The North Side contains the oldest part of the Priory, especially the lower part of the wall from the tower to the North Porch. The charm of this Porch is to be found chiefly inside, for the upper part has been much restored, including the groined roof in which can be seen in the centre boss two animals devouring each other.
Over the stone seats on either side of the porch are trefoiled arcadings with toothed ornament, three-shaft columns and carved capitals. The doorway into the North aisle possesses rich mouldings, and shafts with capitals of rare beauty. On the right the capitals show over-hanging foliage, similar to the beautiful capitals in Southwell Minster, while on the left the capitals are carved heads of a king, queen and archbishop. These exquisite heads were probably carved to commemorate the august and brilliant ceremonies in York where Henry III and Queen Eleanor with the court spent Christmas in 1251, when Henry's daughter, the Princess Margaret, was married in York Minster to Alexander, the youthful monarch of the Scots, by Archbishop Gray of York.
Going East from the Porch, note the well-proportioned gabled buttresses, chamfered from above a remarkable plinth. Observe how the chamfer terminates at the base: some in curled foliage and one with a curious animal having two bodies but one head. Note also the beautiful lancet windows are in pairs eastward of the porch while westward they are single.
Having reached the last buttress it will be noted that the stone steps mark the position of a buttress of the North transept. At the top of the steps turn West and let the gaze travel along the North side of the Nave, in order to get a full view of the perfection and beauty of the fourteenth century traceried clerestory with the striking parapet moulding above