Brick, wood and stone

Just spent a couple of enjoyable days in York, which is only an hour’s drive away from where I live.

The city goes back at least to Roman times, with various periods between then and now represented in buildings and artefacts.

There is a strong Viking influence as Eirik Bloodaxe took the city during his brief rule as King of Northumbria in the 10th century.  We attended a lecture launching a new biography of Eirik by Gareth Williams of the British Museum.  Dispelled quite a few myths like Vikings didn’t really have horns on their helmets, feathers of birds, maybe.  It was the annual Viking Festival in York so there was quite a lot Viking goings on, and even a few pukka Norwegians wandering about.

There is so much to look at in York it is a feast for the eyes, from buildings to carvings and the most magnificent Gothic cathedral in Europe:

This is just the South Transept which was badly damaged by a lightening-started fire in 1985 and has been restored, you can see how crisp the stone work is near the roof as I suspect this is part of the restoration.  At present the East front is buried under scaffolding for refurbishment and I was fascinated to see the hand carved stone awaiting fitting

There is much stonework everywhere you look, and because of its age there is a delightful irregularity

This is a wall of the Merchant Venturers’ Hall Chapel (of which more anon).  How much more appeal has this than some of our modern offerings, and what will they look like in 1,000 years time?

Much prefer these delights for the eye:

Merchant Venturers’ Hall timber framing.

And this:

The Hospitium, Museum Gardens.

And this:

King’s Manor, Exhibition Square (I’m sure that dormer window would look much better painted black though!)

To be continued …

2 thoughts on “Brick, wood and stone

  1. Great tour, Richard, thanks for the superb photos.

    As I live in the town of Northumberland but know nothing about the name, I imagine it comes from Northumbria. Can you enlighten me a bit?



    • Hi Tico.

      In the UK Northumberland is currently an English county (an administrative district) more northerly than Yorkshire. However, in the distant past there was a kingdom called Northumbria which came into being after the Anglo-Saxons defeated the Celtic Britons. It roughly covered modern Northern Yorkshire and Northumberland. The kingdom lasted until old William popped across from France and ‘unified’ England into one kingdom from the many celtic sub-kingdoms it once was.

      Incidentally, “Northumbria” means the land North of the River Humber which is where all the Yorkshire rivers ultimately flow into the North Sea in the South East of the county.


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