Multangular Tower - Museum Gardens, Museum Street, York, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 53° 57.680 W 001° 05.226
30U E 625498 N 5980913
Quick Description: This Roman tower looks, from a distance, to be round but is in fact multi-angular. It stands at the north western end of the Roman wall close to The Yorkshire Museum.
Location: Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 3/11/2013 1:31:07 PM
Waymark Code: WMGJ7V
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member BarbershopDru
Views: 0

Long Description:

There is a stone plaque at the base of the tower that tells us:

The Multangular Tower
This tower formed the north west
corner of the Roman Legionary
Fortress of Eboracum.
It was built about 300 AD on
the site of an older and simpler
tower. The larger stonework
at the top is medieval.

Presented by the National Association of
Master Monumental Masons at their
conference in York September 1963.

The York United Kingdom website [visit link] tells us:

"The City's best preserved example of Roman stonework can be seen in the lower part of the Multangular tower. It was origionally built late 300 AD to early 400 AD. The upper limestone portion you can also see was added in the 13th century.

It is located in the Museum Gardens, between the King's Manor, the central library and the Yorkshire Museum. Additionally it was the South-West tower of the fortress (Princpia).

A short piece of roman wall also exists here. It streches from the Multangular Tower to the North-East. A walk down it will lead you out of the Museum Gardens along the side of the King's Manor ending up in Exhibition Square."

The Roman Sites website [visit link] tells of the history of York:

"History:
York was founded in 71 AD as a main base for the 9th Hispania Legion. The latin name (or its variant spelling Eburacum) means 'yew tree estate'. This 50 acre fortress was surrounded by a timber and turf wall and ditch. From that point on this Legionary fortress was occupied by the 9th, with a rebuilding in stone during 107/108 AD, until they were transferred out of Britain and to the base at Nijmegen in 122. They were replaced by the 6th Victrix Legion that came to Britain with the Emperor Hadrian and were settled at Eboracum. In 197 AD, Eboracum became the capital of the newly created Britannia Inferior province, with the 6th Legion and numerous auxiliary units under the governor's command. Between 208 and 211 AD, York became the base of operations for Septimius Severus' campaigns in Scotland, during which time the fortress walls were reconstructed. After two advances into Scotland, Severus became the first of two emperors to die in York, succumbing to ill health on 4th February 211 AD. As his two sons and wife returned to Rome, the campaign was abandoned. The possibility of a Severan Imperial residence as yet undiscovered in York remains tantalising, and there is some speculation that the massive bath house found beneath the old station (and now backfilled) could be connected to the elusive palace. As with most military installations, a civilian settlement or Vicus grew up outside the walls. With the Legionary fortress fronting on to the Ouse, the civilian settlement grew on the other side of the river, opposite the walls, in time becoming a town in its own right with a serious spurt of growth after the arrival of the 6th Legion. It is within this area that the (Severan?) bath house was found. During the reign of Severus' successor Caracalla the town at York was given Colonia status, the highest it could possibly achieve. On 25th July 306 AD, Constantius became the second emperor to die at York, also following campaigns in Scotland. On his death, the 6th Legion proclaimed his son, Constantine, Emperor (a fact of which York is very proud.) Constantine once more rebuilt the fortifications at York, creating the multiangular towers that can now be seen. The 6th Legion remained in residence at Eboracum until the end of Roman rule, and the Colonia grew and changed through the Anglian and Viking periods into the medieval York that is now visible.

Remains and Visit:
Despite vast remains having been identified and excavated at York, only fragments of its magnificent Roman past can now be seen, though they are tantalising and worth a day trip. The most impressive and most famous sights are to be found in the Museum gardens, by Lendal bridge. Immediately to the right of the gateway into the gardens are the ruins of a medieval hospital and, hidden in the gloom of the vaulted corridor are a large number of Roman coffins and a sad pile of stones that were once a Roman cistern in the civilian town on the other side of the river. Following the line of the walls from here towards the Yorkshire museum, much of the wall is the original Roman construction, with the bonding tile layer clearly visible. At end of this stretch of wall, and at the corner of the Legionary fortress is the now famous 'Multiangular tower', part of the rebuilding by Constantine. An interesting passage within the wall can be reached by a small door next to the tower, which leads to the interior of the tower and the wall itself. Close by lies the Yorkshire museum, with a wealth of finds from Roman York and, currently (for much of 2006) an exhibition on Constantine the Great, commemorating his raising to the Imperial purple here 1700 years ago. The city walls can be walked from Bootham Bar right round to Monkgate Bar, a lovely walk that follows the lines of two of the Roman fortress walls. At the far side of Monkgate Bar, climbing the walls again and following for a minute or so will bring you to the corner of the Roman fortress, where the original walls turned, though the medieval were continued on to the river Foss. Looking down from here on the walls, you can see an interval tower and a corner tower, with the curved Roman stonework branching out from the medieval line. Finally, the bath house in the centre of the fortress can be seen beneath a public house named the 'Roman Baths'. Time constraints on my last visit prevented me from visiting several other locations, though these will be updated as soon as visits can be arranged:

On of the fortress' gates can be seen underground by Bootham bar with sought permission from the Museum.

A section of the Roman sewer can be seen again if permission is sought.

A tombstone is visible in a church on Micklegate.

An unusual burial site can be visited in a private school on 'the Mount' with permission.

A column base and a section of Roman road can be seen in the basement of the 'Treasurer's House'."

Type: Ruin

Fee: Free

Hours:
24/7/365


Related URL: [Web Link]

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