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York Castle Inner Bailey Walls

During the 13th-century, many of York Castle's timber fortifications were rebuilt in stone. The inner bailey walls are believed to date from this period.

The castle's inner bailey was originally used to provide accommodation for low-ranking soldiers and servants, for stabling horses, and for storing food and equipment. To help secure and defend this important area, it was initially surrounded by a rampart (earth bank) surmounted by a palisade (fence). However, during strengthening works in the thirteenth century (circa 1244 to 1264) the palisade was upgraded to a high stone-built curtain wall incorporating six (possibly seven) defensive towers. Most of these structures have subsequently been demolished and all that remains visible above ground today are a short section of the inner bailey curtain wall (approximately 85 metres long and 7.5 metres high) and two of the towers (the South Angle Tower and the Southeast Tower). All of these surviving features are now Grade I listed and scheduled as an ancient monument.

The south-eastern section of the inner bailey wall also included a twin-towered gateway known as the south gateway. However, this was demolished at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The resulting gap in the wall was filled with a new section of plain wall built using stone recycled from the demolished gateway. The scar in the wall is still visible today. (Tip: Look closely at the wall in Image 2, just below and slightly to the left of the clock tower.)

The foundations of the gatehouse and its drawbridge pit are also clearly visible in Image 2.

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York Castle Inner Bailey Walls
Tower Street

Latitude: 53.954748000000
Longitude: -1.078538000000

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The exterior face of the inner bailey walls can be viewed from Tower Street where it approaches and crosses Castle Mills Bridge. (This was the vantage point for Images 1, 2 and 4.)

The South Angle Tower and adjacent sections of York Castle's Inner Bailey Walls can also be seen from the footpath beside Foss Basin. (This was the vantage point for Image 3.)