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A

Aldwark

Ald – implies Old, Wark – a building; therefore we may consider the name of this street, as a mark of its antiquity. If we call to mind that the Roman Imperial Palace is supposed to have extended from Christ’s Church to this street, we shall not be surprised that our Saxon ancestors gave it this name (Hargrove 1818 – History of the ancient Cityof York)

B

Baile Hill

Baile (Norman) – a prison, or place of security. Baile – an officer who has the jurisdiction over prison. May have been taken on after the Conquest
when the French language was substituted instead of the English, a castle or fortress before that time. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

Barker Hill

Anciently Harlot Hill – probably it had not its name for nothing, Love Lane being contigious to it. (Drake ‘Eboracum’ 1736)

Bedern

Derived from Bede – to pray, and Erna – a retired situation. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

Bookbinder’s Alley, Minster Gate

So named in 18th C (Mr T P Cooper). It was ner Minster Gate where, according to Mr T P Cooper, the first printers and booksellers were
established. (Smith 1937)

Bootham

Boetry (British) – to burn – as the Romans interred their dead here. Gale. The Abbot of St.Mary’s, held a fair in free burgage, out of the Bar, on
which occasion a hamlet of booths was regularly erected; and hence the word Bootham. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

Buttgate

Road to the Butts. (Smith 1937)

Butter Staith

Butter Factory built here. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

C

Castlegate

Street leading to Castle. (Smith 1937)

Clementhorpe

So called from the Benedictine Nunnery and Church dedicated to St. Clement. (Smith 1937)

Clifford’s Tower

Name derived from the circumstance of one of the Cliffords having been the first governor. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

Coffee Yard

In this yard formerley stood the first coffee house established in the City. (Drake ‘Eboracum’ 1736)

College Street

Formerly Little Alice Lane

Derived from the circumstances of its being adjacent to the site of the college (St. William’s). (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

Colliergate

The (Char)coal dealer street, from ME coliere (char)coal maker or dealer. (Smith 1937)

Coney Street

The name signifies King Street, being the Saxon word Conying. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

Coppergate

The Joiners Street from Oscand koppari – Joine, Turner. (Smith 1937)

D

Davygate

David le Lardiner (ie Clerk of the kitchen) whose father was John le Lardiner, lived in the early part of the 12thC and the title that he held of
Royal Lardiner of the Forest of Galtres became hereditary in his family. Davygate, in which stood the forest courthouse and prison, took its name from this David (Smith 1937)

Deadman’s Lane – Lost

Named from the discovery of a dead body there (Smith 1937)

Divilinstones – Lost

A lane north of North Street

The first element is OW Scan, Dyflinin ‘Dublin’, and the nam as a whole was no doubt coined by Vikings who came from Ireland. (Smith 1937)

Dyrtelane – Lost

Oscand drit ‘dirt’. (Smith 1937)

E

 

F

Feasegate

From ‘feag’ or ‘fease’ ‘rods for whipping offenders’ ? Or so named because a statue of St Faith (St Fe in medieval French) had stood here – Lene
Fe’-Gate ? Scandinavian fe-hus ‘cowhouse, cattlepen’, especially likely since Swinegate and the butcher’s lanes are not far away. (YAT, Interim Vol 2 No 1)

‘Cow house lane’, from a contracted form of Oscand fe-hus, fjos and OWScand geil ‘a narrow passage, anarrow lane between houses’. In this and other examples, geil has been supplanted by gate. (Smith 1937)

Felter Lane

From English felter ‘a felt maker’ and geil. (Smith 1937)

Finkle Street

The former’s correctly expressive of the situation of the street, being from the Danish word ‘Vincle – meaning an angle or corner, and this lane leads from the corner of Thursday Market. Peggy Lane, most probably has arisen from some female resident; and the epithet of murky, from the tint of har complexion or from the darkness of the lane. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

