The History of Yorkshire and Its Boundaries

Yorkshire is the largest county in England. Due to its size Yorkshire is divided up unto four regions, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire. There are several major conurbations, yet it is one of the country’s greenest counties. The emblem of Yorkshire is the white rose and the county’s fiercest rivals are Lancashire, whose emblem is the red rose.

A portrait of a Lancashire v Yorkshire Rugby roses match from the 19th century

Any sporting contests between the two are known as the battle of the roses and they are always passionate encounters. Prior to the Romans arriving the county was controlled by 2 tribes the Brigantes and the Parisi who were both Celts. The Brigantes were so powerful that when the Romans invaded they were allowed to remain in power in the North and West of Yorkshire. Eventually the Romans defeated the Brigantes in 71 AD and the city of Eboracum (York) became their centre and the joint capital of the country. After the Romans left in the 5th century smaller Celtic kingdoms arose in the region.

The county was then invaded and conquered by Danish Vikings in 866 AD and York was renamed Jorvik’ The area that the Danes controlled was known as the Kingdom of Norvik and it prospered for a century before the Danes were defeated and the lands were now under the control of the Kingdom of Wessex. Following the Norman conquest of England in 1066 the North rebelled against the Normans and tried to capture back York. It sadly failed, and the north was left to contend with the wrath of William the Conqueror. Crops animals and farm tools were burnt and in the winter of 1070 an estimated 100,000 people starved to death.

The changing skyline of Sheffield with industrialisation

In the 15th century York became the home to the house of Lancaster and they were at civil war with the House of York which was in London. Many battles were fought in Yorkshire until eventually Henry Tudor defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field to become Henry the VII. Both of the houses were symbolized by the rose with Henry Tudor fighting for the red rose and Richard III fighting for the white one.

As industrialization occurred in England Yorkshire became an area that was being rapidly developed. The early stage was based around the coal and steel industries being developed around Sheffield and Rotherham. The woollen industry was also big, and the rapid development of the railways brought great prosperity to the region. Since the local government act of 1972 Yorkshire has changed somewhat as the government radically changed its boundaries. Parts of the North and the West of the county were lost while parts of Lincolnshire was gained. Despite these changes taking place over 40 years ago Yorkshire-men and women still regard themselves as coming from Yorkshire. They do try to differentiate between the South and North of the County they are just plain Yorkshire=men.

It has been claimed that people from this county regard themselves firstly as being Yorkshire-men and secondly being Englishmen. With all of the battles the county has fought in protecting its land over the centuries it is hardly surprising that its inhabitants take this view. The folk of Yorkshire are proud of their county and its history.