Friday, June 27, 2014

York - City of History

We met some friends that we know from the northwest as they were visiting York for the day. We both lived in Asia at the same time and visited a few times then and we connected when we were both on the east coast so it was fun to meet them in another location. For us it was a short drive.

Miss K was excited to go to York as she was looking forward to the American Girl Store. We had to tell her that is in New York and this is York.

I really didn't know much about York and so I spent a bit of time learning a bit before our trip. I knew it was the white rose vs. Lancaster the red rose. I spent some time reading a bit of the history but also looked online to see what are the top places to visit. I discovered a free walking tour and decided to try it. It was a three hours tour. I thought if it wasn't what I wanted I could just drop out. I felt that would give a good overview of the city.

I also prepared a scavenger hunt for the kids. I copied some photos of building in York and added a list of some other things to look for while we were there. Something written in Latin, something from Roman Times, Something from William the Conqueror, a white rose, stained glass window, a tea shop, and Starbucks (I wanted a cup of coffee). I am not always sure how things like that will be view but in this case J enjoyed it.

We started at the Minster and began walking.

We walked through the Bootham Bar gate as we headed out for our walk. This was one of four gates around the city.

We saw something dating from Roman times -- the remains of a Roman fort.

The city was founded in AD 71 when 5,000 men of the Ninth Legion marched form Lincoln and set up camp. The Romans called the city, Eboracum. Now I want to read The Eagle of the Ninth.
On November 1, 866 the Vikings attacked. When they were digging the foundation for a shopping centre they found a number, like about 40,000 artifacts from the Viking time. The Vikings called the city, Jorvik. There is a Viking Museum but we didn't visit it.
We saw the ruins of St. Mary's Abbey once the richest abbey in north England. It was closed during the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. 

We walked along the city walls from the Bootham Bar to the Monk Bar. The walls were not as wide as I thought they might be. It was fun to walk along the city walls. There was a great view of the Minster. 

We walked The Shambles, yes that is what the street is called. The Shambles is a street in the centre of the city. Now it is full of little shops and places to get sweets and souvenirs. This street was mentioned in the Domesday book so it is more than 900 years old and is one of the bet preserved medieval streets in Europe.
So how did it gets its name? Shambles comes from the Medieval word, Shamel which meant booth or bench. The Shambles was a street of butchers. The livestock were slaughtered on this street and the meet places on the shelves at the window bottoms. The pavement is raised on either side and the centre was a ditch where the butchered would wash away their waste. 
I just bought a few post cards.
We walked and saw Clifford's Tower which is what remains of a castle which William the Conqueror built in 1068-9.

In 1068-9, William the Conqueror built two motte and bailey castles in York, to strengthen his military hold on the north: the mound of the second, now known as the 'Old Baile', can be seen clearly across the river from Clifford's Tower.  

After the walk, the kids and I did walked there. That was what J wanted to show Miss K. We went in and walked up around the top. Miss K was not sure she wanted to climb up the stairs but we convinced her she could do it. She was excited to say she did it.

Stuart went to the York Minster while the kids and I went to Clifford Towers. We joined him later for Evensong. Evensong is a great way to see the inside of a cathedral without paying the admission.

The full name of the York Minster is The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter in York but the easy thing to say is the Minster. There were previous churches on this site. The construction for the current Minster was begun in 1220. The archbishop at that time wanted a Gothic structure something to compare to Canterbury. The building was completed in 1472. Can you imagine beginning a project that you know won't be completed in your lifetime. Being the Americans that we are the comment was made, "that was finished before Columbus sailed to the New World."

Here is a bit from the inside. There was some stained glass in there that dates back to the 12th century.

I told you York was a city of history. Here is just one more historical thing that we saw. I know it is a statue. It is a statue of Constantine. Yes, Constantine and the Edict of Milan. So what was he doing in York? Well, he came to Britain with his father, the emperor Constantius in 305. Constantius died in York. The soldiers in York proclaimed Constantine their leader. The statue stands at the location where that happened.

Romans, Vikings, William the Conqueror, Medieval -- York is full of history.

The walking tour really does give you an overview and understanding of the history of the city. J went on the tour with me and he said that he enjoyed it and learned something.

We would enjoy going back and visiting some of the museums.

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1 comment:

  1. York is an amazing city. Eagle of the Ninth is, in my opinion, definitely worth reading and to go with this, visiting Hadrian's Wall.



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