History of Yorkshire

History of Yorkshire

Yorkshire is an historic county of England, centred on the county town of York. The region was first occupied after the retreat of the ice age around 8000 BC. During the first millennium AD it was occupied by Romans, Angles and Vikings. Many Yorkshire dialect words and aspects of pronunciation derive from old Norse [cite web |url=http://www.viking.no/e/england/e-yorkshire_norse.htm |title=Yorkshire Dialect Words of Old Norse Origin |accessdate = 2005-01-05 |work=The Vikings |publisher=The Viking Network ] due to the Viking influence in this region. The name, Yorkshire, first appeared in writing in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 1065. It was originally composed of three sections called Thrydings, subsequently referred to as Ridings.

Following the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, Yorkshire was subject to the punitive harrying of the North, which caused great hardship. The area proved to be notable for uprisings and rebellions through to the Tudor period. During the industrial revolution, the West Riding became the second most important manufacturing area in the United Kingdom, while the predominant industries of the East and North Ridings remained fishing and agriculture. In modern times, the Yorkshire economy suffered from a decline in manufacturing which affected its traditional coal, steel, wool and shipping industries.

Geographical context

See Topographical areas of Yorkshire and Geology of YorkshireYorkshire was not a homogeneous natural or topographical area and the contrasting conditions and natural resources led to differences in the way that the different areas of the county developed over time. These differences manifested themselves in contrasting economic developments as well as the styles of the vernacular architecture of the various areas.The North York Moors area is even now very different from the South Yorkshire Coalfield area of West Riding and this differs greatly from Holderness.

In Yorkshire there is a very close relationship between the major topographical areas and the underlying geology.cite news|url=http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/|publisher=Genuki.org|title=Yorkshire Geology|date = 24 October 2007] The Pennine chain of hills in the west is of Carboniferous origin. The central vale is Permo-Triassic. The North York Moors in the north-east of the county are Jurassic in age while the Yorkshire Wolds to the south east are Cretaceous chalk uplands.

The region is drained by several rivers. In Western and central Yorkshire the many rivers empty their waters into the River Ouse which reaches the North Sea via the Humber Estuary.cite book | date = 1 March .

The Ouse is the name given to the river after its confluence with the Ure at Ouse Gill Beck. The River Wharfe, which drains Wharfedale, joins the Ouse upstream of Cawood. The Rivers Aire and Calder are more southerly contributors to the River Ouse and the most southerly Yorkshire tributary is the River Don, which flows northwards to join the main river at Goole. In the far north of the county the River Tees flows eastwards through Teesdale and empties its waters into the North Sea downstream of Middlesbrough. The smaller River Esk flows from west to east at the northern foot of the North York Moors to reach the sea at Whitby.

The River Derwent rises on the North York Moors, flows south then westwards through the Vale of Pickering then turns south again to drain the eastern part of the Vale of York. It empties into the River Ouse at Barmby on the Marsh. To the east of the Yorkshire Wolds the River Hull flows southwards to join the Humber Estuary at Kingston upon Hull. The western Pennines are served by the River Ribble which drains westwards into the Irish Sea close to Lytham St Anne's.


This refers to the period up to the arrival of the Romans, c.71 AD in this area. [http://www.driffield.co.uk/wolds_arch_intro.htm The History and Archaeology of The Yorkshire Wolds] ] The appearance of the terrain differed greatly from that which exists today. During the early part of this period there was a land connection between what is now Germany and eastern England, making it possible for groups of hunters to wander into the area. When the first people arrived the climate would have been sub arctic and the animals that the Paleolithic groups found would have been included the mammoth, woolly rhinoceros and reindeer.cite book | last = Singleton | first = FB | authorlink = | coauthors = S Rawnsley | title = A History of Yorkshire | publisher = Phillimore & Co Ltd | year = 1986 | location = Chichester | pages = | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 0850336198 | oclc = 18462583 ] Though the cliffs at Creswell Crags in neighbouring North East Derbyshire contain several caves that were occupied during the last ice age, between around 43,000 and 10,000 years ago [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/nottinghamshire/3890113.stm BBC NEWS | UK | England | Nottinghamshire | 'Sistine Chapel of the Ice Age' ] ] , evidence of human activity in Yorkshire itself is, so far, restricted to that revolving around a hunter gatherer lifestyle dating from around 8000/7000 BC. In Victoria Cave, Settle, late upper palaeolithic projectile points were found that include the bone head of a harpoon which was dated to within 110 years of 8270 BC. [Cite web | year = 2008 | title = Late Upper Palaeolithic (8,000 BC): Victoria Cave Harpoon | publisher = Yorkshire Archaeological Society | url = http://www.prehistory.yas.org.uk/content/victoria.html | accessdate = 2008-05-02]

