yorkshire.travel

The Shambles

The Shambles (official name Shambles) is an old street in York, England, with overhanging timber-framed buildings, some dating back as far as the fourteenth century. It was once known as The Great Flesh Shambles, probably from the Anglo-Saxon Fleshammels (literally ‘flesh-shelves’), the word for the shelves that butchers used to display their meat. As recently as 1872 there were twenty-five butchers’ shops in the street but now there are none.

Among the buildings of the Shambles is a shrine to Saint Margaret Clitherow, who was married to a butcher who owned and lived in a shop there at No. 10 Shambles, her home is now a cufflinks shop, Cuffs & Co, and features the priest hole fireplace that ultimately led to her death.

Although the butchers have now vanished, a number of the shops on the street still have meat-hooks hanging outside and, below them, shelves on which meat would have been displayed. The shops currently include a mixture of eateries and souvenir sellers, but there is also a bookshop and a bakery.