Visit York Village
York is a small costal fishing town in the Peninsula located in the Western Rural DistrictIt lies about 25 miles outside Freetown.
York is a distinctly Krio village with a rich history though the village also comprises of various other tribes. Prior to the arrival of the liberated slaves, the Sherbro were settled in the area and the village as called Momimi. York village is over 200 years old, predominantly Christian with old churches and beautiful layout and fauna. York is also the rural district headquarters for the region.
The exact origin of the name is unclear and range from the village being named after York in the United Kingdom or from the Duchess of York who had stayed in the community at a point in time. There are even claims that “York” is derived from a Sherbro word that means “to carry people” as slaves were kept in York during the era of the slave trade. Others say York is from a Sherbro word which means “strangers”. The Sherbro used to describe the Portuguese and other Europeans visiting their town as “York”. Years later, when the Portuguese heard the Sherbro calling them “York”, they decided to name the town “York” in 1819 which can be translated as the land of the strangers. Whatever the truth is, the stories are a joy to listen to.
The layout of the town and architecture of the houses are reminiscent of those in the deep south of the United States, a testament to the early settlers and re-captives who were starting a new life in the 19th century.
After the slave era, during the Second World War, the royal family was stationed in the community (and the “King Yard” is still here as is the prison yard).
In 1819 202 ex-Royal African Corps (liberated slaves who served Britain in the Napoleonic wars) settled at York. Many of these ex-soldier married Sherbro women. In 1822, eighty-nine liberated Africans were added to the settlement and in 1880 York had the biggest canoe fleet, fifty one vessels, on the Peninsula.
Our tour will take you around York and you will meet its community leaders who will be happy to tell you about the history of York. As is customary when visiting any local village, give the elders a small token of thanks and appreciation for letting you into their community and they will be happy to share stories with you. Feel free to ask questions.
Some of things to see around York include:
We’ll also visit Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, and Lester Peak