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!