Founded by the Romans in the 1st century A.D, the city of York has a rich heritage covering every period of history ever since then.
In the early Middle Ages, it was the capital of the kingdom of Northumbria, and in the 9th century, it was captured by the Vikings.
York Minster, the city’s most well-known edifice, was founded in the 7th century, but the current building dates from the 11th century. It is a beautiful church, and has been completely restored after the disastrous fire in the 1980s. The Rose Window, with its red and white roses, was added at the end of the 15th century to commemorate the union of the houses of York and Lancaster when Henry Tudor married Elizabeth of York. After the fire, the 7,000 pieces of stained glass had cracked into about 40,000 pieces. Craftsmen took about four years to restore the window to its former glory.
It was also interesting to see the memorial window to Richard III, installed by the RIII Society in 1997.
The chapel of the medieval Archbishop’s Palace still exists, and it was here that Richard created his son Edward as Prince of Wales in 1483.
Substantial remains of the city walls still exist, as do the gates into the city, knows as ‘Bars’. The four main ones were Bootham Bar, Monk Bar, Micklegate Bar and Walmgate Bar. After the battle of Wakefield in 1460, the heads of Richard of York and his son Edmund were displayed on spikes on Micklegate Bar, adorned with paper crowns.
In 1472 Edward IV set up the Council of the North, and appointed his brother Richard as its first President. Thus Richard virtually ruled the north on behalf of Edward, and he was highly regarded by the people there, and especially by the City of York. The city archives contain this record, dated 23 August 1485 (the day after the Battle of Bosworth): King Richard, late mercifully reigning upon us … was piteously slain and murdered, to the great heaviness of this city.
It seems Richard intended to be buried at York Minster and planned to build a large chantry chapel there for priests to pray for his soul. Definitely a moot point now that his body has been found in Leicester, and plans are underway for him to be buried at Leicester Cathedral.