Adding to the already rich bibliography on York, David Palliser’s Medieval York, on the history of England’s second city, covers the 1,000 years from the post-Roman revival of the settlement to the end of the Middle Ages. The book compares York with other similarly sized places in Europe, in terms of its rich heritage of city walls, houses, churches, guildhalls, coinage, art, architecture, stained glass, festivities and religious drama (Fig. 1).
The book provides a survey of the city’s archaeology and history that draws on the numerous studies of particular buildings, sites, periods and themes; in addition, it accommodates much evidence found in recent years that modifies our understanding of what has been published in the past. Acknowledging that there may be more than a grain of truth in older ideas, Palliser paints a detailed picture of post-Roman York in the years 600 to 865 as a corrective to the popular idea life there after the Romans began with the Vikings. Whether discussing the medieval wool trade or ecclesiastical architecture, music, public health, religious drama, or the power struggles of the Wars of the Roses, York comes across in this book as a city state with its own distinctive culture and a proudly independent citizenry.
Medieval York 600—1540, by D M Palliser; ISBN 9780199255849; Oxford University Press, 2014