York Town Square

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York’s Golden Plough soul window said to have allowed spirit of dying to escape

Ben Shank, a timber framer from Orrtanna in Adams County, stopped at York’s Golden Plough Tavern in the summer of 2008 to study the building’s framing. The window at waist height is a soul or spirit window. Background posts: Truck driver delivered broadside to Golden Plough, but left scarcely a scratch, Proposed ‘Creation of a Nation’ museum name glib, but lacks grounding and Stone structures tell York countians how their ancestors lived.

A small window is cut into the wall of a small room behind the old bar area of York’s Golden Plough Tavern.
If tour guides didn’t point it out, this so-called soul window would scarcely be noticeable.
Indeed, its function as an outlet for the spirit of sick or dying people to escape to heaven may be mythical.
The York County Heritage Trust’s Linda Neylon said visitors to the Golden Plough from Germany have heard of these soul windows:

I have spoken to visitors with German ancestry whose older generations practiced this just a couple generations ago. I also had a junior docent whose family is from the area, and she mentioned when her Grandmother died, the nurse opened the window to allow her soul to leave. And, finally, I had visitors from Russia, who told me that they have the same tradition there – it isn’t too much of a stretch to think that it is connected.

Various Heritage Trust sources list the soul window as “seelen fenster” or “solen fenster.”
The small Golden Plough window is another example of obscure features on architecturally significant buildings or architecturally significant features on obscure buildings in York County that intrigue and inspire.
Scott Butcher references the window in his presentations on York County architecture.
He supplied two links that touch on this architectural feature:
– Search: Stanley Log House at http://lehighcountylogcabintrail.org/northern