down Castle 
walls The Castle an extra-parochial area Its Legal 
status and ownership. 

xiv Contents 



Hanging, an ancient custom Right of hanging possessed 
by Towns, Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors and 
Manorial Lords Early York scaffolds Ainsty gallows 
Christianity of York Holy Trinity Priory gallows 
Hanged man found to be alive, 1280 New gallows erected 
on Knavesmire, 1379 York and London Tyburns 
Riotous monks at an execution Dissensions between 
York citizens and Monks of St. Mary's The gallows of 
the Archbishop, the Dean and Chapter, the Abbot of St. 
Mary's, the Abbot of Byland, and the Master of St. Leon- 
ard's Valentine Freez and his wife burnt, 1539 Robert 
Aske hanged, 1537 Earl of Northumberland beheaded, 
1572 Women hanged and burnt Arthur Mangey, gold- 
smith of Leeds, hanged, 1696 Practice of gibbeting 
Eugene Aram hanged and gibbeted, 1759 ; Francis Fearn, 
1782 Spence Broughton last person gibbeted in York- 
shire, 1792. 


tinued) 262 

Bodies of malefactors to be anatomized, 1752 " The 
Three-Legged Mare of York "Public executions Mock 
show rehearsals Execution broadsheets, and calendar 
vendors Last execution on Knavesmire, 1801 Scaffold 
removed First execution at the New Drop City Gaol 

scaffold, Bishophill Fourteen Luddites hanged, 1813 

The deplorable effects Statute confining death sentence 
to traitors and murderers, 1861 Last man hanged in 
public at York, 1868 Private executions enjoined by 



Castle yard a public place Misdemeanants whipped and 
placed in the pillory and stocks Early County Courts 
-Area appropriated for election of Knights of the Shire 

Contents xv 


Tumultuous proceedings in 1597 Subsequent contests 
and typical scenes Commotion and abuses at 1734 
Election Meeting of Yorkshiremen re Jacobite rising, 
1745 The Great Election of 1807 Reform of Electoral 
System Proclamations of new sovereigns. 



CASTLE ....... 290 

Norman Governors Sheriffs as constables John de 
Marshall displaced, 1190 Geoffrey de Nevill, keeper of 
King's Castles in Yorkshire, 121623 Robert de Nevill, 
Constable, 1263 John de Li thegrains appointed, 1280 
John de Moubray, keeper of the City and County, 1312 
William le Latimer, keeper of the City, 1323 Henry 
de Faucomberge, constable, 1325, surrenders office 
Custody of Castle granted to Sir Henry Percy, 1470 
Sir Robert Ryther appointed constable for life, 1478 
Robert Ryther, keeper in 1636 Cliffords not hereditary 
constables Sheriffs' Roll. 


Earliest mention of Gaol, 1205 Wage^of Gaolers 
First recorded gaoler, 1 280 The Crown appoint gaolers 
High Sheriffs claim the right of appointment, 1549 and 
1577 Gaolers remunerated by prisoners' fees Felons 
to be discharged without paying fees, 1727 Office of 
gaoler not to be purchased, 1716 John Howard's prison 
reforms Gaolers styled Governors, 1839 Prisons Act, 
1878, and its operations List of gaolers and governors 
from 1280-1900, and particulars of their appointment. 


A. Articles for ye Castle Mills when bought by Sir 

Thomas Hesketh, 1603 . . . .3*5 

B. The stipend of Thomas de Norton, Chaplain at the 

Chapel of St. George, increased . . .318 

C. Conveyance of Clifford's Tower from Robert and 

Thomas Moore to John Scott, Henry Thompson 

and John Loftus, May 15, 1662 . . .318 

xvi Contents 


D. One Year's Lease putting John Scott, Henry 

Thompson and John Loftus into possession of 
Clifford's Tower prior to an absolute convey- 
ance ........ 324 

E. Indenture confirming Sir Henry Thompson's Owner- 

ship of Clifford's Tower, October 30, 1672 . 325 

F. Conveyance of Clifford's Tower from Lady Suzanna 

Thompson to Richard Sowray, the elder, 
January 27, 1699 ..... 327 

G. The Will of Richard Sowray, Owner of Clifford's 

Tower, made February 17, 1708 . . .329 

H. An Agreement between the Clerk of the Court of 
Gaol Sessions of the County of York and the 
Prison Commissioners and others, April 7, 
1880 330 

I. Lammas Fair and the Archbishop's prescriptive 

rights at each City Gate and Postern . -335 

J. The Records of York Castle with a typical example, 

Francis Drake, M.D., F.S.A., versus the King 338 

K. A List of the Sheriffs of Yorkshire . . .341 



1. Clifford's Tower and the old Castle Gate, 1807 Frontispiece 

(From an etching by JOSEPH HALFPENNY) 

2. Plan of Mediaeval York ...... I 

(Drawn by MR. E. W. WRAY) 

3. William the Conqueror erecting a Castle at Hastings 10 

(From the Bayeux Tapestry) 

4. The Surrender of the Castle of Dinant . .11 

(From the Bayeux Tapestry) 

5. Plan of the Castle of the Old Baile, York . . 17 

(Drawn by MR. E. W. WRAY) 

6. Plan of Section of the Mound 19 

(From a plan fry MR. BASIL MOTT, by permission) 

7. Plan of Clifford's Tower . . . . . .33 

(Drawn by MR. E. W. WRAY) 

8. The Chapel in the Forebuilding of Clifford's Tower . 37 

(From an etching by MESSRS. LOCKWOOD & CATES) 

9. Clifford's Tower, Interior, looking towards Entrance, 

1801 39 

(From a wash drawing by HY. DE CUT ; by permission of DR. EVELYN) 

10. Clifford's Tower, Interior, 1807 . -4' 

(From an etching by JOSEPH HALFPENNY) 

11. Loophole, Clifford's Tower ..... 43 

(From a sketch by the^Author) 

12. Fireplace, Clifford's Tower, 1911 . . . -44 

(From a drawing by MR. C. R. SWIFT) 

13. Masons' Marks, Clifford's Tower .... 46 


xviii List of Illustrations and Plans 


14. Gateway, Clifford's Tower (within) . . . .52 

(From a drawing by the Author) 

15. Inscribed Roman Coffin found in the Castle Yard, 1835 82 

(From a drawing by JOHN BROWNE) 

1 6. The Great Gate of the Castle, 1699 . . .85 

(From a drawing by FRANCIS PLACE ; by permission of MR. C. R. SWIFT) 

17. The Watergate and Towers, 1805 . . . .87 

(From an etching by JOSEPH HALFPENNY) 

1 8. Fifteenth-Century Prisoners in the Stocks . . 92 
(From a drawing by the Author of a panel in the " Six Works of Mercy " window, 

All Saints' Church, North Street, York) 

19. The Castle Mills and Bridge, 1809 . . . .131 

(From an engraving by S. RAWLE, after drawing by J. HORNSEY) 

20. Tenements erected on the Foundations of the Chapel 

of St. George ....... 141 

(From a photograph, by permission of DR. EVELYN) 

21. Clifford's Tower, taken from Mr. Wallis' Garden . 148 

(From a wash drawing, by permission of DR. EVELYN) 

22. View of Castle and Mound, 1703 .... 167 

(From an etching by C. BARON, after drawing by FRANCIS PLACE) 

23. Clifford's Tower and Mound, 1644, showing Castlegate 

Postern, subsequently enlarged in 1672 . .171 

(From an etching by W. H. TOMS, after a drawing by FRANCIS PLACE) 

24. Clifford's Tower in Mr. Waud's Garden attached to his 

Mansion, 1820 ..... 187 

(From a water-colour drawing in the Minster Library, by permission of CANON 


25. Clifford's Tower and Mound, 1911 . . . JQ^ 

(From a photograph by MR. W. WATSON)' 

26. Plan of Clifford's Tower 2O3 

(From a plan by MR. BASIL MOTT, by permission) 

27. View of the Castle Yard and the Debtors' Prison . 213 

(From an engraving by W. LINDLEY, by permission of DR. EVELYN) 

28. Ground Plan of the Old Prison . . . .215 

(From " Observations, etc."). 

List of Illustrations and Plans xix 


29. Ground Plan of the Courts, John Carr, Arch. . .217 
(From " Observations, respecting the Proposed Improvements at York Castle," issued 

by the Committee of Magistrates, 1823). 

30. Ground Plan of the " New Building "... 229 

(From " Observations, etc."). 

31. Plan of the Castle and adjoining lands, 1823 . . 234 


32. Castlegate Postern 235 

33. Plan of Lands exchanged by Corporation of York and 

the County Magistrates, 1826 . . . .239 

34. Front Elevation of Gate-House Tower . . . 240 

(From plan by P. F. ROBINSON, Arch. F.S.A.). 

35. Inside Elevation of Gate-House Tower . . .241 

(From plan by P. F. ROBINSON, Arch. F.S.A.). 

36. Portrait of Mr. Frederick J. Munby, Clerk to County 

Committee . . . . . . .243 

(From a photograph by MESSRS. DEBENHAM & Co.) 

37. Plan of the Castle of York, 1910 .... 247 


38. South Aspect of Clifford's Tower and Forebuilding . 249 

(From pen and ink drawing by MR. E. RIDSDALE TATE). 

39. "The Three-Legged Mare of York," Tyburn Scaffold, 

1800 ........ 263 

(From a pencil drawing, by permission of DR. EVELYN) 

40. An Execution at Tyburn, York, 1799 . . . 265 

(From an execution broadside) 

41. An Execution without the Castle Walls at the New Drop 267 

(From an illustration in one of THOMAS GENT'S Chap Books) 

42. Portrait of William Wilberforce, M.P. . . .285 

(From an engraving by E. SERVEN, after C. RICHMOND) 

43. Proclamation of King George V. in the Castle Yard by 

F. J. O. Montagu, Esq., the High Sheriff of Yorkshire 289 

(From a photograph by MESSRS. DEBENHAM & Co.) 

44. Portrait of Captain Twyford, Governor of H.M. Prison, 

author of " The Records of York Castle " . . 312 

45. Portrait of Mr, R, E. Triffitt, Governor of H.M, Prison 313 



Introductory Alleged pre-Norman origin of York Castle 
Burhs not moated mounds Domesday Book and castles 
William the Conqueror erects castles at York Earth and 
timber castles Ditches filled with water and the Foss Pool 
formed Castles besieged and destroyed The Conqueror 
devastates Yorkshire The Castle rebuilt and enlarged 
Motte of Castle artificial Excavations in motte de- 
scribed Restorations of 1130. 

FOR over eight hundred years the Castle of York 
has held a distinguished place in the annals 
of England. It has memories deeply associated with 
our national history and with the struggle for civil 
and religious liberty. Here momentous Councils of 
War, Parliaments, the ancient Courts of Exchequer 
and of the King's Bench, have frequently been held. 
It was the king's storehouse and armoury for the 
North ; and here sturdy craftsmen fabricated the 
long bow, the sword, and other weapons of war. Here 
lance-makers and armourers strenuously supplied the 
munitions of warfare for the many warrior bands that 
marched towards the borders of Scotland. 

As the prison for the whole of Northumbria, not 
a few brave Englishmen have been led through its 
gates to an ignominious death. Martyrs for conscience* 
sake have died broken-hearted within its dark dun- 
geons ; and scores of poor manacled prisoners have 

1 B 

2 The History of the Castle of York 

succumbed to pestilence, starvation, and brutal official 
ill-treatment in its cells. 

A Royal Mint was sometime established within its 
walls ; and at intervals the silence of its courts has 
been broken by the acclamations of excited freeholders 
and the boisterous confusion of county elections. 
Many notable events are associated with the old 
fortress ; and as the centre of authority in the North 
it has played many parts through successive ages and 
generations. What romances ! what comedies ! what 
tragedies of real life have been enacted within its 
ancient precincts. 

In spite of adverse fortune, and the rulings of vary- 
ing governments, its hoary mediaeval keep, sentry- 
like, still looks down upon the old city 

As if defying the power of Fate, or 
The hand of Time, the Innovator. 

As to the origin or foundation of the Castle there 
has been much misconception and not a little guess- 
work. We read that " the first authentic ' mention ' 
of a Castle at York is in the reign of Atheist ane," l 
and " of the origin of this Castle no trustworthy records 
remain." 2 

These vague and unhistoric ass2rtions have been 

gathered from Drake, the learned historian of York. 

He writes " that there was a castle in York long before 

the Conqueror's time I have proved in the annals ; 

which I take to have been in the place already de- 

scrib jd called Old Bayle. This, therefore, I believe, was 

built a solo, but probably on a Roman foundation, by 

William I., and made so strong in order to keep the 

itizcns and Northumbrians in awe, and to preserve 

garrisons better than they were in the former." 3 

"Records of York Castle," Twyford & Griffiths p 3 
Ibld P- 4- " Eboracum," p. 2 86. 

The Norman Period 3 

The item alluded to in the historian's annals, to 
which he has pinned so much faith, reads thus : "Athel- 
stane at his return to York from this victory [Brunan- 
burh] razed the castle to the ground, lest it should 
be any more a nursery of rebellion." 1 

Although these theories have absolutely no founda- 
tion, copyists, as a matter of course, without any 
research or thought, repeat the above erroneous 
statements. It is rather a bold undertaking to dis- 
credit popular tradition and to confute the trusted 
deliverances of an accepted historian ; but, as modern 
experts in archaeology have carefully and scientifically 
conducted an inquiry which has resulted in the iden- 
tification of the real origin of the Castles of York, 
without any apology, we venture to express new 
opinions and register many facts, the results of much 
close reasoning and original research. 

There is no mention of a castle at York in any records 
of Anglo-Saxon date that have been preserved to us. 
Drake, in assuming the existence of a castle at York 
in Anglo-Saxon times, takes as his authority William 
of Malmesbury, who wrote in the twelfth century. 
This annalist mentions a castrum at York and from 
his record the whole theory of a pre-Norman castle 
has been deduced. Malmesbury, who tells of a castrum 
in the time of Athelstane, 2 was doubtless following an 
earlier writer who had used the word as a translation 
of the word burh, which almost certainly referred to 
a valhlm or wall constructed round the Danish suburb 
or burh, known as the Earlsburh, outside the walls of 
York. 3 

1 " Eboracum," p. 79. 

2 " Ethelstanus castrum quod olim Dani in Eboraco ob- 
firmaverant ad solum diruit, ne esset quo se tutari perfidia 
posset " (" Gesta Regum," ii. 134). 

3 Cf. " Early Norman Castles of England," E. S. Armitage 
(English Historical Review, July, 1904). 

4 The History of the Castle of York 

The site of the Earlsburh was not anywhere near 
the Castle, but upon a plot of high ground called Gal- 
man-ho (or Galman-how), upon which in the eleventh 
century St. Mary's Abbey was founded. The Danish 
kings and official Earls of Northumbria had their 
headquarters here. Siward, a valiant soldier of 
repute, who was earl from 1038 to 1055, resided here. 
Some little time before his death he built the church 
of St. Olaf on the outskirts of the burh. 1 Tostig took 
up his abode here ; but ere long he fell into disfavour, 
and in 1065 his huscarls were slain and others were 
drowned in the Ouse below the burh. 2 

One writer suggests that Clifford's Tower is built 
upon a " pre-Roman " Earthwork, 3 and by another 
we are told the castle " claims an origin from those 
of our Teutonic ancestors," 4 but these are mere 

The conical castle mounds of York, and others of 
the same type up and down the country " have also 
occasionally been attributed to the Romans, though 
there is no evidence whatever that the Romans ever 
reared such hillocks. They have also been set down 
to the Scandinavian invaders of England, though they 
are found in parts of the country where the North- 
men never settled, and are not found in Norway or 
Sweden." 5 

It has many times been asserted that these citadel 

| Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 1055. 
2 Cf. Symeon of Durham's account. 
| British Association Handbook," York, 1906, p. 15. 
" Mediaeval Military Architecture," vol. i. pp. '16^33. 
' Some Yorkshire Earthworks " (The Reliquary, vol. vii. 

Mr. George Neilson remarks that, the almost absolute 
absence of mottes from the northernmost counties of Scotland 
the Norse claim at once (Scottish Review, vol. xxxii 
p. 223). 

The Norman Period 5 

mounds were Anglo-Saxon burhs, 1 but modern inves- 
tigations go to prove that a burh was a walled city or 
town, or any walled enclosure. Mr. Round was the 
first to attack this assumption, which had long reigned 
supreme in English archaeology. His article on English 
Castles in the Quarterly Review for 1894 destroyed 
the foundations on which this theory was built. Later 
writers have worked out his ideas to fruitful conclu- 
sions. The word " burh, which is derived from the 
same root as the verb bergian (to shelter), meant 
originally a wall of some kind (whether of earth, wood, 
or stone), built for protection. As in the case of the 
words tun, yard, or garth, and worth or ward, the sense 
of the word became extended from the protecting 
bulwark to the thing protected. . . . Burh is con- 
trasted with wapentake as town with country. And 
in this sense it has descended to our day as borough, 
though, because the word borough has so long meant 
a chartered town, or a town with parliamentary repre- 
sentation, we have forgotten its older meaning of a 
fortified town." 2 

The Anglo-Saxons did not build castles, nor did 
the Britons, nor the pre-historic peoples of Britain. 
Men in the tribal state erected fortifications large 
enough to protect the whole village ; they did not 
build military forts for a small number of fighting 
men, provided with citadels where only the chief and 
a few warriors could take refuge : these belong to 
the feudal period. From the latest inquiry it is clear 
that feudalism was not nearly so far developed among 
the Anglo-Saxons as writers like Mr. Freeman 
have supposed. 

1 " Mediaeval Military Architecture," G. T. Clark, vol. i. 
p. 23, etc. 

2 " Anglo-Saxon Burhs and Early Norman Castles " (Pro- 
ceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, E. S. Armitage, 
vol. xxxiv. pp. 262-3). 

6 The History of the Castle of York 

There is no evidence that York Castle existed prior 
to the Conquest. To say the Normans appropriated 
an earlier fortress is mere fiction. The sites of the 
castles of York we are told in Domesday Book were 
cleared for the Conqueror's new defensive works. 
Any houses there might have been on the newly- 
acquired land would be demolished and their gardens 
made waste and thrown out of cultivation. 1 Where 
Domesday records the devastation of houses and 
lands for castle-works, the latest explanation is that 
new fortifications were built, and not old ones rebuilt. 

In the time of Edward the Confessor, York was 
divided into seven shires or wards. The Normans set 
apart and cleared one whole shire for their new castles. 2 
In 1068, William the Conqueror built his first castle 
at York, the Castle of the Old Baile, 3 on the south- 
west bank of the river Ouse, and placed in it a garrison 
to keep the city and surrounding country in subjec- 
tion. The hardy people of the north stubbornly 

1 Domesday Book records that at Cambridge twenty-seven 
houses were destroyed to make room for the castle ; at Glou- 
cester, " There were sixteen houses where the castle sits, but 
now they are gone, and fourteen have been destroyed within 
the burh of the city " ; at Huntingdon, " there were twenty 
houses on the site of the castle, which are now gone " ; at 
Lincoln, one hundred and sixty-six houses were destroyed to 
furnish the site of the castle ; at Norwich, no less than one 
hundred and thirteen houses were destroyed for the site of 
the castle ; at Shrewsbury, the castle occupied the place of 
fifty-one houses. Some of William's castles were erected on 
property belonging to ecclesiastics who were given other lands 
in exchange for the plots appropriated ; as at Warwick, Can- 
terbury, Corfc, Rochester and Winchester (see " Earl v Norman 
Castles "). 

"In Eburaco civitate T.R.E. praeter scyram archie- 
piscopi fucrunt 6 scyrae ; una ex his est wasta in castellis " 

3 For a full account of the Castle of the Old Baile, see the 
'York: the Story of its Walls, Bars and 
Castles (Elliot Stock), pp. 215-38. 

The Norman Period 7 

resisted the tyrannical invaders ; a revolt compelled 
William to march again to York. He vigorously 
put forth all his martial energies and fell upon the 
citizens and their allies unawares. 

To maintain a stronger hold upon the north he 
erected a second and more important castle on the 
tongue of land at the confluence of the Ouse and Foss 
a site that commended itself from its defensible 
natural position. The Normans mistrusting the half- f 
conquered people of England, and being anxious 
about their personal safety, very frequently, as at 
York, 1 Cambridge, and Winchester, placed their 
fortresses outside the town walls ; a position which 
ensured a ready communication with the army's 
headquarters, or, if necessary, an escape into the 
open country. Some writers on castles, who, like the 
majority of the reading public, believe castles were 
always built of stone, expect some memorials of the 
Conqueror's stone- work would have been found at 
York. 2 But we now find that the castles 3 constructed 
by the Normans in Britain, with very few excep- 
tions, were of earth and timber, a style of efficient 
defensive works they could quickly erect. Such castles 
were numerous and widespread, so that with them 
small garrisons w r ere enabled to keep in subjection 
the vassals and to maintain possession of the 
conquered land. Castles were erected at towns 
whether the inhabitants had submitted peaceably 
or not. 

A moated hillock was first formed, and attached 
to it was a courtyard, or bailey, surrounded by an 

1 The earthbank and walls protecting the Walmgate district 
were not erected until after the formation of the Castle and 
the Foss Pool. 

2 Cf. " Med. Mil. Arch.," vol. ii. p. 548. 

3 Cf. " English Castles," by J. H. Round. Quarterly Review, 

8 The History of the Castle of York 

earthbank surmounted with stout wooden palisades. 
A timber stockade was still standing on the castle 
ramparts at York as late as the thirteenth century. 
We find from various passages in the earliest Close 
Rolls that several other castles were similarly fortified 
as late as the reigns of John and Henry III. In the 
first volume of the Close Rolls, there are at least 
twenty orders given for the supply of timber to repair 
royal castles or city defences for one order given 
for stone. 

The courtyard, within the enclosing banks, con- 
tained several timber buildings, the hall, stables, 
kitchens, workshops, etc., as well as other necessary 
appurtenances of a castle, in most cases built of wood. 
The numerous old dwelling-houses in York yet stand- 
ing and habitable built either partly or wholly of 
timber framing, with lath and plaster walls, is evidence 
not only of the early common practice but of the 
strength and durability of timber as material for 

During the early years of Norman rule the occu- 
pants of the castle had none but hostile neighbours, 
therefore they were compelled to be self-supporting, 
and every trade and craft had to be carried on within 
the castle walls. Whilst a mill near by, worked by 
water, for grinding corn, was also a necessity. 

In our day we are so accustomed to the word castle 
designating a fortress of stone, that we naturally sup- 
pose all castles to have been strongholds of masonry 
from their first foundation. We can scarcely realize 
that during the Norman period the fortresses at York 
were castles of earth and timber, with wooden walls 
or palisades surmounting the enclosing banks. It 
would be impossible for William immediately after 
the subjugation of Yorkshire to build a castle of stone 
York. Wooden castles were easily erected, and 
at this time such castles were in fashion everywhere, 

The Norman Period 9 

in Normandy especially. 1 Earthworks and timber 
stockades were almost the only fortifications the Nor- 
mans employed in England ; and, although York was 
situated on a navigable river, by which stone could be 
brought by water-carriage, many years elapsed before 
it became possible to arrange a system of water- 
transport. It would, therefore, be no easy task to pro- 
cure stone until the turbulent inhabitants of the 
north, so recently conquered, had settled down to 
the inevitable Norman rule. 

Upon the summit of the motte or artificial mound 2 
was placed a wooden tower. The building was 

1 The description of a Norman motte at Merchem, near 
Dixmude, written by John of Colomedia, Archdeacon of 
Terouenne, at the end of the eleventh century, cited by De 
Caumont in his " Abecedaire d'Archaeologie," p. 300, and from 
him by Clark, " Med. Mil. Arch.," i. 34. 

" It chanced that in a town called Merchem Bishop John 
had a guesthouse. There was also close to the court of the 
church a strong place, which might be regarded as a castle or 
a municipium, very lofty, built after the fashion of the country 
by the lord of the town many years ago. For it was customary 
for the rich men and nobles of those parts, because their chief 
occupation is the carrying on of feuds and slaughters, in order 
that they may in this way be safe from enemies, and may 
have the greater power for either conquering their equals or 
keeping down their inferiors, to heap up a mound of earth as 
high as they were able, and to dig round it a broad, open, and 
deep ditch, and to girdle the whole upper edge of the mound, 
instead of a wall, with a barrier of wooden planks, stoutly 
fixed together with numerous turrets set round. Within was 
constructed a house, or rather citadel, commanding the whole, 
so that the gate of entry could only be approached by a bridge, 
which first springing from the counterscarp of the ditch, was 
gradually raised as it advanced, supported by sets of piers, 
two, or even three, trussed on each side over convenient spans, 
crossing the ditch with a managed ascent so as to reach the 
upper level of the mound, landing at its edge on a level at the 
threshold of the gate," etc. 

2 This type of defensive hillock is called in Norman and 
Old French documents a mot or motte (Latin, motd). 

io The History of the Castle of York 

always kept intact and probably used as a citadel to 
which the garrison could betake itself when hard 
pressed ; and it served as a look-out station from 
which to watch the enemy. The wooden keep at 
York was used until one of stone was substituted 
during the reign of King Henry III. 



In those remote warlike days when the sling and 
the bow were the chief weapons of attack it was quite 
sufficient protection for a garrison to be sheltered' 
behind a stockaded bank of earth. That timber 
formed an important part of the fortifications at York 
Castle is evidenced by the Conqueror's grant to Landric 
the Carpenter. He had " ten houses and a half " in 
the city, " which the sheriff made over to him," 1 
probably for special services rendered at the erection 
of the castles. 

f " (A fuU aCCOUnt of the York survey is 

printed m York : the Story of its Walls, etc.," pp. 50-57.) 


12 The History of the Castle of York 

Various types of Norman keeps are figured in that 
valuable contemporary record of the Conquest, "The 
Bayeux Tapestry." 1 In the picture of the taking of 
Dinant by William of Normandy a typical moated 
hillock and a wooden keep are represented, and the 
Conqueror's soldiery, with pick, spade and shovel, 
are portrayed in another compartment of the pic- 
torial narrative, entrenching and throwing up a motte 
at Hastings. The torch was as familiar a weapon as 
the sword to the soldier of the Norman age, and in the 
picture reproduced from tapestry of the period, two 
warriors are shown with torches trying to set fire 
to the timber stockade and wooden keep. 

The topographical aspect of York having been altered 
in an almost inconceivable manner by successive 
generations since Anglo-Saxon times, it is almost 
impossible to picture the site of the castle before the 
Normans introduced their fortification works. The 
change on this front of the city has been so remarkable 
that by the incredulous and casual reader its eleventh- 
century aspect is not easily imagined. We must 
picture to ourselves a slight depression in the landscape 
from Monk Bridge, taking the course of the present 
river Foss, towards Fishergate, with the original 
rivulet flowing through the valley, but of course at a 
much lower level. 

In planning the fortress a strong dam was placed 
across the valley just below the chief entrance to the 
castle, and the pent-up water was thus driven around 
both the castle bailey and the citadel mound, adding 
greater security to an already strong position. 

In damming this stream, according to the military 
science of the time to secure water in the castle ditch 
or fosse, a large tract of land was submerged, forming 
an immense lake ; mentioned in Domesday as the 

" The Bayeux Tapestry, a History and Description " 
Frank R. Fowke, 1898. 

The Norman Period I 3 

King's Pool. By these means, it is evident, there 
would be formed a large pool and a mill pond, at two 
levels, which must have rendered the approach of an 
enemy exceedingly difficult and hazardous. Little 
water came over the dam, except in flood times ; there- 
fore the level surface of the dam would be well suited 
for an entrance causeway or approach to the castle 
gate ; although at a later date we have evidence of a 
timber bridge opposite the great gate. Below, a 
second and much smaller pool was arranged which 
protected the dam and causeway and served the castle 
mill, which was situated nearer to the tidal river Ouse. 

The larger sheet of water effectually defended the 
east front of the castle ; and an arm of it, connected 
just above the dam, was looped around its west 
frontier until it reached the motte and united with 
the broader expanse of water. The fortress was thus 
encircled by water. The pool, which covered above 
one hundred acres, besides being a protection to the 
castle and having a military significance, became a 
Royal Fishery l wherein none but the king's men 
were allowed to fish without a royal licence. Only 
two boats were permitted upon the lake, firstly that 
of the Castle and subsequently one belonging to the 
Carmelite Friars. 

The site of the historic pool is now almost, if not 
entirely, obliterated, and its former existence and im- 
portance well-nigh lost sight of. As in the case of most 
memorials of York, a Roman origin was at one time attri- 
buted to this pool or basin, which Drake says afforded 
a safe anchorage for ships and galleys. 2 That such a 
pool existed in pre-Norman times is a matter of mere 
romantic fancy. The undeniable evidence of Domes- 
day, in this instance, has been misinterpreted or 

1 Its history, together with a list of custodians, is given in 
" York : the Story of its Walls." 

2 " Eboracum," pp. 40-41. 

14 The History of the Castle of York 

ignored. In reading the jecords aright the real origin 
of the lake and its purpose are easily explained. 
Traces of the ditch surrounding the motte, and of 
that on the west side of the Castle are indicated on 
seventeenth and eighteenth century plans, and these 
ditches were not entirely obliterated until early in 
the nineteenth century. 

In the suburbs (that is, without the city walls, but 
within the limits of the civic boundary), was a large 
tract of fertile land, here and there fenced off and 
cultivated by the citizens. This area is described in 
Domesday thus, " In the geld of the city there are 
eighty-four carucates of land." It was amenable to 
city taxes, "and each of them" that is, each carucate 
" rendered as much geld [tax] as one house in the 
city. ... Of this land, the King's Pool [stagnum 
regis] destroyed two new mills worth twenty shillings 
(a year), and of arable land and meadows and gardens 
nearly one carucate," which in the time of Edward the 
Confessor " was worth sixteen shillings ; now, three 
shillings." A stagnum was standing water a large 
pool, or pond. This stagnum regis, the King's Pool, 
mentioned in Domesday was really the artificial lake 
formed when the Castle was planned and erected, and 
the " two new mills " had been worked by the original 
stream which had become submerged and obliterated. 

The limits of the Castle enclosures have been altered 
on several occasions and the ground plan of the Nor- 
man works can now only be conjectured. Many of 
William's castle-baileys resembled in outline the figure 
of 8, with the upper limb very much smaller than the 
lower. Frequently, however, the court was semi- 
lunar in form ; but rectangular baileys seem on the 
whole to have predominated in the castles built by 
the Conqueror. 

The shape of the bailey at York was irregular in 
plan. On the east the rampart formed the bank of 

The Norman Period i 5 

the King's Pool. On the west the rampart appears 
to have run in an almost straight line from the south 
angle towards the motte. The crest of the counter- 
scarp of the ditch on this side, and that portion which 
circled the mound, would probably be palisaded to 
match the inner rampart. The area of the lower ward 
within the ditches was about four acres. The motte, 
which was formed from the spoil of a broad and deep 
circumscribing ditch, is now at least 50 feet high, 
about 100 feet across the top, and, originally, it was 
more than 200 feet in diameter at its base. 

" The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle implies, though it 
does not directly state, that both the castles of York 
were built in 1068, on the occasion of William's first 
visit to York. The more detailed narrative of Orderi- 
cus shows that one was built in 1068, and the other at 
the beginning of 1069 on William's second visit." 1 

It has been said that the Castle was erected in 
eight days, during William's sojourn in the city. The 
statement of Ordericus, the original authority, who 
records 2 the King's visit, does not necessarily imply 
that the fortress was erected in so short a time. 

When the Castle was completed and garrisoned, 
William left it in charge of one of his most trusted 
warrior-chiefs, William Fitz-Osbern; whom the 
early chroniclers accuse of building castles widely 
throughout the land and oppressing the poor. 

In the autumn of 1069 the signal for a more formid- 
able rebellion came from Swegen, King of Denmark ; 
his fleet of above two hundred ships, which he had been 
secretly preparing for two years, unexpectedly arrived 
in the Humber. The appearance of their Danish 

1 " Early Norman Castles of England " (English Hist. 

2 " Rex autem dies octo in urbe morans alterum praesidium 
condidit, et Guillelmum Comitem Osbsrni filium ad custodien- 
dum reliquit" (Ordericus Vitalis, 512 D.). 

1 6 The History of the Castle of York 

allies encouraged the Northumbrians to make a des- 
perate resistance ; they rose almost to a man. They 
flocked to the river as their rendezvous, and as the 
fleet sailed towards York an ever-increasing army 
thronged the banks, some walking and others riding. 

The remnant of the Anglo-Saxon and Danish popu- 
lation of York detested the Normans, and were ever 
ready to attack their oppressors who had ruthlessly 
seized their lands and houses, many of the latter having 
been destroyed to make room for the odious castles 
which dominated the city. 

Before the onslaught on the castles took place the 
Norman commanders fired the houses near their for- 
tresses, lest the approaching army might shelter 
therein or use the materials to fill up the trenches 
around their fortifications. The flames unfortunately 
spreading beyond control, the whole city was soon on 
fire and the Minster was destroyed in the conflagration. 

When the Danes and their Northumbrian allies 
arrived, a determined and simultaneous attack was 
made upon both castles. After a fierce struggle the 
fortresses were taken. The garrisons were slain, and 
only William's two commanders, William Malet and 
Gilbert de Ghent and their families, were spared as 
hostages. Fitz-Osbern appears to have left the city 
some time before the revolt. The besiegers sacked 
and dismantled the castles, and the Danes carried away 
to their galleys much plunder, leaving the unorganized, 
but stubborn, Northumbrians to bear the brunt of 
William's vengeance. Before venturing to sea, how- 
ever, their ships remained in the Humber all the 

The King was hunting in the Forest of Dean, in 
Gloucestershire, when the news of the loss of York 
and the slaughter of his garrison reached him. Ex- 
asperated by repeated revolts against his authority, 
in an outburst of wrath he swore, by " the splendour 

The Norman Period 17 

of God," to avenge himself on Northumbria. He 
gathered his forces together and rapidly marched 
towards the Humber, falling upon a company of Danes 
in Lincolnshire which he put to flight. 

Reaching York, William found the city deserted ; 
the Northumbrians had fled in sullen despair at the 
approach of his dreaded presence. After harrying 
and burning many towns and villages in Yorkshire, 


1 8 The History of the Castle of York 

thousands of the inhabitants of which were slain, the 
unrelenting Conqueror, to commemorate his triumphs 
of butchery, kept Christmastide (the festival of peace 
and goodwill), amid the desolate and blackened ruins 
of the northern capital. 

The dismantled castles at York were repaired ; and 
this, the most important one, seems to have been 
enlarged, for the burgesses declared 1 that William 
de Perci included Uctred's house within the castle 
works after he returned from the expedition to Scot- 
land in 1072. Perci denied this and affirmed that 
he had appropriated it for the Castle by direction of 
Hugh Fitz Baldric, the Sheriff, when the fortress was 
restored in 1070, the year after it was destroyed by 
the Danes. The lower bailey may have been added 
at this time and inclosed with a wall when the wooden 
palisades of the great bailey were superseded in 
the thirteenth century by an enceinte of stone. 
There are several references to a baile bridge, a 
communication from one bailey to another. 

When the castles were destroyed in 1069, the 
wooden defences do not appear to have been burned, 
but demolished, and the timbers were broken and 
wasted. 2 The wooden keep was restored by William 
the Conqueror, and remained more or less intact 
until it was burnt down in the massacre of the Jews 
at the Castle in 1190. 

In 1903 when the present stone keep was under- 
pinned, excavations were made in the mound, and at 
a depth of 13 feet, beneath a quantity of charred 
wood, were found remains of a wooden structure. 
The excavations disclosed the interesting fact that 
the motte is entirely artificial. The digging was 
diligently watched by two local archaeologists, and 

1 See Domesday Book. 

" Thone castel tobraecon and towurpan " (A. S. Chronicle). 
See " Early Norman Castles." 


20 The History of the Castle of York 

although we do not agree with all their conclusions, 
the following paragraph from their valuable report is 
exceedingly interesting. 

" The mound is an artificial one ; cuttings made in 
the sides at a distance of 25 feet from the boundary 
wall towards the centre failed to show any natural 
core. A trench 15 feet 6 inches deep was sunk within 
the keep, and a boring was made 10 feet 6 inches 
from the bottom of this trench. Both trench and 
boring, which together went down to within 10 feet 
of the ground level, revealed nothing but loose made 
soil. At a depth of 13 feet in this trench and again 
at 15 feet 6 inches were found remains of timber work 
that point to the existence of a wooden fortification 
preceding the existing shell keep and built on a smaller 
mound. This mound has been increased to its present 
dimensions with great care and with enormous labour. 1 
In order to give the newer mound stability, an outer 
crust of firmer and more clayey material has been 
made round the older summit, and lighter material 
has been placed inside this crater to bring it up to the 
necessary level. The occurrence of a considerable 
quantity of charred wood above the lower series of 
timber remains, indicates that the wooden fortifica- 
tions have suffered from fire. . . . The existence of a 
second layer of timber work seems to show that the 
fortification thus destroyed was rebuilt in wood." 2 

What restorations and repairs at the Castle were 
executed during the remainder of the Norman Period 
we have no means of ascertaining. It is recorded on 
the Pipe Roll of Henry I. that a sum of five marks, 

1 The motte of Carisbrooke Castle is composed of alternate 
layers of large and small chalk rubble ; at Almondbury near 
Huddersfield, layers of stone were introduced into the motte 

Early Norman Castles," p. 15.) 

'Notes on Clifford's Tower," Yorks. Philosophical So- 
ciety s Report, by George Benson and H. Platnauer 

The Norman Period 21 

and a second amount of 4 135. 4^. were expended 
" in operationibus regis de Everwic." x Although 
the precise work is not mentioned, it is presumed the 
work alluded to at this time was in connexion with 
the King's Castle at York. 

1 " Acca filius Ernebrandi reddit compotem de 5 marcis 
argenti de placitis Walter! Espec et Eustacii fil. Johannis : 
in operationibus regis de Everwic libavit." " In opibus regis 
de Everwic 4 135. 4^." Pipe Roll 31 Henry I. (1130), pp. 
27, 28. 



Henry II. and castle works Henry visits York, 

Castle turris or wooden keep repaired, 1172 Royal 
apartments in keeps Castle repairs during the reign 
of Richard I. Massacre of the Jews Timber turris 
and other buildings restored, 1191 King John visits 
York Castle ; repairs and work during his reign Irish 
prisoners ironed, 1210 Geoffrey de Nevill holds York 
for King John, 1215 City fortifications strengthened 
Henry III. visits York Repairs at the Castle, 1218 to 
1 22 1 Breaches in the palisades repaired, 1225 Turris 
dismantled by storm of wind, 1228 Gaol repaired and 
a house built for the king, 1238 -Great Tower erected, 
1245-59 Annual payments for work -Tower chapel 
finished, vestments, chaplain, etc., provided Approved 
men keeping the Castle Architectural description of the 

MANY of the mediseval castles throughout Eng- 
land were the erections and residences of 
great baronial families whose illustrious patronymics 
are intimately associated with the history of our 
country. There were also several royal castles ; that 
of York being one of the most important strongholds 
held by the Crown. Its history can hence be traced 
by perusing the Pipe, Close, and Patent Rolls, and 
other records of the realm. 

These primary authorities have not been searched 
by previous writers for the history of York Castle, 
and it would appear much valuable historical matter 
has till now remained absolutely unrevealed. These 


The Plantagenet Period 23 

collected state papers contain many entries for the 
repair and defence of castles in the possession of the 
Crown. Royal castles were maintained at the public 
expense, and the successive Sheriffs of Yorkshire, 
who had charge of all Crown fortresses in the county, 
were from time to time, as necessity required, directed 
to restore and strengthen them, and the costs were 
charged and allowed in the Sheriffs' accounts. 

The first of the Plantagenet kings, Henry II., is 
known to have been a great builder, and gave much 
of his attention to castle works. To suppress the 
rebellious spirit of the barons, and to strengthen his 
rule, he dismantled numerous minor castles during 
his reign and took several others, which were a menace 
to public order, into his own hands. 

He visited many castles, and in his journeyings we 
find he stayed at York during February 1155, 
January 1158, June 1163, and August 1175. In 1172 
he spent 15 l in repairing the turris 2 or wooden 
keep 3 which William I. rebuilt after the Northumbrian 
insurrection, and David, the King's Lardiner, an 
important local magnate, had charge of the work. 

Henry's visit to York in August 1175 was the 
most significant. The King, on this occasion, received 
the homage of William, King of Scots. During 
Henry's stay in the city he would securely lodge in 
the timber turris on the castle motte, as at this 

1 " In operatione Turris de Euerwich 157. 75. 3^. per breve 
Regis et per visum Davidii le Lardenarii " (Pipe Rolls, vol. 
19, p. 2, 19 Hen. II.). 

2 The usual word for describing a keep was turris, a name 
frequently met with in the Rolls, and which is never applied 
to an ordinary mural tower ("Early Norman Castles"). 

3 The motte oi Warwick Castle had wooden structures on 
its summit. "In operatione unius domus in mota de Ware- 
wich et unius bretaschie 5/ 75. nd." (Pipe Roll, 20 Henry 
II. cited in "Early Norman Castles"). 

24 The History of the Castle of York 

early period of unrest the royal chambers were in the 
keep. 1 

While at York Henry held Pleas of the Forest; 
and the ordinary Assizes, presided over by William 
de Lanvall and Thomas Bassett, appear to have been 
held during the King's visit. Another court of a 
different kind of judicature than that at which the 
two Justiciars presided was also held in the Castle, 
at which the King in person was president. 2 

As the Castle was still primarily a military centre, 
and the visits of the King's Itinerant Justices were not 
at fixed regular periods, a permanent hall for holding 
pleas had not been built, and doubtless the courts 
would sit in the royal tent or pavilion. 3 

During the reign of Richard I., we find the following 
charges for work and repairs recorded on the (unpub- 
lished) Pipe Rolls. 

s. d. 

A.D. 1190 In. opat. Castelli . . . o n o 

1191 In. opat. Cast. . . . 28 13 9 

,, 1191 In operacionibus motae et cast. 179 3 4 
H93 Pro domibus in cast, emendan- 

dis o 13 4 

1199 In emendat. castelli . . o 17 7 

The most important reference is that of 1191. The 
frightful massacre of the Jews took place in York in 

Chamber ^stored in the keep of Arundel 
" When 

in M^ A T , F0;> 11 ' 1 wnen tne Hingwas 

i Normandy he lodged for some time at Gerni, or Mote- 

% I, 11 ? 1 " Damfront ' where he was taken seriously ill 
hUi wffl y m thC r yal Chamber of the turri s he made 

Kirlg^etry^Il' " ^* "\ ^^ Household ' and Itinerary of 
" Henry II.," p Ig ^ 

The Plantagenet Period 25 

March 1190, when a lawless rabble, with callous 
injustice, attacked the Jewish community. The 
affrighted Jews sought protection from the Sheriff of 
the County, John de Marshall, and by his permission 
placed their families in a tower of the Castle, the 
wooden keep on the motte, and in other buildings 
within the fortress. 

The refugees unfortunately were not secure against 
attack, and the infuriated mob besieged the Castle 
and put many to death. Several of the chief Jews 
rather than fall into the hands of the fanatical popu- 
lace massacred their families and then ended their 
own lives by self-destruction. Many of the dead 
were shut up in the King's house below the motte, and 
a fire having been laid, the building with its ghastly 
contents was consumed, and the tower on the motte 
was also destroyed during the conflagration. 

No time was lost in restoring the turris and other 
buildings, and 207 175. id. was expended on the new 
work. In considering this sum, we must remember 
that the purchasing power of such an amount was 
many times greater than that of our day. 

The excavations of 1903 disclosed the charred 
remains of the burned keep, and it was noticed that 
before the new turris was erected the motte had been 
raised almost to it^ present level. 

The restless and arrogant King John ascended the 
throne in May 1199. He travelled about the country 
in his endeavour to quell the secret conspiracies of 
his nobles, and the disaffection of the people. During 
his brief reign he visited most of the fortresses of Eng- 
land, and continually changed the castellans of Royal 
Castles lest they should establish local influence and 
power which might curb his kingly prerogative. 

He came to York in 1200 expecting that William 
King of Scotland would meet him, as he had com- 
manded ; but the Scottish sovereign did not come. 

26 The History of the Castle of York 

John arrived in the city on Saturday, March 25, and 
stayed until the following Tuesday. Besides the dis- 
appointment of the non-appearance of King William, 
the citizens angered their King by not going out to 
meet and welcome him to the city. For their apparent 
disloyalty he fined them 100. John, no doubt, 
sullenly retired to his chamber in the Castle turris, 1 
and brooded over his many state vexations. The 
King would sleep in the turris, free from any appre- 
hension of danger. In addition to his personal atten- 
dants, two or more vigilant crossbow-men stationed 
on duty within the gate of the tower, and other men-at- 
arms in the base court kept guard. The royal servants 
provided the King's meals in the hall, still probably 
only a timber building, in the bailey below the motte. 
If the King required exercise he could take unmo- 
lested walks in the courtyard on the motte ; the 
chcmin-de-ronde, which was protected by a stockade, 
overlooked the city and surrounding country. The 
present keep, unlike its smaller predecessor of wood, 
occupies nearly the whole of the summit, and as the 
size of the motte has been somewhat reduced by floods, 

1 That the apartments in the towers on the mottes were 
used at this date as residences is evidenced by the following 
extract, one of many similar requests. 

^ Whilst Eleanor the King's cousin was staying in Gloucester 
Castle, Henry III. sent his beloved and faithful Robert Lovel 
to assist her keepers, assigned for her custody, commanding 
that Lovel should be admitted into the Castle and tower, so 
that he might have free ingress and egress to and from 'the 
tower, but that his suite should remain without in the Castle. 
And at the same time the King sent thither, for the garrison 
and safeguard of the said Castle, ten servants on horse and 
four crossbow-men on foot, ordering such and so many of the 
crossbow-men as the said Robert should name to lie every 
night within the two gates of the tower, and the said servants 
remain day and night without in the Castle (Close Rolls 
May 15, 7 Henry III., p. 34 6) 

The Plantagenet Period 27 

the original elevated courtyard would be of consider- 
able area. 

Some important work was executed at the Castle 
about the time of the King's visit, which cost for stone 
and lime a little over 37. 1 One of the Castle bridges 
also required attention and a house in the bailey was 
repaired. This record of work is of interest, as it is 
the earliest mention of stone being used at the Castle. 

In castles of earth and timber, as well as in similar 
city defences, the gateway was always considered the 
weakest point. Many castle gateways show by their 
early style that they were the first works in masonry 
put up at these castles. 2 We know that the ram- 
parts of the Castle were for many subsequent years 
defended by stockades, therefore it is presumed this 
early work in masonry was the Castle gate. 

In 1 20 1 John was again at the Castle and other 5 
was spent in repairs ; in 1202 i 6s. 8d. ; and in 
1203 i 45. yd. The year 1204 witnessed further 
work, costing 14 75. 4^. ; doubtless some of this was 

1 Repairs and work at the Castle during King John's reign. 
A.D. 1200. Pro petra trahenda de quareria ad castellum 2O/. 

Et in attractu petre et calcis et aliorum necessarium cum ponte 
ad idem castellum, I2/. 45. lod. Et in rep. domorum in eodem 
castello 5/. 75. gd. 1201. In reparatione cast. Ebor. 45. Item 
in emendatione predicti cast. 5/. 1202. In emendatione castetti 
i/. 6s. Sd. 1203. In emendatione cast. . . . (MS. faded) qd. 
In emendatione cast. il. 35. io^d. 1204. In custamento posito 
ad attractum factum ad firmandum cast. Ebor. nl. Et in 
emendat. predicti cast. 3/. 75. 4^. 1205. In emendat. gaiole et 
castetti 2.1. 125. $d. 1206. In emendat. castetti 135. 40?. 1207. 
In emendat. castetti et gaiole il. 135. 4^. 1210. In reparatione 
domorum et pontium in castro Ebor. et in ferramentis prisonum 
de Ybernia ^l. 55. 1211. In reparatione pontium et domorum 
in castello il. (1213 Roll missing). 1214. In emendatione cast, 
il. 2S. I am indebted for these extracts from the unpublished 
Pipe Rolls of King John, to Mrs. E. S. Armitage, who has 
had the Rolls specially searched for Castle items. 

2 Cf. Exeter, Lewes, Arundel, Bramber, Ongar, Fleshy, 
and Tickhill, all of which have early Norman gatehouses. 

28 The History of the Castle of York 

done under the personal superintendence of the King 
himself as we know from dated charters, etc., that he 
was in York from Saturday, February 21, until 
Monday, March 2. The identical order for the ma- 
terials is highly interesting. 1 John requested the 
Sheriff of Yorkshire to purchase as much stone and 
lime as possible, probably from quarries near Sherburn 
or Towton, and have it shipped at Ulleskelf on the 
river Wharfe, and thence brought by water to York. 

On March 6, 7 and 8, 1205, the King was in York 
and 2 I2s. -$d. was spent in repairing the gaol. His 
visit in 1206 lasted from Wednesday, February 8, 
until the I3th and repairs at the Castle only cost 
135. ^d. this year. In 1207 he was in the city on 
May 26, 27 and 28 and 2 135. <\d. was expended in 
repairs. In 1208 he only stayed one day, August 
7, and nothing is charged for work this year. In 1210 
he made two visits, March 27 to 30, and again at 
Christmas ; and repairing a house and bridge in the 
Castle, and irons for some Irish prisoners who were 
in durance vile at York, cost 4 55. The King did 
not honour York with his presence in 1211, but a 
bridge and a house in the Castle were repaired at a 
cost of i. 

The Castle had three or more bridges and it is 
difficult to say which needed the repairs alluded to at 
the different dates mentioned. Probably each one 
in turn received the necessary attention. The 
chief gate opposite Fishergate was approached by a 
timber bridge carried over the ditch, as was also the 
gate towards the city on the east side of the motte, 
where the street of Castlegate led directly up to the 

" Rex Vicecomiti Eboraci : Precipimus tibi quod omnem 

ttractum quod facere potetis de lapide et calce facias ad 

irmandum castellum nostrum de Eboraco, et attractum 

ilium venire facias super acquam usque Uoskel " (Close Rolls 

1204, p. 4 6). 

The Plantagenet Period 29 

gateway. The turris on the motte was probably 
entered by a steep trestle bridge spanning the wide 
circumscribing ditch, as drawbridges do not appear 
to have been commonly used in England at this period. 

No visits of King John are recorded in 1212 and 1213. 
Castle works in 1214 amounted to i zs. In 1216 
the Yorkshire Barons were opposed to John, but he 
vigorously marched northwards to the discomfiture 
of his enemies. He rested at York on January 4 and 
then passed on to Berwick-on-Tweed ; he returned 
by way of Scarborough and Kirkham and arrived in 
the Minster city for the last time February 15 ; but, 
ever on the move, he was off again by the i8th. At 
this time Geoffrey de Nevill, his trusted Chamberlain, 
held York and Scarborough and put their defences 
in order. The citizens of York were aided in repair- 
ing their fortifications by a grant of timber from the 

As previously stated, William the Conqueror erected 
the Castle outside the then existing city defences, 
but by the beginning of the thirteenth century the 
district beyond the Castle Pool had become largely 
populated and required inclosing by some defence. 
Nevill, besides enlarging the city ditch on the west 
side of the river Ouse in 1215-16, appears to have 
formed a ditch and its accompanying rampart l from 
the brink of the Fosse Pool near the Red Tower, carry- 
ing it around the greater part of the Walmgate suburb, 
terminating at a point opposite the Castle Gate near 
Fishergate Postern Tower. 

Henry III. succeeded his father, King John, October 
28, 1216, and reigned a little over fifty-six years. 
During his long reign his castle works throughout 
the country generally consisted of structural additions 
of an ornate character. A growth in luxury resulted 

1 Evidence that the Walmgate earthwork is of this period 
is given in " York : the Story of its Walls," pp. 107-08. 

30 The History of the Castle of York 

in more commodious domestic apartments, both within 
the keeps and the houses in the lower wards. The 
records of Henry's reign contain many accounts of 
expenditure of this nature, walls were painted in 
fresco, chapels and oratories were built and windows 
were adorned with stained glass. 

The keep at York, which is Henry's work, is one 
of the most notable achievements of his reign, a signifi- 
cant discovery recorded and published, for the first 
time, by Mrs. Armitage in " Early Norman Castles of 

On the unpublished Pipe Rolls of Henry III., are 
numerous items entered for work at the Castle. Par- 
ticulars of these have been kindly placed at our service 
by the lady mentioned above, who has done so much 
to elucidate the early history of English castles. An 
attempt is here made to merge each item of import- 
ance into the narrative of this period in chronological 
and historical sequence, so that they take their places 
in an intelligible progression. 

In the third year of Henry's reign, 1218-19, tne 
repair of the Castle cost 4 135. 4^. The King in 
June 1221, accompanied by many nobles, witnessed 
the marriage of his sister Princess Joan to Alexander 
II. of Scotland, in the Minster. Where the King 
lodged on this occasion is not certain ; he may have 
been a guest at the palace of his trusty friend and 
counselor, Archbishop Gray. The Castle, neverthe- 
less, was overhauled and also the houses in the great 
bailey, probably the King's Hall, at a cost of i 6s. 8d. 
Ihe wages for the year of two approved men-at-arms 
guarding the fortress totalled i los. 8d. ; and 135 4 d 
was paid in arming them. The following regnal year 
22, the King spent 3 6s. 8d. on similar repairs' 

e approved men received i 6s $d 
That th> earthbanks of the Castle still had wooden 
>ckades ln 1225 is proved by valuable contemporary 

The Plantagenet Period 31 

evidence furnished by the Close Rolls. In this year 
the King sent a mandate to Galfredo de Cumpton, 1 
the forester of Galtres Forest, requesting that timber 
be forwarded to the Castle for the repair of the breaches 
in the palisade (breccas palicii). Instructions were 
given that the sheriff had to be informed of how many 
logs were sent. It shows also that the " domos " of 
the Castle, probably the hall, stable, barn, brew-house, 
or smithy were timber erections, and these as well as a 
bridge were restored. 

King Henry kept Christmas at York in 1228 ; and 
probably during the winter, a severe storm of wind 
passed over the city and dismantled the wooden turris 
on the motte, for we find the sum of two shillings was 
paid " for collecting the timber of York Castle blown 
down by the wind." 2 

The wage of a labourer was one half -penny per day, 
so that if four men were employed to gather up the 

1 " Mandatum est Galfredo de Cumpton forestario de 
Gauteris (Galtres) quod ad pontem et domos castri Eboraci 
et breccas paHcii (the breaches in the stockade) ejusdem castri 
reparandos et emendados Vicecomitem Eboraci maeremium 
(timber) habere faciat in foresta de Gauteris per visum viri- 
dariorum (the foresters), ita quod ipse habeat unam talliam 
et idem Vicecomes contra talliam (counter-tally) de tot fustis 
(of how many Jogs) quot idem Vicecomes ad hoc recepit. 
x die Sept. 1225 " (Close Rolls, ii. p. 616). The palisades of 
Norwich Castle were also repaired in 1225 (sae " Early 
Norman Castles"). 

2 " Pro mairemio castri Ebor. prostrate per ventum colli- 
gendo, 2s." (Unpublished Pipe Roll, 19 Henry HI.)- " It is, 
of course, a conjecture that this accident happened to the 
keep ; but the keep would be the most exposed to the wind, 
and the scattering of the timber, so that it had to be collected, 
is just what would happen if a timber structure were blown 
off a motte" (see "Early Norman Castles"). A similar 
accident happened at Wallingford Castle in 1223, the hurdi- 
cium, probably the wooden galleries placed on the highest 
part of towers and walls to defend the base, was blown down 
(" E.N.C."). 

32 The History of the Castle of York 

timbers, it must have taken them a fortnight to com- 
plete their work. Perhaps we shall not be far wrong 
if we conclude that the keep was totally wrecked, 
because no repairs are accounted for on the rolls of 
the following seventeen years. The King may have 
decided to erect a keep of masonry, as important 
subsequent charges enrolled are for building the present 


In Henry's twenty-third year, 1238-39, 57 175. 7Jrf. 
was paid for repairing the gaol " and for making a 
certain new house for the use of the King before the 
same gaol," and Nicholas Winemere and Geoffrey de 
Stocton had the oversight of the work. 

The Castle keep l is one of the most noteworthy 
examples of mediaeval military architecture in Britain, 
and the only tower existing of quatrefoil plan. What 
is still more extraordinary is that documentary evidence 
exists which gives us the exact date and cost of the 
tower, and as the writer of " Early Norman Castles in 
England " observes : " this remarkable fact has 
slumbered in the unpublished Pipe Rolls for nearly 
700 years, never having been unearthed by any of the 
numerous historians of York." 

In 1244 dissension arose between Henry and Alex- 
ander, King of Scotland, caused by an alleged breach 
of the treaty arranged at York in 1237. King Henry 
had at that time granted certain manors in the coun- 
ties of Northumberland and Cumberland to his brother- 
in-law, who had to do homage for them, and render 
every year a goshawk to the captain of Carlisle Castle. 
Henry hastily marched through York and assembled 

1 The keep is commonly known as Clifford's Tower. As 
the alleged early use and origin of this name is due to one of 
the guesses of Drake and his contemporaries, for which there 
is not the slightest historical evidence, we purpose not using 
such designation until we first find the keep so styled, viz. in 
official documents of the sixteenth century. 

The Plantagenet Period 


his army at Newcastle, whither the Scottish King 
was advancing with his forces. War was only averted 
by the timely pleading of Archbishop Gray and the 





E WELL (46ftdp.l902). 




English nobles with both kings, and peace was renewed 
between the sovereigns on August 13. 

King Henry, anticipating further trouble, and 
knowing the weakness of his castle at York with its 

34 The History of the Castle of York 

ruined turris, doubtless decided to strengthen the 
fortress, and make it an effective bulwark and barrier 
against Scottish aggression. As the work was com- 
menced in real earnest the next year this inference 
is probably correct. 

The following particulars giving details of the erec- 
tion and cost of the keep are those of the unpublished 
Pipe Rolls of Henry III., which are still preserved 
at the Record Office. The work was started in the 
regnal year 1245-46, and occupied thirteen years 
until its completion in 1258-59, and several substantial 
part payments were made during the progress of the 


s. d. 
3oth Henry III. In charges for the works of the 

1245-46. Castle of York 200 marcs.. 133 6 8 

In strengthening the said 
Castle 200 marcs. . . 133 6 8 

To the keeper of the works of 

York Castle 200 marcs. .133 6 8 
In making the chapel of the 
same Castle, with " plas- 
tura " . . . 30 8 3^ 

3ist Henry HI. In the works and structure of 

1246-47 York Castle 400 marcs. . 266 13 4 

32nd Henry III. In the works and structure of 

1247-48. York Castle 300 marcs. . 200 o o 

33rd Henry III. In the works and structure of 

1248-49. York Castle 300 marcs. . 200 o o 

34th Henry III. In the works and structure of 

1249-50. York Castle 300 marcs. .200 o o 

The same R[obert de Crep- 
ping], the King's Sheriff ac- 
counts for 200 marcs . 133 6 8 
3?th Henry III. To the keepers of the works of 
1 2 52-53 York Castle doing the same 


38th Henry III. I n the works of roofing the 
1253-54- Castle of York 

200 O 

i 8 

The Plantagenet Period 35 

42nd Henry III. In the King's works in York s. d. 
1257-58. Castle .... 197 3 10 

In roofing the King's work in 
York Castle and the pur- 
chase of stone and lime for 
the same works . . 10 n 6 
In finishing the King's Chapel 594 
43rd Henry III. In finishing the works of the 

1258-59. Castle 1 of York . . 88 3 4 

Total Cost ^1,932 17 u 

This amount, just upon 2,000, is equivalent to 
about 40,000 of our time, the approximate cost of 
such a tower if built to-day. 

1 " The keep of York is clearly Early English in style, and 
of an early phase of the style. It is, however, evident to any 
one who has carefully compared our dated keeps that castle 
architecture always lags behind church architecture in develop- 
ment, and must therefore be judged by different standards. 
We should, therefore, be prepared to find this and most other 
keeps to be of later date than their architecture would suggest. 
Moreover, the expenditure entered to York Castle in the reigns 
of Henry II., Richard I., and John is quite insufficient to 
cover the cost of a stone keep. The Pipe Rolls of Henry 
III.'s reign decide the matter, as they show the sums which 
he expended annually on this castle. It is true they never 
mention the turris, but always the castrum ; we must also 
admit that the turris and castrum of York are often sharply 
distinguished in the writs, even as late as Edward III.'s reign 
(Close Rolls, 1334). On the other hand, extensive acquaint- 
ance with the Pipe Rolls proves that though the mediaeval 
scribe may have an occasional fit of accuracy, he is generally 
very loose in his use of words, and his distinctions must never 
be pressed. Take, for instance, the case of Orford, where the 
word used in the Pipe Rolls is always castellum ; but it cer- 
tainly refers to the keep, for there are no other buildings at 
Orford. Other instances might be given in which the word 
castellum clearly applies to the keep. It should be mentioned 
that in 1204 John gave an order for stone for the Castle (Close 
Rolls, i. 4b), but the amounts which follow the bill for it in 
the Pipe Rolls show that it was not used for any extensive 
building operations " (" Early Norman Castles," note part 
2, p. 30). 

36 The History of the Castle of York 

Most keeps had an oratory or chapel for devotional 
worship, and in many instances as here they were 
placed in the forebuildings or gatehouses. It has 
been regarded as certain that the gatehouse and the 
keep are not coeval erections. 1 This theory may 
have arisen because the west side exterior facing 
stones of the former are not bonded into the keep ; 
but it must be remembered this particular wall and 
the forebuilding front were restorations of the seven- 
teenth century. We have positive contemporary 
documentary evidence that the gatehouse was erected 
during the building of the keep, and in the chapel 
above the gate" 1 remains of the original handsome 
Early English arcading, embellished with the dog- 
tooth moulding, may still be observed, though much 

During the great work of building the tower, we 
find that the gatehouse, which probably was a little 
over two-thirds the height of the tower, was finished 
before the upper parts and the battlements of the keep 
were completed. 

The rolls distinctly state that : "In making the 
chapel of the same castle with ' plastura,' 30 8s. 3 J^. 
was incurred in 1245-46. The same year 2 i6s. 
was spent on the purchase of the chaplain's vestment, 
and a chalice for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. 
The aumbry, for the safe-keeping of the sacred vessels, 
is on the north side of the oratory, a deep recess let 
into the wall of the keep. The work of the chapel 
had so far progressed that divine service could be held in 
it in 1245-46, when the first annual payment of 2 los. 

' "By the direction of Henry, then Earl of Cumberland, 
Lord Lieutenant of the northern parts (1643) and governor of 

rk, this tower was repaired ; a considerable additional 
square building put to it, on that side next the Castle on 
ver the gate, in stone work, is placed the royal arms 
and those of the Cliffords" (" Eboracum," p 289) 

The Plantagenet Period 


for " a certain chaplain serving the same chapel " 
is enrolled. It is also recorded that a " writ shall be 
made to a chaplain for 2 los. a year," this stipend 
was regularly paid and entered in subsequent years 
of the reign of Henry III. 

In 1257-58 the King's Chapel was apparently com- 
pleted, and 5 95. 4^. was paid " in finishing "it. To 
what saint the chapel was dedicated is not known, 
and although numerous items mentioning the chapel 


are recorded on the State Papers, none, either inciden- 
tally or otherwise, give us a clue to its dedicatory 

When the Castle was first built, it is highly probable 
that the chapel below the great gate situated near 
the mill was the earliest chapel used for worship by 
those connected with the Castle. When the new 
and more convenient chapel attached to the tower was 
projected, there is good reason to suppose that the 

38 The History of the Castle of York 

old chapel of St. George, without the Castle gate, was 
then granted to the Knights Templar. 

On the Pipe Rolls for the years 1257-58, mention 
is made of " approved men " keeping the Castle for 
the King, and these men-at-arms received 9 145. 2d. 
in wages. Towards the end of the reign of Henry III. 
the barons were in rebellion against their King, and 
the people and the clergy were heavily taxed to aid 
the King in his endeavour to retain his authority. 
The Pope's Legate, Cardinal Ottobonus, issued an 
order " to the collectors of the Tenth in the arch- 
bishopric of York, commanding them not to exact 
the Tenth from the revenues of the prebends in the 
churches of York and Ripon, which were held by his 
brother Percival, sub-deacon and chaplain of the 
Pope, as he had incurred considerable expenses in the 
King's behalf in the late trouble, and part of the fruits 
of his York prebend was reported to have been taken 
by the King's servants for the defence of York Castle." 1 

Robert de Nevill was sheriff in 1263-64 and held 
the Castle for Henry III. His account at the Ex- 
chequer does not seem to have been settled for some 
years, and on May 7, 1276, the Treasurer and Barons 
of the Exchequer were ordered by Edward I., " to audit 
the account of Robert de Nevill for the time when he 
had the custody of York Castle, and to cause allow- 
ance to be made to him for the victuals and other 
things that he expended in the munition of the Castle, 
save the dead stock and other things that he found 
in the Castle, as the late King committed the Castle 
to Robert by letters patent in the time of the late 
disturbance in the realm, promising that he would 
cause allowance to be made by an account to be 
made in the Exchequer for the costs of Robert in 
victuals necessary for the munition of the Castle, sav- 
ing to the said King the dead stock and other things 
" Memorials of Ripon " (Surtees Society), p. 230. 

The Plantagenet Period 39 

found in the Castle at the time of the commission, for 
which Robert was to answer as above." 1 

Architectural Description of the Keep. The keep 
at York is a very remarkable structure, and the only 
English example remaining of the kind. In plan it 
is a quatrefoil, each foil having an exterior radius of 
22 feet, the walls are 9 feet 6 inches thick, and 33 feet 
6 inches high to the present modern rampart walk. 
The diameter, measured across the centre of the foils, 
is 79 feet, and at their intersections 62 feet ; internally, 
these dimensions are 60 feet and 43 feet, the acute 
angles at which the curves would meet being cut off. 
At three of the exterior intersections are segmental 
bartizan turrets supported on massive corbels, and 
at the fourth towards the lower bailey, a forebuilding 
to defend the entrance. 

Early castle keeps built of masonry were rectangular 
in shape. Later, round keeps were adopted, and 
the quatrefoil plan was considered an improvement 
on its predecessors. From a military point of view 
this was an advance, as the quatrefoil keep was in- 
tended to do its own flanking, and its garrison was 
better able to defend the position. There is a quatre- 
foil keep at Etampes in France. Whether York was 
copied from this it is impossible to say ; York, as 
we know, is of more recent date than Etampes, 2 and 
has bartizan turrets, which Etampes never had, and 
several other decidedly late thirteenth-century features. 

Another reason is that openings which are preserved 
have the elliptic arch which was so common in the 
thirteenth century. The resemblance of York to 

1 Cal. Close Rolls, 1272-79, p. 283. 

2 M. Viollet le Due, an authority on French castles con- 
jectured that Etampes keep was built not earlier than 1150 
or later than 1170. He should probably have assigned it a 
somewhat later date, because two of the floors were vaulted, 
a feature not usual at that early period. 

40 The History of the Castle of York 

Etampes 1 is very striking. There is no other keep 
of the quatrefoil plan having a quatrefoil interior 
and forming a tower. 


Dimensions in Feet and Inches. 



Exterior diameter long 

78' II" 

79' o" 

do. short 

62' 4" 

62' o" 

Interior diameter long 

52' 9" 

60' o" 

do. short 

36' i" 

43' o" 

Radius of foils ..... 

22' ii" 

22 r 0" 

Walls, thickness .... 

13' 10* 

9' 6" 

Height to battlements 

121' 5 " 


The entrance to the tower is on the south-east, 
between two of the foils, through a forebuilding much 
patched and renewed. This gatehouse projects n 
feet, and is 21 feet broad, having walls 3 feet 6 inches 
thick; its elliptical entrance arch has been repaired 
many times, and a remnant of the original portal 
is observable on the north-east side. Within the 
lobby or porch, on the right, is a stone seat for the 
warders ; on the left is a ruined winding stone stair- 
case, which led through the disused chapel 2 to the 
battlements above the forebuilding, an additional 
stairway erected in the seventeenth century and com- 
posed of the same kind of stone as the restored parts 
of the forebuilding. 

Especial care was usually taken to cover the en- 
trance of a keep ; and the lobby on the ground floor 

See Notice Historique sur le Chateau D* Etampes suivie 
dun* description des Ruines de Guinette par Leon Marquis, 

2 The chapels of Newcastle, Middleham and Rochester were 
m the gatehouse. 

3 2 

The Plantagenet Period 41 

of the forebuilding is really the vestibule of the actual 
entrance to the tower, an acutely arched and port- 
cullised gateway 7 feet 4 inches wide, partly in ruins. 
The vestibule, and the chapel above, which encroaches 
upon the thickness of the keep wall over the gateway, 
evidently both had timber ceilings no signs whatever 
of springers or groining appear ; but the corbels on 
which the chapel floor rested are visible. 

Within the portcullis was also a massive oaken door 
as well as a receptacle for a sliding horizontal bar 
by which it was secured. The portcullis, a strong 
grating of oak, strengthened and shod with iron spikes, 
and suspended in grooves by two ropes or chains 
from a chamber above the chapel, passed over sheaves 
or blocks and was worked by a winch or windlass l 
placed in the second storey of the gatehouse. The 
portcullis when drawn up into the chapel covered the 
face of the wall nearest the keep, and the aumbry 
could only be opened when the grating was down. 
The wooden floor would have traps to allow the pas- 
sage of the grating when lifted. 

A few years ago the interior of the tower had a 
growth of shrubs and ivy clinging around its mouldering 
arches, but fortunately all vegetation has been recently 
cleared away and the yawning crevices filled with 
mortar. The massive walls, although dreary and 
desolate, have an impressive appearance. 

In the right-hand bay or segment, on entering, is 
the well, which was a necessary adjunct to such a 
keep. It may be the original Norman draw-well ; 
as a good water supply was as essential to the garrison 
of the early timber tower, as to the occupants of the 
mediaeval stone-keep. It is circular, 3 feet 6 inches 
in diameter, and rudely walled ; being partly choked 

1 A typical windlass used for this purpose still remains in 
Monk Bar, York. 

42 The History of the Castle of York 

up, it now only measures 46 feet in depth. Formerly 
it would be upwards of 60 feet deep. 1 

The present earthen basement floor is a little above 
its original level ; and there do not appear to have 
been any underground dungeons. The interior of 
the tower, also quatrefoil in plan, exhibits the traces of 
an upper storey ; the lower being about 20 feet in 
height ; and the upper a little more than 13 feet. On 
the ground floor, in each of the four bays or foils, 
which stand nearly by the points of the compass, are 
two rather acutely pointed recesses, 5 feet to 6 feet 
broad and 6 feet deep, each containing a curious 
shouldered loop. These loopholes are in parts walled 
up and are best observable on the exterior face of the 
keep. They are unique in shape as no others of 
similar design have been recorded. 

In the west and north bays on the ground floor 
are recessed fireplaces with semi-octagonal backs lined 
with tiles. Opposite the entrance, the junction of 
the two foils is pierced by two small doors leading into 
mural gardcrobes with interior shafts. 

On the right and left of the entrance are well stair- 
cases 6 feet in diameter ascending to the first floor 
and the ramparts. From the floor of the keep the 
stairway on the left with nineteen steps leads up to 
the chapel floor, and eight more to the level of the 
uppar storey of the keep. From this floor the battle- 
ments are now reached by seventeen original steps, 
but beyond thes?, perhaps ten steps have been de- 

1 In most cases where wells are found in artificial mottes, 
it is probable that they were dug first, and built up as the 
mottc was proceeded with. At Orford there is a well-chamber 
the heart of the mound, vaulted in stone of Transition 
Norman work. The well of Tickhill is within the area of the 
cep. Wells were placed in various positions. At Barn- 
burgh, one of the most remarkable wells in the country was 
carried down 145 f cc t in whin rock. Cf. " Med. Mil. Arch. " 
vol. i. pp. 129, 144. 

The Plantagenet Period 


stroyed. By the staircase on the right, twenty-seven 
steps have to be ascended to the upper floor. 

The chapel measures about 16 feet by^i4 feet 6 
inches, and four arcades still remain on the east side, 
the outermost is pierced by a small lancet window 
splayed on the inside. On the side next the keep wall 

44 The History of the Castle of York 

are other four arcades ; the second from the east wall 
contains a locker. Above the locker the arcading is 
pierced by an opening or squint 2 feet wide, ascending 
through the keep wall which enabled persons in the 
'domestic apartments of the tower to see the eleva- 
tion of the Host at the altar. 


The floor of the chapel is a little above its former 
level, and its ceiling has been destroyed. The present 
f rests, probably, a few courses below the coping 
the battlements of the forebuilding, and incloses 
the apartment in which the apparatus for raising the 
portcullis was fixed. The latter chamber was ap- 
proached from the keep by a short passage through 
the thickness of the wall, and at the outlet was a small 

The Plantagenet Period 45 

shoulder-arched doorway, now walled up, but dis- 
tinctly visible above the ceiling line of the chapel. 

It is doubtful how the inner lodgings of the keep 
were arranged. Clark supposed that a gallery of timber 
apartments, 1 resting upon posts, ran round the wall, 
with a small open court in the centre. Recently the 
foundations of a pier were exposed by excavations in 
the centre of the motte. This discovery suggests that 
some pillar or support was erected in this place, and 
that the two stages of apartments radiated towards 
the outer walls. Seventeenth-century drawings indi- 
cate that the whole interior of the keep was roofed, 
probably with timber, and there is no evidence to 
prove that such was not the case in mediaeval days. 

The principal upper floor apartments, in the south 
and east foils on each side of the gatehouse, were 
lighted by drop-arched windows, which clearly prove 
that they were used as habitations. In fact, docu- 
mentary evidence of the keep being occupied as a 
residence will be adduced in a succeeding chapter. 
These apartments were near the chapel, on the safest 
and sunny side of the keep, and at a distance from the 
mural garderobes on this floor and were tenanted by 
kings visiting York and certain noble families who 
occasionally lived in the keep. 

Besides the two well staircases, ascending to this 
floor and the ramparts, there were two other staircases 
in the junction of the quatrefoils with an outlet on to 
the battlements. The top of the tower was thus 
approached by four ways, and could be quickly manned. 
Six shouldered openings, a little larger than those 
in the basement, with downward slits, form an npper 
set of defensive loopholes. The interior recesses in 
which they appear differ slightly in dimension. 

At three of the exterior intersections are remains 
of bartizan turrets, but they, and the rampart walk, 
1 Yorks. Archceological Journal, vol. iv. p. 37. 

46 The History of the Castle of York 

have been despoiled of their battlementing. The 
present walk is about 2 feet below its original level, as 
will be noticed by the gargoyle which formerly drained 
the platform ; the height of the gargoyle, on the out- 
side of the wall, from the summit of the motte, is 
35 feet 6 inches. The parapet around the top of the 
tower was no doubt crenelated, the turrets finishing 
some feet above. The masonry of the tower is ex- 
ceedingly good, and has stood the stress of storm and 
wind for just over six hundred and fifty years. 

From the summit the prospect is very extensive, 
and in warlike times the garrison's blazing cressets 
could be seen by watchful sentinels forty miles away 




Edward I.'s castle works Stone for York Castle from Teves- 
dale City taken into the King's hands, 1280 Houses 
in Castle repaired Earl of Strathern imprisoned, 1307 
Castle to be securely kept Various repairs, 1308-09 Par- 
liament held and Great Seal delivered to King in the Castle 
Gaveston's fate Peel and ditch completed House in 
bailey covered with lead Henry de Perci and Robert 
de Clifford forbidden to enter York King's horses seized 
Great floods surround the Castle, 1315-16 Lance- 
makers in Castle Edward lodges at Friars Minors John 
de Yakesle makes tents, 1317-18 Fencible men garrison 
the Castle Depredations by Scots, Battle of Myton 
Great Seal handed to the King, 1320 Lancaster and 
Clifford executed Important Parliament held King 
nearly captured by Scots Oaks for Castle works Draw- 
bridge, bretache, tower, springalds, etc., restored. 

THE Castle in time of peace was allowed to fall 
into disrepair, but when a rebellion broke out, 
or the Scots threatened the city of York, orders were 
issued to the sheriffs and others to do the necessary 
repairs, and provide military stores and appliances. 
In such periods of unrest, the Patent and Close Rolls 
are filled with references to work authorized and 
executed, and many alluding to York Castle, during 
the reigns of the three Edwards, give much new and 
exceedingly interesting evidence of how the Castle 
was defended and strengthened. 

