by James Pigot  (1818)


York is beautifully situated on the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Foss, about 195 miles from London, has long been considered as the northern capital, and, in point of rank, as the second city in the kingdom, though far exceeded in wealth and population by many modern trading towns. In the year 208 this city was the chief residence of the Emperor Severus, and shone forth in its brightest lustre. Here he is said to have died, and alse the Emperor Constantius Chlorus; whose son, Constantine the Great, was born

in York about the year 272. During the unsettled state of the island, from the departure

of the Romans to the accession of William the conqueror, York experienced its full share of

sufferings, and was not surrendered to that monarch until the provisions of the city were

exhausted, by a seige of six months. About the year 1160, in the reign of Henry II.

one of the first parliaments noticed in history was held here; and in the year 1190, a most

cruel massacre of the Jews took place. In 1306 the courts of justice were removed from

London to York, but were, in seven years time, restored to the former city. Richard

II. granted peculiar privileges to the city, and in the year 1396 made it a tounty of itself.

During the wars between the houses of York and Lancaster, this city sustained consider

able damages, and has never, since that disastrous period, attained to its former gran

deur. In the year 1644 it was again exposed to the horrors of warfare, being besieged by

the parliamentary forces under Sir Thomas Fairfax, to whom it was surrendered, after a

defence of eighteen weeks, on the most honourable terms. The public buildings are so

numerous and remarkable, that to attempt a description would far exceed the limits of

this work. The Cathedral, or Minster, is one of the grandest buildings, and finest spe

cimens of architecture that England can boast of . Exclusive of this, there are 23 parish

churches in York, many of them of great antiquity. The castle is a large and noble

building, allowed to be one of the most spacious and best contrived gaols in the kingdom.

The mansion-house, guild-hall, assembly rooms, city gaol, walls, bars, bridge, &c. &c.

are well worthy of notice. There is also an assay office for gold and silver. Among the

public charities of this sity, are a lunatic assylum, a county hospital or infirmary, a

city dispensary, two charity schools, in which 94 children are maintained, educated and

apprenticed; numerous Sunday schools, and other benevolent institutions. York is not

a commercial city, and it would be difficult to say what is the staple manufacture of the

place. The making of boots, shoes and gloves is extensively carried on ; and here is a

manufactory of white lead, and of glass. The shopkeepers are numerous and respectable,

and the retail trade is great. The population of York is about 18,300. Market days are

Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Fairs, Saturday before Old Candlemas day, Šatur

day before Old Lady day, Whitsun Monday, Old Saint Peter's day, Old Lammas day,

Saturday before Old Michaelmas, Saturday before Old Martiumas, and Saturday before

Christmas day. York leather fair is held on the first Wednesday in December, March, June, and September, on Peaseholm green.