York was a dangerous, intriguing, colourful, smelly and thrilling place to be for much of the Middle Ages. It was a place in its prime and many of the city’s characteristic buildings date from this period.
Perhaps surprisingly, York developed into a bustling international port. The merchants grew wealthier and won the right to govern the city themselves.
York’s strategic and political importance burgeoned until the city briefly became the country’s capital and the second home for successive kings.
This was also a time of great religious devotion and of great creativity, when the stonemasons and stained glass artists contrived to build one of the great cathedrals of the world, while the streets echoed to the first performances of the Mystery Plays.