Fishergate Bar is a one storey gateway on the York Walls, originally forming the entrance to the city from Selby. The first documented evidence of Fishergate Bar is from 1315 when the building was known as “Barram Fishergate”. There was evidence of the house over the gateway from 1440 and records show that Richard Morton looked after the building in 1453. In later years, there is also evidence that the building has been used as a prison.
In 1489 however, King Henry VII had requested that taxes were levied to pay for the defence of the country. Some in the north objected to this taxation, given that they already paid taxation on a local basis, and the rising of the commons in the north began. York’s authorities attempted to defend the King, but Sir John Egremont was able to force his way into the city via Fishergate Bar, and the gate was damaged by both fire and rioting. After this, to prevent any repeat, the Bar was bricked up later that year.
Fishergate Bar was reopened in 1827 when new stairs were constructed and other improvements made. Whilst discussing the reopening, the local press noted the perilous state of the walls in that area, and how need of repair there were.
The parapet has a stone which marks the 60 yards of city wall which was built in 1487 by Sir William Todd, the Lord Mayor of York, and the stone also has the York coat of arms carved into it.
In 1839, it was reported that the council had received a complaint from the landlord of the City Arms Inn that he was not able to cultivate the land by Fishergate Bar into gardens. The council refused to extend his tenancy of the inn, saying that the area must remain grassed to maintain the look of the local area.
In 1844, the local commissioners discussed the extension of Neutgate Lane, which meant that a row of houses had to be demolished. The reason given was that the opening up of Fishergate Bar in the 1820s had caused a serious increase in traffic in the area.
In 1878, it was announced that a new series of tramways should be constructed in York, and one of the routes was “A tramway commencing at the village of Fulford, passing along the Selby Road into George Street through the Fishergate Bar, along Walmgate as far as Foss Bridge”.
Some restorations were made to the gate in 1961 and the gate now is blocked to traffic, but is accessible to both pedestrians and cyclists.