While the early inhabitants of Yorkshire, the Celts, were likely pagans, the first known religion in the region was Christianity. Religion in the city of York can be dated back to Roman times, with evidence of the first Christian community.
Religion in Roman Times
Historians have found evidence of Roman religious beliefs associated with the Eborcum people.
Eboracum was a city and a fort in Britannia, a Roman province. At its peak, it was the largest city in the northern region of Britain and the capital of the province.
Historians found altars to Hercules, Mars, Fortune and Jupiter in the region as well as phallic amulets. These amulets were a type of good luck charm.
Evidence of worship of local and regional deities were also found as well as eastern deities.
Along with Roman religious beliefs, historians have also found evidence of a Christian community in Eboracum. However, it is still unknown when the community was formed.
The first known document of a Christian community in the area was in 314 AD, when Bishop Eborius of Eboracum attended the Council of Arles.
In 1190, a local mob forced the Jews living in York to Clifford’s Tower. At the time, the tower was controlled by the sheriff. The castle was set ablaze, burning the Jews inside. It is believed that the debtors of the Jews instigated the massacre.
The burning came at a time of widespread attacks against the Jewish community. The Jewish community recovered in York until the expulsion of the Jews in 1290.
Religion in Modern Yorkshire
As of 2001, 73.07% of Yorkshire residents identified themselves as Christians, making it the dominant religion in the region. About 14% claimed to have no religion, and 3.81% were Muslim.
Other religions accounted for the remainder:
Yorkshire is home to the York Minster, Mother Church and the administrative head of the Church of England’s Diocese of York. The Bishopthorpe Palace is located here, which is the Archbishop of York’s official residence.
The city of York has 32 Church of England churches.
The oldest active Roman Catholic church is the St. Wilfrid parish, established in 1710.
Yorkshire is also associated with the Religious Society of Friends, better known as the Quakers. Several Methodist churches can be found in Yorkshire as well as a handful of mosques.
Additionally, some Buddhist traditions are also represented in the county.