The Victoria History of the County of York was designed many years ago, and, as
designed, consisted of four separate sets of volumes. The 'general' volumes for the whole
county were to form one set, and the 'topographical' volumes three sets, one for each
riding. This scheme made no proper provision for the City of York, which falls into no
riding. It has therefore seemed wise to create, for the accommodation of that city, a new
set consisting of a single volume. That volume is here presented.
The four 'general' volumes of the Yorkshire History and the three North Riding
'topographical' volumes were all published between 1907 and 1925. It was not, however,
until 1951–3 that practical steps towards continuing the Yorkshire History were taken.
Funds were then raised by the East Riding County Council and the Corporations of the
Cities of Kingston-upon-Hull and York to enable a special staff to be appointed to write
and organize the history of the areas with which those Authorities are concerned, and
in 1953 a local committee was set up to superintend the expenditure of those funds.
This committee, which comprises representatives of the three participating Authorities,
has met ever since under the distinguished chairmanship of Alderman Sir John
Dunnington-Jefferson, Bt. Thus was formed another of those partnerships between a
group of local patrons and the University of London, of which the prototype is the
Wiltshire Victoria County History Committee described in the editorial note to the
Victoria History of Wiltshire, Volume VII. The essence of such a partnership is that the
local patrons have undertaken to provide funds to meet the local expenses of compiling
and editing the History of the region with which they are concerned, and the University
has agreed to publish what is prepared, provided that it approves the result. The present
volume is the first fruits of this partnership in Yorkshire. The generous grants made by
the three named Authorities are most gratefully acknowledged by the University of
London. It must be here recorded with true appreciation that several bodies have made
valuable contributions to the funds of the local committee. These are the Joseph
Rowntree Social Service Trust, Messrs. Rowntree and Company Ltd., the Yorkshire
Insurance Company, the York Civic Trust, and the Westminster Bank.
In 1954 the local committee appointed Mr. P. M. Tillott to be local editor. He has
been successively assisted by Miss Patricia B. Atkinson (1954–5), Mrs. Margaret Craig
(née Agerskow) (1955–7), Dr. K. J. Allison (1957–9), and Miss Mary E. Sands from
There has long been designed, as a complement to the Histories of Cumberland,
Durham, and Yorkshire, a volume devoted exclusively to the Roman antiquities of the
four northern counties. That subject was not, therefore, treated in the 'general' volumes
for those three counties. This volume remains one of the general Editor's aspirations
and the history of Romano-British York has consequently been treated only briefly here.
The buildings of the city of whatever period have been described with a like brevity
because the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments is already at work on a
thorough architectural survey.
The present volume owes much to the kind co-operation of others. Particular mention
may be made of the facilities made available by the former City Librarian, Mr. R. H.
Doherty and his successor Mr. O. S. Tomlinson, and by the Reference Librarian,
Mr. J. M. Biggins. The permission given by parochial incumbents, the ministers of
chapels, the Minster Librarian, the Diocesan Archivist, the Registrar of the Dean and
Chapter, the staff of British Transport Historical Records, and many others to inspect
records in their care, is gratefully acknowledged. The following persons are amongst
those who have kindly read and commented upon various articles: the Revd. Canon
G. W. O. Addleshaw, Dr. N. Bartlett, Mr. C. R. Clinker, Mr. C. Collyer, Mr. A.
Cossons, Mr. R. H. M. Dolley, Dr. E. A. Gee and the staff of the Royal Commission
on Historical Monuments (England), Mr. E. C. R. Hadfield, Professor K. Harrison,
Mr. E. H. Milligan, Professor Dorothy Whitelock, and Mr. G. F. Willmot. Much help
has been received from the chief officers of the Corporation and the staffs of their
departments. Finally thanks are due to Mr. N. Higson, Archivist to the East Riding
County Council, for a number of acts of practical assistance.