Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Roll out the Barrel

Well leap days don't come along very often so I thought it a good enough excuse to post a picture take somewhere other than York. Still in Yorkshire this is the recent Ilkley Beer Festival, where over 100 real ales, ciders and perries were available to taste. A concession to non beer drinkers was a sign announcing 'Wine by the glass (if you must!)' There were a few beards in evidence but no sandals. Despite the impression given above I would say around 20% of the real ale enthusiasts  were female.
This picture shows a small selection of the beers available. My personal favourite to drink was a beer called Inn-Spired made by the Old Spot Brewery from Cullingworth in West Yorkshire which was delicious. Favourite name for a brew was 99 Red Baboons (who remember's Nena?) by the Blue Monkey brewery which tasted pretty good too.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Australian Memorial

This ivy covered memorial in the Victorian portion of York cemetery is inscribed on both sides, this image is of the back of the stone. It gives a brief glimpse into the lives of a well travelled family who were spread across the globe. Sadly 3 of their their sons died at a relatively young age in Australia, within just few years of one another.
Taking part in Taphophile Tragics

Monday, 27 February 2012

Vespers by candle light

Here are the subjects of the last two posts shown together. These colours are for real as the church was specially lit one evening by a group specialising in eclesiastical light shows. It was almost death by incense for the photographer however as the cleric swinging the thurible was very enthusiastic. That is clouds of incense making everything look slightly fuzzy not smoke!
I should add that the singing was beautiful and very atmospheric in this mediaeval church.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

St William

This is the statue supported by the wall waif in yesterdays post. It is a 15th century wood carving thought to be of St William of York. It looks to have been laid face down for some time judging by the damage to the front of the carving. Wherever it was hidden it was kept  safe from the religious turmoils of the time and allowed it's survival into the present day.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Wall Waif

This tiny figure, of which only the hands arms and head are visible, seems to be pushing himself out of the stone pillar. Above him and supported by his head is a shelf containing a 15th century wooden carving believed to be of St William of York. The candles were lit for evening vespers in this very 'high' Anglican church, and although the nave and choir were  beautifully illuminated with coloured lights for festival week this small scene was what caught my eye. Come back tomorrow to see the statue supported by this wall waif.
To see other monchrome images visit Weekend in Black and White

Friday, 24 February 2012

Tempest Anderson

At 23 Stonegate is The York Medical Society rooms, and this nameplate can be found ouside the entrance to the property. Born in York in 1846 Tempest Anderson practiced as an ophthalmic surgeon, but was also a keen traveller, amateur vulcanologist and photographer. He was a wealthy man who chose to spend much of his time and money documenting active volcanoes around the world. You can see a picture he took of Mount Versuvius erupting here
If after seeing the posts this week you are wondering what Stonegate itself looks like take a look at an earlier post here.
Francis Hildyard's bookshop featured in the blog on Wednesday and is the building with the fancy bay window on the right of the street. 

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Red Devil

Meet one of York's most famous residents. This chained devil is carved of wood and can be found on Stonegate at the entrance to Coffee Yard. Printer's devils were small boys who were used to fetch the type, and this symbol was used to indicate a printing establishment. The devil was also held responsible for any 'typos' that crept into the finished work.
On this day in 1719 York's first ever newspaper was published by a woman called Grace White who had inherited her husband's printing business in Coffee Yard. I wonder if she knew this little devil?

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

F is for Francis Hildyard

In the 17th century book publishing flourished in York. At 35 Stonegate, a sign in the form of a Holy Bible dated 1682, still hangs over the doorway of what was once Francis Hildyard's bookshop. In those days booksellers were often publishers as well, Laurence Sterne's novel ‘Tristram Shandy' was reputed to be published here from 1760 onwards. The bible still hangs over the entrance and hints at it's illustrious past, but sadly the shop no longer sells books, instead it is a 'Haunted House' experience.
Taking part in ABC Wednesday

