What is Snickelway? You only find them in York…
All around the (inner) city you find these little, often hidden, passages and very narrow alleys, medieval streets – the perfect way to explore the city and also sometimes hide from the tourist crowds.
These passages are neither snickets, ginnels, or alleyways, but a mixture of all three! “Snickelway” is a term coined in 1983 by local author Mark W. Jones, which is now in popular use throughout York. (Atlas Obscura)
Sometimes they open up to a big square and sometimes to other little Snickelways.
A Snickelway is a narrow place to walk along, leading from somewhere to somewhere else, usually in a town or city, especially in the city of York. (The Snickelways of York)
I followed the walk in Mark W. Jones´ book “A Walk Around the Snickelways of York” published in 1983. It will guide through 50 snickelways through the town of York, the town within the city walls.
As the Snickelways are largely medieval, they often feature weird and wonderful names such as “Mad Alice Lane” in reference to a woman who was hanged after poisoning her husband, “Hole-in-the-Wall,” and “Nether Hornpot Lane.” (Atlas Obscura)
Not all snickelways are that easy to find but it´s a fun way to explore York and even discover some more hidden corners.
From being just 80 cm wide to 67m long, the snickelways come in all different sizes, lengths and wides.
Somewhere in between I reached the famous “The Shambles” – the former street of the butchers in the medieval time and today one of Britains most famous streets.
The Shambles is a meandering medieval street with much character, it features overhanging timber-framed buildings, some of which date back to as early as the fourteenth century.
There is evidence of butchers using the street for their shops from before the Norman Conquest. The street is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.
It was once known as The Great Flesh Shambles, probably deriving from the Anglo-Saxon Fleshammels which literally meant ‘flesh-shelves’, the word for the shelves on which butchers used to display their meat for customers. As recently as 1872 there were twenty-five butchers’ shops in the street but now there are none. (Yorkshireguides)
Today the Shambles, like most of the city, were just very crowded, I was quite overwhelmed after my quiet days in Haworth. And had decided to get up very early the next morning and enjoy a sleeping York.
Don´t get fooled by these pictures, I can be very patient and seize the moment. And it was around Dinner time, that helped too.
Harry Potter is a big theme in The Shambles, no wonder as they were the inspiration for Diagon Alley.
Walking back to my Airbnb place along the river and over the Millenium Bridge.