Walk 61: Beverley Town Walk: Down the rabbit hole

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 2 miles (3.22km)

Time to walk: If the Minster’s open it will take longer – it wasn’t when we did this walk. Apart from that it’s roughly 1 hour

Difficulty: Easy as all on flat hard surfaces

Parking: As Beverley’s only a small town there’s lots of resident only parking, but Tesco offer a free couple of hours

Public toilets: Plenty of cafes etc en route

Map of the route:

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Beverley is a stunning market town & the county town of the East Riding of Yorkshire

The town was originally known as Inderawuda & was founded around 700 AD by Saint John of Beverley during the time of the Anglian kingdom of Northumbria. After a period of Viking control, it passed to the Cerdic dynasty, a period during which it gained prominence in terms of religious importance in Great Britain. It continued to grow, especially under the Normans, when its trading industry was first established. A place of pilgrimage throughout the Middle Ages due to its founder, it eventually became a notable wool trading town. Beverley was once one of the richest towns in England, because of its wool & the pilgrims who came to venerate its founding saint, John of Beverley

As well as its Minster, racecourse & markets, Beverley is known in the modern day for hosting various food & music festivals throughout the year. In 2007 Beverley was named as the best place to live in the United Kingdom in an “Affordable Affluence” study by the Royal Bank of Scotland

Beverley also means ‘beaver stream’ (beavers were once common in Britain)

Ready? Then…

Let’s Walk!

1. Our walk today starts on the western outskirts of the town opposite the police station in New Walk. Facing the ‘cop shop’ turn left & walk back towards the town centre…

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The tree on the right is huge!

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2. It’s clear from where we are that Beverley’s a very well kept town, with some superb properties & gardens…

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…including the Sessions House, which was used as the town’s Crown Court. Built in the 19th century it’s now a spa with a posh restaurant…

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3. Continue along the street, but remember to look up at all the buildings as there’s some great carvings above the doors…

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4. There’s many lovely properties along this street, but carry on to the crossroads & North Bar to James Ellis’ House with its amazing detail which was done by the owner who was a carver…

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5. Carry on through North Bar…

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We’re now entering the town’s Georgian Quarter & on the left’s some more fab buildings. The area has been rejuvenated by a rebrand inspired by the “Queen of Shops” Mary Portas. Traders in the historic North Bar area of the town launched the Georgian Quarter last year in a bid to boost business

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 IMG_7753On the left’s the Royal Standard Inn..

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6. Over the road’s St Mary’s Court, a 15th century building now split between shops & arcades…

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Slightly further along’s the Beverley Arms which was built in 1794…

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7. Back on the other side from the hotel is one of the town’s classic buildings…the magnificent St Mary’s Church

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It was at this point we realised why the town was decked out in certain colours & there were bicycles everywhere….the town had been the finishing place of ‘Le Tour de Yorkshire’ a few days earlier. Even the church gates were decorated in blue & yellow

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The building of St Mary’s began in 1120 & has been added to throughout the millennia since. It suffered a collapse of the tower in 1520, but was rebuilt by 1524 & it has been in its present state since then

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We couldn’t get inside the church tonight but, if you could, look at the doorway to St Michaels’s Chapel where a white rabbit guards the door…

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This bunny was the inspiration for Lewis Carrol‘s ‘Alice in Wonderland

8. Turn left alongside the church down the wonderfully names Hengate which probably comes from the name Henngata – the street where hens were kept. Towards the end of the street’s the very old White Horse Inn (also known as Nellies)…

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The pub, originally a coaching in, pre dates 1666 when it was detailed in local records & is probably the second oldest surviving inn in Beverley. The pub unlike other local holsteries, maintains most of its original features, including gas lights & chandeliers, small individual rooms, rickety stone & wooden floors, & open fires. – it’s well worth visit

9. At the crossroads turn right but have a glance at the pub over the road…The Cornerhouse. Is the dog still waiting? Can you spot him?

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10. Turn right again past the bus station…

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..to eventually arrive at the area known as Ladygate & Saturday Market

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11. This area’s the real centre of Beverley & is a lovely wide plaza-style boulevard. Firstly there’s the elaborate, but beautiful Market Cross…

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This historic market cross, supported by eight columns, dates from 1714 & markets are still held here on Wednesdays & Saturdays. We’re definitely coming back on a market day

12. Continue along the left side (when we were there it had been a race day so it was very busy). As the street opens up further on the left’s the old Corn Exchange building…

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The Corn Exchange was built in 1886 & was used as a combined meat, corn & butter market

13. There’s a couple of ways out of the street & ours is down the right one called Toll Gavell which is full of shops, takeaways & an always welcome Carluccios. There’s banners down here re the bike race

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 At the junction bear right…

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…& then immediately right again into Register Square where at the end’s the magnificent entrance to the Guildhall