Finkle Street is a frequent Northern street name. Formerly we might have the word fenkel, a variant of fennel (the herb), from latin faeniculum, ‘the street where fennel grew.’ But it seems more likely that these streets and names contain the Northern dialect word fenkl, ‘bend, corner, elbow.’ Finkle Street is a narrow crooked lane. (Smith 1937)

Finkle = either from the Danish word ‘winkel’ – a corner, or perhaps a Scandinavian person. Pig / Peg = poss. To some infamous old lady or the regular passage of pigs to the Swine Market.  (Common Lanes and Alleyways of Medieval York, 1974)

Fishergate

‘Fisherman’s Street,’ from Old English fiscere. Some of the forms have been influenced by Ols Scandinavian fiskari or the name may have originally been Scandinavian with Middle English fischere substituted. (Smith 1937)

Footlessgate – Lost

Near St. Leonard’s Hospital

‘Footless Lane,’ from Old Scandinavian fot-lauss ‘footlees’ and geil. The meaning of the compound is obscure, but Professor Stenton (York in the 11thC, York Minster Historical Tracts, No8) makes the interesting suggestion that the name may be connected with the criples poor seeking relief at St. Leonard’s Hospital. If this is the case, we have an unusual survibal of an Ol Scandinavian compound of lauss in the language of 12th and 13th C York; the hospital was not established until the end of the 11th C. (Smith 1937)

Foss Bridge

Named from the River Foss. The present bridge was built in the early 19thC and replaced a bridge erected in the early 15thC. But there had been an even earlier bridge. (Smith 1937)

G

Galmanhowe – Lost

Galmanhowe was the place where Siward Jarl of Northumbria had built a church dedicated to St Olaf and was clealy the rising ground near Bootham and St Mary’s Abbey. (Smith 1937)

Gamanlythe – Lost

The first element of these two names is no doubt Old Scandinavian Galmann. The final elements are respectively hoh ‘a hill’ and Old Scandinavian
hlio ‘a gate’. Galmanlyth was a small gate on the north side of Bootham giving entrance to the Forest of Galtres. (Smith 1937)

Garrow Hill

Named from the Gallows ….. Now demolished (Smith 1937)

Gillygate

Street in which St Gile’s Church stood’. The church has long since disappeared. (Smith 1937)

The modern Gillygate is identical with the 12thC Saintgeligate and later Jelygate, simply named after the aincient church of St Giles, which was united with St Olave, a much richer parish, when an Act was passed  in 1548 allowing the closure and demolition of decayed churches in the city. (YAT, Interim Vol 1 No 4)

Girdlergate

Name derives from having been the general place of residence for persons of that trade. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

The Girdle maker street. (Smith 1937)

Glover Lane – Lost

From Middle English glover ‘glove-maker’, a new formation from Old Engish Glof ‘glove’ and geil replaced with lane. (Smith 1937)

Goodramgate

Named after a Danish officer called Goodram, who was appointed deputy-governor of York, and may have lived in this street. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

‘Guthrum’s Street’ from the Old Scandinavian personal name Gudormr, Anglicised to Gudrun, Gudrum. (Smith 1937)

Grape Lane

From Old English grapian ‘to grope’, and lane. This name, which is a common one as applied to any dark alley, ‘tends not a little to obsenity’ (Drake). (Smith 1937)

H

Hartergate

Hert’s Street from the OScand personal name Hjortr and gata. (Smith 1937)

Harver Lane

Street where goats were kept from Old English haefer, Oscand hafr or harfr (i)’s street, from Oscand personal name Hafr or the nickname Hafri. (Smith 1937)

Haymongergate – Lost

Part of The Shambles

The hay seller street, from Middle English hei – mangere (Oscand hoimangari) hay merchant. (Smith 1937)

Herlot Hill – Lost

From Middle English herlot rogue, vagabond (male or female) and hyll. (Smith 1937)

Hobmoor

Goblin Moor. (Smith 1937)

Holgate

Street in the hollow. (Smith 1937)

Hornpot Lane

The first element may be a word horn-pot ‘drinking-horn’ but the exact meaning of the street is not clear. (Smith 1937)