During the 5,000 years following the arrival of the first migrants the climate improved steadily and a richer natural vegetation started to cover the land including birch, hazel, elm, pine and oak trees. By 5000 BC Britain was separated from mainland Europe after rising sea levels had created the southern area of the North Sea. Chapel Cave, near Malham in the northern Pennines, may have been used as a hunting lookout during the Mesolithic period. Trapezoidal microliths used in wooden shafts as arrows were found in the collection of flint when the cave was excavated. Animal bones which were found there included hare, fox, roe deer, badger and a large bird. Fish scales, particularly perch, were also found. [ cite web|url = http://www.outofoblivion.org.uk/record.asp?id=173 |title = Chapel Cave |accessdate = 2008-06-20 |publisher=Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority ] Further south, the Marsden area of the Pennines also became a seasonal hunting ground for early humans in the Mesolithic period. There were seasonal hunting encampments on the high ground by 7000BC. Stone Age tools have been found at Pule Hill, Warcock Hill, Standedge and March Hill. [cite book | last = Spikins | first = Penny | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Prehistoric People of the Pennines | publisher = WYAS | year = 2002 | location = | pages = | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 1 870 453 29 8 | oclc = 51741694 ]

On the North York Moors relics of this early hunting, gathering and fishing community have been found as a widespread scattering of flint tools and the barbed flint flakes used in arrows and spears. The earliest known evidence of human presence in the area of the Vale of Pickering dates back to the Mesolithic period, around 7000 BC. The most important remaining settlement of this period is that at Star Carr [ cite web|url=http://www.york.ac.uk/depts/arch/Projects/StarCarrWebsite/index.htm |title=Star Carr. Excavtion in the Valof Pickering |accessdate = 2008-05-03 |last=Dr Nicky |first=Milner |date = 13 November 2006 |publisher=York University ] near Scarborough, where, due to waterlogged conditions, a considerable quantity of organic remains as well as flint tools, have survived. This is Britain’s best-known Mesolithic site. The site, on the eastern shores of glacial Lake Pickering, was surrounded by birch trees, some of which had been cleared and used to construct a rough platform of branches and brushwood. Lumps of turf and stones had been thrown on top of this construction to make a village site. The site was probably visited from time to time by about four or five families who were engaged in hunting, fishing and gathering wild plants as well as manufacturing tools and weapons and working skins for clothes. [cite book | last = Dyer | first = James | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Ancient Britain | publisher = Routledge | date = 6 February 2002 | location = London | pages = | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 0415151511 | oclc = 38948627 ]

On the southern edge of the Vale of Pickering lies West Heslerton, where recent excavation has revealed continuous habitation since the Late Mesolithic Age, about 5000BC. This site has revealed a great deal of dwelling and occupation evidence from the Neolithic period to the present day. [cite book | last = Powlesland | first = Dominic | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = 25 years of archaeological research on the sands and gravels of Heslerton | publisher = The Landscape Research Centre Ltd | date = | location = | pages = | url = http://www.landscaperesearchcentre.org/AA%20Tier%201%20Primary%20Headings/Publications.htm | doi = | id = | isbn = ] Around 3000BC arable farming and the domestication of animals started in the area. Permanent settlements were built by the Neolithic people and their culture involved ceremonial burials of their dead in barrows. The development of farming in the Vale of Pickering during the Neolithic period is evident in the distribution of earth long barrows throughout the area. These early farmers were the first to destroy the forest cover of the North York Moors. Their settlements were concentrated in the fertile parts of the limestone belt and these areas have been continuously farmed ever since. The Neolithic farmers of the moors grew crops, kept animals, made pottery and were highly skilled at making stone implements. They buried their dead in the characteristic long low burial mounds on the moors.cite book |title=The North York Moors Landscape Heritage |last=Spratt |first=D A |authorlink= |coauthors=Harrison |year=1989|publisher=North York Moors National Park |location=Helmsley, Yorkshire |isbn=0 907480 58 6 |oclc=41335219 ]

