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  • 1212 A.D.

    King John sells Self-government to York

    Read More Disastrous and expensive military campaigns left King John sorely in need of funds, and one way to raise them was to allow a town’s citizens to buy the right to rule themselves.
    For £200 and three horses, in 1212 John allowed York’s citizens to collect taxes, to hold courts and appoint their own mayor.
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  • 1298 A.D.

    Edward I moves the whole Government to York

    Read More After successfully conquering Wales, Edward turned his attention to Scotland.  In 1296 he launched an expedition north of the border, using York as a military base.
    In the summer of 1298 Edward I moved the two departments at the heart of government, the Chancery and Exchequer, to the city.
    They only returned to London in 1304.  For those years, York was effectively the capital of England.
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  • 1319 A.D.

    The Scottish Attack

    Read More Both Edward I and his son Edward II treated York as a base in their campaigns against the Scots.
    The city suffered the consequences in 1319 when Scottish forces marched into the Vale of York.
    A defense force sent from the city was easily defeated by the Scots, with 3,000 casualties reported.
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  • 1349 A.D.

    The Black Death

    Read More Plague was a common feature of life in the Middle Ages but none was so virulent and devastating as the Black Death which reached York in 1349 and lasted a year.
    York had a population of perhaps 15,000 by the mid-14th century.  After the Black Death this figure could have dropped to fewer than 10,000.
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Outside the Walls

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  • 1215 A.D.

    Magna Carta

    Read More King John is widely regarded as one of England's least successful kings.  This is partly because he was ex-communicated by the Pope.  History at the time was written by the Church.  He also lost all his sovereign territories in France in a series of expensive wars.
    It was crucial for him to maintain the support of the Barons.  He agreed to a list of their demands - the Great Charter (or 'Magna Carta') which he signed in 1215. 

  • 1330 A.D.

    Black Death Hits Europe

    Read More The plague, or black death, was arguably the greatest ever disaster to hit the people of the British Isles.
    During the 1330's the disease was transmitted from Asia across to Sicily and then into northern Europe.  In 1548 the first outbreak occurred in England - it killed roughly 1/5th of the population.
    Over the following decades there were further devastating outbreaks and by the end of the century the population had been halved.

  • 1337 A.D.

    The Hundred Years' War

    Read More The Hundred Years’ War between England and France begins.

  • 1455 A.D.

    The Wars of the Roses

    Read More The Wars of the Roses were a power struggle that lasted about 30 years.  The armed conflict began when Richard of York defeated Henry VI at the Battle of St Albans in 1455.
    Although Richard had strong Yorkshire connections York didn't play a large part in the Wars, which actually took place across the country between the private armies of the nobility.