A History of York
from Baine's Gazetteer (1823)
A HISTORY OF EARLY YORK
Origin of the City "YORK, or EBORACUM is situated at the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Foss, near the centre of Great Britain, and in one of the most rich and extensive vallies in England. It is the capital of the great county to which it gives name, the see of an Archbishop, who is primate and metropolitan of England, and the second city in rank in the kingdom. This city is placed at the point of Junction, though independent of them all, of the three Ridings or districts into which the shire is subdivided. Antiquarians, into whose researches and conjectures it is not the business of this history deeply to enter, hold that, it was built by Ebraucus, the son of Mempricius, a British king, the third from Brute, and called from its founders Kaer-ebrauc, or the city of Ebraucus, in the year of the world, 2983, about the time when David reigned in Judea, and Gad, Nathan, and Asaph prophesied in Israel. Of king Ebraucus, it is recorded, that he also built Aclud, supposed by some to be Aldborough, and by others Carlisle. and also Mount Agnea, the capital of Scotland; that he reigned sixty years, and by twenty wives had twenty sons and thirty daughters, and dying at York, was interred (Ref: Geofry of Monmouth) in a temple, dedicated to Diana, which he had erected, and of which the ancient church of St- Helen's, at the junction of Blake-street and Davygate, now forms the remains. Another conjecture is, that a colony of Gauls having seated themselves in Spain and Portugal, were driven from thence by the Romans into mid-England, and took up their head station at York, to which they gave the name of Eboracum, from Ebora, a town in Portugal, or Ebura, in Andalusia.(Ref: Sir Thomas Widdrington's MSS.) Leyland and Camden consider the name as derived from the situation of the city on the river Eure, to which the Romans might add the termination cum, or the Saxona wic, a place of refuge; and if the point was clear, which it is not, that the Ouse was anciently called Eure, as low as York, it would go far towards settling the etymology of this ancient city. In Domesday book, York is called, Civitas Eborum, and Eurwic. Humphrey Lhuyd, the learned Welsh antiquarian, in mentioning the Brigantine towns that are in Ptolemy's Geography, says, Eboracum is well known to be the very same city that the Britons called Caer-Effroc, and is now contracted into York. Drake, the historian of York, In his Eboracum, gives several other conjectures upon this subject, which serve only to show how futile is the attempt to solve a difficulty involved in the obscurity of upwards of twenty centuries. After the death of Ebraucus, little but the names of their kings is mentioned by British historians, for thirty successions, except, that Geofry of Monmouth, says, that Elidurus having driven his brother Artogal from his throne, met one day, in hunting, his deposed sovereign in the woods, and as he had long secretly repented of the injustice he had done him, he took him home secretly and concealed him in his bed chamber; then feigning to be sick he assembled all his nobles from various parts of the kingdom, whom he admitted into his chamber one by one, and cut of the heads of every one of them that would not promise again to submit to the rule of Artogal! The agreement for his restoration being ratified, Elidurus conducted his brother to York, where in the presence of the assembled people be took the crown from his own head and placed it upon his brother's. Artogal being thus restored to his kingdom reigned for ten years in peace and equity, when he died, and was buried at York, and was again succeeded by Elidurus.
York built by the Romans
Alcuin a native of this city, who wrote near a thousand years ago says, that York was built by the Romans, and he has left his testimony on this subject in the following lines:-
Hanc Romana manus muris, & turribus,
altam Fundavit primo--
Ut fieret ducibus secura potentia regni;
Et decus imperii,terrorque hostilibus armis.
This city, first, by Roman hand was form'd,
With lofty towers, and high built walls adorn'd:
It gave their leaders a secure repose;
Honour to th' empire, terror to their foes.
