York, Yorkshire, 6 June 2013.
Micklegate Bar is the gateway that guards the southern approach to the old city, and allows passage through the old city wall. Mickle = big or great; gate = street (from the Old Norse “gata” — my mother’s Norwegian ancestors would smile); and Bar = gate house.
It is the ceremonial entrance to the city, used by the Kings and Queens of England when they came to York. Lisa, Ruth, Mike, and I walked through without challenge (or ceremony), despite not being monarchs.
Fortunately, the barbican was removed in 1826, so we were not required to leave our heads on the pointy parts, as had Henry Hotspur Percy (1403), Henry Scrope, 3rd Baron Scrope of Masham (1415), Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York (1461), and Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland (1572), among many of lesser fame.