Wednesday, 1 November 2017

"God's own county" Yorkshire: Part One

Yorkshiremen have absolutely no hesitation in proclaiming Yorkshire as God's own county. Whether it is a legitimate claim or not? That's for anyone who dares debate the point with a born & bred Yorkshirian to answer. Let me know the outcome. 

An American decided to write a book
 about famous churches around the world, 
so he bought a plane ticket and took a trip to Rome. 

On his first day he was inside a church taking 
photographs when he noticed a golden telephone 
mounted on the wall with a sign that read $10,000 per call' 
The American, being intrigued, asked a priest who was 
strolling by what the telephone was used for. 

The priest replied that it was a direct line to 
heaven and that for $10,000 you could talk to God. 

The American thanked the priest and went along his way.

Next stop was in Moscow. There, at a very 
large cathedral, he saw the same golden telephone 
with the same sign under it. He wondered if this 
was the same kind of telephone he saw in Rome 
and he asked a nearby nun what its purpose was. 

She told him that it was a direct line to heaven 
and that for S10,000 he could talk to God. 

'O.K., thank you,' said the American. 

He then traveled to France, Israel, Germany and Brazil. 
In every church he saw the same golden telephone 
with a '$10,000 per call' sign under it. 
The American finally decided to travel to the UK to see 
if the British had the same phone. 
He arrived in York and again, in the Minster, 
there was the same golden telephone, but this time 
the sign under it read '20p per call.' The American was surprised 
so he asked the priest about the sign. 
'Reverend, I've traveled all over World and I've seen this same 
golden telephone in many churches. I'm told that it is a direct line to 
Heaven, but everywhere I went the price was $10,000 per call. 
Why is it so cheap here?' 

The priest smiled and answered, 

'You're in Yorkshire now Lad, - it's only a local call'.

We started at York's crowning jewel, the glistening York Minster.
The first church on this site was built in 627. Since then it has been damaged, destroyed, built and rebuilt numerous times. Much of the building was constructed between the 13th and 15th Century, and in 1472 the completed cathedral was consecrated. Today, York Minster requires a sum of 
£21, 000 per day to run. The restoration bills run into the millions. On more than one occasion it has had to be rescued from fire or near-collapse. But as one of Europe's finest Gothic cathedrals, it is more than worthy of the care, attention, and staggering cost.

The Nave

The Crossing

The King's Screen

Some of York Minster's 128 stained glass windows date back to the 12th Century. The famous Rose window was successfully saved from ruin by a fire ignited by suspected lightning strike in 1984. 

The Five Sisters Window

This series of windows dates from the mid-1200s and was removed during World War I to protect the stained glass from Zeppelin raids. It is the only memorial in England dedicated to commemorating the women of the British Empire who were killed during the Great War. Amongst the names inscribed on oak panelling beside the window is Edith Cavell- the British nurse who was shot in 1915 by German firing squad for her role in assisting 200 Allied soldiers to escape from German occupied Belgium. 

Climbing the 275 steps to the top of the central tower is a great, albeit blustery, way to take in the city from the highest point in York. 

From up here you can see the historic streets of York, parts of the city walls, the ruins of the Abbey of St Mary's, and on a clear day, as far away as the Yorkshire Dales.

If you're a National Trust member, The Treasurer's House, tucked in behind York Minster is very much worth a look. Historically the house was provided to the treasurer of York Minster, the man responsible for overseeing all of the finances relating to the Minster. Filled with beautifully ornate furniture and exquisite portraits, it was one of the very first properties complete with its land and all of its contents to be given intact to the National Trust.  

Of course, you can't visit York as a tourist without braving a walk down the best preserved mediaeval street in the world, The Shambles. Cheek by jowl, sightseers flock to see the crooked, slanting timber structures of what was once a row of butcher shops and homes. It is still possible in places to see the butcher hooks that the meat would have hung from.

'In some sections of the Shambles it is possible to touch both sides of the street with your arms outstretched.  The architecture which now appears so quaint had a very practical purpose.  The overhanging timber-framed fronts of the buildings are deliberately close-set so as to give shelter to the ‘wattle and daub’ walls below.  This would also have protected the meat from any direct sunshine.'

York is a bustling and lively city. You can't stand still for long, lest you get swept up in the crowds of tourists and locals alike, as they're funnelled through the narrow entanglement of streets in a city comprised of centuries upon centuries of layered history. 

Kate  x

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