Why is the history of the bischophile the history of Britain…

The Clements Hall Local History Group’s last book about Nunnery Lane, still hot from the press. Yet the award-winning group has embarked on their next project – Exploring the History of Bishopphile.



It is a part of York that boasts a wealth of history dating back to the Roman period. “You could say that it reflects some of the most distinctive historical periods in the country,” says Anne Hausen, chair of the History Group.

There are also many notable historical figures associated with the region. The Roman emperor Severus – the first black emperor – was based in York in about 210AD, and his headquarters may have been in Bischophile. George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and a powerful 17th-century courtier and statesman, spent time at Fairfax House in Bischoffill, now demolished.



York Press:

George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham



Jon Snow, regarded as the father of modern epidemiology, was born in North Street to recognize that cholera was carried in the water – there is a monument to him in the North Street Gardens. Meanwhile, Thomas Cook opened Buckingham Works in Bishophill in 1855 – becoming the world’s first industrial producer of optical instruments.

There are literary ties: Anne Lister, the gay diarist who stars in Gentleman Jack, frequented 58 Micklegate; While Richard Chicken was a local freak, considered by many to model Charles Dickens’ Mr. And there’s the tragedy: Private George Ellison was the last British soldier killed in World War I. Last Post was played in his memory in 2018 at his birthplace in Skeldergate.



So the group has a lot of history to work with. It is also researching the recent history of corner shops and pubs in the area.

York Press:

Jackson’s Hot Pie Shop at the corner of Buckingham Street and Skeldergate

To start things off, the group will have a free event exhibition Saturday December 4th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Jacobs Well in Trinity Lane: a chance to see some interesting exhibits – and chat with group members about the history of the area. One for diary…

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