On March 30, 1276, the sheriff of Yorkshire, Alex- 
ander de Kirketon, was ordered to cause the foot of 


48 The History of the Castle of York 

the bridge of the gate of York Castle to be repaired 
where necessary without delay. There were three 
gates to the Castle, the Great Gate opposite Fishergate 
Postern Tower, the City Gate at the end of the street 
of Castlegate, and a postern gate by St. George's 
Chapel. The city gate is frequently mentioned, and 
we read in 1267, the Church of St. Mary, Castlegate, 
described as " juxta portam castri Ebor " ; " ad portam 
castri Ebor " ; and " juxta portam Castelli Ebor." 

Edward I. built and restored many castles through- 
out the realm. Robert de Tybotot, constable of Not- 
tingham Castle, had, in 1289, from the forest of Sher- 
wood forty oaks for the works of the Castle. The 
bridge of the castle of Gloucester was repaired in the 
same year with timber from the Forest of Dene. In 
1292 Walter de Bello Campo, keeper of Gloucester 
Castle, took forty oaks for castle works. Thomas 
de Bosco, constable of Corfe Castle in 1293 had eight 
oaks from the forest of Porchester and six from the 
forest of Gillingham, for castle works. Winchester 
Castle, Salisbury Castle and others were at the same 
time overhauled and strengthened. Carnarvon Castle 
was built by Edward I., and in 1295 " one hundred 
suitable masons experienced in such work " were 
chosen in the town of Chester and other parts to pro- 
ceed to Carnarvon where the King urgently needed 
such men to proceed with the work he had in hand. 

This period was pre-eminently a castle-building era, 
the old timber palisades were being replaced by walls of 
masonry, and mural towers were erected to strengthen 
existing fortifications. We have seen that Henry III. 
erected the keep at York, and to Edward I. and his 
successor we may, without doubt, assign the building 
of the circumscribing walls. We gather from the 
following record that Edward was busy with York 
Castle and quarried his stone at Tevesdale near 

The Plantagenet Period 49 

" May 29, 1281. Writ directed to the Sheriff of 
Yorkshire, concerning a petition from the Canons of 
the Church of Howden (Houedene), that they have a 
quarry in Tevesdale, and cannot conveniently lead 
stone therefrom for the fabric of their church, on 
account of a nook of the King's quarry adjoining." 

" Inquisition upon the articles contained in the writ, 
made by Robert le Marescall of Tadcastre, Thomas de 
Goderomgate, Adam Cardon, Thomas le Kew, Robert 
le Gardiner of Stutton, Geoffrey de Thorneton, Henry 
son of Gera, Thomas de Kereby, Hugh de Brinkill, 
Elias le Clerke of Neuton, John de Oskombe, and 
Richard de Malesoueres, who, being sworn, say upon 
their oath that it would not be to the annoyance or 
damage of any one, if the King were to grant to the 
Canons of Houedon the nook (nokam), but to the 
damage of the King, because the King now has more 
of the quarry than that nook, which is accounted to 
be one acre ; and an acre in the quarry is worth to 
sell, six marcs. And whereas a certain part of that 
nook is being carried for the fabric of the King's 
castle, they estimate the residue at five marcs. There- 
fore they say that it would not be to greater damage 
than five marcs, because if the King wish to do any 
works in stone, he can have in the same quarry an 
acre which is worth more, for (sic) " l (Here the 
parchment is torn off.) On the back of the inquisition 
is a memorandum to the effect that Thomas de Nor- 
manville be commanded to view the quarry, and 
inquire into the truth concerning damage to the King. 

The sheriffs of Yorkshire, Crown deputies, had 
supreme power 2 in the county, and the custody of 
all royal castles. On occasions when the mayors of 
York failed to suppress lawlessness, or showed signs 

1 " Yorkshire Inquisitions," Yorks. Archl. Socty. Record 
Series, vol. i. p. 219. 

2 Cf. Stubbs, " Early Plantagenet s," p. 82. 


50 The History of the Castle of York 

of disloyalty, the King empowered the sheriffs to take 
control of the government of the city ; the mayoral 
authority was superseded, and martial law prevailed. 
In 1280-82 no mayors were elected at York, and no 
new freemen were enrolled. On November 15, 1280, 
Edward I. appointed " during pleasure, John de 
Lithegrains to the custody of the County and Castle 
of York, so that he tender yearly at the Exchequer 
as much as Alexander de Kirketon and Randulph de 
Dacre, late sheriffs used to do." l The sheriff from 
his quarters in the Castle, which dominated the city, 
ruled with an autocratic power ; and the civic authori- 
ties were not replaced in office until the payment of a 
heavy fine. 

" Nov. 10, 1282. Mandate to John de Lithe- 
grayns, Sheriff of York (shire), and keeper of the city 
of York, to restore to the citizens of York the mayor- 
alty of the same town (ville) together with the town 
and liberty of the town lately taken into the King's 
hands by judgment of the court, to hold on the same 
terms as before, rendering the usual farm, and also 
to commit to them the wapentake of Aynesty, which 
the citizens claim to belong to the said city (civitatem) , 
until Ascension, when the King will make his will 
known thereof, together with all the receipts thereof 
since last Michaelmas." 2 

On July 16, 1283, is recorded the " Restitution to 
the Citizens of York of the mayoralty of the said town, 
together with the town and liberty and appurtenances, 
lately forfeited by judgment of the King's court." 

' Acquittance to the same for the payment by the 
hands of John Sampson, citizen of York, to Master 
William de Luda, keeper of the wardrobe, on Monday 
before Michaelmas 10 Edward I., of 350 marks ; to 
Gcrvase de Clifton, constable of the castle of Notting- 

1 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1272-81, p. 404. 

2 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1281-92, p. 41. 

The Plantagenet Period 51 

ham on Saturday after Epiphany, n Edward I., of 
440 marks ; to the same Gervase, by the hands of 
Roger le Plaiz, on Thursday after the feast of St. 
Valentine, n Edward I., of 210 marks ; all in part 
payment of 1,040 marks (693 6s. Sd.), granted to the 
King for the said restitution." * 

During the shrievalty of Simon de Kyme, who 
acted on the King's behalf from October i, 1300, to 
October i, 1304, the houses in the Castle, where Parlia- 
ment sat, were repaired, and chests for the safe-keeping 
of the Rolls were bought, the bar and other things 
about the Exchequer, and seats for the auditors were 
constructed. The charge, 11 I2S. 5^., for the work 
appears as a respited item in Kyme's account at the 

In the turbulent reign of Edward II. the City of 
York and its Castle were the scenes of great military 
activities, and at times they were threatened by the 
Scots. One of the first references associated with the 
Castle on the Rolls of this king's reign is a mandate 
for the removal and guarding of a distinguished 
prisoner of State. On November 6, 1307, Henry de 
Cobeham, constable of Rochester Castle, was ordered 
" to convey Malisus, Earl of Strathern of Scotland, in 
the said Castle, to York at the charge of the said 
earl under safe custody and honourably, but not in 
irons, there to be delivered by indenture to the Sheriff 
of Yorkshire, by whom he is to be detained in York 
Castle." Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, led 
Strathern to York, and the Sheriff of Yorkshire re- 
ceived an " Order to receive and keep the said earl in 
the Castle of York at the Earl's charge, there to be 
securely guarded without irons." The Earl was per- 
mitted to have two attendant yeomen and two ser- 
vants, and the Countess his wife with two damsels 
was allowed to accompany him in exile, with a chap- 
1 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1281-92, p. 70. 

The History of the Castle of York 

of the 
it is 


probable Strathern and his lady were housed in some 
of its apartments. 

Edward in the month of December 1307, whilst 
preparing for his journey to France was anxious about 

The Plantagenet Period 53 

the safety of the realm, and he instructed the con- 
stables of all Crown castles to keep them vigilantly 
on his behalf. A mandate, dated December 19, 1307, 
was addressed " To the Keeper of the King's Castle 
at York," wherein he was ordered " to safely and 
securely keep and defend the said Castle, so that no 
danger happen to the same ; the King, who intends 
shortly to set out for parts beyond sea, desiring that 
the castles of the kingdom should be diligently and 
safely guarded and defended for the greater security 
and tranquillity of his people." 

The King left his profligate favourite, Gaveston* 
guardian of the realm, and set sail for Boulogne, in 
January 1308, to marry Isabella, the daughter of 
the French King, Philip V. The ceremony was 
celebrated January 25, and just a month later the 
King and Queen were crowned in Westminster Abbey. 
The reign of the new King was characterized by un- 
happiness, dissension and loss of prestige ; the baron- 
age were disgusted with his partiality for the despicable 
Gaveston and the Despensers ; and the Scots, eager 
to vindicate their nationality and throw off English 
suzerainty, with redoubled vigour harassed and 
plundered to the gates of York. 

The Constable of the Castle on April 6, 1308, was 
ordered " to fortify and safely guard the said Castle, 
so that no danger arise through want of fortification 
or guard." The following month a further order 
was issued by Edward " to repair the houses, walls 
and bridges of the King's Castle of York." 

In July 1309, the sheriff was requested to repair the 
walls and bridges in the Castle. On October 18, a 
Privy Council (secretum parliamentum) was held at 
York under the presidency of the King ; which was 
really a " Council of War," to consider the various 
" acts of rebellion and treachery " of Robert Bruce, 
who had broken his truce. This and many similar 

54 The History of the Castle of York 

assemblies no doubt sat in the Castle, as we find that 
in 1312 Edward re-delivered " in the Castle," to Adam 
de Osgodeby, Robert de Bardelby and William de 
Ayremynne the Great Seal, which they had delivered 
to him at Windsor. 

The Christmas of 1311 was spent by the King in 
York, where he welcomed Piers Gaveston, although 
he had been banished by Parliament and excommuni- 
cated by the Church. Edward's imprudent act greatly 
angered the wiser nobles in attendance at court. The 
King remained in the city until April 6, 1312, and in the 
meantime ordered the walls of the city to be strength- 
ened and made ready for defence. Other Privy 
Councils were held in the month of February, and 
subsequently Edward and Gaveston journeyed to 
Newcastle-on-Tyne. The disgusted nobility, led by 
the Earl of Lancaster, quickly followed the royal 
party, intending to arrest the favourite, but he and 
the King took ship to Scarborough, where Gaveston 
sought refuge in the King's castle. Edward hurried 
to York for assistance, but in the interval his dissolute 
companion was taken, and soon afterwards was put 
to death. 

The King, apprehensive of his own safety, doubtless, 
took shelter in the keep of his Castle at York. 
On May 28 the sheriff was instructed to complete the 
palisade (pelum) and ditch near York Castle that the 
King lately caused to be begun, and to cover with 
lead the chapel newly constructed (repaired) within 
the tower of the Castle. 1 

Probably a new palisaded or stockaded close, form- 
ing an outer rampart extending the bounds and in- 
creasing the accommodation of the Castle, was planned 
this date. Within it buildings might be erected, 

ch as barracks, store rooms, or stables. It is im- 

1 Cal. Close Rolls, 1307-13, p. 24. 

The Plantagenet Period 55 

possible at the present day to locate the site of this 
newly-formed enclosure, which was probably con- 
structed for the safe-keeping of the King's horses, as 
those he had left behind at Newcastle had been seized 
by his barons in arms. 

Shortly after Edward left York he, on July 10, 
appointed John de Mowbray to be keeper of the city 
and of the entire county of York, for the preservation 
of the peace and the tranquillity of the people, with 
power to inflict punishment on all ill-disposed persons 
and rebels. Gerard Salveyn, the sheriff, evidently 
had his hands full, and Mowbray was appointed to 
assist him in his arduous duties. 

On July 12 an order issued from Westminster was 
given " to complete and cover the house that the 
King caused to be built within the Castle of York, 
which was not finished when the King left York." 1 

The Mayor, bailiffs and whole community of the 
city of York were ordered, August 15, " to safely guard 
the said city for the use of the King, not permitting 
Henry de Perci and Robert de Clifford and others, 
whom they or John de Moubrai and Gerard Salveyn 
suspect of evil, to enter the same. They are no doubt 
aware how the said Henry and Robert and others 
lately went to Newcastle-on-Tyne under colour of 
furthering the King's interest, when jewels, horses, 
and other the King's goods to a considerable value 
were taken and carried away without satisfaction 
being made to the King." 2 

A further mandate dated at Windsor September 27 
ordered the sheriff to construct anew a palisade (pelum) 
between the bailey of the Castle and the motte, and 
a bridge from the bailey to the King's tower on the 
motte, and another palisade on the bank surrounding 

1 Cal. Close Rolls, 1307-13, p. 465. 

2 Cal. Close Rolls, 1307-13, p. 477. 

56 The History of the Castle of York 

the Castle bailey (pelum supra murum) l by the view 
of William de Vaus. 

The battle of Bannockburn, fought June 24, 1314, 
so inglorious in the result, caused Edward to make a 
precipitate retreat to York, where he lodged in the 
Archbishop's Palace, near the Minster, until the middle 
of October. 

During the winter of 1315-16 great floods surrounded 
the Castle, and washed away part of the soil of the 
motte upon which the keep is erected ; and a wall on 
the mound which encircled the chemin de ronde also 
gave way. Particulars of the damage done are men- 
tioned in the order for the repair of the defects, Febru- 
ary i, 1316, wherein the sheriff received instructions 
" to take with him twelve citizens of York and some 
masons and to survey the defaults of the walls of 
York Castle, and to repair the foundations thereof, 
if it appear to them that this can be done without 
pulling down the wall ; as the King learns, by inquisi- 
tion taken by John de Insula and John de Donecastre, 
that on account of the frequent floods of the rivers 
Ouse and Fosse, which floods have this year surrounded 
the Castle motte 2 (que motam castri nostri circuibat) 
deeper than ever they used to do, and have softened 
the soil of the motte (terram mote illius demollivit), 
the foundation of part of the Castle wall containing 
262 feet in length has given way, so that that part 
of the wall appears to be a ruin." 3 

The King of England, with some desire to retrieve 

1 Close Rolls, 6 Edward II. m. 26. The words murum and 
vallum are both frequently used for an earthbank. 

2 In the Calendar of Close Rolls the word motam has been 
translated moat instead of motte, a mound. A ditch is always 
spoken of as fossatum, and it is only within the last few years 
that the word motte, signifying a conical castle mound, has 
been understood. 

3 Cal. Close Rolls, 1313-18, pp. 262-63. 

The Plantagenet Period 57 

his prestige and resist the Scots in their ravages, made 
great military preparations at York. The sheriff, on 
August 25, 1316, was commanded to expend forty 
shillings weekly, until further orders, in repairing the 
houses, walls and towers within the Castle, by the 
view and testimony of a citizen of York and a clerk 
of the sheriff and of another person to be deputed on 
the King's behalf. 

The following month we find the King's Serjeant, 
Bernard de Lescar, and his two yeomen were busy 
making lance-heads in the Castle. Bernard received 
4^. a day for his work ; his two subordinates were 
paid 2d. a day ; and this wage had to be paid to 
them as long as they remained in the Castle on that 

Edward was in York superintending the equipment 
of his forces ; and he and his suite lodged at the house 
of the Friars Minors, just below the Castle, in which 
he could easily seek refuge if the audacious Scots 
entered the city. In the wardrobe book for 1316, 
6 13$. 4^. is recorded as paid by the King to John 
de Thurgenthorpe, the warden of the monastery, 
towards the erection of the river wall, the only portion 
of the Friary which remains to this day. The friars 
also received 405. a week in alms during the King's 
visit, which was really a payment for lodgings, the 
royal party providing their own maintenance. 

In March 1317 the King's Pavilioner, John de 
Jakesle, and his two assistants, Richard de Lodelowe 
and John du Chastel, were in the Castle repairing and 
making tents, and William de la Garderobe had cus- 
tody of the King's arms. The sheriff paid John de 
Jakesle his wages at the rate of 6d. per day, John du 
Chastel received $d. and two others 4^. a day. These 
tentmakers were unceasingly employed, and we find 
they were still in the Castle on July 24, 1318, at which 
date Simon Warde, who had been appointed sheriff 

58 The History of the Castle of York 

May 13, was instructed to pay them their usual wages, 
and continue to do so until further orders. 

Forty fencible men were put in the Castle on Novem- 
ber i, 1317, and they were kept there at the King's 
wages for the defence thereof. 

The sheriff, assisted by Archbishop Melton, keeper 
of the Border Marches, in June 1318 requisitioned 
all the able-bodied men of Yorkshire to be in readiness 
to proceed with the King, when he arrived, to march 
forth to resist the Scots who had occupied Berwick- 
on-Tweed, and were reported to have advanced into 
the county of Yorkshire. Five thousand men-at- 
arms assembled, but they failed to punish the Scots, 
who, undaunted, continued their plundering and 
burning. The towns of Northallerton, Borough- 
bridge, Knaresborough, and Skipton in Craven were 
destroyed, and Ripon was only saved from ruin by 
its people paying to the invaders an enormous sum 
of money. The churches of Tadcaster and Pannal 
were burned ; and the Abbey of Fountains was for a 
time the headquarters of the enemy. 

The city of York in the year 1319 presented the 
appearance of a vast camp, and amidst the turmoil 
of military preparations Parliament assembled and 
voted supplies for carrying on the Scottish war. The 
King was continuously in York, and his Privy Council 
ordered the houses within the Castle to be repaired 
for the Court of Exchequer. 

Edward, who was at Roxburgh on September 4, 
sent word to the sheriff to garrison the Castle with an 
extra levy of men-at-arms, authorizing him to pay 
their wages out of the issues of his bailiwick, " as 
the Scottish rebels have entered the county of York, 
and lie in wait for the city and Castle." The Arch- 
bishop mustered all available men and with a small 
army, composed chiefly of ecclesiastics, he marched 
out to resist the Scots, who were overtaken at Myton 

The Plantagenet Period 59 

on Swale on September 13. A battle ensued in which 
the English were defeated ; the Archbishop fortunately 
escaped, but the Mayor of York, Nicholas Fleming, 
was amongst the slain. Soon after this disaster the 
King returned to York without encountering the 
enemy, where he remained until the beginning of the 
year 1320. He lodged with the Friars Minors and 
a memorandum records " that on Wednesday, January 
23, John de Hothum, Bishop of Ely, the Chancellor, 
delivered, in the King's chamber in the house of the 
Friars Minors at York, the Great Seal to the King, 
who received it into his hands, and placed it at the 
head of his bed, in the presence of Aymer de Valence, 
Earl of Pembroke, Hugh le Despenser, the younger, 
and Bartholomew de Badelesmere." l 

The great tower of the Castle needed some repairs 
in 1320, and on May 8 the mayor, Robert le Meeke, 
had orders to view it and determine, in conjunction 
with the sheriff, what work should be executed. 

Edward and his adherents were unable to check the 
wily Scots in their maraudings ; treaties were of no 
use, as the hardy warriors from beyond the border 
were able to evade the strategic plans of the English 
King. In the futile attempt to hold the north of 
England, Edward, in February 1322, ordered the 
constables of Bamborough, Knaresborough, Scar- 
borough, Barnard, Tickhill, Nottingham, Newcastle 
and York castles in the following terms to cause their 
said castles to be safely kept, and to be found with 
victuals out of the issues of their bailiwicks ; adding 
that if the issues are insufficient for this purpose they 
must take victuals elsewhere in the neighbouring 
parts, according to the tenor of Magna Carta, causing 
those from whom they shall take victuals to know 
that the King is coming to those parts for the protec- 
tion thereof against the attacks of the Scots, and that 
1 Cal. Close Rolls, p. 219. 

60 The History of the Castle of York 

they must then come to the King to receive payment 
for the said victuals. They, the sheriffs, must certify 
the King in his wardrobe of the victuals thus taken, 
their price, and the names of those from whom they 
have been taken. 

Another significant order issued by the King in 
February to all the sheriffs in England, is reminiscent 
of the unsettled state and tumultuous behaviour of 
his own people. The mandate reads : " Order to 
raise hue and cry upon all those who shall appear to 
him to be contrariants of the King and upon their 
adherents, and to pursue and arrest them, taking with 
him the posse of the county if necessary, as certain 
magnates and others are going about the country 
taking the King's castles and towns and the castles 
and towns of his faithful subjects, wounding, beating 
and slaying certain of the King's men and servants, 
and stealing the clothing, jewels, beasts, and other 
goods and chattels of the King's men and subjects, 
and slaying certain of the said men and imprisoning 
others until they make grievous ransoms, notwith- 
standing the King's proclamation for the preserva- 
tion of the peace." l 

Several powerful peers had quarrelled with their 
King, and the foregoing order may refer to the move- 
ments of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, whom Edward 
regarded with bitter hatred. Lancaster had been 
instrumental in having Gaveston executed, and he 
with other nobles refused to follow the King in his 
Scottish campaigns. The Earl and his followers 
came into collision with the royal forces at Borough- 
bridge, March 16, 1322, and were defeated. Lancaster 
and Clifford with others were captured and exe- 
cuted ; and the body of Clifford was hung in chains 
upon the summit of the keep of York Castle. 

Edward, after the execution of Lancaster and his 
1 Cal. Close Rolls, p. 512. 

The Plantagenet Period 61 

adherents, evidently felt more secure in his govern- 
ment of the realm, and on April 13 he issued orders 
to the keepers of sixty-two castles in England and 
several in the Marches of Wales to reduce their garri- 
sons to normal conditions. With regard to York 
Castle the sheriff was addressed thus : " Amove from 
the Castle the munition of men that the King lately 
caused to be put therein by reason of the late disturb- 
ances in the realm, and keep the Castle in the same 
way as before the disturbances, and cause the King's 
victuals therein to be kept safely at your peril, and 
cause the victuals that will not keep to be sold, and 
cause others to be bought in their place, and cause 
them to be renewed as often as may be necessary, as 
the King wills that the victuals to be thus kept and 
renewed shall be at your risk, and he is writing to the 
Treasurer and Barons of the Exchequer to cause you 
to be charged therewith." 

The greater part of 1322 Edward spent in York, 
and he summoned a Parliament to meet May 2, which 
assembled at the monastery of the Friars Minors. 
It was the last legislative council this king convened 
at York, and it was the most important ever held in 
the city. 1 It included two archbishops, nineteen 
bishops, two priors, and two masters, nine earls, 
seventy-two barons, and thirty-three of the council 
(who, with the knights of the shire, and burgesses, 
were, as on former occasions, commanded to attend), 
besides forty-eight discreet, lawful and able-bodied 
men from the Principality of Wales and two members 
from each of the Cinque Ports. This numerous meet- 
ing of representatives sat for at least thirty days, and 
Scottish affairs were the chief topics discussed. An- 
other army was to be equipped and the King urged 

1 Cf. " Parliaments held at York," " Memoirs of York," 
1846, p. 13. 

62 The History of the Castle of York 

his subjects to muster in great numbers and be with 
him at Newcastle-on-Tyne by July 24. 

In the autumn there was another inroad of the Scots 
into Yorkshire, and the King was almost captured 
near Rivaulx Abbey, where he had to leave his treasure 
and plate, which was seized by the enemy. Edward's 
efforts to prevent the incursions of the Scots were of 
little avail. The arrogant claim of the overlordship 
of Scotland by the Kings of England caused great 
hardship and suffering amongst the populace of the 
north. Unnecessary hatred was engendered between 
the two peoples by misguided monarchs, and for 
hundreds of years the border country was daily the 
scene of massacre, robbery, violence and devastation. 
The unsettled condition of the times is only partially 
understood by the following typical mandate issued 
by the King on May 18, 1323, to the sheriffs of the 
border counties and the Bishop of Durham, wherein 
they are requested " to make proclamation that as the 
Scots may invade the realm immediately after the 
quinzaine of Holy Trinity all persons in his bailiwick 
are before that time to take their animals towards 
the parts of Yorkshire where they will be safe from 
the incursions of the enemy, and their victuals, stock, 
and all other goods to castles and walled towns for 
safety, so that the enemy if they invade the country 
may not have any sustenances. The King has also 
commanded John de Crombwell, keeper of the forest 
on the north side of Trent, and the sheriff of Yorkshire, 
to permit such persons to come to the forest and 
depasture the same with their beasts free of charge ; 
the sheriffs to prevent injury being done to such per- 
sons ; and the constables of castles and keepers of 
walled towns on the north side of Trent are commanded 
to permit such persons to bring in their victuals, 
stock and goods and to remain therein." l 
1 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1321-24, pp. 288-89. 

The Plantagenet Period 63 

Through the continuance of unfriendly relations with 
the Scots, and the perpetual fear of their depredations, 
the castles and walls of northern towns required un- 
ceasing repairs. York was the bulwark which checked 
their further advance into the heart of England, and 
its ramparts and walls would never have been made 
so formidable if peace had reigned between the two 
countries. The Castle frequently needed restoring to 
keep it in a state of effectual defence. On July 15, 
1323, the sheriff was permitted to expend 20 in the 
repairing of the Castle and the houses within the 
same, by the view and testimony of the mayor of 
York, Nicholas de Langton, who held mayoral power 
for twelve consecutive years. 

On September 16 Henry le Scrop, Justice of the 
Forest north of the Trent, was ordered to cause the 
sheriff of Yorkshire to have six oaks fit for timber 
in the Forest of Galtres, for certain works in the Castle 
enjoined by the King. In October the sheriff was 
requested to expend up to six marks in repairing the 
wooden palisade about the great tower, which palisade 
had fallen down. 1 

It is rather incongruous that an ecclesiastic, essen- 
tially a publisher of peace, should be a military com- 
mander and take such interest in fortifications. Yet 
we find William de Melton, Archbishop of York, over- 
hauling the Castle for defects. The King addressed 
the sheriff thus : " Whereas by the testimony of the 
venerable Father, William de Melton, Archbishop of 
York, our Treasurer, we have heard that the draw- 
bridge of our Castle of York, and another bridge 
adjacent to the same, and also the bridge between that 
Castle and our tower there, as also the bretasche 
between the said Castle and tower, are ruinous and 
rotten and are in need of great repair and that the 
lead on the great tower is in great part consumed and 
1 Cal. Close Rolls, 132327, p. 25. 

64 The History of the Castle of York 

our springalds in the same Castle are out of order 
and likewise need repair, and that in the same Castle 
there are not crossbows nor quarrels or missiles 
(jaculi) for the defence of the same, we command thee, 
etc." i 

This is a valuable excerpt as it tells us how timber 
still formed an important part in castle works. A 
bretasche is often described as a wooden brattice work 
or gallery projecting from the top of a tower or wall, 
from which defenders could drop or throw missiles 
down upon besiegers, an arrangement which was super- 
seded by stone machicolations. The word more 
generally means a wooden tower ; the principal towers 
or wooden keeps, and towers on walls have frequently 
been thus named. Bretasche is repeatedly used 
when describing a gatehouse tower on a bridge, and 
we presume such a wooden structure is referred to on 
this occasion. There was a wooden bridge over the 
ditch between the great bailey and the motte, and on 
it was this bretasche 2 or gatehouse tower, from which 
the drawbridge would be worked, and its defenders 
could conveniently shower arrows upon an enemy 
attempting to assail the motte from below. 

The springalds that needed repair were enormous 
bows of the nature of crossbows, with which large 
arrows could be cast with such great force that one 
projectile would kill several men. Quarrels were 
darts or arrows used by crossbow-men, and the missiles 
required were probably stones for the stone-throwing 

On February 13, 1326, the Treasurer and Barons 
of the Exchequer were directed to cause the defaults 
in York Castle to be surveyed by some one in whom 
they could confide, and cause them to be renewed, 

1 Roll 5, 20 Ed. II. (1325), p. 299. 

2 Cf. " Early Norman Castles," Eng. His. Review, April 
1904, p. 24. 

The Plantagenet Period 65 

unless great cost is required, in which case they had 
to certify the King with all speed. This appears to 
be the last order given for repairs at York Castle by 
the unfortunate King Edward II., who was deposed 
the following year. 



Defiant declaration by Robert Bruce Precautionary measures 
at the Castle Edward and his army out-manoeuvred, 

I3 2j Isabel, the Queen-Mother, resides in the Castle 

Tower for the Queen's use repaired Henry of Lincoln's 
account for work done House in the Castle prepared 
for the Exchequer, 1327 Depredations by Scots, 1333 
Stone for Castle bought of the Prior of St. Andrew's 
Yakesle, the King's Pavilioner, employs men in the 
Castle Houses in the Castle repaired for Queen Philippa 
Night watchman employed Royal Treasury at York 
robbed, mandate to the Mayor Palisades in the Castle 
renewed, 1334 Preparations for Edward's visit to the 
Friars Minors Castle keep tenanted as a residence by 
the Countess of Bogham, 1338 Edward sails for Flan- 
ders, a ship built at York for his fleet, 1338 Castle works 
in 1345 The keep damaged, 1358 Richard II. in the 

EDWARD III. was proclaimed King, January 24, 
1327 ; his reign of fifty years was crowded 
with momentous events, and during that period we 
ft id many contemporary notices of work executed at 
York Castle. The aged champion of Scotland, Robert 
Bruce, sent a formal defiant declaration to Edward, 
about Easter, that he would devastate England as 
he had done before the battle of Bannockburn. On 
April 24, 1327, Adam de Hoperton and Thomas de 
Eyvill, as a precautionary measure, were commis- 
sioned to inquire touching divers wastes, destructions 


The Plantagenet Period 67 

and damage done in the King's Castle of York, and 
the houses and walls thereof. 

The English King issued a proclamation summoning 
all the tenants of the Crown to meet him in arms at 
Newcastle-on-Tyne on May 19. A great force was 
ready at York, and Edward hearing that the Scots 
had already advanced into England marched north- 
wards in search of the enemy. His army was on 
more than one occasion face to face with the Scots, 
but the former was out -manoeuvred by the invaders. 

Whilst Edward and his forces were thus engaged, 
the Queen-Mother, Isabel, and her younger children 
resided in the Castle of York, and the city was strictly 
guarded. A certain tower in the Castle was repaired 
and set apart for their lodgings. Very few traces of 
the Edwardian castle remain, the keep, a short length 
of the enceinte and two mural towers are the only 
portions left. 

The exact sites of the many erections in the great 
bailey and how they were arranged is unknown, the 
only intimation of their existence being found in the 
various orders for their repair, and some of these docu- 
ments are exceedingly interesting. The tower for 
Queen Isabel's use, probably the keep, was repaired 
by a carpenter, Henry of Lincoln, who died before 
his account had been rendered at the Exchequer. 
His widow sent in a detailed schedule of the expenses 
incurred and the works executed by and under her 
husband's supervision. 

" Account of Henry of Lincoln, carpenter, deceased, 
and Matilda who was wife and executrix of the will 
of the same Henry for the same deceased concerning 
the money received and spent by that Henry from 
the King's Treasury at York for the repair of a certain 
Tower within the King's Castle there and his expenses 
incurred by him about the aforesaid repair in the first 
year of the reign of King Edward III. by the King's 

68 The History of the Castle of York 

writ of Privy Seal dated the 7th day of November in 
his second year, enrolled in the middle of the third 
year among the writs directed to the Barons in the 
term Michaelmas of the same year. In which it is 
set forth that whereas Master Henry the Carpenter 
deceased lately received a certain sum from the King's 
Treasury for a certain Tower within the King's Castle 
at York appointed to be repaired for the reception 
(recepta) of the King's mother, and the said Henry 
rendered no account concerning the receipt of the 
aforesaid sum in his lifetime, the King ordered his 
Treasurer and Barons of Exchequer that they should 
summon the executors of the will of the same Henry 
to render the aforesaid account and receive the same, 
legally dividing the expenses about the repair of the 
aforesaid Tower and examining the allocation ac- 
cording to their judgment from the aforesaid works 

" Receipts. The same defendant accounts for 28 
received from the King's Treasury at York concerning 
her expenses about the repair of the aforesaid Tower 
appointed for the Queen's reception within the afore- 
said Castle in the aforesaid first year as in the Roll of 
particulars which is delivered in the treasury. 
' Total received 28. Of which 

" Expenses. The same accounts for providing in 
timber, planks, and poles for the repair of the afore- 
said tower, for carrying the said timber and planks 
as far as the aforesaid Tower and for repairing and 
amending therewith the same Tower according to 
the agreement made in full with the carpenter by the 
sight and testimony of Henry de Fauconberge then 
Sigh Sheriff of Yorkshire 20 as contained in the said 
King's particulars. Also for the hire of one mason 
for amending the defects of the walls of the same 
Tower in places during ten days, taking per day fid., 
and of two men for carrying sand and assisting thereat 

The Plantagenet Period 69 

for six days each taking per day 3^. a cart hire for 
carrying gravel for the same, and for a plumber cast- 
ing lead into tiles for the roof of the same tower, 75. yd. 
as contained in the same. Also for planks, sticks, 
and hinges for a certain door above the same gate of 
the Tower with a lock and key bought for the same 
door 45. 10^. as contained therein. Also for 202 stones 
of lead as aforesaid for the roof of the said Tower 
bought at the price of $d. a stone 755. yd. as con- 
tained therein. And for melting 202 stones of lead 
for the roof of the said Tower and making into tiles, 
for every stone of lead melted and made into tiles id., 
which with carriage and portage of the said lead from 
the Castle to the house of the plumbers, and from 
thence carrying back the said lead, when made into 
tiles, to the Castle with the plumbers' wages 6os. 6d., 
as contained therein. And for doing anew with plaster 
a certain little room in the said gateway in the said 
Tower by agreement made with the plasterer in full 
for his own charges and iron bars bought for the same 
255. as contained therein. 

' Total expenses 28 135. gd. 
" And there is a surplus of 135. 8d. (over receipts). 

" Lead. The same defendant accounts for 431 
stones of lead received from the old roof of the said 
Tower, and for 202 stones of lead by purchase as above. 
Total 633 stones of lead. 

" Expenses. Of which the same accounts for lead 
melted and made into 18 tiles for the roof of the said 
Tower 564 stones. And for 69 stones of the said lead 
wasted by fire in melting, viz. for every stone of 394 
stones of lead from the old roof in that which was fully 
made and glazed if Ib. and for every stone from the 
remainder of the lead i Ib. Total 633 stones. And 
it balances. 

' Tiles of lead. The same defendant accounts for 
18 tiles of lead made from 564 stones of lead as above. 

70 The History of the Castle of York 

And used in the roof of the aforesaid Tower. And 
it balances." l 

In August 1327 the King ordered the Exchequer 
to be removed to York by Michaelmas, and to be 
" held there for so long as the King shall stay there 
for the expedition of the Scotch war in the north," and 
houses in the Castle were repaired for the purpose. 

On January 24, 1328, Edward was married with 
great pomp at York to Philippa, daughter of Count 
William of Hainault. A Parliament assembled in the 
city on February 7 and sat for twenty-eight days, and 
a treaty arranged between King Edward and Robert 
Bruce was ratified at one of its sittings. For a brief 
period peace reigned between the two countries, but 
immediately after the death of the aged Bruce the 
great barons of the north of England determined to 
compel the Scots, by armed force, to fulfil their part of 
the stipulations of the recent treaty which had been 

The English King was reluctant to break the peace, 
but his powerful barons on their own account sailed 
from Ravenspur in 1332 and invaded Scotland. The 
Scots were beaten by a handful of men, and Balliol 
against their wishes was crowned King in place of 
the rightful sovereign, David. Early in 1333 the 
recommencement by the Scots of their wonted depre- 
dations on the English border supplied Edward with 
a pretext for renewing hostilities, and military pre- 
parations were carried on at York and the Castle was 

About this time a quantity of stone valued at 10 
was procured from the Priory of St. Andrew, Fisher- 
gate, without the walls of York, for works at the 
Castle. On March 24, Richard le Goldsmyth of York 
was appointed to choose with all speed sixty of the 
best carpenters to be found in the county of York 
1 Pipe Roll, No. 173, 2 Edward III. mem. 2d. 

The Plantagenet Period 71 

to make engines of war for the King, and to bring 
them to the places where such engines were to be made. 
Two days later the high sheriff was instructed to 
cause the housss where the King's armourers and other 
smiths making armour for the King dwelt, near the 
Castle, which houses lately belonged to the Templars, 
to be repaired for them to work in, by the view and 
testimony of Nicholas de Langeton, mayor of York, 
and if necessary newly constructed. 

At the beginning of April Master John de Yakesle, 
the King's Pavilioner, was in the Castle on the King's 
business, and the mayor and bailiffs of York were com- 
manded to cause as many smiths, carpenters and tailors 
as Yakesle required to proceed to the Castle and " do 
divers arduous affairs, as John shall order them on 
the King's behalf." The city of York at this date 
had also to provide 100 men-at-arms ready to set out 
with the King against the Scots, as well as other York- 
shire towns which sent varying numbers according to 
their populations. When all was ready Edward 
advanced with his army towards Berwick-on-Tweed, 
and left his Consort, Philippa, at York. The Treasurer 
and Barons of the Exchequer and the Chamberlains 
were instructed to cause housss in the Castle suitable 
for receiving the Queen to be repaired and if necessary 
newly constructed at the King's cost. The keeper of 
Galtres Forest had to provide the timber required 
for repairs or reconstruction. A more detailed order 
was issued to the sheriff, June 12, which in an interest- 
ing manner describes the situation of the Queen's 

" To the Sheriff of Yorkshire. Order to cause the 
timber of an old and ruinous house in York Castle 
on the south side, to be pulled down, and of that 
timber and other timber to be brought by him, if neces- 
sary, to build a house on the north side of that Castle, 
for the receipt of Queen Philippa, with exchequers, 

72 The History of the Castle of York 

and other things necessary therefor, and to cause a 
certain paling in that Castle from the great door of 
the hall of the King's Exchequer on the east side of the 
said hall to the south end of the same, to be newly 
made, and another paling in that Castle on the north 
side of the same for enclosing the King's receipt there, 
and also to cause a certain wooden bridge near the 
portico which leads from the said Castle on the south 
side to the King's mills of that Castle, to be newly built, 
from the issues of that bailiwick, by the view and 
testimony of Nicholas de Langeton, mayor of York. 
By bill of the Treasurer." 1 

During the time Philippa lodged in the Castle, a 
watchman was placed on guard at the King's wages, 
and the Barons of the Exchequer had to make allow- 
ance " to Peter de Saltmersh, 2 sheriff of Yorkshire, 
in his account at the exchequer, for 335. 10^. if they 
find that he has paid that sum, as the King lately 
ordered the sheriff of Yorkshire to pay to a watchman 
in York Castle his wages of zd. a day for watching 
that Castle by night from August n last and los. for 
his robe, yearly, as long as he should be in that office." 3 

In midwinter the peace of the city and its suburbs 
was disturbed by armed men committing robberies 
and other crimes; so audacious were the malefactors 
that even the royal treasury was broken into and jewels 
and other valuables stolen. The following mandate, 
dated January 30, 1334, to the mayor and bailiffs 
of York gives us a vivid picture of the lawlessness of 
the times : 

' Whereas the statute of Winchester in the time of 
Edward I. ordained the keeping of watch and ward 
and the treatment of vagrants, and in the statute of 

1 Cal. Close Rolls, 1333-37, P- 154. 

2 Peter de Saltmersh, sheriff, from June 3, 1332 to January 
27. 1335- 

3 Cal. Close Rolls, 1333-37, p. 212. 

The Plantagenet Period 73 

Northampton passed in the second year of the King's 
reign, it was ordained that no one except a minister 
or the King should use armed force or go armed in 
fairs, markets, etc., under pain of loss of his arms and 
imprisonment during pleasure, and in the statute of 
Westminster, in the fifth year of the King's reign, it 
was ordained that suspected persons should be arrested 
and delivered to the bailiffs or sheriffs, to be kept in 
prison until the coming of the justices ; and now the 
King has learned that several malefactors and dis- 
turbers of the peace, not respecting these statutes, 
making assemblies and illicit gatherings both by day 
and night in York, its suburbs and neighbourhood, 
go about armed and lie in wait for those coming and 
going to and from that city, and staying there, both 
the King's ministers and other lieges, and beat, wound 
and rob them ; and not content with this, they have 
gone by night to the hotel of Master Robert de Ayles- 
ton, the treasurer in that city, in whose custody are 
the treasures, jewels and other secret memoranda of 
the treasury, and to the King's wardrobe, in a great 
multitude with armed force, and have broken the 
doors of the hotel and wardrobe, insulted the treasurer 
and the King's men, and feloniously taken and carried 
away the jewels and other secret things as far as they 
were able, and they daily commit like evils in the said 
city and suburbs, for which things the mayor and 
bailiffs have applied no remedy, as they ought ; and 
because the King does not wish such crimes to remain 
unpunished, chiefly because the chancery, exchequer 
and Common Bench are now in that city and the 
people are daily coming to the city for that cause, the 
King therefore orders the mayor and bailiffs to arrest 
all such malefactors without delay and imprison 
them at York so that none of them may be released 
without the King's order, and to find out by inquisition, 
the names of such malefactors and of those who har- 

74 The History of the Castle of York 

hour them, and to arrest all those who are found guilty, 
and likewise keep them in prison, so that the King 
may not have to complain of the negligence of the 
mayor and bailiffs." l 

In December 1334 the palisades erected on the 
outer edge of the bailey on the motte were very defec- 
tive and required repairs, and similar defensive 
stakes on the counterscarp of the ditch between the 
motte and the castle bailey also needed renewing. The 
keeper of Galtres Forest had to deliver sufficient 
timber to the sheriff who superintended the work of 
restoration. 2 

Early in 1335 the King contemplated lodging at 
the Friars Minors, just below the Castle, and, as was 
usual, instructions for repairs, etc., were simultaneously 
given to the King's Treasurer and Chamberlains, 
and to the sheriff of Yorkshire and others, and a 
comparison of the two orders is highly interesting 

" March 2, 1335. To the Treasurer and Chamber- 
lains. Order to cause the defects of the walls, pali- 
sades and houses within York Castle, and of the King's 
houses near his mills below the Castle where they 
occur, and of the walls of the pond of those mills and 
of a certain wall and spring in the garden of the Minor- 
ites near the door of the kitchen to be repaired and 
amended for the King's easement when he shall stay 
there, with his money, and to be newly constructed 
where necessary, and to cause this to be done as shall 
seem best for the King's convenience. The King 
has also ordered Ralph de Nevill, keeper of the Forest 
this side Trent, or him who supplies his place in the 
forest of Galtres, to cause sufficient timber in that 
forest to be delivered to John de Bray, supervisor of 
the said works, for those works." 3 

1 Cal. Close Rolls, 1333-37, PP- 2 94~95- 

2 Cal. Close Rolls, 1334, p. 284. 

3 Cal. Close Rolls, 1335, p. 378. 

The Plantagenet Period 75 

" March 2, 1335. Mandate to the sheriff of York- 
shire and all bailiffs, ministers and lieges in the county, 
to provide sufficient carriage for John de Bray who 
has been ordered by the King and council to bring 
such timber as shall be necessary from the forest of 
Galtres to York for making and repairing walls, palings 
and houses within the King's Castle of York, his houses 
by his mills beneath the Castle, where the smiths work, 
the walls of the pond of the said mills, and a wall and 
well in the garden of the Friars Minors by the door 
of the kitchen for the King's refreshment when he shall 
stay there." 1 

The King employed a night-watchman in the Castl", 
who kept a vigilant look-out to detect any nocturnal 
attacks. On December 7, 1335, Thomas de Rokeby 
was ordered to pay the King's watchman the arrears 
of his wage of 2d. daily from the time of his appoint- 
ment as sheriff, and to pay such wages henceforth, 
and also los. for his robe yearly, from the issues of the 
bailiwick. Similar orders were numerous about this 
period and appear on the Close Rolls. 

We have further evidence in 1338 that the keep 
was used as a residence, and its apartments were 
tenanted for some time by a lady of rank. On March 
3 the sheriff was requested " to deliver to Henry de 
Bello Monte, Earl of Bogham, and the Countess his 
wife, the tower without and near the King's Castle of 
York, because the Earl is about to set out to parts 
beyond the sea in the King's company, and at his 
request the King has granted to the Countess the 
easement of the houses in that tower for her stay there 
with her children, while the Earl is in the said service, 
provided that the King's things in that tower be safely 
kept for his use. By the King." 2 

King Edward III. sailed from Orewell for Flanders 

1 Cal. Patent Rolls, 1335, P- 8 5- 

2 Cal. Close Rolls, 1338, p. 322. 

76 The History of the Castle of York 

with 200 ships, one of which had been built on the 
Ouse by the men of York at the common expense of 
the city. He first set foot on the Continent on July 
22, 1338, and thus commenced the invasion of France 
which their historians called " the Hundred Years' 

The next order for work at the Castle was given 
November 7, 1345, when the sheriff was instructed to 
" cause the defects of the houses in York Castle to 
be repaired up to the sum of 20 marks." 

After the keep, or great tower, had withstood the 
stress and storm of just one hundred years we find 
a reference to its condition recorded in 1358. At this 
date it is reported to have two great cracks from the 
foundations to the summit. 1 The tower was probably 
repaired ; at the present day the fissures are still 
noticeable, though no material subsidence has occurred. 

During the reign of Richard II. the Scots were less 
active in their depredations, and few notices of castle 
works at York have been observed. Richard visited 
York in 1385, and from an entry on the Patent Rolls 
we find he transacted state business in the Castle on 
July 22. A few days later the King gave instruc- 
tions 2 for a cross to be erected at the village of Middle- 
thorpe, near the Archbishop's Manor House, where 

1 " Dicunt quod magna turris castri regis de Ebor. in se 
ruinosa est, et scissa in duobus locis a fundamento usque 
ad summitatem, maxime propter debile fundamentum ejusdem, 
etc." Inquisitiones ad quod damnum, 33 Edward III., p. 

" July 26, 1385. Appointment of Master Robert Patryng- 
ton and John Heyndele, masons (at the Cathedral), to arrest 
in the county of York and elsewhere, except in the fee of the 
church, sufficient masons and other workmen and labourers 
for the construction of a cross which the King has ordered to 
be made at Middlethorpe, and set them to work thereon at 
reasonable wages, with power to imprison the disobedient " 
(Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1385, p. 13). 

The Plantagenet Period 77 

he lodged for a short time. The King was again in 
York in 1389, and also spent the latter half of 1392 
in the city, and summoned a parliament for October 14, 
but it never met. In the same year the Court of the 
King's Bench was brought to York for a brief period, 
at the intervention of Archbishop Arundel. The costs 
of the amending and preparation of the houses in the 
Castle yard in which the court of the King's Bench 
was held are recorded as follows 

" ACCOUNT of John Melton, clerk, of the receipts, 
costs, and expenses made by him about the making 
repair and amending of divers houses within the King's 
Castle of York against the coming of the King's Court 
there between the 23rd day of June in the i6th year 
(1392) and the loth day of January next following 
under the King's writ Patent dated the 25th day of 
June in the I5th year (1391), directed to the aforesaid 
John amongst others and delivered on this account. 
In which same writ is contained amongst other things 
that the King appointed him John amongst others to 
arrest, take, and place in the aforesaid works as many 
latteners, carpenters, and other workmen and labourers 
as should be necessary for making the repairs of the 
houses within the Castle aforesaid and wherever they 
could be found within the liberties and without, the 
fee of the church only excepted, and as well for the 
King's Exchequer and the Receipt thereof as for the 
Common Bench and the array of pleas of the same 
Exchequer in the Bench of Receipt. And also to pay 
for, take, and provide stone, timber, tiles, sticks, and 
all other things necessary for the King's works afore- 
said and carriage for the same stone, timber, tiles, and 
other things necessary to the same Castle for the King's 
houses in that respect reasonable according to the 
discretion and advice of the King's Treasurer and 
Chamberlains. Also under another King's writ of the 
Privy Seal dated the 3ist day of January in the zyth 

78 The History of the Castle of York 

year directed to the Treasurer and Barons of this 
Exchequer which is among the common things of 
Easter term in the same year, by which writ the King 
with the assent of his council ordered the same Trea- 
surer and Barons that they should reckon with the 
aforesaid John on his oath concerning every kind of 
costs and expenses by him made about the repair and 
amendment of the aforesaid houses, making the allow- 
ance due to the same John by his oath for such wages 
for masons, tilers, and other labourers and workmen 
as the same John has paid to them for the time being 
upon the repair and amendment aforesaid, and should 
stir up workmen, the Statute of Labourers lately therein 
put forth in the King's Parliament last held at Canter- 
bury notwithstanding ; the King willing with the 
assent of his council that the aforesaid Treasurer and 
Barons at their discretion be held responsible to the 
aforesaid John in the acts, wages, or rewards by way 
of customs, works, and expenses which he sustained 
there for the time being about the King's works above 
mentioned to be seen from the receipts, costs, and 
expenses of this account as below. 

" Receipts from the Exchequer. The same defendant 
accounts for 20 received from the Treasurer and 
Chamberlains at the Receipt of the Exchequer on the 
22nd day of November of Michaelmas term in the i6th 
year upon the aforesaid works as is contained in the 
middle skin at the same Receipt for that term and year, 
and also in a certain Roll of particulars here in the 
Treasury delivered. 

' Total Receipts 20. 

" Receipts from the Bench. The same defendant 
accounts for 248 os. 2\d. received from Ralph Euer, 1 
lately High Sheriff of Yorkshire from the outgoings 
of his bailiwick about the aforesaid works by an Inden- 

Sheriff from October 21, 1391 to October 18, 1392. 

The Plantagenet Period 79 

ture made between the same Ralph and the aforesaid 
John, of which the date is the 24th day of October in 
the said i6th year delivered upon this account as is 
contained in the said Roll of particulars. And for 
i 135. 4d. received from old timber from the old hall 
remaining of the works there and not used, so sold 
to divers persons as contained therein. And for 
38 i8s. 2d. received from Ralph, Lord of Neville for 
7 fother 8 stones of lead bought and used by him 
about the King's works below mentioned and as 
therein contained. 

" Total of Receipts from the Bench 288 us. 

" Total of Receipts added together 308 us. 

Of which 

' ' Expenses. The same (defendant) accounts for 
plaster, timber, boards, latten, iron, lime, tiles, locks 
with keys, hinges, joints, sticks, glass, lead and other 
small necessaries bought and used for the works afore- 
said, together with the carriage, freight, and porterage 
of the same things from the different places where they 
were bought and provided as far as the said King's 
Castle at York, also for the wages of masons, carpen- 
ters, sawyers, plasterers, plumbers, tilers, daubers, 
and other workmen for carrying on the aforesaid 
works at divers times between the aforesaid 23rd day 
of June in the i6th year and the loth day of July 
next following, together with 2 iron mattocks, 2 wheel- 
barrows, i handbarrow, i little cupboard for the office 
of the Usher of the King's Great Exchequer, i chest for 
keeping safe the rolls and other mems. on the part 
of the King's Remembrancer therewithin kept, bought 
and not yet used 306 8s. as by the aforesaid King's 
writs in the title of this account annotated and as 
contained in the said Roll of particulars. Concerning 
which same 2 iron mattocks and other things afore- 
said the same John has to answer. And he does 

8o The History of the Castle of York 

" Total Expenses 306 85. 

" And he owes therefore 435. Sd. And it is in 
Roll 16 in Item Sussex. 

" Dead Stock. The same defendant accounts for 
2 mattocks of iron, 2 wheelbarrows, i handbarrow, 
i little cupboard for the office of the Usher of the King's 
Great Exchequer, i chest for Rolls and other memor- 
anda of the King's Remembrancer therewithin kept 
received by purchase as above contained and also in 
the said Roll of particulars. 

' Total Receipts 2 iron mattocks, 2 wheelbarrows, 
i handbarrow, i little cupboard, i chest. 

" Delivery of Dead Stock. The same accounts that 
he has delivered to John Harden, Keeper of the King's 
Castle aforesaid among other divers and necessary 
things to the use of the King's Keeper, by Indenture 
between the same John Melton and the aforesaid 
Keeper thereupon made, as is contained in the said 
Roll of particulars. Concerning which same 2 iron 
mattocks and other things and necessaries aforesaid 
the same Keeper is made responsible by the aforesaid 
Indenture inrolled in a memorandum of the Exchequer 
among the Records of Michaelmas term in the year 
16 on the part of the King's Remembrancer. 
And it balances." * 

1 L.T.R. Foreign Accounts, 16 Richard II., No. 27 m. H. 



Early aspect of site A Roman burial-place Houses on site 
demolished by Normans Earthen and timber Castle 
erected Wet ditches and large pool formed Timber 
keep substituted by one of stone Isolated position of 
motte and keep Wooden stockades replaced by walls 
Its three gates described Wooden bretasche used The 
great timber bridge and its approaches Dimensions of 
city gates compared Flanker near the great gate 
Small outer bailey formed General use of stockades 
Mediaeval buildings in the Castle. 

THE Castle of York at the end of the fourteenth 
century was, no doubt, at the height of its com- 
pleteness, and no documentary evidence has been 
found recording later additions, or material altera- 
tions, increasing its usefulness or strength as a 
fortress. In the preceding chapters its foundation, 
new erections, improvements, alterations, repairs 
and other castle works are arranged chronologically ; 
therefore, to better understand how its many parts 
were disposed, a description of the Castle will be of 
interest to those who have little acquaintance with its 
actual character. 

The original site of the Castle, at the confluence of 
the river Ouse and the tributary stream now called 
the Foss, was in Roman times an extra-mural district, 
or suburb, wherein the imperial garrison of Eburacum 


8 2 The History of the Castle of York 

occasionally buried their dead. In lowering the 
castle yard in 1835 the workmen employed in removing 
the soil found a large inscribed sarcophagus * of coarse 
grit ; another stone coffin similarly situated was also 
unearthed, and many Roman remains. 



During the early Anglo-Saxon period this spit of 
land was doubtless flooded on many occasions, and 
much silt was deposited upon it from time to time, 

1 This coffin now in the Museum of the Yorkshire Philoso- 
phical Society, is y| feet long by 2 feet n inches, and is thus 
pathetically inscribed in a panel : 

D. M. 






" To the Gods, the Manes. To Aurelius Superus, a Centurion 
of the Sixth Legion, who liv^d thirty-eight years, four months, 
and thirteen days, Aure'ia Censorina, his wife, set up this 
memorial." The word Manes denotes Ihs souls of the de- 
parted ; " but as it is a natural tendency to consider the souls 
of departed friends as blessed spirits, they were called by the 
Romans Dii Manes, and were worshipped with divine honours " 
(Museum Handbook, pp. 52-53. Cf. Wellbeloved's " Ebura- 
cum," p. no). 

Description and Disposition of the Castle 83 

thus raising the level of the surface of the land. The 
channel of the river Ouse in past centuries was very 
much wider than at present, and an extensive strip 
of St. George's Close, below the Castle, formed part 
of the bed of the stream. This area, subsequently a 
morass, by the process of natural aided by artificial 
means is now high dry ground. The street level 
beneath the modern iron-palisaded wall on the south- 
west side of the Castle, which is on the site of the ditch, 
has been raised upwards of 6 feet within the last sixty 

When William the Conqueror arrived he found 
several houses situated on this plot of land which 
he had chosen for his second castle at York. These 
he straightway demolished and appropriated the site. 
After the Norman fashion, a castle of earth and 
timber was planned and forthwith erected. His 
military engineers dammed up the original stream, 
running on the east front of the fortress, causing the 
water to flow around the newly thrown-up motte, or 
mound, with a loop carried round the west side of 
the Castle in a dug-out ditch. The latter was con- 
nected, immediately above the dam or weir, with a 
large pool, 1 originally formed by the pent-up water 
overflowing more than a hundred acres of low-lying 
land. This pool was an effectual defence on the east 
front for centuries. 

The plan of the Castle was irregular in shape, its 
outline being materially affected by the disposition 
of the ground. At its erection the protecting earth- 
works were at first strengthened with timber stockades, 
and the tower on the motte was of wood. This timber 
keep was substituted by one of stone by King Henry 
III. in 1245-59.2 Originally, the tower was ap- 

1 See the History of the King's Pool, and how it became 
obliterated, " York : the Story of its Walls, etc.," pp. 62-79. 

2 Ante p. 34. 

84 The History of the Castle of York 

preached from the bailey below, by an inclined timber 
bridge, 1 which was subsequently in part replaced 
by stone ; and it is recorded that the latter work was 
demolished in the sixteenth century. On this bridge 
was an erection called a bretasche (a wooden tower or 
gatehouse) from which the drawbridge, or a turnatile, 
a swing-bridge, could be worked ; and from the pro- 
tected galleries of the bretasche its defenders could 
conveniently shower arrows upon an enemy who 
assailed their position. 

The isolated keep, on the conical mound, with its 
circumjacent wide and deep wet ditch, was never 
enclosed within the walled area of the mediaeval 
castle ; and it is invariably described in early docu- 
ments as the " King's Tower," or " the Great Tower, 
near to " or " by the Castle of York." 2 

The wooden stockades on the earthen ramparts 
surrounding the Castle gave place to walls of stone 
during the reigns of Edward I. and his successor, and 
mural towers and stronger gatehouses of masonry 
were erected. Several drum towers of large size placed 
at its angles, flanked and strengthened the enceinte, 
adding great passive strength to the fortress. 
Some towers were specially located to flank and pro- 
tect entrance gateways, of which there were three. 

The walls were advantageously defended by this 
arrangement, since the exterior wall of one part could 
be seen and commanded from the summit of another. 
These towers when placed within a bowshot distance 

During the 1644 Siege of York a new timber bridge was 

2 The tower, the mound and its ditch, together with the 
counterscarp were granted by James I. in 1614, to private 
individuals ; after the lapse of just 210 years the Committee 
of Gaol Sessions purchased the site and added it to the Castle 
area. At the same time they cut away the talus of the mound, 
and built the present massive and high enceinte. 

Description and Disposition of the Castle 85 

enabled the defenders, themselves protected, to enfi- 
lade the intermediate curtain. 

Situated at the southern extremity of the Castle 
was the chief and largest gatehouse, from which com- 
munication was easily obtained with the great high- 
roads running in the direction of the Humber and the 
distant garrisoned castles. The south-western division 
of the East Riding, the wapentake of the Ouse and 
Derwent, bounds the city immediately without the 
Walmgate walls and the great gate of the Castle. 
During the Norman period this district, as far as 
Hemingborough, was a Royal forest ; and in ancient 
records there are many notices of the Forest of Ouse 
and Derwent. 1 On July 4, 1234, the area was dis- 
afforested by a decree of Henry III. Probably the 
chief reason why the Castle gate was placed here 
was its close proximity to the river Ouse, an important 
navigable waterway, by which the Midlands were 
readily approached. 2 

The gatehouse was composed of two round towers 
with an arched entrance between them, and was used 
as late as 1597. Fortunately, we are able to give 
an illustration of this great gate, from a rare drawing by 
Francis Place, presumably executed in 1699. 

The tower in the foreground of the picture exhibits 
interesting evidences of a timber bretasche having 
been fixed around its summit. Near the top of the 
tower several putlog holes are indicated, wherein 
wooden struts were fixed to carry a gallery of timber 
running round the walls outside the battlements. 
Sometimes, on large towers, there were two tiers of 
these galleries, the upper projecting beyond the lower, 
and thus affording a very formidable defence. Such a 
bretasche concealed the top of the wall and was only 

1 See Royal Forests, " Memorials of Old Yorkshire," 1909, 
pp. 69-76. 

2 See " York : the Story of its Walls," pp. 61-62. 

86 The History of the Castle of York 

put up in times of danger or when a siege was ex- 
pected ; and existing examples of it are very rare 
indeed, although it is evident in numerous instances 
that it was formerly in use. 1 A similar arrangement 
was fixed to other towers of the Castle. 

Opposite the great gate was a timber bridge crossing 
the fosse just above the dam. Before the year 1215, 
the Walmgate suburb was unenclosed by either earth- 
bank or wall ; after this date the direct route to the 
Castle bridge, from extra-mural districts, was by way 
of Fishergate Bar, formerly the highest city gate. 2 

Some distance beyond the foot of the bridge was 
a bar or barrier, a stockaded defence covering the 
approach, and protecting the roadway to the Castle 
gate. 3 The exact site of this barrier is uncertain, 
but we find it mentioned in a record dated I232. 4 

There was an entrance to the Castle, a postern or 
water-gate, through an outer bailey wall opposite the 
Chapel of St. George. This small gateway, about 
eight feet high, was only used by the garrison and 
others when they visited the King's mills or the 
chapel, and this was accomplished by passing over a 

1 Cf. Clark, "Med. Mil. Arch.," i. p. 151. 

2 Dimensions of City Gates, outer portals : 
Fishergate Bar: 14 feet high, n feet 2 inches wide. 
Micklegate Bar : 13 feet 9 inches high, 10 feet 9 inches 


Monk Bar : 13 feet 8 inches high, n feet 6 inches wide. 
Walmgate Bar : 12 feet 8 inches high, 12 feet 4 inches wide. 
Bootham Bar : 12 feet 5 inches high, n feet 6 inches wide. 

3 The gateway was walled up between the years 1597 and 
1650. Drake in his " Eboracum," p. 286, mentions the bridge 
thus : " The larger of these lead to the great gate from the 
country, the piles and foundations of which I saw lately dug 
up." The modern street of Fishergate is a comparatively new 
thoroughfare ; anciently the street running direct to Fisher- 
gate Bar was called Fishergate, to-day it is known as the 
Cattle Market. 

4 Charter Rolls, 16 Henry III. m. 14. 

Description and Disposition of the Castle 87 

wooden bridge across the wet ditch immediately in 
front of the postern. When the bridge was in disrepair 
a boat was sometimes used at this point. 

Between this doorway and the great gate a flanker, 1 
or outwork, was carried from the angle of the inner 
bailey wall down the rampart and ended in a drum 

From the water-gate, on the south-west front of 
the Castle, a curtain wall, running towards the ditch 
encompassing the motte, was evidently in existence 
in 1400, thus forming a small outer ward or bailey. 
This second wall was on ground considerably lower 
than the inner wall, and commanded from it ; and the 
mural towers were perhaps mere bastions not rising 
above the curtains. 

From the city the Castle at its north angle was 
entered by a smaller gate 2 facing the end of Castle - 
gate, described in 1597 as the " lower or lesser gate." 
This gateway had a drawbridge crossing the fosse in 

Stockades were universally used, and the counter- 
scarps of all the ditches were protected in this manner ; 
and as occasion required the decayed stockades were 
renewed. Such timber defences are frequently men- 
tioned ; in fact, this mode of protection was used at 
some castles as late as the 1644 Civil War. 

Within the Castle were several timber and plaster 
houses used for various purposes, such as the Court of 

1 The greater part of this flanker was destroyed by Robert 
Redhead, a gaoler in the sixteenth century ; but the water- 
gate and substructure of the tower remained until 1805. See 

2 " This has been a year ago rebuilt in a handsome manner, 
and is at present the only entrance to the Castle ; except I 
mention a small postern (watergate) near the milns " (Drake, 
" Eboracum," 1736, p. 286). The site of the gate was in- 
cluded in the enlarged area of the Castle in 182436, and was 
at this date taken down. 

88 The History of the Castle of York 

Exchequer, the King's Bench, the Royal Mint, and 
occasional lodgings for royal visitors. There was also 
a building called the King's Hall, and a gaol house 
which may have been of masonry. The exact sites 
of the mediaeval buildings are difficult to locate as 
every vestige of them has been destroyed. 



Introductory Early gaol, 1205-07 King John's expedition 
to Ireland, 1210 Irons for Irish prisoners at York 
Henry III. repairs the gaol Iron collars and chains for 
prisoners Payment of Gaolers, 1225-61 Assizes and 
St. Mary's Abbey, 1257 Rescue of prisoner and porter 
of Castle imprisoned, 1274 Prisoners on going in pay 
for hangman's rope Parson of Cave and another trespass 
in Foss, 1291 Rees Amereduk drawn and hanged, 1292 
Contempt of court by Bishop of Durham's bailiff, 
1292 Condemned man escapes to sanctuary Infraction 
of sanctuaries Prisoner led back to Escrick church, 
1309 Rebellion in Wales, hostages retained at York and 
elsewhere, 1294 Multitudes die in the Castle of hunger, 
1295 Pardon to sheriffs for escape of prisoners, 1298 
Hue and Cry, malefactors peremptorily beheaded 
Earl of Strathern and household in the Castle, 1307. 

THE Castle of York has been used as a county 
prison from very early times. All down the 
centuries its noisome dungeons and cold, dark cells 
have been crowded with unfortunate prisoners from 
every grade of society. Its silent, disused yards and 
high- walled courts have still a dreary aspect, but they 
help the imagination very little to realize the enor- 
mous amount of long-drawn-out misery and wretched- 
ness borne in the past by thousands of poor manacled 

In former times none but those with " iron " con- 
stitutions survived the severities of such confinement. 


90 The History of the Castle of York 

Within the grim and austere walls starvation, pestil- 
ence and brutal official treatment shortened the lives 
of innumerable forsaken and cast-off captives. Even 
as late as the eighteenth century men and women 
were herded together indiscriminately in what was 
nothing but a den of iniquity and horror. 

Many of the imprisoned were prominent characters, 
who figured largely in local affairs, and some were 
intimately bound up with the history of England itself. 
Prisoners of war, brought from Ireland during the 
early campaigns of conquest ; hostages from Wales ; 
and lords, lairds and pledges from Scotland ; have at 
times been incarcerated in the Castle at the pleasure 
of English kings. 

In addition to the countless train of criminals 
deservedly immured, many notable and noble men 
have been maliciously confined in its dungeons for 
political causes, and for offences and omissions peculiar 
to oldtime ecclesiastical law. The romance and 
tragedy of not a few of these offenders have an attrac- 
tion for readers who care to know of the daily doings, 
customs, and obsolete punishments of former genera- 

Although the State Papers teem with recorded 
facts, it is almost impossible to come to a correct 
judgment about the events of the past, and the motives 
of the actors in the old days, however impartially 
the attempt may be made. 

Criminal history was very popular a century ago, 
and numerous calendars of gruesome deeds and exe- 
cutions were published, merely to gratify the morbid 
tastes of the public. As the Criminal Chronology 
of York Castle has thus already appeared in print, 
and for other obvious reasons, only a very few 
cases of this character are included in the present 
volume. The chronicles which allude to domestic, 
religious and constitutional history are of more im- 

Early Assize and Prison Records 91 

portance in giving us a just estimation of the life and 
habits of our forefathers. 

During the Norman period and until the timber 
protecting defences of the Castle at York had 
been replaced by masonry, the only stone erection 
would be the great gate. It was in the chambers and 
towers of this gatehouse that prisoners were first 
lodged, and the authorities of other fortified cities and 
towns utilized their gatehouses or bars in a similar 
way. As the Castle became less and less requisite 
for military purposes an additional gaol would be built 
in the courtyard. 

Some of the first notices referring to the gaol of the 
Castle and its prisoners are recorded on the unpub- 
lished Pipe Rolls of King John's reign. In 1205 the 
sum of 2 I2s. 3^. was expended in repairing the 
" gaiole," and a similar amount was charged in 1207. 

King John followed his father's project of attempting 
to subjugate Ireland, and an expedition set sail from 
England at the beginning of June 1210. At the ter- 
mination of a successful campaign, about the end of the 
following August, the King received the homage and 
submission of twenty Irish chieftains. On his return 
he brought a batch of Irishmen, presumably hostages, 
to England. Several were immured at York, and an 
amount for repairs at the Castle incidentally mentions a 
payment for " the irons of the prisoners from Ireland." 

The Rolls of Henry III., commencing with the 
third year of his reign, have numerous entries of occa- 
sional expenses incurred in the upkeep of the gaol, 
early payment of gaolers, and the making and repair 
of iron collars and fetters worn by prisoners. The 
undermentioned extracts speak for themselves ; and 
the accompanying illustration of prisoners, portrayed 
in one of the rare mediaeval stained-glass windows of 
All Saints' Church, North Street, York, shows very 
distinctly how the iron collars and fetters were worn. 

92 The History of the Castle of York 

Two or more prisoners were chained together by their 
feet, hands and necks. The iron rings or collars 
doubtless had a joint or hinge to allow of their being 
opened and closed when affixed. 

These early references remind us that during the 
sixteenth century, and later, iron collars or jougs were 
frequently used in the north of England and Scotland, 
a mode of punishment fully described in Mr. W. An- 
drews' " Bygone Punishments." 
3 Henry III. " And in the work of the Gaol 10 marcs " 

(6 135. tf.). 

5 Henry III. " And in the work of the Gaol 20 shil- 

9 Henry III. " And for the irons of prisoners, and in 

the repair of the gaol of York -i os. 6d. And 
for one chain for hanging Robert de Wereby, 
2 shillings." 

10 Henry III. " And in expenses of two gaolers for 

the keeping of the gaol of York from the Feast 
of St. Edmund gth King Henry for one 
whole year 60 shillings, and in the cost which 
the same Eustace l incurred in the keeping 
of the said Gaol of York for half the loth 
year of the King 15 shillings." 

11 Henry III. " And in the payments of two gaolers 

of the gaol of York each of whom has id. 
per day for 20 weeks of the loth year and 
of this whole year 4 45. 4^." 

12 Henry III. " And in the payment of two men 

keeping the gaol of York 3 os. 10^." 

13 Henry III. " And in the payment of two men 

keeping the gaol of York 3 os. $d., and in 
repair of the gaol 75. 6d." 

14 Henry III. " And in the payment of two men 

keeping the gaol of York 3 os. lod." . . . 
" and in the repair of the gaol 4 8s." 
1 Eustace de Ludham, sheriff of Yorkshire. 

Fifteenth-Century Prisoners in the Stocks. 

From a Drawing by the author of a panel in the " Six Works of Mercy " window, 
All Saints' Church, North Street, York. 

Early Assize and Prison Records 93 

The stipend of the gaolers is continued each year, 
with one or two exceptions, until the forty-fifth year 
of King Henry's reign. In 1248 the charge for repairs 
to the gaol was 14 2s., and eleven iron collars cost us. 
in 1250. Henry visited York in the years 1221, 1229, 
1230, 1237, I2 44> an d 1252 and it would appear the 
gaol was overhauled at the King's request. 

The Crown had some jurisdiction over the gaol of 
St. Mary's Abbey, and previous to the erection of 
suitable buildings in the Castle bailey for holding 
assizes, the justices held their court in the abbey. In 
a charter dated February n, 1257, granted to Thomas 
de Water ville, the Abbot of St. Mary's, " the King's 
justices when they come to York for all pleas or for 
pleas of the forest, shall not hold their pleas in the said 
abbey save at the good will of the abbot and monks, 
but only the pleas of the liberty of the said abbey shall 
be held there as of old." * 

Prisoners when in custody and being taken to gaol 
were frequently rescued by sympathizing friends, 
and we learn that a commission dated September 14, 
1274, was issued to John Bek and Nicholas de Staple- 
ton, to make inquisition by jury of the city as to who 
the persons were who attacked the bailiffs of York 
Castle while they were taking a prisoner, charged with 
larceny, thereto, and rescued him and imprisoned 
the porter of the Castle. 

From time immemorial to the accession of Queen 
Victoria, little regard was paid to human life ; and 
death at the hands of the hangman was treated with 
indifference. For very slight offences, which we to-day 
should regard with small concern, the penalty was 
capital punishment. 

Edward I., who was styled " the English Justinian," 
did much by his influence to codify the laws of the 
realm, and finding that each county or district had its 
1 Cal. Chaiter Rolls, 1226-57, p. 461. 

94 The History of the Castle of York 

own local customs even to the apparently simple 
matter of finding a hangman's rope he had these 
put on record for future observance. In one of the 
King's precedent books, we find it stated that 
" whoever is imprisoned at York shall, on going in, 
pay a penny for a cord, although he may be a true 
man ; and so, if he be found guilty the gaoler shall 
find for him a rope, and if he be set free he loses his 
penny." l 

We find two persons incarcerated in the Castle in 
1291 for trespassing, or poaching, in the Fishpond of 
Fosse, which at this period was an important royal 
fishery. 2 The sheriff was ordered by Edward I., on 
October 26, to deliver " Richard le Keu, imprisoned 
for a trespass in the King's Fishpond of Fosse, where- 
with he is charged, in bail to mainpernors who shall 
undertake to have him before the justices whom the 
King shall appoint to hear and determine this 

On December 28 the sheriff received a similar man- 
date to " deliver Gilbert de Meus, parson of the church 
of Cave," who was accused of a like offence. 

A Welsh prisoner of some importance named Rees 
Amereduk, by the " special " order of the King, was 
tried at the March gaol delivery in 1292, " before 
Peter de Campania, John de Lythegreynes, John de 
Melsa, and William de Sancto Quint ino, justices ap- 
pointed for this purpose. Which Rees was there 
brought before the justices, and convicted of seduction 
made to the King, homicides, arsons, robberies and 
larcenies against the King's peace, and of demolishing 
the King's castles. It was adjudged that he shall be 
drawn for the seduction and shall be hanged for the 

1 Year Book, 20 and 21, Edward I. p. xvii. 

2 For a full account of the Fishpond, see " York : the 
Story of its Walls, etc.," pp. 62-79. 

Early Assize and Prison Records 95 

homicides, arsons, robberies and larcenies and demoli- 
tion of castles." x 

A complicated case of contempt of court, which 
illustrates some customs of the period, occurred in 
1292. Alan de Ellerbek, a resident of the Bishop of 
Durham's liberty of Northallerton, who was tried at a 
York gaol delivery before Peter de Campania and 
his fellow justices, was adjudged to be hanged. 

The condemned man was handed over to the bishop's 
bailiff at Northallerton, whose duty it was to carry 
out the sentence. The bailiff, who probably had been 
bribed, or was an intimate friend of his prisoner, dis- 
regarded the orders of the court and allowed Ellerbek 
to escape. The malefactor fled, and sought sanctuary 
in a church, where it was deemed an act of sacri- 
lege or wickedness to re-arrest a man who had taken 

To uphold the dignity of the King's justices whose 
judgment had thus been despised, the liberty of North- 
allerton was taken into the King's hands, but subse- 
quently was replevied to the Bishop, Anthony Bek. 2 

The bailiff was arrested and delivered on mainprise 
to answer, when required, for his conduct in not obey- 
ing the orders of the court. Alan, the unhanged male- 
factor, was safely kept by four townships of the 
liberty, as was the custom in like cases, until 
the question should be heard before Parliament, so 
that there should be done what the King ordained 
by his council in the matter. 

The infraction or violation of sanctuaries was looked 
upon with horror by most people, and discountenanced 
by the Crown, ecclesiastics, and the legal profession, 
as is evidenced by the following case which came before 
the justices at York. 

Nicholas de Schupton, who was in gaol for larceny, 

1 Cal. Close Rolls, 1288-96, p. 267. 

2 Cal. Close Rolls, 1288-96, p. 278. 

96 The History of the Castle of York 

no doubt fearing execution, fled to the church of 
Escrick near York and there found sanctuary. Cer- 
tain of his enemies clandestinely entered the sacred 
edifice, dragged him forth and led him back to the 
Castle, where he was kept in durance vile. 

Schupton, being aware of the King's respect for 
sanctuaries, to many of which he granted special 
privileges, appealed to his majesty, stating how he 
had been re-arrested and the sanctuary violated. His 
petition was favourably received, and Edward II. 
issued a mandate October 25, 1309, to John de Insula 
and John de Donecastre, justices assigned to deliver 
the gaol of York Castle, to " deliver Schupton from 
the said gaol, and to cause him to be led back to the 
church of Escrick " if they found that his statements 
were true. 

In 1294, twelve years after the conquest of Wales 
and the fall of the last native Prince, Madoc ap Mere- 
dith, a connexion of the brave Llewellyns', made a 
spirited attempt to rouse the Welsh. It proved un- 
successful, but it was so serious that Edward I. aban- 
doned an expedition to France, and hurried to Conway. 
The King's Castle at ^Carnarvon, which was not com- 
pleted, fell into the hands of the insurgents and the 
town was burned. 

Edward remained in Wales six months, during which 
he quelled the revolt, and received in custody upwards 
of three hundred Welshmen from divers parts of 
Wales as hostages. These pledges were retained in 
various royal castles up and down England. Seventy- 
five were brought under safe conduct to the North, 
and delivered to the sheriff of Yorkshire, under an 
indenture containing the names of the hostages. 

