Leading off the much-photographed Shambles, Little Shambles today is little more than a gap dividing the street from Newgate Market. But in the 16th century it seems that a number of people lived in this short street, which gives us some idea of how crowded conditions could be then. The Wardmote Court Book talks about ‘all the inhabitants’ in an entry for April 1580:
The entry reads: We ly in payne all the inhabitants in the Little Shambles shall amend at the gayle hall dore & all over the layne at both endes before Mighelmes next in payne of [3s 4d]*
The Shambles was traditionally the street of the butchers, and the ‘gayle hall’ was where the butchers’ guild met to discuss their business. The inhabitants of a street were responsible for maintaining the paving outside their houses. In this excerpt, they are being warned by the wardmote jurors to repair the street before the next court held at Michaelmas or face a fine of 3s 4d.
*Excerpt from YCA E31, p.68 reproduced by kind permission of City of York Council Archives and Local History. www.york.gov.uk/archives