ONCE: Old Tales of Stonegate

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September 27th, 2011
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Once known as ‘Street of the Printers’, Stonegate is one of the most attractive and oldest streets in York. Stonegate lies six feet above the Roman road Via Praetoria and runs along the same route it did two millennia ago. There are a few theories about the origin of the streets name, but it is commonly believed the time the limestone used to build the Minster was carried up this street.

Stonegate is also one of York’s most haunted streets with several buildings hiding incredibly colourful pasts. The Punch Bowl, one of the oldest pubs in the city, was known as the Golden Punch Bowl in 1754. At different periods of time, it has been the meeting place of the Minster Bell Ringers and Masonic Lodges.  Part of the present Punch Bowl was built in 1675 but the oldest parts inside can’t be easily viewed, and the present frontage was built in the 1930s.  It is one of the many York pubs that boast a selection of ghost stories. The first such story told of a former landlord who was killed in a fire, his spirit still walks down the cellar steps, despite them having since been moved, following the route of the ones he remembers and disappears into the floor.  Another story tells us of a young girl who runs from room to room trying to escape her murderer. Her alleged killer was incredibly drunk and became angered after she repeatedly rejected his advances. He eventually caught her and strangled her to death. Additional stories state that No.41 Stonegate has been haunted by a six-year-old Victorian girl ever since she fell to her death on the staircase of this building.

Modern Stonegate is full of a diverse selection of interesting shops and is well worth a taking time wander around. Over years the resident shops of Stonegate have left their mark. You may notice a chained red devil that sits at the top of the door of No.33. This sign represents the printer’s devils, the young boys whose job was to fetch and carry type.

The photos you see are from the 1890s and 1960s.

Do you have an old story about Stonegate?  Let us know below.

  • Tash

    Hi we are holding a meeting at 2pm on the 26th September @ Priory street centre to discuss taking the pop up shop forward, you are all more then welcome to come along and share your ideas

    Natasha Almond

  • EmmaCourtney

    I love this!!

  • LilaMcP


    Todd’s bookshop at No. 35 Stonegate, owned by John Todd, was one of York’s most prestigious bookshops. Etty described how he “would stand entranced and sketch the prints displayed in the shop’s windows.

  • Jane Howkins

    My mother worked at 41 stonegate in the 70s/early 80s when it was a hairdressers. She heard someone running up and down the stairs when she was the only one there. She found out later about the stories

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