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Thursday, 3 August 2017

Tourists in York.

Once we had had a bowl of soup we were off into the depths of York. We wandered through the Museum Gardens and near to the main gate was a bloke with several birds that he was charging £3 to be able to handle them for a photo

This little owl certainly looked grumpy about having small kids shrieking in his ears. It was intriguing that it was only £5 to have two birds! I'm not sure that was at the same time or on different hands

Just up Museum Street in the Tourist Information Office and we had a poke about and found that the afternoon free guided walk by the York Guides was taking place shortly so we made our way the short distance to Exhibition Square where it started. Across the road was this nice scene of the Bootham Bar and the Minster. Shame about the bus stop though. There is a knight a merchant and a Holy Man on the top of the Bar that are supposed to depict the different sectors of the City.

The walk was very good as, even though we have been to York many times, it took us to places we hadn't been before. The Viking History was left out so as not to tread on the toes of the Jorvik Centre that has just reopened after floods wrecked the place. Roman times featured on the walk though and here is the Multangular Tower on the old Roman Walls. The small stones at the bottom of the wall are Roman as is the terracotta red strip that was decorative as well as constructional. It formed the west tower of the wall that overlooked the river and would have replaced a wooden palisade. Between this tower and the one at the other end of the wall were small interval towers. There would have been no walk way between them but they could keep an eye on each other and could defend each from the neigbouring ones. In the bottom are stone coffins that were found under an extension of the station. Some have been used as flower troughs in the grounds. The larger stones above were added in the Medieval period but not much is known about them, but they were important during the English Civil War.

In the Museum Gardens are the ruins of one of the wealthiest and powerful Benedictine Monastery in England. It was built by William the Conqueror in 1088 to cement his hold on northern  England. The present day Museum gardens are largely the ground of St Mary's Abbey and had walls all round them that were built in the 1260's. All that is left to be seen is the Nave and crossing of the Abbey church as well as part of the cloisters. It fell into disrepair following Henry VIII's falling out with the Catholic Church over his divorce and the setting up of the Church of England. We took the riches of the old church to fund his wars etc and this explains why we have so many ecclesiastical ruins in England.These days it is the site of the York Passion Play that is performed every four years.

Just by Exhibition Square is the Kings Manor. The original building was built for the Abbots of the St. Mary's Abbey next door in the 11th Century. The earliest remains now are from the 15th Century though. In 1539 after he dissolved the Abbey Henry VIII decreed that it would be used for the Council of the North meetings and it continued until 1641. The Coat of Arms above the door is that of Charles I and you can just see CR below the crown, and the fact that it has the flags and emblems of Scotland and England.

Another doorway on the exterior of the building shows the initials of James I. (at the foot of the door pillars). Henry VIII, Charles I and James I all stayed here.

This doorway is from the inner courtyard that was built around the 1560's probably using stone from the Abbey. I'm not sure what family the Coat of Arms is for but there is a cafe that is now housed in the old Council of the North room. As you pass through this door you are faced with a brick and concrete flat room building from the 1960's as a total contrast. It is strange that it houses the Archaeology department of the York University!

I had a bubble pricked in Exhibition Square, if you will pardon the expression. There is a missing section of wall that was knocked down in Victorian days to relieve traffic congestion. There were plans to knock alot more down too but the locals revolted. They managed to gain assistance form some powerful people. Among them was William Etty, who is remembered in the sculpture. Not only did he use his influence in high places to save the walls, but went further to ensure the walls were kept by building a walk way on them so that they would be used by folk. I hadn't realised that the walkway and the top of the walls were added in the Victorian era. 

This was taken from near the northern tower of the walls. The Minster in the background and the building that seems to be wrapped in plastic is the old Archbishops Palace (I think), and next to it is the Library.

This is the Victorian top of the Monksgate Bar. The figures have stones to drop down on the besiegers below.

This is Chapter House Street and somewhere below is the  Roman Road that led from the gate in the old Roman Fort to the centre of the garrison. It makes a nice picture with the  tower of the Minster in the background. The walk was very good indeed and they are twice a day, plus some evenings and a really good way to see other parts of the City. There are many other walks too that are guided by others and may well give you a more general view of the city to get your bearings.

Once we got back to the boat and were satisfied that it was still there, always a slight worry when mooring on a river, especially one that is rising or falling. I had left the lines quite loose so that there was give in the system. In fact the water level had dropped about 6" since we arrived. The sun came out and illuminated Lendal Bridge and the  York City Cruises beyond. The evening light makes the stone look like butter and the bright red hulls add a splash of colour. Usually it is Helen that takes the best photos but this one is mine.

1 comment:

  1. Love that last photo, Tony - the reds came out vividly on the boats and the bridge - a lovely bit of tonal lift, mate...
    Missing you two, :-(
    M&D xo

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