York on this occasion was the distributing centre, 
and the sheriff under date August 18, 1295, was ordered 
to receive from the sheriff of Nottinghamshire the said 
seventy-five hostages, and to retain ten of them in 

Early Assize and Prison Records 97 

York Castle, and to send ten hostages to Richmond 
Castle, ten to the castle of Skipton-in-Craven, twelve 
to the castle of Scarborough, twelve to Carlisle, twenty- 
one to Newcastle-on-Tyne, and to deliver them to the 
constables of the respective castles for custody. He 
was also requested to cause each of the hostages con- 
fined in York Castle, and each of those delivered to 
the constables of other castles to have 4^. a day for 

The number of persons who have died in the gaol is 
positively appalling, and no words can describe the 
horrors and iniquitous treatment 'meted out to poor 
helpless prisoners. Although they were sometimes 
allowed a stated sum to purchase food and other 
necessaries of life, these could only be obtained through 
the gaolers, who supplied the meanest fare at the most 
exorbitant prices. If any complained they were merci- 
lessly placed in heavier irons and silenced in dark 

When the country was in a state of anarchy, or its 
rulers were occupied with troublesome wars, the assizes 
or gaol deliveries were temporarily discontinued, and 
the county gaols of the land became overcrowded. 
The following extract, which only alludes to York, gives 
us a slight idea of how the " delays of the law " proved 
so fatal to many poor prisoners at York. 

" June 8, 1295. Commission to William de Ormsby 
and Roger de Burton to deliver York gaol of all pris- 
oners, as it appears that when the King, by reason of 
the disturbance by the Welsh, superseded the holding 
of further pleas by the justices in eyre in the county 
of York until further order, many persons indicted 
on that eyre were by judgment of the justices put in 
eigent, and upon the rumour thereof surrendered to 
York gaol, where a great multitude died of hunger, and 
the residue in custody there remain in danger of death." 1 

. * Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1292-1301, p. 161. 


98 The History of the Castle of York 

Primarily the high sheriffs of the county were re- 
sponsible for the safe custody of prisoners in the 
Castle, and the resident gaolers were the sheriffs' depu- 
ties. To permit the escape of prisoners by neglect, 
or collusion was regarded by the Crown as a serious 
offence. In 1298, twenty-six prisoners escaped from 
the Castle, and John de Byroum, the sheriff, sought 
the King's pardon, which was obtained because " of 
his many cares and occupations at that time, and his 
diligent pursuit of the fugitives." l 

The gaol must have been overcrowded, or very 
insecure, as escapes were of frequent occurrence. On 
May 10, 1304, the King pardoned Simon de Kyme, 
the sheriff, " for the escape from York gaol, while 
under his custody, of Robert de Cottingwyth, John le 
Furbisour, Alexander Heroun, Henry Fairhert, William 
de Saxton and William le Fleccher, of York, who were 
in custody there for trespasses in the realm, and of 
William de Vispont, of Scotland, taken prisoner at the 
fight at Dunbar, as the said Simon did his best to 
pursue them and caused some to be beheaded and 
others to be brought back to gaol, and as it appears 
that they escaped by the machination and assent of 
Gilbert de Milford, deputed by the sheriff to the cus- 
tody of that gaol, and not by the negligence of the 
sheriff." * 

As soon as it was discovered that any prisoners had 
fled they were pursued, and the customary Hue and 
Cry was raised a pursuit accompanied with loud out- 
cries, or clamour, to give alarm. If the malefactor 
was captured he was at once beheaded, accord- 
ing to lawful custom, without any formal trial, and 
the person responsible for the act received the King's 
pardon in the following manner 

" July 24, 1324. Pardon to Alan de Charleton for 

1 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1292-1301, p. 364. 

2 Ibid., 1301-07, p. 224. 

Early Assize and Prison Records 99 

the death of John de Castello, a rebel, who was in 
custody in the prison of the marshalsea at York, and 
broke prison, whereupon the King commanded the 
said Alan to pursue him and take him alive or dead, 
and the said Alan, in execution of the King's mandate, 
caused him to be beheaded at Kyngeslane, co. Here- 
ford, whither he had fled." 1 

1 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1324-27, p. 13. 




Rise and fall of the Knights Templar Inquisitions at York 
Templars imprisoned Langton, Bishop of Lichfield, 
in prison Courts of Exchequer and King's Bench held 
in the Castle Domesday Book and other documents 
brought to York Houses in Castle repaired for Court 
of Exchequer, etc. Prisoners pardoned by Edward II. 
John del Castel, prisoner, taken before the King at Picker- 
ing Orders to keep rebels safe Earl of Moray immured, 
1339-40 Ears of malefactors cut off Notification for 
John le Quyltemaker William Holgate, gaoler, charged 
with extorting money and allowing prisoners to escape, 
1388 Gift of bread to prisoners by Master of the 
Hospital of St. Leonard. 

THE famous order of Knights of the Temple, a 
society of ardent and zealous warriors who 
protected pilgrims to the Holy Land, and guarded 
the reputed tomb of Christ, was dissolved early in 
the fourteenth century. Members of the order, from 
various preceptories in the North of England and the 
Midlands, were imprisoned at York, and tortured 
prior to their examination before inquisitors for alleged 
blasphemy and licentiousness. 

The order, which was formally established in 1128, 
rapidly increased in popularity and wealth. The 
chivalrous daring and heroism of knights in the field 
had a fascinating charm which appealed to the spirit 


Early Assize and Prison Records 101 

of the times. At the close of the thirteenth century 
the Moslems were everywhere victorious, and all hope 
of regaining possession of Jerusalem was abandoned 
by the Christians, and the Red Cross Knights flocked 
homewards and settled upon their estates, which had 
been given to the order in bygone years. The enthu- 
siasm for the rescue of holy places in Palestine had 
abated, and avaricious monarchs yearned to possess 
the lands and wealth the Templars had amassed. 

Philip of France, encouraged by the Pope, suppressed 
the order in his domains and tortured the knights, 
many of whom were burnt at the stake for alleged 
blasphemy. In the autumn of 1307 various attempts 
were made by foreign potentates to prevail upon 
Edward II. to enter into a league against the Templars 
resident in England. At first the King discredited 
the iniquitous allegations against the order, but he 
was not able to withstand the importunities of those 
who desired its downfall. In a secret manner Edward 
issued the following writ to the sheriff of Yorkshire, 
and all the sheriffs of England received a similar 

" December 20, 1307. To the Sheriff of Yorkshire. 
Order to attach, on Wednesday next after the feast 
of the Epiphany next, in the morning, all the brethren 
of the order of the Temple in his bailiwick, by their 
bodies and goods, and to form an inventory of all 
their goods, muniments, etc., in the presence of the 
keeper of that place, to wit a brother of the said order. 
He is to cause their bodies to be guarded elsewhere 
than in their own places, but not to place them in hard 
and vile prison, and to find them sustenance. He is 
to certify the Treasurer and Barons of the Exchequer 
of what he has done herein, the names of the brothers 
arrested, and of their lands, etc." 

The knights were surprised and put under arrest 
and their property and lands sequestered by the King's 

102 The History of the Castle of York 

officers. Their farms were cared for and cultivated 
until they could be disposed of. 

The Pope, Clement V., was eager for their punish- 
ment, and we gather how they fared at York. On 
September 14, 1309, the constable of York Castle was 
requested " to receive from Henry de Percy the Tem- 
plars in his custody, and also from the sheriffs of North- 
umberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, Lancaster, 
Nottingham and York, whom the King has ordered 
to lead all the Templars in their custody and in their 
bailiwicks to York, there to deliver them to the said 
constable, who is to produce them before the inquisitors 
appointed by the Pope to inquire concerning the said 
order." l 

The knights under arrest in the Midlands were also 
brought to York at the same time. It was many 
months before an official inquiry could be arranged 
to adjudicate on the alleged crimes imputed to the 
knights, as Greenfield, Archbishop of York, disliked 
the whole proceedings. Several bulls were issued by 
the Pope and much correspondence ensued. During 
the delay the Templars were detained in the Castle, 
where " they had to be kept guarded and not allowed 
to wander about in contempt of the King's orders." 

A provincial Council was summoned to meet at 
York, on May 20, 1310, and most of the chief eccle- 
siastics of the North were present. Nothing, how- 
ever, was done, as the examination of the knights 
was unsatisfactory ; many of the charges against them 
were mere hearsay, and the meeting, therefore, was 
adjourned. The Pope still being dissatisfied that 
torture had not been used to obtain confessions of 
their guilt, the King reluctantly ordered the applica- 
tion of the rack, provided it did not extend to the shed- 
ding of blood or mutilation of the body. Every 

1 Cal. Close Rolls, 1307-13, p. 175. 

Early Assize and Prison Records 103 

attempt was made to secure fresh evidence or com- 
pulsory confession. 

The Council sat again on July i, in the Cathedral 
Chapter House, before which the twenty-four Tem- 
plars appeared ; great disputation and altercation 
necessitated a further adjournment of the tri- 
bunal. Nothing definite was decided, and after about 
twelve sittings of the inquisitors, the sheriff was 
ordered, August 18, 1311, " to deliver all the Tem- 
plars in his custody at York (Castle) to the King's 
clerk, Master de Pykering, vicar-general of the Arch- 
bishop of York, absent abroad, or to the deputy of 
the said vicar-general, to ordain concerning them 
according to ecclesiastical law." 


William de Grafton, senior, preceptor of Ribstan, 
Ralph de Roston, Thomas de Stannford, Henry de 
Kereby, Thomas de Bellerby, of Penhil, Robert de 
Langton, William de la Fenne, preceptor of Faxflete, 
Richard de Kesewyk, Stephen de Radenhalgh, priest 
of Westerdale, Michael de Sowreby, priest of Sorenty 
(?), in the diocese of Durham, Godfrey de Arches, 
preceptor of Newsham, John de Walpole, Ivo de Etton, 
Henry de Craven, Roger de Hugyndon, Henry de 
Rouclyf, Galfrid de Wylton, Walter de Gaddesby, 
Richard de Ripon, Thomas de Thresk, Richard (or 
Roger) de Shefeld, John de Ebreston, William de 
Midelton and Walter de Clifton. 

None of the Templars were put to death as in other 
countries, but it was ordained that each of them 
after having been imprisoned at York for two years 
should be sent to a monastery in the province of York 
to do penance for his errors. Due provision was 
made for their maintenance, and a pension of fourpence 

104 The History of the Castle of York 

a day each was allowed them by the King out of their 
sequestered estates. 

Before a year had expired the Archbishop had re- 
leased most of them from the sentence of excommuni- 
cation. The order was finally dissolved throughout 
the Continent and in England, April 1312. The 
records of the Exchequer contain numerous documents 
relating to the property of the Templars in this county, 
specimen copies of the inventories of their stock and 
furniture appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine for 

1857. P- 5i9- 

The Crown appropriated the Castle mills and the 
adjoining Chapel of St. George, which the Templars 
had held for many years, and an indenture of the con- 
tents of the mills, etc., was made. 1 

By a strange irony of Fate, Walter Langton, Bishop 
of Lichfield and Coventry, Treasurer of England, 
and Master of the Hospital of St. Leonard, York, was 
a prison companion of the Templars. If he had not 
been under restraint, he very probably would have 
sat with his brother ecclesiastics of York on the Council 
that judged the knights. 

Langton held distinguished offices in the State, and 
on July 2, 1306, he and Greenfield, Archbishop of York, 
were appointed by Edward I. guardians of the realm. 
He with other wise ministers brought about the banish- 
ment of Piers Gaveston, the profligate friend and 
companion of the Prince of Wales, for his share in 
the intrigues which had estranged the King from his 

His royal master died at Burgh-on-Sands July 7, 
1307, and one of the first acts of Edward II. after his 
accession to power was to recall Gaveston, and imprison 

1 For a full account of the Templars of Yorkshire, see 
Kenrick's " Archaeological Papers," pp. 1-68, " Fasti Ebora- 
censes," pp. 369-76, and The Yorkshire Topographical Journal, 
vol. x, pp. 349, etc. 

Early Assize and Prison Records 105 

Langton for having been the means of driving his 
favourite into exile. The King in a revengeful and 
cruel manner caused the prelate to be arrested whilst 
he was faithfully conveying the body of his late 
sovereign towards Westminster. 

The Bishop was in the Castle when John de Gras 
was appointed sheriff of Yorkshire, July 3, 1308, who 
received a writ from Edward II. to detain him in cus- 
tody. The unfortunate and unjust position of Lang- 
ton appealed to the sympathies of the Bishops and 
members of the Provincial Council at York, and they, 
as well as the Pope, in 1311 wrote to the King entreat- 
ing his majesty out of respect to his episcopal office 
to permit the Bishop's release. He was subsequently 
removed to the Archbishop's prison and eventually 
restored to favour. The following year Gaveston 
was excommunicated, Parliament demanded his dis- 
missal, and he ended his life on the scaffold. 

The Scots, emboldened by their success at Bannock- 
burn, continued to raid and plunder the northern 
counties, and the efforts of Edward II. to repress them 
were futile. In the attempt to make a determined 
resistance by the formation of a strong army, the King 
at this period resided at York, whilst moving about 
from place to place in the county. The business of 
the State was transacted at York, and for the conveni- 
ence of the King and his councillors the Court of Ex- 
chequer and the Court of King's Bench were removed 
here also. 

These high courts were held in the Castle, in timbered 
buildings not unlike the mediaeval gabled dwelling- 
houses still to be seen in some of the older streets of 
the city. From time to time the houses in the Castle 
bailey appropriated for the courts required renovation 
and repairs, and on May 30, 1319, the High Sheriff 
was ordered " to cause the houses within York Castle 
and other houses to be repaired by the advice of John, 

io6 The History of the Castle of York 

Bishop of Winchester, the treasurer, and of Walter 
de Norwyco, a baron of the Exchequer, for the Ex- 
chequer and the receipt of the same, and for holding 
pleas of the Bench there, and for holding the King's 
Bench for pleas before the King, as the King has 
ordered that the Exchequer and the Bench for Common 
Pleas shall be transferred to York by Michaelmas." l 

The Treasurer and Barons of the Exchequer were 
also authorized by the King and his Council " to cause 
the Exchequer to be transferred to York, together 
with the rolls, tallies, memoranda and other things 
touching it, and the rolls of the Bench of such years 
as they shall deem fit, and to determine there all pleas 
touching the Exchequer to the morrow of Michael- 
mas, when the King wills that the Exchequer shall be 
held at York, and afterwards according to the exigence 
of the pleas and their discretion." 2 

On this occasion the Domesday Book (which was 
often referred to in law cases before the court), the 
Patent and Close Rolls, and the Rolls of the Exchequer, 
were brought from Westminster to York. As the 
mode of transit in these old days was so unlike present- 
day methods this must be our excuse for giving a 
few notes on how the law books and documents were 
conveyed to York. 

The Chief Justice of the Bench was responsible in 
person, or by deputy, for the safe carriage of the rolls, 
tallies, etc., and he was authorized to have them 
securely packed in barrels. These were placed in 
broad-wheeled wagons drawn by four or six horses. 
The sheriffs of each county through which the convoy 
passed was answerable for the safe transit through 
their respective bailiwicks, and they had to meet the 
wagons as they arrived at appointed places on their 
county boundary. The sheriffs attended, or their 

1 Cal. Close Rolls, 1318-23, p. 76. 

2 Ibid. 

Early Assize and Prison Records 1 07 

deputies, accompanied with a sufficient number of 
men-at-arms as escort to prevent robbery. 

The Chief Justice and each sheriff as the cavalcade 
passed along the North Road had to certify the sheriffs 
in advance, of their daily journeys and of the towns 
through which they purposed passing, so that these 
officials and their retinue could promptly meet them 
at the stated times and places appointed. As the 
valuable documents were transferred from the care 
of one person to another, a signed indenture was 
made and recorded. 

It took many days to complete the journey, as 
the unpaved and unkept highways on the best lines 
of communication in many districts passed through 
unenclosed heath and fen. The ruts were deep, and 
in wet weather the roads were almost impassable. The 
rivers frequently overflowed and inundated the country 
around. Travellers were delayed and sometimes 
drowned in their attempts to pass forward. The high- 
ways of England were never properly attended to 
until the latter half of the seventeenth century. 

In February 1322, the sheriff had to " cause 
the houses within the Castle of York last assigned 
for holding the Exchequer and the Bench for Common 
Pleas to be repaired before Easter next, as the King 
has ordained that the Exchequer shall be held at 
York on the morrow of the close of Easter and the 
Bench in the quinzaine of Easter, the King being 
about to set out for the North to repress the invasion 
of the Scots. The sheriff is to cause proclamation 
to be made that the King wills that the places afore- 
said shall be at York at the said times, and that all 
merchants and others wishing to sell victuals and 
other things may come to the said city in safety with 
their said goods to receive their due payment for the 
same. By the King." * 

1 Cal. Close Rolls, 1318-23, p. 417. 

io8 The History of the Castle of York 

The Exchequer Rolls and other documents were 
returned to Westminster at the end of June 1323, 
and the King's chamberlain was requested to deposit 
the King's treasure at York in the same convoy and 
have it safely removed to Westminster. 

On the Patent Rolls of the fourteenth century are 
recorded hundreds of pardons, granted to persons who 
had been charged before the justices of assize at the 
Castle with the death of their fellow countrymen. 
The verdict in each case was that the deed had been 
done in self-defence. The following is a typical case : 

" May 28, 1322. Pardon to Richard son of 
Nicholas Bret of Fulford, a prisoner in the King's 
gaol within the liberty of Bouthum, belonging to 
the abbot of St. Mary's, York, charged with the 
death of John de Dyghton of Bonnewyk, as it appears 
by the record of John de Donecastre and his fellows, 
justices appointed to deliver that gaol, that he killed 
him in self defence. By the King." 

In the autumn of 1323 Edward II. paid a visit to 
Pickering Castle, staying from August 7 to the 22nd. 
During his sojourn there we gather from his orders, 
which were recorded with much minuteness, that he 
was anxious to have a special prisoner brought before 

" August 12, 1323. Safe-conduct for eight days for 
John de Enefeld, John de Leycestre, Edmund Provost, 
Simon de Friskenade and Pouncettus de Monte Mar- 
tini, King's Serjeants, appointed to bring John del 
Castel, a prisoner in the prison of the King's marshal- 
sea at York, to the King at Pikeryng, and if he has 
escaped to bring the person in whose custody he was." 

The disastrous reign of Edward II. was fast drawing 
to its close when, in 1326, he issued writs to most of 
his sheriffs to strictly guard his rebellious subjects 
whom they had under arrest. On February 13, the 
Treasurer and Barons of the Exchequer were ordered 

Early Assize and Prison Records 109 

to cause the defaults in York Castle to be surveyed by 
some one in whom they could confide, and to cause 
the defects to be repaired, unless great cost was re- 
quired, in which case they were requested to certify the 
King with all speed. 

An urgent writ was issued May 20 to the constable 
of York Castle, or to him who supplied his place. 
He was ordered " to cause all prisoners, enemies and 
rebels of the King, imprisoned in the Castle in the 
constable's custody, to be kept safely and securely 
so that they may not escape from prison, or peril of 
escape may not arise, under penalty of his life and 
limb and of forfeiture of his goods and chattels at the 
King's pleasure, as certain of the King's enemies and 
rebels have escaped from divers prisons wherein they 
were confined by the King's orders." 

A Scottish noble, John Randolf, Earl of Moray, who 
was incarcerated at Nottingham Castle, in October 
1339 was led to the borders of that shire and de- 
livered into the custody of the sheriff of Yorkshire, 
who brought him a prisoner to York. The Earl was 
immured in the Castle until his release, August 9, 
1340. The constable was allowed forty shillings a 
week for the sustenance of his charge during the period 
of his imprisonment. 

The mutilation of the body as a legal punishment 
of offenders of the labouring class was very common 
in the Middle Ages. Many poor creatures whose 
hands, feet, tongues or ears had been cut off for petty 
crimes, were allowed to wander about as a warning 
to their fellows of like humble birth. Eyes were 
plucked out, the upper lip cut off, the nose was fre- 
quently slit and other revolting punishments were 

Even as late as the reign of Henry VIII. the penalty 
paid for not attending church was to have one's ears 
cut off. During the same period, if any one struck 

1 10 The History of the Castle ot York 

a person in the King's house, or court, he suffered the 
loss of his right hand. 

If any of the royal servants, or righting men, lost an 
ear during wartime they received a patent or notifica- 
tion which they could exhibit to any one who accused 
them of having lost their ears for some offence. One 
such notification was granted to John le Quyltemaker 
of York, August 20, 1327, who had his right ear cut 
off by the Scots at Stanhope when he was in the King's 
service, "so that he suffer no sinister suspicion thereby." 

The gaolers of the Castle were frequently accused 
of abetting the escape of prisoners. Illegally extorting 
money appears to have also been commonly practised, 
and the government had great difficulty in checking 
such abuses or bringing the unscrupulous gaolers to 
justice. A commission was issued October 18, 1388, 
to " John Sayvylle, sheriff of Yorkshire, William de 
Aldeburgh, Thomas Graa of York, Robert Savage of 
York, and Thomas Holm of York, to enquire and certify 
whether William Holgate, to whom the King lately 
granted the custody of the gaol within York Castle, 
voluntarily permitted divers felons therein to escape, 
and compelled other prisoners by duress and divers 
penalties to become approvers and to appeal lieges 
of the King of felony, whom he caused to be taken 
and detained in the said gaol, he extorting sums of 
money from them and withdrawing alms given for 
their maintenance." 

A second commission sat in November of the same 
year which had to inquire and certify the names of 
the prisoners whom William Holgate allowed to escape 
and of those who turned approvers. 

The ill-fed and starving prisoners in the Castle were 
often relieved by the alms of charitable persons ; but 
the gaolers withheld these gifts from the poor and 
friendless, who were heartlessly stowed away in dur- 
ance vile. The master and brothers of the Hospital 

Early Assize and Prison Records 1 1 1 

of St. Leonard, 1 York (at this period one of the largest 
secular institutions of its kind in the North of England), 
in a beneficent manner supplied each prisoner in the 
Castle with a loaf of bread every Sunday. On one 
occasion there were 310 recipients in gaol. 

1 St. Leonard was the patron saint of prisoners and slaves. 



Military service of Castle-guard Domesday references 
The Scolland family and Richmond Castle Castle-guard at 
Skipsea and Newcastle Lands in Givendale held by 
military tenure Examples of Castle-guard services at 
York Castle Burdensome incidents of tenures abolished. 

IN feudal times many lands were held by the ancient 
tenure of military service or grand serjeanty, 
which often took the form of guarding or keeping in 
repair some specified part of a castle, frequently a 
tower, or the gate-house. The custom of castle-guard 
is unknown to Anglo-Saxon laws, as there were no 
castles in England until the Normans introduced 
them. We find the tenure mentioned in Domesday 
Book, for there it is recorded that Ralph Passaquam 
held Drayton (Bucks) " and found two mailed soldiers 
(loricatos) for the guard of Windsor." 

Odo Balistarius is also mentioned in the Great Survey 
as a tenant in capite of fourteen manors in Yorkshire, 
and eleven in Lincolnshire. It is doubtful what were 
the definite services Odo rendered to the King ; he 
may have been captain or the chief officer of a company 
of arbalisters, or had charge of the stone and missile- 
discharging engines used in the defence of York Castle. 
The Scolland family were bound to maintain and 
guard the hall of Richmond Castle, and' the apart- 
ment to this day bears their name. Ancient 
records frequently specify the precise part in a castle 


Castle-guard and Serjeanty 1 1 3 

which tenants were to defend, and some towers we find 
were named after the knightly families responsible 
for their defence. 

Stephen de Oustwyke, or Hostwyke, assigned to 
John Uthtride a messuage and nine bovates of land 
with appurtenances in Holderness, and besides other 
services, he rendered " to the King yearly at the feast 
of St. Michael, for castle- guard at Skipsea I2d." 1 

The barony of Bywell in Northumberland was held 
by the service of five knights, together with castle- 
guard of thirty knights at Newcastle. 2 

Before the commutation of services for money pay- 
ments, the kings and the great landowners of the early 
feudal period derived no money from rents ; rents were 
only paid in services. In 1176 a State Council was 
held at Northampton, and it was decided amongst 
other things that the edicts which the justiciars were 
to especially enforce were those relating to castles. 
Strict inquiries were to be made into the tenure of 
castle-guard and how far its duties were discharged. 

At Givendale, near Pocklington, about twenty miles 
from York, lands and tenements were held of the 
Crown by military tenure, requiring the provision of 
arbalisters or crossbow-men to assist in the safe- 
guarding of the Castle of York for the King during times 
of war. 

In Testa de Nevil are recorded several tenures of 
castle-guard of about the years 1212-17. 

Robert de Geveldale and Thomas de Geveldale did 
service for lands in Givendale " per balistariam ad 
castellum Eboraci." 

Ralph son of Bernard, of Hotone (Hutton-on-Der- 
went), held lands by serjeanty of guarding the " por- 
tariam Castri Eboraci." 

1 " Yorks. Inquisitions," Y.A. Socty. Record Series, vol. 
iii. p. 37. 

1 " Feudal England," J. H. Round, p. 296. 


H4 The History of the Castle of York 

Robert Balistarius held four carucates of land in 
Givendale " per serjanteriam unius balistcz ad castrum 

Thomas de Walingeham held four carucates and 
John le Poer held five carucates for a similar service. 

In 1227 various parcels of land in Colsueynhoton 
(Hutton-on-Derwent), amounting in all to seven 
bovates twenty acres three roods and a half, were 
granted 1 to the prior and convent of Malton, all which 
lands Alan de Hoton held of the King in chief by the 
serjeanty of keeping the gate of the Castle of York. 

An inquisition post mortem made in 1256 mentions 
that William the Arblaster, held in the two towns which 
are called Gyveldale (Givendale) four carucates of 
land, worth by the year iocs., by the service of a cross- 
bow-man and doing ward at York Castle in time of 
war for forty days at his own wages, if longer at the 
cost of the King, and to conduct the King's Treasure 
through the county at the King's charges. 

In 1261 an inquisition was made in full County 
Court before the Sheriffs and Keepers of the Pleas of 
the Crown as to who was the next heir to hold the 
serjeanty of the Castle Gate of York Castle, and how 
much that serjeanty ought to yield yearly by the new 
fine of serjeanties. The jury decided that " John 
son of Elienor, is next heir by reason of a certain an- 
cestor of his named Coles wayn, who had that serjeanty 
by gift of a King of England from time immemorial. 
The serjeanty ought to yield by the year eleven marcs 
2s. $d. The custody of the gate aforesaid is worth 
yearly one marc. The serjeanty aforesaid was taken 
into the King's hand by his own will, like all other 
serjeanties of England, and for no other cause." 2 

John de Crippelinges, aged 28, son and heir of 
Robert de Creppinges in 1280 held lands in Yapham, 

1 Charter Rolls, p. 19. 

2 " Yorks. Inquisitions," vol. i. p. 87. 

Castle-guard and Serjeanty i 1 

Barneby and Wappelington, by the service of archery, 
to be done at the gate of York Castle in time of war 
by one man. The said lands and rent he held in chief 
of Robert le Chaumberleyne. 1 

The feudal inquests of the thirteenth and fourteenth 
centuries merely regard the service of castle-guard 
as an obligation to pay so much money at such and 
such terms. For many other details, particulars, 
inquisitions and escheats, bearing upon the subject 
see Kirby's " Inquest," ' Yorkshire Inquisitions," 
Record Series, Yorkshire Archczological Journal, Testa 
de Nevil, and the Red Book of the Exchequer, Record 
Office Publications. The tenure of grand serjeanty 
still exists so far as relates to merely honorary services, 
but the burdensome incidents were abolished by statute 
in the reign of Charles II. 

1 " Yorks. Inquisitions," vol. i. p. 207. 



Early Castle Mills Holy Trinity Priory and tithe of mills 
Granted to Knights Templar Ditch to mills blocked 
Henry III. grants timber for repairs, 1231 Value of 
mills, 1270 Suppression of Templars, mills surrendered 
to King, 1311 Mills and pond washed away, 1315-16 
Repairs to new mills, piling of pool, and Foss head, 1315- 
1339 Citizens drowned in mill race, 1376 Accounts for 
repair of mills, etc., 1379 Mills granted to St. Leonard's 
Hospital 1464 Suppression of hospital, mills surrendered 
to Crown again, 1539 Mills sold by Queen Elizabeth to 
Francis Guilpyn Yearly rent charge out of mills for 
Hospital, Heslington, 1608 Channel of River Foss 
deepened, 1727 Little Foss drained, 1731 Mills re- 
built, 1778 River Foss made navigable, 1793 Poetical 
allusion to smoke nuisance, 1797 Mills taken down, 
1856 Rent of Fishpond of Fosse still paid to Crown 
Receivers Oldtime bakers and castle mills. 

ALMOST every feudal castle possessed a mill for 
grinding corn, as such a convenience was neces- 
sary, especially during unsettled times. Castles were 
invariably erected near waterways, where by a little 
engineering skill they could be encircled with wet 
ditches ; and on some fronts, according to the contour 
of the land, could be defended by deep broad lakes 
or pools ; and thus the pent-up water was available 
for driving a mill as occasion required. 

At York William the Conqueror dammed up a 
stream for the purpose of encompassing the Castle 
and the citadel mound with water, and in doing this 


The Castle Mills 1 17 

an extensive tract of land was flooded. This newly- 
formed sheet of water, which protected the Castle 
on its east front, subsequently became a valuable 
royal fishery, and was known in mediaeval days as the 
Fishpond of Fosse. 1 Below the head, or dam, of the 
lake was a smaller pool, the water of which served 
the mill and, subsequently, fell into the river Ouse. 

The Norman kings and their local officials, the sheriffs 
of Yorkshire, retained possession of the Castle mills 
as long as the people of Northumbria were hostile to 
their government. In the lapse of years, the populace 
having submitted to the inevitable authority of the 
conquerors, the mills came into the possession of 
Nigel d'Albeni, who died between 1130 and 1135. 
Amongst his bequests were gifts to various religious 
houses, and among them Holy Trinity, York, occurs 
as a beneficiary : * To the Church of Holy Trinity 
I have given these dwelling-houses in York and the 
tithe of the mills." 2 This gift is confirmed in a charter 
of Henry II. dated between 1174-81, one in which 
the King was confirming the Priory possessions, and 
is mentioned thus : "Of the gift of Nigel de Albeni 
the tithe of the mills de castello of York." In 
another document it is mentioned as " Of the gift of 
Nigel d'Aubigny the tithe of the mills of the Castle of 
York, as the Charter of Roger de Mowbray testifies." 3 

Subsequently Roger de Mowbray, a powerful local 
baron, granted the mills to the Knights of the Temple, 4 

1 See an account of the Fishpond and its Custodians, 
" York : the Story of its Walls, Bars and Castles," pp. 62-79, 

2 Historians of the Church of York, vol. iii. p. 56. Quoted 
in " The Alien Benedictines of York," by Dr. Solloway, 1910, 
p. 70. 3 " Alien Benedictines of York," p. 90. 

4 The earliest grants which we find made to the Templars 
in England are in the reign of Stephen, A.D. 1135-54. Henry 
II. gave them a site on the river Flete, in London, for the 
erection of a mill. 

1 1 8 The History of the Castle of York 

a religious order of knights formally established in 

The site of the Templars' mill was situated on the 
Fishergate side of the river Foss just below the pool 
which we to-day designate the Foss Basin, or Browney 
Dyke. This was, originally, the mill pool. 

In 1215, when Geoffrey de Nevill was employed in 
defending the city against the defiant barons, the dis- 
trict of Walmgate was inclosed with a rampart and 
its external deep and broad ditch. Commencing at 
a point near the present Red Tower a ditch was dug 
to connect with the Foss Pool. Passing in a curved 
line half round the space inclosed, it terminated at 
Fishergate ; the water, when admitted from the pool, 
flowing into the mill pond below the head, or dam, 
of the Fishpond of Fosse. The earth excavated from 
the ditch was, in part, thrown inwards and upwards, 
so as to form a bank. The stank, or pool, of the Castle 
mills was henceforward, for many years, chiefly sup- 
plied with water by this ditch instead of, as previously, 
over the Fosse dam below the Castle. The talus of 
the new embankment was not solidified enough to 
allow of water being run through the ditch with im- 
punity ; therefore, we learn, the loosened soil fell into 
the channel, partially choking it up. 

The Master of the Templars complained to the King 
(Henry III.) that he suffered from this inconvenience, 
and a commission was appointed to look into the matter. 
' The King to Martin de Pateshill and his colleagues, 
Justices in the County of York. The Master of the 
Templars in England has shown us that when Geoffrey 
de Nevill, formerly our Chamberlain, at the time of the 
war between King John our father and his barons, 
for the protection and security of the city of York and 
the district outside, caused a certain ditch to be cut, 
descending from the water which is called Foss to 
the water which is called Ouse, upon which the same 

The Castle Mills 119 

Master has a certain mill ; this ditch through the 
falling in of earth and mud flowing in has become 
choked with earth and mud, so that the water is pre- 
vented from flowing into the mill, whereby the said 
Master suffers great detriment to his aforesaid mill ; 
hence he intreats us that he may be allowed to open 
out the aforesaid ditch and clean it of mud, provided 
this opening and cleaning is of no damage to our City 
of York. We therefore order you that if this empty- 
ing and cleaning can be done without damage to our 
aforesaid city, you shall permit him to do it as seems 
expedient." 1 

In 1231 Henry III. allowed the Templars a supply 
of timber for the repair of the mills and requested 
Brian de Insula to permit oaks to be taken from the 
Forest of Galtres for the purpose. 2 

The following year the King granted the Master 
and Brethren of the Temple, in frankalmoin, " a piece 
of land near the mill of the said brethren without York, 
lying between the said mill and the water called Use 
and running from the Bar beneath the Castle to the 
street called Fishergate." 3 The street mentioned as 
Fishergate does not refer to the present thoroughfare 
known by that name, but to the highway which led 
from Fulford direct up to George Street or Fishergate 

A writ was issued by the King at Westminster, 
dated March 29, 1270, requesting that an investiga- 
tion should be made concerning the value of the mills 
of the Templars, and a judicial inquiry was held 
April 22 

1 Cal. Close Rolls, 1226, vol. ii. p. 120. 

2 " Mandatum est B. de Insula quod in foresta regis de 
Gautric' faciat habere magistro Milicie Templi in Anglia v 
quercus, de dono regis ad molendina sua Eboraci reparanda " 
(Close Rolls, 1227-31, p. 510). 

3 Cal. Charter Rolls, vol. i. 1226-57, p. 148. 

120 The History of the Castle of York 

" Inquisition 1 at York, before J. de Reygate, on 
Tuesday after the close of Easter, 54 Henry, as to 
how much the mills of the Templars beneath the King's 
Castle of York are worth by the year in all issues, save 
costs and charges which it will be necessary to set for 
their keeping and repair, made by twenty-four free 
and lawful men, that is to say, by twelve men of the 
City of York, and twelve men without the City, 
namely : by Arnald Clerk of York, Henry Baker, 
Alan Crokebayn, John de Sutton, all of the same, 
Stephen de Hundemandby, John Gerrocke, Richard de 
Wykestowe, Geoffrey de Pykeringe, Ralp the Mar- 
shall (le Ferrur), Richard de Ryther, Ralp le Long, 
Simon Scraggy, Peter de Ros" of Barton, William de 
Wygginthorpe, Adam de Hoby in Crambum, Robert 
son of William of Barneby, Richard son of Osbert 
of the same, William de Touthorpe, William Darel of 
Quelderyke, Geoffrey Murdoke of the same, Hugh 
Mureres of Elvington, William de Thorpe of Hese- 
lington, Robert de Henlay in Stivelingflet, and Robert 
le Long of Kelkefeud, who say by their oath that the 
mills aforesaid are worth by the year in all issues, save 
costs and charges which ought to be set for their keeping 
and repair, and save tithes of the same, twelve marcs." 2 

Along with other lands in Yorkshire belonging to the 
Templars the Castle mills were appropriated to the 
King's use. Sir Alexander de Cave and Robert Amcotes 
on December i, 1311, took an account of the goods 
and chattels in and about the mills, which were of 
little value. This indenture containing an inventory 
is printed in the Gentleman's Magazine 3 for 1857. 

" Yorks. Inquisitions," Yorks. Archl. Socty. Record 
Series, vol. i. pp. 112-13. 

2 "Yorks. Inquisitions," Yorks. Archl. Journal Record 
Series, vol. i, p. 112. 

3 Part 2, pp. 519-527. See list of documents relating to 
the Templars in Kenrick's " Archl. and Histl. Papers " 1864 
pp. 1-68. 

The Castle Mills 121 

A commission dated July 9, 1315, was granted to 
" Master Robert de Pykering (Dean of York), Stephen 
de Malo Lacu and John de Hothum to survey the 
King's mills by his Castle of York and his stew of the 
Fosse, and to inquire therein by oath of good men of 
the county of York, as it is reported that the former 
are going to ruin through the neglect of the keepers, 
and that the fish in the latter have been wasted by 
certain evildoers. By the King." 1 

An inquiry was made, and the sheriff of Yorkshire, 
Simon Warde, was ordered, January 13, 1316, " to 
cause the King's mills near the Castle of York to be 
constructed anew and repaired by the view and advice 
of 12 men of the City of York, and to cause the trench 
made by Nicholas Meynill, when sheriff of York (shire) 
(1315), to save the fish in the stew of Fosse, to be filled 
up, as the King learns, by inquisition taken by John 
de Insula and John de Donecastre, that the mills are 
wholly decayed through the default of certain keepers 
of the same, and that the wheels and other things 
were carried away by a great flood, and that John 
Malbyz, when sheriff (1314) of the county and keeper 
of the mills, considering that the houses of the said 
mills were so decayed that they could not last any 
longer, took down the timber of the said house to save 
the timber, which he delivered to Nicholas de Meynill, 
subsequently sheriff, by indenture made between 
them, and that Nicholas during his term of office 
caused a trench to be made to save the fish in the stew 
of Fosse in order that the course of the water might 
flow through it until he should cause the mill pond 
which had been carried away by the said flood, to be 
reconstructed. The sheriff is to receive the said 
timber from Nicholas and to use it in aid of the repair 
of the mills." 2 

1 Cal. Pat. Rolls, Ed. II. 1313-17, p. 402. 
8 Cal dose Rolls, 1313-18, p. 262. 

122 The History of the Castle of York 

On January 6, 1324, the sheriff of the county was 
ordered by Edward II. " to cause the sluices of the 
mills of York Castle, which the King understands are 
partly broken, to be repaired by the view and testi- 
mony of the mayor of York and of another man of 
that city." 

Many orders for the repair of the head of the Fish- 
pond of Foss and the mills appear on the Close Rolls, 
most of which have not been noticed by previous writers. 
Many of them are exceedingly interesting documents 
and they help us to picture, in imagination, the site of 
the old Castle mills, as the aspect of the locality has 
altered in the course of time in an indescribable manner 

The following is a typical order 

" November 9, 1328. To the Sheriff of Yorkshire. 
Order to cause the defects in the head of the King's 
pond of the water of Fosse in the city of York to be 
repaired, as the King understands that there are many 
defects therein, so that there is fear of the breaking 
of the pond and the loss of the fish therein contained 
unless the defects be repaired." 

We have seen by a previous record that the mills 
were rebuilt about the year 1316, after a great flood 
which did considerable damage. The old mill and 
the retaining walls of the pond were washed away, 
and we are unable now to locate the exact site of the 
newly erected mill. 

I n I 333 the sheriff was ordered to execute several 
works of repair at the Castle " and also to cause a 
certain wooden bridge near the portico 1 which leads 
from the said Castle on the south side to the King's 
mills of that Castle, to be newly built, from the issues 
of that bailiwick, by the view and testimony of Nicholas 
de Langeton, mayor of York." 2 

The " walls " of the mill pond which were piled 

1 The water-gate on the city side of the flanker or outwork. 

2 Cal. Close Rolls, 1333-37, P- 154- 

The Castle Mills 


with timber were repaired again in 1335, and John de 
Bray was ordered to supply for the purpose sufficient 
timber from the Forest of Galtres. Further repairs 
were necessary in 1339, and on February 13 the 
sheriff received instructions " to expend up to 40 in 
repairing the defects in the King's pond and mills of 
Fosse, co. York, by the view and testimony of William 
la Zousche, dean of St. Peter's, York, the treasurer, 
or of his deputy." 

Davies records 1 that in 1376 an inquest was held 
on the body of Thomas de Novocastro, servant of 
Robert de Holbeck, a draper of York, who was riding 
his master's horse to the water near the mills, and 
was unfortunately drowned between the mills and 
the stone wall which enclosed the goote of the water 
running from the Foss to the river Ouse, between the 
Otter-Holmes and the mills. A similar accident hap- 
pened at the same place in the reign of Richard II. 
John de Braytoft was drowned when watering his 
master's horse in the water between the chapel and 
the mills. 

On May 28, 1379, Thomas Graa, John Pathorn 
and John Quixlay were appointed by Richard II. to 
repair the head (caput) of the King's stew of Fosse 
beneath the Castle of York and of the mills there, by 
the survey and testimony of the sheriff of the county, 
and John de Barden, keeper of the stew. We are 
able in this instance to give a copy of the account for 
repairs as rendered to the King's Exchequer 

" York. ACCOUNT of Thomas Graa, John Pathorne 
and John Quixlay concerning the receipts costs and 
expenses made by them about the mending and repair 
of the head of the Fishpond of Fosse beneath the 
Castle of York and of the King's mills there in the 
3rd year by the oversight and testimony of Robert de 

1 " Antiquarian Walks through York," p. 90. 

124 The History of the Castle of York 

Hornby, 1 High Sheriff of the county of York and John 
de Barden, keeper of the afsd. fishpond by the King's 
writ under the Great Seal patent dated the 28th day 
of May in the 2nd year of King Richard II. upon this 
account delivered, and by another King's writ under 
the same seal dated the 8th day of November in the 
4th year directed to the Treasurer and Barons of this 
Exchequer, inrolled for remembrance in Easter Term 
of the same year, by which the King ordered the same 
Treasurer and Barons that, having reckoned with the 
same Thomas, John Pathorne, and John Quixlay 
concerning the afsd. expenses and costs, and awarded 
to them what by the oversight and testimony of the 
afsd. High Sheriff and John de Berden might reason- 
ably be allowed in that respect concerning that which 
by the afsd. account should happen to be due to the 
same John, Thomas Pathorne and John Quixlay from 
the afsd. Treasurer and Chamberlains, they should 
make to appear a due reward or competent appoint- 
ment of this (exchequer) concerning the receipts costs 
and expenses, as under 

" Receipts. The same defendants account for 20 
received from the afsd. High Sheriff in connection with 
the afsd. works without an Indenture as is contained 
in a certain schedule of particulars here in the treasury 
delivered. And for 6s. 8%d. from divers things sold 
on account as therein contained. 

Total Receipts, 20 6s. 8$d. 

: ' Expenses. The same account for timber, stone, 
sticks, iron, lime and other small necessaries bought 
and used about the works afsd., together with carriage 
and boatage of the same things from different places 
where they were bought and provided to the fishpond 
and mills afsd. ; also for wages and stipends of masons, 
carpenters, sawyers, and other workmen for the same 

i " 

"Robert de Nevyll of Hornby, Knt.," in the list of 

The Castle Mills 125 

works, of hire at different times in the said 3rd year, 
28 8s. j%d., through the afsd. King's writ noted above 
in the heading of this account as contained in the said 
Schedule of the afsd. Thomas, John Pathorne and 
John Quixlay, and also contained in a certain Schedule 
of the afsd. High Sheriff and John de Berden of the 
rolls of particulars delivered here in the Treasury. 

Total expenses 28 8s. j\d. 

" And there is a surplus of 8 is. nd., concerning 
which there is to be payment or satisfaction from 
some other person according to the text of the King's 
writ under the Great Seal above noted in the heading 
of this account. Which same writ on the i6th day 
of May in the 4th year of King Richard II. was de- 
livered from the Treasurer and Chamberlains to the 
Recorder of the Exchequer." * 

A similar account is recorded in the 7th Henry VI. 

" York. ACCOUNT of John Forester, Keeper of 
the King's Water of Fosse for loos, received by him 
from Thomas Brounflete, overseer, lately High Sheriff 
for Yorkshire in the 8th year of King Henry V. late 
King of England, father of our Lord the present King, 
concerning divers repairs and amendments made by 
him John about the enclosure of the mouth of the 
afsd. water there, as is contained in the Great Roll of 
Itm, York, for the 6th year of the said present King 
Henry VI. viz. for the receipt of this as below 

" Receipts. The same defendant accounts for loos, 
received by him from the afsd. Thomas Broifhflete, 
overseer, lately High Sheriff in the County afsd. con- 
cerning the repairs and amendments made by him 
John about the enclosure of the mouth of the afsd. 
water of Fosse as is contained in the said Great Roll 
in Itm. York for the 6th year of the present King, 
and also in a certain Roll of particulars here in the 
Treasury delivered. Total Receipts loos. 

1 L. T. R. Foreign Accounts, 3 Richard II., No. 14111. H. 

126 The History of the Castle of York 

' ' The same accounts for a quarter in timber, bitu- 
men, pitch, large nails, iron brackets, rigotts, and 
iron hurdles bought and provided at different prices 
both for repair and amendment, also for piling of the 
pool mills there about the enclosure of the mouth of 
the afsd. water of Fosse and expended in the same 
works, together with the carriage of the afsd. things 
from the different places where they were bought 
and provided as far as the afsd. pool, also for wages of 
different carpenters and labourers for working daily 
upon the same works ioos., viz. to every one of the 
afsd. carpenters 3^. and to every one of the afsd. 
labourers n\d. per day as is stated upon his oath 
contained in the afsd. Schedule of particulars delivered 
here in the Treasury. Total expenses ioos." 

There are many orders for the repair of the mills 
which we have not quoted, owing to the similarity of 
their wording. The few we have given disclose details 
and sidelights of local interest, and also show us how 
the King and his officials carried on their business. 

The Crown, after retaining possession of the mills 
for nearly one hundred and sixty years granted them 
in 1464 ! to St. Leonard's Hospital, York, in lieu of 
certain privileges the master and brethren enjoyed 
in the Forest of Galtres, viz. housebote, permission to 
take timber for the repair of dwellings, etc., and hay- 
bote, the collecting of wood for fuel and the repair of 
fences. 2 

1 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1464, p. 335. 

2 The Privileges of the Hospital of St. Leonard referred to 
in an Inquisition made at Easingwold, on Sunday after St. 
Matthew's Day, September 23, 1302. " It is not to the King's 
profit to sell the branches of the oaks and other trees which 
have fallen in his forest of Galtres, as the master and brethren 
of the hospital of St. Leonard of York heretofore have had, 
and have been used to have, all branches of fallen oaks in the 
King's demesnes, for making their charcoal. If they were 
sold to charcoal burners or any other persons, the King's game 

The Castle Mills 127 

The following is an abridged copy of the King's 
grant, dated November 19, 1465 

" Indenture between Edward IV. and George, arch- 
bishop of York, master of the hospital of St. Leonard 
of York, reciting that the brethren of the hospital, 
from time immemorial, had housebote and haybote 
in the King's forest of Galtres, for repair of all their 
messuages, supply of firewood, and enclosing of their 
closes ; the King now, for preservation of the forest 
and the beasts therein, by the grant of the hospital, 
wills that in future they have haybote only for their 
closes therein called * Lesmer,' ' Kelsthwayt,' and 
' Grenthwayt ' and for compensation grants them all 
his water mills by York Castle, called ' Castelmylnes.' " 1 

The venerable hospital of St. Leonard, after an 
existence of six hundred years, shared the same fate 
at the Dissolution of Monasteries as other religious 
houses. On December i, 1539, Thomas Magnus, the 
master, and his brethren surrendered the hospital and 
all its possessions in the city of York, Westmoreland, 
Cumberland and elsewhere in England and Wales, 
and the marches thereof to Henry VIII. and the same 
were acknowledged on behalf of the King by Richard 
Layton and Thomas Leigh, two of the Chancery clerks. 
Thus a third time the Castle mills became Crown 
property. They were held by Henry VIII. , Queen 
Mary and Queen Elizabeth, and the latter sovereign 
about the year 1570 sold the mills to one Francis 
Guilpyn for i2. 2 

Shortly afterwards they came into the possession of 
Sir Thomas Hesketh, Knt., 3 of Heslington Hall, attor- 

would not stay in the cover on account of the fire and noise 
made by the charcoal burners, and by reason of the destruc- 
tion of the oaks and other trees " (" Yorks. Inquisitions," 
Yorks. Archl. Journal, Record Series, vol. iv. p. 23). 

" Cat. of Ancient Deeds," vol. i. a. 706. 
2 " Eboracum," Appendix XXXIX. 3 See appendix A. 

ia8 The History of the Castle of York 

ney of the Court of Wards, and a Member of the Council 
of the North, who in 1608 built a hospital in the village 
of Heslington for poor people, and endowed it with a 
yearly rent charge out of the Castle mills. 1 

The mills were no doubt re-erected about this period, 
as Sir Thomas Widdrington, writing in 1656, says that 
" before the building of the mills which are now called 
the Castle Mills, which is not many years since, as I 
have heard, the place where the mills are, was a fair 
green and the only passage from Fishergate Postern 
to the Castle." 2 At what time the original site was 
vacated is uncertain ; the mill pool below the Foss 
was evidently disused and abandoned at, or prior to, 
the above date. The new mills were situated higher 
up the stream and abutted upon the approach of the 
present bridge, which still exhibits an old blocked-up 

Year by year the water coming down the Foss River 
was gradually decreasing in volume, and in 1727, " an 
order was granted to Arthur, Lord Viscount Irwin 
for scouring the River Foss, beginning at the Castle 
Mills and proceeding up to Foss Bridge, making it 
eight yards wide at the top and four yards at the 
bottom, every one doing their own that had lands 
laying against the water." 3 

The ditch or fosse, on the south front of the Castle, 
connected with the river Foss, and running beneath 
the Castle water-gate was designated the Little Fosse, 
and on May i, 1731, Beckwith records that the Cor- 
poration drained it by placing " a small arch turned 
to throw the water into St. George's Close." 

In mediaeval days a flanker or outwork extended 
from the existing drum tower at the angle of the Castle 

1 Drake mentions that the foundation deed is amongst our 
City Records. 

" Analecta Eboracensia," p. 262. 
3 Beckwith's MS. Minster Library. 

The Castle Mills 129 

walls towards the Little Fosse. From this fortifica- 
tion, strengthened with a tower at its extremity, the 
approach by the wooden bridge over the river Foss 
leading up to the great gate of the Castle could be 
defended. Anciently there was no thoroughfare from 
Castlegate Postern towards Fishergate, and in the 
Corporation Housebook, April 25, 1733, an order 
states " That a Horse Bridge, with an arch under it, 
be made between Castle Mills and Fishergate Postern, 
where the wood bridge now is, in such manner as the 
wardens of Walmgate Ward shall think fitt, at the 
City's expense." In 1746 the newly-erected Horse 
Bridge was washed away by a flood, the roadway was 
subsequently altered, the ground raised, and another 
bridge erected, which gave place to the present bridge, 
built early in the nineteenth century. 

The mills were rebuilt in 1778 and a steam engine 
supplied the chief motive power. James Montgomery, 
the poet, who was imprisoned in the Castle for a political 
offence in 1797, humorously mentions the fact in his 
" Prison Amusements " thus 

" The noisome smoke of yonder mills, 
The circling air with fragrance fills." 

The writer added a note mentioning the smoke of 
the Castle Steam Mills as "an insufferable nuis- 
ance here, and a punishment to which the unfor- 
tunate inhabitants of this place are doomed without 
the authority of judge or jury." 

The old mills were evidently visited by curious 
visitors, and for their edification the following 
rhyming notice was posted on the staircase near the 

All that come into this mill, 

And want upstairs to go, 
Must first the miller's pitcher fill, 

Or else stay down below. 


130 The History of the Castle of York 

The pitcher could easily be filled ; adjoining was an 
alehouse with the appropriate sign of " The Windmill." 

The river Foss was made navigable by a proprie- 
tary company under two Acts of Parliament, passed 
in 1793 and 1801. Under the York Drainage and 
Sanitary Improvement Act of 1853, the Corporation 
purchased the Foss River from the company which 
had made it navigable under the above acts ; but in 
1859, by the York Improvement Act, the river above 
Yearsley Bridge, as a waterway, was abandoned. 

The Castle mills were taken down in the year 1856. 
The Corporation still pay, yearly, the original rent- 
charge of 50 for the hospital to the Lord of the Manor 
of Heslington ; and, strange to say, our civic authori- 
ties also remit every year to the Crown receivers the 
sum of 3 ios., less taxes, the ancient rent of the Fish- 
pond of Fosse. There were several windmills on the 
hillocks and high ground around the city : three mills 
were situated on the Mount ; one on Lamel Hill, 
Heslington Road ; some at Heworth ; one on 
the high ground at the extremity of Fishergate ; 
another in Burton Lane ; Nun Mill stood on the west 
side of Bishopthorpe Road ; and one on Acomb 
Road, which is still in use. Prior to the introduction 
of steam power, the Castle mills were the most impor- 
tant mills in York. 1 In the records of the old Bakers' 
Guild 2 of York, a fraternity dissolved in 1835, there 
are many references to the Castle mills, of which the 
few following are typical. In 1585 William Wayte 
" for giving moulter at castle myls " was fined 2d., 
and five other offending bakers the same year were 
similarly dealt with. The following year " Thomas 
Bewemer for gevinge moulter att Castle my-lls " had 

1 Peter de Appleby, Bailiff of York, 1289-91, possessed 
property adjoining " Le Horse Mylne " near St. Sampson's 

2 See The Archceological Review, vol. i. 1888. 


132 The History of the Castle of York 

to forfeit 4^. These members of the craft had evi- 
dently transgressed a by-law or ordinance of the guild 
which read as follows 

" And further it is agreed that from hencforthe no 
maner of milner or milners within this cittie or suburbs 
thereof shall from hencforth sell any maner of multer 
corne meale, but onelye in open market t and by weight, 
upon payne of every person to forfaite, for everye 
bushell solde in anye other maner xs., to be payd and 
devided as is aforesayd." 

In 1587 Matthew Roger, a baker, was compelled 
to pay a fine " for brawlinge at castle mylls." 



A royal free chapel Granted to Knights Templar Suppres- 
sion of Templars, 1308-12 Contents of Chapel Edward 
II. retains chapel and increases chaplain's stipend 
Rents of chapel in arrear Names of chaplains Riotous 
citizens damage chapel, 1382 Chapel granted to new 
Guild of St. George, 1447 Suppression of Guild, 1546 
Corporation of York obtain possession of chapel Festival 
of St. George's Day, 1554 Chapel demolished for its 
stone, 1571 Manufactory built on its foundations 
Substructure of chapel and tenements taken down, and 
site cleared, 1856. 

ST. GEORGE'S Chapel was an early free chapel 
of royal foundation, and was situated on the 
west bank of the old mill pool immediately below the 
Castle. Like the royal chapel at Windsor Castle, 
it was dedicated to the patron saint of England and 
was a place of religious worship exempt from all 
ordinary jurisdiction. It was originally built upon 
an ancient demesne of the Crown, whilst in the King's 
hands, for the use of himself and retinue when he 
came to reside in the Castle. During the Norman and 
Plant agenet periods York Castle was primarily a 
fortress ; and access to the chapel, without its walls, 
was by a postern gate in the enceinte, which Half- 
penny, in 1807, erroneously named a sally-port. The 
passage from this gateway, opposite the chapel, crossed 
a wooden bridge carried over the encircling wet ditch or 
fosse of the Castle. 


i 34 The History of the Castle of York 

King Henry III. frequently erected ghapels and 
sumptuous apartments in his castles, and at York, 
when he built the keep, an .oratory or chapel was con- 
structed within the forebuilding or gatehouse. The 
Tower Chapel was finished in 1246, and Henry ap- 
pointed its first chaplain, with an annual stipend of 
2 ios., and at the same time provided vestments 
and a chalice. 

The Knights Templar obtained possession of the 
Castle mills about the middle of the twelfth century, 
but the exact date when St. George's Chapel was 
granted to them has not transpired ; it was probably 
at the time, or shortly after, the chapel in the Castle 
keep was completed. The Templars held the chapel 
until their suppression in 1308-12. Before the an- 
cient order of the Temple was finally dissolved its 
properties in Yorkshire, including St. George's Chapel, 
were seized and in the hands of Adam de Hoperton, 
as custodian for King Edward II. 

On December i, 1311, they were delivered to Sir 
Alexander de Cave and Robert de Amcotes, and these 
commissioners took an account of the goods and chat- 
tels in and about each manor, precept ory, and chapel. 
St. George's " appears to have been well furnished 
with books, vestments, and vessels, and it is noted 
that the chalice had been valued at a hundred shillings, 
when the Templars were seized, but it was not worth 
so much." 1 The King kept possession of the chapel 
and its contents. The chaplain, Thomas de Norton, 
it would appear was retained, and his salary of six 
marks per annum, derived from rents appertaining 
to the chapel, payable at Martinmas and Whitsuntide, 
was increased to eight marks by a grant 2 made by 
Edward when in York, on May 30, 1312. In 1314 
the rents due to the chaplain were in arrear and on 

1 Kenrick's " Knights Templar in Yorkshire," p. 56. 

2 See Appendix B, also Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1307-13, p. 463. 

The Chapel of St. George by the Castle i 35 

September ^12 the King issued a mandate " to the 
Sheriff of York (shire) and all other his bailiffs, minis- 
ters and other lieges in that county. As divers rents 
in the city of York and elsewhere in that county ap- 
pointed for the sustenance of a chaplain celebrating 
divine service daily in the Chapel at the Mills, sometime 
of the Templars, by the Castle of York, which mills 
are in the King's hands, are in arrear, to the abating 
of the divine worship, the King appoints Richard 
Squier, King's yeoman, to levy and collect all such 
rents which are in arrear. The sheriff and others are 
to render every assistance to the said Richard Squier, 
whenever requisitioned, so that the said rents may be 
levied for the sustenance of the chaplain and not 
converted to any other uses." 1 

On November 8, 1327, Richer de Ledes was granted 
for the term of his life the chaplaincy " of the chantry 
in the King's Chapel by the King's Mills, without the 
Castle of York." 2 The sheriff of the county on March 
26, 1333, was requested by the King to cause the 
chapel " to be repaired so far as is necessary for the 
celebration of divine service." In 1338 Ledes the 
chaplain was deceased, and was succeeded by Henry 
de Seuerby. Subsequently we find John de Ketilwell 
chaplain, and later Robert de Couton, who was 
succeeded in 1382 by John de Kyngeslowe. 

The populace of York were always jealous of the 
privileges enjoyed by the master and brethren of the 
Hospital of St. Leonard, and other local powerful 
monastic institutions, and they frequently in a tumul- 
tuous manner attacked and damaged the religious 
houses in the city. Such a rabble in 1382 broke the 
closes, walls, and doors of the Hospital of St. Leonard 
" and of the King's chantry near " the Castle. 

One hundred and twenty citizens were implicated in 

1 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1313-17, p. 173. 

2 Ibid., 1327-30, p. 189. 

136 The History of the Castle of York 

the riot, and Simon de Quixley, the mayor, had to com- 
pel them to repair the damage they had done. Each 
rioter had to give a security of 100 to be of good 
behaviour, and any one who refused had to be appre- 
hended and sent before the council. 1 

Richard II. in 1396 granted the custody of the 
chapel to one of his clerks, -Simon Gaunstede, and on 
October 13, 1399, a deed was enrolled ratifying the 
estate Gaunstede possessed as warden of St. George's 
Chapel. This ecclesiastic, as was the custom of the 
period, was a pluralist and seldom visited the chapel ; 
he held the Prebend of Crakepole in the Cathedral 
Church of St. Mary, Lincoln, and the free chapel of 
Badmundesfeld. In 1426, William Brownyng was 
appointed chaplain of St. George's for life. 

The chaplains, or wardens as they were sometimes 
called, seem to have been remiss in their duties, as the 
chapel was deserted and became ruinous. In 1447, 
Henry VI. granted a licence to five pious citizens of 
York, William Craven, John Kyrkeham, John Bell, 
John Preston and John Shirwoode, to found a guild 
for themselves and other persons, men and women, 
in the Chapel of St. George, which on account of the 
non-residence of the chaplain and its small value was 
deserted. 2 

The newly-formed Guild of St. George repaired the 
chapel and made it again fit for religious services. 
Thomas Pearson, the Sub-Dean of York, who died 
October 28, 1491, amongst his many bequests to re- 
ligious institutions left 6s. Sd. towards the " Fabrica 
capellae St. Georgii." This was one of several like 
gifts made by the members of the fraternity. 

The Guild of St. George became affiliated with that 
of St. Christopher, and the two brotherhoods aided 
the Corporation in the rebuilding of the Guildhall or 

1 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1381-85, p. 137. 

2 Patent 2^ Henry VI., p. 2 m. y, 

The Chapel of St. George by the Castle 137 

the Common Hall of the city of York, near which was 
St. Christopher's Chapel facing Coney Street. An Act 
was passed in 1529 forbidding any spiritual person, after 
the feast of Michaelmas, to receive any stipend or 
salary for singing masses for the souls of the dead ; and 
the Corporation assisted in the dissolution of the Guilds 
of St. Christopher and St. George. In 1545, another 
Act came into force giving power to Henry VIII, 
during his natural life, to dispose of all colleges, free 
chapels, chantries, hospitals, fraternities, brotherhoods, 
guilds, and stipendiary priests in England and Wales. 
Just a hundred years after the foundation of St. 
George's Guild a Commission was appointed, February 
14, 1546, to survey and seize the lands of chapels, 
chantries, etc. in Yorkshire. Its reports include 
some particulars of the guild and its inner working 

. The severall guyldes of Seynte 
Christopher and Seynt George, withyn the cytie of 
Yorke, that is to saye, the guylde callyd Seynt Chris- 
topher Guylde was founded in the tyme of Rychard 
the Seconde as by the letters patentes of the sayd 
late Kyng dated at Yorke the XIJth day of Marche 
in the XlXth yere of his raigne, made to one Robert 
Delhoye, cytesyn of the said cytie, to erecte and make 
the sayd guylde or fraternitie. And the said guylde 
of Seynt George was founded in the tyme of Kyng 
Henrye the VJth, as by his letters patentes, dated 
at Westminster the XXIXth day of Maye in the 
XXVth yere of his raigne, made to William Craven 
and other cytesyns of the said cytie, as by their severall 
grauntes more playnlye apperyth. By reason wherof, 
they have not onely erectyd the said IJ guyldes, 
but also purchasyd landes and tenementes, lyeing 
nye the said citie and elswhere, to the yerely value 
of XVJli. XVs. Vlljd. and by the same auctorytie 
have made and erected dyvers ordinances, as well 

138 The History of the Castle of York 

for the disposicion of the said reveneux and prouffyttes, 
as also such other money as so accrewe unto theym, by 
reason of the proffites of the brotherheed of the said 
guyld, to the mayntenance of their common hall, 
callyd the Guylde Hall of the said citie of Yorke, but 
also for repayryng and mayntenance of certen stone 
brydges and highweys, in and aboute the cytye, and 
to the releyff of dyvers poore peple, by theym to be 
founded withyn the same. Which said reveneux 
be not able to bere or mayntene the said charges, so 
that ther is no perpetuall stipend or other spirituall 
promocion chargeable, wherby the Kinges Majestic 
ought to have the first fruites or tenthes. And fur- 
ther the sayd ij guyldes have and doth pay subsydye 
accordyng to the Kinges actes in that behalf made." l 

Henry VIII. died in 1547, and on the accession of 
Edward VI. another Act was passed to enable his 
ministers to receive the benefits accruing to the Crown 
under the earlier Act. By this Act chantries and 
religious guilds were effectually suppressed, and the 
Mayor and Commonalty of York were granted sole 
possession of the Chapel of St. George, and an adjoin- 
ing close (St. George's Field), as well as the Guildhall 
and St. Christopher's Chapel by the hall gate. 

During the short reign of Queen Mary, the Corpus 
Christi pageants and the Festival of St. George's Day, 
which had been discontinued, were revived and ex- 
hibited in all their pristine splendour. On April 20, 
1554, the Corporation agreed that " accordyng to the 
auncient custome of the citie, the solempne procession 
shalbe had on Saynt George day, and a messe with a 
sermon to be done at Saynt George chapell, and also 
Seynt George that day to be brought forth and rydd 
as hath been accustomed, at the chambre cost." 

" The Certificates of the Commissioners appointed to 
Survey the Chantries, Guilds, Hospitals, etc., in the County 
of Yorkshire " (Surtees Socty., part i. p. 82). 

The Chapel of St. George by the Castle i 39 

DAY 1 

" Item, payd to Doctor Robynson that mayd the 
sermond in Saynt George close upon St. George Day, 
35. tf. 

" Item, payd for bryngyng and carryeng home agayn 
the pulpytt and formes, yd. 

" Item, payd to the waitcs for rydyng and playinge 
before St. George and the play, is. 8d. 

" Item, payd to Mr. Thornton for sylver paper for 
skottchons, and for oyle and varmolon to the same, 
35. 4<Z. 

" Item, to Ry chard Graves for cuttying the scut- 
chons, is. 

" Item, to Thomas Paynter for payntyng the skut- 
chons, 2s. 

" Item, payd for a great nale to St. Xp'ofer hed, 2d, t 

" Item, payd to William Paynter for stuf and work- 
manshipe of V hundrethe skotchons of the best sorte, 
2s. 6d. 

" Item, payd for VI yerdes of canvas to the pagyant, 

" Item, payd to William Paynter for payntyng 
the canvas and pagyant, is. 4^. 

" Item, to the porters for beryng of the pagyant the 
dragon and St. Xp'ofer, is. 6d. 

" Item, payd to the King and Quene that playd, is. 

" Item, to the May, 8d. 

" Item, to John Ellys for layne of St. George harncs 
and his follower, is. 8d. 

" Item, to Roger Walker for mendyng the dragon, id. 

" Item, to John Stamper for playing St. George, 
35. 4d." 

This was probably the last occasion St. George's 
Chapel was used for religious purposes. In 1564, 
1 City Chamberlains' Accounts, ist Mary. 

140 The History of the Castle of York 

old Ouse Bridge was overturned " when by a sharp 
frost, great snow, and a sudden thaw, the water rose 
to a vast height, and the prodigious weight of the ice 
and flood drove down two arches of the bridge by 
which twelve houses were overthrown and twelve per- 
sons drowned." l To effect the necessary rebuilding 
of the bridge, Christopher Walmesley, free mason, 
was chosen to do the work ; and various resourceful 
means were adopted by the Corporation in providing 
stone for the repairs. The tower on the city walls at 
the corner of the Old Baile was denuded of its super- 
structure, and the Chapel of St. George was demol- 
ished, and the stones therefrom were carried to the 
bridge and re-used. The Council's decision, May 13, 
1571, recording the pulling down of the chapel reads 
' It was thought meet and fully agreed that the 
mansion house called St. George's Chapel, nigh the 
Castle Mills, shall be taken down, and all the freestone 
of the same to serve towards present reparation of 
Ousebridge. And all the residue of tile, timber, and 
stuff to be husbanded by the Chamberlains to the 
most profit of the city." 

In the seventeenth century a building, utilized 
as a manufactory, was erected on the old foundations 
of the chapel, and on some of the buttresses which had 
not been disturbed. Subsequently, this erection, with 
a yard in the centre, through which a public footpath 
passed, was divided into tenements, and the front 
part towards the street was occupied by three small 
shopkeepers. The building and the substructure of 
the chapel were taken down and the site cleared, in 
the year 1856. A stone, with a plain cross in relief, 
originally fixed over the doorway of the chapel, is 
preserved in the collection of the Yorkshire Philosophi- 
cal Society. 

1 Drake, " Eboracum," p. 280. 




Decrease of lawlessness in England and on the borders of 
Scotland Motehall in Castle restored, 1451 Nicholas 
Leventhorpe appointed surveyor of castles, 1472 
Fletchers and bowmakers work in the Castle, 1474 
Liberties of city and Castle adjusted, 1478 Projected 
reparations by Edward IV., 1478 Richard III. dis- 
mantles the Castle Lord Mayor Todde reports Castle 
in ruins, 1487 Leland describes Castle in ruins, 1534 
Thomas Cromwell, Vicar-General, mentions Castle as in 
ruins Contemplated erection of new Hall in Castle, 1580 
Spoliation of Castle works during Elizabeth's reign. 

THE gradual change and development of English 
castles at the hands of successive generations 
is a fascinating feature in the study of mediaeval 
military architecture. We have seen how, from a mere 
earth and timber stronghold, * stage by stage, the Castle 
of York eventually became a perfect fortress of masonry 
of great strength, encircled by formidable wet ditches, 
with the addition of every defensive device that the 
experienced military engineers of the Middle Ages 
could devise. 

When the Castle was founded by William the Con- 
queror, to overawe the people of the North, the citizens 
were hostile to Norman rule. Subsequent monarchs 
who held the fortress were no longer foes of the people, 
but all fought against their common enemy, the Scots. 
By the beginning of the fifteenth century lawlessness 
in England had greatly decreased, and comparative 
1 Chapters i to 4. 


Ruinous Condition of the Castle 143 

peace prevailed on the borders of Scotland (although 
those living in the immediate neighbourhood of the 
border line carried on petty depredations until the 
accession of James I.) ; hence the Castle declined as a 
military base. Further mention of repairs and new 
defensive works are very scanty, in fact most refer- 
ences allude to its ruinous and weak condition. Its 
walls and towers became dilapidated, but the 
erections in the bailey were occasionally rebuilt and 
utilized, as heretofore, for the holding of assize, the 
safe-keeping of prisoners and other county purposes. 
Buildings appropriated for the Royal Mint were also 
reconstructed from time to time as circumstances 

It is interesting to find that, in the year 1451, the 
building known as the King's Great Hall, wherein 
the Judges of Assize administered justice, and the 
ancient County Court was held, was also called the 
Motehall. This courthouse was a timber and plaster 
erection, and it was renovated under the superinten- 
dence of Ralph Bygod, who was High Sheriff from 
December 3, 1451, to November 23, 1452. His account 
of work done discloses many curious items 

,, Tr TT , (B. Roucliff, Baron ) A 

YORK. Heard TT7 ' J ' , , Account 
[W. Proctour, Clerk ) 

of Ralph Bygod, overseer, late High Sheriff of York- 
shire for divers costs and expenses by him lately made 
and apportioned, as well about the repairing the King's 
Great Hall within his Castle of York called the Mote- 
hall, and divers rooms being next the aforesaid hall 
there, as about the repairing of certain barriers within 
the aforesaid Hall for the safety of the King's prisoners 
for the time being appearing before his Justices there, 
under the King's writ from his Exchequer dated the 
1 2th day of April in the 3oth year of his reign directed 
to the aforesaid late High Sheriff thereupon, and de- 
livered upon this account. In which among other 

144 The History of the Castle of York 

things is contained that ' Whereas the King on the 
testimony of trustworthy men has heard that several 
defects are known as well in the Hall and rooms afore- 
said as in the barriers aforesaid which need great 
repair, therefore the King ordered the aforesaid late 
Sheriff that he should take from the outgoings of his 
bailiwick for repairing and amending the defect of 
the aforesaid things where they should most need it, 
up to the total of 100 shillings.' And the King there- 
upon would cause to be taken in his next account at 
the King's Exchequer a due award from the office of 
High Sheriff aforesaid to be rendered to him, viz. con- 
cerning the costs of this work and the expenses there, 
as below. 

' The same accounts for divers laths, keys of dif- 
ferent sorts, tiles, lime and oaks, bought and used as 
well upon the roofing and repair of the said King's 
Great Hall within the aforesaid Castle and of the 
different rooms being next the aforesaid hall there, 
as upon the repair and amending of the aforesaid 
barriers within the same hall for the safety of the 
King's prisoners for the time being appearing before 
his Justices there appointed, together with the wages 
of different tilers, sawyers, carpenters and labourers 
there working and labouring in the aforesaid works, 
3 175. 4^. under the aforesaid writ above noticed 
in the heading of this account, and as contained in a 
certain schedule of particulars thereof delivered here 
in the Treasury where all and singular the particular 
prices of the aforesaid stuffs with the separate wages 
of the aforesaid tilers, sawyers, carpenters, and 
labourers are severally noted and declared. 

' Total expended 4 175. 4^., which is apportioned 
in Roll 31 of this King in the matter of York, 
after debt of the said late Sheriff." l 

1 L. T. R. Foreign Accounts, 31 Henry VI., No. 87 m. N. 

Ruinous Condition of the Castle 145 

Ten years later King Edward IV. visited York and 
sojourned in the city from May 8 to the nth, 1461. 
Whilst in the Castle, on May 8, Edward appointed, 
" during good behaviour," Brian Rouclyff as third 
Baron of the Exchequer with the right of " receiving 
the usual fees at the receipt of the Exchequer and from 
the citizens of York for the farm of their town and the 
Weavers of York for their Guild, and also his official 
vestment with lining and fur at the King's great ward- 
robe, as in the time of Edward III." 

On April 15, 1472, Edward IV. appointed Nicholas 
Leventhorpe surveyor of all Crown castles " in the 
counties of York, Cumberland, Westmoreland and 
Northumberland, the cities of York and Carlisle." l 

In 1473-74 King Edward put forth a claim to the 
crown of France and made extensive preparations 
for invading that country in conjunction with Charles 
of Burgundy. Bows and arrows were manufactured 
at York for the army ; and doubtless, as the High 
Sheriff made proclamation on behalf of the King, the 
various craftsmen worked in the Castle, as is recorded 
on former occasions during warlike preparations. 

" May 24, 1474. Commission to John Covert to 
make payments of prest money 2 to fletchers (petillani) 
for the manufacture of ' shefe-arrowes/ workmen for 
the manufacture of bows and ' bowestaves,' smiths 
for the manufacture of arrowheads and workmen called 
' strengers ' for the manufacture of strings for bows 
in the counties and cities of Lincoln and York, and 
to certify thereon to the King and council with all 
speed, the King having caused proclamation to be 
made by the sheriffs in those counties for the manu- 
facture of the same with all speed for the ordnance 

1 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1472, p. 333. 

2 The earnest-money received by soldiers and others taking 
service for the King. 


146 The History of the Castle of York 

of the army going with him to France for the recovery 
of that realm and his right there." l 

In 1478, during the mayoralty of John Fereby, 2 
some dispute affecting the liberties of the city and 
the Castle was evidently adjusted at a gathering of 
local dignitaries' held in the City Council Chamber, 
at which the Justice of Assize probably acted as arbi- 
trator. As was the custom on such occasions' wine 
was given to the officials that attended " of benevolence 
for their pains taken " in the matter- 

" And paid for two gallons and a half of red wine, 
bought and bestowed on the Mayor, Richard Nele, 
Justice of Assize, Robert Ryther, Sheriff, and others, 
as well of the council of the chamber as of the county 
of York, within the council chamber, on the 6th day 
of March, for the conservation of the liberties of the 
city, namely, between the city and the Castle of the 
county of York. 2od." 3 

Sir Robert Ryther, 4 of Ryther, Knight, Lord of 
Hare wood, High Sheriff from November 5, 1477, to 
November 5, 1478, was presumably a favourite at Court, 
as the King, Edward IV., constituted him constable 
of the Castle for life. This is a rather exceptional 
appointment when we consider that each successive 
sheriff was nominally the supreme head of affairs in 
the county and had control of the Castle. 

" November 18, 1478. Appointment for life of 
Robert Ryther, Knight, as constable of the Castle of 
York and a tower situated by it, both of which the 
King intends shortly to repair, and grant to him for 

1 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1474, p. 462. 

2 John Fereby was one of the Chamberlains of the city in 
1462, Sheriff in 1473, and Lord Mayor in 1478 and 1491, and 
died during his second mayoralty. He represented York in 
the first parliament of Henry VII. 

3 City Records. 

4 Sir R. Ryther, died June 30, 1491, aged ^2. 

Ruinous Condition of the Castle 147 

life of 20 marks yearly from the customs and subsidies 
in the port of Kyngeston on Hull, with all other profits 
pertaining to the office of constable." * 

From the document referring to Sir Robert's ap- 
pointment we incidentally learn that the King intended 
restoring the Castle ; but his project was not carried 
out. Five years later Richard III. assumed the reins 
of government, and he, imbued with a similar desire 
to reconstruct the Castle, caused several buildings 
and towers to be taken down. Unfortunately, he too 
terminated his kingship before any works of restora- 
tion were commenced. It was, probably, to give 
due effect to the following decisions and provide 
adequate accommodation that Richard determined to 
rebuild the Castle 

" For we wolle (will) that alle our castelles be our 
gaole ; and if noo such castelle be nere, than the next 
common gaole." 

