Yorkshire - A Brief History Of Time:

This Brief History of Time is mainly aimed at covering the History of Yorkshire, but by necessity it also covers parts of British History as well; the history has been split into three major parts; just click on the relevant link to read about that period of History:

Early History From 8000 BC to 410 AD
Middle Ages
From 410 AD to 1547 AD
Modern History
From 1547 AD to Today
Timeline History
From 8000 BC to Today


Early History - From Early Man To 410 AD The Romans Leave Britain:

Menu: 8000 to 7000 BC, 7000 to 5000 BC, Around 3000 BC, The Bronze Age, The Iron Age & The Roman Conquest.

This record of early history could have started right back before the age of the dinosaurs, due to many fossil finds and the fact that Yorkshire has its own Jurassic Coast, it could also have started around 125,000 years ago with the earliest evidence, or signs, of human occupation in Yorkshire; however, it is only from around 10,000 to 8000 BC, at the end of the last Glacial period, that continuous human occupation seems to have occurred; therefore; this is when this early history starts.

8000 to 7000 BC:

The first evidence of any human activity in Yorkshire itself is restricted to a hunter gatherer lifestyle dating back to around 8000 to 7000 BC; during that time, the appearance of the terrain would have differed greatly from that which exists today; there was a land connection between what is now Germany and eastern England, making it possible for groups of hunters to wander into the area; when the first people arrived there the climate would have been sub arctic and the animals that the Paleolithic groups found would have included the mammoth, the woolly rhinoceros and the reindeer.

In a cave near Settle, in the Yorkshire Dales, known as Victoria Cave , late upper palaeolithic projectile points were found that include the bone head of a harpoon which was dated to within 110 years of 8270 BC and a cave near Malham in the northern Pennines, known as Chapel Fell Cave, may have been used as a hunting lookout during the Mesolithic period because trapezoidal microliths used in wooden shafts as arrows were found in the collection of flint when the cave was excavated; animal and fish bones were also found there, including hare, fox, roe deer, badger, a large bird and perch.

7000 to 5000 BC:

The Marsden area of the Pennines was a seasonal hunting ground for early humans in the Mesolithic period; evidence for this dates back to around 7000 BC with the finding of stone Age tools at Pule Hill, Warcock Hill, Standedge & March Hill and relics of an early hunting, gathering and fishing community have also been found on the North York Moors; the evidence for this includes a widespread scattering of flint tools and the barbed flint flakes used in arrows and spears.

The earliest known evidence of human presence in the area of the Vale of Pickering dates back to the Mesolithic period, around 7000 BC; the most important remaining settlement of this period is that at Star Carr near Scarborough, where, due to waterlogged conditions, a considerable quantity of organic remains as well as flint tools, have survived; this is Britainís best-known Mesolithic site.

The site, on the eastern shores of glacial Lake Pickering, was surrounded by birch trees, some of which had been cleared and used to construct a rough platform of branches and brushwood; lumps of turf and stones had been thrown on top of this construction to make a village site; the site was probably visited from time to time by about four or five families who were engaged in hunting, fishing and gathering wild plants as well as manufacturing tools and weapons and working skins for clothes.

By 5000 BC Britain had become separated from mainland Europe after rising sea levels had created the southern area of the North Sea; the climate improved steadily over the following millenia and a richer natural vegetation started to cover the land including birch, hazel, elm, pine and oak trees.

On the southern edge of the Vale of Pickering lies West Heslerton, where excavations have revealed continuous habitation since the Late Mesolithic Age, about 5000 BC; this site has revealed a great deal of dwelling and occupation evidence from the Neolithic period to the present day.

Around 3000 BC:

At about this time arable farming and the domestication of animals started in the area; permanent settlements were built by the Neolithic people and their culture involved ceremonial burials of their dead in barrows; the development of farming in the Vale of Pickering during the Neolithic period is evident in the distribution of earth long barrows throughout the area.

These early farmers were the first to destroy the forest cover of the North York Moors; their settlements were concentrated in the fertile parts of the limestone belt and these areas have been continuously farmed ever since; the Neolithic farmers of the moors grew crops, kept animals, made pottery and were highly skilled at making stone implements; they buried their dead in the characteristic long low burial mounds on the moors.

The historic landscape of the Great Wold Valley provides an insight into the activities of prehistoric peoples in the Yorkshire Wolds; the valley was an important place of worship in prehistoric times and it houses a number of important scheduled monuments dating back to Neolithic times.

