City of York
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City of York

Barley Hall
Bootham Bar
Breezy Knees

Clifford's Tower
Dick Turpin's Grave
Fairfax House
Fishergate Bar
Goddard's Garden
Guy Fawkes Inn
Holy Trinity Church
Jorvik Viking Centre
Mansion House
Adventurers Hall

Micklegate Bar
Richard III Experience and Monk Bar
Roman Bath Museum
The Shambles
St. Olave's Church
St. William's College
Treasurer's House
Walmgate Bar
York Castle Museum
York City Walls
York Guildhall
York Minster
York Museum

Yorkshire Museum

The Red Tower

Bootham Bar The Red Tower, a Grade I listed building, which dates back to 1490, forms the only brick section of the medieval city walls of York, hence its name.

The tower was originally built as part of a programme of improvements to bolster the city's defences, which were agreed by King Richard III and continued by his successor, Henry VII, after Richard's death in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth

The Red Tower was intended as a watchtower to defend the city walls around the vulnerable area around the King's Fishpool, a lake formed by damning the River Foss. In around 1068, William the Conqueror ordered water from the River Foss to be diverted at Fishergate to fill a moat around his castle at York.

Damming the River Foss to supply water for the moat resulted in large-scale flooding. The flooded area became known as the King's Fishpond and, though the water has long since gone, the area still retains the name of 'Foss Islands'.

The city masons, who usually worked on the majority of the buildings in York were annoyed that tilers had been employed in the building of the Red Tower, which boiled over into attempts to sabotage the construction of the building.

Further friction followed and the tilers sought protection from the city council, which brought little improvement in the situation. In 1491, a tiler John Patrik, was murdered. Two masons, William Hindley, the master mason of York Minster and his assistant Christopher Homer, were charged with the murder and imprisoned but were later acquitted of the crime.

The tower appears short and squat in comparison to other towers on York's city walls this is due to the fact that its stone footings are now buried under the grass. Infilling of the King's Fishpond and building the Foss Island's Road in the nineteenth century has raised the ground level, burying the original ground floor and making the tower look surprisingly short. The top of the tower was originally similar to that of Monk Bar with a flat lead roof and battlements.

The Red Tower has been repaired many times over the centuries, 1541 and 1545, and was in ruins by 1736, and was restored in 1800 and again in 1857-58. It has now seen a further renovation and complete overhaul into a Community Interest Company. The vision of the Red Tower is to become an inclusive, welcoming space for creative, learning and social activities, run by local people, encouraging local and wider community participation. It is a community cafe on the ground floor, with a unique space upstairs for local charities and organisations to use as a venue.

Red Tower, YorkRed Tower, York

Images courtesy of Paul Johnson and Jonathan Sharman

Guide to the Walls

York City Walls Bootham Bar Fishergate Bar Micklegate Bar &
the Henry VII Experience
Monk Bar & the
Richard III Experience
The Multiangular
The Red Tower Walmgate Bar

The city of York

Historic buildings in Yorkshire