Richard III Society

Yorkshire Branch

The City of York and its Medieval Church's

Austin Friars, The Lendal

The only remains of the House of the Austin Friars in the Lendal York is a section of wall overlooking the River Ouse, and the catalogues’ of their library. The Friars were said to have come to York from Tickhill. They were certainly in the City in 1122 when they were granted a writ of protection by Henry III.
In 1410 Pope John XIII was enjoining the faithful to give alms to the chapel of St Katherine the Virgin Martyr recently founded by the Friars. A Mass of Our Lady in the chapel was endowed by Lord de Neville.

Several prominent persons were buried in the chapel. These included Sir Humphrey and Charles Neville. The sons of Thomas Neville, grandson’s of Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmoreland and his first wife Margaret Stafford. The two were executed on September 29th 1469 by order of their cousin Edward IV for joining a rising on behalf of the house of Lancaster.
The Friary was the preferred place of residence of Richard, duke of Gloucester and Anne Neville on their frequent visits to York. After he became King, Richard appointed the friar William Bewick “surveyor of the Kings Works and buildings, within his place of the Austin friars York”. The house was surrendered and dissolved in November 1538.


Barley Hall

Excavations in the 1980’s discovered the remains of this medieval town house. Barley Hall dates from 1360 when it was the town house of the Prior of Nostell Priory. A new wing was added in 1430. Around 1460 it became the home of one of York’s leading citizens, William Snawsell.William was a goldsmith, Alderman and in the year 1468 Lord Mayor. His home was visited by many influential men including Richard of Gloucester.

Barley Hall has been extensively restored to as near its former state as possible. The ground floor has a Stewards room, pantry and buttery as well as the Great Hall which rises to the upper floor. The upper floor contains the great Chamber, Lesser Parlour, gallery and the upper portion of the Great Hall. The Hall is open to the public.


Bootham Bar

The present structure of Bootham Bar is mostly 14th century, but has some 11th century stonework. It is on the site of the NW gate of Eboracum, the Roman settlement. At the time the gate was known as the Porta Principalis Dextra. Bootham is the gate nearest the Minster and as such heavily used by visitors.


Micklegate Bar

The most important and southern of the four gateways to York. The present structure was a replacement for a wooden Norman gate. The lower section of the Bar dates from the 12th century, the top from the 14th century, it was inhabited from 1196. The Bars name was originally Mickleith meaning Great Gate. Above the entrance are the arms of Edward III.The tradition of the monarch entering York through Micklegate dates from 1389 during a visit by Richard II.

It was above Micklegate that the heads of traitors were displayed. In 1403 the head of Henry Percy, (Hotspur) was sent to York and exhibited after his death at the battle of Shrewsbury. In 1460 after the battle of Wakefield, the heads of Richard Duke of York, Edmund Earl of Rutland and Richard Neville Earl of Shrewsbury were displayed. Edward IV entered York by Micklegate after the battle of Towton in March 1461, his first act to order the removal of the heads of his father and brother York and Rutland. Richard III entered York by Micklegate on his visit in September 1483.

Micklegate Bar now houses a new exhibition on its history and is open to the public.


Monk Bar

Monk Bar, the City’s NE gate, was built in the 14th century replacing a 12th century gate known as Muncegate 100yards to the NW. Tolls have been collected on the spot since 1280. Two arches have been added at ground level to deal with today’s traffic. The Bar stands four storeys high. The first floor has a portcullis with its mechanism. All the floors are capable of independent defence. The first and second have vaulted ceilings. The fourth floor of the Bar was built, and paid for by Richard III in 1484.

Monk Bar has for several years been a Museum to dedicated to Richard III run by Michael Bennett. It is open to the public.


