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An ancient street where you can find history, architecture, shopping and entertainment, all in one place

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Shops & Cafe's
Ye Olde Starre Inn
Red Devil
Stonegate is one of York's quaint little streets, lined with historical buildings and interesting shops. It's one of the most popular areas of the city centre, and on any day of the week, it is usually flooded with people.
But as historians would tell you, this is nothing new. The street has been here for centuries, and was originally used by the Romans as a thoroughfare between the river, and their headquarters - which used to stand on the site of York Minster. This means that Stonegate is at least a millenium older than the city's celebrated cathedral. In fact, the road was used during the construction of the first-ever stone church to be built at this location, several centuries before work on the current Minster was even begun. Huge stone blocks were hauled from the River Ouse, up this street, to be used in the building project. This is the most likely source of the road's name.

Teddy Bear Shop in Stonegate
Stonegate has been part of many other interesting events throughout York's history. Guy Fawkes was born here in 1570, into a respected family of good social standing, and was baptised at St. Michael le Belfrey, nearby. Of course, 35 years later, he was executed for trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

St Michael le Belfrey at the top of Stonegate
Another important resident here was William Snawsell, once the Lord Mayor of York. He lived in a townhouse called Barley Hall, which stands just off Stonegate, down a tiny alley. For years, the pretty building was hidden from view - it had been converted into an ugly office block, and it wasn't until the 80s that it was discovered, and restored.

Barley Hall
As you walk down the street, you'll probably notice two unusual signs - which have become quite well-known in the city. The first is a small red devil, who sits above the door of number 33. There used to be a printer's shop here, and it was they who installed the evil figure. Some say that he was there to take the blame, when any printing errors occurred!

The Stonegate red devil
Photo chelmsfordblue
The second sign is unmissable, because it stretches right across both sides of the street. It advertised Ye Olde Starre Inn, a historical pub that may well be the oldest in York. It was certainly established by the time of the English Civil War in the 17th century, when its cellar was converted into a makeshift operating theatre for wounded soldiers!

Passage leading to Ye Olde Starre Inne
The sign itself was erected in 1793, after a local landlord unhelpfully built a house directly in front of the pub. This meant that it was no longer visible from the street, and people had no idea it was there! The owners were eventually allowed to put up a sign, and thankfully, it worked. Both the sign and the pub remain to this day, and Ye Olde Starre Inn has become one of the most famous drinking establishments in the city.
However, if you visit, you might want to listen out for strange noises. Legend has it that, during the inn's construction, two cats were somehow accidentally imprisoned within one of the pillars! Their ghosts have haunted the pub ever since, howling sadly, and enraging the local dogs.

The Punchbowl, another famous and historic pub on Stonegate
All in all, Stonegate is a fascinating street. There aren't many places where you can find history, architecture, shopping and entertainment, all in the same place.
Visitor Information
Most of the shops are open 9am to 5pm Mon to Sat.

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