Driving Cows into York

These days livestock normally travels on the roads – but on the back of a truck. Before the railways, cows and sheep would be driven along the roads on foot. Jo Armistead remembers as a young girl hearing them being herded down Fulford Road early on market day. She also remembers having to be driven through herds of cows at the market itself near the wall at the Barbican. The Market is long gone, but the large numbers of pubs at Fishergate are a legacy of the thirsty work of buying and selling the livestock. You can hear Jo here.

The cows Jo heard along Fulford Road were probably from farms surrounding York or outlying farms towards Naburn. Sheep and cows from further away might travel for days and were allowed to rest and graze on Walmgate Stray to fatten them up before heading into the market.

To see what the cattle market was like take a look at this Youtube clip from York Past and Present – 1.52 minutes in – the first half is about Parliament Street.

If you have any more information on transport links to York or any other relevant subject please contact us.

Ref no
One black and white photograph
  • Decade