Thank you to Sixth Form pupil Alice for sharing her thoughts on the recent Lower Sixth History trip to York.

At the start of March, us Lower Sixth History students braved the long journey up to York to support our studies of the Tudor period. After leaving Bloxham on Friday morning, our first stop was at Kenilworth Castle where Henry VII stayed during Simnel’s revolt in 1486. We explored the grounds whilst taking in the gorgeous views and countryside, and of course a trip to the gift shop and café was a must! We were then back on the road and it was another couple of hours before we arrived at Pontefract Castle, where the rebels’ main base was during the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536. Although not much of the castle is left today, it was incredible to link the grounds to our studies to understand where the rebels arrived during the pilgrimage.

When we finally arrived in York, we proceeded to the York University’s library for a session at the archives. We were shown around and visited a strong room where they keep the majority of the documents. Laid out for us to see in the central room were documents written by Thomas Cromwell, a significant figure during Henry VIII’s reign, and even the divorce settlement of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves.

After spending around 90 minutes at the library, we were given free rein of York before we headed to our accommodation for the night. Several of us chose to spend this time shopping whereas others preferred to simply take in their beautiful surroundings. We unpacked at our hotel, before heading out to dinner where most enjoyed burgers and chips! At the end of a long day of travelling, I think it would be fair to say we were all delighted to be able to turn out our lights and try to get some sleep.

We started bright and early on Saturday morning with a trip to a local breakfast shop for bacon rolls. First on our to do list was walking around the York city walls. York has more miles of intact wall than any other city in England, roughly 2.5 miles in total! Luckily, we only walked part way round whilst admiring the city around us, before heading to York Minster. I can say on behalf of the group that this was our favourite part of the trip and we would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting the area. The scale of the Minster and the architecture was breath-taking and appreciating how long ago this was built was also incredible. We spent just over an hour exploring the enormous building, not wanting to miss a single detail. It was exceptional to spend time reflecting in the Minster whilst being surrounded by such a spectacular building. The Minster is the largest gothic cathedral in the UK. The first record of a church on the site dates to 627. The title “minster” also dates to the Anglo-Saxon period, originally denoting a missionary teaching church and now an honorific.

After a brief visit to the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, we had some more free time in York to explore. This was filled with yet more shopping and finding places to eat for lunch. Following lunch, we visited Clifford’s Tower, where Robert Aske was brought to be executed succeeding the Pilgrimage of Grace. From the top of the tower, you could see miles in each direction and could also acknowledge the size and beauty of the city. In classic York style, the heavens then opened as we were leaving so the walk to the café was soggy to say the least – some paper bags didn’t survive!

Our last hurrah of the trip, watching York City play football at their home ground, was definitely a treat for Mr Hudson! The rain persisted, but we finally got to our seats after navigation issues led to us running around the stadium for 20 minutes! The match was eventful and after a first goal from York, the fans started to enjoy themselves. After 4 more goals had been scored (3-2 loss for York), we decided to call it a day and start the 3.5 hour journey home. We safely arrived back at school on Saturday evening. Overall, it was a thoroughly successful trip and we would like to say a huge thank you to Mr Hudson and Miss Carr for taking us.