The road has always been central to the City’s layout. Six feet below its pavement lies the Roman Via Praetoria, which connected the Basilica at the centre of the fortress to the bridge over the River Ouse and the civilian settlement on the other side. The Roman road may have given the street its name, although Francis Drake records in 1736: “It had this name given as is said from the vast quantity of stone lead through this street for the building of the cathedral.” Limestone for the construction of the Minster was indeed brought in from Tadcaster by river. Drake also records that, at the bottom of the street, was a spot called ‘cuckolds’ corner’ although he doesn’t explain why.
History of York
Stonegate has always been one of the major streets of York. It runs south-west from the junction with High and Low Petergate or via principalis, towards the River Ouse and the old Roman bridge, along the line of the via praetoria of the Roman fortress. The via praetoria linked the main fortress gate – under St Helen’s Square – to the headquarters building – under the Minster.
York Civic Trust