Probably that the horners of medieval York lived here – The first horner was probably Adam de Wederhale in 1309 (there were at least 15 during the 14th century, 14 in the 15th century, and 10 in the 16th century). Horn would have been used for drinking vessels, plates, card cases, flasks, winow panes, chessmen, buttons, th cups and pots of poor people; and supplies would have come the nearby slaughter houses of The Shambles. This entrance to Holy Trinity church was closed in 1766 because of “very great and scandelous offences committed in the churchyard to the dishonour of God and the disgust and grief of all good Christians”, but it has now been opened again. (Common Lanes and Alleyways of Medieval York. 1974)

Horsefare

The horse lane. (Smith 1937)

Hosier Lane – Lost

Near St. Crux.

The hose maker street. (Smith 1937)

Hungate

A corruption of Hungry gate. (Drake ‘Eboracum’ 1736)

Hund, in Danish language means dog, it is probable that in former ages there was in this neighbourhood a kennel for hounds. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

The street being almost in direct line to the river Foss, & extending to the very edge of it, there is considerable probability that it may have been called from the word Unda, implying water, & alluding to the situation, it may have been Unda-gate, & thence have become Hunda-gate or Hungate, a street leading to the water. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

Street where dogs were kept, Old English hund or Oscand hunder ‘hound’. (Smith 1937)

I

 

J

Jewbury

The Jews quarter. Davies shows that this was the burial ground of wealthy Jews settled in York from the early part of the 12th century. (Smith 1937)

Jubbergate

A street where Jews resided, known as Jew-burgh-gate. Some old deeds denominate a part of this street, Bretgate, or Jewbretgate. By the term
Bretgate may be understood British Street and it’s a natural inference that here was a street inhabited by the native Britons, before Agricola ounded the ancient Roman city, and when in preocess of time, it became the residence of the Jews, it would consequently be termed Jew-bret-gate, which over the ages may be written Jou-bret-gate and Jubbergate. From the premises, it seems highly probable that one part of the street was formerly called Jew-burgh-gate and the other Jew-bret-gate and that the similarity of sound, at length obtained for both, the common name of Jubbergate, to which, for distinction, were prefixed the High and Low. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

K

Ketmongergate – Lost

Pobably part of St. Andrewgate

The flesh sellers street from Oscand kjot-mangari, a word corresponding to Old English flaese-mangere.  (Smith 1937)

Kidcotes – Lost

A compound of the Middle English Kide ‘Kid’ and cot. It was the prison belonging to the Archbishop. The significance of the name is not clear, but it possibly an ironic nickname. (Smith 1937)

King’s Court, Newgate

The King’s residence, from Oscand konungsgardr. It was probably the residence of the Viking kings of York. There is a reference to the
konungs-gardr of York in the account of Egil’s visit to the city. (Smith 1937)

Kirklane

Named from the church of St Mary Bishophill Senior. (Smith 1937)

Knavesmire

Knave – Anglo Saxon, poor householder, Mire – alluding to the watery situation, thus denoting it the poor man’s field. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

L

Lawrence Street

Named from the church of St Lawrence without Walmgate. (Smith 1937)

Layerthorpe

Leer or Leyre, Old English, a hunting term for the place where deer retired to after feeding. Layerthorpe is an ancient entrance to the Forest of
Galtres. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

May be from Old English leger, ‘grave, burial place’, but as the place is on the boulder clay it is better associated with Oscand leira ‘clayey place’ or leir ‘clay’. (Smith 1937)

Layerthorpe Bridge

Until the bridge was built it would appear that the River Foss was crossed by a ford called leirford ‘ clay ford’. (Smith 1937)

Lendal

Supposed to imply Land-all; having originated from there being a staith or landing place here, also the name arose from the hill newar St leonard’s Hospital, and was an abbreviation of Leonard’s Hill. (Drake ‘Eboracum’ 1736)

