York, Yorkshire, England. Further historical information.



YORK, a city, borough, and town-corporate and an Archbishop's see. It contained, in 1823, 22 parishes.

Important notes on York, its parishes and the data on these pages
A lot of the information contained on this and other pages concerning the parishes in the city of York is extracted from what seems to me to have been a mountain of books, and edited to try to make sense. Even the parishes are not straightforward, some having detached parts outside (without) the city, but within the Ainsty. Others have detached parts outside the city and in one of the Ridings just to cause me (and you) more confusion. In this latter case, there is an appropriate parish entry in that Riding. So far as I can ascertain, the Minster (dedicated to St. Peter) had no parish associated with it.

Prior to 1547 there were several other churches in the city which at that date were deemed superfluous to requirements and were pulled down, their associated parish being united with a remaining parish. These are given in the appropriate parish pages.

I have included within the York pages a lot of history pages from several sources for further reading. If you are looking for people data, then there are lots of names included with the Directories of Trades and Professions. Hopefully I have managed to link all this data together so that it is easy to navigate, but please tell me about any link errors, or errors in the "facts".

The Parish churches are as follows:

As mentioned above, The Minster (St. Peter's) has no associated parish.

York is 10 miles from Tadcaster and Greenhammerton, 12 from Garraby Inn, 13 from Easingwold and Pocklington, 14 from Wetherby, 15 from Selby, 17 from Boroughbridge, 18 from Malton and Knaresborough, 19 from Market-Weighton, 20 from Howden, 21 from Harrogate, 23 from Helmsley, 29 from Driffield, 40 from Scarborough and Bridlington, 198 from London 201, from Edinburgh. --Markets, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. --Fairs, Candlemas Fair is held on Thursday and Friday before old Candlemas-day; Palm sun-fair, on Thursday before Palm-Sunday; All-Souls'-Fair, on November 13; and Martinmas-Fair on November 22, for horned cattle, sheep, horses, &c. in the streets of Walmgate, Fossgate, Colliergate, and Pavement; the Statutes for hiring servants, are held also in Pavement, on November 22. St. Luke's-Fair, commonly called Dish-Fair, is held in Micklegate, on old St. Luke's day, for all sorts of dishes, small wares, &c. --The Horse-Shows are held without-Micklegate Bar, on Monday in the August Race week; the last week in September, called Michaelmas-show; and the first whole week before Christmas. There are likewise fairs held in Walmgate, every other Thursday, for horned cattle and sheep. Three Fairs are held on the north-side of the city, called the horse-fair, for all sorts of cattle, viz. on Whit-Monday, old St. Peter's day, and old Lammas-day. At the latter Fair, from three o'clock on the 11th of August, to the same hour on the 13th, the Sheriff's authority of arresting any person within the city and suburbs is suspended, the Archbishop's bailiff or substitute having the only power of executing any judicial process at that time. Line Fairs, Saturday before old Candlemas-day, Saturday before old Lady-day, Whit-Monday, old St. Peter's-day, old Lammas-day, Saturday before old Michaelmas, Saturday before old Martinmas, and Saturday before Christmas day. --Leather Fairs, on Peasholme Green, first Wednesdays in March, June, Sept. and December. --Bankers, Messrs, Raper, Swann, Clough, Swann, Bland, and Raper, Coney-street, draw on Messrs. Sir R.C. Glyn, Bart. and Co. 12, Birchin-Lane; Messrs. Wilson, Tweedy, and Wilson, High-Ousegate, draw on Messrs. Robarts, Curtis, and Co. 15, Lombard street; Messrs. Wentworth, Chaloner, Rishworth, and Co. Low-Ousegate, draw on Messrs. Wentworth and Co. 25, Threadneedle street. Total Population --City Parishes, 20,787. --St. Peter's Liberty, 924. --York Castle, 152. --St. Olave, Marygate, 966--Together, 22,829.

