You are here

Tower 27 (aka Robin Hood Tower)

Tower 27 (a.k.a. Robin Hood Tower) is located at the northernmost corner of York's City walls. It was built by the Victorians to provide a viewing platform.

The tower was assigned the number 27 by The Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England in 1972. However, the corner tower on this site has also been known by at least three other names:

  • "Bawing Tower" in the 14th century.
  • "Frost Tower" in the 15th century, probably to commemorate William Frost who was Lord Mayor of York for eight years (1396, 1397, 1400 to 1404 and 1406).
  • "Robin Hood Tower" from the 17th century to present day. (There is no known link to the legendary outlaw, but his name has been applied to numerous locations over the centuries.)

The current structure is a 'drum' tower (round in plan and shaped like a drum). Its current form is the result of a complete re-build by the Victorians in 1888–9 and the design owes more to fairytales than to defensive theory or historical accuracy. It was built at the same time as the adjacent sections of the wall-top walkway and the tower's idealised form would have helped promenaders conjure-up a romanticised vision of the city's past (in keeping with the tower's romantic name).

Historic maps suggest that the medieval wall in this area followed the alignment of the Roman fortress wall and that the medieval corner tower was built within (but hard against) the City / fortress wall. Archaeological excavations in 2007 support this theory, although the results are not entirely conclusive because of the limited area covered by the excavations and the heavy disturbance of the ground during the Victorian rebuilding works. Henry Tucker's highly detailed 1852 "Plan of York" depicts the corner as a straightened curve (three straight lines forming a 90 degree angle). The wall is depicted as being strengthened by three external buttresses, with a square tower located behind the wall line.

The steps and viewing platform were replaced completely during rennovation and strengthening works in 2007.

Practical Information

Cost Category (Categories)

Location Information (Where is . . . ?)

Tower 27 (aka Robin Hood Tower)
Lord Mayor's Walk

Latitude: 53.964608000000
Longitude: -1.082038000000

View this location on an interactive map.