The Bronze Age:

Rudston is the centre of a prehistoric landscape and four Neolithic cursus converge on the village area; Argham Dyke, a prehistoric earthwork dating from the Bronze Age, crosses the area near Rudston; there is also evidence of Iron Age occupation as revealed by aerial photographs showing traces of fields, trackways and farms; the Rudston Monolith at over 25 feet (7.6 metres) is the tallest megalith or Standing stone in the United Kingdom; it is situated in the churchyard in the village of Rudston in the East Riding of Yorkshire and is made from moor grit conglomerate, a material that can be found in the Cleveland Hills inland from Whitby. See photo!

The Thornborough Henges is an ancient monument complex that includes three aligned henges that give the site its name; the complex is located near the village of Thornborough, close to the town of Masham in North Yorkshire; the complex includes many large ancient structures including a cursus, henges, burial grounds and settlements; they are thought to have been part of a Neolithic and Bronze Age 'ritual landscape' comparable with Salisbury Plain and date from between 3500 and 2500 BC; this monument complex has been called 'The Stonehenge of the North' and has been described by English Heritage as the most important ancient site between Stonehenge and the Orkney Islands.

The Thornborough Henges

There is a dearth of evidence of human occupation in the Vale of York until the early Bronze Age around 2300 BC, when the inhabitants of the Yorkshire region began to use implements made of bronze; as the Neolithic period gave way to the Bronze Age in the area, people continued to farm, clear forest and use stone tools; they also continued to hunt in the upland areas as finds of their barbed and tanged flint arrowheads show; only gradually did metal tools and weapons become adopted.

The Bronze Age was a time of major changes in burial rituals; the bodies were buried beneath circular mounds of earth, called round barrows, and are often found with bronze artefacts; the great majority of known barrows, such as Ferrybridge Henge, are in prominent upland locations of the Wolds, Moors and Pennine areas of Yorkshire, but some Bronze Age remains have been found on the fringes of the Vale of Pickering and the Vale of York; the Street House Long Barrow at Loftus on the Cleveland coastline between Saltburn and Staithes was a Bronze Age mound that had been erected on top of a much earlier burial monument dating from the Neolithic period.

The Iron Age:

At around 700 BC many of the small early Bronze Age settlements had become by necessity, larger heavily defended Iron Age settlements; in East Yorkshire, new burial rites were found, in which the dead were buried within square ditched barrows and sometimes accompanied by grave goods including carts or chariots; these started to appear from around about 500 BC; this was due to the Arras culture of the Parisi tribe.

Prior to their invasion the Romans identified three different Yorkshire Tribes; the Brigantes, a Celtic tribe who lived between Tyne and Humber, the Parisi, who inhabited the East Riding and the Carvetii who occupied Cumbria, which during the time of the Domesday Book was still part of Yorkshire; life was centred around agriculture and wheat and barley were the staple foods; the tribes lived mostly in small villages and raised cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses; however, some of the tribes were warlike and notable forts can still be discerned on Ingleborough and at Wincobank, amongst other places; Stanwick seems to have been the tribal capital of the Brigantes right up until the Roman conquest.

The Roman Conquest:

Roman Britain refers to those parts of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire between 43 and 410 AD and Yorkshire was effectively part of the Roman Empire from 71 AD to around about 410 AD; the Romans built roads northwards through the northern terrain to Eboracum (York), Derventio (Malton) and Isurium Brigantum (Aldborough) then onwards to Cataractonium (Catterick) and York was founded in 71 AD as Eboracum, the Roman capital of Northern Britain and a fort was established there.

The warlike Picts and Scots were kept at bay by stationing the Roman IX Legion in the area and most of the Roman settlements north of the Humber were military stations and in the 2nd century Hadrians Wall was completed from the River Tyne to the shore of the Solway Firth; in 402 AD the Roman garrison was recalled from York because of military threats in other parts of the Roman empire.

The last of the Romans left Britain in 410 AD: All Romans were recalled to Rome and the Emperor Honorious told the people of Britain that they no longer had a connection to Rome and that they should defend themselves.

Their most abiding legacy in this area is the road system which they left behind; many modern main roads in Yorkshire, including parts of the A1, A59, A166 and A1079, still follow the routes of Roman roads.

The Early History, The Middle Ages, The Modern History & Timeline History

Go back.