Our Local Historian And Our Junior Columnist Visit Two Places In York This Month

Yorkshire Museum

Last month I wrote about Monk Bar and Micklegate Bar in York, and this month I am looking at another gem in this magnificent city – the Yorkshire Museum and Gardens. This is a place that I have visited on several occasions over the years and has 2000 years of history on the land.


A Roman fort was built in approx. 70AD firstly in mud and timber and later rebuilt in stone, of which parts of the wall and tower can still be seen. It was built by the 9th legion who were garrisoned here and this is their last known destination before being sent north into Scotland and disappearing into legend. Also, in the gardens is the remains of St Mary’s Benedictine Abbey which was founded in 1086 and built up over the medieval period until the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1539. To this day it is a marvellous ruin.

Onto the museum itself which was opened in 1830, as one of the first purpose built museums in the country. It houses some of the best finds in Yorkshire including a life size statue of the Roman god of war – Mars which is one of the best preserved Roman statues found in Britain.

The Roman collection is amazing and includes artefacts of the famous 9th legion including its standard bearer’s funerary monument and a brick with the 9th’s inscription – “LEG IX HISP”. It was common place during the Roman period for legions to stamp their own bricks as they were being made, much like a ‘builders mark’.

The Viking/Anglo-Saxon collection includes the Coppergate Helmet, found in a wood lined pit in 1982 along with an iron tool and antler, glass and stone fragments. It was very nearly hit by a mechanical digger but luckily not, as it is a beautiful example of the craftsmanship of the time period with intricately carved animals on the nose piece. Another exciting find from this era is some Viking treasure the ‘Bedale Hoard’. This cache of silver ingots, neck rings and an Anglo –Saxon sword pommel was found by two metal detectorists in 2012, and was bought by the museum for £50,000!

The museum also includes medieval artefacts, such as Richard III boar badges and the exquisite Middleham Jewel which was found just outside Middleham Castle.

There is also the extinct section of the museum that contains fossils, rare and extinct taxidermy animals, and exciting dinosaur footprints that you can walk over the top of.

These are just a few examples of the wonderful artefacts on display here. I would highly recommend a visit for you to study the objects and gardens yourself!

Visit Yorkshire Museum and Gardens

Open daily from 10am – 5pm

For more information visit www.yorkshiremuseum.org.uk

Museum Street, York YO1 7FR

Barley Hall

Hi everyone, welcome to my monthly review. As I’m sure most of you know by now, each month I review somewhere to go with your children which is a good family friendly place. Last month for example I reviewed Fairburn Ings. You can read that article and many more on our website if you missed the January edition. www.yorkshirereporter.co.uk 


This month I am reviewing a historical place  …it’s Barley Hall.

Read on to find out more

Barley Hall is a historical house in York. It is from the medieval times and was first uncovered in 1987. It has been rebuilt to look how it would have done in the 1400’s when a rich man named William Snawsell lived there.

What’s there?

There are several medieval rooms which are set out how they would have been and with furniture in them that has been made using medieval techniques by special craftsmen. Because everything has been made especially for the museum, everything is hands on so you can touch and feel anything you want and sit on the chairs etc. There is a great hall with tables and chairs set out ready for a banquet, and the fireplace is in the middle of the floor!

There are other rooms too such as the store room and the parlour.


At the moment there is a Horrible Histories exhibition which children will like. It includes gory information about illnesses from the medieval times and outfits from the series.

For example, there is a plague doctor costume and also lots of herbs that were used as medicine. This is good because it is fun for children and is teaching them things at the same time. The exhibitions change each year.

Overall I think Barley Hall is good for a visit. It is not a huge place, so you couldn’t be there for the whole day but it is well worth a look. Barley Hall also run school visits, and can be hired for private events such as weddings and even medieval themed children’s parties! There is also a gift shop which sell different related merchandise.

Visit Barley Hall

Barley Hall is open every day.

Seasonal opening times are as follows:

4th November – 31st March: 10am-4pm

1st April – 3rd November : 10am-5pm

For more information visit www.barleyhall.co.uk

Barley Hall, 2 Coffee Yard, York, YO1 8AR


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