In transcribing the following paragraphs from the Internet Archive online version, I have expanded the abbreviations for easier reading. — George P. Landow]

YORK [British, Caer Effioc; Latin, Eboracum], a city, England, capital county of same name, 172 miles north-northwest of London, and 58 miles east-northeast of Manchester, pleasantly situated in a wide and fertile vale, at the continence of the Foss with the Ouse, which is here crossed by a splendid bridge, and at the junction of the main lines and different branches of the York and North Midland, and the York, Newcastle and Berwick railways. It consists of the city proper, and of suburbs, situated chiefly across the Foss, and communicating with it by several bridges. The city, embracing a circuit of nearly 3 miles, is inclosed by ancient walls, originally Roman, but restored by Edward I. and partly repaired in recent times; is entered by four principal gates of imposing structure; and is built for the most part in narrow irregular streets, often lined with houses of very antique appearance. The work of improvement, however, has been rapidly carried on, and while many of the older parts of the city have been modernized, many handsome ranges of building have risen up, both within it and the suburbs. By far the finest quarter is near the centre, where a spacious thoroughfare, called Parliament Street, is terminated at one extremity by Sampson Square, and at the other by the Pavement, in which the markets are held.

York Cathedral. West Front. Drawn by J. L. Williams. Click on image to enlarge it.

Principal Buildings

Among public edifices, the great object of attraction is the Minster or Cathedral, which dates from the 7th century, hut did not begin to assume its present form till 1171, and was not completed till 1472. It is built in the form of a cross, with a square massive tower rising from the intersection to the height of 235 ft., and two other lofty towers of graceful proportion, 190 ft., flanking a gorgeous and richly decorated western front. This front is divided by panelled buttresses into three compartments, of which that in the centre is chiefly occupied by a beautiful window and a splendid portal, forming the principal entrance. Measured without the walls, the whole length, from East to West, is 524 feet, and the width across the transepts North to South, 222 feet; length, from W. door to choir, 264 feet; length of choir, 102 ft.; breadth of body and side aisles, 109 feet.

The impression produced by the external building is fully sustained by the interior, which consists chiefly of a lofty nave, separated from its aisles by long ranges of finely clustered columns, a still loftier choir, lighted by a magnificent and beautifully painted window, and a lady-chapel continuing the choir, and containing some beautiful monuments. This noble ecclesiastical edifice, the largest and finest of which England can boast, recently sustained serious damage, and narrowly escaped total destruction from fire, caused in 1829 by an incendiary lunatic, and in 1840 by the negligence of a workman. The chapter-house, entered from the north transept of the cathedral, is in the form of a richly decorated octagon, and near it is a fine old chapel, originally forming part of the old archiepiscopal [sic] palace, and now appropriated to the library.

St. Mary’s Abby, York. From Churton’s Monastic Remains of Yorkshire.

Besides the cathedral. York possesses many other churches, some of which, if not eclipsed by it, might deserve, special notice; various Dissenting chapels, and collegiate, free grammar schools, blue coat. gray-coat, and other schools. Other buildings and establishments of note are an ancient Gothic guildhall, and spacious adjoining mansion-house; the fine old ruins of St. Mary's abbey, and near it the elegant rooms and valuable museum of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society; the shower and swimming baths in the same locality; the castle, occupied as assize-courts and county-prison; a large modern felons’ jail, a merchants’ hall, assembly-room, considered one of the finest in the kingdom; concert room, theatre, lecture-hall, cemetery, railway-station, lunatic and blind asylinm. dispensary, county-hospital, almshouses, and numerous other charities.

Manufacturing and Commerce

The manufactures are not important, but include to some extent iron-castings, leather, combs, gloves, nnd confectionery very extensively. The trade, though possessing unlimited means of communication, partly by water but chiefly by rail, is mostly local.

The History of the City and Its Most Famous Citizens

The origin of York is so ancient as to be almost lost in fable. Under the Romans it became the British metropolis, and. after their departure, so far retained its importance, as to become the capital of Northumbria, whose king, Edwin, in 624 made it an archiepiscopal see. In the 8th century its diocesan school attracted students not only from all parts of the kingdom, but from France and Germany, and sent out scholars who afterwards acquired an European fame. In aftertimes it makes a distinguished figure in almost all the great epochs and events of English history. As a borough it is governed by a lord-mayor, 12 aldermen, and 36 councillors; and sends two members to Parliament.

Among its distinguished natives are the Roman emperor, Constantine the Great, and Alcuin, the pupil of Bede, and tutor to the family of Charlemagne; Dr. Porteus, Bishop of London; Sir T. Herbert, the Oriental traveller; Flaxman, the sculptor; a William Etty, the painter. Pop. 40,359.


Blackie, Walker Graham. The Imperial Gazetteer: A General Dictionary of Geography, Physical, Political, Statistical and Descriptive. 4 vols. London: Blackie & Son, 1856. Internet Archive online version of a copy in the University of California Library. Web. 7 November 2018.

Last modified 25 April 2019