This was no doubt the traditional account in his day, and the resemblance which York bears to the form of ancient Rome gives countenance to the opinion: The plan of Rome left by Fabius, represents it in the form of a bow, of which the Tyber was the string, as the Ouse may be said not unaptly to be the bow-string of York. Both these rivers run directly through the cities which they water, and have contributed to their ancient splendour and present consequence. Drake is of opinion that York was first planted and fortified by Agricola, and it is certain that when the emperor Adrian came into this island in the year 124, he took up his station at York. Adrian brought into Britain to aid in the conquest of Caledonia, the Sixth Roman Legion, styled Legio Sexta Victrix; in the year 150 Eboracum was the most considerable Roman station; and Antoninus in his itinerary mentions it with the addition of " Legio VI Victrix." Marcus Aurelius Lucius, a British king, is said to have been the first crowned head in the world that embraced christianity, and it is highly probable that this monarch was born in York as it is recorded of his father, Coilus, that he lived, died and was buried here. (Ref: Geofry of Monmouth and Historiae August.) In the reign of Commodus, the Caledonians, encouraged by the lax discipline of the Roman soldiers, made a successful irruption into England, and after cutting in pieces the Roman army ravaged the country, as far as York. (Ref: Rapin.) Marcellus Ulpius, aided by the Ninth Legion drove back the Caledonians within their own borders, and thus for a short time rescued the country from the terrible visitation of the northern invaders, but as the sword had placed the Romans in Britain, nothing but force could sustain them there. Severus arrives in Britain and York
Tradition now gives place to genuine history.(Vide Eutropii hist. Roman.) The Roman power began to totter in their widely extended colonies. The banished Britons had become so bold as to advance to York, and under Fulgenius to under. take the siege of that city. Virius Lupus, then Propraetor in Britain, feeling his perilous situation wrote to the emperor Severus, " informing him of the insurrections and inroads of the Barbarians (as the native inhabitants were called) to beg that he might have either a greater force, or that the emperor would come over in person." Severus chose the latter; attended by his two sons, Caracalla and Geta, and by a numerous army, he arrived in Britain in 207, and fixed his station at York. The invaders on his arrival retired to the north, and took up their stand in their fortresses beyond Adrian's Wall, extending from Newcastle to Carlisle. This did not satisfy the emperor: Though suffering under the combined influence of age and infirmity, and obliged to be carried in a horse litter he marched from York against the Caledonians, penetrated to the extremity of the island, and subdued this hitherto fierce and unconquered nation. His next care was to build a stone wall about 80 miles in length, and of great strength in the place where his predecessor Adrian had thrown up ramparts of earth; and thus the conquest seemed complete, but according to Dion it was not purchased without the loss of fifty thousand men. Severus having left his son Caracalla in the north, to superintend and facilitate the building of the wall returned to York, where he struck coin, on which he designated himself Britanicvs Maximvs, as conqueror of the island. For more than three years he lived and held his imperial court in the Praetorian palace of this city, (Note:- The ground on which the imperial palace is supposed to have stood extends from Christ's church to Aldwark, comprehending the site of all the houses and gardens on the east side of Goodramgate and of St. Andrewgate) frequently giving judgment in judicial cases; and a rescript of law is still preserved in the Roman code, issued by the emperor, and dated from this city on the 3d of the nones of May, in the consulate of Fustinus and Rufus, corresponding to the year 211, relating to the recovery of the right of possession of servants, or rather of slaves. At this period York shone forth with meridian splendour: The concourse of tributary kings, says Drake, of foreign ambassadors and Roman nobles which crowned the courts of the sovereigns of the world, when the Roman empire was in its prime, elevated Eboracum to the height of sublunary grandeur. Before the time of Severus, a temple dedicated to Bellona, the goddess of war, was erected at York, and it is probable that its site, was without Bootham bar, near the place on which the Abbey of St. Mary's now stands. On the return of Severus from his northern conquest, he sought a temple to sacrifice to the gods who had crowned him with success, when he was led by an ignorant soothsayer to the temple of Bellona; this was looked upon as a presage to the emperor's death, and might in that superstitious age hasten the event. Before the death of Seveins, but when his end was drawing nigh, the Caledonians again took up arms and attacked the Roman garrisons on the borders. The revival of this spirit of revolt threw the emperor into a fury, and he sent out his legions to put every man, woman and child amongst the insurgents to the sword. These orders were given at York, and their character has been expressed in two Greek verses, which may be rendered thus-
"Let none escape you; spread the slaughter wide;
"Let not the womb the unborn infant hide
"From slaughter's cruel hand."