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14. Come back out of the street into Toll Gavell & continue along the left fork…

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On the right’s a building with a couple of paintings. These are the paintings of Fred & Mary Ewell. Born in Beverley in 1870, the painter Fred Elwell trained at the Lincoln School of Art & the academies in Antwerp & Paris before returning to his home town. With the support of his fellow Beverlonians, Fred’s career flourished. In 1914 he married the accomplished artist Mary Dawson Holmes & the couple settled at Bar House, North Bar

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The town & townspeople of Beverley were a constant source of inspiration for both Fred & Mary, & although their work is not confined to regional subjects, local people & places feature significantly

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On his death in 1958, Fred bequeathed a large collection of his paintings, together with a selection by his wife, to Beverley Art Gallery. With the support of Beverley Civic Society, the Elwell collection has been liberated from the confines of the gallery walls! High quality replica paintings can now been seen throughout the town, enabling a wider audience to enjoy the Elwell paintings in settings that proved so inspirational to the artists

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15. Butchers Row opens out into a small square called The Wednesday Market…

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Head towards the far left & cross the road into Eastgate where there’s another of Fred’s paintings – this one’s called The Launch

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16. The Minster now starts to loom into view…

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The white building must have been a garage in a past life as it’s retained the old petrol pump which is quite magnificent

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Just past the pump’s the old Dominican Gateway…

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This gateway dates back to the early 16th century & formed part of the enclosure wall of the Dominican Friary founded in the middle of the 13th century & suppressed in 1539. The gateway was moved from the other side of Eastgate in 1964 to ensure it was preserved

17. Before reaching the Minster turn left along Friars Lane to have a look at the old Friary…

IMG_7798The old Friary is now a Youth Hostel (it looked considerably better than our B&B!). It was the house of the Dominicans, the Blackfriars, who came to Beverley around the middle of the 13th century. The part that we can see today was probably the dormitory & library

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18. Retrace your steps back down Friary Lane & cross the road to the Minster…

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Beverley Minster is one of the largest parish churches in the UK, larger than one third of all English cathedrals & regarded as a gothic masterpiece by many. Originally a collegiate church, it was not selected as a bishop’s seat during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Nevertheless it survived as a parish church & the chapter house was the only major part of the building to be lost

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The minster owes its origin & much of its subsequent importance to Saint John of Beverley, who founded a monastery locally around 700 AD & whose bones still lie beneath a plaque in the nave. The institution grew after his death & underwent several rebuildings. After a serious fire in 1188, the subsequent reconstruction was overambitious; the newly heightened central tower collapsed bringing down much of the surrounding church. Work on the present structure began around 1220

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It took 200 years to complete the building work. The twin towers of the west front formed the inspiration for the design of Westminster Abbey

Saint Thomas Becket of Canterbury, (1118–1170) was named Provost of Beverley in 1154. Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland (1449–1489), was buried in the church after being murdered by the citizens of York in 1489 during the Yorkshire Rebellion over high taxes imposed by King Henry VII

19. Continue down Minster Moorgate which appears to be a very desirable street to live in…

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…not forgetting to look back for some more magnificent views

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The Old Minster School’s on the left

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20. Further along on the right’s some lovely almshouses. The Warton family were generous benefactors to Beverley. Michael Warton had two sons, Sir Michael Warton & Charles Warton. On his death Michael Warton left a house & four cottages in Minster Moorgate & the sum of £1000 to his son Charles Warton who built a hospital for six poor widows on the site in 1689

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In his will Charles Warton left a farm called Killingwoldgraves with a proviso that the rents from this land be used for the upkeep of the hospital. The building was enlarged by the addition of a rear wing &, in 1815, this housed fourteen poor widows. Over the years the hospital was gradually refurbished & in 1995 the 14 bedsits, communal bathrooms & toilets were converted into the present seven self contained flats

Alexander Charles Boyd left capital which allowed the construction of four smaller almshouses on the northern side of Charles Warton almshouses. These were originally called Boyd Homes, but now form part of Charles Wartons

21. At the crossroads turn right along Lairgate…

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…passing the Beverley Memorial Hall on the right

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We won't be there...

We won’t be there…

The Hall is a memorial to the men & women of Beverley who fell in World War II & in gratitude for those who returned

22. Lairgate continues & narrows over the crossroads…

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The bike race obviously came along here...

The bike race obviously came along here…

There’s some more almshouses on the left – these are called Bede Houses &, again are beautiful

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…& don’t forget…if you want to get ahead…get a hat!

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23. Carry on & the Cross Keys is worth a quick stop…

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…& then it’s straight down the road to where we started our walk

So that’s Beverley & what a lovely place it is. Friendly people, beautiful buildings, nice pubs & restaurants, great church & history. We’ll definitely come back & visit the Minster again as we want to see the inside. So…

Go Walk!