Not unusually, this largely Georgian architectural street has its name dedicated to a patron saint, St Giles. The patron saint of hermits, no less. Which is why when pronouncing the street, it shouldn’t be pronounced with a hard ‘G’ as in garden, it ought to be announced with a J, like you would gin!
Even though the street is outside of the bar walls of York, it forms much of the city’s historic legacy. The siege of 1644 left much of the York’s streets outside of the walls, damaged and in ruins. Which is why the street looks far more modern than other parts of the city. Resourceful, innovative and popular describes equally Gillygate’s independents such as; Love Cheese, Toner and Co and The Gillygate Pub. Become a valued customer anywhere on here and you may also follow in the footsteps of St Giles.
Micklegate is taken from the old English word Mickle meaning ‘great’ or ‘main’ – meaning Micklegate was probably York’s most important street. Even now with Micklegate Bar arching over the top serving as the gateway, you can see how important a sight this was for visitors or enemies when approaching on route from London.
At least six reigning monarchs passed through this gate, some managed to keep hold of their heads, Richard Plantagenet (Richard III’s father) and Richard Neville (The 5th Earl of Salisbury), including others, were not so lucky after the part they played in the battle of Wakefield during the battle of The War Of The Roses. Their heads were put on spikes atop of Micklegate Bar for all to see.
Treachery and a considerable amount of years aside we’ve luckily moved past the idea of The Micklegate Run, where many consider the run of bars almost like a contest to see how much drinking can get done. With places like Micklegate Social, Skosh and Partisan as well as the location for Micklegate Soapbox Run, Micklegate’s past and present can share a unity.
Whether you live here, or just occasionally visit, York’s past is dedicated to us all. A legacy can live on through names just as much as those which are held within a story. We are as much a part of its past as its future. To recount the city’s rich heritage by quickly venturing down York’s famous cobbled streets, through hidden snickets and wondering what a Bile Bean is, is so important for creating all our own future histories. Happy adventures!