Battlefield History Tours

Battlefield History Tours
Incorporating History and Heritage tours

UK Railway Tour Tour 25 July 2018


Some of the attached photos will tell you where we are now, but first, what did we do today and how did we get here!! We had a later than usual start as we only had to go 10 miles or so to the first location, Crich Tramway Village. This village was put on our itinerary this year due to the success with last year's touring party. Frank last year wanted to visit Crich, nobody knew anything about it but when we arrived it was found to be a treasure and the same happened this year. All really liked the village with its many trams from the period 1876 to when the tram s were pensioned off in 1968. These trams have been looked after as though they were babies and all look like they just came off the showroom floor.

Firstly when we arrived most took the opportunity to take a ride on one of the trams. The ride took us up through the area where the Glory Mine was located. This mine provided much limestone for the area until the Govt decided to import it from Rumania at a cheaper rate. The diggings and machinery are still in place and maybe one day, the mine will restart. There were some special trams but a little beauty was a water tram that was used to supply water to the line to keep it clear of debris. Ken, one of the guides, told us that the Tram was a 1906 Water Wagon and came to the village in 1959. Also of interest was a catcher fitted to the underside front of the tram which was there to save people who had fallen in front of the tram. An ingenious system that, I have been informed, is still used on trams to this day.

After a few hours at Crich, we boarded our coach and headed to York, yes, that is where we are for the next 4 nights with much to see and much to do. When we arrived, some took straight to the street and headed across the bridge and into the centre of this ancient City with its narrow streets full of shops and of course its Minster, York Minster. A magnificent building that has stood here in all its magnificence since being consecrated in 1472.

York has had a verifiable Christian presence from the 4th century. The first recorded church on the site was a wooden structure built hurriedly in 627 to provide a place to baptise Edwin, King of Northumbria. Moves toward a more substantial building began in the decade of the 630s. A stone structure was completed in 637 by Oswald and was dedicated to Saint Peter. The church soon fell into disrepair and was dilapidated by 670 when Saint Wilfrid ascended to the See of York. He repaired and renewed the structure. The attached school and library were established and by the 8th century were some of the most substantial in Northern Europe.

In 741 the church was destroyed in a fire. It was rebuilt as a more impressive structure containing thirty altars. The church and the entire area then passed through the hands of numerous invaders, and its history is obscure until the 10th century. There was a series of Benedictine archbishops, including Saint Oswald of Worcester, Wulfstan and Ealdred, who travelled to Westminster to crown William in 1066. Ealdred died in 1069 and was buried in the church.

The church was damaged in 1069 during William the Conqueror's harrying of the North, but the first Norman archbishop, Thomas of Bayeux, arriving in 1070, organised repairs. The Danes destroyed the church in 1075, but it was again rebuilt from 1080. Built in the Norman style, it was 111 metres long and rendered in white and red lines. The new structure was damaged by fire in 1137 but was soon repaired. The choir and crypt were remodelled in 1154, and a new chapel was built, all in the Norman style.

The Gothic style in cathedrals had arrived in the mid 12th century. Walter de Gray was made archbishop in 1215 and ordered the construction of a Gothic structure to compare to Canterbury; building began in 1220. The north and south transepts were the first new structures; completed in the 1250s, both were built in the Early English Gothic style but had markedly different wall elevations. A substantial central tower was also completed, with a wooden spire. Building continued into the 15th century.

The Chapter House was begun in the 1260s and was completed before 1296. The wide nave was constructed from the 1280s on the Norman foundations. The outer roof was completed in the 1330s, but the vaulting was not finished until 1360. Construction then moved on to the eastern arm and chapels, with the last Norman structure, the choir, being demolished in the 1390s. Work here finished around 1405. In 1407 the central tower collapsed; the piers were then reinforced, and a new tower was built from 1420. The western towers were added between 1433 and 1472. The cathedral was declared complete and consecrated in 1472.

Tomorrow those with me will visit the National Railway Museum and we will start there with a visit to the Archive repository with the help of Peter Thorpe.


Graham Fleeton
Battlefield History Tours.


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