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One of the most ancient and interesting cities in England, one that had a name hundreds of years before London was known, and which probably took its title from the river which runs through its midst, is that of York. Some believe it was founded by Agricola the Roman ; but more, that it was a city of importance when invaded by the Romans. It is established beyond question, however, that Hadrian with his six legions garrisoned here while making his Caledonian conquests. Relics have been found showing that after his return to Rome, York was still occupied by his troops as a stronghold. At the commencement Vol. XIV.—26
of the second century, Severus, with his two sons, his whole court, and an immense army, came into this part of Britain. He made York his centre of action while he moved upon the native tribes of the North, and built an enormous wall across from the German to the Irish Sea. For several years he made the imperial palace of this city his abode. Here he reigned and died; here his sons with their own hands burned-his body, and tenderly placed his ashes in a sacred urn. Here Caracalla murdered his brother Geta that he might become sole master of this empire. Here Constantius turned his steps, and became emperor till
At the close of his reign the Roman power began to wane, and was overcome by the Picts and Scots. These were assisted by the Saxon*, who destroyed the remnant of the Romans, and soon after turned their force against the native Britains. So came a series of defeats and victories until the heptarchy wan established. This renowned city seemed to be the centre of these struggles, and at length became the capital of the shire which bears its name. It was a beautiful and favorite city, and foreigners looked upon it with covetous eyes. In the tenth century, Harfraga, King of Norway, invaded this region and captured the fair city. Hal William the Conqueror soon wrenched it from his grasp at the famous battle of Hastings. The Conqueror erected in the city two massive and costly castles, and barracked within them a strong force of Norman soldiers. Insurrections fallowed and continued, till York was laid waste and the surrounding country was well-nigh made desolate. Afterward the city fell into the hands of the Scots.
In the reign of Henry II. the first Parliament was held here. Even then York continued to be the seat of strifes and rebellions. The terrible massacre of fifteen hundred Jews in its castle, the While Battle, in which so many monks were slain,
ship was less than three hundred dollars. It could not now be done for ten times that sum.
The Canton Tower is the highest part of the minster, measuring from the pavement to the top two hundred and thirteen feet. It is surmounted with battlements, and ornamented with tabernacle work. It is not mounted with pinnacles, and in its present aspect makes the whole exterior look somewhat sunken and deformed. Had this been built up fifty feet higher, corresponding in style with the front towers, it would have added greatly to the external harmony and completeness. Entering the same from the west, and at once the most majestic view is presented down the long vista bounded by massive pillars, niches filled with statues, numerous pointed arches, and terminated by the wonderful window of the east. Advancing to the centre, and we have a fine view of the interior of the tower with its lofty windows, more than thirty feet high and sixteen wide. In front is the organ screen, with highly-wrought coverings. In the lower compartments are statues of kings from William the Conqueror to Henry VI., dressed in their royal costumes. The transepts with the aisles correspond in style with the nave. The
present century. Many of the decorations have been removed from their niches by the ravages of organ behind the screen cannot well be passed by time. The south entrance is also very imposing, aid more highly ornamented. Its arches are acutely pointed, and its pillars quite slender. Its marigold window attracts special notice, and receives merited admiration. The east front, too, has a splendid window of the perpendicular style. It is twenty feet long and thirty-two wide. For masonry and ancient glazing it is thought to be un equaled. It is divided into some two hundred sections, containing delineations of f, certain events of sacred »» — history. This window was executed by one man, taking him three years. As
a contrast between the wages of the fourteenth unnoticed, as its proportions are in keeping with and the nineteenth century, we might state that the vastness round it. It has some seventy stops the whole cost of this elegant piece of workman- and seven thousand pipes, the largest of which is
thirty two feet long and one foot in diameter. Its grand tones are said to harmonize with the place. The choir is now used for religious service. This is finished with finely-carved oak. Religious exercises are now held in this consecrated pile every day, and on the Sabbath from the high altar some archbishop discourses to his faithful adherents. Under the choir is the crypt,
and princes have been entombed here, though they possessed not that true greatness which vitalizes history. The melodious peal of the twelve'' bells in the towers attract special notice. They strike the hours of the day, sending their strong, deep tones far and wide over the city and the plain. The largest bell weighs twelve tons, and measures eight and a half feet across the mouth. The oaken stock on which it rests weighs three tons. It has appropriately been called the "monster bell." From the north Iran sept we pass through a vestibule into the Cleopatra House. Doors, walls, mouldings and windows are all beautifully decorated. The Cleopatra House is octagonal in form, having seven sides occupied with high, lanceolate windows, Pentworth marble columns bearing strangely-wrought capitals. The height of the central base from the floor" is nearly seventy feet, and the di uactef of the building is more than sixty feet. What is remarkable in this construction is the ceiling being without any pillaHn the centre for its support. For Gothic style and beauty this building has scarcely been surpassed. Upon the wall at its entrance is this singular but not inappropriate inscription:
As the rose is the chief of flowers,
In connection with the minster there are side chapters in which are numerous antiquities. Among these are the ancient chair in which several of the Saxon kings were crowned, a large pastoral staff of silver, which Catherine of Portugal presented to her confessor, Cardinal Smith, and also the old Bible that was formerly chained to the read ing-post in the minster, bearing date 1611. We have not space to give in detail an account of all there is in this ancient cathedral. It must be seen; it must be studied to be appreciated. After one has been round it, through it, and upon it, he will pronounce it one of the grandest of its kind; he will be prepared to see it, then, as the majestic symbol of thought, the finest expression of genius. At once it becomes the real of the ideal, the outgrowth of desire and spiritual life. Looking at these vast monuments in this light, we discover they are the exponents of the Christian life. Though their walls of stone crumble, yet they clearly reveal to us that mind which conceived them and piled them up endures; that Christianity is vital and immortal.
We cannot bid farewell to York without referring to the next place of special attraction, its Museum, or Roman Ruins. These are grounds of some acres in extent, full of interest to the antiquarian. On entering the grounds, just at the right the crumbling remains of a Roman tower meet the eye. Its full history cannot be known; but its broken pillars, partly-buried arches, and the numerous coins which have been found about i' plainly show that it was an important object in olden times. A short distance from this are the ruins of St.'Mary's Abbey. These are venerable and picturesque indeed. Some of the arches over the doors and windows are preserved quite perfect, and are really considered fine works of art. From what is now visible, it is likely that this was a massive structure. To the west of this door, by the Ouse, stands the Hospitium of the Abbey. This has been in a measure restored, and is now occupied as a museum for preserving the relics which have been found in and about York. It contains Roman tombstones, coffins, urns, carvings and in scriptions. There one may see almost as much of the old Romans as in Rome itself. And yet there is still life among these decaying ruins. The birds find shelter in their nooks, singing their songs, and the ivy embraces them with its grace and greenness.
A new museum building has been erected in these grounds, which contains good collections in
the departments of botany, geology, and mineralogy. It has the fossil of the largest Ichthyosaurus which has ever been found. It was dug out of
The Cathedral Of York.
the earth in Yorkshire. Another rare specimen is the skeleton of a large bird, the Ditwrnis robustus, which was found in New Zealand upon her nest with three young ones, and one egg under her, all fossilized. The egg is a foot long and