Saturday, June 10, 2006
The Wars of the Roses (1453-1487) took place when the armies of York and Lancaster fought each other on the battlefield. Then a war with France decimated exports and the city lost the wool trade that helped York become a centre of trade. When King Henry the VIII (1536-1539) confiscated and dissolved the monasteries, York's religious communities lost their power and many of the glorious buildings were sold and torn down or used for scrap.
Ironically, because of these changes in fortune, many of the city's most historic buildings were saved through the centuries due to the fact the city could not afford rebuilding programs that other towns were doing. Unlike in the United States where there are many styles of architechture used for buildings, the buildings here in England reflect the prominence of fortune during a specific period of history for the area.
Henry VIII established York as his seat of government in the north of England. Civil War erupted and in 1644, a Parliamentary army met the Royalist forces (York) at Marston Moor. The Parliamentarians won the battle and laid siege to Royalist York. When York fell, the intervention of Sir Thomas Fairfax prevented the city's fine buildings from destruction. As the 18th century came in, York was a peaceful and elegant city and the many beautiful Georgian buildings reflect that peace.