St Williams College
College Street, which during the 18th century was known as Little Alice Lane 'from a diminutive woman who once lived here' and before that as Vicar Lane, takes its present name from St Williams College which stands about halfway up the street.
St Williams College is dedicated to William Fitzherbert, the nephew of King Stephen and great grandson of William The Conqueror. Fitzherbert was Archbishop of York in 1153 and a popular man - the crowds that gathered to celebrate his first official entry were so great that the Ouse Bridge, then made of wood, collapsed beneath their weight as they passed towards the Minster.
The college was built between 1465 and 1467 as the home of the cathedral chantry priests.
One of York's most atmospheric buildings, St Williams College has a wealth of interesting features. Twelve carved oak figures symbolising the the labours of the months decorate the roof of the inner courtyard and a sundial is on our right as we walk forward towards the semi-timbered building which spans the street. This is all that remains of of a covered way which Richard II allowed the vicars-choral to build so they could cross to Minster Yard without being molested.
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