York has a long history. There are many visible reminders of the lives of inhabitants of the city in the distant past: not just objects in museums, but also buildings and even street names and layout of the city. The city’s Roman ( AD 71-ca. 400) and Viking (866-927/954) eras, Ebrocum and Jorvik, are well known and celebrated.
The Anglian era (ca. 410-866), the age of Eoforwic, which came in between, is far less familiar. Yet it lasted longer than the Roman occupation of York and the years of Scandinavian rule put together.
Anglian York, Eoforwic, is not celebrated in the present-day city and its tourist attractions. Yet it was the capital of Northumbria for many years, a bishopric, and for a while, the only archbishopric in the North. The first Northumbrian Christian King was baptized here. Eoforwic was a centre of trade, coin-production, and superb metalworking. And in the middle of the eighth century, York was the greatest centre of learning in Western Christendom. Its school and library attained European fame and attracted students from abroad. When the great Emperor Charlemagne wanted to revive both basic literacy and advanced learning in his realm, it was to Alcuin of York (†804) that he turned.
The eclipse of the Anglian era deprives residents and visitors alike of the chance to enjoy a rich and distinctive chapter of York’s history, one that links us to the ideas, wisdom, and everyday life of crucial centuries of the city’s past.
The Friends of York’s Anglian Era include historians, archaeologists, and numismatists from York and farther afield.