(local i/ˈjɔrk/) is a historic walled city at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England, and is the traditional county town of Yorkshire to which it gives its name. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events in England throughout much of its two millennia of existence. The city offers a wealth of historic attractions, of which York Minster is the most prominent, and a variety of cultural and sporting activities making it a popular tourist destination for millions.
The city was founded by the Romans as Eboracum in 71 AD. It became the capital of the Roman province of Britannia Inferior, and later of the kingdoms of Northumbria and Jorvik. In the Middle Ages, York grew as a major wool trading centre and became the capital of the northern ecclesiastical province of the Church of England, a role it has retained..
In the 19th century, York became a hub of the railway network and a confectionery manufacturing centre. In recent decades, the economy of York has moved from being dominated by its confectionery and railway-related industries to one that provides services. The University of York and health services have become major employers, whilst tourism has become an important element of the local economy.
From 1996, the term City of York describes a unitary authority area which includes rural areas beyond the old city boundaries. In 2011 the urban area had a population of 153,717, while in 2010 the entire unitary authority had an estimated population of 202,400..
York Minster from the Lendal Bridge
|Motto: 'Let the Banner of York Fly High'|
York unitary authority shown within North Yorkshire and England
Coordinates: 53°57′30″N 1°4′49″W
Origin of the name
The word York (from Old Danish Jórvík 9th century AD) derives from the Latinised name for the city, variously rendered as Eboracum, Eburacum or Eburaci. The first mention of York by this name is dated to circa 95–104 AD as an address on a wooden stylus tablet from the Roman fortress of Vindolanda in Northumberland..
The toponymy of Eboracum is uncertain because the language of the pre-Roman indigenous population was never recorded. They are thought to have spoken a Celtic language related to modern Welsh.. It is thought that Eboracum is derived from the Brythonic word Eborakon, a combination of eburos "yew-tree" (cf. Old Irish ibar "yew-tree", Welsh efwr"alder buckthorn", Breton evor "alder buckthorn") and suffix *-āko(n) "place" (cf. Welsh -og) meaning either "place of the yew trees" (cf. efrog in Welsh, eabhrac in Irish Gaelic and eabhraig in Scottish Gaelic, by which names the city is known in those languages); or less probably, Eburos, 'property', which is a personal Celtic name mentioned in different documents as Eβουρος, Eburus and Eburius, and which, combined with the same suffix *-āko(n), could denote a property..
The name Eboracum became the Anglian Eoforwic in the 7th century: a compound of Eofor-, from the old name, and -wic a village probably by conflation of the element Ebor- with a Germanic root *eburaz (boar); by the 7th century the Old English for 'boar' had become eofor. When the Danish army conquered the city in 866, its name became Jórvík.
Jórvík gradually reduced to York in the centuries following the Norman Conquest, moving from the Middle English Yerk in the 14th century through Yourke in the 16th century to Yarke in the 17th century. The form York was first recorded in the 13th century..Many company and place names, such as the Ebor race meeting, refer to the Roman name..TheArchbishop of York uses Ebor as his surname in his signature..
Archaeological evidence suggests that Mesolithic people settled in the region of York between 8000 and 7000 BC, although it is not known whether their settlements were permanent or temporary. By the time of the Roman conquest of Britain, the area was occupied by a tribe known to the Romans as the Brigantes. The Brigantian tribal area initially became a Roman client state, but, later its leaders became more hostile and the Roman Ninth Legion was sent north of the Humber into Brigantian territory..
The city was founded in AD 71, when the Ninth Legion conquered the Brigantes and constructed a wooden military fortress on flat ground above the River Ouseclose to its confluence with the River Foss. The fortress, which was later rebuilt in stone, covered an area of 50 acres (20 ha) and was inhabited by 6,000 soldiers. The site of the Roman fortress lies under the foundations of York Minster, and excavations in the undercroft have revealed some of the original walls..
The Emperors Hadrian, Septimius Severus and Constantius I all held court in York during their various campaigns. During his stay, the Emperor Severus proclaimed York capital of the province of Britannia Inferior, and it is likely that it was he who granted York the privileges of a colonia or city. Constantius I died in AD 306 during his stay in York, and his son Constantine the Great was proclaimed Emperor by the troops based in the fortress..