The historic landscape of the Great Wold Valley provides an insight into the activities of prehistoric peoples in the Yorkshire Wolds. The valley was an important place of worship in prehistoric times and it houses a number of important scheduled monuments dating back to Neolithic times. [ [http://www.northernearth.co.uk/permgypsey.htm Northern Earth Journeys in Living Landscapes] ] Rudston is the centre of a prehistoric landscape and four Neolithic cursus converge on the village area. Argham Dyke, a prehistoric earthwork dating from the Bronze Age, crosses the area near Rudston. There is also evidence of Iron Age occupation as revealed by aerial photographs showing traces of fields, trackways and farms. [cite book |title=The Kings England-Yorkshire East Riding |last=Mee |first=Arthur |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1964 |publisher=Hodder and Stoughton |location=London |isbn= ] The Rudston Monolith at over 25 feet (7.6 metres) is the tallest megalith or Standing stone in the United Kingdom. It is situated in the churchyard in the village of Rudston in the East Riding of Yorkshire and is made from moor grit conglomerate, a material that can be found in the Cleveland Hills inland from Whitby. It dates from the Late Neolithic Period.

The Thornborough Henges is an ancient monument complex that includes three aligned henges that give the site its name. The complex is located near the village of Thornborough, close to the town of Masham in North Yorkshire. The complex includes many large ancient structures including a cursus, henges, burial grounds and settlements. They are thought to have been part of a Neolithic and Bronze Age 'ritual landscape' comparable with Salisbury Plain and date from between 3500 and 2500 BC. This monument complex has been called 'The Stonehenge of the North' and has been described by English Heritage as the most important ancient site between Stonehenge and the Orkneys. [ cite web|url=http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.5536 |title=Thornborough Henges: Air Photo Mapping |accessdate = 2008-06-16 |publisher=English Heritage ] There is a dearth of evidence of human occupation in the Vale of York until the early Bronze Age around 2300BC, when the inhabitants of the Yorkshire region began to use implements made of bronze. The metal was refined from ore and hammered or cast to shape.

As the Neolithic period gave way to the Bronze Age in the area, people continued to farm, clear forest and use stone tools. They also continued to hunt in the upland areas as finds of their barbed and tanged flint arrowheads show. Only gradually did metal tools and weapons become adopted. The Bronze Age was a time of major changes in burial rituals. The bodies were buried beneath circular mounds of earth which are called round barrows and they are often accompanied by bronze artefacts.cite book | last = Whyman | first = Mark | authorlink = | coauthors = Andy J Howard | title = Archaeology and Landscape in the Vale of York | publisher = York Archaeological Trust | year = 2005 | location = York | pages = | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 1874454329 | oclc = 64310431 ] The great majority of known barrows are in prominent upland locations such as the Wolds, Moors and Pennine areas of Yorkshire, but some Bronze Age remains have been found on the fringe of the Vale of Pickering and there are a very few in the Vale of York. During the early Bronze Age, barrow burials were performed on the site of Ferrybridge Henge. The Street House Long Barrow at Loftus on the Cleveland coastline between Saltburn and Staithes was a Bronze Age mound that had been erected on top of a much earlier burial monument dating from the Neolithic period. [ cite web|url=http://www.teesarchaeology.com/projects/street_house_long_cairn/index.html |title=Street House Long Cairn |accessdate = 2008-06-25 |publisher=Tees Archaeology ] The Iron Age started around 700BC in this area. There was a continuation and development of settlement patterns which originated in the Bronze Age. Heavily defended settlements on coastal and inland promontories were established. In East Yorkshire a new burial rite in which the dead were buried within square ditched barrows, and sometimes accompanied by grave goods including carts or chariots, appears from about 500BC. This is the Arras culture of the Parisii tribe. Prior to their invasion the Romans identified three different tribes of people living in the Yorkshire area. The area now covered by Yorkshire was mostly the territory of the Brigantes, a Celtic tribe who lived between Tyne and Humber. Another tribe, the Parisii, inhabited what would become the East Riding. The Carvetii occupied an area of what is now called Cumbria, but was at the time of the Domesday Book still part of Yorkshire. Life was centred around agriculture, wheat and barley as the staple foods. The Brigantes lived in small villages, and raised cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses.