York, the capital of the North, and second City in the Kingdom, appears to have been founded by Agricola, about the year 80, after he had finished his conquest of the Brigantes. It soon became the head-quarters of the Roman army, and was the residence of the Roman Emperors. After the departure of that war like, people, this City, and the surrounding country, were exposed to the fury of the Northern Nations, received the barbarous shocks of the Danes, and groaned, under repeated devastations, for more than 600 years; notwithstanding which, we find that this City frequently arose out of its ashes, and again recovered its former splendour; for, in less than a century after it had been razed to the ground, by the Norman Conqueror, it was rebuilt, and a Parliament called here by Henry II.; after which, it was honoured with the presence of most of our Kings, from Henry III. to Charles I.; during which time, Parliaments, Conventions, Coronations, Royal Marriages and Interviews, at different periods, took place here. The last visit, paid by Charles I., was in the year 1640; soon after which, this City was garrisoned for the King, and surrendered to the arms of the Parliament, July 16, 1644.

Every inquisitive traveller, in the search of antiquities, or curiosities, will be tempted to make some stay at York --among the former, is the arch at Micklegate Bar, and the multangular tower, near the Mint-Yard, both built in the time of the Romans. The sepulchral monument of the standard-bearer at the ninth legion of the Roman army, was dug up near Micklegate; and, in many other parts of the City, have been found Roman altars, stone coffins, tesselated pavements, inscriptions, urns, coins, &c.

The situation of York is on a plain, on both sides of the river Ouse; and so exactly resembles Rome in its form, that whoever compares the two plans together, will find them exceedingly similar; --a strong proof of the Roman origin of this City. In the wall, which is in circumference nearly three miles are four gates, and five posterns. The Cathedral of St. Peter, generally called the Minster, the glory of this city, may with justice be pronounced, the most magnificent Gothic structure in the Kingdom; besides which, there are 23 Churches.

St. Mary's Abbey, now in ruins, was begun by William Rufus, in 1088, but in the general conflagration at York, in the reign of King Stephen, was totally destroyed; but the rebuilding of it in 1270, was undertaken by Simon de Warwick, then Abbot. At the dissolution, Henry VIII. ordered a Palace to be built out of its ruins, called the King's Manor. It continued in that state till the reign of James I. who converted it into a regal Palace, for his residence at his going and returning from Scotland. After the Revolution, a lease was granted vesting it in private hands, in which it now remains.

The Old Bridge over the river Ouse, supposed to have been built about the year 1235, is now demolished, and a new one erected in its place. The foundation stone was laid by the Lord Mayor, on the 10th of December, 1810. It consists of three elliptical arches, with battlements on each side. The span of the centre arch is seventy-five feet, the span of each side arch sixty-five feet. The flagged footways are five feet six inches broad, leaving a carriage-way of twenty nine feet.

The Old Bridge over the Foss, built about the year 1406, was lately taken down, and an handsome structure erected in its place.

Vetus Ballium or old Baile, which Leland and Camden suppose to have been the Platform of a Castle, is situated at the south-east corner of the City.

The City Walls, by the corroding hand of time, falling fast to decay, are supposed to have been built by Edward I. upon Roman foundations, who added to them a number of strong towers, which, in Leland's time, were in a complete state of defence.

The first production of the York Press, was the Pica of the Cathedral, by Hugh Goes, in 1509. --Home on Bibliography.

The Castle, built by William the Conqueror, is now a County Prison, for debtors and felons: the area of this prison is larger than either that of the Fleet or King's Bench, in London, the situation high, pleasant, and airy.

In the right wing is a prison for Debtors, which reflects honour on the County. --In the left wing is an handsome convenient Chapel, ascended to by a flight of steps uniform with the right wing, and ornamented with suitable furniture. --The Women Felons are confined in the New Buildings, opposite the County Hall. --Mr. Staveley is the present Governor.

On the west side of the area, in the new County-Hall, opened at the Summer assizes, in 1777. It is a superb building, of the Ionic order, 150 feet in length, and 45 in breadth. In the south end thereof, is the Court for trial of prisoners; and in the north end, the Court of Nisi Prius. Each of them is thirty feet in diameter, towered with a Dome forty feet high, which is supported by thirteen Corinthian pillars.

The extent of the City's Liberties is within seventy-seven feet of the Castle Gate, distinguished by the City Arms of the five Lions, placed in the wall in each side. Here the Sheriffs of the City wait to receive the Judges of Assize, and conduct them to the Guild-hall.

