I’ve written two recent blogs about York, but there is still more to cover. York is a city of history that began in Roman times and still thrives today. This city is the most popular tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, welcoming over 38 million overnight visitors in 2018. 13.3 million of those came from international destinations. This statistic proves that York is as popular in the UK as it is out of it.
My family and I only spent 3 days in York, far too little time in my opinion. Around each corner is another tidbit of history. Across each street, another story. Romans. Vikings, Normans and Kings wandered these streets. 300 hundred-year-old pubs are still serving pints to the people.
The best tour company to help you help you unlock the mysteries of York is White Rose Tours. Alan Sharp is the owner and original tour guide and his knowledge of the York and its history is unmatched. As he studied drama at college, his history “class” isn’t boring and he captures your attention and holds it at each site.
Our tour started with Alan meeting outside our hotel. As the location was across from Cliffords Tower, he started there and told us the saddest and most horrible incident in York’s history. Cliffords Tower is built on the site of a wooden castle built by William the Conqueror in 1069. Over the years, it burned and was built again using stone. In 1189, Richard I, called Lionheart, refused to allow Jews, many of whom were wealthy, to attend is coronation, unintentionally sparking a countrywide of anti-Semitic backlash. In York, this sentiment was egged on by 4 merchants seeking to abolish their debts to the Jewish money lenders. The Jewish community took refuge in Cliffords Tower and barricaded the doors. There, in 1190, the Jewish people in York chose to kill themselves, rather than submit to torture, forced baptism, or death at the hands of the mob. Afterwards, a royal inquest was held, but no one was ever held responsible.
Another site on the tour is the Richard III museum, contained in one of the bars marking entry into the city. Richard III really gets his bad reputation from Shakespeare’s play, bet even today, Yorkshire’s still love him. He held his seat of power in the city, although that was ended when the War of the Roses was finally won. Richard III of York and his family represented the White Rose and Henry Tudor, who eventually became Henry IV after Richard was killed, represented the Red Rose.
The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, otherwise known as York Minster, is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the third highest church official in England. The site dates back as a Christian place of worship to the 4th century, when, into 627, a wooden chapel was built. This chapel was built to baptize Edwin, King of Northumbria when he became a Christian and the faith. In 637, a stone structure was built by Oswald, a Viking missionary, and dedicated to St. Peter. Now it stands as the largest Cathedral in England. For more on the history of York Minster, let me book you a tour with White Rose Tours!
For more information, contact me at AmberRoadsTravel.com.