Page images

The surveys brought to light by Canon Raine have made it possible to understand the relation of these fragmentary remains. The house was one of some considerable importance and size. As in other great houses of its time, the hall was the chief and central feature of its plan. From its upper end extended the rooms occupied by the bishop and his suite-the parlour, the great chamber, the chapel, the bishop's lodging, and the rest. From the lower end of the hall extended the kitchen department, while the two other sides of the court were enclosed by buildings of less importance, comprising rooms, stables, and inferior offices. Much of the more important building seems to have been the work of the two great bishops, Skirlaw and Langley, who also left their mark on the great church of Howden.




DURING the Middle Ages the few public highroads of England, which dated as far back as the Roman occupation, and the streets of cities and towns, were in a primitive state of repair. The almost impassable condition of the roads cannot easily be imagined by the twentieth-century citizen, who is so accustomed to irreproachable and systematically macadamised thoroughfares.

In the rural districts innumerable streams flowed through the roads; and during rainy seasons, floods and immense pools of water impeded the passage of travellers, who not infrequently were drowned. These highways were persistently neglected, brambles and other shrubs encroached upon the tracks, and even forest trees were allowed to grow up and hinder the safe passage of wayfarers. The ruts and quags were deep, baggage wagons and carts were often overturned, and the drivers killed; and many a palfrey stumbled and threw its rider into the muddy cesspools. Great indifference prevailed, and the uneven state of the highways went from bad to worse.

Many roads were unsuitable for vehicular traffic, and were mere bridle-paths or jagger-tracks. By these ways the common carrier, with sumpter horses, conveyed cloth and merchandise; and fish from the seaports was often brought to inland towns packed in panniers.

Wealthy people sometimes used a cumbersome covered car, and ladies were occasionally carried in two-horse litters; but the majority of wayfarers, even women, journeyed on horseback. Guides were also requisitioned by those who could afford to pay for such a luxury; and the safe return of a pilgrim or traveller was an event often commented upon with thankfulness.

Payments to guides are frequently mentioned amongst the privy purse expenses of Elizabeth, the Queen of Henry VII; the following items appear:

[ocr errors]

13th Sept., 1502. "Itm. the same day to a guyde that guyded the Quenes grace from Cotes place to Fayreford, viijd."

"Itm. the same day to Richard Justice, page of the robys, for money by him payed to a guyde that went from Monmouth, foure myles bakeward towards Flexley Abbey, to guyde a wayne laden with stuf of the warderobe of the robys that was broken to Monmouth forsaid, viijd."

"Itm. the same day to John Staunton, for money by him payed to a man that guyded the Quene from Flexley Abbey to Troye besides Monmouth, iijs. iiijd."

26th Feb., 1503. "Itm. for horse hyre and to guydes by nyght and day, ijs. iiijd."1

The transmission of royal treasure was a hazardous undertaking, and wagons drawn by six horses, guarded sometimes by scores of crossbowmen, passed from place to place with difficulty. In the 12th of Edward III, £200 was sent from York to Newcastle; the journey was performed on the 6th, 7th, and the 8th of December. The money was carried in panniers on a horse's back, and there were, besides the driver, two men at arms, and four archers to guard it.2

The thoroughfares and byways of towns and cities were loathsome and deep with offensive matter, and were a constant danger to health and life. There were certain places appointed as common dunghills, or "muckhills," where citizens, who cared to, could deposit their refuse; but invariably in front of dwelling-houses were dunghills appurtenant to them, which were cleared away at long intervals, and then only by official orders. Corporations delegated the duty of keeping the streets clean to the citizens at large, but as they failed to perform this necessary duty, the streets remained dirty and unkept.

One of the ordinances of Worcester, dated Sept. 14, 1467, bearing upon this subject, reads: "Also that euery man kepe his soyle clene ayenst his tenement, and his pauyment hole, in peyne of xld., half to be payde to the Bayllies, and the other half to the comyn tresor."3

The modern street of Stonegate, York, is on the line of one of the chief roads, or thoroughfares, which traversed the Roman camp of Eburacum. A few feet below the surface of the

roadway the old Roman paved and concreted road has been

1 Privy Purse Expenses of Elizabeth

of York, Nicloas, 1830.

2 Notes respecting Early Travelling and the Transmission of Treasure, by the

Rev. J. Hunter, F.S.A. Memoirs of
York, 1846.