St Mary’s Abbey

St Marys abbey was founded in 1088, by William II Rufus, as a Benedictine house, on the site of St Olaves Abbey founded in 1055. In 1132 a party of monks from the Abbey, dissatisfied with the decadent lifestyle in the Abbey, left to found Fountains Abbey. Now in ruins, the remains of the Abbey stand in the grounds of the Yorkshire Museum. The abbey hospitium, in excellent condition, stands a short distance away. Remains of the Abbey church and the West Gate are visible in the grounds and in the Museum are remains of the excavated Chapter and warming houses. The 14th century Abbots House is now better known as the Kings Manor.

In 1460 the Abbot John Cottingham offered shelter Henry VI, Margaret of Anjou and their son in the Abbey before the battle of Towton.


St Williams College

St Williams College is named for William of York, the only man to be twice Archbishop of the York. The College was founded for chantry priests in 1461. In May that year Edward IV granted a licence to his cousins George Neville, Bishop of Exeter and his elder brother the Earl of Warwick to found a college of twenty three fellows. Building was commenced in 1465 and by 1467 a chapel and other buildings were completed.

Built around a courtyard, St Williams today is used for banquets, weddings and meetings, and has a tea room to the front.


Waltham Bar

Walmgate, built in the 12 century is the only Bar with a surviving barbican and retains its portcullis and 15th century oak doors. An Elizabethan house extends over the gateway. The Bar was damaged by bombardment during the Siege of York in 1644, at the time of the English Civil War. It was repaired the same year.


York City Guildhall

Situated behind the Mansion House, the Guildhall was built around the 14th century. Damaged by bombs in 1942 in WWII, the Guildhall was rebuilt in 1960 and reopened by Her Majesty the Queen. The stone walls survived the bombing and are original. Each pillar of the original was built of a single oak from the Forest of Galtres.The Hall contains a window showing scenes from York’s history. The inner room of the Guildhall survives intact and escaped the bombing. It contains the original panelling, two hidden stairways and ceiling bosses.

Richard II would have known the Guildhall well since he was on excellent terms with York’s City Council both as Duke of Gloucester and King. The hall was the venue for the trial of Margaret Clitheroe. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were treated to a lavish banquet here, and up to the present day the Guildhall still plays a full part in York’s civic life.


York Minster

York Minster is the seat of the second most powerful churchman in England the archbishop of York. The first church on the site of the Minster was a wooden structure built as a place to baptise Edwin King of Northumbria in 627.this was replaced by a stone church dedicated to St Peter in 637. By 670 this church was dilapidated, but a new round of building did not begin until 741. This church was damaged by fir in 1069. The first Norman Archbishop of York organised repairs, but the whole was destroyed by Danes in 1075. Rebuilding the Minster began in 1080, but this structure was damaged by fire in 1137, it was repaired and remodelled by 1154.

In 1220 Archbishop Walter de Grey began to rebuild the Minster. The completion was to take until 1472 when the Minster was finally consecrated. The Minster escaped looting in the English Civil War due to the intervention of locally born Parliamentary General Sir Thomas Fairfax. Preservation work at the Minster has gone on through much of the 20th century. In 1984 fire badly damaged the east transept. Rebuilding was completed in 1988. In 2007 work was begun renovating the great East Window and is still in progress.

It is believed that Richard III planned to build a chantry in the Minster to house the bodies of himself, his wife Anne Neville and their son Edward of Middleham. Sadly this plan never came to fruition, but the Minster does have a widow light dedicated to Richard bearing his arms. The Minster is the burial place of Edward III’s second son William of Hatfield. His effigy shows an adolescent boy when in fact William died as a baby. Burials in the wars of the Roses period included George Neville, archbishop of York, died 1476, and his successor Thomas Rotherham, both men were political churchmen. Another recorded burial in November 1485 is that of Miles Metcalfe, recorder of York and steadfast supporter of Richard III.


York’s Medieval Churches

During the Medieval period the city of York boated around fifty churches including the Minster. The sound of their bells on Saints days and holidays can only be imagined. Many of these churches have stood cheek by jowl, six on Walmgate alone. Many have now disappeared or been put to some other use.


