Our shop in Minster Gates is situated opposite to the South door of York Minster at the historic core of the city. This small street; through which one would have passed into the medieval cathedral precincts, has enjoyed a long and continuous association with books. .The inventory for the stock of John Foster who operated as a bookseller from Minster Gates 1580-1607 is surprisingly still in existence. Formerly known as Bookland Lane, the street was later known as Bookbinder's Alley when, with the advent of the popular printing press, Minster Gates and neighbouring Stonegate became bustling centres of printing and bookselling.

On the corner of Minster Gates, a statue of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom is to be seen reclining against a pile of books and holding a theatrical mask. Appropriately, it was Francis Wolstenholme who as a bookseller in Minster Gates from 1820-1855 erected the statue in the eves of his shop. Wolstenholme also hosted the York Book Club, a literary society which flourished in the early nineteenth century.


T
he business was established by Christopher Holt in 1970. In 1975 the bookshop was taken over by its present owner, Nigel Wallace. Over time the shop has expanded from the single front room and now fills five rooms of books on three floors. Above the shop, a further four rooms of books contain our main catalogue stock.
We have always stocked a large and interesting selection of Children's and Illustrated books, Folklore and, more unusually, a comprehensive selection of Arthurian literature. Whilst it is in these areas that we have come to specialise, we are principally general booksellers with an emphasis in the arts and humanities with strong sections of British history, literature, art and architecture. We also have a scholarly selection of publisher's remainders, carefully chosen and representing all the main subject areas covered by the shop.

We are always interested in purchasing collections of good quality books in any quantity and are happy to travel the country for this purpose.

We also provide valuations for insurance and probate and can assure an expert and discreet service at all times.

 

Some time ago, we began to sell old maps and prints and have since concentrated on the decorative and illustrative work of the period 1800-1940 and the earlier topographical lithographs and engravings of York and Yorkshire.

With an expanding and ever changing stock, we now have a room primarily devoted to prints, with many framed examples on display throughout the building.

Last year, we held our first exhibition following the acquisition of an extensive private collection of York prints and, encouraged by its success look forward to holding similar future events.

Whilst we shall continue to issue printed catalogues in our specialist areas, smaller collections will be catalogued directly into this website. We have begun with a collection of Early English Texts and criticism which formed the working library of the late Elaine Griffiths (1909-1996), former tutor in English and Fellow of St. Anne's College, Oxford. A specialist in Old English philology, she was a favourite pupil and close friend of J. R. R. Tolkein. Her collection includes volumes from Tolkein's library and many interesting editions of early English texts.


The great majority of our books listed on this site are in very good condition and we do take great care to accurately describe even fairly minor imperfections in the hope that we may prevent disappointment. For those visitors to this site who are not familiar with cataloguing terms we have provided a glossary which we hope will be of some assistance. However, all books are sent on approval and may be returned within two weeks of receipt for whatever reason. Books may be returned at our expense if they are found not to be as described.
Postage will be charged at cost (most inland parcels will not exceed £3.80 and we can offer preferential rates for overseas customers), all parcels are fully insured at our expense. Payment may be made by credit-card (Access, Visa, Mastercard & JCB), cheque or bank draft. However, should you have any queries about a specific item or a more general enquiry please do contact either Nigel Wallace by telephone: (+44) 01904 621812 fax: (+44) 01904 622960 or alternatively, you can Email us.

Opening hours

Monday to Saturday, 10am- 5.30pm and Sundays, 11am-5pm.

 

Of course, the easiest way to locate the shop is to find the Rose Window in the South Transept of York Minster and then simply walk straight out into Minster Gates. Alternatively, we can be found at the Minster end of Stonegate, one of York's most famous (and well-signposted) streets. Although the centre of York is closed to vehicles during the day, limited access is possible during the early mornings and from late afternoon onwards, the map below shows our position relative to both the railway station and also a number of prominent car parks.

 

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