YORKSHIRE - GOD'S OWN COUNTY

 


Hello! I'm your web guide to Yorkshire, as I see it: Yorkshire Places & Yorkshire Places Blog.
HALINA KING
I come from, and live in, the lovely Pontefract villages of South Elmsall and South Kirkby, which have a rich history of their own and are situated out in the Yorkshire countryside, somewhere in the middle of Barnsley, Castleford, Doncaster and Wakefield.

I hope that after visiting my web site, you will want to pay parts of this lovely county a visit; it's worth a day at least, just to explore York, which is renowned for its exquisite architecture, quaint cobbled streets, the city walls and the York Minster; when you need a break you can simply watch the world go by while having a drink by the river Ouse.

The county of Yorkshire was so named as it is the Shire, administrative area or county, of the City of York, i.e York's Shire; the name York comes from the Viking name for the city, Jórvík and Shire is from Old English, scir, meaning administrative region.

Brass Bands, Flat Caps, the Beef and Dripping Sandwich, Pie and Peas, Whippet Racing, Wrinkled Stockings, Yorkshire Puddings & Yorkshire Terriers; these are just a few of the umpteen cliches associated with "God's Own County", but what exactly is it about Yorkshire, an historic county of northern England, that makes it the proudest county in the UK?

It could be related to the fact that Yorkshire is so large, at around 6,000 square miles,15,000 square kilometers, in area, with an approximate population of over 5,000,000; it is the largest county in the UK and is made up of four other counties.

Yorkshire's sub-counties are the East Riding of Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire; so sprawling is Yorkshire that it is also divided into three ridings: North Riding, East Riding and West Riding, each has its own identity and is in its own right larger than many of the UK's other counties.

Yorkshire is a beautiful and historic county located in northern England; it contains areas which are widely considered to be amongst the greenest in England, such as the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

The emblem of Yorkshire is the white rose of the English royal House of York and the most commonly used flag is a White Rose on a dark blue background; this flag, after many years of use, was finally recognised by the Flag Institute on the 29th July 2008.

Yorkshire has sometimes been nicknamed God's Own County and many believe it should now be recognised as a country in its own right; it even has its own special day, Yorkshire Day, which is held on the 1st August; it is a celebration of the general culture of Yorkshire, ranging from its history to its own dialect.

In Yorkshire you will find the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks and part of the Peak District National Park.

Nidderdale and the Howardian Hills are designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Spurn Point, Flamborough Head and the coastal North York Moors are designated Heritage Coast areas and are noted for their scenic views with rugged cliffs such as the jet cliffs at Whitby, the limestone cliffs at Filey and the chalk cliffs at Flamborough Head, and Moor House is one of England's largest national nature reserves.

Spurn Point is a narrow, 3 miles (4.8 km) long sand spit; it is a National Nature Reserve owned by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and is noted for its cyclical nature whereby the spit is destroyed and recreated approximately once every 250 years.

Scarborough is Britain's oldest seaside resort dating back to the spa town-era in the 17th century, while Whitby has been voted as the United Kingdom's best beach, with a "postcard-perfect harbour".

Yorkshire is drained by several rivers:

In western and central Yorkshire the many rivers empty their waters into the River Ouse which reaches the North Sea via the Humber Estuary; the most northerly of the rivers in the Ouse system is the River Swale, which drains Swaledale before passing through Richmond and meandering across the Vale of Mowbray; next, draining Wensleydale, is the River Ure, which joins the Swale east of Boroughbridge; the River Nidd rises on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and flows along Nidderdale before reaching the Vale of York.

The Ouse is the name given to the river after its confluence with the Ure at Ouse Gill Beck; the River Wharfe, which drains Wharfedale, joins the Ouse upstream of Cawood.

The Rivers Aire and Calder are more southerly contributors to the River Ouse and the most southerly Yorkshire tributary is the River Don, which flows northwards to join the main river at Goole.

In the far north of the county the River Tees flows eastwards through Teesdale and empties its waters into the North Sea downstream of Middlesbrough.

The smaller River Esk flows from west to east at the northern foot of the North York Moors to reach the sea at Whitby.

The River Derwent rises on the North York Moors, flows south then westwards through the Vale of Pickering then turns south again to drain the eastern part of the Vale of York; it empties into the River Ouse at Barmby on the Marsh.

To the east of the Yorkshire Wolds the River Hull flows southwards to join the Humber Estuary at Kingston upon Hull.

The western Pennines are served by the River Ribble which drains westwards into the Irish Sea close to Lytham St Annes.

The Culture:

The culture of the people of Yorkshire is an accumulated product of various different civilisations who have directly controlled its history, including; the Celts (Brigantes and Parisii), Romans, Angles, Norse Vikings and Normans amongst others.

The people of Yorkshire are immensely proud of their county and local culture and it is sometimes suggested they identify more strongly with their county than they do with their country.

Yorkshire people have their own distinctive dialect known as Tyke, which some have argued is a fully fledged language in its own right.

Amongst Yorkshire's unique traditions is the Long Sword dance, a traditional dance not found elsewhere in England.

The most famous traditional song of Yorkshire is On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at ("On Ilkley Moor without a hat"), it is considered the unofficial anthem of the county.