This section gives a short description of those churches still in use:

1) All Saints. North Street

Sadly the present position of All Saints detracts from its appeal. This is down to its surroundings now been dominated by an entirely 20th century monstrosity, a multi storey car park. This is somewhat compensated by a row of 15th century timber frame cottages. All Saints was built in the 11th century supposedly by Ralph de Pagnell, Lord of Hooton Pagnell village. The interior more than makes up for the outer prospect. There is a magnificent small hammer beam roof painted with golden winged angels and the pulpit is 17th century. The churches main glory is its medieval glass which Simon Jenkins “1000 Best Churches” claims, rightly, to be the best in York. The Nine Orders of Angels window was restored in 1965 and is particularly fine. At the east end of the north aisle is the Pricke of Conscience window dated 1425. This window portrays the end of the world which was at that time expected in 1500. Next to it is the Corporal Acts of Mercy window. The windows are said to be the work of John Thornton, who designed the Minsters East window and are well worth seeing.


2) All Saints Pavement

All Saints, Pavement could be said to be the Lord Mayors church. No fewer than thirty nine of them are buried there and it is the Guild Church of York. Tradition says there was a church on the site in 685 built for St Cuthbert. Although there is no certainty of this the church is listed in the Doomsday book.  The interior includes the crests of York’s guilds including the Butchers, Merchant Taylors, Scriveners, Freemen and Merchant Adventures. There has been a church on the site in 1086 when the Doomsday Survey took place. The present church, although somewhat altered, was built in the 14th century. In medieval times the Lantern Tower was used to hang a lamp guiding travellers to safety from the Forest of Galtres.  In the 18th century the chancel was removed and parts of the northern and southern ends reducing the size of the church substantially.

There are several notable features remaining in the church. The west window dates from the 14th century, the lectern is 15th century, and four of the windows are the 19th century work of Charles Kempe. Charles Wesley once preached from the 17th century pulpit. There are also two oddities. A 12th century brass door knocker depicting the mouth of Hell and an Anglo Danish grave cover.


3) Holy Trinity. Goodramgate

This is one York church it would be easy from its situation to miss. Founded in early 12th century, Holy Trinity lies in a peaceful area behind the Minster. From the outside it is unpretentious but the interior is so unplanned as to make it charming. The church like many of its medieval York counterparts has beautiful glass. The east window was donated by Reverend John Walker in 1470. The church also has a representation of St Christopher carrying the young Jesus. The Pews are unique, been the only Box pews in York. Among the many memorials are two boards with a record of York’s Lord Mayors, including George Hudson who did so much for York’s reputation as one of the first major cities to recognise the importance of rail travel. These boards have heads shaped like grandfather clocks. Holly trinity is well worth a visit.


4) Holy Trinity. Micklegate

Holy Trinity was once Christ Church a Benedictine Priory which was on the site long before the Conquest. The Priory was dissolved in 1536. However the Prior and ten monks continued to occupy the church until after the Pilgrimage of Grace, finally surrendering the site in 1538. The church continued to exist as a parish church. During the medieval period it was the starting point of the York Mystery Plays. The nave and tower remain from the period. The present five bay aisled nave of the church dates from the late12th early 13th century period. The tower is 15th century. Although the church remained after the Priory was dissolved it fell into disrepair and has gone through several periods of reconstruction. The central tower blew down in 1551/2 damaging the choir and a part of the nave. Over the years the church became greatly reduced in size. There was extensive renovation from 1850 when a new chancel and vestry were built, in 1886/7 a new north porch and west front were built. The city stocks remain in the churchyard. The church now houses an exhibition on the monastic life of a priory.


