York History


Before the Roman invasion of York in AD43, Britain was ruled by a confederation of Celtic tribes known as the Brigantes. In AD71, the Roman Govenor of Britain set up a camp which became a permanent fortress. Over 300 years of Roman occupation of York ended about AD400 when Roman legions were withdrawn to serve in Gaul. In the 5th century, the Germanic tribes of the Anglo Saxons invaded the country.

Ivar the Boneless took advantage of Northumbria being in the middle of a civil war and the Vikings captured York on 1st November 866. The Viking warriors settled down to a more peaceful farming existence, and the village became a major river port, part of the extensive Viking trading routes throughout northern Europe. In the years 1056-66 York changed hands following local rebellion the defeat of the Norwegian army at Stamford Bridge. 

Over the next 300 years York grew to become the second largest city in the country and was the northern capital of England. During the 1400s, the population was declining, and the all-important wool industry was moving elsewhere. Although the Wars of the Roses (1453 - 1487) did not have a great impact on York, their aftermath did. King Edward IV never forgave York for its Lancastrian sympathies, and ruled the city harshly. Trade and manufacturing were in decline, but York's role as the social and cultural centre for wealthy northerners was on the rise.

The railway came to York in 1839, brought by an entrepreneur called George Hudson. Ten years later York was a major railway centre.