While the Roman colonia and fortress were located on high ground, by AD 400 the town was victim to periodic flooding from the Rivers Ouse and Foss and was abandoned.. York declined in the post-Roman era, and was taken and settled by theAngles in the 5th century.
Reclamation of the flooded parts of the town were initiated in the 7th century underKing Edwin of Northumbria, and York became his chief city..The first minster church was built in York for the baptism of Edwin in 627..Edwin ordered the small wooden church be rebuilt in stone but was killed in 633 and the task of completing the stone minster fell to his successor Oswald..In the following century Alcuin of York came to the cathedral school of York. He had a long career as a teacher and scholar, first at the school at York now known as St Peter's School, founded in 627 AD, and later as Charlemagne's leading advisor on ecclesiastical and educational affairs.
In 866, Northumbria was in the midst of internecine struggles when the Vikings raided and captured York. Under Viking rule the city became a major river port, part of the extensive Viking trading routes throughout northern Europe. The last ruler of an independent Jórvík, Eric Bloodaxe, was driven from the city in AD 954 by King Edred in his successful attempt to complete the unification of England..
In 1068, two years after the Norman Conquest of England, the people of York rebelled. Initially the rebellion was successful but upon the arrival of William the Conqueror the rebellion was put down. William at once built two wooden fortresses on mottes, which are visible, on either side of the river Ouse. York was ravaged by his army in the harrying of the North..
The first stone minster church was badly damaged by fire in the uprising and the Normans built a minster on a new site. Around the year 1080 Archbishop Thomas started building the cathedral that in time became the current Minster. In the 12th century York started to prosper. In 1190, York Castle was the site of an infamous massacre of its Jewish inhabitants, in which at least 150 Jews died (although some authorities put the figure as high as 500)..
The city, through its location on the River Ouse and its proximity to the Great North Road became a major trading centre. King John granted the city's first charter in 1212, confirming trading rights in England and Europe..During the later Middle Ages York merchants imported wine from France, cloth, wax, canvas, and oats from the Low Countries, timber and furs from the Baltic and exported grain to Gascony and grain and wool to the Low Countries. York became a major cloth manufacturing and trading centre. Edward I further stimulated the city's economy by using the city as a base for his war in Scotland. The city was the location of significant unrest during the so-called Peasants' Revolt in 1381. The city acquired an increasing degree of autonomy from central government including the privileges granted by a charter of Richard II in 1396.
The 16th to 18th centuries
The city underwent a period of economic decline during Tudor times. Under Henry VIII, the Dissolution of the Monasteries saw the end of the York's many monastic houses, including several orders of friars, the hospitals of St Nicholas and of St Leonard, the largest such institution in the north of England. This led to the Pilgrimage of Grace, an uprising of northern Catholics in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire opposed to religious reform. Henry VIII restored his authority by establishing the Council of the North in York in the dissolved St Mary's Abbey. The city became a trading and service centre during this period.
Guy Fawkes, who was born and educated in York, was a member of a group of Roman Catholic restorationists that planned the Gunpowder Plot. Its aim was to displace Protestant rule by blowing up the Houses of Parliament while King James I, the entire Protestant, and even most of the Catholic aristocracy and nobility were inside.
In 1644, during the Civil War, the Parliamentarians besieged York, and many medieval houses outside the city walls were lost. The barbican at Walmgate Bar was undermined and explosives laid, but, the plot was discovered. On the arrival of Prince Rupert, with an army of 15,000 men, the siege was lifted. The Parliamentarians retreated some 6 miles (10 km) from York with Rupert in pursuit, before turning on his army and soundly defeating it at the Battle of Marston Moor. Of Rupert's 15,000 troops, no fewer than 4,000 were killed and 1,500 captured. The siege was renewed but the city could not hold out for long, and on 15 July surrendered to Sir Thomas Fairfax..
Following the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, and the removal of the garrison from York in 1688, the city was dominated by the gentry and merchants, although the clergy were still important. Competition from Leeds and Hull, together with silting of the River Ouse, resulted in York losing its pre-eminent position as a trading centre but the city's role as the social and cultural centre for wealthy northerners was on the rise. York's many elegant townhouses, such as the Lord Mayor's Mansion House and Fairfax House date from this period, as do the Assembly Rooms, the Theatre Royal, and the racecourse..
