Walmgate Bar in York UK

Walmgate Bar has the only remaining Barbican in York. Visitors can now walk through it safely as part of the York Walls walk. Records tell us this was a toll gate and a rented dwelling. It was under siege during the English Civil War. Its 12th century architecture is mainly of stone up to 6.5 meters in height. Later, a timber-framed extension was added to the back.

Visiting Walmgate Bar

Today visitors can arrive here from either direction on the walls walk. You have to walk down the steps either side of Walmgate to the road. From there you can walk through the Barbican. A safe pedestrian crossing is provided towards the city. Once across, you can go back up to continue around the city walls.

Picture of Walmgate Bar and its barbican in silhouette.

History of Walmgate Bar

A grant document mentions the bar first in the middle of the 12th century as Walmegatebarr. Also, the Public Records Office gives us detail of tolls that were collected here in 1280. Rent for the dwelling above the bar is recorded from 1376.

With the English Civil War came the siege of York in 1644. It was Walmgate Bar that bore the brunt of it. Governor of York Sir Thomas Glemham battled Sir James Lumsden on the 8th of June here. Records say Lumsden's Scottish detachment got inside the outer gate and damaged the then iron gates within. Other major damage was also recorded, but there is no mention of a breach of the inner gates.

Picture through Walmgate Bar York.


The main arch incorporates the original 12th century gateway. This was cut through earth ramparts 200 years before the adjoining walls were built. The bar has 3 storeys of magnesium limestone and is 6.5 Metres in length.

The stonework of the bar is approximately 14.5 metres high from the ground level to the top of the Bartizans (turrets). Its width varies between 6 and 6.5 metres

Timber Dwelling at the Back of Walmgate Bar

The timber-framed dwelling at the back hides the stone fascia. The first floor stands on two main Tuscan columns. The second and third floors jut out the back slightly. From the rear, 2 Ionic columns dominate the design as does the balustraded balcony on the top. This where local artist and historian John Browne (1793) was born.

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