Monk Bar York England UK

Monk Bar is the North-East entrance to York's walls, has a museum in it and plenty of historic pubs close by. History tells us it was built in the 14th and 15th centuries and had a barbican. Its it made up of an original main arch and 2 of the 3 floors above are like small fortresses.

Picture of Monk Bar York.

Visiting Monk Bar York

This is one of the entrances to York's City Walls where you can enter rooms in the Bar. Entry to the first floor shop is free. Here you can see the portcullis. Additionally for a small fee you can enter the Richard III museum. The mechanism for portcullis is up here, in working order, with other exhibits.

To continue the walls walk, you go down stairwells to get to the other side of Monk bar. You must mind your head as these are pretty much as they were in the 12th - 14th century. That being very compact with low ceilings.

As an alternative, it is a nice place to take a break from the walls tour. There are many nice pubs and restaurants close by for you to enjoy.

History of Monk Bar

The Bar has 4 storeys to it. The bottom 3 were built in the 14th century. The top floor was added in the late 15th century during the reign of King Richard III from the House of York.

Documents detail tolls collected at Monk Gate in 1280. So, this was not the original medieval gate in this area. Also, York City Archives Bridgemaster rolls tell us the rooms in the bar were rented out from 1440 onward. Additionally from 1563 parts of the Bar were used as a prison.

Monk Bar had a barbican, like all the major entrances to the walls. 1815 saw part of this barbican taken down. It was fully demolished later in 1825.


Monk Bar's design is more complex than the other bars. It's fortification seems to allow each floor to be defended independently. This secure design may also be why it was used as a prison for a time.

An original main arch has had 2 additional arches added to it to accommodate road traffic and pedestrians. All of it is built using magnesium limestone.

At it's base the bar (the main building and arch) is approximately 8 metres wide and 10.8 metres in length. It also measures approximately 16 metres in height, excluding the Bartizans (turrets).


Also worthy of note, the 1st and 2nd storeys' main rooms have splendid vaulted ceilings.

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