Before this bloody purpose could be fully executed death overtook the emperor himself. His last words to his sons whom he left joint emperors, displayed the policy of a military tyrant, they were these-" I leave you, Antonines (a term of affection) a firm and steady government, if you will follow my steps and prove what you ought to be; but weak and tottering if otherwise. Do every thing that conduces to each others good; cherish the soldiery; and then you may despise the rest of mankind. A disturbed and every where distracted republic I found it, but to you I leave it firm and quiet - even the Britons. I have been all-and yet I am now no better for it." Then turning to the urn which was to hold his ashes he said "Thou shalt hold what the whole world could not contain !" He then breathed his last. (On the 5th of February, 212.) His funeral obsequies were celebrated at a short distance from the city: his body was brought out in military array by the soldiers habited in his general's costume, and laid on a magnificent pile, erected for the purpose. His sons applied the lighted torch, and his remains being reduced to ashes, were placed in a porphyrite urn to be carried to Rome. On their arrival in the Imperial city they were deposited in the monument of the Antonines, and the extraordinary ceremony of deification was conferred upon the deceased emperor by the senate and the people who valued military renown as the perfection of imperial virtue. That the memory of this great captain might survive in Britain, his grateful army with infinite labour raised three large hills or tumuli in the place where his funeral rites were performed, near the city of York and which to this day bear the name of Severus's Hills This is the opinion of Mr. Drake, but other historians maintain that the hills are natural elevations in the face of the country, and merely received their name from the funeral obsequies having been here performed. The imperial purple assumed by Geta and Caracalla
On the death of Severus his two sons jointly assumed the imperial purple but Caracalla, the elder, murdered his brother Geta in his mother's arms, and put to death at least 20,000 persons of both sexes, under the vague charge that they were "the friends of Geta." After disgracing Eboracum, with these and other abominable crimes, this monster returned to Rome, and afterwards repaired to Syria, where he was assassinated at the instigation of Opilius Macrinus, by Martialis, a desperate soldier, who had been refused the rank of centurion. During the century of repose which succeeded the departure of Caracalla. the Roman soldiers greatly improved the country by cutting down woods, draining marshes, and forming those noble roads and streets which to this day are called Roman. It is worthy of remark, that Eboracum is the principal city in all their itinera or routes, and it is the only point from whence antiquaries can with certainty fix any Roman station in the North of England.
Carausius proclaimed Emperor of the Romans at York
In the next century Carausius himself, a Britain, landed in this island and procured himself to be proclaimed emperor at York. Under his usurpation Britain, destined in a future age to obtain the empire of the sea, already assumed its natural and respectable station as a maritime power. Carausius fell by the hands of, and was succeeded by, Alectus, who reigned until the Roman emperor Constantius, surnamed Chlorus, landed in Britain, by whom Alectus was slain and the province reduced to its former obedience. Of Carausius and Alectus it is observed, that they were both of Plebeian origin, and that Alectus who had been a smith was slain by a sword of his own fabrication.
Constantius, who had many years before visited this island in the capacity of Roman Propraeter, when Aurelian was emperor, had married a British princess named Helena, the issue of which marriage was Constantine, surnamed the Great, born at York in the year 272 (Note:- Eumenius inter Panegy. Veteres.) Constantius afterwards assumed the purple, and his last expedition into Britain was in the year 305. Two years after his arrival, the emperor was seized with a mortal disease, and his son Constantine, who had been left at Rome in the hands of his colleagues Dioclesian and Galerius, as a pledge of his father's fidelity, abruptly quitted the imperial capital and repaired to York, to receive the commands of his dying parent. The sight of his eldest and best beloved son so revived the emperor, that raising himself in bed, and embracing him closely, he gave thanks to the gods for this unexpected favour, and said he could now die in peace, as he could leave his yet unaccomplished actions to be performed by him, Then gently lying down, he disposed of his affairs to his own mind, and taking leave of his children of both sexes, who, says Eusebius, like a choir stood and encompassed him, he expired, having previously delivered over to the hands of his eldest son, the imperial dominion.
Immediately upon the death of Constantius, his son and successor Constantine, was invested with the purple robe in his father's own place. The inauguration of this great monarch, in the city where he drew his first breath, serves to shed an additional lustre on Eboracum, and has procured for this ancient city the name of Altera Roma. The British soldiers in the pay of Rome saluted their illustrious countryman, emperor at York, and presented him with a tufa, or golden globe as a symbol of his sovereignty over the island of Britain. This emblem he highly prized, and upon his conversion to christianity, he placed a cross upon it and had it carried before him in all his processions. Since the time of Constantine, the tufa has become the usual sign of majesty, and is considered a part of the royal regalia. According to the Latin authors, Britain remained in peace during the long reign of Constantine, though the country was by no means free from the irruptions of the Picts and Scots.
Decline of the Roman Empire and Britain abandoned
The emperor, not only left York and Britain, but he quitted Europe and removed the seat of empire from Rome to Byzantium or Constantinople. The faith of the emperor had undergone a change, and in the year 312 according to Eusebius, he forsook the dark and barbarous superstitions of paganism and embraced the christian faith; on the same authority it is recorded that the conversion of Constantine, is to be ascribed to the miraculous sign of a cross which was displayed in the heavens, while he meditated and prepared the Italian expedition. Before this extraordinary change took place he was a worshipper of the sun, and his filial piety had increased the council of Olympus, by the solemn apotheosis or deification of his father, Constantius.
