Last weekend we found ourselves in beautiful York for a wedding of two close friends. They had chosen The Hospitium in the York Museum Gardens, an intimate 14th century, two-storey building which was the perfect setting for their ceremony, dinner and dancing.
The next day, we met up with some family for a stroll around the centre of York, which is one of our favourite cities (and, for once, we weren’t there to sing!). The day started as every Sunday should [apparently], with tea – and this time we went all out at Betty’s. Yes, we probably should have gone to Harrogate, but this Southerner had never experienced Betty’s at all and was too excited to wait any longer. It lived up to the hype: silver teapots, cosy corners and very good tea.
We walked down the cobbled streets to explore some of the less well-known attractions, with the Minster still always in sight around the corner.
Our destination was Treasurer’s House, a National Trust property (of course!) with a fascinating history. Originally three separate houses, wealthy industrialist and collector Frank Green redesigned the house in the late 1900s to incorporate different architectural styles and periods. The medieval style hall, where he ripped out the upper storey to give a much older feel, contains a number of Roman columns, as the house is built on the site of a Roman road. It is also apparently in possession of a number of ghosts, most famously in 1953 when a young plumber [in a remarkably credible story] spotted a legion of Roman soldiers walking below the house level, on what would have been the road. (Although we went on a tour to the basement, we didn’t spot much except for some rather enviable wine storage…)
In other parts of the house, a heavy Georgian influence can be seen, such as in the drawing room. Frank Green was hugely particular, and had studs placed in the floor to ensure furniture was always kept in the correct position. His was the first house given to the National Trust complete with all its contents, but he also elicited a promise from the National Trust that nothing would be changed, otherwise he would return to haunt the building (perhaps related to some of the spooky goings-on).
Emerging back into the afternoon sunshine, we were thrilled to see that the scaffolding on the East end of York Minster has come down (this was last December, but we hadn’t been back since!) after a 12-year restoration project. It reveals the Great East window, the largest single expanse of medieval stained glass in the country – definitely worth waiting for…
York Minster is one of our favourite cathedrals in the country, particularly when framed by trees and glinting in the sunshine.
We didn’t really want to leave and drive back to London – definite Sunday night blues ensued. Hopefully not long until our next weekend away! [We definitely need to visit York again soon since we didn’t have time for the National Railway Museum…]