Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

York Minster (York)

York Minster is the cathedral of the ancient city of York. Its proper name is the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St. Peter.

It is one of the oldest centres of Christianity in England, the see having been established in 625, when a wooden church was built where the High Altar stands today, for the baptism of King Edwin of Northumbria by Paulinus.

This church was rebuilt a number of times, but it was the Norman Archbishop Roger de Pont l'Eveque, who began the building of today's cathedral in the 12th century.

The oldest parts of the cathedral are in the crypt, dating from Roger's time, and the South transept dates from the mid 13th century. Also from the 13th century is the chapter house.

The nave dates mostly from the early 14th century. At 45 feet across and 100 feet high, it is the widest and loftiest of England's mediaeval cathedrals.

During a period of considerable rebuilding in the 15th century, there was also a great deal of industrial unrest at the cathedral. The master mason, William of Colchester, was seriously injured, while his assistant was killed.

It was William of Colchester, who had been a pupil of the great Henry Yevele, who built York Minster's magnificent central tower.

The cathedral is famed for its stained glass. The Five Sisters Window dates from the 13th century, with its lancets 53 feet high nd only 5 feet wide. The window was dedicated, after the Second World War, to the women of the Empire who had been killed during the war.

There is an amazing East Window, covering an area of 2,000 square feet, and the largest area of mediaeval coloured glass in th world. This window shows scenes from the Book of Genesis at the start of the Old Testament, and the Book of Revelation at the end of the New Testament.

The marriage of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault took place in the Minster in 1328.

The Minster has been severely damaged by fire on three occasions, by an arsonist in 1829, by accident in 1840 and most notably by lightning in 1984.

The Archbishop of York is second only to the Archbishop of Canterbury in the hierarchy of the Church of England. The Archbishopric was established in 735.

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