Adjoining the Castle is a very high Mount, on which stands a Tower, consisting of four segments of circles, joined together, called Clifford's Tower. It was built by the Conqueror, and derived its name from one of the Clifford family, who was made the first Governor of it; and though now a ruin, it is a considerable ornament to the City. It was formerly defended by a deep moat, drawbridge and palisadoes.

The Mansion House, erected for the Lord Mayor, in the year 1725, is a very handsome building --the basement is a rustic arcade, which supports an Ionic order with a pediment. The State-room, where the Lord Mayor entertains the corporation, is forty-nine feet six inches by twenty-seven feet nine inches.

The Guild-Hall is situated behind the Mansion-House, and is supposed to be one of the finest Gothic Halls in the Kingdom. The City is governed by a Lord Mayor, a Recorder, two City Council, twelve Aldermen, two Sheriffs, seventy-two Common Councilmen, and six Chamberlains.

The Assembly Rooms, in Blake-street, were erected in 1730, from a design of the celebrated Lord Burlington. From the ceiling are suspended thirteen large Lustres of crown glass, each holding sixteen wax candles; but the principal one, given by Lord Burlington, is so brilliantly cut, as to deserve particular notice.

The Theatre-Royal is at the upper end of Blake-street, and was erected in 1769, by Mr. Baker, and a patent procured for it by his successor, the late Tate Wilkinson, Esq. It is fitted up in a very neat uniform style, capable of containing a numerous audience: several judicious alterations have lately taken place in the Interior.

The Lunatic-Asylum, first established in 1777, is a handsome structure; extending in length 132 feet; in depth 52; and in height three stories. The patients in this place are treated with all the tenderness and indulgence, compatible with steady and effectual government. The strictest economy is observed in the management of the family, and the utmost attention is paid to decency and cleanliness.

There is another institution in the vicinity of York, belonging to the Quakers, for the same class of patients, called the Retreat.

County Hospital, or Public Infirmary, is a spacious building, situated out of Monk-Bar, north-east of the city. It was first instituted in 1740, by a legacy of 500L. bequeathed by Lady Hastings, for the relief of the diseased poor in the county of York, and since raised and supported by the the benefactions, or annual contributions of the humane. It was for many years the only institution of that nature north of the Trent, and in its infancy had many difficulties to struggle with; but through the care and economy of its first patrons, those difficulties were soon overcome, and the extensive utility of the institution becoming obvious, quickly procured it many liberal donations. The front extends seventy-five feet in length, ninety feet in depth, and encloses a court of twenty-six feet four inches by thirty-five feet. There is a public Medical Library, (established in January 1810) for the improvement and diffusion of medical and surgical knowledge. This excellent charity is entirely dependent upon the benevolence of the public for its support.

Here is likewise a City Dispensary, for administering relief to the diseased poor, instituted in 1788.

The York Subscription Library was first instituted in 1794. The foundation stone of a new building, opposite the Post-Office, in St. Helen's Square, was laid in 1811. It now contains about 7000 volumes. The ground-floor, underneath the Library, is occupied as a Subscription News-Room.

The City Gaol adjoining the Old Baile, was begun in 1802, under the direction of Mr. Peter Atkinson, architect, and completed in 1807. In the front is a Court-yard, where debtors have the privilege of walking.

In 1514, a new House of Correction was erected on Toft Green, near Micklegate Bar.

At a short distance on the Fulford Road, are the Cavalry Barracks, erected at the expence of about 27,000L. These handsome buildings stand in an area of an oblong square occupying twelve acres of ground; they are constructed on a plan for containing about 260 officers and privates, with stabling for 266 horses.

The Race-Ground is about a mile south of the city. It is a plain flat, called Knavesmire. In 1754, the Grand Stand was built by subscription, and tickets of admission issued at five guineas each: their present value is now nearly 14L.

Here are Chapels for Roman Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Independents, and a Meeting-house for Quakers.

York sends two Members to Parliament, being first summoned 23rd Edward I.

For a particular account of the antiquities of York, see Drake's Eboracum, and Hargrove's History of York.

[Description(s) edited mainly from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson. ©2010]