" Item, that the said counsele be, hooly if it may 
be, onys in the quarter of the yere at the leste, at York, 
to here examyne and ordre alle billes of compleyntes 
and other there before theym to be shewed, and oftyner 
if the case require." 2 

The dismantled and weak condition of the Castle 
is casually mentioned in a letter written April 23, 
1487, during the Lambert Symnell Rebellion, by 
William Todde, Lord Mayor, to King Henry VII., 
representing to his Majesty the defenceless state of 
the city walls and the Castle 

"Albeit, souverain lord, youre said citie is soo 
greteley decayed as well by fallyng down of the walks 
of the same and by takyng downe of your Castell 
there by King Richard and as yet not reedified as 

1 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1478, p. 127. 

2 Regulations for the Council of the North. See Letters 
and Papers Illustrative of the Reign of Richard III. (Rolls 
Series), pp. 57-58. 

148 The History of the Castle of York 

othre in diverse wise that without the same bee more 
largely manned may ne cannot wel be kept ayenst 
youre ennymes and rebelles if the shuld as God defend 
approache and move werre ayenst the same." l 

The rebellious malcontents gaining no sympathy 
in the vicinity of York avoided the city, marched 
southwards and were eventually dispersed at Stoke 
near Newark. 

Leland in his oft-quoted " Itinerary," a remarkable 
tour, which he accomplished at the instigation of 
Henry VIII., during the years 1534-36, very briefly 
notices the Castle thus 

" The Area of the Castelle is of no very great Quan- 
tite. There be a 5 ruinus Toures in it. 

' The arx (keep) is al in ruine : and the roote of the 
Hille that yt stondith on is environed with an Arme 
derived out of Fosse Water." 

This quaint description informs us that when the 
annalist visited the Castle the motte was at that time 
encircled by the original wide wet ditch, and that the 
Fishpond of Fosse was in existence, which he describes 
as " Fosse Water." 

Again we read that the Castle was in ruins in " A 
remembrance for the right honorable Mr. Cromwell, 
secretary to the King's highness, of certain business 
and matters in Yorkshire." 

' The King has not, in York or near, any house 
able to lodge his commissioners or councillors except 
the site of a Castle which is in ruins. If the Castle 
were repaired it would be a great help hereafter. The 
debts and profits of the shire would probably mend it, 
if the King's laws may have place." 2 

1 See " Original Documents relating to Lambert SymnelFs 
Rebellion from the Archives of the City of York." By Robert 
Davies, F.S.A., Archaeological Institute at York, 1846. 

2 Cal. of Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the 
Reign of Henry VIII., vol. vii. p. 617. 

Ruinous Condition of the Castle 149 

In 1580 a letter was forwarded by Queen Eliza- 
beth's State officials to the magistrates of Yorkshire 
" concerning the building of a new hall in the Castle 
of York." x William Camden in his " Britannia," 
a survey of the British Isles, originally published in 
1586, writes of the city and Castle thus : "On the 
south-east it is defended by a Foss or Ditch, very 
deep and muddy, which runs by obscure wa}^s into the 
very heart of the City, and has a bridge 2 over it so 
set with buildings on both sides that a stranger would 
mistake it for a street : after which, it falls into the 
Ouse. At the confluence, over against the Mount 
before-mentioned, Wm. the Conqueror built a very 
strong Castle, to awe the Citizens. But this without 
any care, has been left to the mercy of time, ever since 
fortify'd places have grown into direpute among us, 
as only fit for those who want courage to face an enemy 
in the field." 3 

The government were indifferent as to the state of 
the Castle, and the demolition of Clifford's Tower was 
contemplated in 1596, but it was spared because " the 
pulling of it down will cause great discontent in all 
the city." 4 At this period Robert Redhead, the 
gaoler, destroyed the flanker or outwork near the 
water-gate and employed the stones for his own use. 

1 " His. Man. Com. Report," vol. ii. p. 348. 

2 Foss Bridge. 

3 1722 Edition, vol. ii. p. 877. 

4 See Chapters on Clifford's Tower. 



Ear'y mints at York Archiepiscopal mint Royal mint 
established in the Castle Houses built for moneyers, 
J 353 Coinages at York Mint buildings erected in 
Castle, 1423 Thomas Haxey, treasurer of the Cathedral, 
appointed warden of the mint, 1423 Mintmasters Mint 
in the Castle discontinued, 1546, established in Hospital 
of St. Leonard Minster plate used for coining Later 
mints at York. 

NO evidence of the existence of a Roman Mint at 
York has been discovered. Northumbria, of 
which the city of York was the metropolis, was the 
only kingdom of the Heptarchy which possessed 
both a silver and a copper coinage. During the Saxo- 
Danish rule at York the local kings or jarls coined 
their money in the city. At York the Prelates were 
given the power of minting, by the authority of the 
Crown, and they exercised that important privilege 
within the precincts of their palace from a period 
before the Norman Conquest down to the archiepis- 
copate of Edward Lee, 1 who was the last of the York 
Prelates to enjoy by regal prerogative the right of 
coining. He died in September, 1544. 

Besides the Archbishop's Mint an ancient Royal Mint 
existed at York prior to the days of King Athelstan (925 
-41) which continued to almost recent times. This fact 

1 See " The Archiepiscopal Coins of York," by Caesar Caine, 
York, 1908. 


Royal Mint in the Castle i 5 i 

is established by the clear and indisputable testimony 
of the coins that issued from it. We have no definite 
information where the mint was situated during the 
Norman or early Plant agenet periods, but it is more 
than probable that the whole processes of the coinage 
were exercised in some apartment within the Castle. 
King Edward I., in the year 1279, covenanted with his 
principal mint-master, William de Tournemire, that 
at each provincial mint he should have under him a 
master of the mint, melters, and assistants ; and it 
was especially agreed that a house convenient for the 
business of working should be provided by the King. 
We cannot doubt but that the King performed his 
part of the contract, and that on this occasion per- 
manent buildings were either erected or appropriated 
for the purposes of the Royal Mint at York, as at the 
Royal Mint in the Tower of London. 

During the latter years of the reign of Edward I., 
whilst he was engaged in his warring expeditions 
against the Scots, large sums of money coined at York 
were sent to the North for the payment of the soldiers 
and the maintenance of the royal household. At 
later periods other consignments were similarly dis- 

In 1344 it was ordained that coins of gold as well as 
of silver should be made in York for the ease of the 
people and the merchants of the North. The year 
following, Anthony-by-the-Sea was appointed warden 
and supervisor of the mints of London, York and 
Canterbury, and in the same year two goldsmiths 
from Cologne, Sibert de Colonia and John de Colonia 
and two moneyers from Florence, Lawrence de Flor- 
ence and Bonache de Florence, were admitted to the 
freedom of the city of York. 

Subsequently, we have clear evidence that the 
Royal Mint of York stood within the precincts of the 
Castle. On July 18, 1353, King Edward III. ad- 

152 The History of the Castle of York 

dressed a royal mandate to the sheriff of Yorkshire 
stating it to be the King's pleasure that the money 
struck from gold and silver dies in the Castle of York 
should be made in the same manner as at the mint 
in the Tower of London ; and that Henry de Brussels, 
the master of the Tower Mint, and William Hunt, 
keeper of the exchanges in the city of York, were 
authorized to put into repair, and, if necessary, rebuild 
the houses for the works of the mint in the Castle of 
York which stood in need of repair ; and requiring the 
sheriff to assign to the same officers, houses and places 
within the Castle suitable for the purposes of the mint, 
and also quandam donum fortem in eodem castro in qua 
dictemonete secure custodiri poterunt. 1 

The York mint was continued in the reigns of Richard 
III. and Henry IV. and a large coinage was con- 
templated by the government of Henry V. a short time 
previous to his death, which coinage was completed 
by his successor, Henry VI. On February 16, 1423, 
Bartholomew Seman alias Goldbeter, a London gold- 
smith (master and warden of the King's monies of 
gold and silver in the Tower of London and the town 
of Calais), was authorized to coin at York and Bristol. 
He, subsequently, was sent to York " to coin there 
the gold and silver of the said country that was not 
of right weight, and to remain there during the King's 

Soon after Goldbeter took over his duties as mint- 
master in the Castle of York he reported to the lords 
of the council that the houses and buildings pro factura 
monete Regis infra castrum Ebor' were so ruinous and 
wanted so much repair that they were not fit for the 
purpose. On April 8, 1423, a writ was issued to 
William Haryngton, Sheriff of Yorkshire, command- 
ing him to cause the buildings to be sufficiently re- 

" Faedera," new ed., vol. iii. part i. p. 261, quoted by 
Davies in " Notices of the York Mints and Coinages," p. 262. 

Royal Mint in the Castle 153 

paired and amended, or if necessary new buildings 
to be erected, at the discretion of the mint-master. 1 
The buildings erected consisted of a dwelling-house 
for the moneyer and his servants, a melting-house 
with the requisite furnaces, and a treasury. 

By the advice of the King's Council, on July 16 the 
same year, Thomas Roderham was appointed con- 
troller, changer and assayer of the King's money 
within the Castle of York, at wages to be arranged 
between him and the Treasurer of England. Thomas 
Haxey, clerk, treasurer to the Cathedral, was ap- 
pointed at the same date warden and receiver of the 
profits arising from the moneys newly ordained to 
be made at the Castle of York and keeper of the dies 
ordained for the said moneys, at the usual wages and 

Bartholomew Goldbeter, citizen of London, was 
appointed January 16, 1424, to be master and worker 
of the mistery of the King's mint within his Castle of 
York. 3 

Goldbeter died about the year 1431. In his place 
William Russe, a citizen and jeweller of London, was 
appointed ; and the latter was succeeded by John 
Paddesley as master of the mint. During the trou- 
blous times of the Yorkist and Lancastrian feuds the 
mint at York was in operation, but few details are 
recorded. Numismatists have identified coins minted 
at York for Edward IV., Edward V., Richard III., 
Henry VII. and Henry VIII. In the reign of Edward 

1 The original compotus with details of the work is printed 
in " Notices of the York Mints and Coinages," by Robert 
Davies, F.S.A. To this learned writer we are indebted for 
several items included in this brief account of the Royal Mint 
at York. 

2 Cal. Pat. Rolls, i Henry VI., part v. p. 131. Haxey 
died about 1425, and was buried a little to the south of his 
tomb, a cadaver, in the nave aisle of the Minster. 

3 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 2 Henry VI, part i. p. 169. 

154 The History of the Castle of York 

VI. contracts for coining were entered into with the 
mintmasters of York. 

Richard Ugdon, who died at York in I545, 1 appears 
to have been master of the Royal Mint in the city. He 
made his will 2 on May 8, 1545, and George Gale, gold- 
smith, an alderman of York and treasurer of the mint, 
Richard Lee, assayer, and William Myrfyne, finer, 
signed the document as witnesses, with Roger Tailiour, 
goldfiner, who acted as overseer of the same testament ; 
each of which received a bequest from their late master. 

In 1546 the mint within the Castle precincts was 
discontinued and coining was carried on in the recently 
surrendered Hospital of St. Leonard. A minute of 
the Privy Council dated May 5, mentions this fact 

' To tharchebishope of York to appoynte some con- 
venyent place in the Palace there for the Mynte if it 
were possible, or otherwise to appoynte it at St. 
Leonerdes." 3 

The site of St. Leonard's Hospital, Crown property 
and an extra-parochial area, surrounded by convenient 
defensive walls, subsequently became known as Mint 
Yard, and was designated as such until 1831, when 
the new street, St. Leonard's Place, was formed from 
Blake Street to Bootham. 

In the first year of the reign of Edward VI. the 
under-treasurer of the mint, George Gale, received a 
quantity of plate from the Minster, 4 together with 
above a thousand ounces of silver at the hands of the 
masters and keepers of the Corpus Christi Guild, all 
of which had to be used for coinage purposes. As 
the Royal Mint was thenceforward dissociated from 

1 He desired to be buried in Holy Trinity Church, Goodram- 

2 " Testamenta Ebor.," vol. vi. pp. 226-227 (Surtees Socty.). 

3 " Acts of Privy Council," vol. i. p. 405. 

4 Papers of Archbishop Holgate, English Histl. Review, 
vol. ix. 1894, pp. 545-46. 

Royal Mint in the Castle 155 

the Castle we must refrain from giving further particu- 
lars of its subsequent history, although they are 
intensely interesting. At the demise of Edward VI. 
coining in provincial mints ceased, except for a short 
period during the troubles of Charles I. and again in 
the reign of King William III., when the York mint was 
temporarily in operation. 



Important architectural memorial Origin of the name 
" Clifford's " Tower Robert Aske and others executed 
upon the summit, 1537 Sir Roger Clifford's execution, 
1322 Spoliation of tower by Robert Redhead, 1596-7 
City's appeal to Lord Treasurer Burghley Corre- 
spondence on the subject Redhead's continued depre- 
dations Tower granted by James I. to Edmund Duffield 
and John Babington, 1614, copy of grant Purchased 
by Francis Darley Inherited by Edith Darley, who 
married Robert Moore. 

PREVIOUS to the erection of the massive wall 
v/hich now surrounds the Castle precincts, 
Clifford's Tower and its noble grassy mound, when 
seen from St. George's Field, formed a rare and pic- 
turesque view. The tower, one of York's most im- 
portant architectural memorials, has been many 
times threatened with demolition, but fortunately the 
protests of citizens and others, from time to time, 
saved the historic keep from destruction. Its strange 
vicissitudes, the manner in which it was alienated 
from the Crown by King James I. in 1614, and its 
subsequent possession by many owners, form a roman- 
tic chapter of great interest. 

Hitherto no reliable evidence has been adduced to 
show how or at what period the name Clifford became 
associated with the tower. Drake, without any docu- 
mentary proof and regardless of historic facts, writes 


Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 157 

thus in his " Eboracum " 1 : " Adjoining to the Castle 
is an high mount, thrown up by prodigious labour, 
on which stands a tower of somewhat a round form, 
called Clifford's Tower. This place has long borne 
that name, and if we may believe tradition, ever since 
it was built by the Conqueror ; 2 one of that family 
being made the first governor of it." 

Our learned author was led to express this opinion 
as to the origin of the name " Clifford's " Tower from 
what he had read in Sir Thomas Widdrington's manu- 
script history of York, entitled " Analecta Ebora- 
censia," and all subsequent writers have taken Drake's 
assertion as authoritative and correct. Widdring- 
ton's words were, " probably it hath derived the name 
because the Lord Clifford was Castellan, Warden, or 
Keeper of it, as Walter Strickland, of Boynton, Esquire, 
a good antiquary, was of opinion." 3 

In a close examination of State papers we find the 
keep invariably designated the King's Tower, or 
Turris. The theory that a Clifford was its earliest 
governor is mere fiction. The first mention of a 
member of this family being a sheriff of Yorkshire 
was in 1522, during the reign of Henry VIII. when 
Henry Clifford held that important office. 

At the suppression of the Pilgrimage of Grace in 
1537, we learn from a letter written to Thomas Crom- 
well, Vicar-General, by Thomas Howard, Duke of 
Norfolk, the Earl Marshall, and King Henry's Lieu- 
tenant in the North, that Robert Aske was executed 
upon the summit of the tower. The letter is dated 
(Tuesday) July 3, and reads : " Also my lord I per- 
ceive by the schedule in the box that you sent me a 
writ for the sheriffs of the city of York to see execution 
done. The writ' was for Lincolnshire and not for 

1 P. 289. 

2 Tower erected during the years 124559, see p. 34. 

3 See " Analecta Eboracensia " (published 1897), p. 264. 

158 The History of the Castle of York 

Yorkshire, so I have returned it to my lord of Suffolk 
who has the other. Please send me a new writ to the 
sheriff of Yorkshire, and not the sheriffs of the city of 
York ; for execution shall be done on the height of 
the Castle dungeon where the sheriffs of the city have 
no authority. Let it be with me at York on Wednes- 
day or Thursday week at furthest." l 

From a communication directed by Sir Thomas 
Wyatt to Cromwell dated July 8, another reference is 
made to Aske's execution : " The traitors have been 
executed, Lord Darcy at Tower Hill and Lord Hussey 
at Lincoln, Aske hanged upon the dungeon of York 
Castle, Sir Robert Constable hanged at Hull, and the 
rest at Thyfbourne ; so that all the cankered hearts 
are weeded away." 2 

From the foregoing it appears that it was the custom 
to hang traitors upon the summit of the keep at York. 
After the battle of Boroughbridge, fought March 16, 
1322, the defeated leaders of the insurrection were 
brought to York and executed. Sir Roger Clifford, 
together with Sir John Mowbray and Sir Jocelyn 
D'Eyville, suffered March 23. They were hanged 
and their bodies continued suspended by iron chains 
on the gallows for years. The Cliffords do not appear 
to have had any official connexion with York Castle 
or the Tower previous to the seventeenth century. 
It is very probable that Roger Clifford's remains were 
suspended on the tower, 3 and although for many 
subsequent years the keep was officially known as the 
King's Tower, vernacularly it may have been spoken 
of as Clifford's Tower, and ultimately appearing by 
that title in State records. The earliest authentic 

1 Cal. State Papers, 1537, part ii. p. 87. 

2 Ibid., p. 96. 

3 " Ed dominus Rogerus de Clirforde vulneratus, ductus 
apud Eboracum, et cito post ibidem detractus et suspensus " 
(" Chronicles of Edward I. and II.," vol. i. p. 302). 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 159 

mention of the keep as Clifford's Tower, we believe, 
is evidenced by the following documents. 

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth ancient monu- 
ments were generally neglected and of little interest, 
but it is gratifying to find the citizens of York showed 
a praiseworthy regard for the historic keep. Their 
indignation was aroused by the acts of vandalism of 
a notorious gaoler, Robert Redhead, who, observing 
the State's unconcern with regard to Clifford's Tower, 
clandestinely demolished and appropriated the stone- 
work to his own use. Early in 1596 the Lord Mayor 
and Aldermen petitioned the Queen's Councillors, 
praying that Redhead should be admonished and 
prevented from further interfering with the tower. 
The correspondence on the subject is rather voluminous 
but contains many items of interest. 

The Archbishop of York, Matthew Hutton, received 
a communication from the Lord Treasurer requesting 
him to have the building inspected and forward a 
report to London ; this and subsequent letters tell us 
how the civic authorities had succeeded in inducing 
Burghley to prohibit the destruction of the tower. 

To the Archbishop. 

" There is a plain round tower of freestone of an 
ancient building near the castle called Clifford tower 
the which at the present serveth to no use, and that 
Robt. Redhead gaoler of the castle hath begun to 
pull down some part thereof already & burneth it for 
lime to his own use & so intendeth to do the rest thereof 
for that it seemeth it may be turned to some good use, 
for the beautifying of the city & profit & benefit of 
the inhabitants by making it a place for the keeping 
of the records of the city. I therefore pray your 
grace to cause it to be viewed and to certify unto me 
to what good use it may be best employed & so con- 
tinued whereupon direction may be given accordingly 

160 The History of the Castle of York 

and in the meantime I pray you let Redhead be charged 
that he proceed no further in pulling down any more 
of it, being rather to account that which he hath done 
as done without warrant, and so I bid your grace very 
heartily farewell from my house at Weston. 
" xix June 1596. * BURGHLEY." 

A few days later the arch-destroyer was ordered 
to discontinue his depredations. 

' To my loving friend Mr. Robert Redhead, Gaoler of 
the Castle of York. 

" After my hearty commendation that you of late 
have plucked down a wall of the same castle called 
a flanker, and also a peice of the high tower called 
Clifford Tower, intending the pulling down the rest of 
the same the which being one of the ornaments of the 
city which will be a great defacing of the city, these 
are to require and charge you (albeit you have warrant 
for the maintenance, of your doing which I think you 
have not), to forbear to meddle any more with the 
pulling down of any part or parcel of that tower until 
you shall receive further order from my Lord Treasurer 
or myself as you will answer the contrary. So fair you 
well at the Wardrobe the xxiiiith of June 1596. 
" Your loving friend, 


The tower was duly viewed and inspected, and the 
finding of the surveyors is rather curious reading. 

" Certificate made to my Lord Archbishop by Ralph 
Westrop, serjeant-at-arms, Chris. Davill, Wm. More- 
house, and Robert Blackletter of their view of Clifford 
Tower which his grace did appoint these to view by 
letters to his grace from My Lord Treasurer, viii 
July, 1596. 

1 York Corporation Minutes, 33 Eliz .xxx. f. 289. 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 161 

" In most humble manner may it please your grace 
to be advertised that according to your grace's com- 
mand we have viewed the round tower of Freestone 
called Clifford Tower and called some of the Aldermen 
of the City of York, and Robt. Redhead, now gaoler of 
the Castle to show their reasons for the most necessary 
use for the standing and employment of the said tower, 
wherein we found the Aldermen in the behalf of all 
the Citizens very desirous to have the same to con- 
tinue and not to be defaced, for that standing upon 
a great height upon a very rare mount it is an exceed- 
ing ornament and beautifying to the City, and the 
same Redhead not showing himself disagreeing to 
their requests so as it might be employed and repaired 
for a gaol for keeping of some prisoners that might 
be for weighty causes committed to his charge, being 
a place of great strength, from which his motion the 
Citizens did not dissent so as it might continue and 
not be pulled down, and for our opinions under your 
grace's information we think for the reasons before 
by the Aldermen alleged also for that it is her Majesty's 
house the Citizens their desire is very reasonable, and 
do well discern that the defacing and pulling down 
of the tower will be a great discontent to all the City 
of York which we refer to your Grace's further con- 
sideration." x 

Redhead continued his spoliation, and another 
missive was addressed by the civic authorities to Lord 
Burghley, the Lord Treasurer, and Sir John Fortescue, 
the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The communica- 
tion contains important allusions to the gaoler's pre- 
vious acts of demolition, from which we obtain a 
knowledge of the existence of a stone bridge between 
the tower and the Castle yard. An outwork or flanker 

1 York Corporation Minutes. See also Cal. State Papers, 

I 595~97. P- 261. 


1 62 The History of the Castle of York 

is also mentioned, which the sordid gaoler destroyed, 
selling the stones and pocketing the proceeds. 

" To Lord Burghley and Sir John Fortescue. 

" In most humble wise (we) show unto your honour 
that whereas in Trinity Term last we did inform your 
honour that Robert Redhead, Gent, gaoler of York 
Castle, having the herbage of a mount of Her Majesty's 
lying betwixt the said Castle and the City, within the 
circuit of the City's walls, upon the top of which 
mount a Tower of Her Majesty's of free-stone, of 
antient building, called Clifford Tower, doth stand, 
had pulled down some part of the said tower, and did 
intend the pulling down of the rest, and the stones 
thereof to take or beat into pieces and burn into Lime 
for his own use, and he had then done a great part of 
a flanker of free-stone built under the Castle side by 
some of Her Majesty's noble progenitors, which tower, 
as it seemeth, was at the first built for the defence of 
this City, but now is the most especial ornament for 
show & beautifying of this City, as well within this 
City as far into the Country, that is within or" near 
unto the same, York Minster only excepted, and would 
be a great defacing to the show and beauty of this 
City if the same should be pulled down ; It pleased 
your honour at our humble suit to direct your letters 
to the Most Reverend father in God my Lord Arch- 
bishop of York his Grace to cause the same tower to 
be viewed & to certify to what good use the same 
might best (be) employed & so continued, And that 
Mr. Redhead might be charged not to proceed any 
further in pulling down thereof, which his grace did 
accomplish, & as we think did certify that the same 
is an especial ornament for the beautifying of this 
City, and being pulled down will be a great defacing 
to the same, or to that effect. Notwithstanding Mr. 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 163 

Redhead still intending, as we think, the pulling 
down the same, hath since got a Commission for the 
viewing of the said tower again to certain of his especial 
friends, for what purpose we cannot learn, but, as we 
fear, to the end to obtain licence to pull down the 
same, which not only we but the whole commons 
of this City, in regard that the same by the show, 
building & height thereof, doth so adorn & beautify 
this City, would be very sorry to have pulled down ; 
And we are very well assured that if Mr. Redhead 
shall have warrant to pull down the same, he will sell 
the most part of the stone thereof or beat the same 
into pieces & burn into lime for his own private gain, 
as he hath done with the said flanker, what pretence or 
show of making other buildings or otherwise soever 
he now maketh ; Our humble suit therefore for our- 
selves & the whole commons of this City to your 
honour is that it may please the same to take order 
that the same tower may stand and not be defaced 
nor pulled downe, And that if any Information of 
Certificate be that the same is ruinous or will be charg- 
able to Her Majestye keeping up, rather than the 
same be pulled down, this whole Corporation, if it may 
please Her Majesty to grant the same, and the Mount 
whereon the same standeth, unto us, will be at charges 
ourselves with the keeping up of the same ; Or, if it 
shall be Her Majesty's pleasure that the same shall be 
pulled down, we most humbly pray that it would 
please your honour that this City may have the stone 
thereof to be kept and employed for this City's use, 
for the repairing of the Walls of this City & of our great 
stone bridge, in and about the same, when need shall 
so require. But we and the whole commons of this 
City would be very sorry that the same should be pulled 
down. And your Orators, as they are most especially 
bounden, shall daily pray to God for the good and 
prosperous estate of your Honour long to continue 

164 The History of the Castle of York 

and endure with much increase of honour. York, 
this 2ist of October, 1596. 
" Your Honour's humble to command 


To support and strengthen their cause, and obtain 
an influential advocate at Court, the Corporation on 
the same day directed a letter to the Earl of Cumber- 

' To the Right Honourable and there very good Lord 
the Earl of Cumberland give this. 

" Our humble duties unto your honourable Lordship 
remembered. May it please the same to understand 
that whereas there is a Round tower of free stone 
used as part of York Castle belonging to the Queen's 
Majesty, built long before time of memory upon the 
top of a high Mount made for that purpose, standing 
betwixt this City and York Castle, within the walls of 
this City, called Clifford's Tower, which by reason of 
the name was in former time, as we are verily per- 
suaded, builded by some of your honour's ancestors, 
as it seemeth, for the defence of this City, and the 
same is now one of the antientest buildings for beautify- 
ing this City by show, both within the same and into 
the country, that is now left standing about this City 
(our Minster excepted). Now one Robert Redhead, 
your Gaoler of York Castle, having the herbage of 
the said Mount, pretending to make some needless 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 165 

building in York Castle, under colour thereof and by 
reason the said tower hath not of long time been 
employed for any needful use, saving only show, goeth 
about to obtain licence to pull down and deface the 
said tower, and hath of late got a Commission to certain 
of his friends, for what purpose certain we cannot 
perfectly learn, but, as we hear, to view the same and 
to certify of the decay thereof, being indeed one part 
thereof riven by reason that the groundwork in that 
part where a stonebridge to the same stood is some- 
thing shrunk, but the residue thereof standeth very 
firm, which licence if he should obtain he would, as 
we think, use some part of the stone thereof in some 
building in York Castle to colour his pretence wit hall, 
but the greatest part of the stone thereof he would 
sell in stone or beat into pieces and burn into lime 
for his own benefit, which, if he should do, would greatly 
deface the beauty of this City. Our humble suit 
therefore to your honour is, that it would please the 
same to be a suitor for us, if it may so stand, with 
your honour's good liking, unto my Lord Treasurer or 
otherwise as to your honour may seem convenient, 
that the same tower may still stand and not be pulled 
down nor defaced, wherein we ourselves and the whole 
body of this City shall not (only) be greatly beholden 
to your honour but also shall be duly bounden daily 
to pray to God for the good estate and happy success 
of your honourable Lordship long to continue, as 
knoweth the Almighty, to whose most merciful pro- 
tection we do most humbly commit the same. York, 
this 2ist October, 1596." 

Notwithstanding popular expressions of disapproval, 
and injunctions from Crown Officials, Redhead arro- 
gantly continued to deface the tower. On December 
7, 1597, Mr. Francis Bayne informed the Lord Mayor 
and his brethren that " he saw two men yesterday 

1 66 The History of the Castle of York 

morning on the top of Clifford's Tower casting and 
pulling down stones off the tower, and other two 
tumbling the same down the hill to Mr. Redhead's 
workmen at his new Cockpit." 

It was immediately agreed " that my Lord Mayor 
and Aldermen, presently after the sermon this day 
(Wednesday) at the Minster, shall show my Lord's 
Grace and the Council 1 thereof." They there pre- 
sented a petition to the Archbishop and the Council, 
stating all that had passed previously, and the recent 
acts of Redhead. They requested his Grace to cause 
the tower and loose stones to be again viewed, and 
order Redhead not to deal any more with the tower or 
stones, and to render an account of what he had done, 
adding : " as otherwise we fear that by little and little 
he will either deface or pull down the tower, or use 
such means by pulling or picking the stones forth of 
the inside of the same, or by undermining of the same 
tower with conies, or other policies, as that the tower 
will in short time of itself, by his deceitful devices, 
fall down, which, if so be, will be to the great defacing 
of this City." 2 

It is pleasing to know that this interference and 
protests of the Corporation of that day, must have 
been so far successful. Unfortunately, the parts 
thrown down already by Redhead were considerable. 
Besides the bridge and flanker mentioned, the battle- 
mented parapet of the keep which would be about 
6 feet higher than the platform and three embattled 
watch turrets, it is presumed, were at this period 
demolished, irretrievably ruined and for ever lost. 

In less than twenty years afterwards, the City's desire 
to possess the tower as a county monument had evi- 
dently been forgotten. Queen Elizabeth's successor, 
King James I., was often in pecuniary difficulties ; 
he adopted various means to meet his creditors, and 

1 Council of the North. 2 York Corporaticn Minutes. 

1 68 The History of the Castle of York 

occasionally granted them Crown lands in settlement 
of their claims. By deed dated January 1614, sealed 
with the great Seal of England, the Seal of the County 
Palatine of Lancaster, and the Seal of the Duchy of 
Lancaster, the King granted Clifford's Tower to 
Edmund Duffield and John Babington, of London, 
to hold in common socage of the Manor of East 
Greenwich, at the yearly rent of four pence. The 
conveyance or grant is a remarkable document and 
very comprehensive in the detailing of rights and 
privileges pertaining to the site. 

" ZTbe Ikino to BU /IDen Greeting Know ye that 

we for divers good causes and considerations speci- 
ally moved at the present of our special grace and 
from certain knowledge and pure motive have given and 
granted to our well-beloved and by these presents 
on behalf of our heirs and successors we give and grant 
to Edmund Duffield and John Babington esquires 
their heirs and assigns for ever all that our piece of 
land situate lying and existing in our City of York 
called Clifford's Tower containing by estimation three 
acres more or less of an annual rent of four pence 
Wlbtcb all and singular premises in our City of York 
are in our possession by right of our Crown of England. 
IKHe have also given and granted and by these presents 
to the aforesaid Edmund Duffield and John Babington 
the all and singular messuages houses buildings struc- 
tures granary stable dovecote garden orchard garden 
toft lands pertaining cottages and curtilages meadows 
pastures with the grass lands accompanying . . . 
glebe waste land gorse heather moorland marsh back 
approach (atria backsides) entrance and exit roads 
paths easement brushwood undergrowth falling wood 
copses and our trees whatsoever Htlfc the whole land 
earth and soil of the same thickets underwood and 
copses and whatsoever tithes may be thence collected 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 169 

of sheaves corn and grass and of wool flax and hemp 
and all other tenths whatsoever greater and lesser 
(aquellorum) moreover gains profits fruits weirs river 
banks streams rivers ponds vivarium dams floodgates 
waters watercourses aquaducts tolls ferryage and 
passage on the waters fishing fishing men fowlers 
right of hunting right of folding and turving free warren 
all other revenues and service which were customary 
due to those holding the property . . . the aforesaid 
Edmund Duffield and John Babington to pay of legal 
English money at our Exchequer at Westminster 
or into the hands of the bailiffs or receivers for the 
time being on the feast of the Annunciation of Blessed 
Mary the Virgin (Lady Day) and St. Michael the 
Archangel (Michaelmas) equal portions annually for 

The dual owners of the tower, Babington and Duf- 
field, not being local residents, very soon disposed * 
of the property. By deed, dated 2Qth November 
in the I3th year of King James I. they granted and 
conveyed Tower Hill and its appurtenances to Francis 
Darley, 2 at whose decease it passed by inheritance 
to Edith his only daughter, who married Robert 
Moore, merchant, of Hull. 

1 On February 17, 1615, they also disposed of lands, tithes, 
rectories, etc., in Northamptonshire (Cal. State Papers, 1611- 
18, p. 274). 

2 Francis Darley, on behalf of the Crown, was bailiff of St. 
Mary's, York, and on April 30, 1609, he petitioned Sir Robert 
Cecil, Secretary of State, praying that he may enjoy the office 
without annoyance from Henry Mason, deputy of the former 
bailiff (State Papers, No. 95, vol. xliv.). 



The tower appropriated by the Royalists, 1643 Civil War 
episodes Thomas Dickinson, Lord Mayor, appointed 
Governor, 1647 Cromwell's visit, salute from the tower 
Particulars of garrison Governor Dickinson petitions 
the Government, 1656 House by the tower sold by 
Commonalty of York, to Robert Straker and Edward 
Nightingale, 1657 ; resold to Audry Bayocke, 1658 
Mortgage money to be paid at a tomb in the Minster 
Tower house purchased by Richard Sowray, 1671 
Henry Cholmeley, Knight, claims Clifford's Tower, 1660 
Charles II. garrisons it Robert Moore sells the tower, 
1662 Sir Hy. Thompson becomes the owner Lord 
Frescheville's and Sir John Reresby's governorships 
Tower burnt out, 1684 Lady Thompson conveys the 
tower to Richard Sowray, senior, 1699 Inherited by his 
son, Doctor Sowray, who bequeaths it in 1709 to his wife 
for life Reversion to Richard Denton. 

AFTER the troublous and unsettled time of the 
Civil War many Royalists were dispossessed of 
their property ; and it would appear that the owners 
of Clifford's Tower suffered in the same manner as 
many of their loyal contemporaries. In times of 
war, by a law sanctioned by custom, desirable sites have 
always been seized and appropriated by military 
authorities, and Clifford's Tower, a disused fortifica- 
tion, again played an important part. 

The Royalists first took possession of the keep in 
1643 and converted it into a position of strength. 
They restored, strengthened and garrisoned it ; and 



172 The History of the Castle of York 

Col. Sir Francis Cobb became its governor. Towards 
the end of April 1644 the city was beleaguered by 
the Parliamentarians, and in the bombardment their 
projectiles shattered the tower forebuilding or gate- 
house. Upon the platform of the keep the Royalist 
garrison placed two demi-culverins and a saker, and 
it is recorded that " David Guillome, a loyal citizen, the 
cannoneer's mate," traversed a gun with precision, 
and fired it, causing great havoc amongst the Parlia- 
mentarians assembled upon Heslington Hill. 

As Prince Rupert was marching to the relief of 
York, during the nights of anxious watch, the besieged 
flashed fire-signals from the summit of the tower ; 
and return signals of encouragement glared from the 
blazing cressets upon the turrets of Pontefract Castle. 
By the end of June the siege was raised for a few days, 
and the strenuous and memorable fight on Marston 
Heath, July 2, brought victory to the allied armies, 
to whom a fortnight later the city was surrendered. 
The Parliamentarians on entering took possession of 
the tower and garrisoned it as a fortress. According 
to a resolution of the House of Commons, dated 
February 26, 1646, it was " Ordered that Clifford's 
Tower be kept a garrison with three score foot in it." 
On June 17, 1647, the troops stationed in the city were 
withdrawn, and it was " ordered by the Lords and 
Commons " that " Col. Genl. Poyntz, as he did formerly 
command the garrison of York, so now he shall com- 
mand Clifford's Tower." 1 The appointment was 
again before Parliament, July 14, 1647, an( l Thomas 
Dickinson, the Lord Mayor of York, was constituted 
governor of the tower. 2 

The Committee of the City of York and the County 
of Yorkshire for the Safety and Defence of the Same, 
on February i, 1648, " Ordered that the several con- 

1 Cal. State Papers, 1645-47, p. 563. 

2 Ibid., 1655-56, p. 389. 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 173 

stables within the City do provide convenient lodgings, 
fire, and candle for the soldiers of Clifford's Tower or 
else six pence a week to every soldier to provide him- 
self, and every constable to pay or provide for the 
same number of soldiers as they did about six weeks 
ago." i 

At the deliberations of the Council of State, December 
3, 1649, it was decided that " the Lord Mayor of York, 
the Governor of Clifford's Tower, and the Sheriff of 
the County do consider how the Castle of York and 
Clifford's Tower may be made so independent one of 
the other, that the prisoners may be kept safe in the 
Castle." 2 

Cromwell passed through Ydrk on July 4, 1650, on 
an expedition against the Scots, and as a compliment 
to his " excellency," the artillery on the tower were 
discharged in the semblance of a royal salute. 

The tower was used as an armoury by the govern- 
ment of the Commonwealth, and on August 7, 1650, 3 
Lieut. -Col. Salmon, Deputy Governor of Hull, in- 
formed the Commissioners for Martial Affairs that there 
were 3,000 unfixed muskets in Clifford's Tower and 
divers unserviceable pieces of ordnance in the Castle 
yard and at the several ports (gates) of York. The 
muskets were subsequently sent to Hull and the ord- 
nance to the Tower, London, to be recast. Governor 
Dickinson, who petitioned the Council of State early 
in 1651, on some subject relating to his duties, is 
styled Captain. It was decided October 3, 1651, as 
" the House does not agree with the redu cement of 
Clifford's Tower as in the report . . . that the old 
establishment of j i8s. 8d. per month stand, and that 
the garrison be supplied out of the army." 4 

1 " Booke of all the Orders made, etc., by the Committee " 
(York Corporation Records, vol. 63, p. 105). 

2 Cal. State Papers, 1649-50, p. 422. 

3 Ibid., 1651, p. 48. 4 Ibid., p. 464. 

174 The History of the Castle of York 

From warrants issued by the Council of State for 
the payment of money, we learn that the tower had 
been repaired. John Rogers, Mayor of Hull, received 
a request dated October 30, 1652, to pay " for materials 
and work in repairing Clifford's Tower at York, and 
the fortifications of Hull, etc., according to warrants 
from Col. Robert Overton, Lieut. Col. Edward 
Salmon and Major Ralph Waterhouse, 600." Col. 
Salmon did not receive his money punctually, as he 
petitioned the Council of State the following year for 
payment for the work he had effected. 

During the last few years of the Cromwellian Pro- 
tectorate the national treasury was almost empty, 
and the populace were uneasy and clamouring for a 
change of government. Sir Thomas Dickinson, the 
governor of Clifford's Tower, like many other State 
officials, had not received his salary. Sir Thomas 
petitioned the Protector and Council June 26, 1656, 
for payment of his arrears and losses out of his dis- 
coveries in the county and city of York. He laments 
that he had all his estate plundered by the late King's 
party, and his lands seized by the Earl of Newcastle, 
and given to Genl. King ; his houses in the city and 
county possessed two years ; his rents and goods, 
value 2,000, taken ; and he, to secure himself, was 
forced to live at great charge in Hull. He goes on to 
say he received no reparation from Parliament, though 
an Ordinance was passed by the House to satisfy such 
persons. Incidentally, he remarks that he was 
appointed by Parliament July 14, 1647, governor of 
Clifford's Tower, but his pay is four years and four 
months in arrear, amounting to 1,222 145. n^. 

When the tide turned and Charles II. ascended 
the throne, many of Cromwell's supporters were fined 
and imprisoned. The fate of Sir Thomas Dickinson 
is unknown, but we learn from a letter written by Lord 
Fauconberg to the Duke of Albemarle, January 18, 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 175 

I662, 1 that Fauconberg had ordered four gentlemen 
to seize and convey Thomas Dickinson and others to 
York Castle. 

We hear again of the Tower garrison in 1658 ; on 
May 22, 2 the Admiralty Commissioners ordered Capt. 
Geo. Westby's company at Hull and Clifford's Tower 
to be placed as a company of Col. Salmon's regiment. 
Lieut. Gervase Harestaffe was given the command 
of the Tower garrison. 

The whereabouts, during the unsettled period of 
the interregnum, of the rightful owners of the tower 
and the dwelling-house adjoining, is uncertain. The 
government held the tower, and the mayor and com- 
monalty appear to have been in possession of the 
house and its grounds the site of which is now within 
the boundary of the Castle. During the second 
mayoralty of Thomas Dickinson, whom Cromwell 
dubbed a knight for his local partisanship, the com- 
monalty sold and conveyed the property to Robert 
Straker, 3 draper, and Edward Nightingale, 4 grocer, 
two tradesmen of York, the purchase money being 
225. The deed 5 is dated July 9, 1657, and the site 
is described as 

" Hll that messuage or tenement and one garden 
or piece of ground on the backside thereof as the same 
is now inclosed with a brick wall on each side abuttinge 
on ths Tower Ditch at the fare end with the appur- 
tenances belonging to the said messuage situate, 
standinge and beinge in Castlegate within the said 

1 Cal. State Papers, 1663-64, p. 16. 

2 Ibid., 1658-59, p. 28. 

3 Robert Straker, draper, free 1651, Chamberlain of the 
city, 1655. 

4 Edward Nightingale, grocer, free 1652, Chamberlain 1654. 

5 The deeds and conveyances relating to the Tower are in 
the custody of Mr. Frederick J. Munby, as Castellan, and 
Clerk to the County Committee of Yorkshire. 

176 The History of the Castle of York 

Citty of Yorke at the corner end of the lane there 
leading from the said streete of Castlegate toward 
the Castle Milnes, laite in the tenure or occupation 
of Thomas Simpson, merchant, and now in the tenure 
or occupation of the said Mai or and Commonaltie." 

Before twelve months had elapsed the house and 
garden, " together with all wayes, waters, easements," 
etc. were re-sold for 235. Straker and Nightingale 
by deed May 10, 1658, transferred the ownership to 
Authery Bayocke of the Castle of York, widow of 
Thomas Bayocke, and Matthew Bayocke * her son. 

Soon after the transaction Mrs. Authery Bayocke 
became the wife of John Nunns, an innholder of York, 
and they " for and in consideration of the sume of one 
hundred pounds " paid to them by Samuel Roper of 
Thornton in the county of York, gentleman, " granted 
enfeoffed released and confirmed unto Samuel Roper " 
one full moiety or half part of the messuage and gar- 
den, by deed December 27, 1670. The children of 
Authery Nunns and her late husband, Thomas Bay- 
ocke, evidently objected 2 to the sale and conveyance 
of their mother's half share of the property to Samuel 
Roper. A Declaration of Trust, therefore, was drawn 
up bearing the above date, wherein it states the name 
of Samual Roper " in the said conveyance is only used 
in trust," and the said writing " is onely intended as a 
security " to secure the payment of a debt of eighty 
pounds unto Hannah Roper, spinster of London. 
It was mutually agreed and arranged that the debt 
should be paid in four equal instalments commencing 
on June 21, 1671, all of which payments to be made 
" att Haxby's als. Haxay's tomb in the Cathedrall 

1 Matthew Bayocke, " chirurgeon," son of Thomas Bayocke, 
merchant, took up his freedom in 1666 ; Chamberlain of the 
city in 1677. 

2 John Nunns is expressly debarred from any title or in- 
terest in the property by a deed, June i, 1671. 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 177 

and Metropolitcall Church of St. Peters in Yorke." 

It was an old custom to pay debts and rents upon 
the tomb of Thomas Haxby, treasurer to the Cathedral 
from 1418 to 1424. The monument, a cadaver, is 
situated in the western aisle of the North Transept 
behind the walled-up arch. A wasted corpse is repre- 
sented carved in stone within an iron trellis, which 
supports a black marble slab. 

A fortnight before the first instalment became due 
the messuage and its appurtenances were purchased 
by Richard Sowray of York, gentleman, for the sum 
of 260. An indenture was made June 7, 1671, between 
Matthew Bayocke, apothecary, Dorothy his wife, 
and James Bayocke, his brother, conveying the estate 
to Richard Sowray and his wife Mercy. Sowray 
paid 94 to Edward Nightingale for the use of Hannah 
Roper, and to Matthew Bayocke he paid 106, the 
balance of the purchase money being probably received 
by Sir Henry Thompson, Knt. Several deeds of release 
and quit-claim were also drawn up by the various 
persons interested in the property and handed to 
Richard Sowray. 

In tracing the ownership of Clifford's Tower, the 
adjoining house and the garden which abutted upon 
the ditch surrounding the mound, it is rather difficult 
to explain who were the rightful owners. As possession 
is nine-tenths of the law, such uncontested enjoyment 
will no doubt explain the apparent disagreement of 
documents. After a careful perusal of all the deeds 
and papers the account here given seems to be a 
reasonable solution. 

As we have already stated, during the interregnum, 
and afterwards, property was sequestered in a whole- 
sale manner. Many Royalists were ruined ; some 
died broken-hearted and penniless before the Restora- 
tion arrived, and others fortunately survived to 
repossess and enjoy their estates. 


178 The History of the Castle of York 

What connexion Sir Henry Cholmeley, Knt., had 
with the Moores has not been ascertained, but he 
petitioned King Charles II., in 1660, to be allowed to 
take possession of Clifford's Tower. 

" To the King's Most Excellent Majesty 
' The Humble Petition of Sir Henry Cholmeley, Knight, 
" Sheweth, 

' That your Petitioner having purchased Clifford's 
Tower in York from one Mr. Moore (whose Ancestor 
had it granted from the Crown in the twelfth year of 
King James your Majesty's grandfather), with intention 
to pull down the same But your Majesty having made 
Major Scott, Governor thereof and Continuing it a 
garrison, your Petitioner cannot make his benefit 

"And forasmuch as your Petitioner was encouraged by 
a letter wich he had the honour to receive from your 
Majesty out of Flanders, and also by messages from Dr. 
Barwick the now Dean of Durham to assure such as 
would assist in your Majesty's restoration that they 
should not only have pardon but be further partakers 
of your Majesty's favours, and your Petitioner having 
assured Barrington Bourchier, Esq. (your Petitioner's 
nephew) that if he would be active in assisting to 
restore your Majesty his father's offence 1 should be 

1 Sir John Bourchier, of Beningbrough, near York, the 
father of Barrington Bourchier, is historically known as one 
of the Regicides ; he was a man of extreme republican opin- 
ions, and affixed his name with others to the warrant for the 
execution of King Charles I. Fortunately his son was amongst 
those persons who aided Charles II. in regaining the throne, 
therefore Sir John's offence was not remembered against him. 
Barrington Bourchier was the great-grandfather of John 
Bourchier (the last of the Bourchiers, who died in 1759), who 
built the handsome mansion in Micklegate, York, opposite 
Holy Trinity Church, now occupied by Messrs. Raimes & Co. 
(See Davies' "Antiquarian Walks," pp. 145-62). 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 179 

no prejudice to him, which he so effectually did that 
the House of Commons taking notice thereof would 
have bought him off (as your Petitioner humbly 
conceives) for the fine of one thousand pounds at the 
most. But he (being thereto advised by your 
Petitioner) made choice rather to waive the favour of 
the said House and to cast himself at your Majesty's 
feet for your Mercy 

' The Petitioner therefore humbly prays that your 
Majesty would be pleased in consideration of the 
money which he disbursed for Clifford's Tower and 
of two hundred pounds which he laid out on your 
House in the New Park 1 near York (of which your 
Majesty hath granted a lease for forty years to Henry 
Davey, Esq.), to grant your Petitioner, such fine out 
of the said Harrington Bourchier's estate as your 
Majesty shall think fit and to grant him the remainder 
of his estate without any inquisition. 

"And your Petitioner shall ever Pray, etc." 

Barrington Bourchier was high sheriff of Yorkshire 
1658-59, and was elected by the burgesses of Thirsk 
to be one of their representatives in the Convention 
Parliament which assembled April 25, 1660, and 
voted the restoration of King Charles II. He, with 
Christopher Topham, Lord Mayor of York, Thomas 
Lord Fairfax, Thomas Viscount Fauconberg, on 
February 10, 1660, wrote to the Lord Mayor and 
Common Council of London expressing their desire 
for a more constitutional form of government. A 
similar declaration was presented to General Monk 
at his quarters at Drapers' Hall, London. The sequel 
is well known ; Prince Charles issued his declaration 
from Breda, April 14, and on May 29 he publicly 
entered London as King of England. 

On Friday, May n, Charles II. was proclaimed in 

1 A hunting lodge near Shipton in the Forest of Galtres. 

180 The History of the Castle of York 

York by the Lord Mayor, who was accompanied by 
the Aldermen, Sheriffs and the Four and Twenty, 
all on horseback, robed in their official gowns. The 
Chamberlains and Common Councilmen in their gowns 
were on foot attended by a thousand or more citizens 
in arms. The proclamation was read in the Pavement 
and on the Minster Steps, amid great rejoicings. The 
church bells rang a merry peal, the cannons upon 
Clifford's Tower were discharged, and the garrison 
there fired many volleys. To commemorate the 
event the Royal Arms were inserted within a 
stone panel over the entrance to Clifford's Tower, and 
the armorial bearings of the Clifford family were placed 
below them. 

In October 1661 Sir Wm. Compton was ordered 
by Charles II. to take an inventory of all arms in 
Clifford's Tower, but none had to be removed without 
further orders. 1 Soon afterwards it was proposed 
to disband the company stationed in the tower. Col. 
John Scott, however, who formerly commanded the 
garrison, petitioned the King, in 1662, 2 praying that 
he might be retained as commander of Clifford's 
Tower as he had given 300 for his place in the hope 
of its re-establishment. Col. Scott was, therefore, 
continued in his command of the garrison. 

The Royalists were now again in power, and many 
changes took place at York, aldermen and councillors 
were removed from office, and all objectionable persons 
both in church and civic positions were repressed. 

Reverting to the ownership of Clifford's Tower, 
Robert Moore and his son Thomas came forward and 
claimed the property they had lawfully inherited 
from Francis Darley, to whom Babington and Duffield 
sold the tower in 1615. The Moores for the sum of 
275, paid to them May 15, i662, 3 conveyed Clifford's 

1 Cal. State Papers, 1661-62, p. 132. 

2 Ibid., 1662, p. 628. 3 See Appendices C and D. 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 181 

Tower and the dwelling-house to three persons, John 
Scott, of the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields in 
the county of Middlesex ; Henry Thompson, the 
Lord Mayor of York, a merchant of the parish of St. 
John at Ousebridge-end in the city of York, and John 
Loftus, of York, draper. 

John Scott and John Loftus subsequently relin- 
quished their title in the Tower, and Sir Henry Thomp- 
son, who had been knighted and had bought a country 
seat at Escrick, became the sole proprietor. To 
more effectually confirm Sir Henry's ownership and 
safeguard his title, an indenture 1 was drawn up October 
30, 1672, signed and sealed by Robert Moore. The 
tower still retained its garrison, although four years 
prior to the sealing of this indenture, Sir Henry had 
petitioned 2 the government that the soldiers should 
be removed and he be put into possession. 

Lord Frescheville was Governor of York and the 
tower garrison was under his command. His duties 
and services are mentioned in various State papers, 3 
dating from 1663 until his apparent retirement from 
the post, May 13, 1671. During Frescheville' s term of 
office, in the year 1665, George Fox, the founder of 
the Society of Friends, spent two days in the Tower. 4 

1 See Appendix E. 2 Cal. State Papers, 1668, p. 609. 

3 Ibid., 1666, p. 39 ; 1667, p. 209 ; 1671, p. 238. 

4 " Next night we came to York, where the marshal put 
me into a great chamber, where most of two troops came to 
see me. One of these troopers, an envious man, hearing that 
I must be premunired, asked me, what estate I had, and 
whether it was copyhold or free land ? I took no notice of 
his question, but was moved to declare the word of life to the 
soldiers, and many of them were very loving. At night the 
Lord Frecheville, who commanded these horse, came to me, 
and was very civil and loving. I gave him an account of my 
imprisonment, and declared many things to him relating to 
truth. They kept me at York two days, and then the marshal 
and four or five soldiers were sent to convey me to Scarbro' 
Castle " (" Journal of George Fox " (1891 ed.), vol. ii. p. 57). 

1 82 The History of the Castle of York 

In 1682 Sir John Reresby was appointed governor 
by Charles II... with five hundred soldiers with which 
he garrisoned Clifford's Tower, certain guard houses 
and the city gates. Sir John took up his residence 
at the Manor House. From his diary, we obtain 
glimpses of how he took over the office, and other inter- 
esting local episodes. He writes 1 June 26 

" I was met upon the road by the High Sheriff of 
the County and several gentlemen, all the boroughmen 
of Aldborough, and citizens of York, to the number 
of near 400. At York there was then but one com- 
pany of foot, which was drawn out of the town, and 
the cannon of Clifford's Tower were discharged to 
receive me." 

June 27 2 : "I went to Clifford's Tower, to take 
possession of it, with the High Sheriff, Sir Michael 
Wharton, Sir Henry Mar wood, and several other 
gentlemen ; which I found in pretty good condition 
as to repairs and stores (powder only excepted and 

August 4. 3 " The garrison was much out of order 
by reason that he who was captain of the foot com- 
pany there was a man of pleasure, and remiss in either 
doing duty himself or seeing it done by others. I 
went upon the guard myself, caused a list of those 
that mounted the main guard, or that of Clifford's 
Tower, to be daily brought to me. I took exact care 
in the locking of the City and Castle gates, and 
brought matters to an indifferent good pass in a 
short time." 

October 17.* " Being at Doncaster with two other 
deputy-lieutenants, to settle some matters, and to hear 
complaints relating to the militia, I received a letter 

1 " Memoirs of Sir John Reresby," p. 253. 

2 Ibid., p. 254. 3 Ibid., pp. 257-58. 
4 " Memoirs of Sir John Reresby," p. 262. 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 183 

from Colonel Legge, Master of the Ordnance, intimat- 
ing that Sir Christopher Musgrave, Lieutenant of the 
Ordnance, was ordered to come down to York by the 
King to take a view of the condition of that garrison, 
which occasioned my speedy journey to that place. I 
got thither early the next day, and waiting upon the 
lieutenant, he took the dimensions and situation of 
the tower and castle, by the help of a surveyor brought 
with him to that purpose ; took an account of the 
stores and ammunition in Clifford's Tower ; and told 
me the King intended we should be supplied, and 
that his Majesty would be at the charge to repair 
the defects of the tower (especially the parapet, which 
was too weak), and to bring the river about it." 

The presence and dictatorial authority of military 
governors in York, interfered very much with the 
prerogative of the Lord Mayors. The citizens natur- 
ally resented any curtailing of their ancient rights 
and privileges, and gradually a spirit of discontent 
and friction was engendered. Sir John Reresby him- 
self confessed that York was at that time " one of the 
most factious towns of the kingdom." His governor- 
ship was marked by a catastrophe, which the populace 
hailed as a joyful event. The circumstance is thus 
related in an old MS. diary of the period 

" About ten o'clock on the night of St. George's 
Day, April 23, 1684, happened a most dreadful fire 
within the tower called Clifford's Tower, which con- 
sumed to ashes all the interior thereof, leaving stand- 
ing only the outshell of the walls of the tower, without 
other harm to the city, save one man slain by the fall 
of a piece of timber, blown up by the force of 
the flames, or rather by some powder therein. It 
was generally thought a wilful act, the soldiers not 
suffering the citizens to enter till it was too late ; and 
what made it more suspicious was, the gunner had 
got out all his goods before it was discovered." 

184 The History of the Castle of York 

Governor Reresby records the event April 26 l 

" I received the unwelcome news by an express 
from York, that on St. George's Day, when four guns 
had been fired, the tower was set on fire, and all the 
inside of it burnt ; only the powder and some part 
of the arms were saved. This happened in the worst 
conjuncture that could be (my Lord Dartmouth, 
Master of the Ordnance, being returned, who was no 
friend to the garrison), to have it reduced. I went 
to Windsor to acquaint the King with it, who was so 
kind as to promise me it should continue, or, if not, 
he would not reduce it till he had provided for me in 
some kind as beneficial." 

The cause of the fire was never correctly ascer- 
tained, but the destruction is supposed to have been 
intentional, and to have proceeded from that jealousy 
of military control which English citizens so justly 
entertain, and which the presence of a garrisoned 
fortress, in times of peace, commanding the city, 
was so well calculated to excite. It is more than 
probable that the tower was destroyed by design, a 
fact not only corroborated by the circumstances just 
narrated, but also from a decided dislike evinced by 
the populace to Reresby's stern methods of govern- 
ment. The preceding governor, Lord Frescheville, 
and his rigorous administration found disfavour in 
the city, and he lamented that he " found the humour 
of the people impatient of a stranger." 2 

On various occasions when giving a toast the citizens 
drank " To the demolition of the Minced Pie," a name 
they had given the tower in derision and contempt. 

The tower^was completely gutted by the conflagra- 
tion in 1684, and reduced to a mere shell. To restore 
and make it suitable for a garrison again would have 
been a costly undertaking, therefore Charles II. and 

" Memoirs of Sir John Reresby," p. 302. 
2 Cal. State Papers, 1671, p. 238. 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 185 

his government abandoned the keep, and it ceased to 
be a military post, after having been appropriated 
and used as such from the year 1643 to 1684. Sir 
John Reresby's authority in York became of less im- 
portance year by year ; he lived to see the landing 
of William of Orange, and died May 12, 1689, the last 
governor of York. 

The lawful owners of the tower were now permitted 
to enter into actual possession. Sir Henry Thomp- 
son, of Escrick, died in 1683, and his widow, Lady 
Suzanna Thompson, became possessed of the property 
under the will of her late husband, made November 
23, 1681. She retained the ownership of the tower 
until January 27, 1699, at which date she sold 
to Richard Sowray, the elder, for the sum of 58 155. 

" All that piece or par cell of ground contayning 
by estimation three acres (more or less) commonly 
called Clifford's Tower or Clifford's Tower Hill, to- 
gether with the Tower thereupon erected and built." 1 

Richard Sowray was already in possession of the 
dwelling-house and the grounds abutting on Tower 
Hill ditch. His son Richard Sowray, Bachelor of 
Physic, and subsequent owner, utilized Tower Hill 
and the disused keep as ornamental adjuncts to the 
grounds of the mansion. The mound was terraced 
and shrubs were planted upon it, and with the water 
still in the ditch formed a pleasant resort. The accom- 
panying illustration of the house, gardens and tower 
shows what a desirable property the whole must have 
been in the more peaceful days of good Queen Anne. 

Doctor Richard Sowray inherited the house and 
tower from his father, and he, like Richard Sowray, 
senior, was King's Commissioner or Crown Agent 
for the Northern District. By a romantic coincidence 
the Doctor married for his second wife Abigail, the 
daughter of Thomas Dickinson, of Kirby Hall, the 
1 See Appendix F. Copy of Conveyance, 

1 86 The History of the Castle of York 

Cromwellian Governor of the Tower. 1 The nuptial 
ceremony was performed (strange to say on the anni- 
versary day that his father purchased the tower) 
January 27, 1708, in York Minster. The Doctor 
only survived his second marriage thirteen months, 
and died February 27, 1709 ; he was buried in St. 
Mary's Church, Castlegate, and a mural tablet on 
the east wall of the north aisle of the chancel per- 
petuates his memory. 

Near this place, 

Lieth Interred the body of 

Richard Sowray, of this parish, 

Batchelor in Physick, who departed 

This life on y e . 27 February, lyof, 

In the 45th year of his age. 

He was twice married, 

And Abigail, 
His second wife, 

Daughter of 
Tho. Dickinson, 
.of Kirby Hall, in the 
County of York, 
In memory of her most 
Dear and loveing Husband 
Erected this monument. 

By his will, dated February 17, 1708,2 Doctor Sow- 
ray bequeathed his house and the tower to his wife 
Abigail for the term of her natural life, with reversion 
on her decease to his nephew Richard Denton, 3 
merchant of York. 

After the death of Dr. Sowray, the Court of Ex- 
chequer claimed from his executrix some arrears of 

1 Abigail Dickinson was born at Kirby Ouseburn and 
baptized there in 1665, the year the Thompsons became 
possessed of Kirby Hall. 

2 See Appendix G. 

3 Richard Denton, the son of Jotoi Denton, merchant, free 
of the city in 1707, a Chamberlain in 1710. 

f if Slip 


1 88 The History of the Castle of York 

Crown rents. Pleadings in the suit are mentioned 
in papers at the Record Office, London, and Abigail 
Sowray's depositions are preserved there ; the last 
Chancery Order in the matter is dated July 1726. 

The following curious description of the Tower 
appears in " The Northern Atalantis ; or York Spy," 
written by Dr. William King in 1710, and published 
by "A. Baldwin, near the Oxford Arms in Warwick 
Lane, 1713." 

" Not far from the Castle (with which it has Com- 
munication by a Draw-Bridge) is the Famous Round 
Tower, seated upon a Hill, which by Art and Nature 
excels most in England, and thro' by an unfortunate 
Fire in the late Reign, it was render'd an unfit Recep- 
tacle for Swords-men, yet, said my Friend, the Noble 
uniform Figure of this Hill, and the Shell of the Build- 
ing upon't was an Honour and an Ornament to the 
City, till an old Crabbed Humourist, defaced the 
Mount to enlarge his Gardens, and wou'd not desist 
prosecuting his Design, tho' it prov'd fatal to two 
Workmen, who had the misfortune to be employ 'd in 
that unlucky undertaking." 



Richard Denton mortgages his reversionary rights to Catherine 
Bower, 1719 Tower purchased by Samuel Waud, senior, 
1726 Inherited by Samuel Waud, junior Bequeathed 
to Samuel Wilkes Waud, 1797 Tenants of Tower House 
County Gaol enlarged Tower threatened with destruc- 
tion Sydney Smith's observations, 1824 George Strick- 
land's " Reasons for not pulling down Clifford's Tower " 
The keep and adjacent property bought by Committee 
of Gaol Sessions, 1825 The Government take possession 
of the tower under the Prisons' Act, 1877 Prison Com- 
missioners covenant to preserve the tower as a National 
Monument, 1880 Tower restored to the custody of the 
Yorkshire County Committee, 1902 Restored and foun- 
dations underpinned Observations made during the 
progress of the work Conclusion. 

THE tenant for life, Mrs. Abigail Sowray, was 
about fifty-four years of age, and Richard 
Denton, the prospective owner, wishing to realize 
his reversionary rights, mortgaged them to Mrs. 
Catherine Bower, widow, April 13, 1719. The inden- 
ture recites that he demised : " All that messuage 
tenement or burgage house situate and being in Castle- 
gate " with " all that parcell called Clifford's Tower 
Hill," late in the occupation of Hugh Massey, gentle- 
man, and now in the tenure or occupation of Thomas 
Maskell, " for the full term of nine hundred years," 
the mortgagee " paying therefor a peppercorn at the 
feast of Pentecost only if demanded." 

Mrs. Bower disposed of her lien on the house and 
tower August 12, 1726, for 414, to Samuel Waud, 


190 The History of the Castle of York 

to whom Dent on was indebted. The deed discloses 
the fact that : " Richard Dent on hath lately failed 
in the world Whereupon a Commission in Bank- 
ruptcy has been taken out against him which is 
at present in Execution " ; it further recounts that 
Mrs. Bower was " unwilling to stand the hazard of 
so many contingencies " as "it is very precarious 
how long Abigail Sowray present Tenant for Life of 
the mortgaged premises may live." 

On February 29, 1727, the house and tower were 
conveyed to the Trustees in Bankruptcy, at which 
date Thomas Remington was the occupier. The 
assignees of Denton's effects, however, by indenture 
March 20, 1727, agreed to the former transfer of the 
property to Samuel Waud with the proviso that it 
should be in complete satisfaction of the latter 's claim 
against the estate of Richard Denton. 

The property was bequeathed by Samuel Waud, 1 
senior, to his son Samuel Waud, with injunctions that 
the beneficiary should pay to his mother, Katherine 
Waud, an annuity or rent charge of 50. At the 
demise of Samuel Waud, in 1797, all his real property 
passed by disposition 2 to Alice Waud his wife, 
for life, and after her decease to his son and heir, 
Samuel Wilkes Waud. 

The following advertisement published in a York 
newspaper, September 14, 1820, gives us some idea of 
important and desirable property at that period. 

" Family house to let in York. That excellent 
family house, with the garden and Clifford's Tower, 
in Castlegate, York (now tenanted by Mrs. Worsley), 
to ba let furnished and entered upon in October next. 

1 Samuel Waud, senior, made his will January i, 1747, and 
appointed Katherine Waud, his wife, sole executrix. 

2 Samuel Waud's will dated November 8, 1793, probate 
registered at Wakefield, June 5, 1797 (Book D.Y., No. 213, 
p. 169). 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 191 

The premises are in good repair, very spacious, gen- 
teelly furnished, and well adapted for a family of the 
first respectability. The delightful situation of the 
house deservedly renders it one of the most desirable 
residences in York. There is a three-stalled stable 
and coach-house attached to the premises. 

" Apply to Messrs. Brook and Bulmer, solicitors, 
York, or on the premises." 1 

It was, indeed, a " delightful situation," next door 
to the gates of the Castle, from which periodically 
poor condemned felons were brought out in carts, 
seated upon their own coffins, to suffer capital punish- 
ment at Tyburn, without Micklegate Bar. On these 
gruesome occasions hundreds of morbid citizens cla- 
moured without the gates whilst w r aiting to escort the 
sheriff's melancholy cavalcade as it passed through 
the crowded streets on its way to the scaffold. 

During the closing decades of the eighteenth and 
the early years of the nineteenth century, the awful 
condition of our prisons and the wretched state of the 
poor people immured, were forced upon the considera- 
tion of a busy and apathetic public by the earnest 
philanthropic work of prison reformers. The inade- 
quate accommodation at York was frequently com- 
mented upon, and at the Yorkshire Lent Assizes, 
1821, the Grand Jury presented the Castle of York for 
insufficiency. It was eventually decided to enlarge 
the area of the Castle and erect new prisons. In their 
deliberations the Committee of Justices appointed 
by Gaol Sessions, resolved to purchase Samuel Wilkes 
Waud's house and Clifford's Tower. 2 In thus adding 
this parcel of land to the Castle the destruction of 
Clifford's Tower and the mound became imminent. 

1 Lady Grant was the occupier in 1822-23. 

2 In 1824 Mr. Waud excavated the mound, a brief report 
of which appears in " The Gentleman's Magazine Library," 
part xiv. pp. 374-75- 

192 The History of the Castle of York 

The distinguished cleric and celebrated wit, the 
Rev. Sydney Smith, rector of Foston from 1806 to 
1829, was on the Extension Committee, and he issued 
a pamphlet upon the subject, from which we cull the 
following honourable comments 

" A great deal has been said about Clifford's Tower, 
as if the object, in purchasing Mr. Waud's grounds, 
was to gratify a taste for architectural antiquities, 
at the expense of the county. As to myself I can 
safely say that what becomes of Clifford's Tower is 
to me a subject of the utmost indifference ; I attach 
no importance to its preservation, but I do attach a 
great importance to the practice of respecting other 
men's feelings and opinions ; and as Clifford's Tower 
could, with great ease, be turned into a chapel, without 
any alteration of its outward appearance, I should 
have been very desirous (had Mr. Waud's grounds 
been purchas3d) of combining in this manner the 
interests of the antiquary and the prison ; and this, 
I apprehend, was the feeling of those gentlemen who 
wished the prison to be extended in that direction." 1 

Clifford's Tower is unique, as being the one existing 
tower of its kind, i.e. in plan, etc., in Great Britain, 
and the only other castle keep resembling it is that 
of Etampes, in the department of Seine-et-Oise, thirty- 
one miles from Paris. As the tower is such a rare 
example of mediaeval military architecture, there is 
some justification for archaeologists desiring its pre- 
servation. A further treatise was published in this 
behalf by George Strickland, a Yorkshire gentleman, 
wherein he says 

' It is an old observation that all persons are apt 
to despise, or to pass over in neglect, those objects 
which are habitually presented to them, and hold 

1 " A Letter to the Committee of Magistrates, of the County 
of York, appointed to alter and enlarge the County Jail," 1824, 
p. 21. 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 193 

in veneration such only as are distant, and with which 
they are comparatively little acquainted. Upon this 
principle we must account for the fact of so many of 
our countrymen travelling to distant regions, and 
returning home, expressing wonder, astonishment, 
and delight, at the ruins, the mountains, and valleys, 
which they have seen, while they remain ignorant 
of the merits of their own country, insensible to its 
beauties, and affecting to despise its remains of an- 
tiquity To such persons I would apply the beautiful 
and spirited lines of Sir Walter Scott 

" ' Breathes there a man, with soul so dead, 
Who never to himself hath said, 

This is my own, my native land 1 
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned, 
As home his footsteps he hath turned, 

From wandering on a foreign strand ! 
If such there breathe, go, mark him well ; 
For him no minstrel raptures swell ; 
High though his titles, proud his name, 
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim ; 
Despite those titles, power, and pelf, 
The wretch, concentred all in self, 
Living, shall forfeit fair renown, 
And, doubly dying, shall go down 
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung. 
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.'; 

" Such persons can see a thousand charms in every 
broken arch, and in every ruin near the Tiber, how- 
ever small the remnant, while they can find nothing 
to admire upon the banks of the Thames, or of the 
Ouse, while they load with epithets of reproach, 
and execration, the names of Alaric, the leader of the 
Goths, and of Genseric, the king of the Vandals, and 
call their myriads of followers barbarians, because 
the one overran Greece, and plundered and destroyed 
the public buildings and works of art at Athens, and 
Corinth, and Sparta ; and the other, after taking 


194 The History of the Castle of York 

Rome, laid waste the city, and reduced to ruins its 
temples, and its bridges ; in England, with unspar- 
ing hand, would level to the ground our best remains 
of ancient buildings, which have resisted the destruc- 
tive effects of time, and for ages been held up to the 
admiration of all persons of education and taste, to 
make a foundation to a gaol or a manufactory. 

" That Clifford's Tower is an object not unworthy 
of some share of respect and of care, may perhaps be 


made evident by a comparison between it and some 
of those remains of similar form, which, because they 
are in Italy, are held sacred, and are preserved from 
destruction. Of this kind is the Castle of St. Angelo, 
in Rome (anciently the Mausoleum of Adrian). Of a 
similar form is the sepulchre of the Plautian family, 
upon the banks of the Tiverone and the far-famed 
tomb of Cecilia Metella. Excepting the first, each of 
these is greatly inferior in size to Clifford's Tower, 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 195 

and all inferior in elevation of site, and picturesque 
beauty." 1 

The tower was saved from destruction, but unfor- 
tunately the talus of the mound was cut away, and a 
retaining wall built around the motte. The newly 
acquired site was surrounded with a high embattled 
stone wall, partially screening the grassy mound and 
the tower from public view, which occasioned at the 
time of its erection the opprobrious epithet " Sydney 
Smith's greatest joke." 

The details of the purchase of Clifford's Tower and 
the adjoining mansion and grounds, are set forth in 
an indenture dated December 13, 1825, between 
Samuel Wilkes Waud, the vendor, and the following 
justices, Benjamin Dealtry, Rev. Danson Richardson 
Currer, George Strickland, on behalf of the County ; 
Thomas Swann, treasurer, and David Russell, clerk 
to the Court of Gaol Sessions. 

The subject of purchase was discussed at a court of 
Gaol Sessions held in the Castle, April i, 1824, and 
again on May n of the same year. It was decided to 
offer 7,000 as the price for the purchase of the pro- 
perty at a Court, September 21, 1825, at which Mr. 
Waud appeared, but he asked a higher price than the 
amount suggested by the justices. The dwelling- 
house on the estate was not the original one referred 
to in the earliest deeds, but a newer and more com- 
modious mansion erected at a later date. To settle 
the purchase price a jury was impanelled September 
28, according to the provisions of certain Acts of 
Parliament, to inquire the value of the said premises. 
The jury by their verdict ascertained the value thereof 
to be the sum of 8,800, and thereupon Benjamin 
Dealtry and Danson R. Currer, justices then present, 
signed an order for the purchase of the premises. The 

1 " Reasons for not Pulling Down Clifford's Tower," by 
George Strickland, pp. 21-23. 

196 The History of the Castle of York 

indenture of December 13, 1825, mentions that the 
property was " Conveyed to David Russell in trust 
for the purpose of enlarging or rendering more com- 
modious or for the building or rebuilding of the said 

The tower remained the property of the county 
until the Prisons Act of 1877 came into operation, 
April i, 1878, when it, with the gaol, came under 
Government control and became vested in the Prison 
Commissioners ; a new Board created by the Prisons 
Act under the direction of the Home Secretary. 

By an agreement, 1 April 7, 1880, the Prison Com- 
missioners covenanted to maintain " Clifford's Tower, 
which is in the nature of a national monument in 
such manner as to prevent the same and every part 
thereof being defaced or injured in its character of a 
national monument." 

The Government held the tower until August i, 
1902, when it again passed into the possession of the 
county and was by indenture invested in the Yorkshire 
County Committee as representing the newly formed 
County Councils of the three Ridings. The following 
is a copy of the written contract 



Conveyance of a piece of land and premises known as 
Cliffords Tower, part of York Prison. Dated 
August i, 1902. 

ZTbtS JnbCUturC made the first day of August One 
thousand nine hundred and two JBCtWCCU The Prison 
Commissioners of the first part The Right Honorable 
Charles Thomas Ritchie one of His Majesty's Principal 
Secretaries of State (hereinafter called " the said 
Secretary of State ") of the second part Henry Torrens 
Anstruther Esquire and Ailwyn Edward Fellowes (com- 
1 See Appendix H. Copy of Agreement. 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 197 

monly called The Honourable Ailwyn Edward Fel- 
lowes) two of the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's 
Treasury of the third part and The Yorkshire County 
Committee of the fourth part Mbcreag the here- 
ditaments hereinafter described and expressed to be 
hereby conveyed form part of His Majesty's Prison at 
York being a prison to which the Prison Act of 1877 
applies Hnfc TlXUbcreaS the Prison Commissioners by 
direction of the said Secretary of State and with the 
consent of the Treasury have agreed with the said 
Yorkshire County Committee for the Conveyance 
to them in fee simple of the parcel of ground herein- 
after described and intended to be hereby conveyed 

flow tbis 3ufcenture witnessetb that for the pur- 
pose of effecting such conveyance The Prison Com- 
missioners by the direction of the said Secretary of 
State and with the consent of His Majesty's Treasury 
(testified by the execution of these presents by the 
parties hereto of the third part) hereby grant and 
convey unto the Yorkshire County Committee HI I 
that parcel of ground situate within the Castle of York 
and surrounded by a stone wall upholding the mound 
whereon is erected the ancient Tower known as Clif- 
ford's Tower which said parcel of ground intended to be 
hereby conveyed is shewn on the plan drawn in the 
margin of these presents and is therein colored round 
with a blue verge line Uo bolt) the same unto and 
to the use of the Yorkshire County Committee for ever 
in fee simple Hub the Yorkshire County Committee 
hereby covenant wth the Prison Commissioners as 
follows i 

i. Ubflt no part of the hereditaments hereby con- 
veyed shall at any time be used for any purpose which 
may tend to interfere with the arrangements made or 
to be made for the management of the adjoining 
Prison within York Castle or to destroy the privacy of 
the prison. 

198 The History of the Castle of York 

2. ZTbat n building or erection of any kind shall 
be built or placed upon any part of the said heredita- 
ments so as to impede the access of light to any build- 
ing which now forms or shall hereafter form part of 
the said Prison or with windows overlooking any part 
of the Prison buildings or land. 

3. ZTbat if any person who shall be admitted to any 
part of the said hereditaments shall attempt to pass 
therefrom into the prison grounds or enclosure or to 
communicate with any prisoner or to make any draw- 
ing or take any photograph of any part of the prison 
or of any person or thing therein or shall cause any 
disturbance or annoyance to any of the officials of 
the Prison or to any workmen or other person em- 
ployed about the prison the person making such 
attempt or causing such disturbance or annoyance 
shall forthwith be removed from the said premises 
and the Committee shall not permit such person to 
have access to the said premises and shall use their 
best endeavours to prevent such person from having 
access to the said premises at any time. 

4. ZTbC Committee shall not admit the general public 
to the said premises except under regulations as to 
hours of admittance and otherwise to be previously sub- 
mitted to and approved by the Prison Commissioners. 

