Today’s stop is in York. A few years before my characters’ visit, The York Minister, the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter, had been set on fire. Lisle & Olivia arrive at a time when the rebuilding was not yet under way.
The following excerpt is fromThe Cathedral Church of York: a description of its fabric
and a brief history of the archi-episcopal see, by A. Clutton-Brock. 1899
~~~~~ On the 2nd February 1829, Jonathan Martin, a brother of the apocalyptic painter, John Martin, and a religious maniac, hid himself during evening service behind the tomb of Archbishop Greenfield in the north transept, and when the church was shut up for the night set fire to the choir. The flames were not extinguished until the stalls, the organ, and the vault had been entirely destroyed. The actual stonework and carving of the choir were considerably injured, and the glass of the great east window itself only just avoided destruction. Martin escaped through a window of the transept, but was quickly captured, and discovered to be insane. The restoration,[Pg 45] carried on by Smirke, was begun in 1832, and on the whole was fairly done. At any rate, the authorities of the minster may console themselves with the knowledge that it was absolutely necessary. The stalls were a reproduction, as exact as possible, of the old woodwork, but the design of the throne and pulpit are original, and not successful. The cost of the restoration was £65,000, most of which was contributed by subscription. Timber, to the value of £5000, was given by the State, and Sir Edward Vavasour, following the example of his ancestor of the fourteenth century, supplied the stone.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.