AN INVENTORY OF THE HISTORICAL
MONUMENTS IN THE CITY OF YORK
OUTSIDE THE CITY WALLS AND
EAST OF THE RIVER OUSE
(The dimensions given in the Inventory are internal unless otherwise stated and read first from E.
to W. The National Grid References are in 100-kilometre square SE. The dates given in the
description of memorials are of the death of the person commemorated.)
EARTHWORKS AND ALLIED STRUCTURES AND CULTIVATION SYSTEMS
(1) Lamel Hill (NG 61455095) occupies a commanding position overlooking the City, in the grounds of
The Retreat (24), near the Heslington Road. It stands
some 14 ft. to 22 ft. above the surrounding ground and
measures 110 ft. to 125 ft. across. A summer-house now
stands on the top and the sides have been cut into for a
wide path. The mound, excavated by Thurnam in 1849
(Arch. J., VI (1849), 27–39), incorporates in its lowest
3 feet, which are undisturbed, part of an Anglo-Saxon
inhumation cemetery. The whole of the upper part was
thrown up to form a platform for a gun battery for
Lord Fairfax at the siege of York in 1644 and contains
disturbed remains of burials, showing that both the
cemetery and the original, probably natural, mound
were of much greater extent than at present. Both
before and after the Civil War the site was used for a
The burials were in wooden coffins regularly laid on
a W.-E. alignment, without grave goods, and were
probably Christian. The coffin fittings are similar to
those from an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Garton in the
E. Riding (J. R. Mortimer, Forty Years Researches...
(1905), 254–7, burials 31–60) which also had W.-E.
burials and like Lamel Hill is at the boundary of the
settlement it served.
(2) Mound near Monk Bridge (61095277) standing
6 ft. high and 80 ft. in diameter has been excavated
twice (Yorks. Geological and Polytechnic Soc. Procs.,
VII (1881), 425; YAYAS Procs., ii, iv (1936), 44) and has
been shown to be not older than the 18th century. It
was probably erected as a garden feature to carry a
summer-house, of which the foundations can be seen on
(3) Traces of former cultivation survive or are visible
on air photographs; they consist of scattered parcels of
mediaeval broad plough ridges, usually about 30 ft.
wide, and fields of later narrow plough ridges, usually
12 ft. to 15 ft. wide. Areas of pasture, apparently never
ploughed in the history of the city, also form an important part of the city's pattern of husbandry.
Citizens of York held strips in open fields which by
1546 had been enclosed, and forty-one closes were
available for leasing within the city. Citizens also had
rights of stray (i.e. of pasturing cattle) on nearby moors
and commons, often involving arrangements with
neighbouring townships. This pasture was supplemented by fodder from 'ings' or water-meadows by the
rivers. The expansion of the city and townships led to a
gradual reduction in the area of arable land and common
pasture. The city gradually acquired plots of land over
which it had sole rights of stray, in return for surrendering its rights of intercommoning in other townships.
From these it created the present strays, organised within
the four wards, three of which are on the N.E. side of
Remains occur within the mediaeval city limits, and
in areas developed in adjacent townships but now taken
into the modern city.
In Walmgate Ward in 1772 (J. Lund, Map of Walmgate Ward
Stray) there were North Field, Haver Garths, and Mill Field
N. of Lawrence Street, and Chapel Flat to the S., all now
obliterated by housing and refuse tips. Part of North Field,
around 61455185, which existed until c. 1960, with broad
ridges 30 ft. wide, was in selions in 1297 (ERAS, Trans.,
XIX, for 1912, 276). All the fields were subject to half-year
commoning (i.e. common grazing after harvest) until 1824.
On Heslington Road, the grounds of The Retreat were Siwards
How Field in 1484.
South of Heslington Hill, the city's rights of stray formerly
extended S. onto the Tilmire and rights were shared with both
Heslington and Fulford. Rights within Fulford township were
delimited in 1484 (YCA, E30, 74), and in 1759 Low Moor was
given to the city in lieu of its rights. An additional area was
added to this, bought from compensation obtained for loss of
rights in the four fields off Lawrence Street, to give Walmgate
Stray its present shape and size of 77 acres. Much of the stray
has never been ploughed, but two enclosures were made in
Napoleonic times (around 61665005 and 61305046), and the
temporary cultivation has left narrow plough ridges 15–16 ft.
wide. Traces of narrow ridges on one of the approaches to the
stray (61425094) suggest that this was once one of a group of
small fields off Heslington Road.
