York's Roman Walls - Multangular Tower - Museum Gardens

York has been a fortified City since Roman times (AD 71). The Romans had a large fort with stone walls around it (called a Principia) between the river Foss and the river Ouse. Its centre was inside of the later, larger medieval walls, close to where York Minster stands today.

Multangular Tower

The City's best preserved example of Roman stonework can be seen in the lower part of the Multangular tower. It was origionally built late 300 AD to early 400 AD. The upper limestone portion you can also see was added in the 13th century.

It is located in the Museum Gardens, between the King's Manor, the central library and the Yorkshire Museum. Additionally it was the South-West tower of the fortress (Princpia).

A short piece of roman wall also exists here. It streches from the Multangular Tower to the North-East. A walk down it will lead you out of the Museum Gardens along the side of the King's Manor ending up in Exhibition Square.

Later Structures Nearby

Also in this area, are examples of later structures. This includes the Anglian tower. This was built between 600 and 700 AD, probably to fill a gap made by the fallen roman wall. Later still, both this tower and nearby walls were buried under an earth mound. this was due to later generations striving to maintain an impenetrable barrier for protection. Re-discovered in 1832 they were excavated in 1969.

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Acknowledgements for this article go to N. Pevsner and D. Neave. Also the York Archaeological Trust.