Bishops Visit – York the city of the Viking – Jorvig Viking Centre and Barley Hall


The Jorvig Viking Centre is widely advertised in York as a must see. Despite its appearance as a commercial kids attraction, this is a serious historic/archaeological site and reconstruction of Viking life in York. Whilst the archaeological finds are there on display along with the work to uncover them, a ride through a reconstruction of an 890AD village is part of the experience. The ride takes you through the village at a time of change in the construction of their homes and there are real life smells sounds and visual effects. As you would expect no cameras allowed but you can see more at their web site: and it is worth the visit.

After visiting the Viking Centre we made our way (with some hiccups) to the Barley Hall. Named after Professor Maurice Barley who supervised the restoration of the hall, the Hall started life in 1114AD when Henry II established an Augustinian Priory for a community of hermits. In 1540 Henry VIII closed the Priory and confiscated the property. The hall was then used for multiple purposes thereafter and gradually is covered over with later development. In 1984 the building was due for demolition to make way for a new development, When a survey of the site is done the old building is rediscover and in 1987 it was purchased by York Archaeological Trust and restored and opened to the public by 1993.

On the ground floor, Barley Hall comprises a number of rooms. The store room, used as an admissions area, contains a large quantity of original 1360 woodwork, which leads onto a second store room, now called the Steward’s room. At the heart of the building is the Great Hall, a 1430 construction, decorated on the basis of equivalents elsewhere in the city of York. The building also includes a pantry and a buttery. On the first floor is the parlour, which overlooks the hall, a gallery and several bedchambers. These rooms now form a museum of medieval life in York. Rather gruesome and interesting at the same time. To read more I suggest a visit to



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