Crossing the river again, Ike arrived at York Museum Gardens, created in the 1830s by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society. They are a Botanical Garden and contain over 4500 shrubs and trees, as well as several buildings, ruins and a small section of the walls.
The oldest construction (and part of the walls) is the Multangular Tower, originally the western corner of the Roman legionary fortress. Its name comes from its 10-sided construction. Ike could see that the top of the tower was made of different stone, this is because it was added to during the medieval period, becoming part of the York Walls and was still part of York’s defence during the Civil War when it was damaged by a cannonball.
A bit further on and there is the unique Anglian Tower, the only Anglo Saxon non-church structure still standing in the country. But this part of the garden is closed so Ike took a picture amongst the flower border instead.
The best known ruins in the garden are St. Mary’s Abbey, built in the 13th Century and the most powerful abbey in Northern England before the Dissolution. The abbey church mirrored and sat opposite the Minster and the abbot was as powerful as the Archbishop.
Most of the other abbey buildings have completely gone but the Hospitium (used for housing guests such as merchants who were not allowed to stay in the main abbey) has been renovated and repaired over the years.
The most recent buildings were built when the gardens were created – the Yorkshire Museum and York Observatory. Neither were open unfortunately, but they contain excellent collections of Yorkshire’s archaeology, geology, palaeontology, natural history and a collection of telescopes.
Come back tomorrow for the fourth and final part of Ike’s York Wall exploration.