Cuisine:

The traditional cuisine of Yorkshire, in common with the North of England in general, is known for using rich tasting ingredients, especially with regard to sweet dishes, which were affordable for the majority of people; there are several dishes which originated in Yorkshire, or are heavily associated with it:

Yorkshire Pudding - This savoury batter dish, is by far the best known of Yorkshire foods and is commonly served with roast beef, vegetables and gravy to form part of the Sunday roast.

Yorkshire Curd Tart - This curd tart recipe, which has been around since at least the 1750s is unique because of its use of rosewater.

Parkin - This sweet ginger cake is different from standard ginger cakes in that it includes oatmeal and treacle.

Gingerbread - This is an unusual form of gingerbread due to having a layer of crystallised ginger in the middle, rather than an essence of ginger or ginger shavings.

Wensleydale Cheese - This is often eaten as an accompaniment to sweet foods; the Wensleydale pastures give the cheese the unique flavour for which it is renowned.

Ginger Beer - This drink flavoured with ginger, came from Yorkshire in the mid 1700s; the original recipe required only ginger, sugar, water, lemon juice and a fungal-bacteria symbiote known as the ginger beer plant; it only requires a few days of fermentation to turn the mixture into ginger beer.

Forced Rhubarb - This type of Rhubarb has now been added to the UK list of legally protected names; it is grown in a nine square mile (23 kilometres squared) triangle area in West Yorkshire, known as the Rhubarb Triangle, the triangle is located between Wakefield, Morley & Rothwell and is famous for producing early forced rhubarb.

Pontefract Cakes - These were originally known as "Pomfret" cakes after the old Norman name for Pontefract; they are a type of small, roughly circular black sweet measuring approximately 2 cm in diameter and 4 mm thick; they are made of Liquorice and originally manufactured in the Yorkshire town of Pontefract; this sweet was first created by George Dunhill from Pontefract, who in the 1760s thought to mix the liquorice plant with sugar.

Historically, the early inhabitants of Yorkshire were Celts, who formed two separate tribes, the Brigantes and the Parisii:

The Brigantes controlled territory which would later become all of the North Riding of Yorkshire and the West Riding of Yorkshire; the tribe controlled most of Northern England and more territory than any other Celtic tribe in England; that they had the Yorkshire area as their heartland is evident in that Isurium Brigantum, now known as Aldborough, was the capital town of their civitas under Roman rule.

The Parisii who controlled the area that would become the East Riding of Yorkshire, may have been related to the Parisii of Lutetia Parisiorum inGaul (known today as Paris, France); their capital was at Petuaria close to the Humber estuary.

The Roman conquest of Britain began in 43 AD, however the Brigantes remained in control of their kingdom as a client state of Rome for an extended period, reigned over by the Brigantian monarchs Cartimandua and her husband Venutius; initially, this situation suited both the Romans and the Brigantes who were known as the most militant tribe in Britain.

The Romans, under general Petillius Cerialis, conquered the Brigantes in 71 AD and the fortified city of Eboracum, now known as York, was named as the capital of Britannia Inferior and joint-capital of all Roman Britain.

York was the Viking Kingdom of Jórvík: An army of Danish Vikings, the Great Heathen Army as its enemies often referred to it, invaded Northumbrian territory in 866 AD; the Danes conquered and assumed what is now modern day York and renamed it Jórvík, making it the capital city of a new Danish kingdom under the same name.

The Danes went on to conquer an even larger area of England which afterwards became known as the Danelaw; but whereas most of the Danelaw was still English land, albeit in submission to Viking overlords, it was in the Kingdom of Jórvík that the only truly Viking territory on mainland Britain was ever established.

The Black Death reached Yorkshire by 1349, killing around a third of the population.

The House of York and the Wars of the Roses:

Yorkist king Richard III grew up at Middleham; when King Richard II was overthrown in 1399, antagonism between the House of York and the House of Lancaster, both branches of the royal House of Plantagenet, began to emerge.

Eventually the two houses fought for the throne of England in a series of civil wars, commonly known as the Wars of the Roses; some of the battles took place in Yorkshire, such as those at Wakefield and Towton, the latter of which is known as the bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil; Richard III was the last Yorkist king.

Henry Tudor of the House of Lancaster, defeated and killed Richard at the Battle of Bosworth Field; he then became King Henry VII and married Elizabeth of York daughter of Yorkist Edward IV, ending the wars.

The two roses of white and red, emblems of the Houses of York and Lancaster respectively, were combined to form the Tudor Rose of England.

Yorkshire was divided into three ridings and the Ainsty of York; the term 'riding' is of Viking origin and derives from Threthingr meaning a third part; the three ridings in Yorkshire were named the East Riding, West Riding and North Riding; the East and North Ridings of Yorkshire were separated by the River Derwent and the West and North Ridings were separated by the Ouse and the Ure/Nidd watershed.

In 1974 the three ridings of Yorkshire were abolished and York which had been independent of the three ridings, was incorporated into the new county called North Yorkshire.

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Yorkshire The lovliest and largest county in all of Great Britain, with Yorkshire national Parks.