Fortifications were constructed in Brigantia and notable forts can still be discerned on Ingleborough and at Wincobank, amongst other places. Stanwick seems to have been the tribal capital of the Brigantes up until the Roman conquest.


Roman Britain refers to those parts of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire between AD 43 and 410.

Yorkshire was effectively part of the Roman Empire from 71 AD to about 410 AD. Initially, Roman advances in Britain stopped at the River Don, the southern boundary of the Brigantian territory. The Templeborough area of Rotherham, just south of the Don, takes its name from the remains of the Roman fort found here. This was first built in wood c AD 55, and was later rebuilt in stone. [ [http://www.yorkshirehistory.com/romans_south_yorks.htm Yorkshire history ] ] . Queen Cartimandua, the last ruler of the Brigantes, depended on Roman support to withstand the forces of her estranged husband, Venutius. The territory remained independent until AD 69, when the Ninth Legion under Quintus Petillius Cerialis moved in to quell civil war between Cartimandua and Venutius, bringing to an end British rule in England. A fort at Danum (Doncaster), at a crossing over the River Don, was built arould AD 71 [ [http://www.localhistories.org/doncaster.html A Brief History of Doncaster ] ] . The Romans advanced along the road that ran along the Wolds from Lindum Colonia (Lincoln) and then crossed the Humber to land at Petuaria, (Brough). This was the capital settlement of the Parisii tribe.

The advancing Romans built roads northwards through the northern terrain to Eboracum (York), Derventio (Malton) and Isurium Brigantum (Aldborough) then onwards to Cataractonium (Catterick). Piercebridge in the Tees lowlands is the site of the fortified river crossing where Dere Street crossed the River Tees. York was founded in AD 71 as Eboracum, the Roman capital of Northern Britain and a fort was established there. There were still large areas of ill drained lowlands so the main routeways and settlements were built on higher ground on the Wolds and the edges of Holderness, the Vale of Pickering and the central Vales of Mowbray and York. The site of York and its access routes took advantage of the higher ground of the York moraine which crosses the vale from west to east.Within a few years of defeating the Brigantian tribe at Stanwick in AD74 the Romans had discovered and were smelting lead at Greenhow, in Nidderdale, in the Pennines as evidenced by inscribed pigs of lead found in the area. Beside the economic benefits of occupying and exploiting the raw materials of this northern region of Britain there were military reasons. The warlike Picts and Scots were kept at bay by stationing the Roman IX Legion in the area and most of the Roman settlements north of the Humber were military stations. The Romans built military settlements in the Pennines at Olicana (Ilkley), Castleshaw and Slack, which were maintained to stop insurrections by the Brigantians, and temporary Roman military camps on the North York Moors at Cawthorne and Goathland. There were, however, clusters of Roman villas around Derventio, Petuaria and in the area around present day Bridlington. cite book | last = Musgrove | first = Frank | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = The North of England. A History from Roman Times to the Present | publisher = Basil Blackwell Ltd | year = 1990 | location = Oxford | pages = | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 0631162739 | oclc = 123120612 ] A line of signal stations, one of which is located at Castle Hill, Scarborough, was built along the North Yorkshire coast warn of the approach of shipping.

In the second century Hadrians Wall was completed from the River Tyne to the shore of the Solway Firth and the military threat lessened so more civilian settlements grew to the south of the wall. In the early 3rd century York was granted the honorary rank of a Roman colony and Isurium Brigantum expanded to become the largest civilian settlement in the area. Around this time York became the Roman military capital of northern Britain, Britannia Inferior, following the province being split. When Britannia was further divided in 296, York remained the administrative centre of Britannia Secunda. Constantine the Great was crowned Roman Emperor here in 306 and it would be he who would institute Roman Christendom.

In 402AD the Roman garrison was recalled from York because of military threats in other parts of the Roman empire. Their most abiding legacy in this area is the road system which they left behind. Many modern main roads in Yorkshire, including parts of the A1, A59, A166 and A1079, still follow the routes of Roman roads.


This is the period from the departure of the Romans in about 410 AD to the start of Danish supremacy in the area in 866 AD. At the end of Roman rule in the 5th century, Northern Britain may have come under the rule of Romano-British Coel Hen, the last of the Roman-style "Duces Brittanniarum" (Dukes of the Britons). However, the Romano-British kingdom rapidly broke up into smaller kingdoms and York became the capital of the British kingdom of Ebrauc. Most of what became Yorkshire fell under the rule of the kingdom of Ebruac but Yorkshire also included territory from the kingdoms of Dunoting and Elmet, which formed at around this time as did Cravenshire.

opting to adopt the Roman system.

