Daily Archives: August 21, 2019

York . New course lesson 11


YORK. New course lesson 11.

For centuries the second largest city in England was York. York was the major city of northern England. York is the third most visited city in the United Kingdom. It is especially popular with Chinese tourists.

England is divided into counties. Each county has a county town i.e. capital of the county. The county town usually lends its name to the county. York is the county town of Yorkshire. Therefore Yorkshire takes its name from York. Yorkshire is the largest county in England in area but not in population.

The rivers Ouse and Foss have their confluence at York. Where the two rivers meet is called The Eye of York.  From there they flow out to the sea. York is a very flat city. It is inland.

The Romans founded York in the first century AD. They called it Eboracum. A Roman emperor was proclaimed here.

Christianity came to York by the fourth century AD. A Bishop of York was created. A bishop is a high Christian religious leader. A cathedral was built at York. It is called the Metropolitical Cathedral and Church of St Peter. This is such a mouthful that the place is usually known as York Minster.

The Romans withdrew soon after Christianity came. The Angles, Saxons and Jutes attacked. In the 9th century AD the Norsemen came over. They sailed from Norway, Sweden and Denmark. They conquered the area. Soon the Norsemen were the majority in York. They called the city Jorvik.

Yorkshire became a county. England was divided into many counties. Yorkshire is the largest of these. The Bishop of York was made Archbishop of York. An archbishop is in charge of several bishops below him. There were only two archbishops in England. These were the Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop of York. Canterbury is senior to York.

In the 1066 there was a fight for the Crown of England. The King of Norway and Denmark claimed to be the rightful King of England. His name was Harald Hardraada. He sailed up the River Ouse. His men left their longships at Riccal. That was because the ships were too big to sail any further up the river. They surprised the Anglo-Saxon earls and defeated them at the Battle of Fulford Gate which is just south of York.

In October 1066 Harald Hardraada and his men were relaxing at Stamford Bridge near York. He had left half his men at Riccal to guard the ships. That is several miles from Stamford Bridge. Hardraada and his men were surprised by another Anglo-Saxon army. Hardraada and the Norwegian Army were being defeated. He sent a messenger to Riccal to summon reinforcements. It took a couple of hours for the reinforcements to come. They arrived exhausted. By the time they arrived Hardraada was killed and so were most of his men. The reinforcements were easily defeated.

William the Duke of Normandy became King of England in 1066. In 1069 the people of York rebelled against him. He led the harrying of the north. Many houses were burnt and people were killed.

In 1087 a survey of England was made. It was called the Doomsday Book. It recorded that York had 940 houses. Most of them were still empty. That was because the king had killed so many people.

York gradually grew again. Soon it was the principal city of northern England. It was a centre of commerce and government. The king built a strong city wall to protect the city since it so was so vital. A motte and bailey castle called Clifford’s Tower was built. There was also another minor castle built which no longer survives.

In the Wars of the Roses (1455-85) the English royal family was riven. There were two factions: the House of Lancaster and the House of York. The Lancastrians had the red rose as their symbol. The House of York had the white rose as their symbol. That is why it is called the Wars of the Roses. Many crucial battles were fought near York. In the end the Lancastrians won. People jokingly say that the Wars of the Roses still continue. There is a Roses match in cricket every summer. It is called ‘the Roses match’ because it is between Yorkshire and Lancashire.  There is an intense rivalry between Lancashire and Yorkshire. These counties are adjacent to each other.

The Flag of Yorkshire has a white rose in the middle with  sky blue background. Yorkshire is known as the White Rose County. Yorkshire people tend to be exceptionally proud of their county and call it  ‘God’s own county’. The Yorkshire people are said to have a distinctive bluff persona.

In the 18th century York started to decline in relative importance. Newer cities such as Sheffield and Leeds became larger even within Yorkshire. Other cities in northern England like Manchester and Newcastle also outstripped York.

The Rowntree family founded a chocolate factory at York. The Rowntrees belonged to the Religious Society of Friends who were known as the Quakers. The Quakers believed in treating workers well. The Rowntree Factory was one of the nicest places to work in York. Mr Rowntree did a study into poverty in York. In the late 19th century he found much privation. He founded the Rowntree Trust to combat pauperism.

Yorkshire was so large they decided to divide it into four ridings – north, south, east and west. It is called a riding because you could ride across the riding in a day. North Yorkshire has York as its main city. South Yorkshire has Sheffield. West Yorkshire has Leeds as its main town. East Yorkshire has Hull as its city. The name Humberside is sometimes used for East Yorkshire since the River Humber flows through it.

There was a fire in York Minster in the 19th century. The roof collapsed but the rest stayed intact. It was rebuilt. In 1984 a lightning strike caused another fire. Only a small portion of the cathedral was affected.

In the 20th century an air force base was built near York. However, York has no airport. There are other airports in Yorkshire at Leeds-Bradford and at Teesside. There was even Yorkshire Airlines but it is now defunct.

In the 1960s the University of York was founded. It is one of the UK’s finest. Later on St John University was founded in the city. St John University is completely separate to the University of York.

There is a race course just south of the city. This is for horse races.

The city walls are largely intact. They are gates called ‘bars’. There are many churches, art galleries and museums. There are several theatres. Much of the city centre is a pedestrian zone. There are ghost tours and cruises to go on.  There is a railway museum.


  1. Is York in England?
  2. Which county is York in?
  3. Who founded York?
  4. What is a county town?
  5. What is the symbol of York?
  6.  What is an archbishop?
  7. What is the main place of worship in York?
  8.  How many fires did York Minster suffer?
  9. What is the eye of York?
  10.  How many rivers flow through York?
  11. Which county has the largest area in England?
  12. When were the Wars of the Roses?
  13. Is Yorkshire big?
  14. Which county has a red rose symbol?
  15. Who won the Wars of the Roses?
  16. What is the Roses match?
  17. What special name do Yorkshiremen call their county to show they love it?
  18. Who set up the chocolate factory at York?
  19.  What is the nickname of the Religious Society of Friends?
  20. How many airports does York have?
  21.  Is there an airline called Yorkshire Airlines?
  22. How many universities are there in York?
  23. Which is the third most visited city in the UK?
  24. Who won the Battle of Stamford Bridge?
  25.  Would you like to visit York?



A dream of SA


I was in the old house – the one  I moved to in 1987. Walking all around the outside. So jam packed with memories. Do not recall what tales came up.

Next I was in South Africa. I presume Cape Town. No idea why we were there. Got on the train. do not know why. It was a fairly modern choo choo. A few passengers abroad. all white. that struck me as curious. whizzed through tiny stations. finally stopped at one called Witwatersrand. But that is in Joburg.

got out in the concourse. many black people stading around. I was scared to approach men – might be touts. we walked out. we anted to go to a sports bar and watch a macth. not sur wwhich sport

suddenly we were in the wilderness. did not seem strange. long grass and bushes on either side. she had vanished. I was anxious and called out to her

then I saw her to the left sitting in a bush

reflects desire to visit SA.