Watch Tower, Eston Nab, North Yorkshire


Watch Tower, Eston Nab.
Postmarked 1906
Publisher: Brittain & Wright, Stockton-on-Tees

Google Street View (approximate).

In the south-eastern section of the hillfort, where a modern monument marks its position there are the remains of a square, stone beacon. This is situated within a small quadrangular enclosure and is believed to have been erected in the early 19th century when it served as a beacon or lookout post during the Napoleonic wars.
Historic England

With the advent of ironstone mining in Eston Hills, the beacon was used as a house and survived until 1956. It was then demolished and later rebuilt into its present form. A plaque on the side of the monument reads:

This monument is placed here to mark the
site of the beacon tower which was erected
by Thomas Jackson of Lackenby about 1800 as
a look-out post against invasion during the
Napoleonic wars and which again served the same
purpose in the second world war of 1939–1945.
It stands within a Bronze Age fortified
camp whose outer defences can be seen.
Erected in 1956.
Wikipedia.

Whitby Abbey, Whitby, North Yorkshire


Abbey Ruins, Whitby
c. 1940

Google Street View.

Founded by Oswy, King of Northumbria, in about 656, the first abbess being St Hilda. Destroyed by the Danes in circa 870 and refounded for the Benedictines by Reinfrid, one of the soldiers of William the Conqueror. Extensive ruins of the church from early Cl2 to Cl4.
Historic England

In about 1078 a monk called Reinfrid founded a new monastic community at Whitby. At a very early stage in its history this community split and the two parts each developed into a fully fledged Benedictine monastery: one on the headland at Whitby and the other at St Mary’s Abbey, York. The Benedictine monastery initially probably had timber buildings or reused the Anglian ruins on the headland. About 1100 a stone church and conventual buildings were built in the Romanesque style, as well as a large parish church close by. In the 13th century the monastery church was rebuilt in the Gothic style. This was a massive undertaking, including major landscaping of the whole site, though there is no documentary evidence for it. The first building campaign is dated on stylistic grounds to about 1225–50. The eastern arm, the crossing and transepts, a central tower, and part of the nave were built before funds seem to have run out. Work appears to have been resumed on the nave in the 14th century, but it was not finished until the 15th century.
. . .
The shell of the abbey church was substantially complete until the 18th century. It was weakened, however, by erosion from wind and rain. The south transept collapsed in 1736, much of the nave in 1763, the central tower in 1830 and the south side of the presbytery in 1839.
English Heritage


Plan of Whitby Abbey, Whitby Abbey, Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, Official Guide-book, 1952

The early years of the convent were stormy and its history is confused. The community soon incurred the enmity of the founder and was, besides, set upon and pillaged by sea pirates and local robbers. There was probably a split within the convent itself, one part under Stephen retiring to Lastingham and ultimately to St. Mary’s, York, and the other, under Reinfrid, remaining at Whitby or perhaps temporarily at Hackness. Better times came when Serlo de Percy, brother of the founder, joined the community and became Prior; he was followed by William de Percy, a son of the founder, who became Abbot. From the last decade of the eleventh century, the monastery flourished and became third in value of the Benedictine houses of Yorkshire, after those of St. Mary’s, York, and Selby. In the second half of the twelfth century there were between thirty and forty monks at Whitby. Under Abbot Richard of Peter¬ borough (1148-75) Eystein Haroldson, King of Norway, made a raid on Whitby in or about 1153, burnt the town and laid hands on all the spoil that he could carry off. The only episcopal visitation of the monastery on record is that made by Archbishop Multon in 1320, when the monastery was heavily in debt. Nothing was seriously amiss but the monks were forbidden to go out of the monastery with bows and arrows; furthermore the Abbot, Prior or monks were forbidden to keep their own or other people’s hunting dogs in the convent and if any dog got in, it was to be caught and soundly beaten. By the end of the fourteenth century, the numbers of the convent had fallen off but there were still some twenty monks. The later Abbots had the right to the use of the mitre, ring and staff, and the clear value of the house before the Dissolution was estimated at ^437 2s. 9d. a year. The abbey was surrendered to the King’s Commissioners by Henry Davell, the last Abbot, on 14th December 1539
. . .
There is no direct documentary evidence for the dates of the re¬ building of the Abbey church, which must in consequence be assessed on architectural evidence only. It would seem that the general rebuilding was begun at the east end about 1220. The setting-out was faulty, which led to the marked deviation to the north of the axis of the presbytery from that of the nave. There is little or no difference in date apparent throughout the eastern arm of the church but the north transept, which followed in sequence, is perhaps twenty years later, and with this campaign of building went the south transept, the first three bays of the nave and the central tower. The rebuilding of the remainder of the nave was not undertaken till the fourteenth century and the great west window was a work of the fifteenth century. Samuel Buck’s view of the church (1711) shows that the clerestory of the nave was also much altered or rebuilt in the fifteenth century.
Whitby Abbey, Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, Official Guide-book, 1952


