The Shambles, York - Framed Picture - 12" x 16"
The Shambles (Shambles) is an old street in York, with overhanging timber-framed buildings, some dating back as far as the fourteenth century.
It was once known as The Great Flesh Shambles, probably from the Anglo-Saxon Fleshammels (literally 'flesh-shelves'), the word for the shelves that butchers used to display their meat. As recently as 1872 twenty-five butchers' shops were located along the street.
Among the buildings of the Shambles is a shrine to Saint Margaret Clitherow, who was married to a butcher who owned and lived in a shop there at No. 10 Shambles. Her home features the priest hole fireplace that ultimately led to her death.
Although the butchers have now vanished, a number of the shops on the street still have meat-hooks hanging outside and, below them, shelves on which meat would have been displayed.
"Shambles" is an obsolete term for an open-air slaughterhouse and meat market. Streets of that name were so called from having been the sites on which butchers killed and dressed animals for consumption.
During that period there were no sanitary facilities or hygiene laws as exist today, and guts, offal, and blood were thrown into a runnel down the middle of the street or open space where the butchering was carried out.