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Mermaid out of Water

Stonegate is one of those streets that always has something interesting to look at. Join me for a guided tour of some of it's quirkier sights over the next few days. I thought we might start with this mid to late 17th century figure from the quarter gallery of a ship now attached to a shop. Being situated on the junction of Stonegate with Little Stonegate she was prone to damage in a rather sensitive area by lorries negotiating the tight corner. Restored by the Civic Trust in 1978 she can now rest a little easier as the street is pedestrianised.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Rocket Man

This replica of George Stephenson's innovative steam engine Rocket was built in 1979, and is currently in the National Railway Museum in York. Wonder if the original had a full stop on the nameplate. You can watch a video of the engine above in action here
The original Rocket was built in 1829 for trials held by the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company to find the best locomotive to pull it's trains. Rocket reached speeds of around 25 miles per hours, beat it's rivals, and secured it's place in history.

  For more Mellow Yellow Monday click the logo.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Curious Window

I visited Barley Hall, a mediaeval town house in the centre of York, a couple of weeks ago. Here is one of the windows in the house, can you guess what it is made from? I had no idea until I read the nearby information. Highlight between brackets for the answer (Horn).
It certainly lets the light in and looks pretty, but must have been very difficult and time consuming to make.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Crooked House

Couldn't resist turning this watery reflection the 'right way up', the debris floating in the river reminds me of leaves whipping past on a very windy spring day.
Taking part in weekend reflections see more contributions  here

Friday, 17 February 2012

Viking Helmets

This is Jorvik (York) Viking Festival week. Today I learnt that Vikings wasted nothing, they even collected human ear wax and melted it down to use as wood polish! These helmets displayed on a wild boar skin will be used in some of the events taking place this week.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Red Serpent

You saw the prow yesterday, this brightly coloured serpent is the rudder of the same Viking boat. Next to the boat is a Viking encampment which you can visit to hear more about life in York 1100 years ago.The week started with snow on the ground so blankets furs and fires are much in evidence. Also trainers as Viking shoes are not so waterproof.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

E is for Eoforwic

Before the city fell to Viking invaders around AD866 York was known as Eoforwic. Vikings are in York once again, this is the carved prow of a Viking boat currently on display in Coppergate. As the culmination of the week long Viking festival the boat is set on fire following a torchlit funeral procession for a fallen warrier.
This ceremony used to take place on the River Ouse, but following a few near misses with large crowds and unpredictable winds it now takes place on Knavesmire, amid a firework display.
This is an ABC Wednesday post, you may visit others here

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Starter Homes

In Parlement of Foules Geoffrey Chaucer wrote:

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make

This rather splendid Sparrow terrace in the churchyard of St Mary Senior Bishophill is ready for the birds to choose their mates on this Saint Valentine's Day and move straight in!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Sunshine Door

This is the most cheerful door on the street. How could you not smile seeing that every day! 
See more Mellow Yellow Monday here


Sunday, 12 February 2012

Merchant Adventurers' Crest

This splendid coat of arms can be found above one of the entrances to the York Merchant Adventurers' Hall. The motto can be translated as' God give us good fortune' which the merchants wished for in a spiritual as well as financial sense.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Merchant Adventurer's Trade Map

In the gardens surrounding the Merchant Adventurer's hall is this plaque showing the routes travelled, mainly in Europe, by the merchants. One of the symbols of the travelling Adventurers is Pegasus the winged horse shown here flying over the waves. Lynn Regis is now know as King's Lynn.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Napoleon Bonaparte

This statue of Napoleon is carved from a single piece of oak and was imported from France around 1822. Originally intended as  an advertisement for snuff I remember it standing outside a tobacconists, then a newsagent. I have not seen it for well over 10 years and was delighted to re-find it on a recent visit to the Merchant Adventurer's Hall. He has had an eventful time in York over the years, being flung into the River Ouse by a group of soldiers during WW2, and spending a night in the police cells on another occasion.
To avoid further unplanned excursions he has been invited to stay within the Hall as a guest of the Merchant Adventurer's for as long as he wishes.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Wipe Your Feet!