The railway promoter George Hudson was responsible for bringing the railway to York in 1839. Although Hudson's career as a railway entrepreneur ended in disgrace and bankruptcy, his promotion of his own railway company, the York and North Midland Railway and of York over Leeds, helped establish York as a major railway centre by the late 19th century.
The introduction of the railways established engineering in the city. At the turn of the 20th century, the railway accommodated the headquarters and works of the North Eastern Railway, which employed more than 5,500 people. The railway was instrumental in the expansion of Rowntree's Cocoa Works. It was founded in 1862 by Henry Isaac Rowntree, who was joined in 1869 by his brother the philanthropist Joseph. Another chocolate manufacturer, Terry's of York was a major employer. By 1900 the railways and confectionery had become the city's two major industries.
With the emergence of tourism, the historic core of York became one of the city's major assets, and in 1968 it was designated a conservation area. The existing tourist attractions were supplemented by the establishment of the National Railway Museum in York in 1975 and the Jorvik Viking Centre in 1984. The opening of the University of York in 1963 added to the prosperity of the city.
York was voted European Tourism City of the Year by European Cities Marketing in June 2007 beating 130 other European cities to gain first place, surpassing Gothenburg in Sweden (second) and Valencia in Spain (third). York was also voted safest place to visit in the 2010 conde nast readers traveller awards.
From 1997 to 2010 the central part of the district was covered by the City of York constituency, while the remainder was split between the constituencies of Ryedale, Selby, and Vale of York. These constituencies were represented by Hugh Bayley, John Greenway, John Grogan, and Anne McIntosh respectively.
Following their review in 2003 of parliamentary representation in North Yorkshire, the Boundary Commission for Englandrecommended the creation of two new seats for the City of York, in time for the general election in 2010. These are York Central, which covers the inner urban area, and is entirely surrounded by the York Outer constituency.
York is the traditional county town of Yorkshire, yet it did not form part of any of its three historic ridings, or divisions. York is an ancient borough, and was reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 to form a municipal borough. It gained the status of a county borough in 1889, under the Local Government Act 1888, and existed so until 1974, when, under the Local Government Act 1972, it became a non-metropolitan district in the county of North Yorkshire.
As a result of 1990s UK local government reform, York regained unitary status and saw a substantial alteration in its borders, taking in parts of Selby andHarrogate districts, and about half the population of the Ryedale district. The new boundary was imposed after central government rejected the former city council's own proposal.
The City of York Council has 47 councillors. As a result of the 2011 local elections the Labour Party won 26 seats to give them a majority of five seats. The Liberal Democrats had eight councillors. The Conservative Party had ten councillors and the Greens had two with one Independent. Since the election, one Labour councillor joined the Liberal Democrats but has since died, another has defected to join the Conservatives, two more have resigned the Labour whip to become independents and one Conservative councillor has become an Independent.
York Council operates on a leader and Cabinet style of governance. Councillors are appointed to the cabinet by the full council of 47 members. Cabinet members make decisions on their portfolio areas individually..
York's Right Honourable Lord Mayor for 2014–15 is Councillor Ian Gillies. The Sheriff is Councillor John Kenny. Both appointments are made each May for a period of one year. Although York's Sheriff office is the oldest in England it is now a purely ceremonial post. The Lord Mayor carries out civic and ceremonial duties in addition to chairing full meetings of the council.
The York Youth Council consists of several young people who negotiate with the councillors to get better facilities for York's young people..
York lies in the Vale of York, a flat area of fertile arable land bordered by the Pennines, the North York Moors and theYorkshire Wolds The city was built at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss on a terminal moraine left by the last Ice Age.
During Roman times, the land surrounding the rivers Ouse and Foss was marshy, making the site easy to defend. The city is prone to flooding from the River Ouse, and has an extensive (and mostly effective) network of flood defences with walls along the river, and a liftable barrier across the River Foss where it joins the Ouse at the 'Blue Bridge'. In October and November 2000 York experienced the worst flooding in 375 years with more than 300 homes flooded. Much land in and around the city is on flood plains too flood-prone for development other than agriculture. The ings are flood meadows along the Ouse, while the strays are open common grassland in various locations around the city.