5. IRo special right of access to the said premises 
shall be given by the Committee to any person until 
the Committee are satisfied that such right is required 
for purposes of research or for some other useful object 
and that such person is not likely to attempt to com- 
municate with any prisoner or to cause any such dis- 
turbance or annoyance as aforesaid. 

6. Jt is hereby agreed and declared that the cove- 
nants hereinbefore contained shall continue in force 
only as long as some part of York Castle shall continue 
to be used as a prison or shall remain vested in the 
Prison Commissioners. 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 199 


of the Home 

Jit Witness whereof the said Prison Commissioners 
and the Yorkshire County Committee have hereunto 
affixed their respective Corporate Seals and the other 
parties hereto have hereunto set their hands and 
seals the day and year first above written. 

The Common Seal of the 
Prison Commissioners 
was affixed hereto in the 
presence of 
E. G. Clayton, 

Signed Sealed and De- 
livered by His Majesty s 
Principal Secretary of 
State for the Home De- 
partment in the presence 


J. A. Longley, 

Private Secretary 
Home Office. 

Signed Sealed and Delivered \ 

by Henry Ton ens An- H. T. ANSTRUTHER. 
struther one of the Lords I 
Commissioners of His \ 
Majesty's Treasury in 
the presence of 

G. Bull, Treasury 

Signed Sealed and Delivered 
by Ailwyn Edward F el- 
low es one of the Lords 
Commissioners of His 
Majesty's Treasury in 
the presence of 
( ) Hylton 


2oo The History of the Castle of York 

Through the timely efforts of Lord Wenlock, Chair- 
man of the County Committee, the Government were 
induced to make a grant of 3,000 towards* the restora- 
tion of the tower. The talus of the mound had been 
removed upwards of seventy years before and a revet- 
ment wall erected to support the motte. In the six- 
teenth century the stone bridge and approach to the 
entrance to the keep, together with the piers, were 
removed, thus leaving the thrust unresisted on that 
side upon which the gatehouse is erected. The latter 
and the south-east side of the tower in the course of 
time showed indications of subsidence. To effectually 
counteract this settlement it was decided to underpin 
the foundations. Mr. Basil Mott, an eminent engineer, 
had charge of the work which was ably carried out 
by Mr. George Talbot, a contractor who had success- 
fully achieved similar work. 

During the operations Messrs. George Benson and 
H. M. Platnaeur, two local enthusiasts, eagerly watched 
the excavations on behalf of the Yorkshire Philo- 
sophical Society. As their report embodies many 
items of interest to archaeologists generally we venture 
to quote it extensively 

" Members of this Society, and all others who are 
interested in the preservation of historical relics, owe 
a debt of gratitude to Lord Wenlock and other mem- 
bers of the Yorkshire County Committee, who, acting 
under the advice of Mr. Micklethwaite, induced His 
Majesty's Government to make a grant for preserving 
Clifford's Tower before restoring it to the custody of 
the County of York. The nature of the operations 
undertaken for this purpose commands our admira- 
tion no less than does their object, for the work is 
thoroughly and effectually done, and it is concealed, 
thus achieving its purpose without in any way offending 
the eye. 

" (i) The general conclusions arrived at as the 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 201 

result of observation made during the progress of the 
work, (2) the nature of the work undertaken, (3) a few 
details respecting observations made and objects 

" (i) GENERAL CONCLUSIONS. Thes may be very 
briefly stated. The mound is an artificial one ; cut- 
tings made in the sides at a distance of 25 feet from 
the boundary wall towards the centre failed to shew 
any natural core. A trench 15 feet 6 inches deep 
was sunk within the keep, and a boring was made 
10 feet 6 inches from the bottom of this trench. Both 
trench and boring, which together went down to 
within 10 feet of the ground level, revealed nothing 
but loose made soil. At a depth of 13 feet in this trench 
and again at 15 feet 6 inches were found remains of 
timber work that point to the existence of a wooden 
fortification preceding the existing shell keep and 
built on a smaller mound. This mound has been 
increased to its present dimensions with great care 
and with enormous labour. In order to give the 
newer mound stability, an outer crust of firmer and 
more clayey material has been made round the older 
summit, and lighter material has been placed inside 
this crater to bring it up to the necessary level. The 
occurrence of a considerable quantity of charred wood 
above the lower series of timber remains, indicates 
that the wooden fortifications have suffered from 
fire. It would scarcely be rash to assume that it was 
the first castle of the Conqueror, burnt in the revolt 
of 1069. * The existence of a second layer of timber 
work seems to show that the fortification thus de- 
troyed was rebuilt in wood. 

" The objects found in the course of excavation 

1 It is more probable that the charred remains were those 
of the wooden tower burnt at the massacre of the Jews in 
1190; the year following this disaster the timber keep was 

2O2 The History of the Castle of York 

help very little chronologically, for they were scattered 
confusedly, and most were found in the lateral cuttings. 
Roman pottery was found in fairly considerable 
quantity. But this does not necessarily prove that 
the mound was used by the Romans. The pottery 
may have been in the soil excavated, and brought 
up by the Norman builders to enlarge the mound. 

" A burial of very primitive type was indeed dis- 
covered, the skeleton of a body that had been buried 
in a crouching position, surrounded by four pieces of 
rough sandstone and covered by another somewhat 
larger stone. 

culty to be met was the gradual sinking of the gateway 
and adjoining parts towards the south-east. This 
may have been caused, and certainly must have been 
at least accelerated, by the curtailment of the mound 
about 1826. At this time a nearly circular retaining 
wall, of massive structure, was built and furnished 
with internal buttresses, to hold up the mound. The 
weight gradually thrust the upper stones of this wall 
outwards. The danger might have been considerably 
less had the keep been whole, but the disastrous fire 
and explosion of 1684 had seriously rent the walls ; x 
and the fore part of the keep, no longer bonded to the 
rest of the building, sank forward as the mound gave 
way beneath it. Iron ties were used within, and a 
large wooden raking shore was recently erected, but 
in spite of all this the settlement continued. Things 
were in this condition when the Committee entrusted 
to Mr. Basil Mott the task of securing the mound 
and keep against further subsidence. Mr. Mott took 
effectual steps to achieve this. He had the whole of 
the front part of the keep underpinned with concrete 

1 The great turris of the King's Castle at York was reported 
in 1358 to have two fissures in it from the foundation to the 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 203 

to a depth of 6 feet and to 3 feet on each side of the 
foundation (making a total breadth of 17 feet of con- 
crete), the looser parts of the foundation were grouted 
in to keep this mass of concrete in place, five huge 
ribs 6 feet broad and going down to the clay beneath, 
were cut into the sides of the mound and filled in with 


concrete. By these means, the arc of concrete hold- 
ing up the wall is supported by five flying buttresses 
of solid concrete resting on the underlying boulder 
clay and covered by the turf of the mound. It was 
found that the sinking of the mound was due in part 
to the loosening of the soil by tree roots, and in great 
measure to the accumulation of water in the loose 

204 The History of the Castle of York 

stonework within the mound. The interior of the 
mound has been drained, and a channel has been made 
to carry away the water. 

OBJECTS FOUND. The rock on which the mound is 
erected is a solid, reddish clay, overlaid by a bed of 
lacustrine marl of very variable thickness, apparently 
deposited by a tidal river in pools. In this marl was 
discovered a wooden boatstay, evidently of great age, 
with an iron nail sticking into it. There was no 
regular order of succession in the various kinds of soil 
excavated in the sides of the mound. Two trenches 
were cut in the interior of the keep, in order to trace 
the origin of some water that escaped into the work- 
ings. In these were found n feet 6 inches of reddish 
gravel followed by 2 feet of black clay, then the remains 
of a 6 inch platform of oak, 2 feet 6 inches of black 
clayey soil followed, and remains of a similar oak 
platform were found supported by posts. A boring 
taken down 14 feet further showed the same black 
soil. At 3 feet from the base of the retaining wall 
and 23 feet from its parapet (that is, 4 feet 6 inches 
below the present level) were found the bones to which 
reference was made before. They rested on the clay, 
and apparently represented a cist interment of a 
rough and primitive character. The walls of the 
keep go down to a depth of 6 feet, and the founda- 
tions, ii feet wide, rest on a bed of firm puddled clay 
i foot deep. 

" A large number of bones was found in every part 
of the mound. Human bones were abundant, especi- 
ally in the interior of the keep. Several skulls were 
discovered, one close to a pointed stake, but all were 
more or less imperfect. Many of the limb bones were 
of large size : one femur measured 21 inches (20 inches 
from the top of the neck below the great trochanter 
to the fossa between the condyles). Bones of ox, 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 205 

sheep, and pig were abundant, those of horse, dog 
and domestic fowl occurred more rarely. Many pieces 
of deer antler were found, they had been sawn off 
preparatory to manufacture into combs, skewers, 
buttons, etc. A few boar tusks also occurred. 

" Many pieces of carved magnesian limestone were 
found in the interior. Amongst them were a moulded 
corbel, a splayed and beaded piece of parapet, an 
arch stone with shallow hollow on splay and stop 
stone to same, an angle of moulded arch with dog- 
tooth ornament having a five-pointed one in angle, 
a small piece with ribbed laurel leaves forming two 
dog teeth beautifully sculptured, and a defaced springer 
above cap to arcade with dog-tooth ornament similar 
to that in the chapel above the entrance. 

' Various worked articles in bone and horn were 
found ; a spindle whorl, some discs i J inches across and 
J inch thick and marked with concentric circles (? for 
merrils or draughts), combs, and a roughly made ring. 

" Roman pottery, especially Samian ware, was 
tolerably abundant, but there was very little mediaeval 
pottery. The bowls of several tobacco pipes were 
found, of Stuart type, and one bore the stamp of a fleur- 
de-lis and the letters N. H. ; another had the initials 
T. B. Of leather only a few pieces were found, evi- 
dently portions of shoes. 

" A number of iron spikes and nails were taken 
from the timber work alluded to before, an iron cannon 
ball weighing 17 Ib. was found, an arrow head and 
head of crossbow bolt, iron ring much rusted, a small 
knife blade, an axe head, a scythe cut down to form 
a bill or hedger, and two pieces of iron too fragmentary 
and too much rusted to allow of determination. Of 
other metal objects there were a small brass ring, 
a small brass brooch or fibula (imperfect), a brass 
ornament (probably from horse trappings), one or two 
fragments of brass objects, and a leaden ring. 

206 The History of the Castle of York 

" Very few coins were discovered. A small defaced 
silver Roman coin, a small copper coin of Const an- 
tine's, a well-preserved styca determined by Mr. Hey- 
wood to be one of ^Edilred (Ccenred, moneyer), and a 
halfpenny of George III. completes the list, unless 
we can include under this head some leaden imita- 
tions of pennies of William the Conqueror, the purpose 
of which is unknown. 

" Of miscellaneous objects, we may mention a jet 
button ; a piece of slate 3 inches long, square in section 
and tapering to a point, the broad end perforated 
(? to be used for writing) ; a small piece of ground 
glass, a fragment of gold lace, and a dermal scute 
from the skin of a shark. 

' Two pieces of broken flint were found, but whether 
artificially chipped or fractured by natural means 
could not be determined. One quadrate piece of flint 
was encountered, which had apparently been prepared 
for making gun flints. 

" Remains of timber work were discovered at four 
points : at the junction of the fore court with the 
keep on the west side, and in three short parallel 
trenches sunk within the keep. From exposure in 
these, it would seem that a line of timber work, pro- 
bably forming part of a platform, ran S.W. and N.E. 
At the first point the timber was found at a depth of 
8 feet 6 inches, and consisted of oak slabs, some 5 
inches thick ; others 9 inches by if inches in section. 
In the trenches, timber planks resting on forked 
uprights and piles were found. These forked uprights 
were roughly dressed tree-trunks over 8 feet in length, 
one was 7 inches, the other 9 inches in diameter. In 
the trenches nearest the gate remains of a second 
line of timber work were found apparently running at 
right angles to the first, but 2 feet 6 inches below it. 
The excavation did not go deep enough to allow a 
full exploration of this second level of timber work. 

Clifford's Tower Strange Vicissitudes 207 

It had a timber bottom, which was sawn through at 
one point, and against it was piled a line of large loose 
stones, over 10 feet in breadth and to a height of 6 
feet. This may have been put to support the wood- 
work, and to render it difficult of approach. But 
as to the real nature of the woodwork, we have no 
certain evidence. It may even have been a drain. 
The trench last dealt with also showed traces of a line 
of timber work parallel to the first (S.W. and N.E.) 
line, and at the same level." l 

The plans showing the sectional construction of the 
mound, and the site of the concrete underpinning, are 
reproduced by the kind permission of Mr. Basil Mott. 

Thus we have seen that this remarkable and pic- 
turesque tower, a veteran on the stage of history, 
has had many narrow escapes, having been burnt, 
and exposed to the attacks of war and the indiscrimin- 
ate destruction of utilitarians. Still it stands sedately, 
its massive walls bidding defiance to age 

Grey with old Time and with the northern blast, 
And firm remain 'd while changing empires pass'd. 

The structure appears to have undergone little 
alteration since its erection nearly seven hundred 
years ago, except from the loss of the embattled parapet, 
the restoration of the gatehouse and the gradual 
wrinkling hand of Time. If not disturbed by man's 
interference it may remain intact for centuries to come 
a truly historic landmark recalling stirring episodes 
to many generations yet unborn. 

The prospect from the summit of Clifford's Tower, 
quite an altitude in the centre of the level vale of 
York, is magnificent. The red-tiled houses dwarfed 
beneath it, as they border the curiously- winding streets 
and byways of the venerable city, have a quaint and 

1 " Notes on Clifford's Tower," Yorks. Philosophical 
Society's Report, 1902. 

2o8 The History of the Castle of York 

effective charm when viewed from such a height. 
Here and there an old grey church spire or tower over- 
tops the gabled roofs, and the whole length of the great 
cathedral forms a rare and beautiful picture. Beyond 
the encircling city walls the silvery Ouse meanders 
away until its course is lost in the hazy distance. 
The diversity and interest of the scene is enhanced 
by distant green meadows, dark woods, hedgerows 
and farmsteads ; and the shadowy Wold Hills rise on 
the eastward horizon to complete the picture as in 
primeval ages. The distant roads and highways are 
discernible, and we can easily imagine how the watch- 
men of old, stationed in the turrets of the tower, 
eagerly scanned the approach of enemies or friends. 
It is a satisfaction to know that the tower is now 
under the care of the County Committee of York- 
shire as a National Monument. They allow it to be 
inspected every day, Sundays excepted, under certain 
modest restrictions. Mr. F. J. Munby, the Clerk to 
the Committee, a gentleman who takes a keen interest 
in its preservation, has the immediate control of the 
historic keep, and is the twentieth- century Castellan. 



Houses of Correction to be provided State of prison in'i 636 
Sir Thomas Widdrington's account of the Castle County 
Hall rebuilt, 1674 County application to use stones from 
St. Mary's Abbey, 1701 New Prison completed, 1705 
Description of building Montgomery's rhyme on the 
prison clock Little Foss drained, 1731 Daniel Defoe's 
description of the Castle New Assize Courts built, 1773- 
77 New buildings erected, 1780 Tobias Smollet's im- 
pressions of the Castle Roadway to Castle Gates widened 
City boundary at the " Five Lions " John Howard's 
observations on the prison. 

THROUGH the indifference of the varying govern- 
ments of the two hundred years just reviewed, 
aided by Time's devouring hand, the Castle walls, 
towers and prison buildings had fallen ingloriously, 
by mere neglect and decay, to a condition almost 
beyond restoration. In succeeding centuries the Castle 
became of more importance as a county prison. A 
slight advance and improvement in the treatment and 
management of criminals was brought about by the 
exertions of philanthropic men, and more sanitary 
prison buildings were eventually erected. 

In 1597, by an Act of Parliament, Justices of the 
Peace were required to provide Houses of Correction 

209 p 

2io The History of the Castle of York 

in the districts within their jurisdiction, and several 
were subsequently provided in the larger towns of 
Yorkshire. Robert Ryther, keeper of the Castle, 
addressed a petition in 1636 to the King's Council 
in the following terms 

' The said Castle and gaol being in great decay, 
two orders have been made by the Justices of Assize, 
that the Justices of Peace should take order for repair 
of the same, together with the present erecting of a 
house of correction. Further, they were required 
to levy money for building the house of correction, 
and for a stock to set the poor on work, and for bind- 
ing poor children apprentices. The Justices of the 
North Riding have made an order therein, but those 
of the West and East Ridings have not, according 
to the order made at the assizes, although the gaol 
and Castle are so ruinous that petitioner is enforced 
to watch the same, and yet divers prisoners have 
escaped since the last assizes ; and many who are 
in gaol for petty offences are likely to starve, while 
others are very unruly ; all which might be helped by 
erecting a house of correction. Prays the Lords to 
redress the neglects aforesaid." 1 

Nothing came of this appeal as the civil troubles 
of the ill-omened reign of Charles I. dislocated the pro- 
jects of domestic affairs and local improvements. 
The Royalists appropriated Clifford's Tower in 1643 
and they garrisoned it during the 1644 siege of 
York. 2 

Sir Thomas Widdrington, who was Recorder of 
York during the reign of Charles I. and the Common- 
wealth, compiled a history of the city of York, 3 and 
his notes on the contemporary aspect of the places 

1 Cal. State Papers, 1636, p. 307. 

2 See chapters on Clifford's Tower. 

3 " Analecta Eboracensia," published in 1897, PP- 261-62. 

County Prisons Rebuilt 21 1 

he described are, no doubt, the most valuable portions 
of his work ; of the Castle he says 

' That part of the Castle, which now only remains 
of the old foundations, was the gatehouse only to the 
Castle, the proportion of the gates yet showing them- 
selves on the east side towards Fishergate Postern, 
where the great door is walled up, and where the 
main building of the Castle was, as is manifest by 
the walls all over the said garth, if it be tried with 
spade or hack." 

In July 1658 the county of York was presented 
i.e. a complaint was laid before the Judges of Assize 
for inquiry for not renovating the common prison. 
The County Hall or Assize Court was rebuilt in 
1674-75, costing 650, the cost being apportioned as 
follows West Riding 40, North Riding 33 6s. 8^. 
and the East Riding 26 135. 4^. Ten years later the 
Nisi Prius Court, being incommodious for councillors, 
attorneys and others, was altered and improved at a 
cost of 86. 

The inhabitants of the three Ridings were responsible 
for the common gaol or county prison at York, and in 
1700-01, in pursuance of an Act of Parliament passed 
in the nth William III., c. 19, wherein justices had 
enlarged powers granted to build and extend gaols 
of the county, a tax of 3^. in the was levied upon all 
lands in the county to defray the expenses of a new 
prison. As was the practice in York, the ruins of 
the dissolved monasteries in the city were extensively 
used for all kinds of rebuilding the city walls being 
frequently restored in this way. The knights, citizens 
and burgesses serving in Parliament for .he county 
of York and others the Justices of the Peace for the 
county, petitioned the King begging that they might 
use the stones about the King's Manor House, which 
included the ruins of St. Mary's Abbey, for the erection 
of a new gaol. 

2 T 2 The History of the Castle of York 

' To the King's Most Excellent Majestie. 

' The humble peticion of the Knights, Citizens and 
Burgesses serving in Parliament for the County of 
York and others the Justices of the Peace of the 
Same County. 

" Humbly shew 

' That the Justices of the Peace being Enabled 
by a late Act of Parliament to build a County Gaol 
for the service of your Majesties Sheriffs to the great 
charge and expence of the Said County. 

" And whereas there are severall Buildings belonging 
to your Majesties Manor House situated in the Citty 
of York which are become ruinous nothing remaining 
thereof but walls. 

' It is humbly desired they may be impowered by 
your Majesties Warrant to make use of such ruinous 
walls as may be serviceable in the building of the said 

" And your Peticonrs. shall pray, etc." l 

On March 19 and again on April 8, 1701, a request 
was made to the Crown Surveyor to hasten his report. 

The new prison, an imposing structure, was com- 
pleted in the year 1705. It has two projecting wings 
and a clock turret in the centre of the edifice. The 
right wing of the building was originally occupied 
by debtors and the governor, with rooms for the under 
gaoler. In the left wing were the chambers and cells 2 
wherein the felons were imprisoned until the more 
modern prison was built in 1826-35. There were 
two small apartments for " solitary " imprison- 
ment, and three cells used by those condemned to 
death ; one of the latter rooms was called " Pompey's 

1 Treasury Papers, 1697-1702, p. 473. 

2 The internal arrangements are described in detail by 
Hargrove in his " History and Description of York," 1818, 
vol. ii. p. i. p. 232. 


214 The History of the Castle of York 

Parlour." Originally, in front of the courtyard and 
the two wings was an iron palisade forming an airing 
yard for the felons. 

A chapel was situated in the left wing. The ascent 
to it was by an exterior double flight of stone steps, 
uniform with a similar stairway in front of the right 
wing. The clock in the turret was made by John 
Terry, of York, in 1716. At the time of its erection 
it had only one hand, but in 1854 the present pair of 
hands were added and a new escapement provided. 
The clock has recently been thoroughly reconstructed 
with modern improvements by Mr. Newey, a York 
horologist. This old clock has done duty nearly two 
centuries, and many a weary hour has it proclaimed 
to countless imprisoned debtors and felons, who were 
confined in the chambers below the clock turret. 
The hymn- writer and poet, James Montgomery, 
who was incarcerated in the building in 1796 for 
an alleged political offence, mentions the clock in 
his interesting poem entitled " Prison Amuse- 
ments." The clock was probably out of order, as the 
poet humorously alludes to it, June 14, 1796, thus 

" How gaily spins the weather-cock ! 
How proudly shines the crazy clock ! 
A clock, whose wheels eccentric run, 
More like my head than like the sun ! 
And yet it shews us, right or wrong, 
The days are only twelve hours long ; 
Though captives often reckon here 
Each day a month, each month a year." 

In 1708 some of the ruinous mural towers were 
taken down, and it is recorded that in 1731 the wet 
ditch on the west side called the Little Foss was 
" drained by a small arch turned to throw the water 
into St. George's Close." * 

1 Beckwith's MS., York Cathedral Library. 

County Prisons Rebuilt 


About this time Daniel Defoe, the author of the 
inimitable " Robinson Crusoe/' visited the Castle 
and described it as " a Prison the most stately and 

complete of any in the whole kingdom, if not in Eur- 
ope." He was evidently charmed with the wide open 
bailey, and added further : " the Castle-yard is larger 
than the Areas of the Fleet or King's Bench in London, 

216 The History of the Castle of York 

and the Situation is so high, pleasant, and airy, that 
'tis surprising that Prisoners should remove them- 
selves by Habeas Corpus to either of those Prisons, 
unless it be with a View of purchasing the Liberty of 
the Rules, because here they are never permitted to 
go without the walls. Strangers, who visit the Inside 
of it, seldom depart without making a trifling Purchase 
of some of the small Manufactures the Prisoners work 
up for Subsistence." l 

The Rev. John Wesley records in his diary, July 19, 
1759 : " I visited two prisoners in the Castle, which 
is, I suppose, the most commodious prison in Europe." 
This worthy divine, imbued with the prejudices of 
his age, supposed the poor prisoners were well off, 
although they were crowded in a large but unsani- 
tary building. 

A new County Hall containing Crown and Nisi 
Prius Courts was projected in 1765, commenced in 
1773 and completed in 1777, from designs by John 
Carr, 2 an eminent architect of York. The entrance 
is approached under a portico of six columns, thirty 
feet high, over which are placed the royal arms, a 
statue of Justice and other emblematic figures. Here 

1 " A Tour Thro* the Whole Island of Great Britain," 1748, 
vol. iii. p. 167. 

2 John Carr was born at Horbury near Wakefield in 1723. 
He was admitted a Freeman of York as a " stone-cutter " in 
1757, subsequently he practised as an architect in the city 
for fifty years. In 1767 he was one of the Sheriffs of York 
and Lord Mayor in 1770 and 1785. He died at Askham Hall, 
February 22, 1807. He designed the following Yorkshire 
mansions Kirby Hall, Constable Burton, Aston Hall, Denton 
Park, Thornes House, Byram Hall, Sand Hutton, Pye Nest, 
and Kirkleatham Hall ; his other important works were the 
Town Hall and Assembly Rooms, Newark ; the County 
Lunatic Asylum, York ; the County Hall and Prison, Lincoln 
Castle ; the Crescent at Buxton ; the Town Hall, Chesterfield. 
See Memoir of John Carr, by Robert Davies, F.S.A., the Yorks. 
Archaological Journal, vol. iv. 


2 1 8 The History of the Castle of York 

the assizes for the whole county were held, but only 
those pertaining to the North and East Ridings are 
now held in the hall. On May 28, 1864, the Privy 
Council decided that the whole of the West Riding 
Assizes, including the Ainsty, 1 be held at Leeds, and 
August 6 following was appointed for the opening of 
the commission. 

When the York Assize Courts were first built the 
accommodation was thought to be excellent. 

The building on the north-east side of the Castle 
yard, similar in appearance to that of the Assize Courts 
on the opposite side of the green, was erected in 1780, to 
supply several accommodations, which were thought 
requisite by the county magistrates. Considerable 
additions were made to it in 1803. It contained 
offices for the clerk of assize ; apartments used for 
depositing records, and other purposes. This erection 
has undergone many alterations ; it contained cham- 
bers and day rooms, and latterly portions of it were 
appropriated to misdemeanants and female felons. 
The approach to it is by a flight of five stone steps ; 
leading to four Ionic pillars, supporting a portico. 

A short length of the roadway of Castlegate where it 
neared the Castle gate was widened by the Corporation 
in 1765, during the mayoralty of Henry Raper. 
To make this necessary improvement the Lord Mayor 
and Commonalty, by an indenture dated May i, 1765, 
exchanged a plot of ground described as 

" All that court -yard or parcel of ground with the 
coachhouse, stable and buildings thereupon erected 
and standing situate and being in the parish of St. 
Mary Castlegate in the said City of York adjoining 
Castlegate Lane on the west on a garden belonging 
to the said Lord Mayor and Commonalty ; " 

1 Anciently the Ainsty was attached to the County of the 
City of York, but in 1835 the district was added to the West 
Riding, 6 William IV., cap. 76. 

County Prisons Rebuilt 219 

for a strip of land defined as 

" All that parcel of ground as the same is now staked 
out and divided from the garden of him the said Samuel 
Waud adjoining the street leading to the Castle of 
York and extending in length from the North East 
Corner of the area at the front of the said Samuel 
Waud's Dwelling House towards the Castle of York 
to the Five Lions one hundred and sixty-seven feet 
and seven inches and containing in breadth at the 
Five Lions 1 ten feet at the distance of thirty-two 
feet from thence north-westwards fourteen feet and 
from thence sloping off regularly to the north-west 
end to the breadth of ten feet and four inches." 

About the year 1768 Tobias Smollett, the novelist, 
inspected the Castle and in his work, " The Expedition 
of Humphrey Clinker," he writes 

' The Castle which was heretofore a fortress, is now 
converted into a prison, and is the best, in all respects, 
I ever saw at home or abroad. It stands in a high 
situation, extremely well ventilated, and has a spacious 
area within the walls, for the health and convenience 
of all the prisoners, except those whom it is necessary 
to secure in close confinement. Even these last have 
all the comforts that the nature of their situation 
can admit. Here the assizes are held, in a range of 
buildings erected for that purpose." 

Towards the close of the eighteenth century, the 
cruelties and sufferings endured in the cells of our 
gaols were publicly exposed by a few humane indi- 
viduals who made noble efforts to arouse popular 

1 At a distance of about 77 feet from the Castle gate, to- 
wards the city, on each side of the street were fixed in the 
walls the City Arms (Argent, on a cross gules five lions passant 
guardant or), at the extent of its liberties. In the year 1660 
the Lord Mayor, Christopher Topham, together with several 
aldermen and a great company of citizens, ' ' Rode the Bounds " 
of the city on the east side, and caused the City Arms to be 
set up near the Castle gates. 

220 The History of the Castle of York 

opinion against the existing methods of criminal 
treatment. The history of prison science really be- 
gins with John Howard, a philanthropist who gave 
his life and energies to the reformation of the gigantic 
evils of the gaol system. This large-hearted man 
with an herculean resolution visited and inspected 
almost every gaol of importance in England, and 
on the Continent. He described in detail their 
noisome dungeons and the debased condition of the 
filthy and fever-haunted dens of iniquity, in which 
his fellow-citizens in festering masses were confined. 
His observations on the gaols of York are worth 
reprinting at this juncture, as we of the twentieth 
century have but a faint idea of the thoughtless 
and inhuman treatment of prisoners, and of the evils 
that existed in our prisons a little over a hundred 
years ago. 


GAOLER, Thomas Wharton, now William Clayton. 
Salary, none. 

s. d. 

Fees, Debtors 088 
Felons, 096 
Admission, 034 
Transports 10 10 o each. 

Licence, Beer and Wine. 

PRISONERS, a sixpenny loaf 

AH T^ n J.-.G j i- eachonTues- 

Allowance, Debtors, certified by , ^ . 

,,. . , J day and Fn- 

their parish J 


Nov., 1774, 3 

Ib. 2 oz.) 
Garnish, cancelled in 1774. 

1 " The State of the Prisons in England and Wales," by 
John Howard, F.R.S. Fourth edition, 1792, pp. 405-07. 

County Prisons Rebuilt 221 

CHAPLAINS, Rev. Mr. Peacock and Rev. Mr. Bridges. 

Duty, Mr. Peacock Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, 
Thursday ; and only from Lady-day to Michaelmas. 
Sunday. Mr. Bridges, a sermon on Friday. 

Salary, Mr. Peacock 50 from the county; Mr. 

Bridges 25 from a legacy. Not in the list. 
SURGEON, Mr. Stillingfleet, now Mr. Favell. 

Salary, 40 for debtors and felons. 

" IN the spacious area is a noble prison for debtors, 
which does honour to the county. There is an ascent 
by a fine flight of stone steps to a floor on which are 
eleven rooms, full 16 feet square, near 12 feet high. 
Above them is the same number of rooms : one or 
two of these for commonside debtors. 1 The rooms 
are airy and healthy. The debtors weave garters, 
purses, laces, etc. in the passages, as there is no 

On the ground floor are the gaoler's apartments, etc. 

" The felon's court is down five steps : it is too small, 
and has no water ; the pump is just on the outside 
of the palisades. The day room for men is only 24 
feet by 8 ; in it are three cells, in another place nine cells 
and three in another. The cells are in general about 
7| feet by 6J, and 8.} high ; close and dark, having 
only either a hole over the door about 4 inches by 8, 
or some perforations in the door of about an inch in 
diameter, not any of them to the open air but into 
passages or entries. In most of these cells three 
prisoners are locked up at night ; in winter from four- 
teen to sixteen hours ; straw on the stone floors, no 
bedsteads. There are four condemned rooms about 
7 feet square. A sewer in one of the passages often 
makes these parts of the gaol very offensive, and I 
cannot say they are clean. Indeed a clean prison is 
scarcely ever seen, where the water is to be brought 

1 On January 25, 1774, there were no debtors in gaol. 

222 The History of the Castle of York 

in by the gaoler's servants. The next house to the 
Castle gate, and others in the neighbourhood, have 
river-water laid in at a moderate expense, and at my 
last visit it was brought into the Castle yard, but not 
into the felon's court. No bath. 

" Women felons are kept quite separate : they have 
two courts, but no water ; you go down four steps to 
their two close rooms, a day and a night room. Their 
condemned room is in another part of the gaol ; near 
it is a room to confine debtors who do not behave 

" The infirmary near the gate is only one middle-sized 
room. When prisoners of one sex are there, those of 
the other are excluded ; at one of my visits a sick 
man was kept out for that reason. 

" At assize some prisoners appear in court on their 
trial in the county clothing. The county pays Mr. 
John Sherwood 21 a year to inspect and weigh the 
bread, and deliver it to the prisoners. He constantly 
attends for this purpose on Tuesday and Friday. 
The gaoler is a sheriff's officer. Transports convicted 
at quarter sessions had, besides the bread allowance, 
one shilling a week. Those cast at assize had the 
King's allowance of 2s. 6d. a week. 

" The grand shire-hall in the Castle yard is now 
finished. May it not be hoped the gentlemen of this 
great county will not stop there, but proceed to build 
a proper prison for felons, in which boys may be 
separated from old offenders, and the other incon- 
veniences of the present gaol avoided ? At my last 
visit an additional building, opposite to the shire-hall, 
consisting of several rooms, was nearly finished. 

" Yorkshire. Orders and fees settled by the Justices 
of the Peace of the several Ridings of the county of 
York and confirmed by the Justices of Assize which 
are to be observed and kept by the gaoler and all 
prisoners until the same shall be legally altered. 

County Prisons Rebuilt 223 

First That every knight shall pay for his weekly 

commons at table if he eats with them . o 13 4 
For his fee if committed by warrant on a civil action 013 4 
Every esquire for his commons at table weekly if he 

eats with them . . . . . . o 10 4 

For his fee if committed by warrant on a civil action o 10 4 
Every gentleman for his commons at table weekly 

if he eats with them . . . . .080 

For his fee if committed by warrant on a civil action 080 
Every yeoman, tradesman or artificer for his weekly 

commons at table if he eats with them .068 
For his fee if commitled by warrant on a civil action 034 
And it is further ordered that every knight sha 1 

pay nightly for his bed . . . .006 

Every esquire for the same . . . .006 

Every gentleman for the same . . . .004 

Every yeoman, tradesman, or artificer for the same 002 
And that when the gaoler lodgeth two or more 
prisoners in one bed they shall pay for their 
lodgings amongst them after the rates above. 
And every prisoner who provides his own bed and 
bedding shall have a room assigned suitable to 
his or their quality, and shall pay nothing for 
the same. 

And that upon the discharge of a debtor if there be 
several actions against him, the gaoler shall 
take no more than one fee, and that to be . o 6 8 
And upon the discharge of every debtor to the turn- 

keys and no more . . . . .020 

And that every prisoner shall have liberty to pro- 
vide and send for victuals, drink, and other 
necessaries from any place whatsoever at all 
seasonable times for their own proper use only, 
and not to sell the same. 

And every prisoner committed from the bar by the 
judge or judges of assize and gaol delivery in 
the assize week shall pay for their commit- 
ment fee only . . . . . .020 

And every person committed to the gaol for sus- 
picion of felony, or for misdemeanor, if upon 
his or her trial he or she shall be found not 
guilty and be thereupon discharged, shall pay 
to the gaoler for his discharging fee . .068 

224 The History of the Castle of York 

s. d. 
And to the turnkeys . . . . .020 

And that every person convicted or attained of 
felony or found guilty of a misdemeanor which 
shall be reprieved and discharged by pardon, 
shall pay to the gaoler for his discharging fee 076 
And to the turnkey . . . . . .020 

And every person that shall appear upon recogniz- 
ance for suspicion of felony and is thereupon 
committed to gaol and shall not be indicted 
but acquitted by proclamation, shall be dis- 
charged paying to the gaoler . . .020 
And all others that shall be committed to gaol 
before the assizes or gaol-delivery, and shall 
not be indicted but acquitted by proclamation 
be discharged, paying to the gaoler . .020 

" Yorkshire, to wit. At the Assizes held at the Castle 
of York, July 14, 1735 the gth of George II. 
before the Honourable Alexander Denton Esquire, 
one of his Majesty's Justices of the Court of 
Common Pleas, and the Honourable William 
Lee Esquire one of his Majesty's Justices of the 
Court of King's Bench, These Orders and Fees 
were allowed and approved of by 


Yorkshire, East Riding, John Grimston, Ramsden 

Barnard, Thomas Grimston. 

West Riding of Yorkshire, Geo. Nelthorpe, N. Hawey. 
North Riding of Yorkshire, John Dodsworth, JoLn 

Milbanke, John Wastell. 



Palisaded wall built in front of Scaffold, 1805-06 Ancient 
inscribed stone found Castlegate Postern Lane widened, 
1806 Gaol visited by Elizabeth Fry, 1819 Gaol pre- 
sented several times Topographical description of lands 
bounding the Castle, 1823 Lands and Clifford's Tower 
purchased New prison and other buildings erected 
1825-35 Total cost of new works Exchange of land 
between Corporation and Magistrates Prominent Magis- 
trates on Building Committee The Rev. Sydney Smith 
and the necessity of a third annual Assize West Riding 
Assize business removed to Leeds, 1864 Prison Act of 
1877 and its effect at York Area of Castle divided 
Appointment of Clerks of Gaol Sessions and County 
Committee Castle ceases to be a Civil Prison, 1900 
Taken over as a Military Detention Barracks Clifford's 
Tower re-conveyed to County Question of taking down 
Castle Walls The Castle an Extra-Parochial area Its 
legal status and ownership. 

DURING the nineteenth century many improve- 
ments were carried out ; the area of the Castle 
was enlarged and new prisons were erected. In 1801 
the last public execution took place at Tyburn on 
Knavesmire, and a new scaffold was established at 
the south-west end of the Assize Courts behind the 
grand jury room, on the plot of land which in mediaeval 
days formed part of an outer bailey of the Castle. 
To prevent the spectators who assembled in St. George's 
Close to witness the gruesome proceedings pressing 


226 The History of the Castle of York 

near the scaffold, a strong palisaded wall was built 
at the dip of the earthbank on which the platform stood, 
in 1805-06. 

In digging to lay the bottom courses of the new 
boundary wall the workmen exposed the substructure 
of the enceinte * that formerly inclosed the outer 
bailey, and on the old foundations the new wall was 
built. 2 

In excavations for a drain near the old entrance 
from Castlegate, a block of freestone was also found, 
inscribed in large letters " (rjlDSUHZTS- " 3 which is 
supposed to have been an ancient tablet that marked 
the limits of the boundary and jurisdiction of the city. 
At the same time the Water-gate and remains of the 
adjoining flanker were demolished. 

For the convenience of the vast crowds that con- 
gregated at the frequent public executions, Castlegate 
Postern Lane was widened and made 27 feet in breadth. 
To effect this improvement the Mayor and Common- 
alty, by indenture dated February 5, 1806, gave a plot 
of land near Castlegate Postern to Mr. Waud in ex- 
change for a strip of land extending the length of his 
garden bordering the lane. 

Officialism was sadly slow in moving, and at the 
dawn of the nineteenth century little appreciable 
advance or melioration in the treatment and manage- 
ment of prisoners had been effected. The evils were 
too deeply seated, and those who wished to amend 
them could not readily rouse an apathetic public to 
a just sense of its duty to those who had fallen into 
sin and wrongdoing. 

1 Like many works unearthed at this period, this wall was 
said to be Roman. 

2 The wall was taken down in 1827, and rebuilt 20 feet 
nearer St. George's Close. 

3 This stone, though in fragments, is in the possession of 
the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, deposited in the " Hos- 
pitium," and numbered 41. 

Modern Additions and Alterations 227 

The accommodation in the county gaol was still 
inadequate and unsanitary. It was only by the 
repeated visitation and investigation of the dark 
recesses of the prison world by philanthropic persons, 
and the publication of their observations, that the 
public and Parliament were constrained to favour a 
more enlightened treatment of the unfortunate pri- 
soners in our gaols. The state of affairs at York is 
described in a book originally published in the city 
early in 1819, entitled " Notes on a Visit made to 
some of the Prisons in Scotland and the North of 
England, in company with Elizabeth Fry, by 
Joseph John Gurney." 


" On your entry into this handsome and extensive 
building, you are introduced to a very spacious court- 
yard, in which the debtors walk and expose various 
articles for sale, and into which the public are ad- 
mitted with little or no reserve. On the right hand 
as you enter are the court houses ; on the left, the 
several buildings in which are imprisoned the mis- 
demeanants and others confined for a limited term, 
part of the debtors, and the women ; in front, the 
governor's house, apartments over it for most of the 
debtors, and the prison for male felons, both before 
and after conviction the tried being kept apart 
from the untried. There is no inspection from the 
governor's house over any part of the Castle, except 
the great court and one of the felons' yards. 

" The chaplain attends this prison three times in 
the week to read prayers, and preaches twice. The 
prisoners are allowed one pound and a half of wheaten 
bread daily, and one shilling per week ; but there is 

1 Visited August 22, 1818, in company with Benjamin 
Hornor, of the Grange, near York. 

228 The History of the Castle of York 

one particular class of them who have one shilling 
and sixpence per week. From the squalid appearance 
of some of them, it seemed to us questionable whether 
the allowance of food was sufficient to maintain them 
in health ; the apothecary of the prison, whom we saw, 
expressed an opinion that it was not. Firing is now 
allowed to the prisoners, and soap ; but no clothing, 
except in cases of emergency. Several of them were 
extremely ill clad ; two men without shirts. The 
felons, whether tried or untried, are heavily ironed. 
' That part of the prison in which the women are 
confined is kept in a state of cleanliness and order. 
The women of whom one was for trial, and the 
others convicts, about seven in number appeared 
very decent ; and some of them were busily employed 
in washing for the debtors. Their day room does 
not admit sufficient light, but is otherwise comfort- 
able ; so are their sleeping cells, and the bedding 
quite sufficient. The rest of the prison, except the 
debtors' rooms, which we did not see, but more especi- 
ally the felons' day room, appeared to us very far from 
cleanly. Every yard, however, is supplied with water ; 
the means of warm and cold bathing are provided in 
the felons' prison ; and we were informed that the 
whole jail is white- washed twice in the year. The men 
who are sentenced to a temporary confinement are 
kept apart from the other prisoners, and are employed 
in making laces, caps, garters, etc., which are sold in 
the great court. By this means they earn from three- 
pence to sixpence per day, the whole of which they 
are allowed to take for themselves. The male felons, 
whether tried or untried, are totally without employ- 
ment. There were at this time about forty of them 
in the prison. Of these, the greater number were 
walking up and down a small yard, separated from the 
great court by a double iron palisade, or grating, the 
outer being divided from the inner gate by a space 


230 The History of the Castle of York 

measuring 10 feet in breadth. Through this grating 
they keep up a free and easy communication, not only 
with the debtors but with the public. At this very 
time a great number of persons were standing at the 
outside, holding conversation with the prisoners. 
Men and women, grown-up persons and children, have 
an equal access to this scene of depravity and dis- 
tress. It is evident that so free a communication 
must give every facility to the introduction of im- 
proper articles into the prison, and probably to the 
pawning of the prisoners' clothes, which we under- 
stand to be a prevalent custom here ; it must also 
afford an easy opportunity of corruption to the inhabi- 
tants of York and its neighbourhood. The day room 
for these felons opens into the yard in which they 
walk, and measures 24 feet by 15. The turnkey 
remembers the time when there were eighty felons con- 
fined in it. The night cells connected with this part 
of the prison are ill-ventilated ; three or four of them 
are totally dark, and admit no external air. The 
prisoners generally sleep two in a bed. Those who 
are unable to read receive for the most part no instruc- 
tion whatever. On the whole, although this prison 
has some excellencies and great capacities, its evils 
are very conspicuous. They are as follow : Easy 
access of the debtors and of the public to the felons ; 
insufficient clothing, and scarcely sufficient food ; 
heavy irons ; want of cleanliness, want of further 
classification, want of inspection, want of instruction, 
want of employment. It is most earnestly to be desired 
that suitable accommodations may ere long be pro- 
vided, to supply the last and most important of these 
defects. Were the prisoners employed, they would 
not be occupied, as has hitherto been the case, by 
various devices for effecting their escape. Their 
chains might be knocked off with safety. They would 
not cut even their iron bedsteads to pieces as they 

Modern Additions and Alterations 231 

have done in their present state. They would have 
no time to corrupt either one another or the public. 
They would leave the prison with the habits of industry 
and comparative virtue, instead of being confirmed 
in idleness and deepened in crime. All the evils of 
York Castle are, with some expense and trouble, 
capable of being remedied ; and shall they not be 
remedied by the inhabitants of so extensive and so 
opulent a county as Yorkshire ? Our visit to this 
Castle was repeated on the 2gth of the gth month 
(September) in company with vSamuel Tuke, of York. 
We perceived no alterations in its arrangements, or 
in the condition of its inmates." * 

1 The late Duke of Argyll's estimate of Elizabeth Fry. 

" There is one other solitary figure which passes vividly 
across the stage of memory as I recall those days the figure 
of one who left a deep impression on her time and a lasting 
blessing to the generations following. I refer to Mrs. Elizabeth 
Fry, the great Quaker philanthropic reformer. The story of 
her entering, alone and entirely undefended, into a prison 
reserved for abandoned and vicious women of whom even 
the keepers were so afraid that they never could go except in 
company, is a story which used to thrill me with admiration 
and astonishment. It was a great pleasure, therefore, to meet 
this illustrious woman. She was the only really very great 
human being I have ever met, with whom it was impossible 
to be disappointed. She was, in the fullest sense of the word, 
a majestic woman. She was already advanced in years, and 
had a very tall and stately figure. But it was her countenance 
that was so striking. Her features were handsome in the 
sense of being well-proportioned, but they were not in the 
usual sense beautiful. Her eyes were not large, or brilliant, 
or transparent. They were only calm, and wise, and steady. 
But over the whole countenance there was an ineffable expres- 
sion of sweetness, dignity, and power. It was impossible not 
to feel some awe before her, as before some superior being. I 
understood in a moment the story of the prison. She needed 
no defence but that of her own noble and almost divine coun- 
tenance. A few well-known words came to my mind the 
moment I saw her : ' The peace of God that passeth all under- 
standing.' They summarized the whole expression of her 

232 The History of the Castle of York 

The County Magistrates were naturally annoyed 
that their administration of the gaol should be publicly 
criticised. They issued a report in a twenty-page 
pamphlet defending their actions, and attempted to 
minimize the complaints made by Mr. Gurney. 
They finally confessed : ' They content themselves 
with observing, that none of the accusations enu- 
merated by Mr. Gurney have been fairly stated that 
many are unfounded and most of them exagger- 
ated." i 

The second edition of Mr. Gurney's Notes, printed 
at Norwich, April 1819, contains a reply to the 
Report of the Magistrates. 2 

At the Yorkshire Lent Assizes, 1821, the Grand 
Jury presented the Castle Gaol for insufficiency, for 
classification, employment, and suitable accommoda- 
tion ; and the presentment was respited at each 
succeeding Assizes. A new Prison Act was passed 
in the fourth year of King George IV., entitled " An 
Act for consolidating and amending the Laws relating 
to the building, repairing, and regulating of Certain 
Gaols and Houses of Correction in England and Wales." 

face. It is a rare thing indeed, in this poor world of ours, to 
see any man or any woman whose personality responds per- 
fectly to the ideal conception formed of an heroic character 
and an heroic life." From George Douglas, 8th Duke of 
Argyll, K.G., K.T. (1823-1900), " Autobiography and 
Memoirs," 2 vols. 

1 " The Report of the Visiting Magistrates for York Castle 
presented to the Magistrates of the Three Ridings, at their 
General Sessions, held the nth day of March, 1819, and oc- 
casioned by an unfavourable representation, made in a late 
publication of the State of that Prison " (York : printed by 
W. Storry, Petergate). 

2 " A letter to the Magistrates for the three Ridings of the 
County of York, in reply to the Report of the Visiting Magis- 
trates of York Castle, relative to that Prison " (York, April 

Modern Additions and Alterations 233 

In order to meet the provisions of this Act, a Com- 
mittee of Magistrates was appointed at a meeting 
of the Magistrates for the three Ridings, at their 
General Sessions, held during the Summer Assizes, 
1823, who were deputed to state to an adjourned 
meeting, held August 28, the defects of the gaol, the 
conveniences required by the new Prison Act, and 
any other improvement which might appear proper. 
To assist the magistrates of Yorkshire in forming a 
just appreciation of the reforms necessary an exhaus- 
tive report was drawn up and published in pamphlet 
form by the committee, entitled " Information and 
Observations, respecting the Proposed Improvements 
at York Castle," printed by order of the Committee 
of Magistrates by W. Storry, York, September 1823. 

The booklet contains particulars of the state and 
defects of the old gaol, the number of prisoners at 
various dates, an account of the grounds by which the 
Castle was bounded and which were suggested as sites 
for the new prison. The following extracts descriptive 
of the purlieus of the Castle a century ago, are of 
topographical interest, as the physical aspect of the 
district was greatly altered by the improvements 
subsequently effected 

" The open area of the Castle yard is 6,527 square 
yards, the unbuilt parts take up 5,345 square yards, the 
buildings 1,436 yards, and the whole scite of the Castle 
occupies 13,308 yards, or about 2 acres and 3 roods. 
The Castle is bounded on the north-west by the grounds 
of Samuel Wilkes Waud, esquire, comprising about 2 
acres and a half ; the buildings upon which consist of 
a mansion house, and an ancient tower upon a mound 
called ' Clifford's Tower.' " 

" The Castle is bounded on the south-west by some 
old buildings and gardens belonging to the Corporation 
of York, comprising about 662 square yards, including 
the old (Castlegate) postern tower ; upon this ground 

234 The History of the Castle of York 

there are three small buildings, worth together about 
30 guineas per annum. From thence to the south- 
west, the Castle is bounded either by the road to 
Fulford, the road to Castlegate Postern gate, or by a 
piece of ground, some time since in dispute between 
the County and the City of York, but now divided 

by boundary stones between both parties. To the 
south of this road is Saint George's Field, belonging 
to the Corporation of York, and containing 6 acres 
i rood 23 poles. Upon this field are built several small 

" It appears from the information of respectable 

Modern Additions and Alterations 235 

persons residing upon the spot, that St. George's Field 
has been flooded about eight or ten times every year, 
for the last 20 years ; that the water during these 
floods, 1 has been from 7 to 8 feet deep on the field, 
and sometimes about a foot and a half on the road, 
that this happens sometimes in the month of August, 
and that the flood has come up to the walls of the 
present Castle." 


" On the very important point of the healthiness 
of the surrounding grounds in every direction, in which 
it is possible to extend the buildings of the Castle, 
three physicians of the City of York have been con- 
sulted, and these gentlemen, after minute examination 
and inquiry, were unanimous in giving, in point of 
healthiness, a decided preference to the grounds of 
Mr. Waud." 2 

1 See tablet record'ng flood-lines on the City Walls, St, 
George's FieM. 2 Pp. 19-20, 

236 The History of the Castle of York 

At the first Court of Gaol Sessions for Yorkshire, 1 
held April i, 1824, under the new Gaol Acts, a resolu- 
tion was passed " that the classification required by 
the Acts could not be carried into effect, until some 
enlargements, alterations, and additions were made in 
the Gaol of York Castle." At the following Court of 
Gaol Sessions, May n, 1824, the presentment of the 
gaol was taken into further consideration, and re- 
solved "to be well founded." At the Gaol Sessions 
of March 24, 1825, a Committee of nine of the County 
Magistrates was appointed, with power to purchase 
such land as they should think requisite, and appoint 
any architect they might think proper, to build 
such prison as they should consider adequate to the 
necessities of the County. 

In July 1825 the Building Committee resolved 
to adopt a plan of the proposed new buildings and 
works (subject to such alterations as they might deem 
expedient), which was laid before them by Mr. Peter 
Frederick Robinson, F.S.A., of Brook Street, London, 
and the Committee appointed Mr. Robinson the 
architect. Purchase of property adjoining York 
Castle was made, under the powers of the Gaol Acts, 
in order to enlarge the site of the Castle. Two of the 
owners refused to treat for sale, as they would not 
agree to the sums offered on the part of the magis- 
trates ; a valuation of their property before a jury 
therefore took place, under the provisions of 
the Acts. The particulars of purchase of land, with 
all charges for new prison buildings, boundary walls, 
architect's fees and other incidentals were printed 
for the magistrates of the county, pursuant to an 
order passed at the General Gaol Sessions, April 2, 
1835 : " York Castle : an Abstract of the Expenditure 
for the Enlargement of the Gaol," March 24, 1825, 
to June 26, 1835. 

1 All the Justices of the Peace for the three Ridings con- 
stituted the Court. 

Modern Additions and Alterations 237 


Paid to Samuel Wilkes Waud, Esq., for his 
^ house and garden in Castlegate includ- 
ing Clifford's Tower. The indenture of 
conveyance is dated Dec. I3th, 1825, and 
cites that the premises are " conveyed to 
David Russell in trust for the purpose of 
enlarging or rendering more commodious 
or for the building or rebuilding of the 
said gaol " ..... 8,800 o o 

Paid to the Corporation of York for messuages 
and hereditaments adjoining Castlegate 
Postern and of part of the street of 
Castlegate. The conveyance is dated 
Apl. 1 3th, 1826, and signed on behalf of 
the Corporation by Alderman William 
Cooper, the Lord Mayor . . . 800 o o 

Paid to the Corporation of York and the 
Archbishop of York for Castlegate Postern 
and Tower 200 ; Corporation's propor- 
tion 190, The Archbishop's 10, for privi- 
leges connected with the gate or postern. 1 
The conveyance is dated April I3th, 1826, 
and is signed by D. Russell (Clerk of Gaol 
Sessions), B. Dealtry and Danson R. Cur- 
rer (Magistrates), E. Ebor (the Arch- 
bishop), and Wm. Cooper (Lord Mayor) 200 o o 

Paid to Mrs. Grace Thompson, for houses and 
ground in Castlegate, conveyance dated 
Oct. nth, 1826 .... 4,500 o o 

Paid to Mrs. Anne Lloyd, for houses and 
ground in Castlegate, conveyance dated 
June igth, 1827 .... 3,250 o o 

Paid to a tenant of one of Mrs. Lloyd's houses 

for his tenant-right . . . . 25 10 o 


1 See Appendix I. Lammas Fair and the Archbishop's 
prescriptive rights at each City Gate and Postern. 

238 The History of the Castle of York 

Expenses Incidental to the Purchases. . 978 6 
In new Buildings and Walls, alterations of 
Old Buildings, and other Works for the 
Enlargement of the Gaol, 1826-1835, 
Architect's charges and Clerk of Works 175,874 7 

194,428 3 10 

The money was raised by a tax upon the three Ridings 
Previously to 13 July 1826 as follows : 

* d. 

For every twenty shillings West Riding . . o 9 3 

North ,, . . o 6 2 
East ,, . .046 

i o o 

At the General Gaol Sessions in July 1826, the proportions 
were altered, as follows s. d. 

For every twenty shillings West Riding . .0109^ 

North ,, . .052 
East ,, . . o 4 o 

During the work of enlarging the Castle the Mayor 
and Commonalty conveyed a piece of ground opposite 
St. George's Field, bordering the old palisaded terrace 
wall, to the County Magistrates in exchange for a 
strip of land required for widening Castlegate Postern 
Lane (or Tower Street). The deed of Feoffment is 
dated November 9, 1826, from which the accompany- 
ing plan is taken. 

The exterior of the Castle has a very imposing 
though grim and austere appearance. The construc- 
tion of the lofty and massive enceinte which 
circumscribes a large area, together with the great gate 
or entrance, the governor's house and the new prison 
buildings, occupied a period of about ten years. The 
ceremony of laying the first stone took place on March 
20, 1826, by the Hon. Marmaduke Langley, of Wyke- 

Modern Additions and Alterations 239 

ham Abbey, High Sheriff of Yorkshire. The whole 
works are built of gritstone and are of great solidity 
and strength. The chief architect, Mr. Peter F. 
Robinson, was assisted locally by Mr. George T. 
Andrews, architect ; and Messrs. Hiram Craven * and 
Sons were the contractors and builders. 

The frowning gatehouse, which is fireproof, has a 
very bold appearance, being flanked by two massive 
circular towers, with embattled parapets. Carved 
over the entrance in a panel are the royal arms of 
King George IV. From the top of this structure rises 



WOVT9. 1826. 


a subordinate square building, with small turrets at 
the angles. The interior of the left-hand tower, and 
the building over the archway, were fitted up for 
record 2 rooms and offices for the clerk of arraigns 
and assize. The petty sessions for the three Ridings 
were for some time held in the large apartment. The 
right-hand tower is occupied as the porter's residence. 
The lofty walls, 35 feet high, have numerous but- 
tresses at regular intervals, with embattled parapets. 

1 Mr. Hiram Craven was admitted a Freeman of York in 
1827, and is described as a " stonemason." 

2 See Appendix J. The Records of York Castle with a 
typical example, Francis Drake, M.D., F.S.A., versus the King. 

240 The History of the Castle of York 

The new gaol forms the semi-diameter of a circle and 
was contrived with great ingenuity to prevent the 
escape of prisoners, which was a frequent occurrence 
in earlier days. The governor's house, though now 
adapted for other purposes, is circular in shape, and 
so constructed that the whole prison could be inspected 
from it. To provide ground space for the prison and 
other erections the talus of the mound, upon which 


stands the time-honoured keep, was unfortunately 
cut away. 

At the Spring Assizes in the year 1823 the number 
of prisoners in the old gaol was 114, which included 
those for trial and others already under sentence. 
Sometimes the gaol was so crowded that nearly forty 
persons for trial, of all ages and characters and of 
every degree of guilt, were huddled together for months 
in the same yard. 

Assizes or Gaol Deliveries were only held twice a 
year, and to relieve the overcrowding in our prisons 

Modern Additions and Alterations 241 

generally, the Rev. Sydney Smith appealed to the 
Government, praying that three assizes in the year 
might be established. Such an additional Gaol De- 
livery was very desirable, both in justice to prisoners 
awaiting trial and to the demands on the sheriffs and 
magistrates who had to provide necessary prison 
accommodation. The Hon. Robert Peel replied to 
the Rev. Sydney Smith's application thus 


SIR, WHITEHALL, July 24, 1823. 

I am desired by Mr. Secretary Peel to acquaint you, 
in answer to your letter of the 22nd instant, that so 
many difficulties of detail present themselves to the 
measure of holding three Assizes in the year, in each 
County of England, that he does not think it probable 
that the practice will at any early period be extended 
beyond the Home Circuit. 

I am, your most obedient Humble Servant, 
The Rev. Sydney Smith, H. HOBHOUSE. 

Foston, York. 

242 The History of the Castle of York 

It takes legislators a very long time to see and act 
upon the needs of reform. Twenty years elapsed 
before a third annual Gaol Delivery for Yorkshire 
was instituted, which was held for the first time in 
December 1843. 

In 1830, 1855, and again in 1857, efforts were made 
against the unanimous desire of the Court of Gaol 
Sessions, to establish a separate Assize for the West 
Riding, and the scheme had its rival supporters both 
at Wakefield and Leeds. In July 1863, after thirty- 
three years of agitation, the separation became an 
accomplished fact. It was decided that Leeds should 
be made the assize town for the transaction of all 
business, civil and criminal, arising in the West Riding 
of the county and in the Ainsty of York, and that 
York should retain the business of the North and East 

By the passing of the Prison Act, which came into 
force on April i, 1878, a great change in the administra- 
tion of county gaols was effected. The authority of 
the magistrates of Yorkshire in the Castle prison ceased, 
and became vested in the Prison Commissioners. 
Some of the conditions of the new Act were 

Expenses of maintenance of prisons and prisoners to be 
defrayed out of public funds, termination of obligation of 
counties, boroughs, and other prison authorities to maintain 
prisons or provide prison accommodation. 

Transfer to Secretary of State of prisons belonging to prison 
authorities, and of powers of appointment of officers, control 
and custody of prisoners, and powers as to prisons and prison- 
ers exerciseable by prison authorities or justices in sessions. 

Legal estate in prisons vested in Prison Commissioners. 

Town halls, courthouses and sessions houses within prisons 
not to be transferred to Secretary of State, power of Secretary 
of State to purchase. 

Protection of prisons in nature of national monuments. 

In 1880 the area of the Castle was divided, and the 
boundaries of the prison and portiors of the Castle 

Modern Additions and Alterations 243 

used for assize and other county purposes were clearly 
denned and set out in an agreement 1 dated April 7, 
between the Prison Commissioners and others, and 
Mr. Frederick J. Munby on behalf of the Court of 
Gaol Sessions for Yorkshire. 

The Court of Gaol Sessions for Yorkshire at its first 
meeting, April i, 1824, appointed (as required by 
Statute Chapter 64, 4th George IV.) a clerk, who 


acquired all the powers vested in the clerk of the 
peace of any county. The first clerk was Mr. David 
Russell, solicitor, of York, who was succeeded in 1837 
by Mr. Edward Harper, barrister-at-Law. He was 
succeeded in 1845 by Mr. Joseph Munby, solicitor, of 
York, who held the clerkship until his death, Decem- 
ber 21, 1875 ; his son, Mr. Frederick J. Munby, solici- 
tor, was appointed early in 1876, and by virtue of 
his office this gentleman has been Clerk to the York- 

1 See Appendix H. Copy of Agreement. 

244 The History of the Castle of York 

shire County Committee since the Local Government 
Act of 1888 came into operation the year following. 
i Much to the disappointment of the county magis- 
trates, and all political parties in the city, York Castle, 
by the decision of the Home Secretary and his advisers, 
ceased to be a civil prison on July 31, 1900. The 
prisoners were removed to Wakefield Gaol, and the 
Governor at York, Mr. Edwin Taylor, was transferred 
to Northallerton. 

The vacated prison was immediately taken over 
by the military authorities under licence from the 
Prison Commissioners, and under the sanction of the 
Secretary of State for the Home Department, to be 
utilized as a Military Detention Barracks, to which 
purpose it is still appropriated. 

The Prison Commissioners on August i, 1902, re- 
conveyed Clifford's Tower to the Yorkshire County 
Committee, the administrative authority which suc- 
ceeded the Court of Gaol Sessions by virtue of the 
Local Government Act of 1888. Before giving up 
possession of the historic keep His Majesty's Govern- 
ment thoroughly restored it and underpinned the 
foundations by the authority of Parliament, at a cost 
of 3,000. Clifford's Tower is accessible to the public 
under proper regulations, and visitors may see it at a 
charge of 2d. daily, Sundays excepted, from March i 
to October 31 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. ; 
the remainder of the year it is open daily from 10 a.m. 
to 4 p.m. 

Under a recent Act no meeting of justices can be 
held on premises where there is a licence for the sale 
of intoxicating drink, therefore in May 1907 the 
licence of the old bar adjoining the Assize Courts was 

The massive walls enclosing the south-west side of 
the Castle, bordering Tower Street, have a sombre 
and uninteresting appearance, and in the year 1890 

Modern Additions and Alterations 245 

many citizens advocated their removal and that in their 
place a low palisaded wall should be built, thus opening 
out views of the Castle Green, Clifford's Tower and 
the mound. The County Committee was approached 
on the subject at the time, but declined to accede to 
the request. The matter was revived again in the 
York City Council more recently, and a deputation 
from the Council waited upon the Yorkshire County 
Committee at its quarterly meeting held January 15, 
1910, under the presidency of Lord Wenlock. After 
fully considering the points raised by the deputation 
from the Corporation, the Committee regretted that 
it was unable to entertain the application. 


The Castle, originally a Crown fortress, has always 
been, as it is at the present day, an extra-parochial 
area. The inclosed bailey, Clifford's Tower, together 
with all walls, earthbanks and ditches are not included 
within the liberties of the county of the city of York, 
or in either of the three Ridings. The Lord Mayor 
and Sheriff of the city possess no jurisdictive rights 
or power within or over the Castle. 

In mediaeval times it was essential for the upholding of 
monarchical government that Crown fortresses should 
be under the immediate care of an official nominated 
by the King ; hence such places were free from civic 
control or possible hostile local interference. The 
sheriffs of the county of Yorkshire, successively, were 
the only executive officers who exercised authority 
over the Castle ; when appointed they received a 
commission from the King investing them with this 
power, to whom they were responsible for their admin- 
istrative acts, and any monetary expenditure they 
incurred was allowed them when their accounts were 
rendered, each Michaelmas, at the King's Exchequer. 

246 The History of the Castle of York 

The King's Free Chapel within the keep, founded 
in 1245, was also exempt from the jurisdiction of the 
Pope, the Archbishop of York, or other ecclesiastical 

When Richard II., on May 18, 1396, granted a 
new charter to the citizens of York, conferring the 
dignity and title of sheriff upon the bailiffs of the 
city, he at the same time constituted the city of York 
a county of itself separate from the body of the county 
of Yorkshire. In doing this a saving clause was 
inserted in the charter preserving the ancient legal 
status of the Castle as an extra-parochial area. 

" And that the City of York, with the suburbs and 
precincts of the same, according to the limits and 
bounds, which now be and are contained within the 
body of the County of York, be from henceforth 
clearly separated and exempted from the said County, 
in all things, as well by Land as by Water ; and that 
the said City of York, and suburbs of the same, and 
precincts, be from henceforth a County by itself, and 
be called for ever the County of the City of York." 
' That the Hundred, or Wapontake of the Ainsty, 
with the appurtenances in our County of our said City 
of York, be annexed and united to be Parcel of the 
said County ; and that the said suburbs of the city, 
precincts, Hundred, or Wapontake, and every one of 
them with their appurtenances, and every thing that 
is contained in them, and every of them (except our 
Castle of York, its Towers and Ditches pertaining to the 
Castle of York] be of the County of the said City of 
York, as well by Land as by Water ; and that all 
Bailiffs or Freeliges within the said County of the 
City of York, be attendant and obedient on to the 
precepts and commands of the Sheriffs of the County 
of the City of York, and to no other Sheriffs." 

More recent charters to the city confirm all former 
rights and privileges of the citizens. 

Modern Additions and Alterations 247 

In ancient records we find mention that the various 
local officials were jealous of their respective privileges, 
and that they occasionally resented any interference 
with their authority or jurisdictional rights. An 
incident occurred in the year 1422 ; the Lord Mayor, 
Henry Preston, " was informed that Sir Halnatheus 
Mauleverer, then High Sheriff of the County, had come 

in his proper person to the house of one William Hase- 
ham, dwelling on Castle Hill l (the street of Castle- 
gate between St. Mary's Church and the old Castle Gate) 

1 In the reign of Edward IV. on this higher ground, called 
Castle Hill, being waste land, it was leased to one John Lough, 
a miller, for a long term of years, and a wind-mill was erected 
upon it. 

248 The History of the Castle of York 

in the City, and had arrested one Agnes Farand, other- 
wise named Agnes Bercoats, commonly known to be 
the concubine of the Rector of Wath, and had carried 
her prisoner into the Castle. The Mayor, much grieved 
at this presumption, sent messengers to the High 
Sheriff, to acquaint him that he had done contrary 
to the liberties and privileges of the City, in arresting 
Agnes in the said place, and required him to deliver 
her up. The High Sheriff answered peremptorily 
that he would not, but would detain her prisoner till 
he had certified the King and Council of the fact. 
However, as the record adds, Sir William Harrington, 
lately High Sheriff, an honourable person, and a 
friend to both parties, hearing of it, being then in the 
Castle, sent the Lord Mayor word that if he would 
come down on the morrow to the Monastery of the 
Augustine Friars (? Friars Minors), he would bring 
them together, and try to make a good end of this 
matter. At this meeting the whole affair was talked 
over betwixt them, the result of which was, the High 
Sheriff gave up the Lady, and commanded her to be 
conveyed to the place from whence she was taken." 1 

When Robert Aske, the leader of the Pilgrimage of 
Grace, was about to be executed on the summit of 
Clifford's Tower, in July 1537, Thomas Howard, 
Duke of Norfolk, the King's Lieutenant in the North, 
was commissioned to see that the execution was carried 
out. Execution was " done on the height of the Castle 
dungeon ' ' where the sheriffs of the city had no authority. 2 

In a deed dated October 30, 1672, relating to the 
purchase of Clifford's Tower, the keep and mound 
are . described as: "situate lyinge and being neare 
the Castle of Yorke in the county of Yorke City 
of York and County of the City of Yorke or in some 
or one of them." 

Prior to the enlargement of the Castle in 1824-26, 

1 City Records quoted by Drake. 2 See ante, p. 158. 

Modern Additions and Alterations 249 

the extent of the city's liberties was indicated at the 
end of Castlegate, at a distance of about seventy-seven 
feet from the old Castle gate. Here the City Sheriffs 
stood to receive the Judges of Assize, and accompanied 
them to the Guildhall. 

Recent legislation has deprived the city of its juris- 
diction over the Ainsty, and the district has been 
annexed to, and constitutes part of, the West Riding. 
The office of High Sheriff has been divested of many 
of its ancient privileges and power by the effluxion of 
time and various economic changes. The Castle 
declined as a Crown fortress in the fifteenth century 
and gradually became appropriated solely as a county 
gaol and a place of Assize. At the present time the 
Government, represented by the Prison Commissioners, 
hold the major portion of the Castle, and by arrange- 
ment permit the War Authorities to occupy the prison 
and other buildings as a military detention barracks. 

The Assize Courts and adjoining appurtenances 
and the Gate House are the property of the county of 
Yorkshire, and are vested in Frederick James Munby, 
Esq., Clerk of the County Committee and his suc- 
cessors. Clifford's Tower together with the mound 
upon which it stands surrounded with a revetment 
wall, is the property of the Yorkshire County 
Committee, which holds it in fee simple. Although 
the ancient Castle is now used for purposes other 
than those for which it was first erected, it still 
remains as heretofore an extra-parochial area exempt 
from the jurisdiction of the Lord Mayor and Sheriff 
of the county of the city of York. 

For rating purposes Crown property is exempt, 
as are also buildings occupied for Assize purposes. 
Although Government property is not rateable, con- 
tributions in aid of the local rates are made by the 
Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury in respect 
of York Castle, which is rated at 750. 



Hanging, an ancient custom Right of hanging possessed by 
towns, archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors and manorial 
lords Early York scaffolds Ainsty gallows Chris- 
tianity of York Holy Trinity Priory gallows Hanged 
men found to be alive, 1280 New gallows erected on 
Knavesmire, 1379 York and London Tyburns Riotous 
monks at an execution Dissensions between York 
citizens and monks of St. Mary's The gallows of the Arch- 
bishop, the Dean and Chapter, the Abbot of St. Mary's, 
the Abbot of Byland, and the Master of St. Leonard's 
Valentine Freez and his wife burnt, 1539 Robert 
Aske hanged, 1537 Earl of Northumberland beheaded, 
1572 Women hanged and burnt Arthur Mangey, gold- 
smith of Leeds, hanged, 1696 Practice of gibbeting 
Eugene Aram hanged and gibbeted, 1757 ; Francis 
Fearn, 1782 Spence Broughton last person gibbeted in 
Yorkshire, 1792. 

THE infliction of capital punishment by hanging 
has for hundreds of years been exercised in 
England, although at the present day there is an in- 
creasing growth of feeling against such an un-Christian 
practice. Many apathetic people still consider the 
gallows a humane and necessary institution ; but we 
must not forget that even murderers have immortal 
souls, and to kill a murderer on no better pretence 
than that he is a kind of wild beast is simply to repeat 
his crime. 

In mediaeval times the authorities of most towns, 
the archbishops and bishops, the abbots and priors of 


Local Scaffolds and Capital Punishment 251 

important monasteries, and countless manorial lords 
had the right of hanging ; scaffolds were scattered all 
over the land 

" When Power found licence for its crime, 
And held a writhing world in check 
By that fell chord about its neck ; 
Stifled Sedition's rising shout, 
Choked the young breath of Freedom out, 
And timely checked the words which sprung 
From Heresy's forbidden tongue ; 
While in its noose of terror bound, 
The Church its cherished union found, 
Conforming, on the Moslem plan, 
The motley-coloured mind of man, 
Not by the Koran and the Sword, 
But by the Bible and the Cord ! " 

In an early list of scaffolds we are informed six at 
least existed in or near York, and, as was the custom, 
they were placed in conspicuous positions near the 
great highroads that entered the city. The Anglo- 
Saxons probably had their gallows near the high ground 
just without the walls of York called Galmanho, where 
subsequently the Abbey of St. Mary was founded. 
The criminal justice of boroughs, in early times, seems 
seldom to have reached to any higher point than that 
of infanthief, in other words, the punishment of crimi- 
nals caught in the act. According to the primitive 
ethics of justice a thief was adjudged to be hanged, 
however trifling the thing he had pilfered. In the 
thirteenth century the citizens of York had a gallows 
situated in the Bulmer Wapentake near the north- 
east boundary of the city ; but, later, they appear to 
have appropriated and used the Ainsty scaffold, 
erected on the roadside near Dringhouses, the site of 
which for many centuries marked the -city's limit in 
that direction. 

The district known as the Ainsty of York it is thought 
was formerly connected with the Benedictine Priory 

252 The History of the Castle of York 

of the Holy Trinity, Micklegate, and was also desig- 
nated the Christianity of York. 1 In old records the 
Dean of the Christianity of York is often mentioned, 
and the same area is now under the ecclesiastical super- 
vision of the Rural Dean of York. King Henry I. 
granted " to the monks of Marmoutier serving God at 
(Holy Trinity Priory), York all the possessions, which 
Ralph Pagnell and all other benefactors have given 
to them in frankalmaign in the borough [i.e. within 
the city burh or wall] and without, with soc, sac, and 
tol and tern, and infantheof." The Priory of Holy 
Trinity possessed certain rights in the villages of 
Bishopthorpe, Bilbrough, Monkton, Hessay and Knap- 
ton, all in the Ainsty. The Prior had jurisdiction 
over thieves apprehended within the territorial limits 
to which the privilege of infanthief was attached, and 
summarily hanged unfortunate criminals taken in 
the act, and the Ainsty Gallows, it would appear, 
was anciently the Priory scaffold. It was situated 
near an eminence, or public place, latterly called Butt 
Close, 2 where an open-air court was in old times held 
for the Ainsty, and where the villagers of Dringhouses 
practised archery. 

One of the first notices specifically mentioning the 
name of a person hanged on the Ainsty Gallows, is 
that alluding to one John Elenstreng who was hanged 
in 1280. 3 At this period there was in existence a 
Guild of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. Local 

1 Holy Trinity Priory had a double dedication and was 
often referred to as Christ Church. The Dean of the Chris- 
tianity was also designated Dean of the Ainsty. There was a 
Dean of the Christianity of Howden, Yorkshire (see Register 
of Archbishop Giffard, Surtees Society, vol. civ.). At the present 
day there are still several deaneries of Christianity Exeter, 
Leicester, Lincoln and Dublin. 

2 Mrs. Cud worth's and the two adjoining houses are built 
upon the site. 

3 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1272-81, p. 396. 

Local Scaffolds and Capital Punishment 253 

brothers of the order were privileged to take possession 
of the bodies of any enrolled members, who had 
committed a crime and been adjudged to be 
hanged, and give them Christian burial. 1 John 
Elenstreng was a member of this guild, and when his 
body was carried for interment to the chapel of St. 
James on the Mount, he was found to be alive. The 
simple-hearted populace, and even those in authority, 
superstitiously believed that he was brought to life 
again through the efficacy or influence of the dedicatory 
saint of the chapel. On August 19, 1280, Elenstreng 
was granted a pardon by the King, for the honour of 
God and out of reverence to St. James, on the testi- 
mony and evidence of John de Vallibus and his fellow- 
justices in Eyre in the county of York, before whom 
Elenstreng had been convicted of larcenies and by 
the judgment of the court condemned to be hanged. 2 
The chapel of St. James attached to Holy Trinity 
Priory was founded early in the reign of King Stephen 
by Roger the Priest, near a stone cross outside the 
west gate of the city. Stephen granted to the chapel 
the land on which the thieves' gallows stood, extra 
portam civitatis. 3 This reference doubtless alludes to 

1 To bury the dead is one of the " acts of mercy," and that 
duty appears to have been frequently fulfilled by persons of 
distinction in mediaeval times. In the Privy Purse Expenses 
of Elizabeth of York, the Consort of King Henry VII., on 
May 25, 1502, this item is recorded : " To Frary Clerc of 
Saint Johns for the buryeng of the men that were hanged at 
Wapping mylne, viijs." The " Saint Johns " mentioned was 
probably the ancient Guild of St. John of Jerusalem. 

2 This is not an isolated case ; several similar pardons 
appear on the Patent Rolls referring to men hanged in other 
towns, who were saved from premature burial by the timely 
aid of the Guild of St. John of Jerusalem (see Cal. Pat. Rolls 
1292-1301, pp. 147, 374; 1307-13, P- 265). 

3 Cal. Pat. Rolls, Edward iv. p. 376. Cf. " Alien Benedic- 
tines of York," by Dr. Solloway, p. 78, 

254 The History of the Castle of York 

a gallows which stood on the summit (of The Mount), 
on the hill near the stone cross, and after the appro- 
priation of the site by the monks a new gallows was 
erected on Knavesmire. 

