Sunday 30 December 2018

York Minster

I was not able to photograph the whole of York Minster, so here are some snippets

York Minster is the second largest Gothic cathedral of Northern Europe. The present building was begun in about 1230 and completed in 1472. It has a cruciform plan with a central tower and two towers at the west front. The stone used for the building is magnesian limestone, which glows when the sun shines on it.

the east side of the building.

Approximately two million individual pieces of glass make up the cathedral's stained glass windows. York Minster's 128 windows hold more than half of England's medieval stained glass.

In 1984, a lightning bolt set fire to the south transept, destroying its roof an causing massive damage.

 Our visit was short, and we did not do justice to this wonderful building, but here are some snaps I took during our brief visit.

Restoration work following the fire is still going on both inside and outside the building

Over the Lady Chapel in the east end is the Great East Window, finished in 1408, the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world.

Friday 28 December 2018

York city walls

Since Roman times, York has been defended by walls of one form or another. To this day, substantial portions of the walls remain and York has more miles of intact wall than any other city in England. The original walls were built around 71 AD, when the Romans erected a fort occupying about 50 acres near the banks of the river Ouse. 

The rectangle of walls was built as part of the fort's defences.

The Danes occupied the city in 867. By this time the Roman defences were in poor repair, and the Danes demolished all the towers save the Multangular Tower and restored the walls. The majority of the remaining walls, which encircle the whole of the medieval city, date from the 12th to the 14th century, with some reconstruction carried out in the 19th century and later.

The walls are punctuated by four main gatehouses, or 'bars', - Bootham Bar, Monk Bar, Walmgate Bar and Micklegate Bar. These restricted traffic in medieval times, and were used to extract tolls, as well as being defensive positions in times of war.

We walked part of the wall from Bootham Bar (pictured above) to the New Tower, then back to Monkbar - that's about a third of the remaining wall.

The walls between Bootham Bar and Monkbar enclose an area of the city called the Minster Close. In medieval times this area had its own laws, courts and prison and was known as The Liberty of St Peter. It contained the Archbishop's Palace and Cathedral and was governed not by the city but by the Dean and Chapter of York Minster.

Although much of Bootham Bar was built in the 14th and 19th centuries, it also has some of the oldest surviving stonework, dating to the 11th century. It was named in the 12th century as barram de Bootham, meaning bar at the booths, after the nearby market booths.

Up the steps we went

into this small chamber

and started our walk on the wall.

We could see the Minster covered in mist

Some of the battlements have benches

with narrow gaps for the launch of arrows

a full view of the Minster

when we rounded a corner

an interesting modernist house with its terrace garden

and we then arrived at Monk Bar, the four-storey gatehouse that is the tallest and most elaborate of the four, built in the early 14th century. It was intended as a self-contained fort, and each floor is capable of being defended separately.

Today, Monk Bar houses a museum called the Richard III Experience and retains its portcullis in working order.

We walked down the stairs

had a look at Monk Bar from the street, wandered around that part of the city

but then decided to continue walking  along the end of that section of the wall

and came across this intriguing plaque on the ground. We later found out that Jewbury, which is both a road and an area, is where York's original Jewish quarter was located, and the word itself means just this, 'Jewish Quarter'. Jewbury is to the north east of the city, just outside of the city walls. Although previously a residential area and site of the County Hospital, the land is now primarily used as a supermarket and car park.

Despite the attack on the Jews at York Castle in 1190 when the number of Jews in the city declined sharply both through death in the attack and through others fleeing the city in the mid-1920s, over 200 Jews lived in the city, although they were expelled nationally in 1290.

At this stage we were able to get a good view of the wall

continued on our way

and were able to get a good view of the Merchant Taylors' Hall

one side of which is timbered.

Monday 24 December 2018

Merry Chirstmas....

and a happy 2019.

A photograph of my sister and me, somewhere in Athens.

Thursday 20 December 2018

York revisited

The riverside walk from our hotel in York to the city was extremely pleasant. This was our third visit to York and we enjoyed it as much as the previous two visits.

One of the first things we did was visit the Christmas market which spreads along many streets

The city was founded by the Romans in 71 AD. In the Middle Ages, York grew as a major wool trading centre while in the 19th century it became a hub of the railway network and confectionery manufacturing centre. Today, tourism has become an important element of the local economy.

The Shambles is one of the most visited streets of York. Historically it was a street of butchers shops and houses. Records state that in 1872 there were 26 butchers on the street.

Mentioned in the Doomsday book, we know The Shambles to be York's oldest street and Europe's best preserved medieval street.

It's full of interesting, independent shops

a Harry Potter shop

a large number of the shops seem to be dedicated to witches and wizards 

potions and cauldrons

York is meant to be the most haunted city in England - whatever that means - and ghost tours (like the one pictured above) are very common.

But, there is more to medieval York than just The Shambles - the old part of town is large and extensive

and it's great fun to wander around

window shopping, or stopping for refreshments at one of the numerous tea shops

There are a number of narrow lanes between or through buildings, called snickelways or ginnels, mostly medieval, though there are some modern ones as well.

Wherever you are in York views of the Minster are not far.

We came across quite a few red buildings like this one

The area around the Minster is lovely for walking around

We tried to visit The Treasurer's House, which we had visited during our last trip, but unfortunately, it was closed.

A particularly good example of a timber-framed building on Minster Yard.

In the main shopping area, Betty's Tea Rooms are to be found. We had tea here during our last visit, but were unable to do so this time, as it was always very busy with long queues of people waiting for a table

Berry's Tea Rooms at night.

St Helen's Square is a vibrant spot in the middle of the city

dominated by St Helen Stonegate

and a Christmas tree at this time of year

the Ivy restaurant is situated here.

On our way to Gillygate

and the Art Gallery

we came across this Georgian terrace

Bootham Bar, one of the four gatehouses of the Roman wall, is also here

the streets around this area are full of small, independent shops.

Rustique Restaurant is located near our hotel

and we had a nice evening meal here.

This wonderful Art Deco building is nearby

as is St Martin's church with its fabulous clock.

Finally, the Theatre Royal, established in 1744, produces an annual pantomime which attracts audiences from around the country.