RESTORATION work on Micklegate Bar is due to be completed next month.

The work is part of a £1.5 million scheme to preserve and protect York’s medieval city walls.

Like so much architecture in the ancient city, the Micklegate Bar roof has a unique history.

It was constructed in medieval times and was used for the gruesome display of the severed heads of traitors.

However, the bar was entirely re-constructed during an intense rebuild period in the 1820s.

Now the gateway is being restored again to protect the scheduled ancient monument from the elements.

Micklegate Bar’s slate roof, lead guttering and timberwork is being repaired and, where necessary, replaced.

Stainless steel strengthening ‘shoes’ have been installed to support the roof beams.

The heraldry on the front of the bar has also been repainted and re-gilded.

The Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Barbara Boyce, who visited the work yesterday, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to get an in depth look at the fascinating restoration work taking place at Micklegate Bar.

“I am pleased this careful work is being undertaken with the bar as it is such a special feature of York’s unique landscape and I look forward to seeing it completed.”

The restoration started in July and is due to be completed next month with an aim to re-open Micklegate Bar to traffic by Friday, October 20.

The bar was the most important of the city’s four main medieval gateways and the focus for grand events.

The name comes from ‘Mcklelith, meaning great street in Old Norse, the language of some of the Vikings.

The bar was the southern gateway in to the city.

Several reigning monarchs have passed through the gate and by tradition they ask the Lord Mayor’s permission to enter York.

The lower section of the bar dates from the 12th century,with two 14th century storeys above.

The building was inhabited from 1196 and originally had a barbican built on the front, which was demolished in 1826.

Among the severed heads of rebels and traitors displayed above the gate,were those of Sir Henry Purcey (Hotspur) in 1403 and Richard, Duke of York in 1460 the father of Richard III).

The last of the severed heads was removed in 1754.