3 English Guilds, Toulmin Smith, p.

discovered. When exposed, it was noticed that a channel of grooved stone ran down the centre of it, as if for a skid-wheel, such as may be seen on the great Roman road which goes over Blackstone Edge, the boundary of Yorkshire and Lanshire. The paved causeway in Stonegate ran eastward, under the site of the Minster, and only recently a section of it was unearthed near the Treasurer's House.

Although the original Roman causeway of Stonegate was gradually and imperceptibly covered with city refuse to the depth of about six feet, the street still retains its early name, a stone-way, or stone-gate.

Streets, generally, were drained down the centre, and these open channels partially carried off the rain water and household refuse into several open ditches or sewers, by which towns and cities were intersected. The wide gutters in the middle of the streets were regarded by householders as the handiest and proper places for discharging their rubbish.

Beneath the surface of York, especially under the older portion of the city, is a vast accumulation of bones, horns, leather clippings, and workshop waste. When excavations are made for drainage and other purposes, broken domestic utensils, and articles of former every-day use are found. These relics. increase in age, until the Roman level is reached, which varies. from ten to twenty feet below the present surface of the streets.2

In some of the more important thoroughfares the ruts and gulleys were only filled and levelled when the king, or a duke of royal blood, visited the city; after which the highways soon lapsed into their former uneven and filthy condition. The rude paving and earthen paths were hollowed by the constant dripping of rain water from the oaken gurgoyles overhanging the streets from between the gables of the houses.

The state of York streets were in no way different from those of other cities, and documentary evidence of local conditions will help us to understand the prevailing state of things.

From the following record, we learn that Patrickpools was impassable and neglected. In the year 1249, Robert le Moygne,

P. 5.

1 Raine's York, Historic Town Series,

2 Mr G. Benson, in York, from its Origin to the End of the Eleventh Century, gives the depths of surface deposits in many places, p. 79.

3 The street or lane of Patrickpool, in mediæval times, extended across Girdlergate (a thoroughfare now called Church Street), and behind Thursday

Market. The latter portion subsequently was renamed Swinegate, probably from the fact that swine were more frequently allowed to forage there than in other places; pigs and dogs were the only real scavengers the city possessed. In 1635, this street was described as Swinegate alias Patrickpool, and in 1200, Little Stonegate was known as Swinegate.

chaplain, wished to enlarge his dwelling-house, and on the 7th October an inquisition was held to decide "whether it would be to the damage of the city of York or not, if the king should grant " him "a certain lane called Patricpol, to enlarge his place, in York; and whether, in case of fire (which God forbid) breaking out, water for extinguishing it could as expeditiously be brought from elsewhere as by that lane." Twelve jurymen decided "that the taking in of that lane, called Patricpol, so far as the place of Robert le Moygne extends near it, is not to the damage of the city of York, because if fire chanced there, water could be as expeditiously brought by another lane, since this is so deep and unused that no one can pass through it."

On July 3rd, 1303, an inquisition was taken, concerning a piece of land in Hungate, before Sir Roger de Heyham and Sir John de Insula, justices assigned for that purpose by the king's writ, and twenty-four men of the city. It is curious to find that the inquiry was held in St. Saviour's Church, near the site of the land in question. The finding of the jury was: "It is not to the damage of the king, or the hurt of the city of York, if the king give leave to Thomas de Stodlay to enclose a piece of land in York, called Dunnyngdikes, containing 300 ft. in length and 20 ft. in breadth, in vico de Merske (Hungate), in the same city, adjoining his house, for the enlargement of his said house; but it is to the hurt of William de Clarisvallibus and Simon le Scherman, who have ingress and egress through that piece of land, as they like. The piece of land was formerly highroad, and now is waste, and stopped up with beasts' dung, yet whoever wishes can pass by there, but not without trouble. Worth 3s. 4d. a year."

The above-mentioned William and Simon were present at the taking of the inquisition, and agreed that the king might let the said piece of land to Thomas de Stodlay; notwithstanding their passage over the piece of land was materially injured. Subsequently, the same William and Simon appeared in person before Archbishop William de Grenefield, the Chancellor, and assented the same thing before him.3

In the sixth year of his reign, King Edward III planned his second expedition against Scotland; and on his way thither he called together his Parliament to sit at York. It was

1 Yorkshire Inquisitions, Yorks. Arch. Society, Record Series, vol. i, p. 18.


2 Ibid., vol. iv, p. 43.

3 Cal. Patent Rolls, 1301-1307, p. 153. R

« PreviousContinue »