“….[Queen Margaret’s Gate, Bootham Bar] was supposedly intended as a short-cut for King Henry VII (the man who had defeated Richard III) when he was visiting York and stayed at the Abbot’s Lodging, now King’s Manor. The short cut would have made it quicker for him to get from the abbey to the Minster….”
Hmm. Pity it didn’t collapse on his rotten head! Henry was a man to take short cuts if he could – look how he took the throne by murder rather than an honourable victory. And without lifting a finger himself. Nice one, Henry. However, it’s not the arch’s fault that it stayed in place and survived the following centuries. This article tells of Henry’s daughter, Margaret, from whom the gate has acquired its name.
It seems that in 1497, when the abbey precincts were protected by a wall, Henry (of Despicable Memory) decided to pay York a visit and stay at the abbey. So that he could have easy access—as stated above—a new arch/gate was created in the wall, and you see it in the old photograph above. So in fact, it should be King Henry’s Gate. Fortunately for it, his daughter’s name has been bestowed by posterity. In 1503, when Margaret was on her way to Scotland to be the queen of King James IV, she too halted at the abbey in York. It seems her retinue was so vast it had trouble squeezing through the arch. That must have been worth watching. Well (I concede grudgingly) her father’s arrival must have been a spectacle too, but I’d much rather have seen King Richard III entering York by the more traditional route. I’ll bet he got more cheering than the usurper.
Enjoy the article, which is about Bootham Bar itself through the ages.