For the kingdom of Northumbria the Viking era opened in 793 with an attack om the monasterey at Lindesfarne. Danish Vikings crossed the North Sea to plunder the coast of Northumbria whilst Norwegians raided Orkney, the Western Isles and Ireland. Yngling King Ragnar Lodbrok led a Danish Leidang into Northumbria during the mid-9th century, but was captured and executed in a snake pit at the Anglian court. The Danes embarked on a mission of vengeance, but were also part of the greater Scandinavian imperialist movement. In 865 his eldest son Ivar the Boneless led younger sons in control of the army into landing at East Anglia, where they slew King Edmund the Martyr. After their landing in East Anglia, the Danes headed north and took York in 866, eventually conquering the whole of Northumbria and Kingdom of Strathclyde.

Early Middle Ages

This is the period from the Danish colonisation of 866 AD to the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066. After the Danish subjugation of the region, in 875 Guthrum became leader of the Danes and he apportioned lands to his followers; however most of the English population were allowed to retain their lands under the lordship of their Scandinavian conquerors. Ivar the Boneless became "King of all Scandinavians in the British were established. The ridings were arranged so that their boundaries to met at Jorvik, which was the administrative and commercial centre of the region. The Swedish Munsö dynasty became overlords of Jorvik because the Danes in Britain had promised loyalty to the Munsö Kings of Dublin, but this dynasty was focused on the Baltic Sea economy and quarrelled with the native Danish Jelling dynasty (which originated in the Danelaw with Guthrum). The Norse-Gaels, Ostmen or Gallgaidhill became Kings of Jorvik after long contests with the Danes over controlling the Isle of Man, which prompted the Battle of Brunanburh. Then, in 954, King Eric I of Norway of the Fairhair dynasty was slain at the Battle of Stainmore by Anglo-Saxons and Edred of England began overlordship.

Jorvik was the direct predecessor to the shire of York and received further Danish royal aids after the invasion and takeover of Jorvik by England, from the Munsö descendants, Sweyn II of Denmark right down to Canute IV of Denmark's martyrdom. Saint Olave's Church in York is a testament to the Norwegian influence in the area.

