Today, Lord Mayor’s Walk is a busy section of the Inner Ring Road, following the line of the city walls between Monk Bar and Gillygate, but before the 18th century this was a track known as Goose Lane.
John Speed’s early 17th-century map of York shows it running the length of the moat under the city walls, from where it allowed access to the market gardening area now called The Groves (Paynley’s Crofts).
People grew vegetables, fruit and other crops in the fields, orchards and closes off Goose Lane, and letting it fall into disrepair caused problems for everybody.
In 1576 the wardmote jury asked the city’s chamberlains to arrange for Goose Lane to be paved ‘that men and horse may passe to the Paynlay Croftes’ (E31, fol.29, and complained in 1583 that ‘Goose Layne is in decay and the causye bewtene Goose Layne and Jeligaite [Gillygate] is in utter rewne and decay’ (E31, p.170).
At the beginning of the 18th century, Goose lane was broadened and made into a proper road, and renamed Lord Mayor’s Walk. In 1718, elm trees were planted on either side of the road; today lime trees shade the moat underneath the walls which is popular with dog walkers. I spent many hours walking my Westie, Mungo, here and trying to imagine what the road looked like in the 16th century.