Sunday, June 30, 2013

You Are Correct - York It Is

My, but do I ever have a bunch of brilliant blog followers.  
I can't stump you, York it was.  
My Mom and I went up to attend the York Family History Fair.  I have a passion for genealogy and ties to the Wakefield area.

We took the train to York and enjoyed the scenery along the way.

We also enjoyed travelling First Class (Brit-Rail passes).  Some of us were more blasé about it than others.

The Big Surprise?
Michelle, of the world famous Tales of a Stitching Mouse blog, drove to York meet us.  I'm on the left, Michelle on the right.

After a super lunch at Hole in the Wall (I had Yorkshire pudding!), we set off on a walking tour. York has been an important ecclesiastical city for centuries - second only to Canterbury. It was the unofficial capital of the North. York is thus awash in history wherever you look. 

The Shambles, historically a street of butchers, is mentioned in the Domesday Book. The narrow cobbled streets made it a challenge to look about and walk at the same time - but then I'm clumsy anyway.

This structure dates from the 1400's.

This set of row house was built in 1316. Notice how low the ground floor is.  Mind your head!

There were so many interesting architectural details too.
Signs, and doors, and light-posts. I popped into a stitching shop, and I drooled over a pair of silver and enamel owls at a jeweller's.

The Ouse (is that a great name for a river or what?!) flows through the middle of York.  Michelle said it often floods in the winter.

We had a wonderfully sunny afternoon to tramp about York.

My one Must See in York - the York Minster. The title "minster" is attributed to churches established in the Anglo-Saxon period as missionary teaching churches.  It is the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe, and was begun in 1220 when Archbishop Walter de Grey set out to build a cathedral to rival Canterbury.  (Aren't envy and jealousy sins?)  It is immense - 534 feet long and 249 feet wide and 90 feet high.

Fifty years ago it was discovered that the foundation of the Minster was crumbling, and the cathedral was in imminent danger of collapsing.  Yikes!  Repair and reinforcement work began post-haste and the cathedral is on solid footings once again.  But a building of its size and age is always in a state of restoration and conservation.  Currently stonemasons are preparing stones for the East Front of the Minster.  To give you an idea of the scope of the project - they will finish up in March 2016. I've another picture of their work on the collage below - top right photo. 

Before even entering the Minster I was in awe of its magnitude and architectural details.

Once inside, the Minster seems to command, "Look up!" 
Perhaps because the York Minster is so large, it has a very clean feel to it.

The quire and organ are especially lovely, as is the ceiling.

The Minster contains half of the medieval stained glass in England! 
So even with the Great West Window blanketed for repairs (such is my luck!), there are plenty to see and admire.

Big windows, huge window, magnificent windows.

Up, up, up and ever upwards.

I like blue in stitching and cobalt blue in stained glass.

Another of the wonderful windows.

Here's a photo of the organ and the Quire screen.The quire screen has 15 statues of the Kings of England - from William the Conqueror to Henry VI.

The Chapter House is a marvel as well. completed in 1286, the Chapter House roof is unique in not having a center pole to support its weight.  From 1290 onwards the Chapter House was used for Parliament by kings Edward I and Edward II during their campaigns against the Scots.

It is still used for the meeting of the College of Canons with each Canon having an equal voice.

I became quite riveted with the little figures atop each Canon's bench.  As best I could tell, there was no repetition.  I think my favorite is the three faced figure on the upper left.

The Minster is a vibrant active church.  The organ played and choir practice wrapped up while we strolled about.  We were long enough that Evensong service began with good attendance, and strawberry shortcake and meringues for dessert after!

Mom and I had a wonderful day in York.  We managed to see the gates and walls, the river and streets and historic buildings, and of course the Minster.
Much thanks goes to Michelle for sharing her city with us.  We even got to see a group of owls and other birds of prey in a small churchyard.  Such are the surprises you can find in York!


Mouse said...

It was a wonderful day and I am glad I got to meet you and "mum", feet still ouchie from all the walking but it was worth it wasn't it :) love mouse xxxx

cucki said...

So beautiful and I love it x

Margaret said...

Oh what a great post! So many interesting facts too! And how great that you got to meet Michelle too!

The Inspired Stitcher said...

What a fun day you had! What a treat to get to meet Mouse in person and have her as your personal tour guide too. That's a very nice picture of you two. It's nice to have a face with a name now. Hugs!

CalamityJr said...

I wasn't able to guess where you were, but love this follow up post showing so much of the beauty in York. Add to that getting to meet Mouse - this must be one of your favorite days of this wonderful trip! Thanks for sharing with those of us who mostly stay at home :o)

Ann at Beadlework. said...

Looks like you had a great day yesterday Beth. I'm glad the sun shone for your day out. There is so much history in York and so much to fit into one visit.

Giovanna said...

I'd love to see the Minster... and the owls too - they've even got a Hedwig :-)

Barb said...

What an absolutely wonderful day. I can't find the words to describe the Minster.

Marlene Jones said...

Did you visit "Whip-ma-whop-ma-gate" the shortest road?

Vickie said...

So jealous that you got to meet MOUSE!!! =)
I love that you shared a British Ice Cream Truck with us. Highly doubt they refer to it as an ice cream truck.
I loooove that ceiling! WOW!

Melanie said...

My goodness, I don't even know what to say, it's all so amazing. The details and history are overwhelming, in the best way possible. The stained glass alone. Wow.

Annette-California said...

I too am soo Happy that 2 famous bloggers got to meet each other in London:) SOO COOL!!! Loved all the great photos of everything you photographed. I love that you and Mouse got to Annette

Athena at Minervas Garden said...

How fun that you got to meet up with a blog buddy all the way in York! I loved your photos today--that cathedral takes your breath away, and stained glass. I love gargoyles and all the carved faces in the benches as well, and the owls at the end.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for sharing your pictures of York! We spent part of our honeymoon there and it turned out to be one of the best stops on our trip! We did a lot of touristy things but it was great fun and I can't wait to go back! I'm so jealous of your trip there ;)