Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, York

Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, York

Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate is a notable street in York famed for its brief span and distinctive name. Originating from Colliergate, this street extends approximately 80 feet south to intersect with Pavement, Fossgate, and the Stonebow. On its eastern side, it is bordered by Saviourgate. The street also lies adjacent to the historic Saint Crux Parish Hall, which once served as one of York's medieval churches.

The unusual name "Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate" was first documented in 1505 as Whitnourwhatnourgate and has undergone various transformations, such as Whitney Whatneygate. The name humorously means "neither-one-thing-nor-the-other street," though a plaque suggests it could be interpreted as "what a street!" Historical records from the 17th and 18th centuries refer to it alternatively as Salvey Rents or Salvegate.

The street was notably widened in the 1750s following the demolition of houses built against Saint Crux Church, which itself was dismantled in 1887. Elements of this church, including a Perpendicular window and several monuments, are preserved in the remaining structure of the Saint Crux Parish Room. Part of the church’s north wall is integrated into the structure of No. 23 Shambles, adjacent to Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate.

In 1984, the alley was repaved with York stone, financed by York Civic Trust, maintaining the essence of a typical narrow York street. However, the character of the area changed significantly with the construction of Stonebow in the 1950s. Historical maps, such as the 1850 Ordnance Survey, illustrate the tight network of narrow streets converging near the former site of Saint Crux Church, with Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate too minor to be named separately at that time.

The street also serves as the setting for the novel "Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma" by local York author Martyn Clayton, underscoring its cultural and historical significance within the city.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in York. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate on Map

Sight Name: Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate
Sight Location: York, England (See walking tours in York)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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