One of the most unusual English Heritage properties can be found in York, it’s called York Cold War Bunker. Considering it was decommissioned in 1991, it’s very different than the castles and abbeys we can see in the English Heritage booklet. This is not the first bunker we visit, as we’ve been to Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker a few years ago.
The bunker can be visited only with a guided tour. I think that is the best way to see the bunker.
Unlike other bunkers, this one had a different purpose. Bomb strikes would have been mapped and coordonates would have been sent to the HQ bunkers where the important decisions were made. It is preserved as it was when it closed in 1991.
At the York Cold War Bunker, group 20 of the Royal Observer Corps (ROC).
60 people would have been in the bunker for 30 days. It wasn’t a place for saving people, but for getting data and transmitting it. 120 people would have been trained to work in the bunker, but only 60 would have been able to get in, the first ones to arrive. The rest would have been left out, people were expendable and everybody was aware that this was the situation. After the 30 days they had to work in the bunker, the doors would have open regardless of the situation that was outside. Sounds bleak and cruel, but it had a vital role if the WWIII would have started.
The situation in the bunker wasn’t meant to be pleasant. Water was scares and people wouldn’t have been able to shower. They all would have slept in the same beds, in 8 hours shifts. They had a generator that had enough fuel for the 30 days.
As my husband and I both work from home, we don’t have the opportunity to have drinks after work. Dressing up and going out is more a date or a night out than drinks after work. I wanted to take advantage of our time away with work in Harrogate earlier this month and we said we should go out for drinks at an old pub, exactly after finishing our day. I searched for an old pub and I picked Ye Olde Starre Inne, an 17th century pub in York.
Ye Olde Starre Inne is the oldest licensed pub in York, established in 1644. During the siege in 1644 the pub was used as a hospital. In 1662 it was purchased for £250 by Thomas Wyville. In 1792 the landlord Thomas Bulmer put a sign on Stonegate and he paid a rent for it, I think that was a really new way of advertising, I have a picture of it at the end of the post.
In 1803 the pub was sold again for £850. Today the pub is owned by Taylor Walker.
On the same day we went to Helmsley Castle, we also visited Rievaulx Abbey, a Cistercian abbey in north Yorkshire. A few years ago I went to Fountains Abbey, see my post, and I learned about the Cisterians in a guided tour. Beside the ruins, at Rievaulx Abbey there is also a museum, a gift shop and a cafe. My husband and I had a lovely time and the museum is very interesting, we saw things we didn’t see before.
Rievaulx Abbey was founded in March 1132 and it was the first Cistercian abbey established in the north of England. In 1160s, at its peak, there were 650 people living at the abbey. As with most monasteries, it was suppressed in 1538.
The Cistercians were an order that descended from the Benedicts in late 1000s, they put emphasis on an austere life and followed the rules set out for monastic life by St Benedict in the 6th century. The Benedicts at that time made the rules less austere, as it happened with the Cistericians in the end too.
The most famous abbot was Abbot Aelred, in 1150-1160s. During his time as abbot, the abbey had 140 monks and 500 lay brothers. A Church was built in the 13th century. In the 14th century the lay brothers almost entirely disappeared from the community, and labour had to be hired. Rievaulx Abbey was shut down on 3 December 1538, when only 23 monks were living at the abbey. The abbey was sold and the roof was stripped of lead. The new owner develops a substantial ironworks that continues for about a century. 50 years later the abbey was sold to a lawyer from London, Sir Charles Duncombe. Duncombe built a new home nearby and his nephew created a terrace above the abbey, they can be visited too. That brought a lot of visitors on the area in the 18th century, including artists.
After this romantic period, when the abbey was a centre for artists inspired by the ruins, in the 19th century preservation was more important. In 1917 The Office of Works take the ruins into guardianship. Some renovations were made to the abbey with veterans from WWI.
On our trip to Yorkshire, we went to see Helmsley Castle which is part of English Heritage. The castle is near Rievaulx Abbey, we went there too and I will blog about that abbey these days. There is a scenic walk from Helmsley Castle to Rievaulx Abbey, but it was a bit cold, so we’ve decided to go with the car.
The wooden castle was built in early 12th century by Walter l’Espec. After his death, his sister and her husband converted the castle in stone in 1186. They built two main towers, the round corner towers and the main gateway. After his death, the castle was inherited by his son who built the chapel in the courtyard. The following owners added new walls and upgraded the castle.
In 1478, Edmund de Roos sold the castle to Richard, Duke of Gloucester, that will be King Richard III. After the death of Richard III in 1485, Henry VII gave the castle back to Edmund de Roos. During the years the castle was modified and upgraded as most castles were.
During the Civil War, the castle was besieged in 1644 for three months before surrendering. At the moment, the castle is still owned by the Feversham family, but it’s in the care of English Heritage.
My quest for finding old and beautiful pubs brought me to The Bingley Arms in Yorkshire. It’s near Leeds and it’s officially the oldest in Britain, set in the Guinness Book of Records. It dates back over 1000 years, when the Vikings were still conquering parts of the country and even before England had its first King. The pub is big and it was very busy, so I don’t have a lot of pictures with the whole room, but only with details.
The Bingley Arms was known as The Priests Inn a few hundreds of years ago. Its history dates back to 953AD when Samson Ellis brewed in the central part of the building. There is evidence that it might have been even older, as it was built before a nearby church that dates from 950.
The Priests Inn was a popular spot for travelling monks to rest. Later it was used by stagecoach passengers for a meal and the adjoining buildings were used as stables for weary horses. In the chimney there are two priest holes after the Dissolution in 1539.
March is always an exciting month. It was Women’s Day, a day quite important for me. I went to Volair SPA for a massage, it was a great way to celebrate the day. On 1st it was martisor, a Romanian tradition that involves women getting presents (amazing, right?) and I received a wonderful gecko necklace from my husband. I’ve read 5 more books, very interesting all of them. I watched Crufts and that is always fun, I enjoyed it, even though I have different ideas when it comes to some of the things mentioned in their discussions.
In March I’ve tried to eat 10 portions of fruit and veggies each day for a week and I managed it. I also have an amazing giveaway, so don’t miss it: Chalkboard bundle.
The weather starts to get nicer and manor houses are opened for the new season. We went to Turton Tower. I can’t wait to start crossing things from my bucket list. I already went to Design Museum in London, but I have many more beautiful places to see. It’s really exciting. Now I’m away, as you might have seen on Instagram.
Tried Malaysian Food at Fred’s Ale House by Malay Street Food. I enjoyed the food a lot, all vegan. It was the first time I tried Seitan, that sounds strange considering I’ve been vegetarian for so many years. I loved it so much that I’m going to make it at home.
The first dish was a fish-type made with Seitan and seaweed. It really had a fishy taste, as much as I can remember it. The second dish had peanuts and I loved it. The third dish was a ramen with Chinese sauces. It was very interesting. I had only Japanese ramen before and it’s quite different. For dessert I had fruit sorbet, so good and a perfect way to finish the meal.
In March I read 5 books, the first 4 books in The Cousins’ War series by Philippa Gregory and a book about Fermat’s Last Theorem.
I’ll start my post with the first 4, as I loved them so much. I only planned to read 2 of them, but I was so eager to read another page and another chapter that I finished the books much faster. I have two more books in this series, after that I will continue with The Tudor Court series.
The books are fictional, but follow the historical truth. As I didn’t study in UK, most facts were new to me. I imagine the 1400s history was taught in school. Even if you know the history and how “it ends up”, the books are still exciting to read. After reading each book, I looked online for more information. I would gladly read them again.