Middle Ages

This is the period from 1066 to the start of the Tudor dynasty in 1485. In 1066, after the death of King Edward the Confessor, Yorkshire became the stage for two major battles that would help decide who would succeed to the throne. Harold Godwinson was declared King by the English but this was disputed by Harold Hardrada King of Norway and William Duke of Normandy. In the late summer of 1066 Harold Hardrada, accompanied by Tostig Godwinson, took a large Norwegian fleet and army up the Humber towards York. [Citation | last =Churchill | first =Winston S. | author-link =Winston Churchill | publication-date =1999 | title =A History of the English-Speaking Peoples: A new one-volume abridgement by Christopher Lee | publication-place =London | publisher =Cassell | pages =65–66 | isbn =0-304-35133-4 | year =1999 | oclc =41504512] They were met by the army of the northern earls Edwin of Mercia and Morcar of Northumbria who they defeated at the Battle of Fulford. Harold Hardrada occupied York [Citation | last =Morgan | first =Kenneth O. (Ed.) |publication-date =1984 | title =The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain | publication-place =Oxford| publisher =Oxford University Press | page =102 | isbn =0-19-289326-2 | year =2000 | oclc =44694675] and the Norwegian Army encamped at Stamford Bridge. Harold Godwinson had to travel from London gathering his army as he went to face the invasion. Within five days, on the 25 September 1066, Harold Godwinson had reached Stamford Bridge and defeated the Norwegian Army in a battle in which both Harold Hardrada and Tostig Godwinson were killed.Citation | last =Churchill | first =Winston S. | author-link =Winston Churchill | publication-date =1999 | title =A History of the English-Speaking Peoples: A new one-volume abridgement by Christopher Lee | publication-place =London | publisher =Cassell | page =66 | isbn =0-304-35133-4 | year =1999 | oclc =41504512] The battle at Stamford Bridge can be seen as one of the pivotal battles in English history, it was the last time a Scandinavian army was able to seriously threaten England. On the 28 September William Duke of Normandy landed on the south coast of England forcing Harold Godwinson to rush south from Yorkshire with his army. They met at the Battle of Hastings where the English army was defeated and Harold Godwinson killed, allowing William to become King of England. King William I and the Normans did not immediately gain control over the whole of the country and rebellions in the north of England, including Yorkshire led to the Harrying of the North. During the winter of 1069-70 the Normans conducted a scorched earth campaign. Those who escaped initially hid in Yorkshire's woodland but many then died of famine or exposure. [Citation | last =Churchill | first =Winston S. | author-link =Winston Churchill | publication-date =1999 | title =A History of the English-Speaking Peoples: A new one-volume abridgement by Christopher Lee | publication-place =London | publisher =Cassell | page =70 | isbn =0-304-35133-4 | year =1999 | oclc =41504512] By 1071 the last native led rebellion against Norman authority in Yorkshire had been suppressed.cite book | last = Dalton | first = Paul | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Conquest, Anarchy and Lordship. Yorkshire, 1066 -1154 | publisher = CUP | year = 2002 | location = Cambridge | pages = | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 0521524644 | oclc = 49784998 ] The severity of the Norman campaign is shown by the fall of land values in Yorkshire by two-thirds between 1069 and 1086. [Citation | last =Morgan | first =Kenneth O. (Ed.) |publication-date =1984 | title =The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain | publication-place =Oxford| publisher =Oxford University Press | page =105 | isbn =0-19-289326-2 | year =2000 | oclc =44694675] Domesday book records that 25 continental magnates introduced into Yorkshire by the Conqueror held over 90% of the county's manors. The families who had previously held land were either deprived of their holdings or reduced to subtenants. In the early years of Norman rule the new rulers built ringwork castles. These were circular defensive enclosures formed by the construction of a bank and a ditch. Examples of which are Kippax, near Leeds and Castleton on the North York Moors. Yorkshire at this time was frontier country. It was vulnerable to attack from the north by the Scots and from across the North Sea by the Danes. Soon more complex motte and bailey castles were being built as the ruthless and ambitious barons appointed by King William to rule Yorkshire gained a hold on their territories. The parcels of land bestowed by William to his followers in Yorkshire were fewer and much larger than in more southern counties. Each was able to support a sizeable garrison in a strong castle. Large castles were established at Conisbrough, Tickhill, Pontefract, [Cite web | title =Pontefract Castle | publisher =English Heritage, Pastscape | url = http://pastscape.english-heritage.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=54370 | accessdate = 2008-05-03] Richmond [Cite web | title = Richmond Castle | publisher = English Heritage, Pastscape | url = http://pastscape.english-heritage.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=21618 | accessdate = 2008-05-03] , Middleham and Skipsea [Cite web | title = Skipsea Castle | publisher = English Heritage, Pastscape | url = http://pastscape.english-heritage.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=80781 | accessdate = 2008-05-03] and two in York. [Cite web | title = York Castle | publisher = English Heritage, Pastscape | url = http://pastscape.english-heritage.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=58151 | accessdate = 2008-05-03] At this time also was established the chain of castles across the southern edge of the North York Moors which included Scarborough, Pickering and Helmsley. [ cite web|url = http://www.duchyoflancaster.co.uk/output/page32.asp |title = History and Records of the Duchy of Lancaster |accessdate = 2008-07-20 |publisher=Duchy of Lancater Estate ] When the Normans arrived in Yorkshire there were no monastic foundations.The old Northumbrian clifftop abbey of Whitby lay in ruins. In the centuries following the Conquest splendid abbeys and priories were built in Yorkshire.The first of these was Selby Abbey, founded in 1069 and the birthplace of Henry I of England. There followed the abbeys of St Mary’s, York Rievaulx, Fountains, Whitby, Byland, Jervaulx, Kirkstall, Roche, Meaux and many other smaller establishments. During the succeeding 70 years religious orders flourished, particularly after the promotion of Thurstan of Bayeaux to the archbishopric of York in 1114. Between 1114 and 1135 at least 14 were established.