5) St Andrew. St Andrewgate

St Andrew’s was certainly in existence in medieval times and is first mentioned in 1194 when it belonged to the Dean and Chapter of York. The chancel was built in 1390 and the nave during the 15th century. The church is nave and chancel are aiseless. The parish was united with St Saviour in 1585 at which point the church was closed and sold by order of York City Council. After its closure the church was used for several purposes, it at one time it was even a brothel. and has been used as a stable. From 1736 to 1830 it was the St Peters infant school. In the 1920’s it was used by the Plymouth Brethren. The church is still used as an Evangelical church today.


6) St Crux Pavement

St Crux was the largest of York’s medieval churches. The church was rebuilt in 1424 on the site of the previous church bearing the same name. In 1697 a tower was added. The church remained on the site until 1880. By this time it was considered unsafe, and although there were plans to rebuild it funds proved to be unobtainable. The whole was demolished in 1887. There are however parts still remaining. Much of the fabric was used to build St Crux Parish Hall. Parts of walls can be traced in the Shambles and the Snickleway leading into Whip ma Whop ma Gate. Many of the fittings and monuments were removed to nearby All Saints Pavement and the hall is now a café. St Crux was the church which housed the remains of one of Richard’s staunchest York supporters, Lord Mayor in 1478 and 1484, Master of the Guild and York MP Thomas Wrangwysh and his wife.


7) St Cuthbert. Peasholme Green

Situated near Layerthorpe prison, legend says that a church dedicated to St Cuthbert was erected on the site in 678. However true or not the church is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. The east wall incorporated Roman masonry. The church was rebuilt in 1430 by Sir William de Bowes, Lord Mayor of York in 1417 and 1428. The new church had an undivided chancel and nave with a barrel roof and west tower. In 1547 it was destined for closure but a strong request from Sir Martin Bowes prevented this move. In his letter of protest Sir Martin pointed out that his ancestors Sir William and his son, also William, York’s Sheriff in 1432, were buried in the centre of the nave. The church was badly damaged during the Civil War siege of York in 1644 and repaired in 1648. It now serves as the administrative centre for St Michael le Belfry.


8) St Denys. Walmgate

Dedicated to St Denys the patron saint of France, this church is one of only two out of an original six in Walmgate. The present church is pre Conquest. Two grave covers now in the York Museum from the site are Anglo Saxon. The earliest documentary evidence is from 1154. The church’s doorway is dated 1160, the north and south aisles and central tower with its 116 foot spire were added in the 13th century. The church was damaged in the York siege of 1644 causing the fabric and windows to undergo repair in 1646. The tall spire was prone to a succession of accidents. It was struck by lightning in 1700 and damaged by winds in 1778. It was finally removed in 1797 when drain digging caused the collapse of the west end. A new tower replaced it without the spire and the Norman doorway was removed to its present position.  Much of the 13th century glass, the earliest in the city, has been removed to the Minster, but one piece that has irretrievably been lost is the East window dedicated to the 2nd Earl of Northumberland and his family.


9) St Helen. Stonegate

Situated in the square named for it and just off Stonegate Is St Helen’s. Helen 248-327AD was the mother of the Emperor Constantine the Great and wife of Constantius Chlorus, St Helens is supposedly built on the site of her private chapel. A church is first recorded on the site in 1235. In 1548 the church was partially demolished with a view to uniting the parish with a neighbouring one and much of the fabric was sold off. However in 1553/4 Mary I allowed an Act which enabled the parishioners to rebuild the church. It is appropriate that the church faces the Mansion House across the square as it is attended by the Lord Mayor Sheriff and council on civic occasions. The exterior underwent a programme of reconstruction in 1805 and 1845. At this time the buttresses were removed and the spire replaced by a belfry and lantern. A further programme of renovation in 1858 saw the chancel extended and a new vestry built on the south side. This was followed in 1875 by the belfry and lantern being rebuilt. In the early 1900’s St Helens went through a period of decay to such an extent that the church was closed in 1921 and after an appeal fully restored by 1923.

The church font predates the first mention of a church on the site. The west window, as befits the parish church of the medieval glass painters, contains much 14th and 15th century glass.


