The author examines the effect that the English Reformation had on the civic historical imagery of York. This imagery was the outward physical manifestation of collective memory. The changes which the Reformation affected to civic drama, processions, regalia and record-keeping, to name but a few, are considered at length. For the elite of a great many English urban communities, the break with Rome meant a break with politically-useful Catholic traditions, traditions which were geared to instill civic order and deference. Many of them responded by creating a new civic and secular imagery, but York already had strong civic and secular traditions by the time of the split with Rome in 1534. Though a shift in emphasis had certainly occurred from the religious to the secular, York's historical imagery remained remarkably similar throughout the sixteenth century.