The Norman landowners were keen to increase their revenues by establishing new towns and planned villages. Among others, the boroughs of Richmond, Pontefract, Sheffield, Doncaster, Helmsley and Scarborough were established in this way as were the villages of Levisham and Appleton-le-Moors on the North York Moors [ cite web|url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/northyorkshire/content/articles/2007/02/21/medieval_villages_feature.shtml |title=Revelations of Levisham |accessdate=2008-07-20 |last=Wright |first=Katy |publisher=BBC ] and Wheldrake in the Vale of York. York was the pre-eminent centre of population before the conquest and was one of only four pre existing towns. The others included Bridlington and Pocklington.

The Danish invasions ceased at this time but the Scots continued their invasions throughout the medieval period. The Battle of the Standard was fought against the Scots near Northallerton in 1138.

During this period the majority of the Yorkshire population was engaged in small scale farming. A growing number of families were living on the margin of subsistence and some of these families turned to crafts and trade or industrial occupations. By 1300 Yorkshire farmers had reached the present day limits of cultivation on the Pennines. Both lay and monastic landowners exploited the minerals on their estates. There were forges producing iron, and lead was being mined and smelted in the northern dales. In the West Riding there were numerous small coal workings.Until the late twelfth century the cloth industry was mostly urban, focussed on York and Beverley. By 1300 the towns of Hedon, Masham, Northallerton, Ripon, Selby, Whitby and Yarm were also involved in cloth manufacture. Around this time the balance of cloth manufacturing was changing in favour of the West Riding rural communities where it was a cottage industry and free of the restrictions of town guilds.

In the early decades of the fourteenth century Yorkshire suffered from a series of poor harvests, cattle disease and plundering Scottish armies. The Black Death reached Yorkshire in the spring of 1349. The population was reduced drastically by these misfortunes and consequently more land became available for the survivors. The following decades saw the rise of relatively wealthy farming families who founded dynasties of yeomen and minor gentlemen. The large Honours that were created in Yorkshire and the North of England by William I after the Conquest made them attractive for succeeding monarchs to give to their sons to support a royal lifestyle. These honours were, in some cases, combined to form Duchies, the most notable of which were the duchies of York and Lancaster.When conflict arose between the two Dukes during the Wars of the Roses much of the fighting took place in Yorkshire, where their estates were interlocked and woven together.

The leading families in the East and West Ridings supported the House of Lancaster overwhelmingly, but in the North Riding loyalty was divided. The Nevilles of Sheriff Hutton and Middleham, the Scropes of Bolton, the Latimers of Danby and Snape, and the Mowbrays of Thirsk and Burton in Lonsdale supported the House of York. The Nevilles’ great rivals, the Percies, together with the Cliffords of Skipton, Ros of Helmsley, Greystock of Hinderskelfe, Stafford of Holderness and Talbot of Sheffield fought for the Lancastrians.
cite book | last = Hey | first = David | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = A History of Yorkshire. County of the Broad Acres | publisher = Carnegie Publishing | year = 2005 | location = Lancaster | pages = | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 1859361226 | oclc = 63391410 ]

John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster had senior influence over many people in the North of England and consequently, Yorkshiremen fought under his command in the Hundred Years' War. King Richard III of England in the House of York held early office in the Council of the North, at Middleham Castle where Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales was born.The last vestiges of feudal order remain to-date in the Duchy of Lancaster, founded by the House of Lancaster.

Both Yorkshire and Richmondshire had significant connections with Scotland and France through the personal connections of their feudal and titular Peers which may have been connected to the Auld Alliance. One must consider the historically Norse origins of Yorkshire's population, the local ties of Balliol, Bruce and Stewart monarchs of Scotland, including Scottish royal fiefdom of Northumbria at several times.(See Earl of Huntingdon)

Early Modern

This period is from 1485 to around 1800. When the Earl of Richmond became King of England in 1485 his dynasty began to systematically destroy or remove local resistance to their rule by confiscating their religious rights and economic livelihood.The unpopularity of the Welsh royals resonated in the Pilgrimage of Grace and Rising of the North.

Most locals were Cavaliers in the English Civil War and some fled to American colonies during the usurping Commonwealth of England or The Protectorate. King James II of England was owner of colonial New York as the Duke of York, as well as governor of the Hudson's Bay Company and Royal African Company.

