Monday, 31 October 2011

A Ghost Story for Halloween

This is the entrance to The Treasurer's House adjacent to York Minster, it dates mainly to the 16th & 17th century although parts of it are much earlier. A major Roman road runs underneath the house around 3 metres below street level. It has the reputation of being one of the most haunted buildings in Europe and the cellar of this house is the scene of York's best known ghost story. 

In 1953 a young plumber called Harry Martindale was working in the cellar when he heard the sound of a trumpet. The next thing he knew the figure of a horse riden by a man in a plumed helmet came through the wall next to him. Harry stumbled back off his ladder and scrambled into a corner of the cellar where he watched terrified and amazed as a shuffling band of around 20 soldiers wearing tunics and carrying swords & shields came marching through the cellar wall, passed in front of him, and disappeared through the opposite wall. Later Harry was to describe the soldiers, their weapons, and their dress in some detail. He also noted the soldiers were visible from the knees upwards only......... which would be the case if they were marching on the old Roman road beneath the cellar.

Once the ghostly soldiers had vanished Harry couldn't get out of the cellar quick enough and as he shot up the stairs he ran straight into the curator of the house who took one look at his face and said  "You've seen the Roman's haven't you?" Clearly Harry was not the first to report ghostly goings on in this haunted house.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

York Through the Ages

This excavated bank showing the street level of the city at intervals during the last 2000 years is tucked away in a little visited corner of the Museum Gardens. Pity really as does help to give a sense of what must be buried beneath our feet.  

The four banks are Roman, Dark Ages, Norman and Mediaeval and level of each bank is around 1 metre below the next. Current street level is at the top of the Mediaeval bank.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Blue Bicycle No 1

The Blue Bicycle is the name of a rather nice place to eat on Foss Bridge. In an effort to attract the eye of passing customers they chain an eponymous cycle outside the door. Nice idea and the start of a bit of a recurring theme for the occasional photograph I think.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Through the Oval Window.......

No not a ships porthole but a window belonging to a 16th century house. The house itself is in a ginnel known as Lady Peckitt’s Yard. Pevsner describes the border around the window as a frame of bricks set sawtooth-wise. An unusual design and rather attractive I think. Two other similar windows have been bricked up; wonder when this window was last opened?

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Rescuers

We could almost be in Venice, a beautifully sunny day in October and the Fire Service getting ready to go to work on the river.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

York Coat of Arms

This is the City of York coat of arms as seen on a local bus. The Cross of St George with five lions is often displayed as here on a sword and mace surmounted by a cap of maintenance. The building reflected in the bus is the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Stone Festival Bench

In 2000 a group of 70 stone carvers came together to craft this bench which stands in Dean’s Park next to York Minster. It is octagonal in shape and is covered with a multitude of grotesque figures. In the background is all that remains of the original Archbishops Palace. It is now the home of the Minster Library and a War Memorial to the 2nd Division raised in Portugal at Albuera 18th June 1809.

The bench is built around a sycamore tree, the crab apples are from a nearby tree.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Bookshop Window

Anyone else find a window display like this impossible to resist? Minster Gate bookshop has three floors of second-hand and antiquarian books and prints for sale.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Anglian Helmet

This helmet dates from 750-755 AD when York was known as Eorforwic.  The name of the owner, Oshere, is included within a Christian inscription written in Latin across the top of the helmet. 


It is a beautifully made object of iron with brass decorations. There are 1947 rings in the mail and each one is connected to four others. It was found in Coppergate during excavations in 1982 and had apparently been hidden in a well. It is currently (October 2011) in the Yorkshire Museum. 

For a picture of how it looked on discovery see here

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Water World

In 1069 William the Conqueror built a dam across the River Foss and created a 120 acre lake known as the King’s Fishpool. This artificial lake provided both protection for the city and fresh fish for the local market, although fishing rights belonged exclusively to the King or his appointed agents.

Nowadays Kings Pool  is once more just a river, and the building reflected in the water houses the administrative arm of the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
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