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History of York

A weekend attending lots of Museums for Free


This weekend was the York Residents Festival and, as I am currently residing in York, admission to many of the museums and landmarks was free. I didn't hit everything on my list, but I saw quite a bit and explored many layers and periods of York's fascinating past. Here is a brief recounting of what I learned and saw (I really will try to be brief. You can decide if I succeeded.)

Finally made it up on the walls. It truely is amazing to be able to walk on such a landmark

This picture does well to show the sections of the wall. The red line shows the ending of the Roman wall and everything on top was built in the Medieval period. The stone caskets are Roman. They were moved here after their excavation. The picture on the bottom is an excavation site by the walls where lots of eras are also visible.

This is the remains of St. Mary's Abbey. It was a flourishing abbey for a few hundred years until Henry VIII went on his rampage to ransack Catholic churches and take their wealth to fund the new Church of England. They abbey was left to the elements. Today these few walls are all that remain. The gardens surrounding are full of stone from the Abbey. It is used as part of the landscaping (Picture on Bottom)The walls are used as a backdrop to events like weddings and theatre productions.

This is the King's House and a closer picture of the newly cleaned crest above the door. It was part of the Abbey, but Henry VIII liked it so much he not only saved it, he stayed in it for some time with Catherine Howard, Henry VIII's fifth wife. It was a school for blind children for a bit and now belongs to York College.

York has a Dutch House! It was built in Dutch style by a Dutch Architect. That's all I know about it, but it seemed fitting.

We went in a church built in Georgian Style with individual family blocks that families could rent for a year at a time. The church has no electricity and was probably colder than the outside.

This is the inside of Clifford's Tower. This tower has a long and complicated history. It was built by William the Conquorer, was the site of the Jewish Massacre of 1190 in which 150 Jews burned themselves alive in order to avoid being killed by the mob, and was used as a jail for a bit.

It is a weird circular fortress on top of a clearly man-made mound of dirt, but it offers a brilliant view of the city.

After the tower, we went into the Jorvick Center which included a ride through a rebuilt model town designed based on Archeological findings. It's interesting how I normally consider the Vikings to be unsophisticated and violent but the evidence shows Jorvick was a buzzing center of trade including materials from as far as China. They had musical instruments and hair pins. Well to clarify, they may have had a buzzing culture and lived in a trade center, but they were still violent.

The museum had several skeletons excavated and analyzed. They were able to determine the age, any physical defects, probable death, and diet from the bones; it's truly amazing. You could see the dents in the bone from battle wounds. They speculate they found a battle ground based on the number of skulls found with wounds that have not healed at all, indicating the person died before the bone had time to regenerate.

Morbid, but interesting.

Posted by Kateogan 03:17 Archived in England Tagged castles museums history york abbeys Comments (2)

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