Soon after the conquest of Italy in 313, the emperor made a solemn and authentic declaration of his sentiments by the celebrated edict of Milan, which restored peace to the catholic church, and promulgated the truly christian principle of religious liberty, leaving every man to follow that religion which his own conscience dictated, and assigning for this universal toleration these two weighty reasons-first, that in this way the peace and happiness of the people were best consulted; and second, that by such a conduct, the Deity, whose seat is heaven, would be best propitiated. Britain did not witness this change, though the native imperial potentate of York was the greater actor in the scene.
From the departure of Constantine, this ancient residence of "the Lords of the Universe" began to decline, and the materials for British history, subsequent to that period are so scanty, that little more is known than the naked fact, that the Romans, after an occupation of four hundred years quitted this island. During the greatest part of the period of occupation, the Sixth Legion of the Roman army and sometimes the Ninth, (the latter of which merged into the former) resided at York. This legion consisted of from six to seven thousand troops, of which about one-tenth part was horse, and the remainder foot soldiers. The antiquities indicative of the long residence of the Romans here, are less numerous than might have been supposed, if we did not take into the consideration, that fire, sword, ignorance and superstition have all contributed their assistance to the devouring hand of time, to erase the monuments which the imperial power had served to erect. It may seem strange, that we have not to show any temples, amphitheatres or palaces, whose edifices must once have made Eboracum shine with distinguished lustre; but the wonder will cease when in the following pages of this history we trace such horrid destruction of every thing both sacred and profane. To our christian ancestors we owe much of this destruction; their holy zeal rendered them anxious to eradicate every vestige of paganism, and the Roman altars and votive monuments were naturally enough consigned to destruction under their Gothic hands. Still however, there are many Roman remains to be found here, and great quantities of coins, signets, fibulae, urns and sarophagi have been dug up and recovered through a period of fifteen centuries. The coins are all of the emperors, from Augustus to Gratian, and the catalogue of them as well as many other Roman antiquities found in this city, is preserved in the Appendix to Drake's Eboracum. The antiquaries, Camden, Burton, Thoresby, Drake and others have searched out and described some of the most remarkable of them. Nearly two centuries ago, a theca or repository for urns of a Roman family, was dug up here, but it was so little regarded at York, that in time it found its way to Hull, where it served as a trough for watering horses at a public inn! The inscription was partly obliterated, but it amounted to this: That Marcus Verecundus Diogenes, a native of Bury, in Gascoigny, overseer of the highways of the colony of York, died there; who, while living made this monument for himself. In digging the foundation for a house on Bishop-hill the elder, in the year 1638, a small, but elegant urn, with figures in basso relievo, of sacrificing instruments, &c. on the sides (Note:- Dr. Martin Lister's communication to the Royal Society.) was found, which was presented to Charles I. when at York, by Sir Ferdinando Fairfax. The altar bears a heathen inscription, which may be thus translated - To the great and mighty Jupiter, and to all gods and goddesses, household and peculiar, Publius Aclius Marcianus, prefect of Cohort, for the preservation of his own health and that of his family, dedicated this altar to the great preserver.
