This post is about the archaic walled city of York, famous for its snickleways*, its quaint streets with names like Goodramgate, Coppergate, Stonegate, Micklegate and Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate**. York is notorious also for flooding, for its ghosts and haunted locations, the many museums and antiquated buildings, its churches round every corner, the Christmas Market and Betty’s Edwardian Tearooms. There’s something interesting to be found at every twist and turn.
Ancient civilisations have populated York. Evidence is flung all over the city recording its colourful history and the peoples who shaped the small settlement where the Ouse and Foss converge, to become the compact and interesting city it has developed into today. There are many artifacts left by Vikings, who called it Jorvik, and a strong connection with Romans who knew York as Eburacum and had a major settlement there.
The dominating feature of York is the Gothic, and most ginormous Minster, a cathedral of such size and magnificence that it was almost 250 years in the constructing. This relates to the current structure as there were places of worship on this site previously. Work commenced on the building in 1230, and was finished around 1472, and it is the second largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. During the 1980’s, a freak fire, caused by a lightning strike resulted in major damage to the building. Scaffolding and reconstruction are still ongoing.
So, suitably attired in Christmas jumper and mittens as it’s deepest, darkest December, and with both cameras and phone raring to go, t’other arf and me have traveled 40 miles East for a three day whizz around everything we like.
We’ve established ourselves in the Minster Suite, a croggledy-floored three rooms, one of which includes a 4-poster bed. This is right at the top of the Golden Fleece, an atmospheric 16th century inn once owned by the Merchant Adventurers, and later by 18th century Mayor of York Sir John Peckett and also his good lady who reputedly resides there still! The Golden Fleece is alleged to be the most haunted pub in York, and I will be writing more about that in a later post some other time.
So now, for a few days respite from work and our hectic lives, we are enjoying wandering in and out of antique shops, heaving through Christmas market crowds, eating in various centuries-old inns, supping mulled wine, and of course taking photographs. Here are some for you to give your two-pennerth on if you wish…
*alleyways, ginnels or passages
**Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate is the smallest street in York (it’s tiny) and means What a Street! or Neither One Thing nor Another. There are ancient laws about lots of things forbidden on this street, apparently.
Coming shortly in part 2 – more pictures over the rooftops and chimney-pots of York.