A final trip round the service area and then onwards. First stop was Pontefract/Featherstone and the house Dad was born in. We also saw his grandad’s old place, but it had changed so much it was almost unrecognizable. We drove around a bit more and saw a second house where him & grandma lived, a lot has changed dad said, probably because the area was re-engineered to admit cars. We also went up to North Featherstone cemetary where both dad’s grandfathers are buried, Tom and Fanny Keenan as well as James (their son) and his wife Emily.
On the way back we had a quick look at Pontefract castle, which dad had never seen! Pretty bad condition but the ruins and surrounding buildings are rather impressive.
We returned to the A1 and took the A64 into York, a bit of stuffing around finding a park and then walked in through one of the gates remaining in the almost complete city wall. The city is incredibly dense with narrow streets and close 2-3 story buildings. Some beautiful tudor houses overhanging the street. First had a look at Clifford’s tower, shell is complete and you can climb up within the wall and walk along the top. Southern wall has a noticeable outwards lean to it, possibly due to damage of the foundations due to a big flood.
Next on to Jorvik which is a rather cheesy recreation of the Viking village which preceded the modern city of York, circa 985 AD. Poorly animated mannequins but the smell was unfortunately authentic! Recreation is based on actual archaeological excavations on the site, from which they have apparently got a very clear idea of how life was on the site; have uncovered well-preserved houses, leather goods, you name it.
We were peckish by this time so ducked into a likely-looking pub (the Golden Fleece) and had an awesome Yorkshire pudding with roast beef, potatoes, vegetables and onion gravy. I’m telling you, this meal was incredible. Washed down with a pint of Guinness.
Finallly we took in the cathedral (York Minster) which is beautiful and impressive. We went down into the undercroft, where they have shored up the foundations and in doing so uncovered the previous Norman and even earlier Roman foundations. Supposedly this site was where Constantine was declared Emperor around 300 AD(?). This was really amazing, the way they have built and re-built and overbuilt on the site to create what is there now. One funny story about Saint William, who was (I think) just a regular clerk who got hit on the head by a stone falling from high up within the cathedral. He survived, and became a saint by virtue of this “miracle”. They even dug up the stone much later, which is about the size of an overnight bag, inscribed with the whole story. Saint William is interred in the crypt below the altar.
Dashed back to the car and headed north again towards Scotch Corner on the A1 and our Travelodge for the night. After lots of driving around stupidly we finally got there and dropped off our bags, then headed over to Richmond. We went through Richmond and on to the hamlet where dad lived. It’s tiny, just one street, a pub, a tiny school and a disused church. Grey stone buildings set close to the road, which is incredibly narrow. Dad’s house was “Rock House”, now a somewhat done up “Rock Cottage”. Continuing on through the town and the road opens up again onto the moors, dad was perplexed by the absence of heather. A couple of “warning – tank crossing” signs testify to the nearby presence of the army. Lots of sheep. The pub had no food on Mondays so we went back into Richmond and had a bit of a walk around before settling on the Turf Hotel for dinner. Cod & chips for me and a gammon (ham) steak for dad. And more Guinness of course. Great meal, I am going to be fat at the end of this trip!