The most remarkable sepulchral monument that has in these latter ages been discovered at York, is that of the standard bearer of the Ninth Roman Legion, dug up in the year 1688,. in Trinity gardens, near Micklegate, and described by our northern antiquary, the venerable Thoresby, in his Ducatus Leodiensis. The stone is about six feet high, and two feet in breadth, rising to the top with an angle: near the bottom of the stone is the inscription L. DVCCIVS. LVOFRVFJ. NVS. VIEN SIGNFLEG VIIII. NN XXIIX. HSE. above which stands the figure of a Roman soldier, with the ensign of a cohort or manipulus in his right hand, and a corn meter in his left. This ancient relic was happily rescued by Bryan Fairfax, Esq. from demolition, by the workmen who had broken it in the middle, and were preparing to make use of it for two throughs, as they are called, to bind together a stone wall which they were erecting. By Mr. Fairfax's direction it was walled upright with the inscription and effigies in front, and was afterwards removed to Ribston near Wetherby, by Sir Henry Goodrick, who first placed it in his own garden, and subsequently removed it to the more appropriate situation of the chapel yard.(Ref: See Ribston, vol. i. page 580)
A part of a wall is yet standing in York. which is undoubtedly of Roman erection, and which probably served as an interior fortification to the city. It is the south wall of the Mint-yard, formerly the hospital of St. Laurence. This erection consists of a multangular tower which leads to Bootham-bar, and a wall which ran the length of Coney Or Coning-street, and Castlegate to the Foss. The outside, to the river, is faced with small saxum quadratum of about four inches thick, and laid in rows like our modern brick work, but the length of the stones is irregular; from the foundation twenty courses of these small stones are laid, and after these five courses of bricks, which are succeeded, by other twenty-two courses of stones, on which five more courses of Roman bricks are laid, beyond which the wall is imperfect and cap'd with modern building. The Roman bricks are about seventeen inches long, eleven inches broad, and two and a half inches thick, and the cement is so hard as to be almost imperishable. The tower is the same on the inside as the out, and has a communication with Bootham bar, under the vallum or rampart that hides it in that way. In the year 1716, a curious and antique bust, five inches high by four in breadth, representing the head of a beautiful female, was found in digging the ruins near St. Mary's Abbey, and is supposed to represent the head of Lucretia, the Roman Matron, whose wrongs expelled the Tarquins. The last specimen of antiquity mentioned by Drake, under this head of the history of York, is a noble Roman arch of the Tuscan order, standing in a principal gate of the city, facing the great road to the metropolis by way of Calcaria or Tadcaster. This arch, which is the chief in Micklegate bar, is a triplit, and supports a massy pile of Gothic turrets. In Clifton fields out of Bootham bar, about three hundred yards from the city, several sarcophagi or stone coffins, and a great quantity of urns of different colours and sizes have been found. Campus Martis, anciently without the city of Rome, was the place where the funeral piles were lighted to consume the deceased Romans, and the presumption is that Clifton fields formed the Campus Martis of Eboracum. Almost all the memorials of the Romans which have presented themselves in this city, have been found by digging: Few of them have been found above ground, and it may be justly said, that modern York stands upon ancient Eboracum.
For a description of the Roman remains found previous to the year 1700, we are indebted to the indefatigable and elaborate historian of York; and for the description of those discovered during the last and the preceding century, as well as for much other interesting information we have to offer our acknowledgments to Mr. William Hargrove's modernized edition of the Eboracum. From this latter source we derive the following information relating to the Roman antiquities found in York since Mr. Drakes time :- In 1734, a small figure of a household god (Saturn) was found by a person digging a cellar in Walmgate; the composition of which the image is formed is a mixture of metal, and the workmanship exhibits all the elegance of a Roman mould. Into whose hands this relic has fallen is not known. Six years afterwards two curious Roman urns were dug up near the Mount without Micklegate bar, one of them of glass coated with a silver coloured substance called electrum; the other of lead, which falling into the hand of an ignorant plumber, was consigned to the melting-pot. A pedestal of grit with a short Roman inscription, was also found the same year near Micklegate bar.
A Roman sepulchre of singular form was found in the year 1768, by some labourers who were preparing a piece of ground for a garden, near the city walls west of Mickle-gate bar, and is described with the elaborate precision of an admirer of ancient Romans, by Dr. William White, in the transactions of the Antiquarian Society. The sepulchre was formed of Roman tiles, built up in the form of a roof and making a triangle with the ground below. On the top was a covering of semi-circular tiles, of small diameter, so close as to prevent the least particle of earth from falling into the cavity, and each end of the dormitary was closed with a tile on which was inscribed Leg. IX. HIS. being doubtless, the burying place of a soldier of the Legio nona Hispanica. Two years afterwards, part of the foundation of a temple of Roman brick work was discovered two feet below the surface, in Friars' gardens near Toft green, beneath which was a flat grit stone with a Roman inscription, indicating that this was a temple, sacred to the Egyptian god SERAPIS, and was erected at the cost of Claudius Heronymianus, lieutenant of the Sixth Conquering Legion. In the same year was found on the banks of the Ouse, about a mile and a half east from the city, a number of ancient remains consisting of pieces of paterae (goblets) and urns, a stratum of oyster shells with a number of bones of cattle strewn in various directions, collectively favouring the opinion that a Roman temple had stood here, and that these were the remains of idolatrous sacrifices offered in the dark ages of pagan idolatry. A massive brass flaggon was also turned up by the plough, in a field near York, weighing 17lb. 4 oz. and calculated to contain five modern pints. This vessel stood on three legs, and the top of the lid exhibited a head or face apparently connected with the Heathen Mythology.