General view from west in 1789, before collapse of Central Tower, “Whitby Abbey, Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, Official Guide-book”, 1952

Knaresborough, North Yorkshire


Knaresborough from Castle Hill
Postmarked 1903

Google Street View.

With its cobbled alleys, a once royal castle, annual bed race and the enduring curiosity of Mother Shipton’s Cave and its petrifying well, it is fair to say that Knaresborough is both charming and unique. Packed with history and character, the North Yorkshire market town is a hotbed for tourists – and no trip is complete without taking in its impressive viaduct.
Yorkshire Post

Knaresborough Viaduct is a viaduct in the North Yorkshire town of Knaresborough, England. The viaduct carries the Harrogate line over the River Nidd in the town. The viaduct was supposed to have opened in 1848, but the first construction collapsed into the river very near to completion, which necessitated a new viaduct and delayed the opening of the line through Knaresborough by three years.
Wikipedia.

Viaduct. 1851. Engineer Thomas Grainger for the Leeds and Thirsk Railway Gritstone. Approximately 100 metres long and 30 metres high, carrying 2 tracks on 4 arches. 2 central round arches span the river, the 2 flanking arches span the Long Walk (south bank) and Waterside (north bank). Round cut-waters carried up as buttresses with projecting bands and small half-towers at top. Embattled parapet. Work on the viaduct was begun in 1847, but the bridge collapsed in 1848. The replacement cost £9,803 to construct.
Historic England

Pickering Castle, North Yorkshire


Pickering Castle | Devils Tower & Inner Moat
1950s
Publisher: Ministry of Works

Google Street View.

Pickering Castle is an 11th century earthwork motte and bailey fortress, founded by William the Conqueror. In the late 12th to early 13th century, King Henry II founded the stone castle, when crowning the motte with a shell keep and encasing the inner bailey with a curtain wall, flanked by the Coleman Tower. The restored chantry chapel of 1227 and the foundations of the early to mid 12th century Old Hall, also stand in the inner bailey. In 1324-26 King Edward II replaced the timber palisade which encased the outer bailey with a curtain wall. The wall is flanked by a gatehouse and three rectangular towers, one having a small postern gate at its base, with its own drawbridge to cross the outer ditch.
CastleUK.net

Pickering Castle was originally a timber and earth motte and bailey castle. It was developed into a stone motte and bailey castle which had a stone shell keep. The current inner ward was originally the bailey, and was built between 1180 and 1187. The keep was developed into a stone shell keep sometime during the years 1216 to 1236 along with the chapel – there is a reconstruction of the chapel at the site. Between the years 1323 and 1326 there was an outer ward and curtain wall built, along with three towers. There were also two ditches, one situated outside of the curtain wall and one in the outer ward. After this a gatehouse, ovens, hall and the storehouses were built. The castle is situated in the Vale of Pickering and has a considerably steep cliff on the west side which would have been a great defensive attribute.

The original structure was built by the Normans under William the Conqueror in 1069–1070. This early building included the large, central mound (the motte), the outer palisades (enclosing the bailey) and internal buildings, notably the keep on top of the motte. Ditches were also dug to make assault on the walls difficult. The main purpose of the castle at this time was to maintain control of the area after the Harrying of the North.
Wikipedia.