Most locals were closet Recusant, Tory or Jacobite in orientation, not happy being used against their Gaelic neighbours. National government only began to be friendly to their tenants with a Council of the North and appointment of a Secretary of State for the Northern Department, but these were abolished upon Southerners detecting its link with independent Northern(Norse-Gael) influence on national affairs, especially in connection to the American War of Independence. Charles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond was Governor General of British North America, after his father had pioneered the peace settlement with the Americans and pressed for a "Union of Hearts" with the Irish. Irish Catholics dispossessed of their lands and experiencing discrimination at home, found a warm welcome from Yorkshiremen in the cities of the West Riding. Although Yorkshire was traditionally almost ultraconservative by English standards, most of the people became liberal in dissent from the heirs to Sophia of Hanover because of their stance on the Americans and Irish.

By 1600 Sheffield was the main centre of cutlery production in England, and in 1624 The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire was formed to oversee the trade. [cite book |last= Binfield |first= Clyde |coauthors= Hey, David |title= Mesters to Masters: A History of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire | chapter = Introduction: The Cutlers' Company and the Town | editor = Clyde Binfield and David Hey |publisher= Oxford University Press |year= 1997 |isbn= 0-19-828997-9 |oclc= 36430584 ]


This period is the 19th and 20th centuries.The Nineteenth Century was a time of rapid urbanisation and industrialisation in Yorkshire. Yorkshire was already a centre of industry in textiles, concentrated in the West Riding, Steel, continued to be concentrated around Sheffield, and the production of coal also. The worsted sector of the textile industry was the first to adapt the machinery developed by the Lancashire cotton industry and had become completely factory based by the 1860s including large horizontally integrated mills. [Citation | last = Hudson | first = Pat | publication-date = 1986 | title = The Genesis of Industrial Capital: A Study of West Riding Wool Textile Industry, c. 1750-1850 | publisher = Cambridge University Press | page = 71 | isbn = 0521890896 | year = 2002 | oclc = 185306560]

Steel production at this time involved long working hours, in unpleasant conditions that offered little or no safety protection. Friedrich Engels in his "The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844" described the conditions prevalent in Sheffield at that time. The city became one of the main centres for trade union organisation and agitation in the UK. By the 1860s, the growing conflict between capital and labour provoked the so-called 'Sheffield Outrages', which culminated in a series of explosions and murders carried out by union militants. The Sheffield Trades Council organised a meeting in Sheffield in 1866 at which the United Kingdom Alliance of Organised Trades — a forerunner of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) — was founded. [cite web |url=http://www.tuc.org.uk/the_tuc/tuc-2878-f6.cfm |title=Events that led to the first TUC |accessdate=2006-12-03 |work=TUC website ]

William Wilberforce, Member of Parliament for Hull, was a prominent abolitionist in the slave trade. The Edwardian period in Yorkshire brought the Labour Party (UK) into focus, as it tried to mobilise further reform. Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell commanded the Northern Territorial Army at Richmond Castle until 1910.

Changes in 1974

Local government in England was reformed in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972.Elcock, H, "Local Government", (1994)] Under the act, the ridings lost their lieutenancies and shrievalties and the administrative counties, county boroughs and their councils were abolished. The area of Yorkshire was divided between a number of metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties:Redcliffe-Maud & Wood, B., "English Local Government Reformed", (1974) ]

Local government

The history of local government in Yorkshire is both unique and complex, largely due to its size, being the largest historic English county.Vision of Britain - [http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/unit_page.jsp?u_id=10134640&c_id=10001043 Yorkshire ancient county] ( [http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/bound_map_page.jsp?first=true&u_id=10134640&c_id=10001043 historic map] )] After an extended period of little change, it was subject to a number of significant reforms of local government structures in the 20th century , some of which were controversial.HMSO, "Aspects of Britain: Local Government", (1996)] The most significant of these was the Local Government Act 1972Arnold-Baker, C., "Local Government Act 1972", (1973)] and the 1990s UK local government reform. It currently corresponds to several counties and districts and is mostly contained within the Yorkshire and the Humber region.

ee also

* History of England
* History of the United Kingdom


External links

* [http://www.historyofyork.co.uk History of York] : From Prehistory to modern day
* [http://www.thenortheast.fsnet.co.uk/YorkshireHistoryMap.htm Yorkshire History at the North East England History Pages]
* [http://www.yorkshirehistory.com/ A mixed bag of information related to Yorkshire History]
* [http://www.regia.org/clanivar.htm Regia's Clan Ivarr]

Further reading

*A history of Yorkshire, 'County of the Broad Acres' by David Hey, Carnegie Publishing, 2005 ISBN 1-85936-122-6

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