A small Roman votive altar of stone, six inches high and six inches in breadth at the base, bearing a Roman inscription somewhat impaired by time, but from which it appears that this relic was dedicated by a soldier of the Sixth Legion, to the mother of the Emperor Antonius Pius, was found in Micklegate, by the workmen, while digging a drain in the middle of the street, and after remaining for some years in the possession of Mrs. Mildred Bourchier, is now deposited in the Minster Library. Several other Roman remains were found with this altar, about eight or ten feet below the surface; and the workmen met with two or three firm pavements of pebbles one below another, beneath which were several fragments of beautiful red glazed pater adorned with figures of gods, birds and vines, and one of them inscribed ianvf: there were also several small altars, and an earthern lamp with some Roman coins of Constantine the Great.
The following remains have been found in the present century, and for ages yet to come the inexhaustible mines of antiquarian wealth, on which the city of York stands, will doubtless, yield their contributions to the cabinets of the curious. in June 1802, the workmen while digging for the foundations of the New Gaol, near the site of the Old Baile Hill, found about one hundred silver pennies of William the Devastator in good preservation, though it is probable, that they have lain in the ground nearly eight centuries. According to Leland, a castle anciently stood on this site. The most venerable sepulchral remains which have been presented to the antiquary for many years, were discovered in September 1804, by the workmen while digging a large drain in the Minster yard, from south to west of the cathedral. After passing through a stratum of human bones under which were two coffins, hollowed out of the solid stone, the workmen came to eleven or twelve coffins, each formed of stone (apparently brought from the quarries of Malton) loosely placed together, without cement or fastening. Each of these coffins was covered with a rough flag four inches thick, under which skeletons were found laid on the bare earth, the coffins being without bottoms. The situation being wet, some of the coffins contained a quantity of clear water, through which the skeletons appeared entire, but when the water was re moved and the bodies exposed to the air, they crumbled into dust. The singular form of these coffins; the rough manner in which they were constructed; and their depth in the earth, prove their great antiquity, and confirm the belief that they are vestiges not merely of Roman or Saxon times, but that they contain remains of our Aboriginal ancestors. On Monday the 17th of August 1807, while the workmen were preparing the foundations for a building near Barstow's Hospital, in the suburbs of York, a Roman vault presented itself about four feet from the surface, which was eight feet long by five feet wide, and six feet high, built of stone and arched over with Roman brick. A coffin of rag stone grit, about seven feet long, occupies nearly the whole of the vault, and in the coffin is a human skeleton entire, with the teeth complete, supposed to be the remains of a Roman lady, consigned to the mansions of the dead fourteen centuries ago. Near the skull, which is remarkably small, was found a lachrimatory, in which vessels the ancients deposited the tears they shed for their departed friends. The workmen also found at the same time, not far from the vault, a large red coloured urn in which were ashes, and the partially burnt bones of a human body. The whole collection is preserved for the inspection of the curious, and may be seen in the place where they have lain undisturbed, while upwards of forty generations of men have passed over the stage of human existence. In a field without Bootham bar, two Roman stone coffins were dug up in March 1813, each containing a skeleton entire, with the teeth, the most imperishable part of man when dead, and the most liable to decay when living, entire. These coffins are now deposited in the cathedral amongst other sepulchral antiquities, as objects of interest to the curious. In May in the same year, two stone coffins seven feet in length, and three feet wide, cut out of a solid block of stone which was left six inches thick, were dug up in a gravel pit near Fulford church, in each of which was a human skeleton, and a small quantity of a white substance resembling lime saturated with grease. These remains are now in the possession of R. Simpson, Esq of Bootham. Several conjectures have been formed as to the identity of the occupants of these masonic encasements, and as one of them had evidently undergone decapitation, from his skull having been found on the breast, it was erroneously imagined that this was Archbishop Scroope, the ardent reformer of the fifteenth century, who was treacherously seized by the Earl of Westmoreland, and afterwards beheaded. At Aldbrough the site of ancient Isurium, numerous specimens of tesselated pavements have often been found, but it was not till the year 1814, that any remains of this kind were ever discovered at York. In the month of March in that year, a beautiful specimen of this Mosaic work was discovered adjoining the rampart within Micklegate bar, which has been cleared and enclosed, and is along with a number of other Roman remains preserved for the inspection of the curious.
Baines Gazetteer 1823
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