One hour and 35 minutes on a high speed train and we were in the historical city of York for
the day. Knowing that York Minster was on our list of 'to do's' was a good enough reason to
take the camera along with plenty of battery power and memory.
On our wander between attractions I came across two small burial grounds which warranted a few snaps.
The first column of photo's on the left at the bottom of the page show the remains of a Cholera
Burial ground which was created during an outbreak of the disease in 1832. There were 185 victims interred there but only
20 of the sandstone memorials have survived to the present day.
The second burial ground, shown by the photo's in the middle column below, was a small paved area enclosed
on three sides by buildings. There was no information or name displayed so it remains somewhat of a mystery.
The right hand column of photo's show two tombs actually within the Minster itself. Below, courtesy
of wiki, is more detail about York Minster and it's very long history.........
York Minster is the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe and is situated in the city of York in Northern
England. It is the seat of the Archbishop of York (the second highest office of the Church of England), and cathedral for
the Diocese of York, and is run by a Dean and Chapter under the Dean of York. Its formal title is The Cathedral and Metropolitical
Church of St Peter in York.
It has a very wide Decorated Gothic nave and chapter house, a Perpendicular Gothic choir and east end, and
Early English north and south transepts. The nave contains the West Window, constructed in 1338, and over the Lady Chapel
in the east end is the Great East Window, (finished in 1408), the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world.
In the north transept is the Five Sisters Window, each lancet being over 16 metres high. The south transept contains the famous
York has had a Christian presence from the 300s. The first church on the site was a wooden structure built
hurriedly in 627 to provide a place to baptise Edwin, King of Northumbria. Moves toward a more substantial building began
in the 630s. A stone structure was completed in 637 by Oswald and was dedicated to Saint Peter. The church soon fell into
disrepair and was dilapidated by 670 when Saint Wilfrid ascended to the see of York; he put in place efforts to repair and
renew the structure. The attached school and library were established and by the 8th century were some of the most substantial
in northern Europe.
In 741 the church was destroyed in a fire. It was rebuilt as a more impressive structure, containing thirty
altars. The church and the entire area then passed through the hands of numerous invaders, and its history is obscure until
the 10th century. There was a series of Benedictine archbishops, including Saint Oswald, Wulfstan, and Ealdred, who travelled
to Westminster to crown William in 1066. Ealdred died in 1069 and was buried in the church.
The church was damaged in 1069, but the first Norman archbishop, arriving in 1070, organised repairs. The
Danes destroyed the church in 1075, but it was again rebuilt from 1080. Built in the Norman style, it was 365 feet long and
rendered in white and red lines. The new structure was damaged by fire in 1137 but was soon repaired. The choir and crypt
were remodelled in 1154, and a new chapel was built, all in the Norman style.
The Gothic style in cathedrals had arrived in the mid 12th century. Walter de Gray was made archbishop in
1215 and ordered the construction of a Gothic structure to compare to Canterbury; building began in 1220. The north and south
transepts were the first new structures; completed in the 1250s, both were built in the Early English Gothic style but had
markedly different walls. A substantial central tower was also completed, with a wooden spire. Building continued into the
The Chapter House was begun in the 1260s, and it was completed before 1296. The wide nave was constructed
from the 1280s on the Norman foundations. The outer roof was completed in the 1330s, but the vaulting was not finished until
1360. Construction then moved on to the eastern arm and chapels, with the last Norman structure, the choir, being demolished
in the 1390s. Work here finished around 1405. In 1407 the central tower collapsed; the piers were then reinforced, and a new
tower was built from 1420. The western towers were added between 1433 and 1472. The cathedral was declared complete and consecrated
The Reformation led to the first Protestant archbishop, the looting of much of the cathedral's treasures,
and the loss of much of the church lands. Under Elizabeth I there was a concerted effort to remove all traces of Catholicism
from the cathedral; there was much destruction of tombs, windows, and altars. In the English Civil War the city was besieged
and fell to the forces of Cromwell in 1644, but Thomas Fairfax prevented any further damage to the cathedral.
Following the easing of religious tensions there was some work to restore the cathedral. From 1730 to 1736
the whole floor of the Minster was relaid in patterned marble, and from 1802 there was a major restoration. However, on 2
February 1829 an arson attack by non-conformist Jonathan Martin (; ; ) inflicted heavy damage on the east arm, and
an accidental fire in 1840 left the nave, south west tower, and south aisle roofless, blackened shells. The cathedral slumped
deeply into debt, and in the 1850s services were suspended, but from 1858 Augustus Duncome worked successfully to revive the
During the 20th century there was more concerted preservation work, especially following a 1967 survey that
revealed the building, in particular the central tower, was close to collapse. £2,000,000 was raised and spent by 1972 to
reinforce and strengthen the building foundations and roof. During the excavations that were carried out, remains of the north
corner of the Roman Principia were found under the south transept. A fire in 1984 destroyed the roof in the south transept,
and around £2.5 million was spent on repairs. Restoration work was completed in 1988, and included new roof bosses to designs
which had won a competition organised by BBC Television's Blue Peter programme. In 2007 renovation began on the east front,
including the Great East Window, at an estimated cost of £23 million.