In the " Criminal Chronology of York Castle " 
(compiled by Burdekin and Knipe) it is recorded that 
on Tuesday, March i, 1379, a special meeting of the 
Bailiffs of the City of York, with the gentlemen of the 
late Grand Jury, assembled for the purpose of consid- 
ering the propriety of appointing a place to erect a 
gallows, was held at the Castle, York. The Mayor of 
York presided, when several present spoke and ex- 
plained the circumstances relating to the insubordina- 
tion and rising of the monks at a recent execution at 
the gallows of the Abbot of St. Mary's. It was agreed 
that a gallows be erected upon Knavesmire where the 
gibbet-post stood. A new gallows was built near the 
roadside, opposite the York (Hob) Moor, about one 
mile from the Castle. On Wednesday, March 7, 1379, 
the new gallows was erected for the public execution 
of the criminals capitally convicted in the City of 
York, and county of the said city. 

The details of the riotous behaviour of the monks 
have not transpired, but the affair was one of many 
tumultuous conflicts with the citizens. A feud of long 
standing* existed between the monks of St. Mary's 
and the people of York. As early as 1262 the citizens 
violently attacked the Abbey ; they maltreated the 
monks, and destroyed and burned several houses 
without Bootham Bar belonging to the Abbey. Armed 
encounters between the two communities were of fre- 
quent occurrence. 1 On several occasions appeals to 
the Crown were made ; at times the Abbot told of 
his grievances, and in turn the Mayor did the like. 
Various kings issued mandates in their endeavour to 

1 See " Analecta Eboracensia," pp. 241-43. 

Local Scaffolds and Capital Punishment 255 

bring about a more peaceful understanding betwixt 
the citizens and their neighbours the monks of St. 
Mary's. The following is a typical order sent down 
to York 

" Feb. 22nd, 1343. To the Mayor, Bailiffs and 
Lawful Men of the City of York. Order to cause pro- 
clamation to be made that no one, upon pain of for- 
feiture, shall make gatherings of armed men by day 
or night henceforth in that city or the suburb thereof, 
b ing armed power there or inflict damage on the abbot 
and monks of St. Mary's, York, or their men and ser- 
jeants by land or water, and if after the proclamation 
they find any one doing the contrary they shall cause 
them to be arrested without delay and detained in 
the prison of that city as rebels, not to be released 
thence without the king's special order, knowing that 
if a plaint concerning the premises is repeated to the 
king he will cause the city and its liberties to be seized 
into his hand and the king is ready to show full and 
speedy justice to any of the city for injuries inflicted 
upon them by the abbot and monks, their men and 
Serjeants, as the king has heard from the information 
of divers persons that several malefactors of that city 
and elsewhere in co. York make illicit assemblies in 
the city, and threaten the abbot and monks in their 
life and members and with the burning of the houses, 
granges, and tenements of the abbey, by reason of 
certain dissensions between the mayor and others and 
the abbot and monks for certain liberties which the 
latter claim by charters of the king and his progenitors. 
The king has ordered the sheriff of Yorkshire] to 
make a like proclamation in all places in that bailiwick, 
and to detain all disturbers of the peace in the castle 
of that city as aforesaid." 1 

The Ainsty Gallows became known as the York 
Tyburn, a name derived from the gallows used by the 
1 Cal. Close Rolls, 1343-46, pp. 96, 97. 

256 The History of the Castle of York 

citizens of London situated at the Elms in the manor 
of Tyburn, re-erected there in I220. 1 

King Henry L, son of the Conqueror, with other 
liberties re-granted the privilege of infantheof to the 
Archbishop of York. In 1280 Archbishop William 
Wickwaine was summoned before the King's justices 
at York to answer by what warrant he claimed to 
have gallows, right to apprehend malefactors, and 
other legal dignities and privileges within the city of 
York and one part of the town of Hull. The suc- 
ceeding Archbishop, John Romanus, in 1292, had to 
answer by what authority he claimed to " have a fair, 
husgabulum (a tax or tribute on houses), infantheof, 
gallows, threepence toll on Fossebrigg, and two cuneos 
for making money in York, and amends of the assize 
of ground malt in the same town." 2 

The archbishops possessed in their various manors 
a power and authority almost equal to that of the king 
himself, and they tenaciously clung to the right of 
infantheof and the infliction of other horrible punish- 
ments. They held the power of furca ei fossa, the 
punishment of ordinary felons, the men by hanging 
and the women by drowning. The archiepiscopal 
scaffold at York stood on Foss Bridge, where the arch- 
bishop also claimed legal title to a toll of every third 
penny paid at the fish market held on or near the 

1 " Henry, by the grace of God, King of England, etc., to 
the Sheriff of Middlesex, greeting. We order you to cause to 
be made, without any delay in the place where the gallows 
were formerly erected, that is to say, at the Elms, two good 
gibbets of strong and excellent timber, for hanging robbers 
and other malefactors ; and the cost which you may incur for 
this shall be accounted to you, by the view and testimony of 
lawful men, at the Exchequer. /Witness, Hubert de Burgh, 
our Justiciary, at St. Albans, 22 May 4 Hen. 3." (See Close 

2 " History of Sherburn and Cawood," Wheater, p. 30. 

Local Scaffolds and Capital Punishment 257 

The gallows of the Dean and Chapter of York was 
stationed in the Horse Fair x at the end of Clarence 
Street, by a stone wayside cross at the junction of 
Haxby Road and Wigginton Road, which in the 
thirteenth century was described as in the Bulmer 

The Lord Abbot of St. Mary's Abbey possessed a 
scaffold situated in the lane now called Burton Lane, 
but formerly known as Chapel Lane from its close 
proximity to the Hospital or Chapel of St. Mary Mag- 
dalene. Infangtheof with other liberties was granted 
by charter to the Abbot by King William Rufus, and 
his successors ratified all former rights and privileges 
which the Abbot possessed. 

The Abbot of Byland also had a scaffold near York, 
the exact site of which has not been ascertained. 

Near Garrow Hill, on the Hull Road, a name sup- 
posed to be a corruption of Callow's Hill, was the 
Gallows of St. Leonard's, Green Dykes. Land in this 
vicinity was in the possession of the Hospital of St. 
Leonard, and the master of that great secular institu- 
tion no doubt claimed the privilege of infangtheof and 
the right of gallows. A byway near the site still called 
Thief Lane is reminiscent of the scaffold. 

In the seventeenth century many city and county 
malefactors were executed on this scaffold, and a grue- 
some list is given in " The Criminal Chronology of 
York Castle." The two last malefactors hanged on 
the St. Leonard's gallows were Leonard Gaskill, and 
Peter Rook, natives of Beverley, who were executed 
May i, 1676, their offence being sheep stealing. In 
the year 1700 the Grand Jury at York Assizes, held 
in March, petitioned the Judges for the removal of St. 
Leonard's scaffold. On June i the Sheriff of the county 

1 An item in the Fabric Rolls of York Minster for the year 
1693 reads : " For rebuilding the gallows in the Horse-faire 
and the stocks in the Minster Yard, 5 55. iod" 


258 The History of the Castle of York 

received instructions from the Secretary of State for 
the Home Department to remove the gallows. It was 
accordingly taken down and demolished on June 3, 
1700, to the satisfaction of many citizens of York. 

It is not proposed to give a list of executions, 
but reference to a few of the numerous examples will 
perhaps be helpful in reminding us of the good work 
philanthropists have achieved, the evolution of public 
opinion, and the pressing need of further reform. The 
awful responsibility involved in putting to death our 
fellow creatures renders it worth the while of any lover 
of truth and of his country to examine the arguments 
on both sides, and to ascertain their comparative 
cogency. 1 

" Is it for fallible man to presume to determine, by 
his laws and decisions, the period at which his fellow- 
man shall cease to exist in this world ; when all oppor- 
tunity for repentance terminates, and when the crimi- 
nal, however unprepared he may be, is hurried into 
the presence of the Judge of the whole earth ? " 

Near the Tyburn gallows on Knavesmire, Valentine 
Freez, a citizen of York, admitted as a Freeman in 
I 539i was burnt at the stake together with his wife 
for conscience, sake. Fuller says, " they both gave 
their lives at one stake for the testimony of Jesus 
Christ." These two heroic persons were thus " mar- 
ried " together in martyrdom, and presented probably 
the only instance where man and wife were 
together committed to the flames for their so-called 
heretical beliefs. 

Occasionally those considered traitors by bigoted 
partisans were executed at scaffolds specially erected 
for the purpose. Robert Aske, one of the leaders of 
the Pilgrimage of Grace, was ignominiously put to 

1 See " Capital Punishment." By E. D. Girdlestone, 1904, 
" The Penalty of Death ; or, the Problem of Capital Punish- 
ment." By Joseph Oldfield, M.A., 1901. 

Local Scaffolds and Capital Punishment 259 

death on the summit of Clifford's Tower in the year 
1537. On August 22, 1572, the unfortunate Earl of 
Northumberland was executed in The Pavement. 

In the " good old days " little regard was paid to 
human life, and women were punished in a most brutal 
manner. Amid the hisses, groans, and execrations of 
a frenzied crowd of spectators, Elizabeth Cook was 
hanged and burnt at the gallows of St. Leonard's, 
March 29, 1605. Fourteen men were hanged at the 
Tyburn gallows, April 30, 1649, an( ^ on * ne same day 
seven women suffered a like death, three of whom 
were hanged and burnt close to the gallows. As late 
as 1776 one Eliza Bordington was hanged at Tyburn 
for poisoning her husband, and her body burnt when 
taken down. By the entreaties of Queen Charlotte, 
the consort of George III., the burning of women for 
slaying their husbands was abolished by Statute in 

In 1696 Arthur Mangey, goldsmith, of Leeds, was 
executed at the Tyburn without Micklegate Bar, for 
counterfeiting the current coin of the realm. Mangey 
was a member of an ancient York family, whose name 
first appears on the Freemen's Roll in 1555. Arthur 
Mangey was the son of Henry Mangey, goldsmith, of 
York, and took up his freedom of the city in 1681. 
He had brothers practising the same craft in 
York, and he appears to have removed to Leeds and 
commenced business there, in Briggate. He was the 
maker of the civic mace belonging to the Corporation 
of Leeds, and on November 3, 1694, was paid the sum 
of 60 us. 6d. for his work, which he appears to have 
executed well and honourably. Two years later, 
however, he was taken into custody on the charge of 
clipping and forging the current coin of the realm and 
convicted of the crime. The premises in Briggate, 
Leeds, which he occupied, and where doubtless the 
mace was so skilfully made, were taken down in 1832. 

260 The History of the Castle of York 

The " Annual Register " of that year contains the 
following notice of the removal of the old house 

" In taking down some houses in Briggate, Leeds, 
the workmen discovered in the roof a small room in 
which were found several implements used in coining, 
and a shilling of the date of 1567. The house in which 
they were found was occupied in the reign of William 
III. by a Mr. Arthur Mangee, a goldsmith, who was 
convicted of high treason, in imitating the current coin 
of the realm, at the Assizes held at York, Saturday, 
August ist, 1696, and executed on the 3rd October 
following, having in the interval been twice reprieved." 

The principal witness against him was a person 
named Norcross, an accomplice, who stated that he 
saw him stamp a piece of mixed metal with the head 
of Charles II. The coining, he said, was carried on in 
a small chamber in the roof of the house. Mangey 
was drawn on a hurdle from the Castle to the place of 
execution on Knavesmire in the presence of a large 
concourse of spectators. After the execution his body 
was given to friends to be interred at Leeds. 

" Oh ! 'twas a fearsome sight to see 
That pale, wan man's meek agony, 
The glare of that wild, despairing eye 
Now bent on the cro d, now turn'd to the sky, 
As though 'twere scanning in doubt and in fear 
The path of the spirit's unknown career ; 
Those pinion'd arms, those hands which ne'er 
Shall be lifted again not even in prayer 
The heaving chest ! Enough, 'tis done, 
.... The spirit is gone ! 
For weal or for woe is known but to One. 
Oh ! 'twas a fearsome sight ! Ah me ! 
A deed to shudder at not to see.'' 

Some Judges of Assize frequently supplemented their 
sentence of death by giving instructions to suspend 
the bodies of murderers and robbers in some promi- 
nent position near the place where their crimes had 

Local Scaffolds and Capital Punishment 261 

been committed, as grim and terrible examples to all 
who passed. Although the practice of gibbeting had 
prevailed from very early times, it was not until 1752 
that by Act of Parliament it was legally recognized. 

The notorious Eugene Aram was hanged at Tyburn 
August 6, 1759, and afterwards his body was conveyed 
to Knaresborough Forest, where it was gibbeted. 

Francis Fearn, hanged at Tyburn July 23, 1782, 
was gibbeted. The following order was received by 
the gaoler of York Castle 

" I do hereby order that the execution of Francis 
Fearn he respited until Tuesday, the 23rd of July in- 
stant, and that his body (instead of being anatomized) 
shall be afterwards hanged in chains on a gibbet, to 
be erected on some conspicuous spot, on Loxley Com- 
mon, in the parish of Ecclesfield, in the county of York, 
at a convenient distance from the highway. 

" J. EYRE." 

Spence Broughton, charged with robbing the mail 
running between Rotherham and Sheffield on the 
night of February 9, 1791, was sentenced to be 
hanged and gibbeted, by Mr. Justice Buller, at the 
Castle of York, March 24, 1792. The precise instruc- 
tions given by the Judge of Assize read thus 

" I do order that after the Execution of Spence 
Broughton his body be hung in chains, on a Gibbet to 
be erected on some conspicuous Spot on Attercliffe 
Common in the County of York, on the South of the 
Road leading from Sheffield to Rotherham, not less 
than Three Hundred Yards from the Road." 

Broughton's gibbet-post was the last erected in 
Yorkshire ; and it, with the irons and its ghastly 
accompaniments, remained standing until 1827-28, 
when it was taken down. The horrible practice of 
hanging in chains on gibbet-posts was repealed by 
Statute on July 25, 1834, and thus another inhurran 
and hideous custom was abolished. 




Bodies of malefactors to be anatomized, 1752 " The Three- 
Legged Mare of York " Public executions Mock show 
rehearsals Execution broadsheets, and calendar vendors 
Last execution on Knavesmire, 1801 Scaffold removed 
First execution at the New Drop City Gaol scaffold, 
Bishophill Fourteen Luddites hanged, 1813 The de- 
plorable effects Statute confining death sentence to 
traitors and murderers, 1861 Last man hanged in public 
at York, 1868 Private executions enjoined by Statute. 

FOR centuries it was considered from a mere 
unreasoning conservatism that hanging male- 
factors, besides being a just punishment upon them, 
would strike dread and fear into the minds of those 
criminally disposed. Now, however, we have found 
that neither the menace nor the actual infliction of 
death is an effectual deterrent to the commission of 
capital crimes. 

To give additional terrors to the punishment, in 
1752 an Act was passed, which recites : " That the 
horrid crime of murder had of late been more fre- 
quently perpetrated than formerly " ; it was therefore 
enacted that persons convicted of murder should be 
executed on the next day but one after their sentence 
of death had been passed, and that their bodies should 
be given to the surgeons to be anatomized, or hung in 
chains ; and, further, that the prisoners should be fed 
on bread and water only, after being sentenced. 



264 The History of the Castle of York 

Towards the end of the eighteenth century, execu- 
tions at Tyburn Scaffold, on Knavesmire (which was 
called " The Three-Legged Mare of York "), were 
spectacles of a most popular and withal degrading 
character. People flocked to them as to an entertain- 
ment or fair ; and those who could afford it readily 
paid for seats where a full view could be obtained of 
the dying malefactors' last agonies. The gruesome 
sights were even repeated in mock-show exhibitions 
in public-house yards by the hangman and other men 
engaged by innkeepers. An admittance fee was 
charged, and those depraved persons who paid to see 
the shameful rehearsal were allowed a pint of ale into 
the bargain. 

There is no need to exclaim in detestation at such 
callousness in a bygone age, because it is almost certain 
that if such spectacles as public executions were 
again permitted similar crowds would assemble. Such 
ghastly proceedings had a very bad influence upon the 
people ; and it has been remarked that many murderers 
had been trained by being witnesses of executions. 

The friends of criminals, under sentence, were al- 
lowed opportunities to bribe the turnkeys in order to 
see the condemned, to take a last farewell, and present 
them with white caps and black ribbons, nosegays and 
oranges, so that they could make a " decent " appear- 
ance as they were drawn from the Castle " on the road 
to the other world." Murders and robberies, trials 
and executions, formed favourite subjects for the 
itinerant balladmongers. The vendors of these tales 
of horror, crime, and " last dying speeches " were 
conspicuous characters at executions. Such was the 
delight and avidity with which the public purchased 
these pernicious broadsheets, that unscrupulous writers 
and printers fabricated and issued false and lying 
accounts describing fictitious murders and executions. 
Their trade was, however, extinguished when cheap 

Local Scaffolds and Capital Punishment 265 

newspapers came into vogue ; but, occasionally, we 
still may find the degenerate song vendor at some 
country markets and village fairs. 

The morbid curiosity of the populace at Assize times 
was also pandered to by the vending of calendars of 
prisoners who were to appear before judge and jury. 
These cheap and rudely-printed broadsheets were 
sold by " list-sellers " in the market place, and at fairs ; 
in fact, they were vended wherever the people con- 
gregated in large numbers. In a chap book entitled 
" Cries of York," printed about 1820, 1 an old wood- 


cut depicts the Castle gates accompanied by a familiar 
city cry of the period 

" Come buy a true Calendar 
Of prisoners in the Castle drear, 

Come buy a Calendar ; 
Their crimes and names are set down here 

'Tis truth I do declare." 

The last person executed at the York Tyburn on 
Knavesmire was Edward Hughes, who suffered August 
29, 1801. Public executions, with all their attendant 

1 " The Cries of York, for the Amusement of Young Chil- 
dren." Decorated with wood-cuts. Printed by J Kendrew, 

266 The History of the Castle of York 

manifestations of callousness and rowdyism, at length 
excited the disapproval of many of the more thought- 
ful and Christian-minded citizens. In the York Herald, 
April, 1801, we read 

' The plan some time ago recommended by Major 
Topham for altering the place of execution at this 
City, is, we understand, now likely to be adopted. It 
was submitted by the last Grand Jury to the High 
Sheriff ; and it cannot be otherwise than desirable 
that the public business of the city, the feeling of the 
humane, and the entrance to the town should no longer 
be annoyed by dragging criminals through the streets. 
. . . The place proposed is said to be on the side of 
the Castle next the New Walk, to which the sufferers 
may be led immediately from the Castle itself." 

The subject was again referred to in the Herald, 
July 25, 1801, thus 

" On Thursday a meeting of Justices was held at the 
Castle, when, among other resolutions, it was deter- 
mined that a drop should be erected as soon as con- 
veniently may be, at the back of the Castle, opposite 
the New Walk. Thus will be removed from one of 
the principal roads leading to the city that disagreeable 
nuisance, the gallows ; and thus will the inhabitants 
and passengers be no longer interrupted, and their 
humanity hurt by the leading of unfortunate people 
to the place of execution. It is truly a wise and 
salutary measure, and the promoters of it deservedly 
merit the thanks of the public, and especially of the 
inhabitants of this city." 

The first executions at the New Drop, behind the 
Castle Walls, were " celebrated " August 28, 1802, by 
the hanging of Thomas Roberts, for stealing sheep, 
William Barker, for stealing a horse, and William 
Jackson, for burglary. 

The removal of the gallows did not lessen the multi- 
tude of morbid spectators. $t, George's Field was 

Local Scaffolds and Capital Punishment 267 

always crowded at executions. Such events were 
treated in the city as a " gala day," and the factories 
and workshops closed for a short time that the workers 
might be at liberty to attend. 

At the City Gaol, erected in 1802-07, on Bishophill, 
near Baile Hill, was another scaffold, occasionally 
used for felons sentenced to death for offences com- 
mitted within the city boundary. David Anderson 
was hanged on August 20, 1809, f r uttering false bank 
notes. In 1820 William Brown, alias Morley Stubbs, 
was found guilty of robbing John Armstrong on the 
New Walk, near Blue Bridge on the evening of Novem- 


ber 23. He was sentenced to death, and suffered at 
the new gaol scaffold. The prison was taken down 
before the erection of the approaches to Skeldergate 
Bridge in 1880. 

During the latter years of the reign of George III. 
the social conditions and misery of the working classes 
in this country were most deplorable. Heavy taxes 
were imposed to carry on the Peninsular War ; con- 
tinental ports were closed to British trade ; poor har- 
vests were experienced at home ; and the price of 
wheat was unprecedented. In 1812 it reached the 
highest figure it has ever attained. Poor perishing 
people were unable to purchase food, as flour was eight 

268 The History of the Castle of York 

shillings per stone. Gaunt famine-stricken crowds 
paraded our streets, wailing and piteously crying for 
bread. At the same time labour-saving machinery 
was being introduced in the West Riding manufactur- 
ing centres ; and the artless, uneducated workers blamed 
the new and obnoxious appliances as the cause of their 
sufferings. Matters grew worse. Gloomy months 
passed, and in their simple ignorance the unemployed 
and misguided operatives were cajoled by agitators, 
and encouraged to rise and destroy the hated machin- 
ery. In March 1811 a series of riots commenced in 
Nottinghamshire which extended over a period of five 
years. The fiery spirit of disaffection appeared in 
Yorkshire about the middle of April 1812 ; the workers 
in the West Riding towns rioted and commenced de- 
stroying mills where new machinery had been erected. 
Unfortunately, several worthless criminals joined the 
angry mob in their violent proceedings ; and in the 
affrays two mill-owners were killed. 

Accounts l of the rising of the Luddites have already 
been published, wherein all their misdeeds are recorded 
in detail. Sixty-six persons were arrested and brought 
to York Castle, and a Special Commission or Assize 
was held, which sat from January 2-12, 1813. 2 Four- 
teen of the ill-fated number were condemned to death 
and suffered at the New Drop opposite St. George's 
Field, January 16, before a vast concourse of people 
men, women, and children all assembled to see their 
fellow-creatures done to death. Hush ! The prison 
bell tolls. There is a pause, the halbert men, wearing 
the High Sheriff's livery, file out and form round the 
scaffold. The door behind the drop opens, and the 
chaplain, the under-sheriff, and the governor of the 

1 " The Risings of the Luddites," etc., by Frank Peel, 

2 See " Proceedings under the Special Commission at 
York," etc. Printed by Edward Baines, Leeds. 

Local Scaffolds and Capital Punishment 269 

gaol come forward. They are followed by turnkeys, 
escorting men with ghastly faces ; the look of antici- 
pated death. " Hats off ! " shout the spectators at 
the back of the crowd in their eager desire to obtain 
an unobstructed view. The chaplain grim mockery 

"... with the cold, calm look 
And tone of one whose formal part, 
Unwarmed, unsoftened of the heart, 
Is measured out by rule and book, 
With placid lip and tranquil blood, 
The hangman's ghostly ally stood, 
Blessing with solemn text and word 
The gallows-drop and strangling cord ; 
Lending the sacred Gospel's awe 
And sanction to the crime of Law." 

By this severe and inhuman judicial visitation, 
fourteen wives were made widows and no less than 
fifty-seven innocent children became fatherless, with 
an undeserved stigma clinging to their names for life. 
One broken-hearted wife expired on the occasion of 
her husband's arrest, and seven orphans of tender 
years were turned upon the cold uncharitable world. 

The condition of the working classes remained in an 
unsatisfactory state for many years ; an unfeeling 
and unreformed Parliament being almost helpless in 
its administration of home affairs. 

In 1861 a Statute was passed whereby death was 
confined to treason and murder only, directing that 
any person convicted of murder should suffer death 
as a felon and be buried within the precincts of the 
prison. This Act put an end to the dissection of the 

A later Act became law, in 1868, specifying that 
prisoners sentenced to death were to be executed 
privately within the walls of the prison where they 
were confined at the time. An inquest was to be held 
in the ordinary manner within twenty-four hours, and 

270 The History of the Castle of York 

the body to be buried within the walls of the prison. 
This is the Statute under which the punishment of 
death is now carried out. The last public execution 
opposite St. George's Field was that of Frederick 
Parker, whose life was sacrificed to the offended laws 
for the murder of Daniel Driscoll at South Dufneld, 
near Selby, on Saturday, February 29, 1868. 

Some countries have ceased to inflict the punishment 
of death for murder. Probably as we become more 
civilized, this, the extreme penalty of the law, will 
never be enforced and the punishment erased from the 
Statute Books. 



Castle yard a public place Misdemeanants publicly whipped 
County Courts Castle Green appropriated for election 
of Knights of the Shire Tumultuous proceedings in 1597 
Subsequent contests and typical scenes Commotion 
and abuses at 1734 Election The Great Election of 1807 
Proceedings in 1826 Reform of the Electoral System 
and Districts Proclamation of King George V. 

WHEN the Castle declined as a Crown stronghold, 
and its buildings became almost entirely 
appropriated for county purposes, the wide open 
space, or green, called the Castle Yard, which is suffi- 
ciently large to accommodate many thousands of 
persons, became the rendezvous and meeting place of 
Yorkshiremen on many momentous occasions. 

Before the passing of the Reform Bill of 1832, the 
yard, sometimes described as " the Eye of the County," 
was often the scene of animated, and at times, riotous 
political struggles. The county gentry and freeholders 
also oft-times congregated on the green and deliberated 
on questions of significant public import ; and within 
the Castle's echoing walls the sheriffs of the county 
still make the customary Proclamation on the accession 
of each new sovereign of the realm. 

The Castle yard being formerly a common place 
frequented by multitudes during Assize times, mis- 
demeanants were publicly whipped and periodically 


272 The History of the Castle of York 

placed in the pillory, or put in the stocks, which 
stood in prominent positions before the curious gaze of 
assembled crowds. Such bygone punishments were 
incident to the sentences pronounced by the Judges of 
Assize a little more than a century ago. 

In the old days, before the reform of our electoral 
system, at great general elections the polling not in- 
frequently lasted for above a fortnight, and the methods 
adopted for recording the voice of the people were 
primitive and fraught with curious and often fraudu- 
lent practices. Party feeling repeatedly ran high, 
and amid scenes of intense excitement the sheriffs, as 
returning officers, occasionally allowed their personal 
bias to predominate during the proceedings, and 
such partiality resulted in uproarious outbursts of 
resentment and tumultuous protests. 

Amongst the manuscripts preserved in the collection 
of the Marquis of Salisbury, at Hatfield House, are 
several papers describing an election which took place 
in the year 1597. As these documents contain per- 
tinent particulars of the accustomed procedure, they 
will not be without interest to present-day electors ; 
and to that vast assemblage of Yorkshiremen whose 
opinion on political matters is a great factor in the 
affairs of the State. The election of Knights of the 
Shire was not in Yorkshire the tame affair that it was 


The manner and form of the election of the Knights 
of the Shire for the next Parliament, made at the 
Castle of York in open county, holden there the third 
day of October in the 3Qth Year of Her Majesty's reign. 

Imprimis, that Sir John Savyle, knight, being sent 
for by a pursuivant the second day of October in the 

County Elections and Public Meetings 273 

evening, before the L. Archbishop's grace and the 
Council established in the north parts, to give his 
attendance upon them the next day by 6 of the clock 
in the morning, for and about Her Majesty's service, 
the said Sir John repaired to the said L. Archbishop 
and Council accordingly, when and where it was agreed 
between them and the said Sir John Savyle, by the 
motion of the said Lord and Council, that the said 
election should be made and proceed in form following, 
viz., that the Sheriff 1 at the hour appointed by the 
Statute should in full county read as well her Majesty's 
writ for the summons of the Parliament, as also a pro- 
clamation made and set forth by the said L. Arch- 
bishop and Council, the effect whereof was that no 
person thither assembled, except he were a freeholder 
of forty shillings per annum above all charges and 
reprises, should presume to give voice in the said 

Item, that after the reading of her Majesty's writ 
the undersheriff did read unto the whole assembly a 
letter written by the Lords and others of her Majesty's 
most honourable Privy Council for the better direction 
of the said election. And after the reading of the 
same the said undersheriff was, by divers gent, and 
other freeholders then and there present, required to 
read the statutes touching the election of the knights 
of the shire for the Parliament, which he did openly 
read accordingly. And thereupon it was agreed by 
the said Sir John Savyle, Edward Stanhope, Esq., and 
the rest of the best sort of knights, esquires, and gent., 
being then and there in full county assembled, that 
certain names of such as would or should stand for 
the said election should be named and delivered in 
writing into the said Court, which was done accord- 
ingly, viz., John Savyle, knight, William Fairefax, 

1 Francis Boynton, Esq. 

274 T*he History of the Castle ot York 

knight, John Stanhope, knight, Richard Mawliverer 
knight, and Thomas Hobby, knight. 

Item, it was then and there agreed that five gent, 
of the best quality of either side, viz., for Sir John 
Savyle and Sir William Fairefax, William Wentworth 
of Woodhowse, Esq., Richard Gargrave, Esq., Thomas 
Wentworth of Elmsall, Esq., John Lacie, Esq., and 
Thomas Bland, Esq., and for Sir John Stanhope and 
Sir Thomas Hobbye, Sir Robert Stappleton and Sir 
Henry Constable, knights, Richard Wortley, Esq., 
William Inglebee, Esq., and Marmaduke Grimston, 
Esq., should be appointed to join with the undersheriff 
for a division of both parts to be made for a perfect 
view by them of the number of freeholders of either 
party. All which was effectuated accordingly. 

Item, after full view had been taken by the said 
gentlemen for either of the said parties, it was by the 
said sheriff and all the said gent, agreed and confessed 
that the said people assembled and divided for Sir 
John Savyle and Sir William Fairfax's part were the 
greater number by many, and confessed by Mr. Wort- 
ley and the rest, which were appointed viewers of Sir 
John Stanhope's side and Sir Thomas Hobbie's, that 
they were more in number by 300 or 200 at the least. 
Whereupon some challenge or " acception " was 
taken by the said Mr. Stanhope and Sir Thomas 
Hobbye and others of that party that all persons for 
Sir John Savyle and Sir William Fairefax their party 
were not freeholders of forty shillings per annum ultra 
repriss. ; whereupon this offer was made by the said 
Sir John Savyle and Sir William Fairefax : that if 
the said Mr. Stanhope and Sir Thomas Hobby would 
appoint sixteen or twenty of the best men of knowledge 
of the county to take view of the freeholders then and 
there assembled, if any person there present could 
be excepted unto, that he should have an oath minis- 
tered unto him by the said undersheriff according 

County Elections and Public Meetings 275 

to the statute in that case provided ; to which offer 
the said undersheriff did then and there agree, and 
did publish the same to the said Mr. Stanhope and 
Sir Thomas Hobby and others of that party ; yet 
did they refuse the same, and the said Sir Robert 
Stapleton and Mr. Wortley did shut the castle gates, 
and said they would have a particular examination 
man by man, which Mr. Undersheriff refused to do 
for lack of time convenient, by reason the day was so 
far spent and the number so exceeding great yet. He 
then offered and said that if any man would take 
exception to any person as he should go forth at the 
castle yard gate, that he would have him sworn accord- 
ing to the statute, which they likewise refused. And 
so shortly after Launcelote Lake, a bailiff of that 
county, did with the key open the great gate 1 after 
Mr. Wortley had opened the lower or lesser gate ; 
whereupon the said undersheriff did at the said castle 
gates, before the departure of any man, publish and 
declare that the election of the said Sir John Savyle 
and Sir William Fairefax was made. And so then it 
was by the said sheriff's direction appointed that 
three hours after, the said sheriff and electors should 
meet at the said Castle in open county for the sealing 
of the indentures between the said sheriff and the 
said electors, according to the statute in that case 
provided. At which time (for the sealing of the said 
indentures) so agreed upon, the said undersheriff and 
electors did meet at the said Castle, and then and there 
in open county by proclamation did publish, in formal 
and peaceable manner, that the election aforesaid 
was made and performed for the said Sir John Savyle 
and Sir William Fairefax to be knights of and for the 
said shire or county of York for the next Parliament. 

1 This is an interesting reference to the Great Gate as being 
in use in 1597 ; fifty years afterwards it is described as walled 

276 The History of the Castle of York 

And thereupon were the said indentures openly read, 
and then and there sealed accordingly by the said 
sheriff, and divers the electors aforesaid. And then 
the Court was adjourned by Mr. Undersheriff. 

The matters hereinbefore expressed and set down 
are to be proved and justified by these persons whose 
names are hereunder written, and who will upon their 
oaths (if need require) testify and depose the same 

Rich. Gar grave, Willm. Wentworthe, R. Beeston, 
Micha. Wentworth, Ro. Kaye, Jo. Lacey, Audray 
Coplay, Tho. Wentworthe, J. Jackson, Tho. Bland, 
and John Armytage. 1 

October 3, 1597. 


I 597> October 3. " A declaration of the manner of 
proceeding at the election for the Knights of the shire 
of the county of York the day and year aforesaid in 
the castle yard of the same county (delivered by the 
gentlemen whose names are subscribed) to her Majesty's 
Council ; being sent by the Lord Archbishop to the 
Castle of York upon complaint of some disorder there 
committed in the election of the Knights of the shire, 
and which the said gent, do desire may be by his lord- 
ship and the said council certified to the Lords of her 
Majesty's Privy Council." 

On the evening of Sunday the 2nd of October, the 
undersheriff came to the Archbishop and Council with a 
message from Sir John Savile, asking that he might 
adjourn his county court to be holden the day follow- 
ing from the York Castle yard to a place called He- 
worthe Moor because the number that Sir John brought 
with him were so great that the Castle yard would not 
hold half of them, which if true his number would 

1 Cal. of the MSS. of the Marquis of Salisbury, part vii. 
pp. 411-13. 

County Elections and Public Meetings 277 

have amounted to 10,000 at the least. On the 3rd, 
the county day, about 8 o'clock, the writ of surrmons 
for electing the Knights being read, and Sir John 
Stanhope and Sir Thomas Hobbey and Sir John Savile 
being first nominated, Sir John Savile caused the 
sheriff to read certain statutes to all the freeholders, 
purporting that none should be chosen to that place 
but such as were resident in the county at the teste 
of the writ, and thereupon Sir John Savile took upon 
him, forthwith rising, to propound unto the people, 
" Will you have a Mallever or a Fayrefax ? " meaning 
to make Knights at his will, as is thought, or other- 
wise by several nominations to distract the voices of 
freeholders from others before named. After which 
the cries and voices of the people continued confused 
and divers by the space of two hours and more, for 
Sir John Stanhope, Sir Thomas Hobbey, Sir John 
Saville and Sir William Fayrefax : but for some good 
space after the first cries the number for Sir John Stan- 
hope and Sir Thomas Hobbey seemed to be more in 
show than the other by 6 or 700. Afterwards the 
greater number seemed doubtful, and it was agreed 
that some indifferent gent, should be assigned to make 
trial of the same and to discern and distinguish the 
companies and voices of each part, first by view and 
then by trial of the polls for their freehold or resi- 
dency, viz., for and on the part of Sir John Stanhope 
and Sir Thomas Hobbey, Sir Robert Stapleton, Sir 
Henry Constable, Knts., Richard Wortley, Robert 
Swift, Marmaduke Grimston, William Ingleby, Hugh 
Bethell, Esquires ; and on the part of Sir John Saville, 
William Went worth of Woodhouse, Richard Gar grave, 
Averie Copley, John Lacye, Robert Keye, Thomas 
Blande, and Raffe Beiston, Esquires. Whereupon the 
companies on each part being severed and divided, 
the undersheriff with the said gent, went up into a 
chamber where they might reasonably see or discern 

278 The History of the Castle of York 

the companies and reasonably esteem of the great 
number of persons, with the result that they did esteem 
those that stood on the hillside for Sir William Fair- 
fax and Sir John Savile (being next to the gate) to be 
more in number than the side for Sir John Stanhope 
and Sir Thomas Hobbey by about 200 persons, but 
the said gent, did think that there were on that side 
in number, citizens and inhabitants of York, women 
and children and other strangers not having lawful 
voices, to the number of 500 or 600. Whereupon it 
was further agreed by the undersheriff and the gentle- 
men triers that the companies should be further 
examined by polls upon their corporal oaths. The 
undersheriff and the gentlemen triers then proceeded 
to the gate, and the sheriff went thither and took paper 
with him, and the gentlemen sticks to take the number 
of them by scotches or marks, it being thereupon agreed 
that the company of Sir John Savile being nearest the 
gate should first be tried. The gentlemen and the 
undersheriff being come to the gate, it was agreed that 
the gate should be shut and no more let in on any side ; 
then that two of the gentlemen triers on either side 
should note or nick every score, and that all should be 
sworn and examined against whom any exceptions 
should be taken, and the undersheriff and his man John 
Perrington, and Nicholas Hall, clerk of the county, 
were all there for that purpose ; and Mr. Wort ley did 
take a knife and stick to nick on the scores on the one 
side. Thereupon the undersheriff commanded the 
people back from out of the gateshead. Presently 
thereupon came Sir John Savile on horseback and 
called the undersheriff and demanded what he was 
about. He told him, to proceed to trial by poll accord- 
ing to agreement and law. He replied : " Though 
they would make you an ass they shall not make me 
a fool," and said he would no such trial, he would hold 
that he had, and after other more words commanded 

County Elections and Public Meetings 279 

the gate to be opened. The undersheriff replying 
that it might not be so, for he must do that the law 
requireth and which was agreed upon, reply was made 
by him, " Open the door or break it open," and him- 
self pressed forward, and thereupon Sir Robert Staple- 
ton and other gentlemen at the gate shifted themselves 
away as well as they could. But he and his company 
pressed on so forward that Sir Henry Constable and 
Mr. Mansfield were endangered of their lives, and then 
also the undersheriff went out with Sir John Savile 
without staying to proceed, whereby we knew not 
whether they accounted of any election made, which 
if it had been was not spoken of but for the first. After 
which, by the space of two hours or more, the Knights, 
esquires, gent, and freeholders on the part of Sir John 
Stanhope continued in the castle hall and yard expect- 
ing the return of the sheriff, to the end he should 
proceed to make trial of the polls upon oath as afore- 
said, and sent for him, but he would not be found, 
being with Sir John Savile at dinner, till Sir John Saville 
and Sir William Fairfax returned together with the 
undersheriff who, first making proclamation of silence, 
immediately and without any further proceeding did 
pronounce Sir John Savile and Sir William Fairfax to 
be the knights lawfully elected, which thing was 
denied by the other part of Sir John Stanhope and 
Sir Thomas Hobby ; the rather that howsoever the 
trial had gone for the first, the second place should 
come for a second nomination and voices. But 
notwithstanding all that, he read the indenture of the 
return of the said Knights and adjourned the court. 

(Signed) Edward Talbot, Robert Stapleton, Henry 
Constable, Richard Wortley, Robert Swifte, Heughe 
Bethell, Tho. Lascelles, Jo. Mansfield, Fra. Clifford, 
Tho. Fayrefaxe, Ed. Stanhope, Philip Constable, 
Marmaduke Grimston, Henry Cholmley, Jo. Mallorye, 
Ralphe Bubthorpe." 

280 The History of the Castle of York 

To supplement the latter account the prominent 
supporters of Sir John Stanhope, the defeated candi- 
date, drew up a letter requesting him to carry the 
matter further, and " solicit the Queen " that they 
" may not by violence and practice " have free election 
taken from them. The partizans who favoured the 
return of Sir John Savile and Sir Thomas Fairfax, 
after the election, hastily forwarded the above official 
account of the proceedings to the Privy Council. The 
disappointed opposing parties were not to be outdone, 
and they also at once declared their version of the 
manner in which the polling had been conducted to be 
laid before the Council. 

On October 5 the Lord President and his fellow mem- 
bers of the Council of the North sent up to the Privy 
Council further particulars of the contest, adding that 
the undersheriff had " dealt very affectionately against 
Sir John Stanhope and Sir Thomas Hobby." The 
Lords of the Queen's Council decided that Sir John 
Savile be required to appear before the Council of the 
North, but when a pursuivant was sent to his house, 
on October 15, it was found he had left for London. 
The undersheriff was brought before the Council at 
York ; and was admonished for his improper practices ; 
but he persistently replied that he had done nothing 
but that he might lawfully justify. 

During the seventeenth century no less than twenty- 
nine elections for Knights of the Shire to serve in 
Parliament were held in the Castle yard. Some of the 
contests were characterized by illegal practices, and 
often the candidates were unseated ; petitions and 
disputes were of frequent occurrence. Reminiscences of 
the many political conflicts having been recorded else- 
where, 1 here we have not space to particularize, but 

1 " The Parliamentary Representation of the Six Northern 
Counties of England." By W. W. Bean, 1890. 

" The Parliamentary Representation of Yorkshire, from the 

County Elections and Public Meetings 28 i 

merely recite typical cases, showing how the Castle 
yard was utilized for such purposes. 

Twenty-eight elections took place during the eight- 
eenth century, and that of 1734 seems to have caused 
the most commotion and interest in the county during 
the period mentioned. Sir Miles Stapylton, Cholmley 
Turner, Sir Rowland Winn, Bart., and the Hon. 
Edward Wort ley Montague were the candidates. The 
polling commenced May 15 and lasted until the 
22nd. Evidently some little improvement had been 
made in the mode of recording the votes, which 
was accomplished at several temporary booths erected 
in the Castle yard. 

Immediately on the closing of the poll books, in 
which were entered the names and addresses of the 
electors and for whom they voted, Sir Rowland Winn 
demanded a scrutiny which the sheriff reluctantly 
agreed to, but in the clamour no scrutiny took place. 
Subsequently the Government were petitioned to 
inquire into the notorious abuses and base artifices 
alleged to have been practised at the election. 

The persons who had charge of the several booths 
were requested to investigate the following queries 
on behalf of the returned member 
" Sir- 

' You are desired to inquire, whether 

I. Any have poll'd twice ? 

II. Any under age have poll'd ? 

III. Any Names appear of such Persons who actually 
did not come to York ? 

IV. Any have poll'd, and have not Estates in the 
Town sworn to ? 

Earliest Representative Parliament on Record, in the Reign 
of King Edward I. to the Dissolution of the twenty-second 
Parliament in the Reign of Queen Victoria." By Richard Park, 
1886. Cf. " Chapters in the History of Yorkshire." By 
James J. Cartwright, M.A., 1872, pp. 222, etc. 

282 The History of the Castle of York 

V. Any have poll'cl, and cannot be found in the 
Place of Abode sworn to ? 

VI. Any have poll'd for Leasehold or Copyhold ? 

VII. Any (being Purchasers) have not been in 
Possession a Year ? 

VIII. Any have poll'd for Houses built upon the 
Waste of the Lord of the Manor ? 

IX. Any appear not to have 405. a Year, clear of 
all charges ? 

X. Any appear not to have paid Assessments and 
Taxes in proportion with others of the same place, 405. 
a year ? 

XL What Parish Clerks, Singing Men, and Alms- 
men have poll'd f 

" It is desir'd that you will inquire into the illegal 
Practices of Justices of the Peace, or of others by 
Colour of their Authority, both before and since the 
Election ; into the Practices of those who made Use 
of the authority of the AB. of York, and of his Officers, 
before and since the Election into the Prosecutions for 
pretended Riots ; into any Instances of Bribes paid 
or offer'd ; and to send such Discoveries as you can 
make by a safe hand to Sir M. Stapylton at My ton." 

The Government adjourned the investigation and 
the petitioners renewed their suit on several occasions 
and vehemently maintained that the freedom of elec- 
tion had been violated and invaded. The petitioners 
were eventually heard before the Bar of the House of 
Commons, the proceedings lasting many days, inter- 
mittently from January to May, 1736. The hearing 
was adjourned again, and as the expenses were so 
great the petition seems to have been withdrawn, and 
Sir Miles Stapylton retained his seat. 

According to accounts appearing in the London 
Evening Post for May 20, 22 and 29, 1736, there were 
great rejoicings in York on the announcement of the 
withdrawal of the petition against Sir M. Stapylton. 

County Elections and Public Meetings 283 

The cathedral bells rang in token of the country 
interest ; ladies and gentlemen, gaily dressed, wore 
blue cockades. Almost all the windows in the city 
were illuminated with candles, each householder 
endeavouring to outvie the others. Bonfires were 
lighted in almost every highway; and across several 
streets stretched garlands, decked with flowers, inter- 
mixed with a great number of candles ; gaily decorated 
boats, with music, plied on the river ; the healths 
to the King, Queen and Royal Family, and all who 
supported Stapylton were drunk. The rejoicings appear 
to have been pretty general in all towns of the county. 1 

A Parliament having been called, to be holden on 
June 22, 1807, the usual writ directed to the Sheriff 
for the election of knights of the shire was tested 
at Westminster, April 30, and on May 4 it was de- 
livered to the Undersheriff, Mr. Jonathan Gray, of 
York. The same day proclamation was made by the 
County Clerk of a special County Court to be holden 
at the Castle of York on Wednesday, May 20 for the 
election of two knights of the shire. 

On the day appointed the business of the County 
Court was opened at the hustings in the Castle yard, 
and the candidates proposed were William Wilber- 
force, Esq., the Hon. Henry Lascelles and the Rt. 
Hon. Lord Milton. Upon a show of hands the High 
Sheriff (Richard Fountayne Wilson) declared the 
majority to be in favour of Lascelles and Milton, 
whereupon a poll was demanded by Wilberforce which 
commenced the same day, and continued fifteen days. 
In Court the High Sheriff presided in person, or by his 
Undersheriff, and the disputed votes were determined 
by the Sheriff's Assessors, Samuel Heywood and John 
Bayley, Esquires, Serjeants- at- Law. 

The poll was taken in the Castle yard, at thirteen 

1 Quoted in " Parliamentary Rep. of Six Northern Coun- 
ties," p. 652. 

284 The History of the Castle of York 

booths, amongst which the Wapentakes were appor- 
tioned according to a previous agreement between the 
committees of the three candidates. In the different 
booths the Sheriff had a deputy to put the usual 
questions, and a poll clerk to record the votes, both of 
whom were sworn to take the poll. In every booth 
each of the candidates was allowed to have, in addition 
to his check clerk, an agent to object to the doubtful 
votes, and a messenger to conduct the voters objected 
to into court, either to the Assessors or to the Com- 
missioners for administering the oaths. 

The poll was open daily from nine in the morning 
to five in the afternoon, except on the first and last 
days. On the latter days of the poll, when the num- 
ber of objections to votes increased, the Sheriff, with 
his Assessors, continued sitting till eight in the evening. 
Those freeholders whose right to vote was established 
were allowed to poll in court. In this case, their votes 
were added to the numbers of the next day's poll. On 
the fifteenth day, June 5, about two hours after the 
close of the poll, the High Sheriff declared William 
Wilberforce, Esq., and the Rt. Hon. Lord Milton to 
be duly elected ; after which the indentures of return 
were executed. 

The votes recorded at the conclusion were as follows : 
for Wilberforce, 11,806 ; for Milton, 11,177 ; and for 
Lascelles, 10,989. 

During the fifteen days' contest no fewer than 
23,000 freeholders travelled to York to record their 
votes. The roads in all directions were thronged day 
and night with coaches, barouches, gigs, fly-wagons, 
and military cars drawn by eight horses, busily con- 
veying voters, who came from the remotest corners 
of the county. Thousands of freeholders remained 
in York until the close of the poll ; the excitement was 
intense, and all inns and taverns were crowded during 
the eventful occasion. The whole county was, during 

County Elections and Public Meetings 285 

the election, in a most violent state of agitation. The 
towns in the West Riding were frequently the scenes 
of tumultuous riots and the military had often to be 
called out to aid the civil authorities in keeping order. 
Everything was done that money or personal exertion 


could accomplish, party spirit being wound up to the 
highest pitch by the partizans of the two noble families 
engaged in the conflict, the efforts were prodigious 
and the excitement maddening. This memorable 
contest cost the houses of Wentworth and Harewood 
upwards of 200,000. 

286 The History of the Castle of York 

This election was one of the most celebrated con- 
tests in the history of British electioneering. 1 The real 
struggle was between Lord Milton, who had just at- 
tained his majority, and the Hon. Henry Lascelles 
(afterwards Earl of Hare wood). William Wilber- 
force, the philanthropist and slave abolitionist, was 
an old and tried member in whose election all parties 
concurred. He headed the poll, an honourable posi- 
tion he had held at five previous elections, being first 
returned for the county in 1784. 

In 1826 the county for the first time returned four 
members. Grampound, in Cornwall, having been 
disfranchised for bribery, the two vacant seats were 
allowed to Yorkshire. The members elected were 
Viscount Milton, William Duncombe, Richard Fount - 
tayne Wilson and John Marshall. 

Richard Bet hell was a candidate, and was nominated 
on the hustings, June 12, but withdrew before the 
election. Though no poll was taken the expenses 
amounted to 150,000. The scene in the Castle Yard 
was a very imposing one, the gates were opened at nine 
o'clock on the election day, June 21. Five polling 
booths had been erected, orders for the remaining 
seventeen had been cancelled when the Sheriff received 
notice of Mr. Bethell's retirement from the conflict. 
At twenty minutes to ten o'clock Lord Milton and Mr. 
Marshall, habited in blue as knights of the Shire, 
with full dress hats and swords, riding on richly 
caparisoned horses, arrived in the Castle yard. They 
were accompanied by a multitude of freeholders with 
a band of music, and several banners were displayed 
bearing political cries and mottoes. About ten o'clock 

Mr. Wilson and Mr. Duncombe entered the yard 


1 The Under- Sheriff, Mr. Jonathan Gray, published in 
1818, " An Account of the Manner of Proceeding at the Con- 
tested Election, for Yorkshire, in 1807, chiefly relating to the 
office of Sheriff." 

County Elections and Public Meetings 287 

similarly habited as Knights of the Shire. Their ap- 
proach was heralded by three trumpeters on horse- 
back, dressed in blue with silk jackets and jockey 
caps. The blue partizans carried staves decorated 
with their party colours, and about fifty banners 
fluttered on the breeze. 

After many attempts at speech-making, which 
were overpowered by opposing bands of music, the 
Sheriff eventually declared the candidates duly elected. 
The newly-elected knights were driven away in richly- 
painted chariots drawn by six horses sumptuously 
decorated with appropriate favours. Arriving at 
their respective hotels the members and their friends 
spent the remainder of the evening in feasting, con- 
viviality and health drinking. 

In 1831 the last election for the whole county took 
place in the Castle yard. The great Parliamentary 
Reform Bill of 1832, which took away the right of 
representation from fifty-six decayed or " rotten " 
boroughs, re-arranged the franchise system, and allotted 
members to counties or large towns which had not pre- 
viously sent members to Parliament. The qualifica- 
tion of householders in boroughs was established at 
10, and the county franchise was extended to lease- 
holders and copyholders. The same statute readjusted 
the electoral districts, and each of the three Ridings 
of Yorkshire was represented by two members. The 
results of the poll of the seventeen subsequent elections 
for the North Riding were declared in the Castle yard, 
the last occasion being in 1882, when the Hon. Guy C. 
Dawnay and Samuel Rowlandson were returned. 

By the Redistribution Act of 1885 the Ridings were 
divided into new Parliamentary Divisions and thus 
ceased the time-honoured election contests on the 
Castle Green. Year in, year out, little happens now 
within the grim encircling walls . All is peace, and almost 
silently the prison warders traverse the green as they 

288 The History of the Castle of York 

walk backwards and forwards to their quarters in the 
old Debtors' Prison. The stillness is only disturbed by 
occasional groups of curious tourists who pass through 
the portals of the massive gateway and for a while 
pause and listen to the amazing story which the cus- 
todian of Clifford's Tower relates with pride. They 
leave the precincts of the venerable keep thrilled 
with memories of bygone days and the place is again 

The last and most recent representative gathering 
of Yorkshiremen in the Castle yard took place on May 
12, 1910 ; when the Sheriff of the County, Mr. F. J. O. 
Montagu, proclaimed King George V. with ail due cere- 
mony. The Sheriff wore levee dress on the occasion, 
and the Lords Lieutenant their uniforms, and the 
liveried retinue of the Sheriff added a picturesque 
effect to the historic scene. Grouped on each side of 
the platform was a distinguished company of local 
dignitaries, including the Lord Mayor of York (Alder- 
man James Birch) and the Sheriff of the City (Coun- 
cillor Forster Todd), the Dean of York, County Magis- 
trates and other gentlemen. 

Before the scroll was read a couple of trumpeters 
sounded a fanfare. The proclamation was then read 
in clear and distinct tones, and on the High Sheriff 
declaring the final "God Save the King," the band 
in attendance struck up the National Anthem, which 
was afterwards sung by the boys of St. Peter's School, 
who stood at the base of the court steps. The assem- 
bled people took up the refrain, the trumpeters sounded 
another fanfare, and then the hoary walls resounded 
with lusty cheers for the new King. 




Norman Governors Sheriffs as constables John de Marshall 
displaced, 1190 Geoffrey de Nevill, keeper of King's 
Castles in Yorkshire, 1216-23 Robert de Nevill, con- 
stable, 1263 John de Lithegrains appointed, 1280 
John de Moubray, keeper of the city and county, 1312 
William le Latimer, keeper of the city, 1323 Henry de 
Faucomberge, constable, 1325, surrenders office Custody 
of Castle granted to Sir Henry Percy, 1470 Sir Robert 
Ryther appointed constable for life, 1478 Robert Ryther, 
keeper in 1636 Cliffords not hereditary constables 
Sheriffs' Roll. 

portant point, in his conquest and government 
of England, that the chief castles of the realm should 
be retained as royal castles. Their actual acquisition 
was always a matter of moment in the policy of both 
him and his successors so long as castles were of conse- 
quence. From the first he seems to have avoided 
the danger of uniting extensive hereditary juris- 
dictions ; and he governed the counties through the 
intervention of vice comites, or sheriffs, who were 
appointed, and could be displaced, at will. 

York Castle, like many other important Crown for- 
tresses, was a purely military bulwark, and one of 
great strategic value in the North ; hence the keeper- 
ship was invariably vested in the successive sheriffs of 
the county, who also had custody of other castles in 
their bailiwick. 


Military Governors and Constables 291 

William Malet, with Robert fitz Richard and Gilbert 
de Ghent, had charge of the first Norman fortress 
erected at York the Castle of the Old Baile. Malet 
had command of a strong garrison to secure possession 
of the city, and his name appears as the first sheriff 
of Yorkshire. In the autumn of 1068 he was attacked 
by the Northumbrians, but by the timely arrival of the 
King and his army the situation was saved. William 
the Conqueror strengthened his position at York by 
the erection of a second castle on the opposite bank 
of the Ouse, and left it in charge of William fitz Osbern, 
with Malet and Ghent as co-commanders of the two gar- 
risons. After the sacking of the castles and the capture 
of Malet by the Danes and Northumbrians in 1069, 
it seems Hugh fitz Baldric was appointed sheriff, and 
constable of the Castle. In 1072 William de Perci 
held the same office. 

Subsequent sheriffs of the Norman period it is 
presumed were military governors at York, respon- 
sible for the safety of the Castle and keeping it in 
repair. We occasionally find their names mentioned 
as governors during troublesome times or when special 
duties had to be performed. A few typical entries 
will help the reader to understand the manner in which 
the Castle and county were governed in mediaeval 

John de Marshall, the sheriff, who in a manner per- 
mitted the massacre of the Jews in the Castle in 1190, 
was displaced during his term of office, and Robert de 
Longchamp was appointed to the keepership, which he 
retained until Michaelmas 1191. 

Geoffrey de Nevill, who was sheriff from February 
4, 1216, to Michaelmas 1223, is described as keeper 
of the King's castles in Yorkshire. Robert de Crep- 
pinge, sheriff and governor from 1250 to 1253, unlaw- 
fully appropriated to the King's use as much land as 
was flooded yearly by the Royal Fishpond of Fosse. 

292 The History of the Castle of York 

This was an offence which the Master and Brethren 
of the Leper Hospital of St. Nicholas resented, 1 and 
many years elapsed ere they were permitted to enjoy 
their rights of pasturage. 

The affairs of the sheriff and Castle governor, Robert 
de Nevill, who held office in 1263, were not settled for 
some years, and in 1276 the following royal mandate 
is recorded 

" May 7, 1276. To the treasurer and barons of the 
Exchequer. Order to audit the account of Robert de 
Nevill for the time when he had the custody of York 
Castle, and to cause allowance to be made to him for 
the victuals and other things that he expended in the 
munition of the Castle, save the dead stock and other 
things that he found in the Castle, as the late King 
committed the Castle to Robert by letters patent in 
the time of the late disturbance in the realm, promis- 
ing that he would cause allowance to be made by an 
account to be made in the exchequer for the costs of 
Robert in victuals necessary for the munition of the 
Castle, saving to the said King the dead stock and 
other things in the Castle at the time of the commis- 
sion, for which Robert was to answer as above." 2 

King Edward I., November 15, 1280, appointed 
during pleasure, " John de Lithegrains to the custody 
of the county and Castle of York, so that he render 
yearly at the Exchequer as much as Alexander de 
Kirketon (1274-78) and Randolph de Dacre (127880), 
late sheriffs, used to do." 3 

In 1294 John de Byron, sheriff of Yorkshire, was 
styled " warden of the city of York." 

Gerard Salvayn, appointed sheriff in March 1311, 
held the office the succeeding year, and was aided in 
his arduous duties by the appointment, during the 

1 See "York: the Story of its Walls," pp. 68-72. 

2 Cal. Close Rolls, 1272-79, p. 283. 

3 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1272-81, p. 404. 

Military Governors and Constables 293 

King's pleasure, July 10, 1312, " of John de Moubray 
to be keeper of the city of York and of the entire 
county of York, for the preservation of the peace and 
tranquility of the people in that county, with power 
to inflict punishment on all ill-disposed persons and 
rebels." 1 

At this time the barons were struggling with 
their King, Edward II., to obtain a more constitutional 
form of government. They appeared in arms, cap- 
tured Piers Gaveston, the King's favourite, and put 
him to death. During the dissension there was an 
utter absence of all authority in the boroughs and 
throughout the country, lawlessness reigned supreme ; 
hence the following mandate to the keepers of the 
county of York 

" August 15, 1312. To John de Moubray, keeper 
of the county and city of York, and to Gerard Salvayn, 
sheriff of that county. Order to take the city and 
liberty of the same into the King's hands if it shall 
seem to them that it ought to be taken into the King's 
hands for default of custody heretofore or at this time, 
and to safely guard the same, arresting men of the city 
who are suspected of evil, and to detain them until 
the suspicion be removed. The King orders that if 
Henry de Percy or Robert de Clifford or any others 
who have withdrawn themselves from the King whom 
the said John and Gerard suspect of evil attempt to 
enter the city, the said John and Gerard shall in no 
wise distrain, etc." 2 

A perquisite of the sheriffs of this period is also 
recorded which perhaps is worth mentioning here 

" February 20, 1312. To the keeper of the Forest 
this side of Trent, or to him who supplies his place in 
the forest of Galtres. Order to assign to the sheriff of 
York what remains to be felled of the 100 oaks that 

1 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1307-13, p. 479. 

2 Cal. Close Rolls, 1307-13, p. 477. 

294 The History of the Castle of 4 York 

the King ordered to be felled in that forest for his fire- 
wood, and to permit him to fell them where least 
damage will be done to the forest and in places nearest 
York. 1 

In 1323 William le Latimer was appointed during 
the King's pleasure " to be keeper of the city of York, 
provided he retains with him twenty men at arms at 
the King's wages, for the better keeping of the said 
city ; power also for him to punish those whom he 
shall find disobedient in what concerns the said custody 
of the city." 2 A writ of aid for him was also dispatched 
to the mayor, bailiffs and whole commonalty of the 
said city. 

As the disastrous reign of Edward II. was fast 
drawing to a close, state officials were hurriedly ap- 
pointed and dismissed, in the King's unstable and 
feeble efforts to govern the country : " March 5, 1325. 
To Henry de Faucomberge. Order to send into chan- 
cery without delay to be cancelled the King's letters 
patent committing to him the custody of the county 
of York and the Castle of York from Easter next during 
the King's pleasure." 3 

On March 26, 1470, Edward IV. appears to have 
been at York and to have granted to Sir Henry Percy, 
knt., custody of all castles in Yorkshire including that 
of the Castle of York. 4 In November 1478, Sir Robert 
Ryther, knt., was appointed for life " constable of 
the Castle of York and a tower situated by it, both 
of which the King intends shortly to repair, and grant 
to him for life 20 marks yearly from the customs and 
subsidies in the port of Kyngeston on Hull, with all 
other profits pertaining to the office of constable." 5 

1 Cal. Close Rolls, p. 403. 

2 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1321-24, p. 234. 

3 Cal. Close Rolls, 1323-27, p. 261. 

4 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1467-77, p. 206. 

5 Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1476-85, p. 127. 

Military Governors and Constables 295 

In 1636 Robert Ryther, who we believe was the 
last of his race, was keeper or constable of the Castle, 
and he petitioned the King's Council, 1 praying that 
the House of Correction be built, as the gaol and Castle 
were insecure and prisoners escaped. 

The Castle works had been neglected and allowed 
to fall into decay. Its defensive towers were dilapi- 
dated and ruinous, and the once strong fortress was 
no longer found suitable for a military centre, but was 
merely used as the county prison. Clifford's Tower 
was the only portion left that could be utilized by the 
military, and for a few decades in the seventeenth 
century it was garrisoned and kept by governors. 2 

Drake, the historian of York, presumed that the 
members of the Clifford family were hereditary gover- 
nors or constables of the Castle. 3 He cites no author- 
ity for his belief, which is unfounded. Although most 
of the early records have been searched, we have not 
found that the Cliffords held any such appointment. 

As the Sheriffs of Yorkshire were the highest Crown 
officials in the county and had charge of the Castle 
all down the centuries, we venture to give an authentic 
list of sheriffs 4 which has been compiled by the 
archivists of the Public Record Office, London. 
For the information of archaeologists and others we 
may mention that Mr. Robert Hardisty Skaife, a 
painstaking Yorkshire antiquary, has compiled a 
list of Yorkshire sheriffs which contains voluminous 
biographical and other notes. This list is now in the 
possession of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society at 

1 State Papers, 1636-37, p. 307. 

2 See Chapter XIV. 

3 " Eboracum," p. 289. 

4 See Appendix K. 



Earliest mention of Gaol, 1205 Wage of gaolers First 
recorded gaoler, 1280 The Crown appoint gaolers High 
Sheriffs claim the right of appointment, 1549 and 1577 
Gaolers remunerated by prisoners' fees Felons to be 
discharged without paying fees, 1727 Office of gaoler 
not to be purchased, 1716 John Howard's prison reforms 
Gaolers styled governors, 1839 Prisons Act, 1878 
and its operations List of Gaolers and Governors from 
1280-1900, and particulars of their appointment. 

THE earliest mention of the gaol, within the Castle, 
occurs in 1205, the sixth year of King John's 
reign. During Henry III.'s reign payments to 
gaolers were frequently recorded on the Pipe Rolls, 
their wage being at that time one penny per day ; but 
their names do not appear. In 1280 we learn the 
name of the gaoler, Henry le Esqueler, and he heads 
our List of Gaolers compiled from State Papers and 
Local Records ; it gives some very interesting and 
curious details as to who were, and why they were 
appointed to the office of gaoler. The Crown generally 
granted the gaolership to some faithful servant, or 
to a soldier who had bravely served his King in some 
warring expedition. 

We, in our time, can hardly realize the callousness 
practised by these farming gaolers. They, free from 
government control, cruelly preyed upon their pris- 
oners, who, strange to say, had to pay a fee on entering 
gaol and another before the gaolers would set them 


Gaolers and Prison Governors 297 

free. Many were kept in prison after their terms of 
sentence had expired, because they were penniless 
and unable to fee or bribe their keepers for release. 

It was not till April n, 1727, that the Justices of 
Yorkshire ordered the gaoler at York to discharge 
felons on the expiration of their sentences without 
demanding a fee. The Parliament, indifferent to the 
reformation of prison life and having slight influence 
over the management of gaols, moved a little in 1716, 
when an Act was passed which imposed a fine of ^500 
on any one who purchased the office of gaoler. 

The cruelties and sufferings endured in the dungeon, 
particulars of which occasionally found their way into 
the apathetic social circle, aroused a few humane 
individuals to efforts at prison reform. 

The criminal law was so hopelessly corrupt that 
nothing of importance was achieved until John Howard, 
the prison philanthropist, devoted his life to a great 
crusade against the abuses of the system. In con- 
sequence of the information he laid before the House 
of Commons two bills were brought forward for the 
better regulation of prisons. The first of these enact- 
ments, passed March 31, 1774, declares that all pris- 
oners against whom no bills of indictment shall be 
found by the grand jury, or who shall be discharged 
by proclamation for want of prosecution, shall be 
immediately set at large in the open court, without pay- 
ment of any fee or sum of money to the sheriff or gaoler 
in respect of such discharge. The Act abolished all 
such fees for the future, and directed the payment in 
lieu of them, of a sum not exceeding 13$. 4^. out of 
the county rate or out of the public stock of cities 
and towns not contributing to such rate. 

Howard visited York Castle during the gaolership 
of William Clayton who, he states, received no official 

On August 17, 1839, an Act of Parliament was passed 

298 The History of the Castle of York 

allowing gaolers to be appointed under the style of 
governors. By the Prisons Act which came into 
operation April i, 1878, the sheriff's and magisterial 
authority ceased, and the government assumed entire 
control, and appointed the governors, of all prisons 
and gaols. 


A.D. 1280. HENRY LE ESQUELER was granted May 5 
during good behaviour, the bailiwick of the 
custody of the gate of York Castle and the 
custody of the prison of the said Castle. He 
was also Keeper of the King's Fishpond of 
Fosse. He received as much as other keepers 
had been paid (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1272-81^.369). 

A.D. 1304. GILBERT DE MILFORD, who had been 
deputed by the Sheriff (Simon de Kyme) to 
the custody of the gaol, was charged May 10, 
1304, with allowing and abetting the escape 
of certain prisoners (C.P.R., 1301-07, p. 224). 

A.D. 1332. HENRY MILES was appointed December 16 
to the custody of the gate of York Castle, 
without rendering anything therefor, with a 
proviso that he had not to be removed from 
such office except by the King's special man- 
date. On January 26, 1333, the King, Ed- 
ward III., revoked this appointment on learn- 
ing from the Sheriff of the County that there 
was a yearly charge of forty shillings against 
the Sheriff in his account for the custody of the 
said gate (C.P.R., 1330-34* PP- 3 8 4> 39 2 )- 
Miles was re-appointed on October 22, 1334, 
as the Treasurer and Barons of the Exchequer 
certified that nothing was answered at the 

Gaolers and Prison Governors 299 

Exchequer towards the farm of the said 
county for such custody (C.P.R., 1334-38, 
p. 36). Miles remained in office, and his 
Letters Patent under the great seal then in 
use were examined and attested May 12, 1341. 
(C.P.R., 1340-43, p. 192). 

A - D - T 339- JOHN DE TESDALE, for his good service in 
Scotland and beyond the seas, was granted 
November 29 the custody of the King's gaol 
in the Castle to hold during good behaviour, 
receiving the same as others in the office 
(C.P.R., 1338-40, p. 344). 

A.D. 1371. RICHARD DE SUTTON was porter of the 

of King Edward III., was granted March 15, 
during the King's pleasure, the office of porter 
of the gate of the Castle, in the room of 
Richard de Sutton, deceased. Botellerie 
was retained on the accession of Richard II. 
and his letters patent were inspected and con- 
firmed on behalf of the King, March 17, 1378 
(C.P.R., 1378, p. 169). This custodian of 
the gate lost his papers, and on December I, 
1389, he was allowed an attested copy of his 
original grant (C.P.R., 1389, pt. ii., p. 166). 

A.D. 1377. WILLIAM DE TYRYNGTON received Octo- 
ber 5, by grant of Richard II., the custody 
of the King's gaol within York Castle for life, 
personally or by deputy (C.P.R., 1377-81, 
p. 27). 

A.D. 1385. WILLIAM HALGATE. On December 3 
Tyryngton voluntarily surrendered the Keeper- 
ship by the assent of King Richard II., and 
granted his interest to William Halgate, who 
was permitted to hold it for his life, and if he 
died during the lifetime of Tyryngton then 

300 The History of the Castle of York 

his assigns were allowed to retain the office 
during the life of the said Tyryngton (C.P.R., 
1385-89, p. 60). The King on September 10, 
1388, unwittingly granted the keepership to 
William Stransell, one of the grooms of the 
chamber (C.P.R., 1385-89, p. 505). Halgate 
being disturbed in his possession of the 
office petitioned the King, who directed the 
Sheriff of Yorkshire to notify to Stransell to 
show cause why the grant of September 10, 
1388, should not be revoked. The Sheriff 
returned answer that Robert de Louthe, John 
de Askham and John de Lyndesey, bailiffs of 
York, reply that on summons by John de 
Kirkham and John de Sherman, both parties 
appeared in Chancery when the said Stransell 
could say nothing against the revocation ; 
whereupon it was decided, by the advice of 
the justices, Serjeants, and others of the King's 
Council, that the revocation should issue. 
The grant to Stransell was surrendered and 
revoked November 23, 1388 (C.P.R. 1385- 
89, p. 528). 

A.D. 1390. THOMAS UPTON, one of Richard II. 's 
butlers, was granted January 13 the office of 
porter of York Castle (C.P.R., 1390, pt. iii., 225). 

A.D. 1391. JOHN H ALTON was granted the office of 
porter of the gate with the usual fees, upon 
the surrender of letters patent granting the 
same to Thomas Upton, yeoman of the but- 
lery, at the latter's request (C.P.R., pt. ii., p. 
378). Halton was granted March 27, 1391, 
the office of gaoler of the Castle for life (C.P.R., 
1391, pt. ii., 391). 

A.D. 1392. SIMON ELVYNGTON was granted February 
20 the portership of the gate for life (C.P.R., 
pt. ii., p. 378). 

Gaolers and Prison Governors 301 

A.D. 1400. HENRY MAUNSELL, King's esquire, was 
appointed February 8 gaoler, and porter of the 
gate, with the accustomed fees, wages, and 
other profits for the offices of gaoler and 
keeper, and 2d. daily for the wages of porter 
of the hands of the sheriff of the county 
(C.P.R., 1400, p. 192). 

A.D. 1437. JOHN DE LEVENTHORP. A pardon was 
granted to John Leventhorp, otherwise called 
John de Leuenthorp of Clevyland, otherwise 
called John Leuenthorp of Clyveland, late 
gaoler and janitor of York Castle, otherwise 
called John Leuenthorp, gaoler of Lord Henry, 
late King of England, lather of the (present) 
King for the Castle of York, otherwise called 
John de Leuenthorp, esquire, dated June 20, 
1437 (15 Henry VI., Pardon Roll, m. iS). 1 

A.D. 1461. WILLIAM BARLAY was granted August 6 
the office of keeper of the gaol for life, with 
the accustomed fees. The like to the said 
William of the office of porter of the gate 
(C.P.R., 1461, p. 44). William Barlay was a 
mercer and citizen of York. He was admit- 
ted to his freedom in 1431 ; he was one of 
the city Chamberlains in 1447-48 ; Sheriff in 
1450-51 ; and M.P. 1461. He died in 1467, 
and was buried in St. Mary's Church, Castle- 
gate, near the tomb of his wife Alice, for 
whose admittance as a Sister of the Mercers' 
Guild XXd. was paid by her husband. His 
will, dated 27th Aug., 1467, was proved Oct. 7 
following. (Reg. Test. IV., fo. 189.) 

A.D. 1467. WILLIAM CLAYBROKE, the King's servant, 
yeoman of the King's larder, was granted 
September 4, for life, the custody of the gaol, 

1 " Wakefield House of Correction," by J. H. Turner, p. 39. 

302 The History of the Castle of York 

with the portership of the gate, with the 
accustomed fees (C.P.R., 1467-77, p. 333). 

A.D. 1468. JOHN HYNDE was granted June 8, for life, 
in lieu of a like grant to William Claybroke 
by letters patent, surrendered because invalid, 
the office of porter of the gate and the office 
of the custody of the gaol, with wages of 2d. 
daily from the issues of the County of York- 
shire and all other accustomed fees (C.P.R., 
1468, p. 92). 

A.D. 1471. THOMAS LITTON, the servant of King 
Edward IV., for his good services beyond the 
seas and in England was granted June 22, for 
life, the keepership of the gaol, with the 
accustomed fees (C.P.R., 1471, p. 260). 

A.D. 1472. JOHN STEVERS, the King's servant, was 
granted October 30, for life, the custody of the 
gaol with the portership of the gate with the 
accustomed fees (C.P.R., 1472, p. 362). 

A.D. 1476. JOHN LYOTT, yeoman, gaoler, was pardoned 
October 13 for allowing the escape of a pris- 
oner on September 26 named Joan William- 
son, and the consequent forfeiture of 100 
or other fine incurred by him was remitted 
(C.P.R., 1476, p. 3). 

A.D. 1483. HENRY HIXE was granted December 20, 

during King Richard III. 's pleasure, the office 

of porter of the gate, and the fee of 2d. daily 

at the hands of the receiver of the King's 

Lordship of Sheriff Hutton (Sherefhoton) 

co. York (C.P.R., 1483, p. 412). 

A.D. 1484. ROBERT NIGHTYNGALE was granted Janu- 
ary 8 during the King's pleasure the keeper- 
ship of the gaol with the accustomed fees as 
John Styvers had (C.P.R., 1484, p. 418). 

A.D. 1484. RICHARD MERSSHETON, the King's ser- 
vant, was granted April 17 the office of keeper 

Gaolers and Prison Governors 303 

of the gaol, with the accustomed fees as 
Robert Nightingale had in the office (C.P.R., 

I4H P- 392). 

A.D. 1485. JOHN LABEROK was granted April 5 the 
office of gaoler and custody of the gate, receiv- 
ing 2d. daily for the office of porter from the 
issues of the Castle and Lordship of Sheriff 
Hutton, with the accustomed fees for the 
custody of the gaol and all other profits 
(C.P.R., 1485, p. 532). 

A.D. 1537. . . . BUCOCK, gaoler of the Castle (C. 
State Papers, 1537, p. 323). 

A.D. 1541. MILES WHITELL, keeper of the gaol. 

A.D. 1541. CHRISTOPHER CHAPMAN, a yeoman of the 
guard, was granted in October the keepership 
of the gaol, and the herbage on the earth- 
banks within the precincts of the Castle 
(C. State Papers, 1541, grants 1308, 32). 

A.D. 1549. WILLIAM TYNDALL. In the Acts of the 
Privy Council of England (1549, v l- 2 > P- 
405) it is recorded March 4 that : " Letters 
to therle of Shrewisbury, Lord Presydent 
in the Northe, to heare the mattier in question 
betwene Sir William Caverley, Shrief of York- 
shire, and William Tyndall touching the kep- 
ing of the Castell and Gaoll of York, wherof 
Tyndall pretendeth to have letters patentes." 

A.D. 1557. OSWALD WILKINSON, appointed gaoler 
(Twyford, p. 69). 

A.D. 1558. ROBERT LEE, appointed jointly with Wil- 
kinson. Oswald Wilkinson appears to have 
been considered a seditious person. A news- 
writer, in a communication sent from York, 
February 6, 1569-70, and addressed to 
Sir William Cecil, speaks of him as follows : 
' Amongst other Rebells of the northe partes 
sent uppe as prisoners, there is one, Oswald 

304 The History of the Castle of York 

Wilkinson, Jaylor or keper of the castle of 
Yorke ; of whom I of conscience am enforced 
to advertise you as followethe which is un- 
doubted trewthe. This man assuredlye is 
the most pernicious, railinge, and obstinate 
papiste in all this countrie, so reputed and 
taken of all men, and therein he gloriethe. 
A lytle before this late rebellion burste owte, 
he openly ware the ensigne and badge of 
thordre of those rebelles, which Markenfield 
and the rest dyd weare, yt was a great cruci- 
fyx of gold about his necke. And journeing 
towards the sowthe about the erles busynes 
as is suspecteth, at Newarke uppon Trente, 
did openly and stowtely pronounce and 
utter, in the heringe of Mr. Henrison, 
Alderman of that towne, that within four 
dayes the masse shold be as openly said in 
Yorkeshire, and as frely for all men to repaire 
unto, as ever the Communion was ; which he 
colde not knowe excepte he had bene of the 
conspiracie or privie therunto. Of this I 
have witnesses, Gregorie Paicocke, Alderman 
of Yorke, Raufe Micklethwaite, William 
Broke, merchants and others " (Cal. Domestic 
Papers, Addenda, Elizabeth, vol. xvii). Wil- 
kinson was tried as a traitor in 1570, 
and on November 28, 1572, he was drawn 
from the Tower of London to Tyburn, and 
there hanged and quartered. 

