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2019/20 Lectures Season Archive

Our usual lecture seasons run from October to June, culminating with our AGM.

These are the details of our lectures for this season: use this page to get a feel for the kind of lectures you could enjoy free of charge as a YAYAS member or as an aide memoire for those elusive lectures you've enjoyed over the years.

2019 – 2020 lecture season

23rd October 2019

Catherine Sotheran

York Minster in close up – the exterior

(An extended report on this talk is printed in the YAYAS Times Annual report issue of 2019.)

Catherine made use of her camer that will magnify x30, capturing views of carvings on the topmost pinnacles that would never, once installed, be seen again by humans. The stone masons in previous generations clearly had a lot of fund with their carvings. These are not water spout gargoyles but grotesques, created for ornament and portraying eveyday life situations and probably using actual people as models. There is no archive of the carvings as there is for the staiend glass.  Catherine appears to be doing so and now has a wonderful book of images for purchase.

13th November 2019

Margaret Scott, Archivist for the York Mystery Plays

The 1951 Revival of York's Mystery Plays

(An extended report on this talk is printed in the YAYAS Times Annual report issue of 2019.)

Margaret has been the Archivist since 2011. The archive has a website that can be searched on a number of themes.  Recently, Margaret began drawing together information and illustrationson rainbows after the Flood scene.  She described the development of the Plays since their reintroduction in 1951 which parallelled the Festival of Britain, the Plays being only part of the Festival in York.  The reintroduced Plays placed heavy emphasis on the importance of the Christian religion and behaviour.  The actor who played Christ was not permitted to enter pubs before and during the production, for example. Margaret's scrapbooks help us to imagine what life in York was like when the Plays were first reintroduced.

The Covid pandemic interrupted our lecture season and only one lecture was possible in 2020.

10th February 2020

Ian Tempest

The Red Tower and Foss islands

(An extended report on this talk is printed in the YAYAS Times Annual report issue of 2020.)

Ian covered the history of the Foss Islands area and the Red Tower from William the Conqueror to the present day. The Foss was dammed at Fishergate in 1069, prooviding a water supply and forming part of the castle defences. There must have been considerable loss of livelihoods because of this. Ian described the  medieval defences built using earth ramparts, timber palisades and an embankment and deep ditch. The palisades were replaced by masonry walls from 1345. In 1490 the Red Tower began to be constructed with a feud between the Masons and Tilers Guilds resulting in a murder in 1491. After a chequered history including cannon bombardment during the Civil War, the Tower was finally rescued by the Victorians.  Infilling of the surrounding area raised the ground level and buried the original ground floor. Ian went on to talk about the surrounding area, the Foss itself being canalised in the 1800s. The Fish Pool, caused when the Foss was dammed, was reclaimed and became land for industrial use.

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