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Historic England Research Records

Anglian Tower

Hob Uid: 536743
Location :
York
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : SE6005052130
Summary : Mid 7th or mid 9th century tower situated against the Roman fortress walls in the Museum Gardens.
More information : The Anglian tower was first discovered by workmen making a tunnel from St Leonard's Place to Mint Yard in 1839. It was probably located again in 1934 by the City Engineer. Limited excavation was undertaken in 1969 10 feet above the modern street level and confined between the Mediaeval town wall and the stable, only an area 25 feet x 15 feet being exposed. The location of the tower places it between the conjectural locations of two Roman interval towers on the SW side of the Roman fortress.

The tower walls are much thinner than the Roman or Mediaeval walls, being 1'6" - 2' wide, and unlike the Roman walls and Saxon walling which utilises magnesian limestone and/or millstone grit, the tower is uniquely constructed of oolitic limestone.

The tower was clearly constructed later than the Roman wall and projected above it to an unknown height. There is some evidence that its usage was limited, being sealed by the Danish rampart. During that short lifetime the west corner collapsed.

There is no secular parallel for this tower in Britain, nor in Europe. It could not be directly dated, and on balance the most likely dates for its construction are the mid 7th century or mid 9th century. The function of the tower is also problematical. Two doorways at the base were designed to allow a through sentry walk behind the stump of the Roman fortress wall., and there is no evidence to suggest that the tower chamber had any function other than to allow free access along the walls. The form and function of the upper part of the tower cannot be known. It may have served as a watch tower, a platform for archers or artillery, but there is no surviving evidence to substantiate any of these. The position of the tower might imply the existence of others. (1)

Brief sumary of the tower. (2)

Anglian Tower. Formerly known as: The Roman Room. Defensive tower. Probably C7 AD on Roman footings; excavated in 1969. Rough dressed oolitic limestone with brick vaulted roof. Rectangular on plan, approximately 4.5 metres high. Original access by means of narrow segment-arched doorways in both returns. Front and rear broken by round-arched vault of C19 tunnel, during the excavations for which the tower subsumed within the ramparts of the medieval walls, was rediscovered in 1839. Listed Grade I. (3)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Register of parks and gardens of special historic interest in England
Source details : North Yorkshire (May 1987)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Part 32

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Mid C7
Monument End Date : 666
Monument Start Date : 633
Monument Type : Tower
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 866
Monument Start Date : 833
Monument Type : Tower
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 61947
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 464198
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SE 65 SW 295
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 536744
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 536748
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 536754
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 1066561
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 536755
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 536756
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 536757
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 536758
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 536759
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 536741
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 536745
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 536746
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 536747
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 536749
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 536750
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 536751
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 536752
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 536753
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 536761
Relationship type : Is referred to by

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, TOWER 19
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1928-01-01
End Date : 1928-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ANGLIAN TOWER/TOWER 19
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1969-01-01
End Date : 1969-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ANGLIAN TOWER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1970-01-01
End Date : 1971-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, INVESTIGATION BY RCHME/EH ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-11-14
End Date : 1995-11-14