Queen Margaret's Arch

"Ancient Gateway to the Yorkshire School for the Blind" 1840-43, by Francis Bedford, York Art Gallery

1497AD - 1497AD

Queen Margaret's Arch is named after Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII, who stayed in York in 1503 on her way to marry James IV of Scotland.  The arch itself was built in 1497 as a convenient back-door to and from the Abbey grounds.  It was intended for King Henry's use on a visit to the Abbey, for 'his pleasure and passage to the Mynster'.

During the construction of York Art Gallery in 1878, the space in front of the building was opened up to form Exhibition Square and the broad sweep of St Leonard’s Place was created.  To make way, all of the buildings between Bootham Bar and Queen Margaret’s Arch were demolished, but the arch itself was saved.

This view looks through the arch towards the former Abbot's House, now King’s Manor.  In 1843 it was a School for the Blind.  The building on the left of the arch was Ward's ironmongery business.