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Ancient Cities/Ancient Stories: Yorkshire

Yorkshire, including North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire, and West Yorkshire, along with its city York, is a culturally vibrant region in the North of England with a rich history. The area has been inhabited for thousands of years, starting with neolithic peoples who left behind monoliths and stone circles like the Thornborough Henges. Celtic tribes then took control of the land, marking their territories. The Romans later arrived, constructing roads and enforcing their laws, primarily along the Eastern coast. After the Romans left, some Celtic tribes established Kingdoms in Hen Ogledd. However, the Angles eventually took over and established their own kingdoms, including Deira and Bernicia, which later merged to form the powerful Northumbria that spanned across the entire North of England. The Vikings then arrived, establishing Danelaw and claiming the City of York as their own. Throughout its history, Yorkshire has experienced a blend of cultures, growth, battles, love, death, and worship, which has contributed to its rich cultural heritage today.

The Celts had a number of tribal territory covering Yorkshire including the Brigantes that held most of the land reaching North towards modern day Scotland and the Parisii who lived around the River Humber. The Brigantes, a Celtic tribe in England, were one of the largest and most powerful tribes in ancient Britain. They were known for their fierce resistance against Roman invasion and their strong influence in the region. They also had trade connections with other Celtic tribes and the Roman Empire, extending their influence beyond their own territories. Today, the Brigantes' legacy as a prominent Celtic tribe in England can still be seen in the region's history and culture. Their name shares the same root as the Celtic Goddess Brigantia. The Romans first arrived in Yorkshire in 71 CE, and their presence left a lasting impact on the region. One of the most notable contributions of the Romans was the establishment of Eboracum, which later became the City of York. Eboracum served as a major military and administrative center for the Romans in northern Britain. The Romans built impressive structures in York, including the iconic city walls, which still stand today. These walls were constructed to protect the city and served as a symbol of Roman power and authority. In terms of culture and society, the Romans brought their customs, language, and legal system to Yorkshire. They established a civilian settlement outside the fortress walls, where local people interacted with Roman soldiers and traders. This cultural exchange had a profound impact on the local population, influencing their way of life and introducing new ideas and practices.

When The Vikings arrived in Yorkshire much of North Eastern England, the Angles had already established their own Kingdoms and had after hundreds of Years moved from Paganism to Christianity building magnificent churches and places of worship such as York Minster.

The Viking influence in Yorkshire and the City of York was significant. Vikings, who were seafaring warriors from Scandinavia, invaded and settled in these areas during the 9th and 10th centuries. Their presence left a lasting impact on the region's culture, language, and architecture. The Vikings established trading routes, introduced new farming techniques, and they loved the City of York so much they claimed it as their Capital, naming it Jorvik. They also created Danelaw, this was a legal system that was based on Viking law and customs, and it covered much of northern and eastern England. Under Danelaw, the Vikings were able to maintain a degree of autonomy and control over the areas they had settled in, and they were able to continue practicing their own customs and traditions.

Eventually after many battles for continued power, the Kingdom of Jorvik ceased to exist. The Kingdom of Wessex rose to power and asserted control over the North, including Yorkshire, which became part of Northumbria. When the Normans arrived in England in 1066, Harold Godwinson, an Anglo-Saxon King, had successfully defeated Norwegian King Harald Haradrada ending Viking reign in England. He sent his tired army down to Hastings to meet with William the Conqueror and well, you know how that ended! The Normans won, and that was the end of Anglo-Saxons and Vikings ruling in England.

Other Notable mentions: Goodmanham, All Hallows Church

The All Hallows Church has an intriguing connection to pagan history. Legend has it that the church was constructed on the grounds of a pagan temple that was burned to the ground by a priest called Coifi in around 627 CE. King Edwin of Northumbria wanted to convert to Christianity and asked his advisors and his high Priest Coifi. Coifi declared he would turn his back on his old ways, burn the temple down as a symbol of dedication to Christianity and convert the King. It is a story described by Bede as a significant turning point in History for Northern England, for this moment, in the shadow of a burning Pagan temple, was Christianity becoming the Religion of the North finally after so long.

Rudston Monolith

The Rudston Monolith in Yorkshire is a remarkable ancient standing stone that holds great historical and cultural significance. Located in the village of Rudston, East Yorkshire, this monolith is one of the tallest standing stones in Britain, standing at an impressive height of approximately 7.6 meters (25 feet). The monolith is believed to date back to the Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age, making it over 4,000 years old. It is thought to have been erected as a ceremonial or religious monument by the early inhabitants of the area. The stone is positioned in the churchyard of All Saints Church, which adds to its unique and intriguing nature. The stone is weathered and worn, bearing the marks of centuries of exposure to the elements. Its surface is covered in lichens and moss, adding to its ancient and mystical aura.

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