The use of the castle was in decline by the late fifteenth century although it served periodically as accommodation for royalty who used the adjacent forest for hunting deer and wild boar. However, the defences were neglected and it took no part in the Wars of the Roses. By the Tudor period it was being plundered for its materials and quickly descended into ruin. Although in no fit state to be garrisoned during the seventeenth century Civil War, it was seized by Parliament after the conflict along with the rest of the Duchy of Lancaster. It was returned to Charles II upon the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 but the castle was never rebuilt and, with the exception of the chapel, it remained an abandoned ruin until taken into the care of the Office of Works in 1926.
Castles Forts Battles


“Mediæval Military Architecture in England, Vol. II”, George Thomas Clark, 1884

The four mural towers already mentioned are all in the southern ward. They are, Mill Tower, Rosamond’s, the Devil’s Tower, and the Gate Tower. Devil’s Tower contains a postern. . . . The Devil’s, or Postern Tower, that north-east of the keep, is rectangular and of ashlar, and has exterior projection only. It is 22 feet broad by 27 feet deep. The basement is vaulted, and pierced by a postern passage. The inner door, pointed, opens in the bottom of the ditch of the cross curtain; it is now nearly buried. The outer door is walled up. It is pointed, of 3 feet 6 inches opening, and placed in a square-headed recess, 6 inches deep, 5 feet broad by 10 feet high, intended to lodge the bridge when up. At the foot of this door, outside, in two large stones, are two holes, 6 inches diameter and 18 inches deep, which contained the wooden axle of the drawbridge. Above is a central chain-hole for working the bridge.
. . .
No doubt the earthworks were taken possession of and walled, either late in the eleventh or early in the twelfth century, in the Norman period, and the mass of the curtains, with the keep and the Norman door, are probably remains of this work. But the whole fortress was rebuilt in the Decorated period, the mural towers added, the curtains raised, and the place rendered stronger. It is difficult to decide on the age of the gateways. They may be Norman or they may be of the time of Richard II., probably the former. The domestic buildings are said to have been of timber. They are gone. There is no known well. The castle mill was upon the river a little below the castle. The ditch along the south and west has been nearly filled up; beyond it is a hollow way leading down to the river, which may be old, and intended as a second line of defence.
“Mediæval Military Architecture in England, Vol. II”, George Thomas Clark, 1884

The castle stands at the N. of the town, on the brow of the hill; the walls of it and the towers being continued round the hill side; in the words of Leland :
“In the first Court of it be 4 toures, of the which one is called Rosamonde’s Toure. In the ynner Court be also 4 toures, whereof the kepe is one. The Castelle waulles and the toures be neatly welle. The loggins that be yn the ynner Court that be of timber, be in mine.” The cross walls divide the area into three courts, and where they meet is the keep, which is multangular, and stood on a circular mound surrounded by a deep ditch. The Mill Tower, on the left of the entrance, and the Devil’s Tower, on the outer wall, close to the moat of the keep, and the Rosamond Tower (so called because Fair Rosamond is said to have been imprisoned there), in the outer court, three storeys high, are tolerably perfect, and are of Edwardian architecture, but there are some remains of earlier Norman work. There is a sallyport in the Devil’s Tower giving to the outer ditch. The chapel is poor. Lovely views are seen from various parts of this castle over the well-wooded country around.
“The castles of England, their story and structure, Vol. II”, James D. Mackenzie, 1897, p. 240

York Minster, York


York Minster, West Front
c. 1910
Publisher: Sampson, York

Street View (exterior)

The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, commonly known as York Minster, is the cathedral of York, England, and is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. The minster is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the third-highest office of the Church of England (after the monarch as Supreme Governor and the Archbishop of Canterbury), and is the mother church for the Diocese of York and the Province of York.
. . .
The Gothic style in cathedrals had arrived in the mid 12th century. Walter de Gray was made archbishop in 1215 and ordered the construction of a Gothic structure to compare to Canterbury; building began in 1220. The north and south transepts were the first new structures; completed in the 1250s, both were built in the Early English Gothic style but had markedly different wall elevations. A substantial central tower was also completed, with a wooden spire. Building continued into the 15th century. The Chapter House was begun in the 1260s and was completed before 1296. The wide nave was constructed from the 1280s on the Norman foundations. The outer roof was completed in the 1330s, but the vaulting was not finished until 1360. Construction then moved on to the eastern arm and chapels, with the last Norman structure, the choir, being demolished in the 1390s. Work here finished around 1405. In 1407 the central tower collapsed; the piers were then reinforced, and a new tower was built from 1420. The western towers were added between 1433 and 1472. The cathedral was declared complete and consecrated in 1472

Wikipedia.