A.D. 1571. PETER PENNANT was appointed by Char- 
ter of Queen Elizabeth. The document 
informs us that he was " Keeper of the gaol 
and the office of keeper of the Castle of York, 
and the grass within the precincts of the 
Castle with all cellars, houses, barns, stables, 
gardens, and the property of all prisoners and 

Gaolers and Prison Governors 305 

persons by the mandate of the Counsel with 
the fees purtaining to the office." The High 
Sheriffs of Yorkshire from time immemorial 
were primarily responsible for the safe-keep- 
ing of the prisoners in the Castle gaol and 
they occasionally contended that it was their 
prerogative and privilege to appoint the 
resident gaoler. Amongst the Acts of the 
Privy Council of England (vol. x, p. 144) we 
find several notices referring to such disputes. 
The Clerk of the Council was requested on 
January 13, 1577, to write the following : 
:< To the Justices of Assize in the county of 
Yeorke, where there is a controversie betwixt 
Mr. Peter Pennant, one of her Majesties 
foure Gentlemen Ushers, of the one partie 
and the Sherife of Yeorkeshire in the other 
partie, about the use of the gaole and prisoners 
there, Mr. Pennant clayming by her Majes- 
ties Letters Patentes and the Sherife by his 
office, they be required to take viewe of the 
said Patent, and thereupon to pronounce 
their judgment in lawe, and the same to 
signifie unto their Lordships under their 
hands, that thereuppon furder order may be 
taken for a quiet ende without contencion 
in lawe" (Acts of the Privy Council of Eng- 
land, vol. x, p. 144). 

The dispute was again before the Privy 
Council, April 14, 1578. "A letter to the 
Lord Chief Justice of England, Lord Chief 
Justice of the Common Pleas and Mr. Attor- 
ney and Sollicitour Generall, or any three of 
them, that wheras there is some controversie 
for the keeping of the Castell and Gaile of the 
cite of Yorke betwene Piers Pennant, one 
of her Highnes' Gentlemen Ushers, who pre- 

306 The History of the Castle of York 

tendeth a graunt of that office by her Majes- 
tie's Letters Patentes, and Sir William Fair- 
ffax, knight, who uppon pretence of being 
High Sheriff for the time of the Count ie of 
Yorke, hath of late empeached the said 
Pennant and his deputie in the exercise of 
the said office ; they also required, insomuch 
as the said Pennant cannot (sic) to foil owe 
the lawe by reason of his continuall attend- 
ance about the service of her Majesties per- 
son, uppon the perusing of his Letters Pa- 
tentes and such inform acions as he shall 
deliver unto them in that behalf, to sende 
their opinions unto their Lordships touching 
the validitie of the grant aforesaid, and what 
order they thincke meete to be taken betwene 
the said Pennant and the Sheriffes for the 
time being for both their satisfactions and 
discharges, that theruppon their Lordships 
(etc.) " (Acts of P.C. of E. vol. x, p. 212). 

The Privy Council further considered the 
matter on July 7, 1578, and the following was 
addressed to the Earl of Huntingdon, Presi- 
dent of the Council of the North at York : 
' A letter to the Erie of Huntingdon that 
wheras uppon inform acion heretofore geven 
unto their Lordships by Pieres Pennant, one 
of Gentlemen Ushers of her Majesties Cham- 
ber, that he havinge by her Majestie's 
Letters Patentes graunted unto him the 
office of the keepinge of the Castell and gaole 
of Yorke, his Deputie nevertheless was em- 
peached in the exercise thereof by Sir Wm. 
Fairfax, knight e, Highe Sheriff e for this yere 
of that count ie, claiming interest thereto 
under pretence of keepinge of such prisoners 
as during his Sherifwicke he should be charged 

Gaolers and Prison Governors 307 

with ; their Lordships referred the same to 
the two Lordes Chiefe Justices and her Ma- 
jesties learned Counsell, that uppon perusinge 
of the said Letters Patentes they should 
advertise their Lordships of their opinions 
therein what were convenient to be done in 
lawe, who having retorned aunswer accord- 
inglie, the copie wherof their Lordships sende 
herin inclosed, his Lordship is required 
uppon consideracion therof accordinge to the 
same to take some such composicion and 
order bet wen e the said Piers Pennant and 
Sir Win. Fairffax as male reason ablie suffice 
to save him and the Sheriffe for the tyme 
being harmeless for such prisoners as sholbe 
committed to that place, and the said Pen- 
nant be not frustrated of the benefit of her 
Majestie's said graunte, as by enteringe uppon 
the said office and the profites therto belong- 
inge he enformeth hath ben heretofore don 
by the said Sir Wm. Fairffax, etc., for which 
his Lordship ys requred to take some reason- 
able order and composicion betwene them " 
(Acts of P.C. of E., 1577-78, p. 279). 
A.D. 1596. ROBERT REDHEAD is recorded as the gaoler 
this year, though the date of his appointment 
has not been discovered ; he may have been 
Pennant's immediate successor. Redhead 
was a notorious character. His name appears 
frequently in the Cecil Manuscripts at Hat- 
field House, and, strange to relate, he 
was imprisoned in his own gaol. He was 
overbearing and grasping, and on every 
possible occasion extorted money from his 
prisoners. By every subtle pretext he 
callously and cruelly illtreated those prisoners 
who were unable to bribe him. His insolent 

308 The History of the Castle of York 

demeanour and defiant attitude towards the 
Council of the North was a subject of com- 
plaint and much correspondence. 1 He evi- 
dently amassed a small fortune by his nefari- 
ous practices, and was subsequently styled a 
" gentleman," and permitted to bear arms. 
William Dethick, Garter King of Arms, 
declares : " he is to take generall notice and 
to make declaration and testimony for all 
matters of armes and pedegrees honour and 
Revalry, and having intellegence that Robert 
Redhead, gentleman, one of the shewers in 
ordinarie of Her Majestie's Chamber now 
castellan or keeper of the Castle of Yorke, 
sonne of Bartholomew Redhead of Sheriff- 
Hutton in the countie of Yorke is seeking to 
advance his name and fortune he William 
by order of our Sovereigne Lady Queene 
Elizabeth, presents him with a coat of armes ; 
dated the tenth day of May in ye ffortieth 
yeare of ye Reigne of our Sovereigne Lady 
Elizabeth by ye grace of God Queene of Eng- 
land, France and Ireland, Defender of ye 
faith and anno Dom. 1598. 
William Dethick, Garter, 

Principall King of Armes." 2 

SON on July 23, 1604, assigned the keepership 
of the gaol of and Castle of York to 
(Cal. St. P., 1603-10, p. 137). 

A.D. 1604. WILLIAM WHARTON. On November 14, 
1604, a grant was made to Ellis Rothwell, 
of the fines imposed on William Wharton, 
late gaoler of York, for suffering Brian Met- 

1 Cal. MSS. of the Marquis of Salisbury, parts VI. and VII. 

2 Twyford, p. 70. 

Gaolers and Prison Governors 309 

calfe, convicted of praemunire, and William 
Mush, a seminary priest, to escape from the 
Castle (C.S.P., 1603-10). 

A.D. 1610. ANTHONY BENIN, the King's footman, 
appears as gaoler this year (Twyford, p. 71). 

A.D. 1613. JOHN GILBERT was granted July 2 the 
office of keeper of York Castle, for life (C.S.P., 
1611-18, p. 189). 

A.D. 1617. SAMUEL HALES was granted February 8 
the office of keeping York Prison, for sixty 
years (C.S.P., 1611-18, p. 432). 

A.D. 1631. WILLIAM HAMMOND, gaoler of York 
Castle, deceased, interred in St. Mary's 
Church, Castlegate, York, February 24, 
1631-2 (Church Registers). 

A.D. 1636. ANTHONY BLANCHE, keeper of the King's 
Prison in York Castle, wrote to the Council 
of State this year. 

A.D. 1643. ( ) GRYMSTONE, keeper of the Castle 

(Twyford, p. 118). 



who had been appointed gaolers by the High 
Sheriff, appear in a petition forwarded by 
Dunkirk prisoners, October 3, to the Admir- 
alty Commissioners (Cal. S.P., 1657-58, p. 118). 

A.D. 1660. FRANCIS FARBANK. In various records 
the name of Farbank occurs as gaoler this year. 

A.D. 1661. RICHARD LEGARD. After the Restoration 
of Charles II. it seems the Cromwellian gaolers 
were dispossessed of their office. In 1617 
the keepership had been granted to Samuel 
Hales for sixty years, in 1661 the Royalists 
recognized his rights, and granted the rever- 

310 The History of the Castle of York 

sion of the office of keeper of the gaol and 
Castle, to Richard Legard for thirty-one 
years (C.S.P., 1661-62, p. 24). 

Henry Harrington, in 1665, petitioned the 
King, Charles II., for the keeper ship of York 
Castle ; pleading that he had followed his 
Majesty in all hazards and countries, through 
many imprisonments and wants, but had 
only unfortunate disappointments after 
gracious promises (C.S.P., 1665-66, p. 149). 
With what success the petitioner was favoured 
does not appear. 

A.D. 1684. MARMADUKE BUTLER, gaoler. 

gaolers (Oliver Hey wood's Diary). 

A.D. 1693 (c). JOHN BUTLER, gaoler (Twyford, p. 78). 

A.D. 1709. ( ) ASH, gaoler. 

A.D. 1709-18 (c). E. CHIPPENDALE, gaoler. 

A.D. 1731 (c). RICHARD WOODHOUSE, gaoler. 

A.D. 1740 (c). THOMAS GRIFFITH, " once Governor 
of the Castle, now a debtor, buried November 
10, 1751 " (Registers St. Mary's Church, 
Castlegate, York). 

A.D. 1756-1772. THOMAS WHARTON, gaoler. His will 
was proved at York in 1779. 

A.D. 1772-1799. WILLIAM CLAYTON, gaoler, succeeded 
Wharton, arid held the office at the time 
Howard, the Prison Philanthropist, visited 
the Castle in 1774. Clayton, who had ori- 
ginally entered York Castle as a debtor, hailed 
from Sheffield. He passed, after his enlarge- 
ment, through various subordinate offices 
of trust in the Castle, and, subsequently, 
was appointed to the responsible position of 
chief gaoler. He was a most humane official 
and was described as being compassionately 
disposed towards his prisoners, and not 

Gaolers and Prison Governors 3 1 1 

infrequently he showed them kindnesses. 
The Yorkshire Gazette records his demise 
February 23, 1799 : " Died, greatly and 
deservedly respected, Mr. Willam Clayton, 
who had held the office of gaoler of York 
Castle. . . . This worthy and estimable 
man was placed in a position which afforded 
him the means of succouring the afflicted, the 
unfortunate, and oft-times criminal members 
of the community, and by such adequate 
justice was his indulgence shown that we 
believe that no prisoner who has been in his 
custody ever complained of his treatment ; 
and as a still higher tribute to his worth we 
believe we are justified in saying that from 
the general confidence in his integrity more 
debtors have by small sums entrusted to his 
disposal been released from confinement than 
by any other man in this kingdom." 

A.D. 1799-1805. WILLIAM STAVELEY. Sir Rowland 
Winn, Bart., Sheriff of Yorkshire, appointed 
William Staveley, son-in-law to the late 
William Clayton, to succeed to the vacant 
office. He had acted as under gaoler for 
seven years. 

A.D. 1805-1824. CHRISTOPHER STAVELEY, appointed 
gaoler by the Magistrates. He held the 
keepership until his resignation and retire- 
ment on a pension in 1824. 

A.D. 1824-1840. JAMES SHEPHERD, who had been 
Governor of Wakefield House of Correction 
from January 16, 1817, was appointed gaoler 
in March 1824, when in his 39th year. He 
came of a remarkable family which at one 
period held the governorships of four York- 
shire gaols. His father, Thomas Shepherd, 
was governor of Northallerton Gaol ; his 

3 1 2 The History of the Castle of York 

brother Samuel was governor of Beverley 
Gaol ; his brother Thomas succeeded him at 
Wakefield ; and another brother, William, 
was appointed in his father's stead at North- 
allerton. His nephews subsequently held 
various governorships in Yorkshire. James 
Shepherd resigned his post at York Castle in 
1840, and a nephew was elected to succeed 
him, but the High Sheriff by his prerogative 


appointed John Noble, the deputy-governor 
at York, to the vacant office. 

A.D. 1840-1863. JOHN NOBLE, who had married the 
sister of the preceding governor, and had 
been deputy-governor from October 1831, 
was appointed-governor in March 1840, by 
the High Sheriff, Sir Thomas A. C. Constable. 
He held the post until his death, May 29, 1863. 

A.D. 1863-1878. CAPTAIN W. F. LOWRIE was ap- 
pointed governor by the magistrates in July 

Gaolers and Prison Governors 3 1 3 

1863, the High Sheriff, John Hope Barton, 
Esq., agreeing with their decision. Captain 
Lowrie died in June, 1878. 

A.D. 1878-1883. CAPTAIN A. W. TWYFORD. On 
April i, 1878, the Prisons of the United King- 
dom passed under the'" "direct control of the 


State, and the Right Hon. the Home Secre- 
tary, on behalf of the Prison Commissioners, 
appointed Captain Twyford to the governor- 
ship, which he resigned in 1883. 
A.D. 1883-1885. ROBERT E. TRIFFITT, the deputy- 
governor, was appointed governor December 

314 The History of the Castle of York 

13, 1883, and held the office until his death, 
March 8, 1885. 

A.D. 1885-1887. ROBERT W. BOYCE, governor of 
Usk Gaol, Monmouthshire, appointed to 
York Castle, March 1885 ; he died in 1887. 

A.D. 1887-1890. JAMES HENRY SHEPHERD, son of 
Alfred Shepherd, governor of Beverley 
(nephew of James Shepherd, governor of York 
Castle, 1824-1840), was appointed to York 
February 21, 1887. Previous to his removal 
to York he had been deputy-governor at 
Beverley, 1872-77 ; deputy-governor at 
Hull, 1877 ; deputy at Clerkenwell with 
Newgate, July 1882 until Clerkenwell Prison 
was closed in 1886 ;> he then was removed 
to Hollo way, being still deputy of Newgate. 
He was transferred from York to Chelmsford 
in September 1890 ; to Armley Gaol, Leeds, 
in April 1896, retiring from the latter Sep- 
tember 30, 1903, with a pension, having 
served as a gaol officer forty-four years. 

A.D. 1890-1900. EDWIN TAYLOR, governor of Ayles- 
bury Prison, appointed to York in October 
1890. Ten years later he was " transferred 
on promotion " to Northallerton Gaol, and 
commenced his duties there July 31, 1900. 
At this date the Prison of York Castle was 
discontinued as a civil gaol and handed over 
to the War Department to be used as a 
Military Prison. 


APPENDIX A (see p. 127). 

THO. HESKETH, 29^ Oct. 1603. 1 

Articles concluded and agreed upon the 29th Daye of Octo- 
ber in the yeres of the Raigne of our Soveryne Lord James 
by the grace of God kinge of England, Scottland, France and 
Ireland, that is to witt of England France and Ireland the 
First and of Scottland the 3yth. Betwene Sir Thomas Hesketh 
of Heslington in the Countie of Yorke, Knight on the one 
partie, and John Preistley and Jonas Waterhouse Esquires 
for and on the behalf of David Waterhous, Esq. Steven Water- 
hous and John Milner, Gent, on the other partie. 

First it is agreed betwene the said parties that the said 
David Waterhouse, Stephen Waterhouse and John Milner 
and everye other person claymenge from by or under them 
or anye of them shall at or before the feast of the Purificacon 
of the Virgyn Marye next Comenye sumcientlie convey and 
assure unto the said Sir Thomas Hesketh and his heires all 
those the Water Corne Milnes Commonlie called the Castell 
Milnes situate and beinge nere to the Castle of Yorke withall 
the suite soken, waters, watercourses, stagnes, mildames, 
banckes, fludgates and hereditaments thereunto belonginge 
and all the Patentes writinges and evidences concernenge 
onelie the same which the said David Waterhous hath or may 
lawefullie come by without suite, if the said Sir Thomas Hes- 
keth be then Livinge, and if he be not, then to Dame Julyan 
now his wife for tearme of her lief, the remenynder to Cuthbert 
Hesketh younger brother of the said Sir Thomas and his heires 
for ever, The said assurance to be made with warrantie against 

1 This indenture is printed by the kind permission of Lord Deramore, 
Heslington Hall. 


316 Appendices 

them and theire heires and discharged or saved harmeles of 
incumbrances done by them, or anye of them or by John Mans- 
feild, Esq. deceased his executors or assignes or by anye clay- 
menge from them. 

Item it is agreed that the said David Waterhous shall 
sheweforth to the said Sir Thomas Hesketh at his chamber 
in Graye's Inne on the 25th daye of Januarie next comenge 
the Letters Patentes of the inheritance of the said Milnes 
graunted by the late queene Elizabeth or a true copie thereof 
and all the meane conveyances thereof since the said Letters 
Patentes made, and allsoe the leasse or a true copie thereof 
by which Andrewe Trewe and Peter Currer or the one of them 
did clayme the said Milnes and the order concernenye the 
same made by Sir John Fortiscue, Knight, and the assigne- 
mentes releasses and surrenders made thereof by the said 
Andrew Trewe and Peter Currer to the said John Mansfeild 
or to anye other person or persons by the consent of the said 
John Mansfeild if anye such be to t'hend the said Sir Thomas 
may take consideracon of such assurance as he will accept of 
the said Milnes. 

Item it is agreed that the said Sir Thomas Hesketh shall 
have the present possession of the said Milnes and of the profites 
thereof as well such as have bene percyved and taken since 
Michaelmas as such as shalbe hereafter perceaved and taken 
untill the eight daye of Februarye next to his owne use payenge 
the ordinarye charges, viz. the Milner's wage and Dyett and 
the reparacons thereof and of the banckes waterworkes clowes 
and fludgates soe farre as the said promts will extend, and 
likewise shall have to his owne use all the implements and 
furniture belonginge to the said Milnes and the boate which 
is perteynenge to the same, and the stones and tymber which 
lieth in or nere the said Milne, and is or was provided for the 
reparacons thereof, the Milnestones which lye upon the banck 
onelie excepted and shall have assurance thereof from the said 
David Waterhous accordinglie. 

In consideracion whereof it is agreed that the said Sir Tho- 
mas Hesketh shall paye to the said David Waterhouse the 
some of Seaven Hundred Poundes, of which some the said Sir 
Thomas hath in hand paid to the said John Preistley and Jonas 
Waterhous to the use of the said David at their seallinge hereof 
the some of Five hundred poundes, and yett not withstandinge 
because the said assurance maye not take effect beinge hin- 
dred eyther by the Act of God or by the refusall of the said 
Sir Thomas for want of sufficient assurance to be made thereof 

Appendices 317 

as aforesaid, therefore the said John Preistley and Jonas Water- 
hous have entred into Bond for the repayement of the said 
some of Five hundred poundes on the eighth day of Februarye 
next, But if the said Sir Thomas doe before the said daye 
accept anye assurance or conveyance of the premisses from the 
said David, Stephen, and John Milner, Then it is agreed that 
the said Sir Thomas shall Delyver the said Bond to the said 
David Waterhouse to be cancelled and made voide, soe that 
the said David will acknowledge the receipt of the said some 
of 500 li. 

Item it is agreed that the said Sir Thomas shall at the 
tyme of the makinge of the said assurance and conveyance 
enter a sufficient Bond of foure hundred poundes to the said 
David Waterhous with sureties if the said David shall require 
the same for the payement of two hundred poundes more in 
full satisfacon for the said Milnes in and upon the 25th daye 
of March next Comenge att the place called Haxbie Tombe in 
the Cathedrall Church of Yorke. 

Item it is lastlie agreed that if noe assurance be made to 
the said Sir Thomas either beinge hyndred by the Act of God 
or in default of assurance to be made as aforesaid then upon 
the payement of the said some of five hundreth poundes by 
the said John Priestley and Jonas Waterhous upon the said 
eight Daye of Februarye to the said Sir Thomas, his execu- 
toures or assynes the said Sir Thomas shall Delyver or cause 
to be delyvered to the said David Waterhous or to such as he 
shall appoint to his use to receyve the same the full possession 
of the said Milnes with the said implements and furniture 
thereof and the said Boate, if the said Sir Thomas shall have 
the same delyvered unto him, all of them to te in as good case 
as the said Sir Thomas shall Receave the same reasonable 
wearinge and such casualties as shall happen by the Act of 
God onelie excepted. In witnes whereof the parties above- 
said to thies presents Interchangeablie have setttheire hands 
and seals the Daye and yere first above written. 

Sealled and Delivered in the presence of 





318 Appendices 

APPENDIX B (see p. 134). 


EDWARDUS Dei gratia Rex Anglie, Dominus Hibernie et Dux 
Aquitanie, custodibus terrarum et tenementorum Templario- 
rum in Comitatu Eboraci in manu nostra existencium, 
salutem. Cum nos volentes dilectum vobis in Christo Thomam 
de Norton capellanum in capella Templariorum apud molen- 
dina eorundem juxta Castrum nostrum Eboraci, divina cele- 
brantem, qui, pro stipendiis suis ibidem sex marcas ad ter- 
minos sancti Martini et Pentecostes de redditibus ad capellam 
predictam pertinentibus annuatim percipit, favore prosequi 
gracioso, concesserimus ei quod ipse ex nunc singulis annis 
divina ibidem celebrando, ultra predictas sex marcas, duas 
marcas ad festa predicta per equales porciones percipiat de 
redditibus supradictis prout in litteris nostris patentibus 
eidem Thome inde confectis plenius continetur ; Vobis man- 
damus, quod eidem Thome dictas duas marcas ultra predictas 
sex marcas, ex nunc, singulis annis ad dictos terminos, de 
redditibus predictis habere faciatis, juxta tenorem litterarum 
nostrarum predictarum. Et nos vobis inde in compoto vestro 
debitam allocacionem habere faciemus. 

Teste me ipso apud Eboracum, XXX. die Maii anno regni 
nostri quinto. 

Per ipsum Regem, nuncio Rogero de Northburgh. 

APPENDIX C (see p. 180). 


May i ^th, 1662. 

{Tbi6 5nt>enture made the fifteenth day of May in the 
fourteenth yeare of the Raiyne of our Soveraigne Lord CbarlCS 
the second by the grace of God of England, Scotland, France 
and Ireland King, defender of the faith Anno. Dom. 1662. 
Betweene Robert Moore of ... in the county of ... and 
Thomas Moore of Kingston upon Hull in the County of ... 
eldest sonn and heire apparant of the said Robert Moore of 
th'one party, John Scott of the parish of St. Martin's in the 

Appendices 319 

feildes in the county of Middlesex Esq. ; Henry Thomson of 
the parrish of St. Johns att Owzbridge end in the Citie of 
Yorke Merchant, and John Loftus of the Citie of Yorke Draper 
of th'other party. Whereas our late Soveraigne Lord King 
James by his highnesse Letters Pattents bereing date the 
Fourteenth day of January in the twelfth yeare of his reigne ; 
H>ffc grant unto Edmund Duffeild and John Babington and 
their heires (amongst other thinges), All that his peice of land 
situate lying and being in the City of Yorke called Clifford's 
Tower, or Clifford's Tower Hill, contayning by estimation 
Three acres (be it more or lesse) of the yearly rent of foure 
pence ; and all and singular Messuages, houses, edifices, build- 
ings, and other the appurtenances thereto belonging, as in and 
by the said Letters Patents relation being thereunto had may 
appear. BtlD whereas the said Edmund Duffeild and John 
Babington by their deede indented bearing date the Nine and 
twentieth day of November in the thirteenth yeare of the 
reigne of the said late King James over England etc. bave 
granted and conveyed the said parcell of ground and premises 
unto Francis Darley 1 Esq. and his heires, which said Francis 
Darley is since deade, leaving issue Edith his only daughter 
and heire, who was afterwards married unto the said Robert 
Moore, by whom she had issue the said Thomas Moore her 
eldest sonne and heire ; and is since deade. IftOW this Inden- 
ture witnesseth, That as well for and in consideration of the 
sum of two hundred and seaventie pounds of lawfull money 
of England to the said Robert and Thomas Moore in hand 
paid by the said John Scott, Henry Thomson and John Loftus, 
before the sealing and delivery of these presents, whereof and 
wherewith they the said Robert Moore and Thomas Moore 
doo, and each of them doth hereby acknowledge the receipt, 
and themselves and either of them fully satisfied contended 
and paid ; And thereof and of every part and parcell thereof 
doo and each of them doth thereby and absolutly exonerate 
acquitt and for ever discharge them the said John Scott, 
Henry Thomson, and John Loftus their heires executors and 
administrators and every of them by these presents, as also 
for divers other good causes and considerations them there- 
unto especially moving ; They the said Robert Moore and 
Thomas Moore, baVC granted released and Confirmed, And 
by these presents doe grant release and confirme unto the 
said John Scott Henry Thomson and John Loftus in their 

1 There was a Francis Darley, Bailiff of the Liberty of St. 
Mary's, York, 1609. 

320 Appendices 

actuall possession thereof now being by virtue of a Bargaine 
and sale for one yeare to them thereof made by the said Robert 
Moore and Thomas Moore by Indenture bearing date the day 
before the date of these presents, And by force of the Statute 
made for transferring uses into possession, and to their heires 
and assignes for ever. HI I that peece or parcell of ground 
contayning by estimation Three acres, more or lesse, com- 
monly called Clifford's Tower Together with the Tower there- 
upon erected and builded, situate lying and being within the 
City of Yorke, And all and singular Messuages, houses, edi- 
fices, buildings, barnes, stables, dovehouses, orchards, gardens, 
lands, tenements, rights, jurisdictions, franchises, liberties, 
priviledges, profitts, commodities, advantages, emoluments, 
and hereditaments whatsoever with the appurtennances, as 
well spirituall as temporall of what kinde, nature or sorte 
soever the same are or bee, and by whatsoever names or addi- 
tions they are knowne named or called, situate lying and 
being, coming growing, or increasing within the said place and 
City and within the County of Yorke and County of the City 
of Yorke or in any of them, to the said parcell of ground Tower 
and other the premises above by these presents bargained and 
sold, or to any of them in any wise belonging or appertayning 
or as part parcell or member of the same or any of them now 
are or att any time heretofore had knowne accepted occupied 
used or reputed : And the Reversion and Reversions, Re- 
mainder and Remainders, together with the Rents issues and 
profitts of all and singular the premises, and of every part and 
parcell thereof, And all the estate right title interest clayme 
and demand whatsoever of them the said Robert Moore and 
Thomas Moore or either of them of in and to the premisses 
and every part and parcell thereof, Together with all deedes 
evidences and writings, touching and concerning the same ; 
which they the said Robert Moore and Thomas Moore or 
either of them have, or hath, or may or can lawfully come by 
without suite in lawe. {0 bavC 811$ to bolt) the said parcell 
of ground and Tower aforesaid and all and singular other the 
premisses and every part and parcell thereof with their and 
every of their rights members and appurtenances unto the 
said John Scott Henry Thomson and John Loftus their heires 
and assignes for ever, to th'onely proper use and behoof e of 
them the said John Scott Henry Thomson and John Loftus 
their heires and assignes for ever. !Hn) the said Robert 
Moore and Thomas Moore doe for themselves their heires 
executors and administrators and every of them jointly and 

Appendices 321 

severally, Covenant promise grant and agree, to and with the 
said John Scott, Henry Thomson and John Loftus their heires 
executors and administrators by these presents, in manner 
and forme following (that is to say) That they the said Robert 
Moore and Thomas Moore or the one of them is, or are att the 
time of the ensealing and delivery of these presents, lawfully, 
solely and rightfully seized of a good, pure, absolute and inde- 
feizable estate of Inheritence in Fee simple, without any man- 
ner of condition, power, of revocation limitation of use or uses 
to alter change determine or make voide the same, of, in and 
upon all and singular the said parcell of ground Tower and 
other the premises with their and every of their rights members 
and appurtenances, and every part and parcell thereof ; And 
that they or some of them have, or hath good right full power 
and lawfull and absolute authoritie, to grant release and Con- 
firme the same unto the said John Scott Henry Thomson and 
John Loftus their heirs and assignes for ever. 2ln& that it 
shall and may be lawfull to and for them the said John Scott 
Henry Thomson and John Loftus their heires and assignes 
from time to time and att all times hereafter from henceforth 
for ever, peaceably and quietly to have, hold use occupie 
possesse and enjoy the said parcell of ground, Tower and all 
and singular other the premises and every part and parcell 
thereof, with their and every of their rightes members and 
appurtenances, without any lawfull lett suite trouble eviction 
interruption disturbance, clayme or demand whatsoever of or 
by them the said Robert Moore and Thomas Moore or either 
of them their or either of their heires executors administrators 
or assignes, or of or by any other person or persons lawfully 
clayming by from or under them or either or any of them, or 
by from or under the said Francis Darley deceased his heirs or 
assignes or any of them ; And that cleare and free, and clearly 
and freely acquitted exonerated and for ever discharged, or 
otherwise upon reasonable request, well and sufficiently war- 
ranted defended saved and kept harmlesse by them the said 
Robert Moore and Thomas Moore their heirs or assignes or 
some of them, of and from all former and other guifts, grantes 
bargaines, sales, leases, estates, jointures, dowers, title and 
title of dower, uses, wills, intayles, fees, annuities, rents, in- 
trusions, fines, amerciaments, Statutes Merchant and of the 
Staple, Recognizances, Judgments, extents, Executions, for- 
feitures, cause, and causes of forfetures seizures and Reprisalls, 
and of and from all other titles, troubles, charges, and incum- 
brances whatsoever, att anytime heretofore had, made, done 


322 Appendices 

caused, occasioned, committed, or suffered, or hereafter to be 
had made done caused occasioned committed or suffered by 
them the said Robert Moore and Thomas Moore or either of 
them ; their or either of their heires, executors administrators 
or assignes or any of them, or by the said Francis Darley 
deceased his heires or assignes or any of them, or by any other 
person or persons by their or either or any of their meanes, act, 
title, assent, consent, privitie or procurement. BnO furtbcr 
That they the said Robert Moore and Thomas Moore and 
their heires and all others clayming under them or either of 
them, or any of them shall and will from time to time, and 
att all -times hereafter during the space of Seaven yeares next 
ensuing the date hereof, upon the reasonable request, and att 
the onely cost and charges in the Lawe of the said John Scott, 
Henry Thomson and John Loftus their heires or assignes, make, 
doe, acknowledge, levy, execute and suffer, or cause to be 
made, done, acknowledged, levied, executed and suffered, 
all and every such further and other lawfull and reasonable 
act and acts, thing and thinges, devise and devises, assurances 
and conveyances in the lawe whatsoever for the further, 
better and more perfect assuring, surety, sure making and 
Conveying of all and singular the before mentioned premises 
with their appurtenances unto the said John Scott Henry 
Thomson and John Loftus their heires and assignes for ever, 
as by them the said John Scott, Henry Thomson and John 
Loftus their heires or assignes, or by their or any of their 
Counsell learned in the Lawes of this land, shall be reasonably 
devised advised or required : JBee the same by one or more 
Fyne or Fynes, Feoffement, Recovery or Recoveries, with one 
or more voucher or vouchers, deede or deedes inrolled or not 
inrolled, the inrolment of these presents Release or Confirma- 
tion, with warrantie, or with such warrantie as hereafter in 
and by these presents is mentioned expressed and declared : 
And by all or any of the said wayes or meanes whatsoever ; 
Soe that the party or parties required to make such further 
Assurances, and to doe or execute such further or other Acts 
or deedes, be not compelled for the making or doing therof, 
to traveile further then the Cittie of York County or Castle 
of York. Bn> it is hereby mutually declared and agreed by 
and betweeneall the said parties to these presents for them- 
selves their heires executors and administrators by these 
presents ; That all and every Fyne and Fynes, Recovery and 
Recoveryes, and other 7 Assurances and Conveyances whatso- 
ever att any tyme heretofore had, made levyed executed or 

Appendices 323 

suffered, or hereafter to be had made levyed executed or 
suffered of the premises or any parte or parcell thereof, by or 
betweene the said parties to these presents or any of them, or 
whereunto they or any of them are or shall be parties ; shall 
be and enure and shall be adjudged, esteemed, deemed, con- 
strued, reputed, and taken to be and enure to the only use 
and behoof e of the said John Scott Henry Thomson and John 
Loftus their heires and assignes for ever, and to or for noe 
other use or uses intents or purposes whatsoever. BnD the 
said Robert Moore and his heires, all and singular the premises 
and every part and parcell thereof, with their and every of 
their rights, members and appurtenances, unto the said John 
Scott Henry Thomson and John Loftus their heires and 
assignes, against him the said Robert Moore his heires and 
assignes, and against him the said Thomas Moore his heires and 
assignes, and against the said Francis Darley his heires and 
assignes, and against all and every other person and persons 
whatsoever, lawfully clayming in, by from or under him, them 
or any of them, shall and will warrant and for ever defend by 
these presents : And the said Thomas Moore and his heires , 
all and singular the premises and every part and parcell 
thereof with their and every of their rights members and 
appurtenances, unto the said John Scott Henry Thomson 
and John Loftus their heires and assignes against him the said 
Thomas Moore and his heires and against the said Robert 
Moore his heires and assignes, and against the said Francis 
Darley his heires and assignes, and against all and every other 
person or persons whatsoever lawfully clayming by from or 
under him, them or any of them, shall and will warrant and 
for ever defend by these presents : In witnesse whereof the 
partyes above said to these present Indentures their hands 
and scales interchangably have sett the day and yeare first 
above written. 


Sealed and Delivered by the within waw^ HEZECHIAH BURTON 
Thomas More in the presence of } JOH. HOLLINGS. 

Sealed and Delivered by the within named ! WlLL WYVILL 

Robert More in the presence of /LEWIS DARCY.' 

324 Appendices 

APPENDIX D (see p. 180). 

One Year's Lease putting John Scott, Henry Thomson and John 

Loftus into possession prior to an absolute conveyance. 
This Indenture made the fourteenth day of May in the 
Fourteenth yeare of the Raiyne of our gracious Soveraingne 
Lord Charles the Second by the Grace of God King of England 
Scotland France and Ireland defender of the faith, Anno. Dm. 
1662, Between Robert Moore of ... in the County of ... 
and Thomas Moore of Kingston upon Hull in the said County 
. . . eldest sonne and heire apparent of the said Robert Moore 
of th'one party and John Scott of the parish of St. Martin's 
in the Fields in the County of Middlesex, Esq. Henry Thom- 
son of the parrish of St. John's at Owzebridge end in the Citty 
of Yorke, Merchant, and John Loftus of the Citty of Yorke, 
Draper, of th'other party. TlditncSSCtb that the said Robert 
Moore and Thomas Moore for and in consideration of Five 
Shillings of Lawfull money of England to them in hand paid 
by the said John Scott, Henry Thomson and John Loftus 
before the ensealing and delivery of these presents, have bar- 
gained and sold, and by these presents Doe bargaine, and sell, 
unto the said John Scott, Henry Thomson and John Loftus 
their executors and assignes, 'Sill that peece or parcell of 
ground contayning by estimation Three acres (more or lesse), 
commonly call'd Clifford's Tower, or Clifford's Tower Hill, 
Together with the Tower thereupon erected and built, Situate 
lying and being within the Citty of Yorke, commonly called 
Clifford's Tower, and all and singular messuages houses edi- 
fices buildings barnes, stables, dovehouses, orchards gardens, 
lands, tenements, rights, jurisdictions, franchises, liberties, 
privileges, profitts, commodities, advantages, emoluments 
and hereditaments whatsoever with th'appurtenances as well 
sperituall as temporall of what kind, nature, or sorte soever 
the same are or be or by whatsoever names or additions they 
are knowne named or called, Situate lying and being comeing 
growing or increaseing within the said plaice and Citty, and 
within the County of Yorke, and County of the Citty of Yorke, 
or in any of them, to the said parcells of ground Tower and 
other the premises above by these presents bargained and 
sold, or to any of them, in any wise appertayning or belonging 
or as parte parcell or member of the same or any of them nowe 
or at any time heretofore had knowne accepted occupied used 
or reputed ZTO bave atlD to bOlfc the said parcell of ground 

Appendices 325 

and Tower aforesaid and all and singular other the premises 
hereby bargained and sold or mente, mentioned or intended 
for to be, and every parte and parcell thereof with their and 
every of their Rights members and appurtenances unto the 
said John Scott, Henry Thomson and John Loftus their exe- 
cutors and assigns from henceforth for one whole yeare now 
next coming fully to be compleated finished and ended I?tClD - 
i\\Q and paying therefore unto the said Robert Moore and 
Thomas Moore and their heirs the Rent of one penney of law- 
full money of England at the feast of Penticost next (if the 
same shall be lawfully demanded) to the intent and purpose 
onely, that by force and vertue of these presents and of the 
Statute made for trancsferring uses into possession they the 
said John Scott, Henry Thomson and John Loftus may be in 
the actuall possession of the premises with their appurtenances 
and thereby the better inabled to take a grant and Conveyance 
thereof to them and their heires. In witnesse whereof the 
parties above named to these present Indentures have Inter- 
changably sett to their hands and scales the Day and yeare 
first above written. 


Sealed and delivered by the within named THOMAS MORE in the 
presence of 


Sealed and delivered by the within named ROBERT MOORE in the 
presence of 


APPENDIX E (see p. 181). 


Oct. 30/A, 1672. 

Cbl8 3nDeilture made the thirtieth Day of October in the 
fouer and twentyeth yeare of the Raiyne of our Soveraigne 

326 Appendices 

Lord Charles the Second by the grace of God King of England 
Scotland France and Ireland defender of the Faith Anno. Dm. 
one Thousand six hundred seaventy two SSCtWCCH Robert 
Moore of the Towne and County of Kingston upon Hull, Mer- 
chant of the one part and Sir Henry Thompson of Escricke in 
the County of Yorke, Knt. of the other part Witnesseth that 
the said Robert Moore for divers good causes and considera- 
tions him thereunto moving 1batb granted remised released 
quite claymed and confirmed and by these presents doth for 
and from him and his heires grant remise release quite clayme 
and confirme unto the said Sr Henry Thompson in his actuall 
and peaceable seisin and possession thereof now being and to 
his heires and assignes for ever Bll that edifice buildinge and 
Tenement comonly called or knowne by the name of Clifford's 
Tower or by whatever other name or names the same is called 
cr knowne 2lll> alsoe all that parcell of ground and soyle 
whereupon the said Edifice buildinge tenement is erected and 
built situate lyinge and being neare the Castle of Yorke in the 
County of Yorke City of Yorke and County of the City of 
Yorke or in some or one of them Btl& alsoe all structions 
grounds lands wayes paths passages lights easements profitts 
commodityes and appurtenances whatsoever to the said 
Edifice buildinge or Tenement belonging or appertain nge or 
reputed to belong or apertayne or therewith commonly used 
occupyed or injoyed or accepted reputed deemed taken or 
knowne and part yield (?) or member thereof and the revertion 
and revertions remainder and remainders of the premises and 
alsoe all the estate right tyth interest clayme and demands 
whatsever in Law and equity of him the said Robert Moore 
of and in the premises and every or any part or parcell thereof 
bave ail& to bOlfc the said Edifice buildinge Tenement 
ground soyle and premisses and every part and parcell thereof 
onto the said Sr Henry Thompson his heires and assignes 
forever To the onely proper use and behoofe of him the said 
Sr Henry Thompson and of his heires and assignes for ever 
3ll IKHftllCSBC whereof the partyes first above named 1 o these 
present Indentures interchangably have set their hands and 
seal the day and yeare first above written. 
Sealed Signed and Delivered in the presence 




Appendices 327 

APPENDIX F (see p. 185). 


Jany. 2jth, 1699. 

GbtS 3nDentUtC made the Seaven and twentyeth day of 
January in the Eleventh year of the Reigne of our Sovereigne 
Lord William the third by the Grace of God of England Scot- 
land France and Ireland King, Defender of the faith Anno. 
Dni. one thousand six hundred ninety and nine, JSetWCCll 
Dame Suzanna Thompson of the Citty of Yorke widdow late 
wife of Sir Henry Thompson late of the Citty of Yorke Knight 
and Marchant Deceased of th'one part and Richard Sowray 
the Elder of the said Citty Gentleman of th' other part Illlbcras 
the said Sir Henry Thompson by his last W.ll and Testament 
in writing legally and Duely published and bearing Date the 
Twenty third Day of November in the Year of our Lord one 
thousand Six hundred Eighty and one. Did give and Demise 
unto the said Dame Suzanna Thompson his then wife and to 
her assignes for ever The Lands Tenements and hereditaments 
hereafter in this Indenture mentioned 1ROW tbfS 5nt>CntUtC 
witnesseth That the said Dame Suzanna Thompson For and 
in Consideration of the Sume of Fifty and Eight pounds and 
Fifteen Shillings of lawfull English Money to her in hand paid 
by the said Richard Sowray before the Sealing and Delivery 
of these presents The receipt whereof she Doth hereby Acknow- 
ledge and thereof and of every part and parcell thereof Doth 
freely and absolutely Acquitt Exonerate and Discharge him 
the said Richard Sowray his heires Executors Administrators 
and assignes and every of them by these presents batb aliened 
infecffed and confirmed and by these presents Doth alien 
infeoffe and confirme unto the said Richard Sowray his heires 
and assignes for ever 2UI that peice or parcell of ground con- 
layning by estimation three Acres (more or less) Commonly 
called Clifford's Tower or Clifford's Tower-Hill together with 
the Tower thereupon erected and built Situate Lyeing and 
being within the Citty of Yorke, And all and Singular Mes- 
suages houses edifices buildings Barnes Stables Dovehouses 
orchards gardens Lands Tenements rights Jurisdictions 
Franchises Liberties Privileges Emoluments hereditaments 
and appurtenances whatsoever to the same belonging or 
in any wise appertaining and the Reversion and Reversions, 

328 Appendices 

Remainder and Remainders of all and Singular the said pre- 
misses with the Rents issues and profitts thereof and of every 
part and parcell thereof and all the estate Right Tythe clayme 
and Demands whatsoever of her the said Dame Suzanna 
Thompson of in or to the said premisses or any part or parcell 
thereof And all deeds writings Records and Evidences whatso- 
ever touching or concerning the said premisses or any part or 
parcell of them which the said Dame Suzanna Thompson now 
hath in her custody or can come by without suite of Law or 
Equity tTO bave ailD to bOl& the said Tower and Tower 
Hill and all and singular the said premisses with there and 
every of there appurtenances and every part and parcell 
thereof unto the said Richard Sowray his heires and assignes 
for ever To the onely proper use and behoofe of him the said 
Richard Sowray his heires and assignes for ever 2lll& the said 
Dame Suzanna Thompson for herselfe her heires executors 
and administrators Doth Covenant grant and agree to and 
with the said Richard Sowray party to these presents his 
heires executors administrators and assignes by these presents 
that nether the said Dame Suzanna Thompson nor the said 
Sir Henry Thompson her late husband have Done committed 
or suffered or caused or procured the Doeing committing or 
suffering of any act or acts matter or things whatsoever, 
whereby the premisses or any part or parcell thereof may be 
charged forfeited evicted or incumbered in any nature or kind 
whatsoever and that for and notwithstanding any act matter 
or thinge Done or suffered or caused to be done or suffered by 
them the said Dame Suzanna Thompson and Sir Henry Thomp- 
son or either of them it shall and may be lawfull to and for 
the said Richard Sowray his heires and assignes peaceably 
and quietly from henceforth to have hold use occupie possess 
and enjoy the said premisses to the use of him and his heires 
and assignes for ever IN WITNESS whereof the partys above 
named to these present Indentures Interchangably have sett 
their hands and scales the Day and Year first above written. 

Sealed and delivered in the presence of S. THOMPSON. 


Appendices 329 

APPENDIX G (see p. 186). 


(Made February ijth, 1708.) 

In the name of God Amen ; I Richard Sowray of the City 
of York Batchelor of Physick being in sound and perfect mind 
and disposeing memory Doe make this my last will and Testa- 
ment in manner and form following (that is to say) first and 
principally I comend my Soul into the hands of Almighty God 
my Heavenly Father and my Body I committ to the Earth to 
be Decently buried at the Discretion of my Executrix here- 
after named and as touching the Disposition of all such Tem- 
porall Estate as it hath pleased Almighty God to bestow upon 
me I give and Dispose thereof as followeth Imprimis I will 
that all my Debts and funerall Expenses shall be paid and 
Discharged Item I give and Devise unto my Dear wife Abigail 
Sowray All that Messuage or Dwelling House in Castlegate 
wherein I now Live with all the premisses thereunto belonging 
and all my furniture or household Goods belonging ye same 
for and during her Natural Life onely and after her Decease I 
give and Devise the same to my Nephew Richard Denton his 
heirs and assigns for ever And as to all the rest and residue of 
my Real Estate in the City of York and County of the same 
City or the County of York or elsewhere in ye Kingdome of 
Great Britain I doe Give and Devise them to be equally Divided 
amongst the Sons of my well beloved Sister Sarah Lingen they 
takeing upon them and continueing the name of Sowray and 
amongst the Sons of my late Brother Joseph Sowray and their 
heirs for ever Share and share like and in case any of the said 
Brothers shall Die without Issue the part or share of such 
Brother or Brother so Dyeing shall imediately Descend to such 
Surviving Brother or Brothers as shall then happen and his 
or their heirs for ever and as to my personall Estate I bequeath 
the same in manner following (to witt) I give and bequeath to 
my Nephew Denton the sume of fifty pounds To my God 
Daughter Sarah Massey the Daughter of Hugh Massey Gentle- 
man the sume of five pounds To Hellen Hemsley the wife of 
John Hemsley forty Shillings To Jane Allen the wife of ... 
Allen of ye City of York Taylor forty Shillings To Elizabeth 
Rooth of ye said City widow forty shillings To Mary Robinson 
of ye said City widow forty shillings To Thomas Mathews the 
son of Tobias Mathews of the same City Twenty pounds To 

330 Appendices 

Jane the Daughter of Hannah Tomlinson widow five pounds 
Itm. I give to Mr. Hugh Massey one Moiety of all my fishing 
Tackle Rods and the other Moiety to my Servant and present 
dark William Harrison To whom I also give all my woollen 
apparell and a moiety of all the course sort of my Linnen and 
as to all the residue of my Personall Estate whatsoever I give 
and bequeath the same to my Loveing Wife whom I make 
and ordain Sole Executrix of this my last Will and Testament 
five pounds apeice which I do hereby Give and bequeath to 
each of the overseers of this my last Will and Testament 
hereinafter named provided they take upon them the trouble 
of the same only excepted And I do make and ordain my 
Loveing Friend Mr. William Banks and Mr. Hugh Massey 
Overseers of this my last Will and Testament and hereby 
revoking all former Wills by me heretofore made. In witness 
whereof I have hereunto sett my hand and seal this seventeenth 
Day of February in ye seventh year of the Queen. Anno. Dmi. 

Sealed Signed published declared by 

ye sd. Richard Sowray to be his I __. ~ 

,,..,, , ~ . . . J- RICHARD SOWRAY. 

last Will and Testament in ye 

presence of us 

APPENDIX H (see pp. 196 and 243). 


April 7, 1880. 

!Hn B^reement under Seal made the Seventh day of April 
One thousand eight hundred and eighty. Between Frederick 
James Munby of the City of York Gentleman the Clerk of the 
Court of Gaol Sessions of the County of York acting for and 
on behalf of the Justices of the said County assembled at a 
Court of Gaol Sessions held in manner provided by the Act of 
the Fifth year of King George the Fourth Cap. 12 and by the 
Order of the said Justices of the first part The Right Honour- 
able Richard Assheton Cross M.P. one of Her Majesty's Princi- 

Appendices 331 

pal Secretaries of State hereinafter called the said Secretary of 
State of the second part John Henry Crichton Esquire (com- 
monly called Viscount Crichton) and Sir James Dalrymple 
Horn Elphinstone Baronet two of the Lords Commissioners of 
Her Majesty's Treasury of the third part and The Prison Com- 
missioners of the fourth part Mbcreas under the Provisions 
of the Prison Acts 1865 and 1877 the said Justices assembled 
at Gaol Sessions are the Prison Authority of the County Gaol 
or Prison known as York Castle BllD whereas the said Prison 
is a Prison to which the Prison Act 1877 applies and by virtue 
of the said Act the legal estate in such Prison as defined by 
the said Acts became vested in the Prison Commissioners 
BllD whereas it has been judged necessary by the Prison 
Commissioners acting under the direction of the said Secretary 
of State that (amongst other things) the boundaries of the 
said Prison should be clearly defined and that such right of 
way should be granted to or retained by the Prison Com- 
missioners as hereinafter mentioned HOW it is hereby agreed 
and declared as follows : 

1. {Tbe said Frederick James Munby as such Clerk of Gaol 
Sessions as aforesaid acting as aforesaid agrees to release unto 
the Prison Commissioners and their Successors so much of the 
piece or parcel of land delineated in the Plan hereunto an- 
nexed and therein coloured red as shall not under and by vir- 
tue of the Prison Act 1877 have been vested in them or in the 
said Secretary of State to the intent that the whole of the 
said piece or parcel of Land coloured red may henceforth con- 
stitute and be deemed to constitute the Prison known as York 
Castle and be held by the Prison Commissioners and their 
successors accordingly. 

2. ^TbC Prison Commissioners by direction of the said Secre- 
tary of State with the consent of the Lords Commissioners o 4 
the Treasury agree to release unto the said Frederick James 
Munby as such Clerk of Gaol Sessions as aforesaid and his 
successors so much of the piece or parcel of Land delineated 
in the Plan hereunto annexed and therein coloured Green 
as shall not be already vested in him to the intent that the 
whole of the said piece or parcel of Land coloured Green may 
henceforth be and be deemed to be the Property of the County 
cf York and be held by the said Frederick James Munby as 
such Clerk of Gaol Sessions as aforesaid and his Successors 
accordingly : 

3. {TbC said Frederick James Munby as such Clerk of Gaol 
Sessions as aforesaid acting as aforesaid agrees to grant and 

332 Appendices 

confirm unto the Prison Commissioners and their Successors 
their Agents Servants Workmen and Licensees (including the 
Governor of the said Prison for the time being and all Officers 
and Servants under him) until a new Entrance to the said 
Prison is constructed on some part of the said piece or parcel 
of Land coloured red full and free right and liberty at their 
will and pleasure by night and by day and for all purposes to 
go return pass and repass with horses carts wagons and other 
Carriages laden or unladen through the Entrance Gates de- 
lineated in the said Plan and therein marked II and also 
through along and over the respective piece of Land contained 
between the two dotted lines marked a, b, c d, and e f g, h i k, 
on the said Plan And after the construction of such new 
Entrance as aforesaid the said Frederick James Munby as 
such Clerk of Gaol Sessions as aforesaid acting as aforesaid 
agrees to grant and confirm unto the Prison Commissioners 
and their successors and each of their Officers Servants as shall 
occupy buildings lying on the outside of the boundary wall 
proposed to be constructed between the said piece or parcel 
of Land coloured red and the said piece or parcel of Land 
coloured Green full and free right and liberty at their will and 
pleasure by night and by day and for all purposes to go return 
pass and repass through the said Entrance Gates delineated 
as aforesaid and also through along and over the said respective 
pieces of Land contained between the two dotted lines marked 
a b, c d, and e f g, h i k, and for the better enjoyment of the 
same right and liberty keys of the said Entrance Gates shall 
be provided by or at the cost of the said Justices and delivered 
to the Governor of the said Prison for the time being or to 
whom he shall direct : 

4. {TbC said Frederick James Munby as such Clerk of Gaol 
Sessions as aforesaid acting as aforesaid agrees to grant and 
confirm unto the Prison Commissioners their successors and 
assigns full and free right and liberty of user by them or their 
Agents Servants Workmen and Licensees (including the said 
Governor and all officers and servants under him) of the central 
grass plot delineated in the said Plan and therein marked 
and bounded by line e f g, for the purpose of recreation 
or of passing and repassing across or over the same and also 
for the purpose of laying down or effecting a junction or com- 
munication with any pipe (for gas water or otherwise) sewer 
or drain through or under the same. jptOVlfrCt) always And 
it is hereby agreed that such user shall not be exercised so as 
to injure the said portion of the said Grass Plot nor impair 

Appendices 333 

its appearance further than is the necessary consequence of 
the limited user hereinafter described but the said portion 
of the said Grass Plot shall remain in all respects except as 
aforesaid under the exclusive control of the said Justices. 

5- be Prison Commissioners by the direction of the said 
Secretary of State agree so long as the said piece or parcel of 
Land coloured red or any part thereof shall be used as a Prison 
to permit (so far as such permission shall in their judgment 
be consistent with the security and discipline of the said 
Prison) such persons as they or the said Governor shall in 
their or his discretion think fit to enter at such times as they 
or he may appoint the enclosure delineated in the said Plan 
and marked A and over the Tower known as Clifford's Tower. 

6. {TbC Prison Commissioners by direction of the said 
Secretary of State agree during such time as the said piece or 
parcel of Land coloured red or any part thereof shall be used 
as a Prison to maintain the said Tower known as Clifford's 
Tower which is in the nature of a National Monument in such 
manner as to prevent the same and every part thereof being 
defaced or injured in its character of a National Monument. 

proViDcD always And it is hereby agreed and declared 
that if any dispute question difference or controversy shall 
arise between the said parties to these Presents or their respec- 
tive successors or assigns touching these Presents or any clause 
or thing herein contained or the construction hereof or any 
matter in any way connected with these Presents or the opera- 
tion thereof or the rights duties or liabilities of either party in 
connection with the premises then and in every or any such 
case the matter in difference shall be referred to a single Arbi- 
trator pursuant to and so as with regard to the mode and con- 
sequence of the reference and in all other respects to conform 
to the Provisions in that behalf contained in the Common Law 
Procedure Act 1854 or any then substituting statutory modi- 
fication thereof And upon every or any such reference the 
Arbitrator shall have power to examine the parties and Wit- 
nesses upon oath or affirmation and either to fix settle and 
determine the amount of Costs of the Reference and Award 
respectively or incidental thereto to be paid by both parties 
or by either party or to direct the same to be taxed either as 
between Solicitor and Client or otherwise and to direct and 
award when and by and to whom such Costs shall be paid And 
every or any such reference may be made a rule of any Division 
of the High Court of Justice on the application of either party 
and such party may instruct Counsel to consent thereto for 



the other parties. $n WfttlCSS whereof the said Parties hereto 
of the first second and third parts have hereunto set their 
hands and seals and the Prison Commissioners have hereunto 
affixed their Corporate Seal the day and year first above 

Signed Sealed and Delivered 
by the above named Fred- 
erick James Munby in 
the presence of 

Solicitor, York. 


Signed Sealed and De- \ RICH. ASSHETON CROSS 
livered by her Ma- 
jesty's Principal Se- 
cretary of State for 
the Home Depart- 
ment in the presence 

Inner Temple 

Signed Sealed and De- 
livered by the above 
named Lords Com- 
missioners of her 
Majesty's Treasury 
in the presence of 
Office Keeper 




The Corporate Seal of the 
Prison Commissioners 
affixed in the presence 


Appendices 335 

APPENDIX I (see p. 237). 


In purchasing Castlegate Postern and Tower from the Cor- 
poration, it will be noticed that the Committee of Magistrates 
paid to the Archbishop of York 10 as part satisfaction or 
compensation for interfering with a peculiar benefit or privilege 
which his Grace possessed in the old postern. The Archbishop 
and his predecessors enjoyed similar prescriptive rights at 
each City Gate and Postern. 

One of the great annual cattle fairs of a century ago, Lam- 
mas Fair, was held without Bootham Bar, within the suburbs 
on the north side of the city, upon an extensive open space 
adjoining Clarence Street known from time immemorial as 
the Horse Fair. Lammas Fair was called the Bishop's Fair, 
the Archbishop having jurisdiction of it. Its commencement 
was announced by the ringing of a bell at St. Michael's Church, 
Low Ousegate, at three o'clock in the afternoon of August 
1 3th, the day before Old Lammas Day, at which time the two 
Sheriffs of the City resigned their authority to the Archbishop 
or his bailiff or steward, by delivering up their white rods of 
office, and the keys of the city gates and posterns. The Fair 
continued until three o'clock in the afternoon after Lammas 
Day ; when the same church-bell was again tolled as a signal 
for the re-delivery of the Sheriffs' emblems of authority. The 
ancient ceremony, both before and after the fair, usually con- 
cluded with a luncheon or treat given at some tavern or inn. 
During the fair the Sheriffs by lawful custom could not arrest 
any person within the city, and the Archbishop's Bailiff or 
substitute had the exclusive power of executing any legal 
process during that period. 

The Archbishop held a Court of Piepowders, 1 a summary 
court formerly held in fairs and markets to administer justice 
among itinerant dealers, and others temporarily present. A 
jury was impannelled from Wistow, a village within the archi- 
episcopal liberty, and this judicial body determined all disputes 
and complaints that occurred amongst the dusty-footed way- 
farers and itinerant merchants. The Archbishop's bailiffs 
demanded a toll at the several gates and posterns of the city 
on all cattle brought for sale, and a toll was also taken on all 

1 From pede-pulvtrosus, dusty of foot, dusty footed, a wayfarer. 

336 Appendices 

small wares, both in Thursday Market and The Pavement. 
On buyers returning with cattle through the gates, and pur- 
chasers carrying goods out of the fair, a further tribute or toll 
was levied. The customary tolls were : 


For every Beast coming to be sold . . i 
For every led Horse, Mare, or Gelding . 2 
For every twenty Sheep . . . .4 
For every Horse-pack of Wares . . 4 
For a Load of Hay to be sold . . 4 

For every other Thing to be sold in any Wal- 
let, Maund, Basket, Cloth-bag, or Port- 
manteau, to the value of Twelvepence i 
With the like Toll of all and every of the said goods sold, paid 
by the buyer at his carrying it out of the said fair, etc. 

In 1807 the Corporation in the interests of public traffic 
commenced pulling down the narrow gateway of Skeldergate 
Postern thereby to some extent interfering with the Arch- 
bishop's convenience in collecting his toll on Lammas Fair 
Day. His Grace took exception to the gates and posterns 
being altered or interfered with and forthwith obtained an 
injunction at law against the Corporation. The case was 
reported in the local newspapers as follows : 


The Archbishop of York ver. the Mayor and Corporation 
of the City of York. 

In this case the Archbishop filed his bill for an injunction 
against the defendants to restrain them from demolishing or 
pulling down the gates of the City of York, by which the 
plaintiff apprehended he would sustain injury or loss of pro- 
perty. The plaintiff claimed a prescriptive right to the toll 
of a great annual fair, called Lammas Fair, in which a great 
number of cattle were sold in the City of York. It was the 
usage of the Mayor from time immemorial on each fair day to 
deliver up to the Archbishop the keys and gates of the city 
for the day, in order the more advantageously to collect the 
tolls and prevent the cattle from passing without payment 
of such toll. He alleges by his bill that he would suffer loss 
and inconvenience by want of the gates, and would find diffi- 
culty in collecting the toll, which would not be as productive 
to him if the gates were taken down, as the defendants in- 
tended, and had actually commenced such pulling down at 
one of the gates (Skeldergate Postern), previous to the bill 

Appendices 337 

being filed last year, when the plaintiff obtained an injunction. 
This injunction was this day, after being in force seven months, 
moved to be dissolved, the parties consenting to try the right 
by a feigned issue. This issue was found difficult to be framed, 
as the terms of it when made some time back were, that the 
defendants had broken down the posts of one of the gates, 
by which the plaintiff had sustained loss or injury. But upon 
consideration it was found that such an issue could not be 
proved in any manner, being, in fact, a falsehood ; for that 
no fair had been held there since the trespass was commenced, 
nor could any fair be held before the next Assizes. It was 
much urged upon the Court to dissolve the injunction upon 
the terms offered by the defendants, but the Chancellor stated 
that he could not comply with the motion, nor dissolve the 
injunction on the grounds stated. He, however, expressed a 
wish that the parties might agree upon some terms, or an 
issue by which the right might be tried, and desire at some 
future time to see what issue could be found for this purpose. 
At the rising of the Court it was suggested to his Lordship that 
the Mayor and Corporation were willing to agree to terms of 
any issue, but the counsel for the plaintiff said nothing on 
this occasion. Thus the matter seems now to rest as unsettled 
as ever. 1 


The question between his Grace the Archbishop of this 
Province and the Corporation of this city, touching the rights 
of the former to the possession of the Gates, Bars, and Posterns 
of the said city during his Grace's Fair, commonly called 
Lammas Fair, held yearly in this city and the suburbs thereof, 
came on to be tried at the Assizes at Durham on Friday last, 
before Baron Wood and a special jury of that county, when 
a verdict was given for his Grace, whereby is confirmed and 
established the right so claimed by him, and which had been 
infringed upon by the defendants, in their having lately pulled 
down one of the said Posterns in defiance of notice given to 
them on behalf of his Grace to desist from such proceeding. 
It was not for the recovering of any special damages that his 
Grace was induced to institute this suit, but for the purpose 
of supporting and handing down to his successor the rights of 
the See unimpaired to the trust reposed in him. By this 
verdict and under the certificate of the learned judge, his 
Grace is entitled to costs. 2 

1 The Yorks. Chronicle, June 25th, 1807. 

2 The Yorks. Chronicle, July soth, 1807. 

338 Appendices 

From the above interesting reminiscences it is easily under- 
stood why 10 was paid to the Archbishop at the demolition 
of Castlegate Postern for the enlargement of the Castle. At 
a period about five years subsequent to the Archbishop obtain- 
ing the injunction against the Corporation, the custom of 
taking the toll was discontinued, economic changes and newer 
methods of carrying on the sale of cattle effectually deprived 
the Archbishop of his tolls and mediaeval privileges, and 
Lammas Fair fell into desuetude. 

APPENDIX J (see p. 239). 


In the chambers above the entrance gate are deposited a 
large mass of documents, which illustrate the annals of the 
Northern Counties, and with the exception of Canon Raine's 
short selection of " Depositions of York Castle," 1 very little 
use has been made of this vast storehouse of historical papers. 
The records date from about 1640 and " consist of calendars, 
lists of magistrates and jurors, recognisances, the present- 
ments of parish constables, writs, petitions of various descrip- 
tions, and especially of the depositions taken before the magis- 
trates, which exhibit many features of a striking and interest- 
ing kind," together with a volume containing the proceedings 
of the Border Commissioners, and other papers. The deposi- 
tions and particulars of trials of civil and political characters 
are of immense historic value ; and it is regrettable that the 
Magistrates of a wealthy county like Yorkshire have not as 
yet decided that the documents shall be properly kept, calen- 
dared or indexed, and made available for historical research. 
From the unkept and uncared-for condition of the collec- 
tion little use can be made of them unless the searcher 
is prepared to give many months to the arduous task, and this 
is out of the question, if indeed he may be fortunate enough 
in obtaining permission to see the archives. Through the 
kindness of Mr. Robert Holtby I was permitted to see the 
records, but as it would have entailed much application to do 
justice to such an assemblage of antiquarian and historical 
papers a thorough investigation was reluctantly deferred. 

1 Surtees Society's Publications, vol. 40, 1861. 



Casually picking up a bundle of depositions, strange to say, I 
found our old friend Dr. Francis Drake, the historian of York, 
had been suspected of favouring the Jacobite Rising. I 
append his depositions and recognisances, which are typical 
of the contents of the collection, with the hope that ere long 
the learned societies of Yorkshire will take up the matter and 
induce the County Committee to provide a custodian or 
archivist, and have the wealth of historical materials, which 
are of more than local value, made easily accessible. The 
accommodation in the apartments above the gate could with- 
out much trouble be adapted as a Public Record Office. 1 

Examination of Francis Drake. 

City of York. The Examination of Francis Drake of the 
City of York, surgeon, taken the i4th day of March 1745. 

This examinant being charged with publishing that the 
Duke had had a battle with the rebels and had been defeated 
and that he wished it did not prove true saith That he be- 
lieves he did say something to that effect yesterday to Mr. 
Sellers and Mr. Croft and that he had it from common fame 
and cannot fix it upon anybody. 

Taken before (Signed) FRANCIS DRAKE. 

Jo. READ, 

The King v. Drake. 

City of York. The information of Martin Croft of the City 
of York, plumer and glazier taken upon oath this I4th day 
of March 1745. 

This informant saith and deposeth that yesterday morning 
between ten and eleven of the clock he was talking with Mr. 
Edward and Mr. John Seller at their door in Silver Street in 
the said city, when Mr. Francis Drake, surgeon, happened to 
come that way and stopped and entered into discourse with 
and saith that Mr. John Seller asked the said Mr. Drake " what 
news," upon which the said Mr. Drake said he had heard bad 
news, that the Duke had had a battle with the rebels and was 
defeated and I wish it does not prove true ; as near as this 
informant can recollect the same. 

Sworn before (Signed) MARTIN CROFTS. 

Jo. READ, 

1 Since writing the above, the Records of York Castle have been re- 
moved to the Public Record Office, London. 


Recognizance to appear or answer. 

City of York and County of the Same City. Be it remem- 
bered that Francis Drake of the City of York, surgeon, William 
Vavasour of Wistow in the County of York, esquire, and 
Richard Farrer of the City of York aforesaid upholsterer, the 
1 4th day of March in the nineteenth year of the reign of King 
George the Second over Great Britain &c., came before the 
Right Honourable John Read, Esquire, Lord Mayor of the 
said city and in their proper persons acknowledged themselves 
to be indebted to our said Sovereign Lord the King in manner 
following that is to say the said Francis Drake in one hundred 
pounds and the said William Vavasour and Richard Farrer in 
fifty pounds apiece of their several goods and chattels, lands, 
and tenements to the cause of the said Lord the King to be 
levied if default shall be made in the condition following (to 

The condition of this recognizance is that if the above bound 
Francis Drake do and shall personally appear at the next 
Assizes and General Gaol Delivery to be held in and for the 
City of York and County of the same City, then and there to 
answer such matters and things as shall then and there on 
his Majesty's behalf be objected against him for publishing 
falsely that the Duke was defeated by the rebels and shall in 
the meantime keep the peace and be of good behaviour to- 
wards all his Majesty's liege subjects and shall do and receive 
what shall be then and there enjoined him by the Court and 
shall not depart the Court without licence. Then the above 
recognizance to be void or else remain in full force. 
Taken and acknowledged the FRANCIS DRAKE. 

day and year abovesaid before WILLIAM VAVASOUR. 



Recognizance to prosecute and give evidence. 

City of York and county of the same city. Be it remem- 
bered that Martin Croft of the City of York glazier and plumer 
the seventeenth day of March in the year of our Lord one 
thousand seven hundred and forty five came before the Right 
Honourable John Read, esquire, Lord Mayor of the said city 
one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace of the said City of 
York and County of the same City and in his proper person 
acknowledged himself to be indebted to our Sovereign Lord 
the King in ten pounds of his goods and chattels, lands and 

Appendices 341 

tenements to the use of our said Lord the King to be levied if 
default shall be made in the condition following that is to say. 
The Condition of this recognizance is that if the above 
bound Martin Croft shall personally appear at the next Assizes 
and General Gaol Delivery to be held in and for the City of 
York and County of the same City then and there to prefer a 
bill of indictment against Mr. Francis Drake for publishing 
false rumours and do and shall also then and there give evi- 
dence concerning the same as well to the Jurors who shall 
enquire thereof in behalf of our said Sovereign Lord the King, 
as also to the Jurors who shall pass upon the tryal of the said 
Francis Drake, then the above recognizance to be void or else 
to remain in full force. 

Taken and acknowledged 
the day and year above 

said before me. MARTIN CROFTS. 



This list of Sheriffs of the County of York is taken from a 
" List of Sheriffs for England and Wales, from the earliest 
times to A.D. 1831, compiled from documents in the Public 
Record Office," 1898, and is published by permission of the 
Controller of His Majesty's Stationery Office. The list from 
1831 to 1910 is completed from a Register of Sheriffs in the 
possession of Mr. Edwin Gray, the Under-Sheriff, who kindly 
allowed me to see his list. 

The following notes are extracted from the Record Office 
List of Sheriffs : 

" Up to the year 1202 no regular record of appointment 
exists. The list is compiled from the accounts rendered by 
the sheriffs, and the actual records of their appointments. 
The accounts entered on the Pipe Rolls, as a rule, run from 
Michaelmas to Michaelmas ; but the dates of the correspond- 
ing appointments range from September to February, so that 
in most cases the sheriff accounts from a date preceding his 
actual appointment. The date given in the list is the date of 
appointment when ascertainable, and in the absence of any 
notes to the contrary, it may be assumed that the correspond- 
ing account runs from the preceding Michaelmas. When the 

34 2 Appendices 

date of appointment has not been ascertained the date given 
is that from which the account runs. Where this date is 
expressed as a year only, ' Michaelmas ' may always be sup- 
plied. It should be noted, however, that after 1743 appoint- 
ments were made in Hilary Term, although the normal account 
still continued to run from Michaelmas." 

" The method of appointing the sheriffs of shires varied 
somewhat at different times and in different localities. In 
the vast majority of instances, the appointment was made by 
the Crown upon the advice of the permanent council. Special 
cases were, however, fairly numerous. The sheriff dom might 
be the inheritance of a private family. Normally the sheriff 
received a commission from the Crown, the king's choice being 
guided by the advice of one or more of his great officers of 
State, or the appointment being given to a candidate elected 
by the county. Such elections meet us at three periods : 
(i) During the ascendancy of Simon de Montfort, when the 
county courts appeared to have submitted names to the 
council of barons, the actual appointment being made at the 
Exchequer. (2) During the reign of Edward I. when notices 
occur of four knights of the shire nominating a candidate for 
the approval of the Lord Treasurer, into whose hands the 
right of appointment had drifted at this period. (3) Between 
the years 1338 and 1340. But throughout most of the period 
the names were selected by the council, and the sheriff acted 
in virtue of a commission issued in the king's name under the 
great seal." 

" Specimens of the different manners in which the issue of 
such commissions are recorded are inserted in the Record 
Office List of Sheriffs." 

" During the period of 1643 to 1653 during which the ap- 
pointments were made by ordinance of Parliament and en- 
tered in the Journals of the Houses of Parliament." 

" The principal legislation affecting the appointment of 
sheriffs in general and the duration of their term of office 
consists of the Provisions of Oxford, the Statute 28 Edward I. 
c. 8., and an Order in Council, quoted on Fine Roll 12 Edward 
III., allowing the county to elect a suitable candidate for 
adoption by the Exchequer or Council ; the Ordinances of 
1311, confirmed by the Statute of Lincoln, 9 Edward II., and 
later statutes, requiring the appointment to be under the Great 
Seal ; the Statutes of 14 Edward III., St. i. c. 7., and 21 
Edward III. c. 7., making the term of office one year only, 
but, apparently, not preventing re-appointment ; the Statute 

Appendices 343 

42 Edward III., c. 9., definitely limiting the term to one year ; 
the Statute i Richard II. c. n. forbidding re-appointment 
within three years ; and the Statute 23 Henry VI. c. 7., 
imposing a fine on the sheriff should the statutory term be 

" Certain of such breaches, however, occurring under special 
circumstances were condoned by special legislation, viz. 
Statute 9 Henry V., Statute I, c. 5., 28 Henry VI. c. 3, and 8 
Edward IV. c. 4. Finally, by Statute 12 Edward IV. c. i., 
the outgoing sheriff was in all cases enjoined to continue 
acting till the actual assumption of office by his successor." 

" The accounts of the normal English county, whether shire 
or town, will be found on the Pipe Rolls." 

" The appointments of undersheriffs by sheriffs in fee are 
recorded on the Memoranda Rolls, as a rule, under the heading 
' Presentations.' ' 

" In the case of towns, owing to the elective nature of the 
office, and to the fact that the sheriffs were allowed to take 
their oaths in the locality, but little evidence is known to 
exist in the Public Record Office except in the form of 

" It is, perhaps, necessary to add an explanation as to the 
ascription of the titles of ' knight ' and ' esquire ' to the per- 
sons mentioned in the list. When they occur in the record of 
appointment the case of course presents no difficulty ; when 
they occur in the heading of the account, but not in the ap- 
pointment, recourse has been had to the entries on the ' A dven- 
tus Vicecomitum ' membranes of the Memoranda Rolls, and 
from such enquiries it appears that the style given in the Pipe 
Roll refers to the date on which the account was entered, a 
date generally from three to nine months later than the close 
of the term of office, and sometimes even more." 

" Many of the principal books on English topography con- 
tain lists of Sheriffs of the particular counties to which they 
relate ; but these lists are in many cases inaccurate." 

" Partly owing to the fact that the year as reckoned at the 
Exchequer did not correspond either with that of the Christian 
era, or with the regnal year of the King for the time being, it 
is generally difficult to ascertain from any of the old lists"the 
actual term of office of any particular sheriff." 

" In the present List the dates are given in the simplest 
form, the years being reckoned as beginning on the ist of 
January. Surnames are given in the forms found in the rolls 
and Gazettes, sometimes perhaps erroneous, but unimportant 



variations in the spelling of them occurring in any sheriff's 
term of office have been ignored. To avoid repetition, no 
entries have been made for those years in which there was 
no change of sheriff. The names printed in italics are those 
of under-sheriffs, or others who rendered sheriffs' accounts at 
the Exchequer, widows and executors being omitted." 

Example -Peter de Saltmerssh, Sheriff, held the office from 
3 June 1332 until 27 Jany. 1335. 


Date of 

appointment or 
of commencing 


Domesday \ 

before Survey j 

Domesday } 

at Survey j 

Mich., 1129 

Christmas, 1154 

Mich., 1163 

Easter, 1170 

Mich., 1175 

Easter, 1190 


,, 1191 

Easter, 1194 

Mich., 1198 

,, 1200 

Easter, 1203 
i Dec., 1204 

,, 1209 

Name, etc. 

William Malet 

Hugh films Baldri 

Bertram de Bulimere, hereditary sheriff 

Bertram de Bulemer 

Randolph de Glanvilla 

Robert de Stutevilla 

Randolph de Granvilla 

John Maresc' 

Robert de Longo Campo 

Osbert de Longo Campo 

Hugh Bardulf 

Hugh de Bobi 
Geoffrey, Archbishop of York 

Roger de Batvent 
Geoffrey films Petri 

James de Poterne 
William de Stutevilla 

William Brito 
Geoffrey filius Petri 

William de Perci 

Ralph de Normanvill 
Roger de Lasci, constable of Chester 

Robert Wallensis 
Gilbert fi'ius Reinfridi 

Henry de Rademan, or Rademore (to 
Michaelmas, 1212) 



Date of 

appointment or 
of commencing 


Mich., 1213 
Easter, 1214 

2 July, 1215 
13 Aug., 
4 Feb., 1216 

Mich., 1217 

,, I22O 

29 Apl. 1225 
26 May, 1226 


8 May, 1229 


ii July, 
27 Apl., 



30 May, 1234 
i May, 1236 
Mich., 1238 
Easter, 1239 

Mich., 1241 

4 May, 1242 

Easter ,, 


18 May, 1248 

22 Apl., 1250 

23 June, 1253 

Name, etc. 

Robert de Perci 

Henry de Middletona 
Peter filius Herberti 

Richard de Husseburne (till Easter, 

William de Duston 
William de Harecurt 

Geoffrey de Nevill (re-appointed on 30 
March, 1216, and 8 May, 1218) 

Simon de Hales 
Geoffrey de Nevill in person 

Simon de Hal 
Simon de Hal 
Eustace de Ludham (accounts from Michael- 

mas, 1224) 
Robert de Cokefield 

Eustace de Ludham 
Robert de Cokefeld in person 
William de Stotevilla 

Philip de Ascellis (till Michaelmas, 

Peter de Rivallis 

John Bonet (till Michaelmas, 1233) 
Brian de Insula (accounts from Michaelmas, 


John filius Galfridi 
Brian filius Alani 

Roger de Stapeltona 
Brian filius Alani in person 
Nicholas de Molis 

William de Middeltona 
Nicholas de Molis, in person 
Henry de Bathonia, or Bada 

Ranulf de Cerne 
Henry de Bathonia, in person 
William de Dacre 
Robert de Crepping 

William de Horsenden (accounts from 
Easter, 1253) 



Date of 
appointment or 
of commencing 


22 July, 1254 
27 Jan., 1260 

9 July, 1261 
Christmas, 1262 
13 June, 1263 

27 June, 1264 
Mich., 1265 

4 May, 1266 
Mich., 1267 
23 Nov., 1267 
8 Feb., 1268 

29 Mar. and 
5 Apl., 1269 J 

28 May., 1270 



18 Oct., 1274 
25 Oct., 1278 

29 May, 1280 

1 Oct., 1285 
25 May, 1291 
13 May, 1293 

2 Oct., 1299 
i Oct., 1300 

23 Oct., 1307 

3 July, 1308 
10 Mar., 1310 

5 Mar., 1311 
i Oct., 1314 
24 May, 1315 
20 Oct., 1315 

Name, etc. 

