As you can see, I have changed my header! I LOVE this photo. It's part of the wall around York, built in the 13 and 14th centuries. The door looks like it's from the 16th century. I love the idea that people can enter through the door - or leave! - friends, who don't need to use the main gates to enter the city. It's like a secret doorway.
I am going to put some photos of York on, but I'm not sure how many I can upload into a post, nor how often the commentary will match, so bear with me. Out of the 130 odd photos we took of York, I'm attempting to whittle them down to 10-20 for you and this blog! Though I'd rather show them all!
This is the view coming into to York city centre from Lendal Bridge. We have just come under the city walls - the train station is on the other side of the walls to the left - and we are now inside the walled city. York Minster, the finest Gothic cathedral in England with stained glass windows, is in the background. There are no high rise buildings in York, so the Minster can be seen from quite a distance away. It is an awesome sight, and York is the only city that I have fallen in love with on sight, absolutely, and completely.
York Minster. The entrance is just to the left side of the picture. It is extremely difficult to catch all this beautiful cathedral with a digital camera!
This is Stonegate, that was the Via Praetoria of Roman York. The Romans built a walled fortress here in the 2nd century AD, and much of it is buried under medieval streets and houses in the city center, but the street layout of the Romans remains. I used to work in one of the shops to the left, the third window from the front of the picture, I think. It's gone now (my shop), and it now houses a beer shop, where Toby bought some local ale. These shops are 14th century, you can tell from their shape and the size of the shops inside - quite small. Of especial note to us book readers, Stonegate used to be the book sellers and printers street, in medieval York. In the building far at the back on the right side is the only bookstore now on Stonegate, a used bookstore (the stone building at the very end), that I used to wander into on my lunches, when we had enough money. At the end of this street, you can see the Minster. I love Stonegate, and despite the crowds, you can see the many centuries of architecture, the buildings built onto one another, that are part of York's history and charm.
I do not have any pictures of the Shambles, because I took many with our regular camera 8 years ago when we lived in York! What we did do instead this time, was go for a walk on the medieval wall that encircles old York. York is one of two walled cities left in England, the other being Chester. The walls have one break where a road was put through (by Bootham Bar), and there is a section that used to be a marsh so no wall was ever built, but other than that, the wall is complete, and you can walk around the city centre - it's about 3 miles altogether. Unfortunately we left our friends' house too late in the morning to be able to walk along all the wall and catch the train in time, so we walked only a small part of the wall, and I took photos of anything of interest we saw. We started at Bootham Bar, which is the only Bar (gate entrance to the city) built on the site of a Roman one. Below is the picture of us coming up on the bar from inside the city. I love the medieval buildings lining this street here!
Next is the view of the gate from up on the wall. I thought it was interesting how the city is built right up to the wall inside, and on the outside, the outer ramparts remain, so the wall is higher than the city outside the walls.
Here is a picture of me along the wall, with part of York Minster behind me. Part of what i wanted to do was see if you could see the Minster from all parts of the wall, which is what is said about the Minster!
The view of the next gate, the houses built higgledy-piggledy up to the wall.
YOu can still see the Minster from the wall:
The roman tower ruin, excavated a few years ago:
The view of the outer part of the wall, with what I think is the outline of the original moat:
Monk Bar, the second gate we came to. This one has three stories, a working porticullis, and statues on the outer edge, holding stones - to represent a strong force to the enemy. Unfortunately we didn't think to take any pictures of it from the ground!
Next up is the second oldest church in YOrk, St Cuthbert's in Peasholme Greene. I had never come across this one, and time and again I come across headstones left as markers of an ancient graveyard, like here. This church dates from 670, and I have never seen one with a cross built into the stonework like this one has. I like the quiet melancholy of a graveyard, and I find church architecture fascinating up until the Reformation.
This is St William's College, built in 1453 for Minister Chantry priests, put into private hands after the Dissolution of the Churches. It now houses meeting rooms. I love the careful restoration and character of these medieval houses. It gives a good idea of how small houses were back in the middle ages, and that even then, very few were stand-alone houses!
Next is a back view of York Minster. By this time we were running for the train, so I had only a spare minute to take the final two pictures of our stay in York. I discovered that the grounds are well-kept and have benches placed for sitting and looking at either the Minster or at the houses on the edge of the grounds. I had not seen this before, or I would have come here 8 years ago!
Last, High Petergate St, leading back into the heart of medieval York shopping area. The red building on the right is a tavern now, but once was the birthplace of the very infamous Guy Fawkes, the one and only man who tried to blow up Parliament.
We've come in a small circle now, since our friend Keith took us through shortcuts across the city so we could catch our train on time. Here is what the backstreets of York city centre look like:
The door really is leaning to the right! It's the entrance to the building on the left in the bigger picture (with my husband and Keith in front of me), Bedern Hall built in 1252. York, and towns and cities, including London, are like this: off the main streets, beautiful buildings are hidden away, old houses and interesting historical places.
I hope you enjoyed this little tour of York. There is so much more to it, though you have an idea of its history and architecture now, and how pretty the city is. I think it is lovely, and even in the darkest winter days, there is something soulful about this city. Both my husband and I miss it, and our friends there, very much! It was so wonderful to be back to visit it again.
As a side note to my Gentle Mystery readers, there is a mystery series set in York, by John Baker: the Sam Turner mysteries, published by Indigo. I have most of the books, which number 6 now, I think. I like them, and they certainly have the atmosphere of York in them!