York's centre is enclosed by the city's medieval walls, which are a popular walk. These defences are the most complete in England. They have the only walls set on high ramparts and they retain all their principal gateways. They incorporate part of the walls of the Roman fortress and some Norman and medieval work, as well as 19th- and 20th-century renovations. The entire circuit is approximately 2.5 miles (4 km), and encloses an area of 263 acres (106 ha). The north-east section includes a part where walls never existed, because the Norman moat of York Castle, formed by damming the River Foss, also created a lake which acted as a city defence. This lake was later called the King's Fishpond, as the rights to fish belonged to the Crown.
A feature of central York is the Snickelways, narrow pedestrian routes, many of which led towards the former market-places in Pavement and St Sampson's Square. The Shambles is a narrow medieval street, lined with shops, boutiques and tea rooms. Most of these premises were once butchers' shops, and the hooks from which carcasses were hung and the shelves on which meat was laid out can still be seen outside some of them. The street also contains the Shrine of Margaret Clitherow, although it is not located in the house where she lived. Goodramgate has many medieval houses including the early 14th century Lady Row built to finance a Chantry, at the edge of the churchyard of Holy Trinity church.
As well as the Castle Museum, the city contains numerous other museums and historic buildings such as the Yorkshire Museum and its Museum Gardens, JORVIK Viking Centre, the York Art Gallery, the Richard III Museum, the Merchant Adventurers' Hall, the reconstructed medieval house Barley Hall (owned by the York Archaeological Trust), the 18th century Fairfax House, the Mansion House (the historic home of the Lord Mayor), and the Treasurer's House (owned by the National Trust). The National Railway Museum is situated just beyond the station, and is home to a vast range of transport material and the largest collection of railway locomotives in the world. Included in this collection are the world's fastest steam locomotive LNER 4468 Mallard and the world famous 4472 Flying Scotsman, which is being overhauled in the Museum. Although noted for its Medieval history, visitors can also gain an understanding of the Cold War through visiting York Cold War Bunker, former headquarters of No 20 Group of the Royal Observer Corps.
York is noted for its numerous churches and pubs. Most of the remaining churches in York are from the medieval period. St William's College behind the Minster, and Bedern Hall, off Goodramgate, are former dwelling places of the canons of the Minster..
Christianity is the religion with the largest following in York with 59.5% residents reporting themselves as Christian in the 2011 census.
These census figures show no other single religion returned affiliation, as a percentage of population, above the national average for England, but, those responding as "No Religion" was higher than the national average.
There are 33 active Anglican churches in York which is home to the Archbishop of York and the Mother Church, York Minster, and administrative centre of the northern province of the Church of England and the Diocese of York. York is in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough, has eight Roman Catholic churches and a number of different Catholic religious orders.
York's economy is based on the service industry, which in 2000 was responsible for 88.7% of employment in the city. The service industries include public sector employment, health, education, finance, information technology (IT) and tourism that accounts for 10.7% of employment. Tourism has become an important element of the economy, with the city offering a wealth of historic attractions, of which York Minster is the most prominent, and a variety of cultural activities. In 2009, York was the 7th most visited city by UK residents and the 13th most visited by overseas visitors..
Unemployment in York was low at 4.2% in 2008 compared to the United Kingdom national average of 5.3%. The biggest employer in York is the City of York Council, with over 7,500 employees. Employers with more than 2,000 staff include Aviva (formerly Norwich Union Life), Network Rail, Northern Rail, York Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of York. Other major employers include British Telecom, CPP Group, Nestlé,NFU Mutual and a number of railway companies..
Today's economic position is very different from the 1950s, when its prosperity was based on chocolate manufacturing and the railways. This position continued until the early 1980s when 30% of the workforce were employed by just five employers and 75% of manufacturing jobs were in four companies. Most industry around the railway has gone, including the carriage works (known as Asea Brown Boveri or ABB at the time of closure) which at its height in 1880s employed 5,500 people but closed in the mid-1990s. York is the headquarters of the confectionery manufacturer Nestlé York (formerly Nestlé Rowntrees) and home to the KitKat and eponymous Yorkie bar chocolate brands. Terry's chocolate factory, makers of the Chocolate Orange, was located in the city; but it closed on 30 September 2005, when production was moved by its owners, Kraft Foods
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