10) St John. Micklegate

St John’s was first recorded in 1194 although the base of the tower built on the west wall is of an earlier date. North and south aisles were added in the 13th century and in the second half of the 15th century the upper part of the tower was rebuilt.  The steeple was blown down in 1551 and not until 1646 were the bells rehung in a timber belfry. A chantry was endowed in the 15th century by Sir Richard Yorke containing his altar tomb and a beautiful stained glass window depicting Sir Richard and his family kneeling in devotion, with angels holding the family coat of arms aloft above them. The Yorke window has since been removed from the church and is in the Minster with the other glass. The church was closed in 1934. There were plans by the council to demolish the building in 1951, but York Civic Trust stepped in to carry out it’s preservation in 1955-6. The alterations were carried out to harmonise with the existing fabric, the monuments were cleaned and the bells rehung. The church is now an arts centre.


11) St Lawrence. Lawrence Street

The present church on the site is a Victorian structure. The only remaining part of the previous church is the tower in the churchyard and a beautiful doorway with fine carving. The tower was built in the 13th century with a top story dating from the 15th century. Inside the church only the intricately carved font remains. The church’s claim to fame lies in one of the weddings performed there, that of Sir John Vanburgh in 1719. The present church is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.


12) St Margaret. Walmgate

Walmgate’s original six churches have now dwindled to two of which St Margaret’s is one. The church was built in the 12th century but greatly altered during the 14th Century. The tower was added in 1684 after the previous structure collapsed The church has Romanesque tunnel vaulted south porch with signs of the Zodiac and the labours of the months. This was originally at St Nicholas hospital which was ruined during the Civil War siege of York. This porch, a popular subject for artists is now sadly worn but it still has its twelfth century cross in place above the gable. Much of the church was rebuilt in the mid 19th century. The church was declared redundant in 1974. It has since been stripped of most of its furnishings and was used as a theatrical store for York’s Theatre Royal. It has been the National Centre for Early Music since 2000.


13) St Martin le Grand. Coney Street.

A church stood on this site as early as 1080. On April 29th 1942 a bombing raid destroyed most of the old church and what we now see is mostly post WWII. The restoration was under the direction of George Gaze Pace and was completed in 1968. It has been beautifully done marrying the remains of the 15th century church with the 20th century rebuilding. Luckily at the time of the bombing the churches beautiful St Martin window dated 1437 had been removed for safety before the onset of the bombing. It is now back in place occupying a transept opposite the south door. The exterior of the church features an overhanging clock topped by a naval officer and dating from 1778.


14) St Martin cum St Gregory. Micklegate

Mentioned in the Doomsday Book, St Martin is thought to be of Anglo Scandinavian foundation A grave cover dating from the period have been found on the site. In the 13th century a nave and aisles were added. In 1330 the north aisle was widened when the Toller chantry was added. The church has an undercroft necessitated by the lie of the land. The chancel was completely rebuilt in 1425-30, and the tower rebuilt with a steeple.  Closure was scheduled for 1548 but was halted by an agreement with Alderman John Beane when the church was re tiled and the church and churchyard of St Gregory were sold to the Alderman and the parish joined to St Martin by 1586. The north porch was rebuilt in 1655 and the tower refaced in brick in 1677. The church is now a diocesan youth centre.


15) St Mary. Bishophill Junior

By far the oldest of York’s church’s St Mary’s is hidden behind Holy Trinity. There is a tradition that it was the seat of Eborius, Bishop of York in 314. Its tower is certainly the oldest example of ecclesiastical architecture in the city possibly as early as the 8th century. There is evidence of a 10th century graveyard on the site. A larger nave was built in 1100. The north aisle is dated around the same time, with the south aisle been dated 14th century. Battlements were added in the 15th century when the tower was repaired. The church was restored badly in 1860 when its square windows were replaced.