Monk Ward in 1736 (J. Lund (1772), Map of Monk Ward
Stray, unaltered map based on George Smith, 1736) had halfyear grazing rights in the closes formerly called Grange Field
and Hall Fields (Layerthorpe). Tang Hall Field is excluded on
Lund's map; it was formerly the township of Tang, held by
the prebendary of Fridaythorpe who constantly disputed the
city's rights to common until the late 18th century. The
surviving remains are in Grange Field. Here broad ridges,
30 ft. across, survived until 1965 between the railway and the
River Foss (61075286), and they are recorded on the site of the
railway in 1879 (J. Raine, Plan of Anglian Cemetery, Heworth,
in YM). Narrow ridge-and-furrow survives on the lawns of
Yearsley Bridge Hospital, and to the S. of it (61085359), all
formerly one close.
The city's rights of stray formerly extended 6 miles N.E. of
the city to Sandburn Cross (669586), a 17th-century boundary
stone. These rights were exchanged at the time of the enclosures
for 118 acres in Heworth, and 132 acres in Stockton, all of
which remained outside the city boundary until its extension
in 1884 and 1934 took in part of Monk Stray. This part is
situated between two groups of Heworth's ancient enclosures
along the Malton road. The wet clay land E. of the road
(environs of 61675305) has always been pasture, but W. of the
road the slightly better drained clays, now Heworth golf
course, were ploughed in Napoleonic times and two large
areas of narrow ridges, 14 ft. broad, and straight, survive to the
N. (around 61655360) and S. (around 61555322) of Muncaster
In Bootham Ward in 1772 (J. Lund, Map of Bootham Ward
Stray) no rights of half-year commoning over the 'old
enclosures' existed within the ward. No remains of cultivations survive but the layout of fields on the 1853 O.S. maps
suggests consolidated strips. Bootham Stray lies beyond and
N. of York and Clifton, and was formerly pasture intercommoned with Clifton, Huntington, Rawcliffe, and Wigginton, which began with gifts of pasture in the Forest of Galtres
by William Rufus and Henry I to York and Clifton. In 1633,
60 acres, now called The Intake (environs of 60305495), was
given by Huntington to York to end York's rights in the
township. In 1769 Clifton Enclosure Award gave 91 acres,
called The New Intake in 1772, adjacent to The Intake, in
lieu of the city's rights in Clifton, together with 21½ acres for
an outgang through the new closes from the Horsefair,
preserved in part in fence lines and the shape of Clarence
Gardens (60405292). Today the stray, based on these awards,
has 180 acres, extensively covered with narrow ridges aligned
on the 1769 boundaries and overlaid by the 1845 YorkScarborough railway line, again suggesting temporary
ploughing in Napoleonic times.
(b) Parts of Incorporated Townships
Part of Fulford Field is now covered by the Broadway estate,
in part developed within the limits of former hedge lines, and
broad ridges survive in a block of four fields, formerly a parcel
of strips aligned N.E.-S.W. and abutting onto Walmgate
Stray (616498). The ridges are 27–30 ft. across, 800–1400 ft.
long, and up to 2 ft. high with a slight aratral curve. The
playing field off Cornwall Drive (612496) with reduced broad
ridges 30 ft. across is part of the same field. A headland at the
N. end of this field is referred to in 1484 implying a N.-S.
direction to the furlongs at that end of the field.
Osbaldwick. Part of the open field called Slack Field is now
within the city. Whernside Avenue and Penyghent Avenue
(environs of 62455210) now cover parts of five fields which had
groups of broad ridges in 1951. A playing field at Grange
School (62855155) has broad ridges, 32 ft. wide and 2 ft. high,
and was also part of the same field.
Parts of the fields of Huntington are incorporated near
Yearsley Bridge, where fragments of narrow ridges survive
on an overgrown plot (61055368), and on part of Rowntree's
sports field (60925393) there were narrow ridges until 1966.
Formerly in Heworth township, fragments of broad ridges
survived at Westlands Grove (62035335) but are now built on,
and on a nearby playing field (61855325). These were part of
old enclosures shown on the 1819 Heworth Enclosure Award
map. A bungalow estate on Whitby Avenue (environs of
62355310) has recently obliterated a small parcel of broad
ridges, each 30 ft. across, part of a parcel of ridges still extant in
Formerly in Clifton, the largest surviving block of broad
ridges within the city is on playing fields N. of Asylum Lane
(around 60205300) measuring at least 300 by 200 yds. This clay
area, at one time Laithe Close, has slightly sinuous ridges,
30 ft. wide and 1 ft. high. One parcel of ridges is aligned
E.N.E. and another N.W. A less well preserved parcel of
ridges survives off Kingsway (59655320). W. of Burdike and
along the River Ouse are playing fields which may have been
meadow. Between Burdike and Almery Garth there was a
farm as late as 1796.