York’s Bar Wall’s obviously required gates (or Bar’s/York City Gateways) to enter the city.
In York it is important to remember that streets are known as “Gates”, gates are known as “Bars”, and to confuse you further, bars are known as “public houses” or pubs for short. The Dane’s influence in Viking times has a bearing on this because Gates comes from a Viking word for street being Gata. However, the gates are bars due to the influence of the Normans, in the same way you might use the word “barrier”.
York Bar Walls contain 5 main gates, however, only 4 of them contain a structure with internal rooms.
Bootham Bar is the most northern gateway and has existed for around 800 years. However, in Roman times it was also the northern gate into the fortress almost 2000 years ago. If you have good eyesight, you may have observed the stone figures on top of the structure. The centre figure is Nicholas De Lanterne and he was the Lord Mayor of York during the 1300’s representing the citizens at the time who paid for the walls. You will also notice the stonemason holding a model of the bar as well as a soldier who is prepared to defend the city.
One point of note is that the wall opposite Bootham Bar is not part of the city wall. This wall was built to circumference St Mary’s Abbey (located in Museum Gardens). This was to protect the Abbey from the Scots who were threatening England’s second city. You will also see another section to this wall down St Marygate. This wall also prevented local residents from seeing what the Monks were up to within the Abbey walls! It was the largest protective wall at an Abbey in England.