William le Latymer (re-appointed with 

sanction of Council 3 Nov., 1258) 
John de Oketon (re-appointed 2 May, 1260 

by the Chancery. Accounts from 

Easter, 1260) 
Peter de Percy 

Robert his son 
Robert de Nevill 
William de Boszeall 
John de Oketon 
William le Latymer 

William his son (till Christmas) 
Robert de Lathum (did not account) 
Giles de Gousle, or Goushull (accounts from 

Christmas, 1267) 

John de Haulton 

Roger Extraneus 

William Lovel, his clerk 
Henry de Kirkeby 
Roger Extraneus in person 
Alexander de Kirketon 
Ranulph de Dacre 
John Lythegreins 
Gervase de Clifton 
John de Melsa, or Meaus 
John Biroun, or Birun 
Robert Outred, or Ughtred 
Simon de Kyme 
William de Houk, or Hookes 
John de Creppingges, or Creppinge 
John de Gras 
John de Eure (two attempts made, but 

without success, to supplant him by 

Simon de Warde) 
Gerard Salveyn 
John de Malebys 
Nicholas de Meynill, or Meinyll 
Simon Warde 



Date of 

appointment or 
of commencing 


21 Jany., 1317 

15 May, 1318 

29 Nov. 

19 Dec. 

15 June, 1323 

26 Feb., 1325 

30 Sep., 1327 
13 Aug., 1328 

5 Dec., 1330 
3 June, 1332 

27 Jany., 1335 

3 Nov. 

24 Mar., 1337 

18 Feb., 1340 

26 Apl. 
i Oct. 

19 Nov., 1341 
7 Oct., 1342 

25 July, 1349 
25 Aug. 

24 Oct., 1349 

22 Oct., 1350 

17 Oct., 1351 

22 NOV., 1352 

Name, etc. 

Nicholas de Grey (accounts from Easter 


Simon Warde 

Robert de Rithre (did not account) 
Simon Warde 
Roger de Somervill (accounts from day of 


Henry de Faucomberge (Probably never 
acted on this appointment. Re-ap- 
pointed 4 February, 1327 ; accounts 
from 7 Feb. in that year) 
John Darcy le neveu 
Henry de Faucomberge (accounts from 

Ralph de Bulmere 
Peter de Saltmerssh, or de Salso Marisco 

(accounts from Easter) 
Peter de Middelton (died before his suc- 
cessor's appointment) 
Thomas de Rokeby 
Ralph de Hastynges 
John Moryn (again appointed on 10 April, 

but doubtful if he ever acted) 
Ralph de Hastynges 
John de Eland 
John de Faucumberge 
Thomas de Rokeby 

Doubtful if either 
ever acted. Man- 
date to deliver 
over rolls, etc., to 
Salvayn, ad- 

dressed both to 
Thornhill and 
Gerard de Salvayn 
William de Plumpton 
Peter Nuttele, or de Nuttle 
Miles de Stapelton of Hathelseye 

William Playce 
Brian de Thornhill 



Date of 

appointment or 
of commencing 


Name, etc. 

16 Dec. 
10 Nov. 

10 Mar. 
30 Sept 
21 Nov. 
20 Nov. 

13 May, 

14 Dec. ; 

27 Nov. 

28 Nov. 
5 Nov., 
12 Dec. 
7 Nov., 
12 Dec. 

4 Oct., 
26 Oct., 
26 Nov. 
25 Nov. 

5 Nov., 
3 Mar., 
1 8 Oct. 

6 Dec., 
24 Nov. 
i Nov., 

11 Nov. 

20 Oct., 

1 8 Nov. 

i Dec., 

15 Nov. 

7 Nov., 

21 Oct., 
18 Oct., 
7 Nov., 
ii Nov. 
9 Nov., 
i Dec., 
3 Nov., 
30 Sep., 

J 353 
> 1354 

, 1359 
, 1360 
, 1362 


, 1368 

I37 1 

J 374 

, 1378 

, 1382 

, 1384 

, 1386 


, 1389 




Peter de Nuttle 

Miles de Stapelton of Hathelsay 

Peter de Nuttle 

Thomas de Musgrave 

Marmaduke Conestable 

Thomas de Musgrave 

Marmaduke le Conestable 

John Chaumon 

William de Aeon 

John Bygod 

Robert de Ros of Ingmanthorp 

William de Aeon, knt. 

John By got, knt. 

William Percehay, knt. 

William de Melton, knt. 

Ralph de Hastynges, knt. 

John Constable of Halsham, knt. 

Robert de Nevyll of Hornby, knt. 

William de Melton (did not account) 

John Sayvill, knt. (accounts for whole year) 

Ralph de Hastynges 

William de Ergum, knt. 

John Sayvyll, knt. 

Robert de Hilton, knt. 

Gerard de Usflete, knt. 

Robert Constable of Flayburgh, knt. 

Robert de Hilton, knt. 

John Sayvyll, knt. 

John Godard, knt. 

James de Pykeryng, knt. 

William de Melton 

Ralph de Euer 

John Depeden, knt. 

James Pykeryng, knt. 

Robert Constable of Flaynborough, knt. 

Ralph Euer, knt. 

Robert Nevill of Hornby 

James Pykeryng, knt. 

John Depeden, knt. 



Date of 

appointment or 
of commencing 


3 Nov., 1399 
24 Nov., 1400 
8 Nov., 1401 
29 Nov., 1402 
5 Nov., 1403 

4 Dec., 1404 
22 Nov., 1405 

15 Sept. 

22 Nov. 

23 Nov. 

15 Nov. 
4 Nov., 

29 Nov. 
10 Dec., 

3 Nov., 
6 Nov., 

12 Nov. 
i Dec., 

30 Nov., 
10 Nov., 

4 Nov., 
23 Nov., 

1 6 Nov., 
22 Apl., 

13 Nov., 

6 Nov., 
15 Jany. 
12 Dec., 

7 Nov., 

4 Nov., 
10 Feb., 

5 Nov. 
26 Nov. 
5 Nov., 

3 Nov., 

7 Nov., 







, 1416 

I 4 I 7 

. 1419 
, 1420 

, 1426 



I43 1 

Name, etc. 

John Constable, knt. 

Thomas Brounflete, knt. 

William Dronsfeld, knt. 

John Sayvyll, knt. 

Richard Redman, knt. 

Peter Bucton, or de Bukton, knt. 

William Dronsfield, knt. (account rendered 

by his executors) 
Robert Mauleverer 
John Etton, knt. 
Thomas Rokeby, knt. 
William de Haryngton, knt. 
Edmund Hastynges, knt. 
Edmund Sandeford, knt. 
Thomas Rokeby, knt. 
John de Etton, knt. 
William Haryngton, knt. 
Thomas Brounflete, knt. 
Richard Redmayn, Redmaine, or Redman, 


Edmund Hastynges, knt. 
Robert Hilton, knt. 
John Bygod, knt. 
Thomas Brounflete, knt. 
Halnatheus Mauleverer, knt. 
William Haryngton, knt. 
Robert Hilton, knt. 
John Langton, knt. 
Richard Hastynges, knt. 
William Ryther, knt. 
Robert Hilton, knt. 
William Haryngton, knt. 
John Clerevaux, knt. 
William Ryther, knt. 
Richard Pykeryng, knt. 
Henry Brounflete, knt. 
Richard Hastynges, knt. 
William Ryther, knt. 
William Tirwhit, knt. 



Date of 

appointment or 
of commencing 


Name, etc. 





J 449 

8 Nov., 
7 Nov., 

3 Nov., 

5 Nov., 

4 Nov., 


6 Nov., 
4 Nov., 
6 Nov., 
4 Nov., 


9 Nov., 

20 Dec. 
3 Dec., 

23 Nov., 1452 

5 Nov., 1453 

4 Nov., 1454 


17 Nov., 1456 
7 Nov., 1457 
7 Nov., 1458 

,, 1460 

6 Mar., 1461 

7 Nov., 1461 

5 Nov., 1463 



,, 1466 


6 Nov. 
9 Nov. 
5 Dec. 

5 Nov., 1473 

John Constable of Halsham, knt. 
Richard Constable, knt. 
William Ryther, or Ryder, knt. 
John Tempest, knt. 
Robert Waterton, knt. 
William Gascoyn, knt. 
Thomas Metham, or Meteham, knt. 
Edmund Talbot, knt. 
William Euer, knt. 
James Strangways, knt. 
Robert Ughtrede, knt. 
William Plumpton, knt. 
John Conyers, knt. 
James Pekering, knt. 
Robert Ughtrede, knt. 
Ralph Bygod, knt. 
James Strangways, knt. 
John Melton the younger, knt. 
John Savyle, knt. 
Thomas Haryngton, knt. 
John Hothom, knt. 
Ralph Bygod, knt. 
John Tempest, knt. 
Thomas Metham, knt. 
John Melton, knt. (did not account) 
John Seyvill, knt. (accounts from Michael- 
mas, 1460) 

Robert Constable, knt. 
John Constable, knt. 
Edmund Hastynges, knt. 
Richard Fitz William, knt. 
James Haryngton, knt. 
John Conyers, knt. 
James Strangways, knt. 
Henry Vavasour, knt. 
Edmund Hastynges, knt. 
Ralph Assheton, knt 
Ralph Assheton, knt. 
Walter Gryffith, knt. 



Date of 

appointment or 
of commencing 


7 Nov., 1474 

5 Nov., 1475 


6 Nov. 
5 Nov., 

4 Nov., 

5 Nov., 

i May, 





26 Nov., 1492 
7 Nov., 1493 
5 Nov., 1494 



ii Nov., 1499 

15 Nov., 1500 
5 Nov., 1501 
8 Nov., 1502 
18 Nov., 1503 
5 Nov., 1504 
i Dec., 1505 

Name, etc. 

John Conyers, knt. 

James Haryngton, knt. 

Edmund Hastynges, knt. 

William Rither, or Ryder, knt. 

Robert Constable, knt. 

Hugh Hastynges, knt. 

Marmaduke Constable, knt. 

Ralph Bygod, knt. 

William Euers, knt. 

Edmund Hastynges, knt. 

Thomas Markynfeld, or Markyndale, knt. 

John Sayvyle, knt. 

Robert Ryther, knt. 

John Nevill, knt. 

Marmaduke Constable, knt. 

Henry Wentworth, knt. 

Thomas Worteley, knt. 

Richard Tunstall, knt. (did not account) 

Henry Wentworth, knt. (accounts from 
Michaelmas, 1491) 

James Strangeways, knt. 

Marmaduke Constable, knt. 

John Nevyll, knt. 

William Gascoigne, knt. 

John Melton, knt. 

William Conyers, knt. 

John Hotham, esq. (knighted by Easter, 

John Hotham, knt. (these names seem to 
refer to two distinct persons. At the 
appointment of the second, a mandate 
is addressed to the first to deliver up 
rolls, etc., of office). 
Walter Griffith, knt. 
Thomas Wortley, knt. 
William Conyers, knt. 
Ralph Ryther, knt. 
John Cutt, knt. 
Ralph Euers, knt. 



Date of 

appointment or 
of commencing 


Name, etc. 

27 Nov., 1506 

15 Dec., 1508 
14 Nov., 1509 
9 Nov., 1510 

8 Nov., 1511 
7 Nov., 1512 

9 Nov., 1513 

7 Nov., 1514 

5 Nov., 1515 

10 Nov., 1516 

9 Nov., 1517 

8 Nov., 1518 


6 Nov., 1520 
3 Feb., 1522 

12 Nov. ,, 

13 Nov., 1523 

10 Nov., 1524 
27 Jan., 1526 

7 Nov., 1526 

16 Nov., 1527 
7 Nov., 1528 

9 Nov., 1529 

11 Nov., 1530 
Mich., 1530 

9 Nov., 1531 

20 Nov. 

17 Nov. 

14 Nov. 

22 NOV. 

27 Nov. 

14 Nov. 

15 Nov. 
17 Nov. 
17 Nov. 
27 Nov. 
22 Nov. 

, 1532 
, 1533 
. 1534 

, 1536 
, 1537 
, 1538 
, 1539 

John Norton, knt. 
James Strangweys, knt. 
Marmaduke Constable, knt. 
Ralph Eure, or Euers, knt. 
John Constable, knt. 
John Everyngham, knt. 
William Percy, knt. 
John Norton, knt. 
John Carre, knt. 
Richard Tempest, knt. 
William Bulmer, knt. 
John Nevyll, knt. 
Peter Vavasour, knt. 
Thomas Strangwysshe, knt 
William Malyverye, knt. 
Henry Clifford, knt. 

John Nevyle, knt. 

John Constable of Holderness, knt. 

James Metcalfe, esq. 
William Middleton, knt. 

John Nevyle of Chevet, knt. 

John Constable of Holderness, knt. 

Ralph Ellerker the younger, knt. 

Thomas Strangwayse, esq. 

James Strangwayse, knt. 

Nicholas Fayrefax, esq. (afterwards 

Marmaduke Constable, the elder, knt. 

John Constable of Holderness, knt. 

William Fairefax, esq. 

George Darcy, knt. 

Brian Hastynges, knt. (died 6 Aug., 1537) 

Francis Frobyssher, esq. 

Henry Savyle, knt. 

James Strangways, knt. 

William Fayrefax, knt. 

Robert Nevyll, knt. 

Henry Savyle, knt. 

Thomas Tempest, knt. 



Date of 

appointment or 
of commencing 


Name, etc. 

23 Nov., 
16 Nov. 

22 Nov. 

23 Nov. 
27 Nov. 
3 Dec., 
12 Nov. 
ii Nov. 

10 Nov. 



. 1552 

8 Nov., 1553 
14 Nov., 1554 


13 Nov., 1556 
16 Nov., 1557 

23 Nov., 1558 

16 Oct. 
12 Nov 
8 Nov., 
19 Nov 

8 Nov., 

9 Nov., 
16 Nov 
18 Nov 

, 1559 
., 1560 


., 1562 



., 1565 

., 1566 

12 Nov., 

13 Nov., 

14 Nov., 
13 Nov., 
10 Nov., 

15 Nov., 

13 Nov., 
27 Nov., 




John Dawney, knt. 

Nicholas Fairefax, knt. 

Christopher Danbie, knt. 

John Tempest, knt. 

Richard Cholmeley, knt. 

William Vavasour, knt. 

William Calverley, knt. 

Leonard Beckwith, knt. 

John Gresham, knt. 

Thomas Maliborie, or Malyverer, of Aller- 

ton, knt. 
Thomas Waterton, knt. 

Ingelram, or Ingram, Clifford, knt. 

Christopher Mettcalf, knt. 

Richard Cholmeley, knt. 

Richard Constable, knt. (account rendered 
by his executors) 

Ralph Ellerker, knt. (account rendered by 
his executors) 

John Vaughan, esq. 

John Nevyle, knt. 

Nicholas Fayrefax, knt. 

George Bowes, knt. 

William Vavasour, knt. 

William Ingleby, knt. 

Thomas Gargrave, knt. 

John Constable, knt. 

Henry Savell, esq. > 

Richard, or John, Norton, esq. 

Thomas Gargrave, knt. 

Christopher Hillyard, esq. 

Thomas Fairfax, esq. 

John Dawney, esq. 

Marmaduke Constable, esq. 

William Bellassis, knt. 

Thomas Danby, knt. 

Thomas Boynton, esq. 

William Fairefax, knt. (called esq. and knt. 
in Pipe Roll) 

A A 



Date of 

appointment or 
of commencing 


Name, etc. 

17 Nov., 1578 

23 Nov. 

2 1 Nov. 
27 Nov. 
5 Dec., 
25 Nov. 
19 Nov. 

22 Nov. 
14 Nov. 

4 Dec., 
25 Nov. 

24 Nov. 

25 Nov. 

16 Nov. 

26 Nov. 

21 Nov. 

27 Nov. 

22 Nov. 
25 Nov. 

28 Nov. 
2 Dec., 
24 Nov, 
2 Dec., 
7 Dec., 

1 Dec., 

5 Nov., 

2 Feb., 

17 Nov 
9 Nov., 
12 Nov 

6 Nov., 

6 Nov., 

, 1579 
, 1580 

, 1581 


, 1583 

, 1584 



, 1588 

, 1589 


, 1596 

, 1597 

, 1598 


, i6oo 






, 1606 


, 1608 








Christopher Wandesforth of Kirlkington, 


Richard Goodrick, esq. 
Ralph Bourcher, or Burchier, esq. 
Robert Stapleton, knt. 
Thomas Wentworth of Woodhouse, esq. 
Cotton Gargrave, esq. (afterwards knighted) 
John Hotham, esq. 
Brian Stapleton, esq. 
Henry Constable, knt. 
Robert Aske, esq. 

Richard Malyvery, or Maliverer, knt. 
John Dawney, knt. 
Philip Constable, esq. 
Richard Gooderick, esq. 
William Mallory, knt. 
Ralph Euers, esq. (afterwards Lord Euer) 
Francis Vaughan, esq. 
Christopher Hilliard, knt. 
Francis Boynton, esq. 
Thomas Lassells, esq. 
Marmaduke Grimston, esq. 
Robert Swift, esq. 
Francis Clifford, esq. 
William Wentworth, esq. 
Thomas Strickland, esq. 
Henry Bellassis, knt. 
Richard Gargrave, knt. 
Timothy Hutton, knt. 
Henry Grirfethe, or Griffith, knt. 
William Bambroughe, knt. 
Hugh Bethell, knt. 
Francis Hildesley, knt. 
Thomas Dawney, knt. 
Henry Slingesbye, knt. 
Christopher Hildeyard, 'knt. 
George Savile, knt. 
John Armitage, esq. 
Edward Stanhoppe knt. 



Date of 
appointment or 
of commencing 

Name, etc. 

II Nov., 1616 

Michael Wharton (knighted before render- 

ing his account) 

6 Nov., 1617 

Robert Swifte, knt. 

9 Nov., 1618 

William Alford, knt. 


Arthur Ingram, knt. 

6 Nov., 1620 

Thomas Gower, knt. and bart. 


Richard Tempest, knt. 

7 Nov., 1622 

Guy Palmes, knt. 


Henry Jenkins, knt. 


Richard Cholmley, knt. 


Thomas Wentworth, knt. and bart. 


Thomas Norclyff, knt. 

4 Nov., 1627 

Thomas Fairfax of Gilling, knt. 


Matthew Boynton, knt. and bart. 


Arthur Ingram the younger, knt. 

7 Nov., 1630 

John Gibson, knt. 


Thomas Layton, knt. 


Arthur Robinson, knt. 

10 Nov., 1633 

Marmaduke Wivell, knt. and bart. 

5 Nov., 1634 

John Hotham, knt. and bart. 


William Penneman, bart. 

3 Oct., 1636 

John Ramsden, knt. 

30 Sep., 1637 

Thomas Danby, knt. 

4 Nov., 1638 

William Robinson, knt. 


Marmaduke Langdale, knt. 


John Buck, knt. 


Thomas Gower, knt. 


30 Dec., 1643 

Matthew Boynton, knt. 



John Bourchier, knt. 

i Dec., 1646 

Richard Darley, knt. 

29 Nov., 1647 

John Savile of Medley, esq. 

23 Nov., 1648 

William St. Quintin, bart. 

30 Oct., 1649 

John Savile, knt. 

7 Nov., 1650 

Edward Rodes, knt. 

4 Nov., 1651 

George Marwood, esq. 

12 Nov., 1652 

Hugh Bethell the younger, esq. 

10 Nov., 1653 

William Constable, knt. and bart. 



Date of 

appointment or 
of commencing 




5 Nov., 1660 

7 Nov., 1666 

6 Nov., 1667 


ii Nov., 1669 
4 Nov., 1670 
9 Nov., 1671 

11 Nov., 1672 

12 Nov., 1673 

5 Nov., 

15 Nov., 
10 Nov., 

17 Nov., 
14 Nov., 
13 Nov., 
4 Nov., 
10 Nov., 

13 Nov., 
12 Nov., 
20 Nov., 
30 Nov., 
25 Nov., 
8 Nov., 

1 8 Mar., 
18 Nov. ; 

27 Nov., 

14 Dec., 
17 Nov., 

1 6 Nov., 





Name, etc. 

John Bright, esq. 

Thomas Harrison, esq. 

Barrington Bourchier, esq. 

Robert Waters, esq. 

Thomas Slingsby, or Slingesbie, bart. 

Thomas Osborne, bart. 

Thomas Gower, knt. and bart. 

Roger Langley, bart. 

Francis Cobb, knt. 

John Reresbie, or Rerisby, bart. 

Richard Maleverer, knt. and bart. 

John Armitage, bart. 

Philip Monckton, knt. 

Solomon Swaile, or Swayle, bart. 

William Wentworth, knt. 

John Ramsden, esq. 

Thomas Yarborough, Yarburgh, or Yer- 

berrow, knt. 
Henry Marwood, esq. 

Edmund Jenings, or Jennings, esq. or knt. 
Godfrey Copley, bart. 
Godfrey Copley, knt. 
Richard Shuttleworth, esq. 
Thomas Daniel, knt. 
Richard Graham of Norton, bart. 
William Lowther of Swillington, esq. 
Ambrose Pudsey, esq. 
Bryan Stapylton, or Stapleton, bart. 
Christopher Tankred, or Tancred, esq. 
Christopher Tankred, esq. 
Thomas Rokeby, or Rookesby, esq. 
Richard Grahame of Norton Conyers, bart. 
William Robinson, esq. 
Jonathan Jenyngs, knt. 
Christopher Wandesford, bart. 
Henry Fairfax, esq. 
John Gill, esq. 

Ambrose Pudsay, or Pudsey, esq. 
Charles Tancred, or Tankred, esq. 



Date of 

appointment or 
of commencing 


6 Dec., 

5 Dec., 
3 Dec., 
16 Dec. 
22 Dec. 

6 Jan., 
20 Nov. 
28 Nov, 
i Jan., 
3 Dec., 


, 1697 
, 1698 
, 1699 
, 1700 

2 Dec., 1703 

21 Dec., 1704 

3 Dec., 1705 
14 Nov., 1706 

20 Nov., 1707 

29 Nov., 1708 
i Dec., 1709 
24 Nov., 1710 

13 Dec., 1711 

11 Dec., 1712 

30 Nov., 1713 
16 Nov., 1714 

22 Nov., 1715 

12 Nov., 1716 

21 Dec., 1717 


3 Dec., 1719 
3 Jan., 1721 

14 Dec. ,, 
ii Dec., 1722 

7 Jan., 1724 
10 Dec., 1724 

13 Jan., 1726 
29 Nov. 

16 Dec., 1727 
18 Dec., 1728 

Name, etc. 

Ingleby Daniell, esq. 

John Bradshaw of Brampton, esq. 

Thomas Pulleine, esq. 

William Lowther, esq. 

William Strickland, knt. 

John Lambert, esq. 

Fairfax Norcliffe, esq. 

Robert Constable, esq. 

Robert Mitford, esq. 

Thomas Pennyman, esq. (sometimes called 


Thomas Pulleine, esq. 
Godfrey Bosvile, esq. 
Matthew Pierson, knt. 
Roger Beckwith, bart. 
Henry Iveson, esq. 
William Ellis, esq. 
William Turbut, esq. 
William Neville, esq. 
William Vavasour, esq. 
Richard Beaumont, esq. 
Thomas Wrightson, esq. 
Fairfax Norcliffe of Ripon, esq. 
Charles Wilkinson of Albrough, esq. 
William Hustler, knt. 
Henry Goodricke, bart. 
Daniel Lascells, esq. 
John Bourchier, esq. 
Walter Hawksworth, bart. 
Ralph Milbanke, of Halnaby, bart. 
William Wentworth of West Bretton, 


Hugh Cholmley of Whitby, esq. 
Cholmley Turner of Kirkleatham, esq. 
Thomas Ramsden of Hawksworth, esq.. 
Charles Bathurst of Scutterskelf, esq. 
Thomas Duncombe of Duncombe Park, esq. 
Willianv Harvey of Womersley, esq. 
William St. Quintin of Harpham, bart.. 



Date of 

appointment or 
of commencing 


Name, etc. 

14 Dec 

9 Dec., 

14 Dec 
20 Dec 

22 Jan, 
19 Jan. 

12 Jan. 
ii Jan. 
27 Dec 
24 Dec 
2 Feb., 
16 Dec 
2 Feb., 
7 Feb., 

16 Jan. 

15 Jan. 
14 Jan. 

10 Feb. 

11 Jan. 

17 Jan. 

6 Dec., 

14 Jan. 

7 Feb., 
31 Jan. 
29 Jan. 
27 Jan. 

4 Feb., 

27 Jan. 
2 Feb., 

1 6 Feb. 

28 Jan. 

15 Feb. 
4 Feb., 
10 Feb. 
i Feb., 

17 Feb. 

13 Feb. 


-, 1732 
. 1736 
.. 1738 
, 1739 

., 1740 



, 1746 


. J 75 

J 754 
. J 755 
. 1756 

. X 758 

, 1760 
, 1761 
, 1762 

, 1764 

, 1766 
, 1767 

Beilby Thompson of Escrick, esq. 

Roland Wynne of Nostell Priory, bart. 

Thomas Condon of Willerby, esq. 

Hugh Bethell of Rise, esq. 

Francis Barlow of Middle thorpe, esq. 

James Hustler of Acklam, esq. 

Mark Kirby of Hull, esq. 

Hugh Smithson of Stanwick, bart. 

George Cooke of Wheatley, bart. 

Samuel Armitage of Kirklees, bart. 

Lionel Pilkington of Chevet, bart. 

Henry Darcy of Sedbury, esq. 

Ralph Bell of Thirsk, esq. 

Godfrey Copley of Sprotbrough, esq. 

Thomas Thornhill of Fixby, esq. 

Henry Ibbettson of Woodhouse, esq. 

William Milner of Nun Appleton, bart. 

William Meadhurst of Kippax, esq. 

William Thompson of Humbleton, esq. 

John Bourchier of Benningborow, esq. 

William Pennyman, bart. 

Griffith Boynton of Burton Agnes, bart. 

Richard Sykes of Sledmere, esq. 

Ralph Milbank of Halnaby, bart. 

Nathaniel Cholmley of Whitby, esq. 

Thomas Foljambe of Aldwarcke, esq. 

George Montgomery Metham of North Cave, 

esq. (knighted 10 April) 
Henry Willoughby of Birdsall, esq. 
Jeremiah Dixon of Leeds, esq. 
Charles Turner of Glints, esq. 
James Shuttleworth of Forcett, esq. 
John Lister Kaye of Grainge, bart. 
Hugh Bethell of Rise, esq. 
Boynton Langley of Wickham, esq. 
William Foulis of Ingleby Manor, bart. 
Thomas Wentworth of Bretton, bart. 
Thomas Thornhill of Fixby, esq. 
Thomas Arthington of Arthington, esq. 



Date of 

appointment or 
of commencing 


15 Jan., 1768 
27 Jan., 1769 
9 Feb., 1770 

6 Feb., 1771 
17 Feb., 1772 
8 Feb., 1773 

7 Feb., 

6 Feb., 
5 Feb., 
31 Jan., 
28 Jan., 

1 Feb., 

2 Feb., 
5 Feb., 
i Feb., 
10 Feb. ; 

9 Feb., 

7 Feb., 

J 774 

J 777 



13 Feb., 1786 
12 Feb., 1787 
8 Feb., 1788 
29 Apl., 1789 
24 Feb., 1790 


4 Feb., 1791 
3 Feb , 1792 

6 Feb., 

5 Feb., 

27 Feb., 1795 
5 Feb., 1796 

i Feb., 1797 

7 Feb., 1798 
i Feb., 1799 
21 Feb., 1800 

Name, etc. 

George Strickland of Boynton, bart. 

James Ibbetson of Leeds, bart. 

Bellingham Graham of Norton Conyers, 

Griffith Boynton of Burton Agnes, bart. 

William St. Quintin of Scams ton, bart. 

Marmaduke Asty Wyville of Constable 
Burton, bart. 

Mann Horsfield of Thorp Green, esq. 

George Armitage of Kirklees, bart. 

Giles Earl of Benningbrough, esq. 

Bacon Frank of Campsall, esq. 

John Sawrey Morritt of Rokeby, esq. 

Thomas Duncombe of Buncombe Park, esq. 

William Bethell of Rise, esq. 

Humphrey Osbaldeston of Hunmanby, esq. 

John Ingilby of Ripley, bart. 

Robert Darcy Hildyard of Winestead, 

William Danby of Swinton, esq. 

Thomas Turner Slingsby of Scriven Park, 

Richard Langley of Wikeham Abbey, esq. 

Francis Ferrand Foljambe of Aldwark, esq. 

John Yorke of Richmond, esq. 

Walter Fawkes of Farnley Hall, esq. 

Charles Duncombe the younger of Dun- 
combe Park, esq. 

George Armytage of Kirklees, bart. 

Thomas Frankland of Thirkleby, esq. 

Richard Henry Beaumont of Whitley, esq. 

Thomas Lister of Guisbourn Park, esq. 

Mark Sykes of Sledmere, esq. 

Godfrey Wentworth Wentworth of Hickle- 
ton, esq. 

John Ramsden of Byram, bart. 

Thomas Pilkington of Chevet, bart. 

Rowland Winn of Nostell, bart. 

James Milnes of Thornes-House, esq. 

3 6 


Date of 
ppointment or 
>f commencing 


Name, etc. 

11 Feb., 1801 ' 

3 Feb., 1802 

3 Feb., 1803 

i Feb., 1804 

6 Feb., 1805 

1 Feb., 1806 

4. Feb., 1807 

3 Feb., 1808 
6 Feb., 1809 
31 Jan., 1810 

8 Feb., 1811 
24 Jany., 1812 
10 Feb., 1813 

4 Feb., 1814 
13 Feb., 1815 

12 Feb., 1816 


24 Jan., 1818 

10 Feb., 1819 

12 Feb., 1820 
6 Feb., 1821 

4 Feb., 1822 
31 Jan., 1823 


2 Feb., 1825 
30 Jan., 1826 

5 Feb., 1827 

13 Feb., 1828 

11 Feb., 1829 
2 Feb., 1830 

Richard Thompson of Wetherby Grange, 

William Foulis of Ingleby Manor, bart. 

Henry Carr Ibbetson of Denton, bart. 

James Fox of Bramham Park, esq. 

Henry Cholmley of Howsham, esq. 

John Bacon Sawrey Morritt of Rokeby 
Park, esq. 

Richard Fountayne Wilson of Melton on 
the Hill, esq. 

William Joseph Dennison of Ayton, esq. 

George Womb well of Womb well, bart. 

Thomas Edward Wynn Belasyse of New- 
burgh Abbey, esq. 

Richard Watt of Bishop Burton, esq. 

Thomas Slingsby of Scriven Park, bart. 

Robert Crowe of Kipling, esq. 

Francis Lindley Wood of Hemsworth, bart. 

William Garforth of Wigginthorp, esq. 

Richard Oliver Gascoigne of Parlington, 

William Mordaunt Milner of Nun Appleton, 

John Yorke of Richmond, esq. 

William Wrightson of Cusworth, esq. 

Henry Vansittart of Kirk Leatham, esq. 

William Ingilby of Ripley, bart. 

Richard Bethell of Rise, esq. 

Walter Fawkes of Farnley, esq. 

John Van den Bempde Johnstone of Hack- 
ness, bart. 

John Hutton of Marske, esq. 

The Hon. Marmaduke Langley of Wyke- 
ham Abbey. 

Henry Darley of Aldby Park, esq. 

Tatton Sykes of Sledmere, bart. 

George Osbaldeston of Ebberston, esq. 

The Hon. Edward Robert Petre of Staple- 
ton Park. 


Date of 
appointment or 
of commencing 


Name. etc. 

31 Jan., 1831 
6 Feb., 1832 








Harry James Goodricke of Ribstone Hall, 


Richard York of Wighill Park, esq. 
William Constable Maxwell of Everingham 

Park, esq. 

Henry Preston of Moreby Park, esq. 
Richard Henry Roundell of Gledstone, esq. 
Nicholas Edmund Yarburgh of Heslington 

Hall, esq. 

Mark Milbank of Thorpe Perrow, esq. 
Robert Frankland Russell of Thirkleby 

Park, bart. 
Charles Robert Tempest of Broughton Hall, 


Thomas Aston Clifford Constable of Bur- 
ton Constable, bart. 
Frederick William Thomas Vernon Went- 

worth of Wentworth Castle, esq. 
William St. Quintin of Scampston Hall, 

Joseph William Copley of Sprotbrough, 


Timothy Hutton of Clifton Castle, bart. 
William Bryan Cooke of Wheatley Hall, 


James Walker of Sand Hutton, esq. 
Joseph Dent of Ribston Hall, esq. 
Yarburgh Greame of Sewerby House, esq. 
Octavius Vernon Harcourt of Swinton, esq. 
William Rutson of Newby Wiske, esq. 
The Hon. Payan Dawnay of Beningbrough. 
John Henry Lowther of Swillington, bart. 
Andrew Montague of Melton Park, esq. 
Henry Willoughby of Birdsall, esq. 
James Brown of Copgrove, esq. 
Harry Stephen Thompson of Kirby Hall, 


Joseph Radcliffe of Rudding Park, bart. 
John Walbanke Childers of Cantley, esq. 



Date of 

appointment or 
of commencing 

account . 

Name, etc. 













Lionel Milborne Swinnerton Pilkington of 

Chevet Park, bart. 

James Garth Marshall of Headingley, esq. 
George Orby Wombwell of Newburgh, bart. 
Godfrey Wentworth of Woolley Park, esq. 
John Hope Barton of Stapleton Park, esq. 
Frederick Charles Trench Gascoigne of 

Parlington, esq. 

Francis Watt of Bishop Burton, esq. 
Charles Sabine Augustus Thellusson of 

Brodsworth, esq. 
William Henry Harrison Broadley of 

Welton, esq. 

John William Ramsden of Byram, bart. 
Tatton Sykes of Sledmere, bart. 
James Pulleine of Clifton Castle, esq. 
Henry Edwards of Pye Nest, bart. 
Frederick Bacon Frank of Campsall, esq. 
George Lane Fox of Bramham Park, esq. 
The Hon. Arthur Duncombe of Kilnwick 


William Frogatt Bethell of Rise, esq. 
Henry Miles Stapylton of Myton, esq. 
The Hon. John Horace Savile commonly 

called Viscount Pollington. 
William Aldham of Frickley, esq. 
Charles Booth Elmsall Wright of Bolton 

Hall, esq. 
Charles William Strickland of Hildenby, 


William Roundell of Gledstone, esq. 
Henry Day Ingilby of Ripley Castle, bart. 
Walter Morrison of Malham Tarn House, 

The Rt. Hon. John Lord Hotham of South 


John Fielden of Grimston Park, esq. 
Thomas Slingsby of Scriven Park, esq. 
Samuel Cunliffe Lister of Swinton Park, esq. 


3 6 3 

Date of 

appointment or 
of commencing 










Name, etc. 

James Robert Walker of Sand Hutton, 


Thomas Edward Yorke of Bewerley, esq. 
John Coulthurst of Gargrave, esq. 
Arthur Wilson of Tranby Croft, esq. 
Andrew Fairbairn of Askham Hall, knt. 
George Thomas Gilpin Brown of Sedbury 

Park, esq. 

Ralph Creyke of Rawcliffe, esq. 
The Hon. Henry Edmund Butler of Nidd 

Ernest Richard Bradley Hall-Watt of 

Bishop Burton, esq. 
James Anson Farrer of Ingleborough Hall, 


Robert John Foster of Stockeld Park, esq. 
William Herbert St. Quintin of Scampston, 

William Henry Battie-Wrightson of Cus- 

worth Park, esq. 
Alexander Wentworth Macdonald Bosville 

of Thorpe Hall, esq. 
Theophilus Peel of Potterton Hall, Barwick 

in Elmet, bart. 
William Henry Charles Wemyss Cooke of 

Wheatley Park, bart. 

William Ferrand of St. Ives, Bingley, esq. 
William Wright Warde-Aldham of Frickley 

Hall, esq. 
William Slingsby Hunter of Gilling Castle, 

George John Armytage of Kirklees Park, 


Bruce Canning Vernon- Wentworth of Went- 
worth Castle, esq. 
George William Lloyd of Stockton Hall, 

Frederick James Osbaldiston Montagu of 

Melton Park, esq. 

3 6 4 


Date of 
appointment or 
of commencing 

Name, etc. 


Thomas Edward Milborne 
Pilkington of Chevet Park, 


It is rather remarkable to note that the office of Under- 
sheriff has been held many times by members of the Gray 
family of York, during four generations. As early as 1788 
we find Mr. William Gray holding the office. His son, Mr. 
Jonathan Gray was Undersheriff several years, notably in 
1807 when he acted as Returning Officer at the memorable 
contested County Election, on which occasion William Wil- 
berforce, Esq., the Rt. Hon. Lord Milton, and the Hon. Henry 
Lascelles were the candidates. Mr. William Gray held the 
appointment each year successively from 1843 to the time of 
his death in 1880, except on two occasions, viz. for the years 
1845 and 1851, when Mr. Anderson and Mr. Russell were 
respectively the under-sheriffs. Mr. Edwin Gray succeeded 
his father in the office and was annually re-appointed down 
to the year 1910, when Mr. C. H. Morton of Liverpool, the 
High Sheriff's uncle, held the office, Mr. Edwin Gray being 
Acting Undersheriff. 


N.B. Appendix K (the high Sheriffs of Yorkshire} is not included 
in the following Index. 

AINSTY of York, 50, 246, 249, 


,, Scaffold, 2512 
Albemarle (Duke of), 174 
Alexander II of Scotland, his 
marriage at York, 
,, his quarrel with 

Henry III., 32 
Amereduk (Rees) hanged, drawn 

and quartered, 94 
Anglo-Saxon fortifications, 5 
Apartments in keeps used by 

Royalty, 26 

Aram (Eugene) hanged and gib- 
beted, 261 
Archbishop of York, his scaffold, 


Archery, Service of, 114 
Armitage's (Mrs. E. S.) Anglo- 
Saxon Burhs and 
Early Norman 
Castles, quoted, 5 
Early Norman Castles 

of England, quoted, 
3, 6 n., 15, 18, 20, 
23, 3i n., 35 

,, Some .Yorkshire 

Earthworks, quot- 
ed, 4 
Arms, Royal, placed on Clifford's 

Tower, 180 

Aske (Robert), his execution, 

Assize Courts, 211, 2167 
Assize and Prison Records, 89-1 1 1 
Athelstane and a castrum at 

York, 3 
Attercliffe Common, Gibbet on, 

Ayleston (Robert de), king's 

treasurer at York, 73 

BABINGTON (John), joint owner 
of Clifford's Tower, 168-9, 180 
Bailey, Outer, 87, 225 
Balliol crowned King of Scots, 70 
Baldric (Hugh Fitz) restores the 

Castle, 1 8 
Balistarius (Odo), the arbalister, 


(Robert) and Castle- 
guard, 114 

Bannockburn, Battle of, 56 
Bar or barrier without the Great 

Gate, 86 
Barden (John de), keeper of the 

Castle, 80 
,, keeper of the Foss Pool, 

Barwick (Dr.), Dean of Durham, 

Bayeux Tapestry, Keeps and 

mounds pictured on, 1012 
Bayocke (Authery), 176 
(Matthew), 176 
(Thomas), 176 
Beckwith's, MS., quoted, 214 


3 66 


Bek (Anthony), Bishop of Dur- 
ham, 95 

Benson's (Geo.) and H. Plat- 
nauer, Notes on Clifford's 
Tower, quoted, 20, 200-207 
Berwick-on-Tweed, occupied by 
Scots, 58 
King John 
visits, 29 
Bishopthorpe, Richard II lodges 

at, 76 
Bogham (Countess of), resides 

in the keep, 75 
Boroughbridge destroyed by 

Scots, 58 
Battle of, 60, 158 
Bourchier (Barrington), favours 
Charles II, 178 
,, (Sir John), one of the 

Regicides, 178 

Bower (Mrs. Catherine), her in- 
terest in Clifford's Tower, 1 89-90 
Bows and arrows made in the 

Castle, 145 
Bray (John de), supervisor of 

the King's works, 75 
Bretasche fixed upon drum 

towers, 85 

,, between the Castle 

and keep, 63, 64, 84 

Bridge, bailey to keep, 29, 55, 

63, 64, 84, 165, 171 
Great Gate, 13, 28, 86 n., 


Lesser Gate, 28, 87 
Water-Gate, 72, 86-7, 

122, 133 

Bridges mentioned, 53, 64, 84 
Bristol, Mint at, 152 
Broughton (Spence), last man 

gibbeted in Yorkshire, 261 
Browney Dyke, Foss Basin, 118 
Bruce (Robert), 53, 66, 70 
Brussels (Henry de), mintmaster, 

Burghley (Lord Treasurer), 

letter from, 160 
Burgundy (Charles of), 145 

Burhs, described, 3, 5 
Byland Abbey, Scaffold of, 257 
Bywell, Northumberland, and 
Castle-guard, 113 

CAINE'S (Caesar), Archiepiscopal 

Coins of York, quoted, 150 
Calais, Mint at, 152 
Calendar sellers, 265 
Camden's Britannia, quoted, 149 
Capital Punishment and Scaf- 
folds, 250-270 

Carr (John), architect, 216 n. 
Castellum, Early meaning of the 

word, 35 n. 
Castle, The, Anglo-Saxon aspect 

of the site of, 82 
,, Description and Disposi- 
tion of, 8 1-88 
its isolated keep, 84 
,, its site a Roman burial 

place, 82 

a County Prison, 89 
,, Legal status and owner- 
ship, 245 
an Extra Parochial Area, 

,, Ruinous condition of, 


Castles references to chapels, 
mottes, gatehouses, timber 
erections, wells, etc. 
Almondbury, 20 n. 
Arundel, 24 n., 27 n. 
Bamburgh, 42 n., 59 
Barnard, 59 
Bramber, 27 n. 
Cambridge, 6 n., 7 
Canterbury, 6 n. 
Carisbrooke, 20 n. 
Carlisle, 32, 97 
Carnarvon 48, 96 
Corfe, 6 n., 48 
Dinant, n 
Etampes, 39-40 
Exeter, 27 n. 

Gloucester, 6 n., 26 n., 48 
Hastings, 10, 12 
Huntingdon, 6 n. 



Castles references to chapels, 
mottes, gatehouses, timber 
erections, wells, etc. contd. 

Knaresborough, 59 

Lewes, 27 n. 

Lincoln, 6 n. 

Merchem, 9 n. 

Middleham, 40 n. 

Newcastle-on-Tyne, 40 n., 59, 


Northampton, 24 n. 

Norwich, 6 n., 31 n. 

Nottingham, 48, 50, 59, 109 

Old Baile, York, 6, 17 

Ongar, 27 n. 

Oxford, 35 n. 

24 n., 42 n. 

Pickering, 108 

Fleshy, 27 n. 

Pontefract, 172 

Richmond, 97, 112 

Rochester, 6 n., 40 n., 51 

Salisbury, 48 

Scarborough, 59, 97 

Shrewsbury, 6 n. 

Skipsea, 113 

Skipton-in-Craven, 97 

Tickhill, 27 n., 42 n., 59 

Wallingford, 31 n. 

Warwick, 6 n., 23 n. 

Winchester, 6ji., 7, 48 
Castles built on, or outside 

Town Walls, 7 [115 

Castle-guard and Serjeanty, 112- 
Castle Mills, purchased by Sir T. 

Hesketh, 127, 315 
Castrum, Early, at York, 3 

Early meaning of the 

word, 35 n. 
Chapel in the Keep, repaired, 

etc., 54, 246 

Chapel in the keep.founded, 34-36 
Chapel in the keep, chaplain 

appointed, 37 
Chapel in the keep, vestments 

bought, 37 

Chapel in the keep, described, 43 
Chapels in gatehouses and fore- 
buildings, 36, 40, 134 

Charles II, Restoration of, 178- 


Charlotte (Queen) and the burn- 
ing of women, 259 
Chester, Masons of, for Carnar- 
von Castle, 48 
Cholmeley (Sir Henry), claims 

Clifford's Tower, 178 
Christianity of York, 252 n. 
Church architecture compared, 

35 n. 

Clark's (George T.), Medieval 
Military Architecture in Eng- 
land, quoted, 4, 5, 9, 42 
Clement V (Pope) and the Tem- 
plars, 102 

Clerks of Gaol Sessions, 243 
Clifford (Robert de), refused ad- 
mittance to York, 55 
(Sir Roger), hanged in 

chains, 60, 158 
Armorial bearings placed 
on Clifford's Tower, 

Cliffords not hereditary Con- 
stables, 295 
" Clifford's " Tower, Origin of 

the name, 32 n., 157-8, 295 
Clifford's Tower, erected, etc., 

34. *49 

,, strange vicissi- 

tudes, 156- 
Public access 

to, 244 

(see also under 

Keep, and 
Cobb (Sir Francis), Governor of 

Clifford's Tower, 172 
Cockpit, Mr. Redhead's, Stones 

for, 1 66 

Common Bench in the Castle, 77 
Constable (Sir Robert), his exe- 
cution, 158 

Constables and Military Gover- 
nors of Castle 
Baldric (Hugh fitz), 291 
Byron (John de), 292 

3 68 


Constables and Military Gover- 
nors of Castle continued 
Creppinge (Robert de), 291- 
Dacre (Randolph de), 292' 
Faucomberge (Henry de) , 294 
Kirketon (Alexander de) , 292 
Latimer (William le), 294 
Lithegrains (John de), 292 
Longechamp (Robert de), 291 
Malet (William), 291 
Marshall (John de), 291 
Moubray (John de), 293 
Nevill (Geoffrey de), 291 
Nevill (Robert de), 292 
Osbern (William fitz), 291 
Perci (William de), 291 
Percy (Sir Henry), 294 
Richard (Robert fitz), 291 
Ryther (Robert), 295 
Ryther (Sir Robert), 294 
Salvayn (Gerard), 292 
Council of the North, 147, 305-6 
,, and Clifford's Tower, 1 66 
Council of War to consider 

Bruce' s attitude, 53 
County Elections, etc., in Castle 

Yard, 271-289 
County Hall, 211, 216, 222 
Corpus Christi Guild plate 

minted, 154 
,, Pageants, 138 
Court of Gaol Sessions and 

Prison Commissioners, 330 
Craven (Hiram), builder of 

modern prisons, 239 
Crippelinges (John de) and 

(Robert de) and 
service of archery, 
Crombwell (John de), keeper of 

the Forest, 62 
Cromwell (Mr.), A remembrance 

for, 148 

(Oliver), passes 
through York, 173 
Cromwell (Thomas), Vicar-Gen- 
eral, 157 

Crown Tenants to meet Edward 

III, 67 
Cumberland (Earl of), restores 

Tower Gatehouse, 36 
Cumpton (Galfredo de), forester 

of Galtres, 31 

D'ALBENI (Nigel), gift of Mill 
Tithe to Holy Trinity Priory, 

Darcy (Lord), his execution, 158 

Darley (Francis), his ownership 

of Clifford's Tower, 


Bailiff of St. Mary's, 

169 n., 180 
Davey (Henry), leases Hunting 

Lodge in the New Park, 179 
Davies' (Robert F. S. A.), An- 
tiquarianWalks through 
York, quoted, 123 j 
,, Lambert Symnell's Re- 
bellion, quoted, 148 
,, Notices of the York 
Mints, etc., quoted, 152 
Debtors in Gaol, 221 
Defoe's (Daniel), A Tour Through 
the whole Island of Great 
Britain, quoted, 216 
Denton (Richard), his interest 
in Clifford's Tower, 186, 189- 
D'Eyville (Sir Jocelyn), his 

execution, 158 

Dickinson (Abigail), marries 
Richard Sowray, 
185, 186 n. 
(Thomas), governor 
of Clifford's Tower, 
172-5, 185 

Domesday Book, quoted, 6 n. 
,, and Cas tie 

> Sites, 6 
account of 

York, 10 
,, brought to 

York, 106 

Drake (Francis, M.D., F.S.A.), 
versus the King/339-4i 


3 6 9 

Drake, his Eboracum, quoted 2-3, 
13, 36 n. 86 n., 87 n., 
127, 128 n., 140, 157, 


his allusion to the Clif- 
ford's as ancient Cas- 
tellans, 32, 157-8, 295 
Drawbridges, Use of, 29, 63, 188 
Duffield (Edmund), joint owner 
of Clifford's Tower, 168, 180 

EARTH and timber castles, Early 

use of, 7-21 
Edward I, his castle works, etc., 

48, 53. 93, 151 
Edward II, his castles to be 

safely kept, 53 
,, his visits to York, 

53. 54 

his horses stolen, 55 
,, and the Knights 
Templar, 100-105 
,, lodges at Arch- 
bishop's Palace, 56 
,, lodges at Friar's 

Minors, 57 
,, his marriage and 

coronation, 53 

Edward III, he marries Philippa 
of Hainault at 
York, 70 

,, his wardrobe at 

York robbed, 73 

,, sails for Flanders, 

his mint at York, 


Edward IV visits York, 145 
,, and France, 145 
Elections in the Castle Yard, 


,, celebrated contests, 283 
Elizabeth of York, Privy Purse 

of, 253 n. 

Escrick Church, a place of sanc- 
tuary, 96 

Etampes near Paris, Castle of, 
resemblance to York, 39-40, 

Exchequer, The Royal, in the 
Castle, 51, 58, 70, 72-3, 77, 
105, 107 
Executions in public, 191, 226, 

on Clifford's Tower, 

157-8, 248, 259 

Eyton's (Rev. R. W.), Court, 
Household and Itinerary of 
Henry 11, quoted, 24 n. 

FAIRFAX (Thomas, Lord), aids 

Restoration of Charles II, 179 

Fauconberg (Lord), letter from, 


Fees paid by prisoners, 223 
Fitz-Osbern (William), builds 

castles, 15 
Flanker destroyed by Robert 

Redhead, 87 n. 
Floods damage motte, etc., 56, 

121-2, 140, 235 
Florence (Bonache de), moneyer, 


,, (Lawrence de), money- 
er), 151 

Forest, Pleas of the, 93 
Forest of Ouse and Derwent, 85 
Forester (John), Keeper of Foss 

Pool, 125 
Fortescue (John), Chancellor of 

the Exchequer, and Clifford's 

Tower, 160 
Foss Pool, or Fishpond of Foss 

formed, repaired, etc., 12-15, 

81, 83, 94, 118, 121, 125, 128, 

130, 148-9, 214, 291. 
Fossalum, The word, 56 n. 
Foundation of the Castle, 7 
Fountains Abbey occupied by 

Scots, 58 
Fox (George), the Quaker, put 

in Clifford's Tower, 181 n. 
Frescheville (Lord), Governor ol 

Clifford's Tower, 181 
Friars Minors Monastery, Ed- 
ward II, lodges at, 57, 59 

Edward II receives Great 
Seal at, 59 




Friars Minors, Parliaments held 

at, 6 1 

the well at, repaired for 
King's use, 74 

Fry's (Elizabeth) and Joseph 
John Gurney, Notes on a Visit 
made to some of the Prisons 
in Scotland and tjie North of 
England, quoted, 227-231 

Fry (Elizabeth), Duke of Ar- 
gyle's estimate of, 231 n. 

GALE (George), goldsmith, 154 

Gaol, First mention of the, 91 
,, deliveries and Sydney 
Smith, 241 

Gaolers, Payment to early, 92-3 
,, abet the escape of 
prisoners, no 

Gaolers, Keepers and Governors 

of Prison 
Ash ( ), 310 

Barlay (William), 301 
Bajock (Audry), 309 
Beaumont (Thomas), 308 
Benin (Anthony), 309 
Blanche (Anthony), 309 
Botellerie ( Alexander de la) ,299 
Boyce (Robert W.), 314 
Bucock ( ), 303 

Butler (James), 310 
Butler (John), 310 
Butler (Marmaduke), 310 
Chapman (Christopher), 303 
Chippendale (E.), 310 
Clarkson (Michael), 308 
Clay broke (William), 301 
Clayton (William), 310 
Core (Thomas), 309 
Crooke (William), 309 
Elvyngton (Simon), 300 
Esqueler (Henry le), 298 
Farbank (Francis), 309 
Gilbert (John), 309 
Griffith (Thomas), 310 
Grymstone ( ), 309 

Hales (Samuel), 309 
Halgate (William), no, 299 
Halton (John), 300 

Gaolers, Keepers and Governors 

of Prison continued 
Hammond (William), 309 
Hixe (Henry), 302 
Hynde (John), 302 
Laberok, (John), 303 
Lealand (Richard), 309 
Lee (Robert), 303 
Legard (Richard), 309 
Leventhorpe (John de), 301 
Litton (Thomas), 302 
Lockwood (Joseph), 310 
Lowrie (Captain W. F.), 312 
Lyott (John), 302 
Maunsell (Henry), 301 
Merssheton (Richard), 302 
Miles (Henry), 298 
Milford (Gilbert de), 98, 298 
Nightyngale (Robert), 302 
Noble (John), 312 
Pennant (Peter), 304-7 
Redhead (Robert), 87 n. 149, 

159, 161-66, 307 
Reed (Thomas), 309 
Shepherd (James), 311 
Shepherd (James Henry), 314 
Staveley (Christopher), 311 
Staveley (William), 311 
Stevers (John), 302 
Stransall (William), 300 
Sutton (Richard de), 299 
Taylor (Edwin), 244, 314 
Tesdale (John de), 299 
Thomlinson (John), 309 
Triffitt (Robert E.), 313 
Trumbull (William), 308 
Twyford (Captain A. W.), 313 
Twyford (Henry), 308 
Tyndall (William), 303 
Tyryngton (William de), 299 
Upton (Thomas), 300 
Wharton (Thomas), 220, .310 
Wharton (William), 308 
Whitell (Miles), 303 
Wilkinson (Oswald), 303-4 
Woodhouse (Richard), 310 

Galtres Forest, Rights of the 
Hospital of St. 
Leonard in, 126 


37 1 

Galtres Forest, Timber irom, 
for Castle works, 31, 

63. 71. 74-5. ii9, 
123, 293 

Gate, Serjeanty at the Castle, 

Gates to the Castle, 48 
Great Gate, 85, 86, 275 
Lower Gate, 87, 219, 249, 275 
Modern Gate, 240- i 
Water-gate, 86-7, 122, 128, 
133, 149, 226 

Gates or Bars of York, dimen- 
sions compared, 86 

Gatehouses and forebuildings, 
36, 4 

Gatehouse to keep described, 40 

Gaveston (Piers) and York, 54, 

George V proclaimed in Castle 
Yard, 288 

HANGED men found alive, 252, 
253 n. 

Hangman's rope bought by 
prisoners, 94 

Harestaffe (Lieut. Gervase), com- 
mands Clifford's Tower, 175 

Hastings, Motte thrown up at, 

Haxby (Thomas), als. Haxey, 
als. Haxay, Treasurer of the 
Cathedral, custom of paying 
debts at his tomb, 153, 153 n., 

176-7. 317 

Henry II, his castle works, 23 
,, his visits to York, 


,, makes his will at 

Mote-de-Ger, 24 n. 

,, grants Mill site in 

London to Tem- 
plars, 117 n. 

Henry III, assigns apartments 
in Glouce ster 
Castle to his 
cousin Eleanor, 26 

,, his castle works, 29- 


Henry III, he builds the keep 

at York, 34 

,, his visits to York, 93 

gift of timber to 
Templars, York, 

Henry IV, his mint at York, 152 
Henry V, contemplated coinage 

for, 152 

Henry VI, coinage for, 152 
Henry VII, letter to, 147 
Henry VIII and Leland, 148 
Hesketh (Sir Thomas), of Hes- 
lington, buys the Castle Mills, 

!27. 315 

Heslington Hill, Battery on, 172 

Heslington Hospital, endowed 

with rents of 

Castle Mills, 128 

,, Rent-charge paid by 

Corporation, 130 
Holgate (Archbishop), Papers of, 

quoted, 154 
Holy Trinity Church, Goodram- 

gate, 154 

Holy Trinity Priory, and the 
Christianity of 
York, 252 
its tithe of Castle 

Mills, 117 
its scaffold, 252 
House of Correction, 209 
Houses near the Castle of the 

Templars, 71 

Houses within the Castle built, 
repaired,: etc., 51, 53, 55, 57-8, 
70-1, 75-7, 87, 107, 152 
Howard (John), Prison Reformer, 

and the Castle, 220 
his State of the Prisons 
in England and Wales. 
quoted, 220-4 

Howden, Church of, its right to 

stone in Tevesdale quarry, 49 

,, Christianity of, 252 n. 

Hue and Cry, The custom of, 98 

Hull, Kingston-upon, Customs 

of, 147 
,, Mayor of, 174 



Hull, Deputy Governor of, 173 
,, Fortifications of, 174 

Hunt (William), keeper of the 
Exchanges, York, 152 

Hussey (Lord), his execution, 

Hutton on Derwent and Castle- 
guard, 113 

INSCRIBED stone found in Castle 

Yard, 226 
Irish hostages brought to York, 

28, 91 

Iron collars for prisoners, 91 
Irwin (Viscount) and the Foss 

River, 128 
Isabel (Queen-Mother) resides in 

the Castle, 67 

JAKESLE als. Yakesle (John de), 
the King's pavilioner, 57, 71 
James I grants Clifford's Tower 
to Babington and Duffteld, 
156, 1 68 
Jews, Massacre of the, in the 

Castle, 24, 25, 201 n. 
John, King, his visits to York, 25 
,, he fines the citi- 

zens, 26 
his castle works, 


he visits Berwick, 
Scarborough and 
Kirkham, 29 
,, his expedition to 

Ireland, 91 

Justices of the Peace, Powers 
of, 211 

KEEP of Timber, 10-12, 24 

burnt at Massacre of 
the Jews, 24-5, 201 
,, destroyed by storm of 

wind, 31 
Keep of stone built by Henry 

HI, 34 
its cost, 35 

,, a noteworthy example, 

Keep of Stone, architectural de- 
scription, 39 
,, its chapel, 36 

its isolated position, 84 
,, used as a residence, 75 
,, great cracks in, 76 

repairs to, 59 

,, (see also under Clif- 
ford's Tower and Tower). 
Keu (Richard le), a trespasser 

in Foss Pool, 94 
King's Bench in the Castle, 105, 


King's Hall in the Castle, 88, 143 
King's Tower or Turris, 157 
King's (Dr. W.), Northern Ata- 

lantis, quoted, 188 
Kirby Hall, 185 
Kirkham Abbey, King John 

visits, 29 
Knaresbrough destroyed by 

Scots, 58 

Knights Templar, their mill on 
the Flete, 
117 n. 

,, their houses 

near the 
Castle, 71 
a n d S t. 


permission to 
clear City 
Ditch, 118 

obtain posses- 
sion of the 
Castle Mills 
117, 120 

land granted 

to, 119 



before the In- 



LABOURERS, Statute of, 78 

Lancaster (Earl of), defeated 
and beheaded, 60 

Landric the Carpenter and his 
work, 10 

Langton (Bishop Walter), im- 
prisoned, 104-5 

Lardiner (David le), overseer of 
Castle Works, 23 

Lead tiles recast, 69 

Le Due (M. Violett) and 
Etampes' Castle, 39 ri. 

Lee (Edward Archbishop) and 
the Royal Mint, 150 

Leeds Mace made by Arthur 
Mangey, 259 

Leland's Itinerary, quoted, 148 

Leventhorpe (Nicholas), sur- 
veyor of Castles, 145 

Lincoln (Henry of), his account 
for castle works, 67-70 

Literary notices of the Castle, 

Luda (William de), keeper of 
the Wardrobe, 50 

Luddite Riots, 68 

MALET (William), commander 

of the Castles, 16 
Malmesbury describes a castrum 

at York, 3 

Malton, Convent of, and Castle- 
guard, 114 
Mangey (Arthur), silversmith, 

hanged, 59-60 

Marston Heath, Battle of, 172 
Masons at St. Peter's Cathedral, 

76 n. 
Masons' Marks, Clifford's Tower, 

Melton (John), his account for 

castle works, 77 

Melton (Archbishop), to over- 
haul the Castle, 63 
keeper of the Border 

Marches, 58 
Merchem, France, motte and 

keep described, 9 n. 

Meredith (Madoc ap), his at- 
tempt to rouse the Welsh, 96 
Meus (Gilbert de), trespasses in 

Foss Pool, 94 
Middlethorpe, Richard II erects 

a cross at, 76 
Military Detention Barracks in 

the Castle, 244, 249 
Military Governors and Con- 
stables of the Castle, 290-5 
Mills attached to Castles, 8, 14 
Mills by the Castle, 72, 75, 104, 


" Minced Pie," derisive name 
given to Clifford's Tower, 184 
Mints, Early, in York, 150 
Mint, Royal, in the Castle, 


Modern Additions and Altera- 
tions, 225-49 

Montgomery (James), his poeti- 
cal allusion to 
Castle Mills, 129 
,, his rhyme on the 

prison clock, 214 
Moore (Robert), owner of Clif- 
ford's Tower, 169, 180 
(Thomas), owner of Clif- 
ford's Tower, 180 
Moray (John Randolf, Earl of), 

immured at York, 109 
Mote-de-Ger, Henry II at, 24 n. 
Motehall in the Castle Yard, 143 
Mott (Mr. Basil), his work of 
restoration at Clifford's Tower, 

Motte, The word, used to 
describe a conical mound, 4, 
8-9, 56 n. 
Motte at York, artificial, 4-10, 

18-20, 201-7 

,, wasted by floods, 56 
Mowbray (Sir John), his execu- 
tion, 158 
,, (Roger), grants mills 

to Templars, 117 
Munby (Mr. Frederick J.), Clerk 
to County Committee, 208, 
243. 249 



Murum, the word used for an 

earthbank, 56 n. 
Myton, Battle of, 58 

NEILSON (George), his remarks 

on mottes, 4 n. 

Nevill (Geoffrey de), his defen- 
sive works, 29 
incloses Walmgate sub- 
urb, 118 
Newcastle (Earl of), lands seized 

by, 174 

Newcastle-on-Tyne, Edward II 
visits, 54 

to be safely 

kept, 59 

New Drop Scaffold, 266, 268 
New Park, hunting lodge in 

Galtres Forest, 179 
Norfolk (Thomas Howard, Duke 

of), 157 
Norman Castle Works at York, 


,, Earthworks, 7 
,, Gatehouses, 27 

Motte at Merchem, 9 n. 
Northallerton, destroyed by 

Scots, 58 
Bailiff of, and 
contempt of 
Court, 95 

Northumberland (Earl of), be- 
headed, 259 

Northumbrians destroy castles, 

OLD Baile Castle, 6, 15, 17 

Tower demolished, 


Ordericus Vitalis, quoted, 15 
Otter-Holmes near the Castle 

Mills, 123 
Ottobonus (Cardinal), and tax 

for Castle Works, 38 
Ouse, River, an important 

waterway, 85 
its former width, 85 

PANNAL Church, burnt by Scots, 


Perci (Henry de), refused ad- 
mittance to York, 55 
,, (William de), enlarges the 

Castle, 1 8 
Persons fleeing to Castles for 

protection, 62 
Philippa (Queen), resides in the 

Castle, 71 

Pilgrimage of Grace, 157 
Pillory and Stocks, 91-2, 272 
Portcullis in the keep, how 

worked, 41 

Porter of the Gate imprisoned, 93 
Poyntz (Col. Genl.) Commands 

Clifford's Tower, 172 
Prest or earnest money, 145 n. 
Prison Commissioners and the 

Castle, 196-9 
Prisons, Description of the, 219, 


,, Cost of modern, 237 
,, Enlarged, 233, 249 
Prisoners die of hunger, 97 
,, Escape of, 98 
,, fed by charitable per- 
sons, no 

,, 111 treatment of, 97 
,, in the stocks, 91, 272 
Iron collars for, 91 
Pardons'for escape of, 

rescued, 93 

to be securely kept, 

Proclamations in the Castle 

Yard, 288 

Punishments by mutilation of 
the body, 109 

QUYLTEMAKER (John le), his 
ear cut off by Scots, no 

RECORDS of York Castle, 338 
Redhead (Robert), a notorious 

gaoler, 149, 159, 307 
,, his acts of spoliation, 

87, 161-6 



Report of the Visiting Magis- 
trates, quoted, 232 
Reresby (Sir John), Governor 

of Clifford's Tower, 182-5 
Richard I, his castle works, 24 
Richard II grants a charter to 
York citizens, 246 
,, lodges at Bishop- 

thorpe, 76 

,, visits the castle, 76 

Richard III, his intention to 
restore the 
Castle, 147 
his visits to York, 


Robinson (Peter Frederick, 
F.S.A.), Architect of modern 
prisons, 236, 239 
Roderham (Thomas), assayer of 

King's money, 153 
Roman sarcophagus found in 

the Castle, 82 
Roman suburb, 81 
Round's (J. H.), English Castles, 

quoted, 5, 7 
,, Feudal England, quoted, 

Royal Forests, Memorials of 

Old Yorkshire, quoted, 85 
Rupert (Prince), his march to 

York, 172 
Russe (William), mintmaster, 


SALTMERSH (Peter de), sheriff, 

to pay a watchman, 72 
Sanctuary, Infraction, or viola- 
tion of, 95 
,, Escrick Church and, 


Nicholas de Schup- 
ton led back to, 
,, Alan de Ellerbek 

and, 95 

Saint John of Jerusalem, Guild 
of the Hospital of, and hanged 
malefactors, 252-3 

Scaffolds and Capital Punish- 
ment, 250-70 

Scarborough, King John visits,29 
Scots, their depredations, rav- 
ages, etc., 53, 57-9, 62, 67, 
70, 105, 107, 143, 151 
Scott (Col. John), commander 

of Clifford's Tower, 180 
Scrop (Henry le), to prepare 

oaks for timber, 63 
Sea (Anthony-by-the), super- 
visor of mints, 151 
Seal, The Great, delivered by 
Edward I to his minis- 
ters in the Castle, 54 
,, delivered to Edward II in 

Friars Minors, 59 
Seman als. Goldbeter (Bartholo- 
mew), mintmaster, 152 
Serjeanty, Grand, burdensome 

incidents abolished, 115 
Sheriffs guard convoy of State 

Papers, 106 
Sheriffs of Yorkshire, List of, 


,, their jurisdiction and 
duties, 23, 49, 295, 

34 r ~4 

Sheriffs of Yorkshire mentioned- 
Bourchier (Barrington), 178-9 
Brounflete (Thomas), 125 
Bygod (Ralph), 143 
Byroum (John de), 98 
Clifford (Henry), 157 
Euer (Ralph), 78 
Fairfax (Sir Wm.) , 306-7 
Gras (John de), 105 
Haryngton (William), 152 
Hornby (Robert de), 124 
Kirketon (Alexander de), 47 
Kyme (Simon de), 51, 98 
Langley (The Hon. Marma- 

duke), 238 

Lithegrains (John de), 50 
Ludham (Eustace de), 92 
Marshall (John de), 25 
Mauleverer (Sir Halnatheus), 

Meynell (Nicholas), 121 



Sheriffs of Yorkshire mentioned 


Montagu (Frederick J. O.),288 
Nevill (Robert de), 38 
Rokeby (Thomas de), 75 
Ryther (Robert, Knt), 146 
Saltmersh (Peter de), 72 
Salveyn (Gerard), 55 
Sayvylle (John), no 
Warde (Simon), 57, 121 
Wharton (Sir Michael), 182 
Siward (Earl), his death at the 

Earlsburh, 4 
Skipton in Craven wasted by 

Scots, 58 

Smith (Rev. Sydney), his associa- 
ation with York Castle, 192, 
195, 241 
Smollett's (Tobias), Humphrey 

Clinker, quoted, 219 
Solloway's (Dr. John), Alien 
Benedictines of York, quoted, 

Sowray (Abigail), owner of Clif- 
ford's Tower, 185-6, 

(Mercy), 177 
(Richard the elder), 
buys Clifford's Tower, 

177, I8 5 

,, (Richard the younger), 
inherits Clifford's 
Tower, 185 
(Richard the younger), 

his epitaph, 186 
(Richard the younger), 

his will, 329 
Springalds to repair, 64 
Stockades, palisades and palings 
15, 31. 54-6, 63, 72, 74, 83-4, 
Stocks, Early representation of, 


Stone castles, 7 
Stone, Early order for, 27 
Stone for Castle from St. An- 
drew's Priory, 70 
St. Mary's Abbey, 211 
Tevesdale, 48-9 

Stone from Ulleskelf, 28 
Strathern (Malisus, Earl of), 

imprisoned at York, 51 
Strickland's (George), Reasons 

for not Pulling down Clifford's 

Tower, quoted, 192-5 
Strickland (Walter), antiquary, 

his remarks on the name 

" Clifford's " Tower, 157 
Swegen (King of Denmark), 

attacks York, 15 
Symnell Rebellion, 147 

TADCASTER Church burnt by 

Scots, 58 

Tentmakers in the Castle, 57 
Tents, Royal, stored in Castles, 


Terry, John, clockmaker, 214 
Testa de Nevil and Castle-guard, 


Tevesdale quarry near Tad- 
caster, 48-9 
Thompson (Sir Henry), owner 

of Clifford's Tower, 177, 181, 

185, 318, 324, 325 
Thompson (Lady Suzanna), she 

sells Clifford's Tower, 185, 327 
Timber, Frequent use of, for 

castle works, 7-10, 31, 63-4, 

71, 74-5, 201, 204-7 
Timber Keeps, 8, 21, 23-5, 31, 


Torches used by Norman sol- 
diery, ii 

Tostig (Earl) and the Earlsburh, 4 

Tournemire (William), Mint- 
master, 151 

Tower, The Great, or Keep, 
34-46, 63, 84, 156-208 (see 
also under Clifford's Tower 
and Keep) 

Transit, Ancient mode of, 106 

Tribal fortifications, 5 

Turns usual name for a keep, 23 

Twyford's (Captn. A. W.) and 
Major A. Griffiths, Records of 
York Castle, quoted, 2 

Tyburn scaffold, London, 256 n. 



UGDON (Richard), mintmaster, 


Ulleskelf, Stone shipped at, 28 
Unsettled state of the Realm, 60 
Vallum, a word used for an 

earthbank, 56 n. 
Vispont (William de), prisoner 

taken at D unbar, 98 

WALES, Rising in, 96 

Hostages from, placed 

in the Castle, 96 
Walingeham (Thomas de) and 

Castle-guard, 114 
Wall of Castle, agitation for its 

removal, 245 
Walmesley (Christopher), builder 

of old Ouse Bridge, 140 
Watch and Ward at the Castle, 

53. 58, 59, 61, 72, 75 
Water supply to Castles, 41-2 
Waterville (Thomas de), Abbot 

of St. Mary's, 93 
Waud (Samuel), Owner of Clif- 
ford's Tower, 189 
(Samuel Wilkes), owner 
of Clifford's Tower, 190, 
191, 233, 237 
Weapons of War made in the 

Castle, 57, 64, 71 
Well of Water in motte, 41 
Wenlock (Lord), Chairman of 
County Committee, 


,, his efforts to restore 

Clifford's Tower, 200 

Wereby (Robert de), chain for 

hanging, 92 
Wesley (Rev. John), visits the 

Prison, 216 
West Riding Assize business, 

218, 242 

Widdrington's (Sir Thomas), 
Analecta Eboracensia, quoted, 
128, 157, 210 

William the Conqueror estab- 
lishes castles, 6 
,, his castles at York 

1 6-8 

William the Conqueror, his 

castle works, 83 
,, he forms the Foss 

Pool, 14-5, 116 
William, King of Scots, does 

homage at York, 23 
Women hanged and burned, 

YORK, The City of 

Ainsty of, 50, 218, 246, 249, 

Archbishops' rights at each 

city gate, 237, 335-8 
Authorities of, possess no 

jurisdiction over the Castle, 

245, 249 

Bakers' Guild, 130 
Bars or Gates of, 86, 335 
Bounds of, Riding the, 219 n. 
Castlegate widened, 218 
Castlegate Postern.234,237,335 
Castle Hill, 247 n. 
Castle Mills, 116-32 
Castle Mills Bridge, 129 
Christianity of, 252 n. 
Citizens fined by Edward I, 51 
Citizens fined by King John, 

26 j| 

Corporation and Clifford's 

Tower, 162-4 

,, and Foss Pool 

rent charge, 1 30 

" CrieS of York," quoted, 265 

Dean and Chapter's Scaffold, 


Earlsburh, 4 
Farm or rent of, 145 
Fishergate Bar, 119, 86 
" Five Lions," City boundary 

at the, 219 
Foss Bridge in olden days, 

149, 256 
Foss Pool formed, 14-5, 

Gallows in the Horse Fair, 

257 n. 
Governed by the County 

Sheriff, 50, 55 


YORK, The City of continued 
Guildhall, 138 
Guilds, Religious and craft, 

130, 136-7, 301 
Holy Trinity Priory, 117, 252 
Horse Fair near, 257 
Lammas Fair, 335 
Lee, Archbishop, and mint, 150 
" Le Horse Mylne " near St. 
Sampson's Churchyard, 130 
Liberties of, and the Castle, 

Manor House, The King's, 

182, 211 

Mayor to guard city, 55 
Mayors of, mentioned 
Birkbie (James), 164 
Dickinson (Thomas), 172-5 
Fereby (John), 146, 146 n. 
Fleming (Nicholas), 59 
Langton (Nicholas), 63, 71, 


Meeke (Robert le), 59 
Preston (Hy.), 247 
Quixley (Simon de), 136 
Thompson (Sir Henry), 177, 

181, 185, 318, 324-5 
Todde (William), 147 
Topham (Christopher), 179, 

219 n. 

Sampson (John), 50 
Mayoral authority superseded, 

50, 55 

Mercers' Guild. 301 
Micklegate House, 178 n. 
Mills, Ancient, 117, 130 
Monk Bar windlass, 41 n. 
New Drop Scaffold, 266, 268 
Old Baile Castle, 6, 15, 17, 140 
Ouse Bridge overturned, 140 
Parliaments held in, 58, 61, 

70, 77 

Red Tower ditch, 29 
Roman suburb, 81 
St. Andrew's Priory, Stone 

from, for Castle, 70 
St. Christopher, Guild of, 137, 
Chapel of, 137-8 

YORK, The City of continued 
St. George's Chapel by the 

Castle, 104, 133-40 
St. George's Close or Field, 

138,225, 235,238,266, 270, 
St. George's Day Celebrations, 


St. George's Guild, 136-7 
St. James' Chapel, The Mount, 


St. Leonard's Hospital, Scaf- 
fold of, 257-8 
Castle Mills 
granted to, 

Relieve prison- 
ers, in 

,, Housebote and 

haybote in 
Galtres For- 
est 126-7 
,, Mint in disused, 

J 54 

St. Leonard's Place, forma- 
tion of, 154 
St. Mary's Abbey, founda - 

tion of, 4, 251 
Stones from, for 

Castle, 211 
,, gaol of, 93, 108 

scaffold of, 254-5, 

St. Mary's Church, Castlegate, 

48, 301, 310 
St. Nicholas Leper Hospital, 

Hull Road, 292 
St. Olaf's Church founded, 4 
St. Peter's Cathedral, debts 
paid at Haxby's 
tomb, 177, 317 
,, masons at, 76 n. 

Plate minted, 154 
Scaffolds at, and near, 252- 


Ship of war, built at, 76 
Stocks in the Minster Yard, 

257 n. 

" Three - Legged Mare of 
York," 263-4 



YORK, The City oi continued 

Tyburn Scaffold, 254-60, 264 

Weavers' Guild, 145 

Walmgate earthbank formed, 

7 n., 29 
Yorkshire, able-bodied men of, 

to resist Scots, 58 

Yorkshire Inquisitions, quoted, 


Yorkshire Sheriffs (see under 

ZOUSCHE (William de), Dean of 
York, 123 

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The history of the Castle 
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