Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic
We left Oxford just after 10 and headed toward York on the motorway, a journey of 3 hour and 2 mins according to the mobile phone and it was spot on. We stopped at one service area on the way but apart from that just kept going. We arrived at Pinfold Cottage in Fulford on the outskirts of York and met Chas who had arrived earlier. It was a lovely cottage with a decent sized full kitchen, lounge/dining room and bathroom on the ground floor and a double bedroom with its own toilet and dressing room and a single bedroom upstairs. We were very comfortable there for three nights.
After a cup of tea, Mike and I drove into York for a look around. We parked in easy walking distance of the centre of the city. York Minster dominates the skyline so we headed that way first enjoying walking through the quaint narrow streets many of which are pedestrian precincts, just had to watch out for the odd cyclist. As we walked under the 14th century Bootham Bar, which is the site of the northwestern gate of Eboracum, Mike stopped to take a photo and a guy from a cafe rushed up to us. He ushered us into his cafe and there inlaid into the floor was a glass panel and under it was the actual Roman Wall remains. The current wall was built over the Roman wall.
As we passed the York Museum we saw in the grounds, the ruins of St Leonard’s Hospital, the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey and the Multangular Tower. The museum also had a special exhibition of Vikings on, which we didn’t end up seeing as our trip got cut short by one day. We walked along the city walls and across the Lendall Bridge, passing the Lendall Tower. We passed St Michael le Belfrey church which is directly opposite York Minster but it was closed. We also passed the Kings Manor, the University of York which is beside the Art Gallery.
By then it was getting later in the afternoon so although we walked right up to York Minster but we didn’t go in as we wanted to go when we had time to do the tour. York Minster was built on the site of a previous church and also the Roman headquarters which was on the site before the churches, where the administration of the legion and religious ceremonies took place. Constantine was proclaimed Emperor of the Roman Empire here.
We walked through Stonegate, Low Petergate and High Petergate looking at all the lovely boutique shops. We also visited St Helen’s Church which had some lovely stained glass windows, wall monuments, font and a George III royal coat of arms. St Martin-le-Grand church had some interesting grotesques on the walls. It has an amazing East window depicting Christ and the Twelve Apostles at the Last Supper. It also had a beautiful ceiling and some interesting wall memorials. St Martin’s Clock with the gilded head of Father Time was restored in 1856 by Mr Cooke. The clock was fitted in 1668. The carved figure of the ‘Little Admiral’ was added in 1778. Through the gates beside the clock are two Roman columns and a memorial to Arthur Stephenson Rook.
We tried to find a geocache and got within 50 metres of it beside the River Ouse but the only way to it seemed to be through a restaurant which we were not going to do. Another one seemed to be 30 metres away through a shop. Just when we were trying to figure out how to get to it we saw a tiny alleyway. Mike turned into it and before I could follow him someone moved in behind him. It was so narrow there was no way to go but forwards. When we got to the end we located a very cool maze cache made with a laser printer. There is quite a popular system of alleyways or snickets and we had to wait for people to pass before we could put the cache back. The cache was called Snicklemaze and it earned a favourite point for us. Just as we passing another narrow street we saw a hot air balloon framed right in the centre of the sky above it. A great photo op.
In the evening three of Chas’s friends came around to the cottage and we all had an Italian themed tea. Ian Greig and Emma Pemberton brought their tapestry. It is named ’21 Century Battle of Fulford 1066 – 2016. 950 years and the battle goes on’. The Battle of Fulford is not officially recognised and neither is the battle site despite years of archaeology led by Chas. He has been to court many times to fight this position but still, the fight goes on. The council wish to build a housing estate there and the road is currently being built. Ian designed the tapestry to depict the current day conflict between the developers and the historians over the battlefield site. Emma did most of the embroidery with Ian’s help. It is an amazing piece of work especially when you realise that they had never done any embroidery before they started this project. It took two years to make and was finished the day before the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Fulford on 20th September 2016. It is 5 metres long and a fantastic piece of artistry. We were blown away by it!!
Mary Urmston from the Fulford Parish Council also came to tea. She has also been a big part of the fight to have Fulford’s battle site recognised by the powers that be. One of her interests are the bats in the area who are going to be displaced by the destruction of the retirement village and the subsequent rebuilding on the site. Just on dusk we went out with bat detectors and listened and watched the bats flying around the area. They have not yet found where the bats nest during the day as they are not allowed into the buildings but believe that it is in the chimneys. There were two types of bats detected this evening, Pipistrelles which make a very high pitched sound in the detectors and the Brown bat which was picked up at a different frequency. Certainly plenty of activity. They come out in the evenings to feed. A single pipistrelle can eat 3,000 tiny insects in just one night! An amazing experience!
We spent a very interesting evening talking about their tapestry and our mosaic including the USB. Ian was very interested in number puzzles too and they were all fascinated by Mike’s research.