A declivity was anciently termed as a dell (Scotland and England) or dal (Dutch) and there is a strong decivity particularly below St Leonard’s Hospital, thus easily corrupted to Lend, and by adding it to the preceding word, the name will appear complete.  (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

Little Alice Lane

Now College Street

Name derived from the reputed circumstances of a diminutive old woman having kept an ale house within it.  (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

Lop Lane

Formerly Little Blake Street, Now Duncombe Place

Sometimes written Loup Lane, hence we may conjecture, that this name was derived from the Belgii word Loop, signifying a range of Bars joined together; this being closely contingious to Bootham Bar, the Minster Gates and Lendal Postern. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

Probably spider or flea infested lane from Old English loppe ‘spider’, lop ‘flea’. (Smith 1937)

From Oscand hlaup ‘ leap’ because one had to jump (over puddles?) here? Or from a statue of St. Loup (Lupus) who came to Britain with St. Geranus in 429. (YAT, Interim Vol 1 No 4)

Lounlithgate – Lost

Lindkinst has shown that Lounelith was the name of an old entrance to the city near Baile Hill and quite distinct from Micklegate, with which it is
associated by Farrer. The name means ‘hidden secluded gateway,’ from Oscand laun ‘seclusion. (Smith 1937)

Low Ousegate

Probably derived from the steep descent to the bridge and from its vicinity of the river. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

M

Marketshire – Lost

This was the shire or ward of the city where the markets were held. The district included the Shambles, a lost Nedellergate and the Pavements, and so was in the centre of the city near Thursday Market. The name means ‘the market ward’ from Middle English market and scir ‘shire’. (Smith 1937)

Marsh Street – Lost

Near Hungate

The marsh was probably land near the Foss. (Smith 1937)

Marygate

Name implies that the street leads to the site of the Abbey of St Mary. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

Micklegate

Name means large or spacious street. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

The Great Street. (Smith 1937)

Monkgate

The monks’ streeet, Old English mumuc and gate. The monks have not been identified. (Smith 1937)

N

Nedellergate – Lost

From Middle English nedeler ‘needle makers’. (Smith 1937)

Nessgate

Name derives from Saxon word ‘Ness’ – a projection, or an exalted. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

‘Street leading to the ness’. The ness is the triangular headland (on which York Castle stands) between the Ouse and the Foss. (Smith 1937)

Neutgate Lane

Newt being a small lizard, often found in low marshy places, evidently proves that this lane, which certainly is very low and wet, is endebted for its
name to its situation. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

Newbiggin Street

The new building. (Smith 1937)

Newgate

So called evidently because there formerly was a prison in it. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

North Street

Name derives from its situation. (Hargrove 1818 – History of the Ancient City of York)

Street leading to the north part of the town. (Smith 1937)

Nowtgate

Cattle Lane from Oscand naut. (Smith 1937)

O

Ogleforth

Uchel – British word denoting High, and Poth – now written as forth, a gate; together they mean Highgate; and so we may suppose that a principle gate or entrance to the close of the Cathedral, formerly stood hereabouts, probably when the regal palace was entire – Dr Langwith. Probably Ugel’s ford. The personal name is from a supposed Oscand nickname Ugla ‘owl’. Alternativly, as Dr Knudsen suggests, it may be the Oscand word Ugla itself, the meaning of the compound being ‘owl-haunting ford’. (Smith 1937)

Ousegate

Street leading to the Ouse (Smith 1937)

P

Peter Lane

Like a crack between towering brick walls of warehouses and stores, runs from Market Street (by Minster Jewellers) to High Ousegate, splitting midway into two former common lanes which run almost parallel some 10 or 20 yards apart. The northernmost ran in the Middle Ages to the south door of St. Peter-the-Little Church, and was called Le Kyrk Lane. Today the prevailing impression is no longer medieval (except for the narrowness), but Victorian – dirty bricks, pipes, iron ladders and eerie gaslights. (The Common Lanes and Alleyways of Medieval York, 1974)

Q

 

R

 

S

 

T

U

 

V

 

W

 

X

 

Y

 

Z