What we do

The York City Levy is a group of experienced living history enthusiasts who portray the men, women and children of the second half of the 15th century. This is the period known today as the Wars of the Roses (but we don't do a lot of that!). Over the past 20 years the York City Levy has worked for a wide range of heritage organisations including English Heritage, Northumberland County Council and the York Archaeological Society. We specialise in providing high quality displays based around the everyday life, fun and celebrations of ‘ordinary people’ – for example artisans, craftsmen, merchants and traders and their families. By concentrating on family life in late medieval society we feel visitors are better able to relate to events over 500 years ago.

At our events, we offer a wide range of activities, many of which encourage visitor participation. To ensure visitors have the chance to experience a broad range of talks, plays and other events we usually work to a timetable highlighting when and where they will take place. We tailor our activities to suit each venue, the nature of the event and the time of year.

  • Music

    Music and Dance
    We provide both demonstrations of period music and dances that the common people of the 15th century would have enjoyed. We often team up with professional musicians Hautbois to putting on a show in which audience participation greatly encouraged!

  • Mummers’ plays

    Mummers’ Plays
    Our repertoire of these traditional folk plays includes such colourful characters as St George, the dragon and Bold Sir Hector the horse thief. Our performers operate without artificial amplification and have a persuasive way of ensuring that the audience gets involved.

  • Craft

    Craft Demonstrations
    Our members are proficient in a wide range of crafts such as spinning, basket weaving, rope making, candle making, stone and wood carving. Visitors are often invited to try out these activities under the guidance of Levy members.

  • Cooking

    Cookery
    We demonstrate the preparation and cooking of a wide variety of meals over an open fire. The menu can be varies to reflect the location or time of year, everything from a simple pottage to a celebration feast.

  • Music

    Specialist talks
    The Levy has a wealth of knowledge to share with visitor about life in the 15th century. Subjects include: Birth, Marriage, Brewing, Fire Lighting, Baking, Waste Disposal, Tanning, Hunting, Farming, Archery, Stone Carving, Medicine, Military Service and Death.

  • Bumble bee

    Traditional Games
    We have a range of period games for visitors to try out, including slapcock and skittles, with explanations and demonstrations of each game as required. Our younger members have a selection of period toys, which they are happy to share or to challenge!

  • Craft

    Themed Events
    Throughout the year the Levy will put on events based on a particular theme where all our activities are connected by a common subject .Past themed events have included, Hunting and Fishing, Military Campaigns, 15th Century Recycling and the changing of the seasons.

  • Cooking

    Locations
    The York City Levy is a small group that punches above it's weight to fill venues large and small. From castles to churches, cottages to abbeys, towers to town houses, the Levy brings to life locations with the colours, sounds and smells of the 15th century.