16) St Mary. Castlegate

Recorded in the Doomsday Book St Mary’s was owned by William de Percy. Built of early 11th century stone, a reused Roman column capital and three column drums were found beneath the chancel arch. The north and south aisles are early 13th century. The church has two chapels. On the north side is the Northoff chapel, on the south the Graa chantry with its brass figured tomb. The church was used by the Royal Exchequer in 1311 by order of Edward II. Restored in 1865-70, a proposed union with St Michael Spurriergate did not take place. The church was made redundant in 1960. In 1975 it became a Heritage Centre and now tells The York Story.


17) St Michael. Spurriergate

Now the Spurriergate Centre with shops and restaurant. St Michaels is the only York church to have preserved Pre Reformation Churchwardens Accounts. Although it is not mentioned in the Doomsday Book it is believed to be pre Conquest. The church was granted to St Mary’s Abbey in 1088-93. While it has been described as plain outside the interior is fine. There is a sense of space and light. The church had a late medieval undivided nave and chancel, north and south aisles and a tower. There are remaining fragments of medieval glass.


18) St Michael le Belfry. High Petergate

The church standing nearest to the Minster, St Michael le Belfry takes its name from the belfry which stood at the north end of the Minster. During the medieval period it was the parish church of one of the wealthiest areas of the city.  During the mid 14th century the church had a aisled nave, chancel, tower, two chantries, dated 139 and 1473 several altars and the Guild of St Thomas a Becket. A school is thought to have been in the churchyard. By the 15th century despite its wealth, the church was having problems on several fronts. The roof and tower were considered unsafe by 1409. Noise was a problem during 1416 from the market held in the churchyard and horses were trampling the gravestones. By 1510 there was a leaking roof, rotten timbers and dark glass. The church was taken down and rebuilt 1525-1536. The present west front is 1867. The interior has an east window of 14th century glass re-installed in 1587. This has a panel depicting the martyrdom of St Thomas a Becket. The rest of the glass, provided by several donors, dates from 1525-40. That in the north aisle shows part of the life of St Thomas a Becket and was originally in St Wilfred’s. The church’s further claim to fame is the entry in its register of the baptism of Guy Fawkes in 1570.


19) St Olav. Marygate

St Olav’s was founded before the Conquest between 1030 and 1055 by Siward Earl of Northumbria.  A Norwegian Siward named his church for the patron saint of his native Norway. After the conquest the church gained a patron in Alan Rufus. Rufus founded St Mary’s Abbey and gave St Olav’s to the monks of the Benedictine Abbey as their church. By the time William II visited York the Abbey community had grown so much that it was apparent St Olav was no longer large enough to be the Abbey church. William duly endowed the Abbey with more land a new Abbey church was built and the Abbey enclosed behind new walls. St Olav now stood just outside the Abbey wall and reverted to its former status of Parish Church. The church suffered extensive damage during 1644 at the time of the Civil War siege. The tower was badly damaged by fire from the Roundhead cannon.  Like many other churches St Olav suffered a different fate in the 17th century when it was “restored”. It was given a new chancel in 1887-9 which contains the five light 15th century window.


20) St Sampson. Church Street

The earliest mention of St Sampson’s is 1154 when the church belonged to Pontefract Priory. It passed to the crown in the 14th century. The church was rebuilt in the 15th century with an undivided nave and chancel, north and south aisles and a tower. The church had three chantries founded in 1268, 1337 and 1405. An attempt to unite the church with St Helen’s in 1549 was rescinded by Parliament. According to records during the Civil War siege of York in 1644 the tower was “shot through and through”. It was also said during the Puritan era “not so much as one tomb, monument or gravestone was left to us”. The church was in a bad state by 1845 and underwent restoration. The church was closed in 1969 and became an old people’s centre five years later. Some of the original glass remains.


