Tyburn and the Spirits of Micklegate, York

Colour over micklegate drawing
Laying the first washes of colour in egg tempera and natural pigments over Micklegate

I have been drawn back to the Great North Road, this time up in York. The Roman road from London can be traced closely beneath the present day A64, entering York just a little north of Blossom Street and Micklegate and neatly illustrated on the British History Online website (scroll down on the link site for the map).

bike shed drawing york
Bike Shed and S.o.t.a. Hairdressing on Micklegate

I mentioned in an earlier post that I went to school in York and Micklegate was my cycle route into town. Of course, much has changed and I see that the first building on the street is now occupied by Bike Shed, hopefully ready to greet the forthcoming Tour de Yorkshire. Brilliant! I will be there in the crowds again this year.

drawing of Micklegate
Heaven Scent and Portfolio, Micklegate

Micklegate is a long street and this drawing is only about a third of one side but I have discovered that there are seven Grade I, 26 Grade II* and 117 Grade II listed buildings in Micklegate alone!

leo drawing
Detail: Warm glow of Heaven Scent with a basking Leo

Having made a great journey north himself, my father would often speak of the ancient roads in and around the city and how in the past, convicts would have been taken from York Castle prison along Micklegate, then Blossom Street and out along what is now the A64 to Tyburn, on the Knavesmire. Dad had been given a very old book ‘the Criminal Chronology of York Castle‘ which is a register of all those unfortunate souls executed at Tyburn since 1379 with many awful insights into life and death within the city. Dad passed the book on to me and it’s a sobering read.

Events don’t seem so long ago when I think that most of these buildings would have been extant on ‘Saturday 6th March 1761, when Ann Richmond, a fine young girl, was executed at Tyburn Without Micklegate Bar, for setting fire to a stack and barn belonging to her mistress’. The buildings on Micklegate would have been some of the last that she saw.

Micklegate
Curtain Up  and Brigantes.  My parents John and Mary Sharp with our old dog Arran looking in the window of Brigantes

I got lost in thought whilst drawing Micklegate. I kept thinking of my parents, John and Mary Sharp (nee O’Donoghue), who lived in York for over 50 years and I took the liberty of drawing them in, looking into Brigantes window – which incidentally is the name of a Celtic Romano tribe – apt for my English dad and Irish mum. Our much loved old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Arran is included, no shadows of course!

spirits of Micklegate
detail: Mum, Dad and our recalcitrant old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retreiver – Arran

Micklegate holds many names which have gone – the Blake Head is one that I really do miss when I visit York. I don’t like seeing buildings unused so it is great to hear that this is now home to the BlueBird Bakery and the Rattle Owl. With great names like that, I hope they go a long way – best of luck to you!

Blake Head gallery
Wonderful book shop and cafe – sadly long gone
micklegate york
DW hair and Army careers recruitment.  The Rattle Owl and Bluebird Bakery in the former Blake Head Bookshop site.

I gather from the York Press that ‘Plans have also been submitted to the council to excavate the cellar of the property which is believed to be sitting on top of a Roman road, with hopes of incorporating it into the current building design and allowing it to be displayed.’ Exciting! Look forward to hearing more of this!

drawing of York nags head
Nags head, Coles Solicitors, Rumours

Micklegate House (c1752) below, was the former town house of the Bourchiers of Beningbrough.

grade 1 Micklegate house drawing
Micklegate House, grade 1 listed, flanked by grade 2* listed builidngs

The drawing stops at the point where it meets Barker Lane, hopefully to be continued. To see all the drawing scanned in full length, please visit www.drawingthestreet.co.uk

Limited edition prints will soon be available at Blossom Street Gallery and Framing. Please email me directly and I will happily reserve one for you. A small number will be available to buy from me directly.

Thanks for reading.

Ronnie ronniecruwys@drawingthestreet.co.uk

2 thoughts on “Tyburn and the Spirits of Micklegate, York”

  1. I really admire your work. I was sitting here contemplating why it invokes such feelings in me. I remember the old cornflakes/cereal packets with building /house landscapes which remind me of childhood and good times, I also relate them to model railroads, of which I enjoyed/built as teenager. Then I open your pictures larger and the detail is warm and inviting. Thanks

  2. Thank you so much Bernard! The admiration is mutual after seeing your magnificent creation on Facebook. I am so pleased that you like the drawings. I have been looking back on my earlier streets and seen how my work has got more colourful as I get more confident. You can see how it changes from the thumbnails on my website. Looking forward to seeing your next project!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s