York Minster, South View
c. 1910
Publisher: Sampson, York


York Minster, The Choir
c.1910
Publisher: Thomas Taylor & Son

Most sung services, including our Evensong service, take place in the Quire. Built between 1361 and the 1420s, much of the original structure was destroyed in a fire started deliberately in 1829.
York Minster


The Choir, York Minster
c.1920
Publisher: Valentine


York Minster, The Crypt
c.1910
Publisher: Thomas Taylor & Son

The Minster has two Crypts, with the Western one rediscovered and brought back into use following a fire in 1829. It houses the tomb of St William of York, the only saint to be buried at the cathedral, who was canonised in 1227.
York Minster

St. Mary’s Abbey, York


St. Mary’s Abbey, York.
c.1910
Publisher: Sampson, York

Google Street View.

Postcard for St Olave’s Church

The original church on the site was founded in 1055 and dedicated to Saint Olaf. After the Norman Conquest the church came into the possession of the Anglo-Breton magnate Alan Rufus who granted the lands to Abbot Stephen and a group of monks from Whitby. The abbey church was refounded in 1088 when the King, William Rufus, visited York in January or February of that year and gave the monks additional lands. The following year he laid the foundation stone of the new Norman church and the site was rededicated to the Virgin Mary. The foundation ceremony was attended by bishop Odo of Bayeux and Archbishop Thomas of Bayeux. The monks moved to York from a site at Lastingham in Ryedale in the 1080s and are recorded there in Domesday. Following a dispute and riot in 1132, a party of reform-minded monks left to establish the Cistercian monastery of Fountains Abbey. In 1137 the abbey was badly damaged by a great fire. The surviving ruins date from a rebuilding programme begun in 1271 and finished by 1294.
Wikipedia.

The abbey estate occupied the entire site of the Museum Gardens and the abbot was one of the most powerful clergymen of his day, on a par with the Archbishop of York. In medieval York, the abbey sat opposite and mirrored the Minster: two great buildings dedicated to worship. The monks would spend their days working in abbey administration, copying books, trading with merchants, providing food and supplies for the monastery, managing the abbey’s estates and helping the poor.

Visitors can see the remains of the walls of the nave and crossing of the abbey church, where the monks prayed and sang, and the cloister, where the monks washed their clothes, contemplated and were allowed to speak. . . . King Henry VIII banned all monasteries in England in 1530s. The monks at St Mary’s were pensioned off in 1540 and the abbey buildings were converted into a palace for the King when he visited York. Gradually they fell into ruins and were used as agricultural buildings before being excavated by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society in the 1820s.
York Museums Trust

Multangular Tower, York


Multangular Tower, Abbey Gardens, York
c.1910
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View.

The Multangular Tower is the best example of standing Roman remains in York. It is on the northern side of the gardens, between the Yorkshire Museum and St Leonard’s Hospital. You can see the tower and fine stretches of the fortress wall from both sides, inside and out. The tower stood at the west corner of the legionary fortress. It was one of the two corner-towers of the huge stone wall that looked down onto the river. The small stones in the lower half are Roman whereas the upper half was reconstructed in the medieval period. The original Roman parts of the tower probably date from the early third century. Archaeologists can tell that the stone walls replaced timber fortress structures: an immense undertaking. The Romans used several types of stone in their buildings including limestone, tough millstone grit and elland stone, now better known as York stone, which was used for floors and roofs as it splits naturally into flat slabs. But it was not so much the stone but the use of mortar to hold it together that was the real Roman revolution. This allowed for the creation of far larger buildings than ever seen before.

The fortress wall was built 5m (c.15 ft) high. At the west corner stood what we now know as the Multangular Tower, which may have been well over 10m (c.30 ft) high. A matching tower stood at the fortress’s south corner, with six interval towers in between, projecting from the wall. These corner and interval towers were a military innovation, as they enabled soldiers to fire along the sides of the wall as invaders tried to scale them. In practice, the Roman occupiers probably never expected an attack on Eboracum. The fortress was mainly a base from which to control the region.

We know very little about the medieval rebuilding and reuse of the tower but the fortifications were significant during York’s role in the English Civil War and damage from a cannon ball can be seen in the wall to the North of the tower.
York Museums Trust

Cellarium, Fountains Abbey, Ripon, North Yorkshire


Fountains Abbey, Cellarium
c.1910

Google Street View.

