Yorkshire Museum

Previous Exhibition – 1212: The Making of the City

Please note this exhibition has now closed.

7 April 2012 – 31 January 2013

When King John granted a royal charter to York in 1212, it marked a pivotal moment in the history of the city.

Gaining independence from the Crown meant that York could regulate its own affairs, collect its own taxes and even appoint a mayor. This paved the way for the success that was to flourish here over the following centuries. In effect; it was the making of the city.

This exhibition in our Medieval Gallery marked the 800th anniversary of York’s independence, telling the story of medieval York and celebrating the people, places and events that contributed to the ctiy’s medieval heritage.

Highlights included our own star objects such as the York Helmet, Middleham Jewel and St William’s Shrine, alongside paintings and works on paper from York Art Gallery.

New treasures were added to the exhibition in October 2012, including three stunning new acquisitions – the Towton gold torc, the gold St Barbara ring and the Stillingfleet boar badge.

We are very grateful to members of the public for donating to purchase the torc and boar badge, and to the Headley Trust and V&A Purchase Fund for the funds to purchase the St Barbara ring.

The works of art from York Art Gallery were also changed for the second half of the exhibition, to give visitors the last chance to see them before the gallery closed for a two-year refurbishment in December 2012.

There were also iconic objects from York Minster, York’s Mansion House, Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, York Archaeological Trust and the York Archives, adding to the richness of the exhibition.

It was the first time such a wide breadth of treasures from across the city had been brought together under one roof.

Colour, sound and film were used to capture the vibrancy, artistic expression and imagination of the medieval city at its height; bringing 800 years of York’s medieval heritage back to life and complementing the return of York’s Mystery Plays to the Museum Gardens.

These iconic medieval plays were performed during August 2012 as part of the City of York Council’s York 800 celebrations.