I’m the first to acknowledge that spelling and grammar are not my strong points but before anyone corrects the spelling of ‘city’ in my post title please know that this is a direct quote from Kind Richard III. Evidently this is how the word city was spelt 500 years ago. You could easily argue that we’ve got it wrong today.
Today we walked along part of the city walls surrounding York, an activity that all visitors to the city must do, and one that is completely free. York has been defended by walls since Roman times but much of what remains today dates from the medieval period. There are four gateways along the wall leading into the city called bars. We walked between two of these: Bootham Bar and Monk Bar.
Monk Bar is an interesting place. You can go inside the gateway and visit the Richard III museum, go inside the smallest prison cells ever built and even lend your hand to possibly the only working portcullis in all of England. It was inside Monk Bar that I got a feeling for the rivalry between York and Leicester over King Richard III. King Richard III’s remains were found buried in Leicester and so they are currently in Leicester. York however would like his remains to be brought here on the basis that he was King of the House of York and was very fond of the city. Probably York has the stronger claim but York has so much to offer visitors already that I think they’re perhaps being a bit greedy. Leicester, although a lovely place, could do with the extra attraction and finding the remains of an ancient King beneath a car park does make an interesting story.
The world’s smallest prison cell at Monk Bar, measures 1.6m in diameter and has its own ensuite. It was used to imprison Roman Catholics who refused to accept the Church of England faith in the 16th century.