UNESCO World Heritage listing

Founded in the 10th century, the ornate religious complex known as Fountains Abbey remained in active use for over 400 years and miraculously continues to stand in much its original form despite being denounced in the 1500’s.
Atlas Obscura

The original abbey church was built of wood and “was probably” two storeys high; it was, however, quickly replaced in stone. The church was damaged in the attack on the abbey in 1146 and was rebuilt, in a larger scale, on the same site. Building work was completed c. 1170. This structure, completed around 1170, was 300 ft (91 m) long and had 11 bays in the side aisles. A lantern tower was added at the crossing of the church in the late 12th century. The presbytery at the eastern end of the church was much altered in the 13th century.] The church’s greatly lengthened choir, commenced by Abbot John of York, 1203–11 and carried on by his successor, terminates, like that of Durham Cathedral, in an eastern transept, the work of Abbot John of Kent, 1220–47. The 160-foot-tall (49 m) tower, which was added not long before the dissolution, by Abbot Huby, 1494–1526, is in an unusual position at the northern end of the north transept and bears Huby’s motto: Soli Deo Honor et Gloria. The sacristry adjoined the south transept.

The cloister, which had arcading of black marble from Nidderdale and white sandstone, is in the centre of the precinct and to the south of the church. The three-aisled chapter-house and parlour open from the eastern walk of the cloister and the refectory, with the kitchen and buttery attached, and are at right angles to its southern walk. Parallel with the western walk is an immense, vaulted substructure serving as cellars and store-rooms, which supported the dormitory of the conversi (lay brothers) above. This building extended across the river and at its south-west corner were the latrines, built above the swiftly flowing stream. The monks’ dormitory was in its usual position above the chapter-house, to the south of the transept.
Wikipedia.

Tea House, Valley Gardens, Harrogate, North Yorkshire


The Tea House, Valley Gardens Harrogate.
Postmarked 1910
Publisher: Woolstone Brothers, London (1902-1933)

Google Street View.

Valley Gardens was developed as an attractive walk for visitors to the Spa town, part of their health regime between taking the waters, and as a means of access to the mineral springs of Bogs Field. The waterside walk with flowers and trees became a place for promenading, socialising and taking exercise. Photographs of the gardens in the early 20th century testify to their enormous popularity with crowds around the tea room, boating lake and bandstand. The Sun Pavilion and Colonnades were built as an added attraction and facility for the spa, intended as the first phase of a covered way linking the Pump Room and Royal Bath Hospital. Visitors to the mineral springs declined but the horticultural reputation of the Gardens grew with the staging of the Northern Horticultural Society’s Spring Flower Show in the Gardens and the addition of special garden areas. . . . A rustic thatched teahouse with veranda was erected on the slopes of the former Collins Field overlooking a bandstand sited near the new Magnesia Well pump room. . . . Plans were drawn up to redevelop the Pump Room at the entrance to Valley Gardens, create a covered colonnade following the north boundary beside Cornwall Road to a Sun Pavilion and develop a further link to the Royal Bath Hospital. The proposals involved the acquisition of the remaining privately owned properties at the entrance to the gardens and the replacement of the teahouse with the Sun Pavilion. The work was to be carried out in three phases, the first phase being the construction of the Sun Pavilion, colonnades and two sun parlours. Despite considerable opposition, notably by Duchy residents, the first phase was opened in June 1933.
Friends of Valley Gardens

Guildhall, York


York, Guildhall.
c.1910
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

York Guildhall is situated on the north bank of the River Ouse, behind the Mansion House. The hall was built in 1445 for the Guild of St Christopher and St George and the Corporation and was used as a meeting place for the guilds of York. The city’s guilds largely controlled the trade within York, oversaw the quality of the workmanship within the city and looked after their members’ interests. Due to damage caused by German bombs during a Baedeker air raid in 1942 which partially destroyed the building, the present Guildhall is a rebuilt version of the original fifteenth century structure and was opened by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1960.
Yorkshire Guide

The Guildhall has been around for a large part of York’s history. The current hall dates from the 15th century but it is built on the site of an earlier “common hall” which was referred to in a charter in 1256. The hall was built in 1445 for the ‘Guild of St Christopher and St George’ and the Corporation, the cost being divided equally between them. The accounts still exist and include a record of 3 pence given to the workmen to celebrate the laying of the foundations. A council meeting is recorded there in May of 1459. The whole site was taken over by the city corporation in 1549. Council meetings are still held on the site, now in the rather grand Victorian Council Chamber that was completed in 1891. When meetings weren’t taking place, the hall was put to all sorts of uses. It was sometimes a Court of Justice, including for the infamous trial of Margaret Clitherow for practising Catholicism in 1586. She was put to death for refusing to accept the jurisdiction of the Court.
History of York