21) St Saviour. St Saviourgate

During the medieval period due to its position St Saviours was one of York’s wealthiest churches. It was rebuilt in the 15th century with an undivided nave and chancel and west tower. During 1831 the tower was replaced since part of the steeple had blown down in 1822. Between the years 1831-36 dormer windows were inserted in the roof. In 1954 the parish was united with All Saints Pavement and the glass from the east window was transferred to that church. The furnishings were also removed to All Saints and Holy Trinity Micklegate. In 1986 the Victorian floor was removed leading to the discovery of two medieval altar slabs, inscribed grave covers and other artefacts’. In 1990 the church was re-opened as the Archaeological Resource Centre of the York Archaeological Trust.


Demolished Church’s

All York’s extinct churches are included in this list but for some there is no information.

1) All Saints. Fishergate

2) All Saints Peasholme Green

3) Holy Trinity. (Christ Church)  Kings Square

Traditionally on the site of an Anglo Scandinavian palace, it is possible this was the site of a royal chapel. The first firm reference to the church is 1268. The church contained the chantries of the Langton family. Mostly a 14/15th century structure the church had a 60ft spire. In 1829 part of the church, including the spire was removed to accommodate the widening of Colliergate. The whole was demolished in 1861and rebuilt. The new church had a short life span. In 1886 it was united with St Sampson and having fallen into disuse was home to a flock of sheep, totally appropriate for the church of the Butchers Guild. It was finally demolished in 1937.


4) St Andrew. Fishergate

Believed to have been built in the 9/10th century. St Andrew’s was mentioned as a small timber church in the Doomsday Book. In 1142 it was given to Newburgh Priory and rebuilt in stone as part of a Gilbertine priory. It was dissolved in 1538. The site was excavated by the York Archaeological Society in 1985.


5) St Benet. Patrick Pool

6) St Clement. Clementhorpe

There are no details for this church.


7) St Edward. Lawrence Street

First mentioned in 1213, by 1548 the church was in a state of decay and later demolished


8) St George. Fishergate

The earliest mention of St George’s is 1291. There appears to have been a tower since a bequest for its building was made in 1435. The church was united with St Denys in 1586, but was still in use in 1639. It was badly damaged during the Civil war siege in 1644 and was never repaired. Only  the churchyard remains and is said to contain the grave of the infamous highwayman Dick Turpin hanged at Knavesmire York on April 7th 1739, His burial in the graveyard was recorded at St Denys in a record since stolen.


9) St Giles. Gilleygate

St Giles is first mentioned in 1145-61, when it was possibly in the possession of St Mary’s Abbey. St Giles was the parish church of the Skinners. It was united with St Olav in 1586. The churchyard was used for victims of the plague epidemic of 1605 and as a burial place for criminals until 1693.


10) St Gregory. Micklegate

St Gregory’s is first mentioned in 1166/79 in the patronage of the Holy Trinity Priory. It was joined with St Martins, Micklegate in paying taxes. Demolished in 1549 he churchyard was sold for 20 shillings. The parish was united with St Martin in 1586.


11) St Helen. Fishergate

Given by Ralph Paynell in 1086 to Holy Trinity Priory, St Helens was one of York’s poorest churches paying taxes in the lowest category. The churchyard was leased out in 1549 and late sold. The church was united with St Lawrence’s in 1586.


12) St Helen on the Walls. Aldwark

St Helen’s was said to be the burial place of Emperor Constantius, AD306. The first firm mention is in 1193/1201 when one quarter of its advowson was paid to St Mary’s Abbey. Rededicated in 1424 it may have been rebuilt at this time. However by the 16th century the church was unable to find a parson and was united with St Cuthbert’s, and possibly demolished at this time. The church was excavated by the York Archaeological Society in the 1970’s when Roman materials were found on the site.


13) St John del Pyke

Firs recorded in 1160/63. This small church was united with Holy Trinity Goodramgate in 1560. There are no remains.


