Fishergate Postern Tower

Fishergate Postern Tower Audio Guide

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Fishergate Postern Tower Quick Facts

  • Fishergate Postern Tower was constructed between 1504 and 1507.
  • At the time when a the Foss was not canalised, the river met the foot of the tower with the King’s Fishpool.
  • Fishergate Tower is one of the six postern towers that originally existed.
  • It once upon a time served as a domestic abode for a poor freeman of the city with his family.
  • The tower has been restored recently by Friends of Fishergate Tower and is open to the public at certain times.

Where is Fishergate Postern Tower

Fishergate Postern Tower in More Detail

Fishergate Postern Tower stands where the wall meets the River Foss (which meets with the Ouse just over the other side of the road opposite Skeldergate Bridge). In those times, the River Foss would have met the foot of this postern tower.  William the Conqueror had a dam constructed in order to create the kings fish pool at the foot of the tower. His main reason for doing this was to raise the water level in the moat surrounding York Castle (Clifford’s Tower) across the other side of the river. Before the stone wall, the wall was made out of wood but not to be confused with the original Roman construction. It was not until 1190 it was upgraded to stone. This is the second Fishergate Tower to exist here

This structure, is made of ashlar which means ‘big smooth even blocks’, until it was upgraded to stone from around 1250. Plans are currently underway to develop the exhibition inside the postern tower. The Friends of York Walls have already worked hard on this, it is freely open to the public but only on about 20 days a year as yet. 

Fishergate Postern Tower Built in the 1500's
Fishergate Postern Tower Built in the 1500’s

Fishergate Postern Tower is one of six postern towers on York City Walls. The term postern simply means a rear entrance, and Fishergate is the only such tower that remains.  You will notice a stone projection sticking out above of which served as a medieval toilet shoot.  Its contents would fall into the King’s fish pool below the tower. Fishergate tower or postern tower has recently been restored by the Friends of York Walls. The structure we see today was built between 1504 and 1507 and has a tiled roof.  Incidentally, it had no defensive purpose but served as an abode for a poor family, that being a poor freeman of the city.