One of the five main gates to the city is Monk Bar. Monk Bar is the tallest of the gateways at 63ft. It was a self-contained fortress and each floor is able to defend itself. Each arch has so called murder holes in which missiles including boiling water was projected at the enemy.
Interestingly, only this particular gate still had a working portcullis, a strong heavy gate that slides up and down, until 1970 and it originally had a barbican, the outer defence, at the front. Walmgate Bar has one of these still intact. The portcullis at Monk Bar was last lowered in 1953 in association with the Queen’s Coronation. Although the gate lowered satisfactorily, the gate got stuck in the road below! As a result, it has never been dropped down again to this day.
Another interesting fact is that it served as a jail for rebellious Catholics in the 16th century. You will notice a fantastic Model Shop situated underneath the pedestrian arch.
You may have noticed that similar to Bootham Bar there are stone figures situated on top (although Bootham Bar’s are considerably smaller). They are known as the “Wild Men of York”. A legend is associated with the figures in which they would come alive and throw missiles at those daring to attack.