14) St John. Hungate

First recorded in 1194 St John the Baptist was situated in a wealthy area full of merchant houses, and was recipient of many endowments. Richard Russell, Lord Mayor in 1421 and 1430 left money in his will to endow a chantry and build a church tower complete with bells. A further parishioner left the sum of 20 shillings in his Will for a new porch. By 1498 the church was in decline. Sir Richard Yorke Lord Mayor in 1469 and 1482 left money to found a chantry. By 1519 the church must have been greatly diminished since an inventory in 1519 notes that Sir Richard’s ornaments had been removed to St John Micklegate. The church was united with St Saviour in 1523.


15) St Mary al Valvas

There are few records of St Mary’s the earliest is dated 1332. There are no remains.


16) St Mary Bishophill Senior

St Mary’s Bishophill Senior was built in the early 11th century. The church had a single aisle and a 13th century chancel. Damaged by a storm in 1380 the stone tower was damaged and the porch blown away. The church was restored in 1859, but was soon disused and untied with St Mary Bishophill Junior in 1876. It was finally demolished in 1963. The church’s doorway arcade and Anglo Scandinavian sculpture were transferred to the church of the Holy Redeemer Boroughbridge.


17) St Mary. Layerthorpe

A church was on the site in 1184 when its priest was witness to a charter: its first firm reference is in 1331. The last burial is recorded in 1510. The church was decayed and closed by 1549. It was united with St Cuthberts in 1586. There are no remains.


18) St Mary. Walmgate

Very little is known about St Mary’s Walmgate, but it was probably granted, along with St Margaret’s, to St Peter’s Hospital, (later St Leonards). Its rector in 1228 is known to be Galfred Brito. Although there is evidence in records that it was still in existence in 1282 and 1315 it is thought to have been taken down by 1390 along with St Stephen Fishergate. There are no remains.


19) St Maurice. Monkgate.

Situated on the corner of Monkgate and Lord Mayors Walk, St Maurice’s was in existence in the late 12th century. Restored in the 14th/15th century, it was united with Holy trinity Goodramgate in 1586. The church was seriously damaged in the Civil War siege of York in 1644. It was demolished and replaced in 1875 but demolished again in 1967. The late Norman doorway and a medieval coffin lid from the church are now kept at James the Deacon, Acombe.


20) St Michael – Without – Walmgate

This church was first recorded in 1277, and united with St Lawrence in 1365. There are no remains.


21) St Nicholas. Lawrence Street

Once a part of St Nicholas Hospital, St Lawrence is believed to have been a 12th century church. It was greatly damaged during the Civil War siege of York in 1644 by cannon fire. Most of the church’s fabric was reused but the Norman doorway was reconstructed at St Margaret’s Walmgate by order of the Roundhead General Thomas, Lord Fairfax.


22) St Peter le Willows. Walmgate

First recorded in 129 by 1533 the living was held with St Margaret’s. The church was in use until its closure in 1549. A licence for four houses was granted in 1396.


23) St Peter the Little. Peter Lane

In 1121/28 St Peters was recorded as belonging to the Bishop of Durham, The nave was rebuilt in 1369 and a north aisle added in the 15th century. The tower was built in 1493. In the 1500’s the church was in decline and served only by a chantry priest by 1548. United with All Saints Pavement the union was welcomed by both churches. The church was sold in 1549. There are no remains.


24) St Stephen. Fishergate

St Stephen’s was granted in 1093 to the Archbishop of York by William II. There are references to the church in records of 1290 and 1294. St Stephens was annexed to St Martin le Grand in 1331.


25) St Wilfred. Blake Street

Recorded first in 1145 St Wilfred’s was under the patronage of St Marys Abbey. The last rector is mentioned in 1546. The church was united with St Michael le Belfry in 1549 and taken down.


For anyone interested in the medieval churches of York detail and Illustration I recommend “The Medieval Churches of York. The Pictorial Evidence” by Barbara Wilson and Frances Mee.