Quite a number of the older terraced houses have a front door that opens directly onto the street. This meant that all the mud and dirt from unmade roads and pavements was walked straight into the house. To help prevent this many houses had a bootscraper set into the wall near the front door. No longer used for their original purpose they are often painted up as a 'feature' to match the door. The lower picture is the only example I have seen of a communal bootscraper. I found it on the site of the former York Bluecoat School but have no idea if it was provided for the children to use or if it came later.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Looking North from Clifford's Tower

The tall church spire on the left belongs to St Mary's church on Castlegate, it is the tallest steeple in the city at 47 metres high. It is no longer used as a church, but has been a contemporary visual arts venue since 2004. Directly in front of the Minster is the lantern tower of All Saints church on Pavement. Behind this is York Minster, the south transept of the Minster and the Rose window can be seen below the central tower. The East end of the Minster is covered in scaffolding as part of the 5 year project to repair stonework on the East Front, and to fully clean and restore the Great East Window.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Looking South from Clifford's Tower

If you climb up the steps to the Tower, then climb up the steps within the Tower there is a great view over York and it's surroundings. The view south from the castle is over the River Ouse to the Bishophill area of the city. The tree covered green mound in the top left of the picture is Baile Hill. This was the site of the second castle William the Conqueror ordered built to help quell civil unrest in the north of his new kingdom.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Open to the Elements

Looking upwards from inside Clifford's Tower you can see that the roof is long gone. The tower was gutted by fire in 1684 and it has been open to the elements since.

Sunday, 5 February 2012


Over the gate into Clifford's Tower are the arms of Charles I (top) and Henry Clifford Earl of Cumberland. They were added when the gate-house was repaired following damage sustained during the civil war seige of 1644. Since then they have weathered somewhat.
This castle was built on the site of a much earlier wooden castle, one of a pair built by William the Conqueror either side of the River Ouse around 1068.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Clifford's Tower

This is the keep of the castle that Henry III ordered to be built in York in 1245 to protect the city from invasion by the Scots. It was a royal castle owned by the king himself, and the master mason was probably Henry de Reyns who was responsible for much of Westminster Abbey.  It is unusual in being a clover-leaf shape both internally and externally, with a square gateway shown here on the right. The keep known locally as Clifford's Tower, and apart from a nearby stretch of mediaeval wall it is all that remains of the castle. 

Taking part in Weekly Top Shot

Friday, 3 February 2012

Cock and Bottle Story

This rather modern looking pub is reputedly haunted by the ghost of George Villiers, the first or second Duke of Buckingham depending on which version of the story you read. He is said to have forced his affections on unwilling ladies but then to have vanished very quickly if their husbands and brothers came after him. There is even a suggestion that he was the Georgie Porgie from the nursery rhyme.

Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry.
When the boys came out to play,
Georgie Porgie ran away.

The ghost in the Cock and Bottle is seen mostly by women and described as a shadowy figure with long hair and embroidered clothing. I remember reading a report by a 'ghost hunter' which noted
"The Duke of Buckingham II haunts the Cock and Bottle Inn. While alive he had quite an eye for the ladies and in death he often appears in the toilets".

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Black Swan Black Cat

This is a relatively new addition to the cats of York and stands out well against the white background of the Black Swan pub. Black Swans are not native to the UK, and I have always wondered why so many pubs have this name. One suggestion is that as the Black Swan is a rare bird a pub of this name may be of rare (exceptional) quality. Locally this pub is known as the 'Mucky Duck' and is certainly worth a visit if you enjoy folk music.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Face of Bo

Meet Bo, she is a 9 year old liver and white shorthaired Pointer who lives in a village just outside York. Her hobbies include chasing squirrels, not to catch them, just to 'point' at them, going for long walks with her people, and sleeping by a warm fire. She is a great favourite with the local children she encounters on these walks as she has a very gentle and patient nature. She has time for everyone she meets, and if you throw her ball for her she will be your friend for life. The title of the post is especially for Tim.

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