Architecture of the present building
For standard descriptions of Cathedral architecture and design, see Cathedral diagram. York Minster is the
largest Gothic cathedral of Northern Europe and clearly charts the development of English Gothic architecture from Early English
through to the Perpendicular Period. The present building was begun in about 1230 and completed in 1472. It has a cruciform
plan with an octagonal chapter house attached to the north transept, a central tower and two towers at the west front. The
stone used for the building is magnesian limestone, a creamy-white coloured rock that was quarried in nearby Tadcaster. The
Minster is 148 metres long and each of its three towers are 60 metres high. The choir, which has an interior height of 31
metres, is only surpassed in height in England by the choir of Westminster Abbey.
The North and South transepts were the first parts of the new church to be built. They have simple lancet
windows, the most famous being the Five Sisters in the north transept. These are five lancets, each 16m high and glazed with
grey (grisaille) glass, rather than narrative scenes or symbolic motifs that are usually seen in medieval stained glass windows.
In the south transept is the famous Rose Window whose glass dates from about 1500 and commemorates the union of the royal
houses of York and Lancaster. The roofs of the transepts are of wood, that of the south transept was burnt in the fire of
1984 and was replaced in the restoration work which was completed in 1988. New designs were used for the bosses, five of which
were designed by winners of a competition organised by the BBC's Blue Peter television programme.
Work began on the chapter house and its vestibule that links it to the north transept after the transepts
were completed. The style of the chapter house is of the early Decorated Period where geometric patterns were used in the
tracery of the windows, which were wider than those of early styles. However, the work was completed before the appearance
of the ogee curve, an S-shaped double curve which was extensively used at the end of this period. The windows cover almost
all of the upper wall space, filling the chapter house with light. The chapter house is octagonal, as is the case in many
cathedrals, but is notable in that it has no central column supporting the roof. The wooden roof, which was of an innovative
design, is light enough to be able to be supported by the buttressed walls. The chapter house has many sculptured heads above
the canopies, representing some of the finest Gothic sculpture in the country. There are human heads, no two alike, and some
pulling faces; angels; animals and grotesques. Unique to the transepts and chapter house is the use of Purbeck marble to adorn
the piers, adding to the richness of decoration.
The nave was built between 1291 and c. 1350
and is also in the decorated Gothic style. It is the widest Gothic nave in England and has a wooden roof (painted so as to
appear like stone) and the aisles have vaulted stone roofs. At its west end is the Great West Window, known as the 'Heart
of Yorkshire' which features flowing tracery of the later decorated gothic period.
The East end of the Minster was built between 1361 and 1405 in the Perpendicular Gothic style. Despite the
change in style, noticeable in details such as the tracery and capitals, the eastern arm preserves the pattern of the nave.
The east end contains a four bay choir; a second set of transepts, projecting only above half-height; and the Lady Chapel.
The transepts are in line with the high altar and serve to through light onto it. Behind the high altar is the Great East
Window, the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world.
The sparsely decorated Central Tower was built between 1407 and 1472 and is also in the Perpendicular style.
Below this, separating the choir from the crossing and nave is the striking fifteenth century choir screen. It contains sculptures
of the kings of England from William the Conqueror to Henry VI with stone and gilded canopies set against a red background.
Above the screen is the organ, which dates from 1832. The West Towers, in contrast with the central tower, are heavily decorated
and are topped with battlements and eight pinnacles each, again in the Perpendicular style.
York as a whole and particularly the Minster have a long tradition of creating beautiful stained glass.
Some of the stained glass in York Minster dates back to the twelfth century. The 76-foot tall Great East Window, created in
the early fifteenth century, is the largest example of medieval stained glass in the world. Other spectacular windows in the
Minster include an ornate rose window and the fifty-foot tall five sisters window. Because of the extended time periods during
which the glass was installed, different types of glazing and painting techniques that evolved over hundreds of years are
visible in the different windows. There are approximately 2 million individual pieces of glass that make up the cathedral's
128 stained glass windows. Much of the glass was removed and pieced back together for the first and second world wars, and
the windows are constantly being cleaned and restored to keep their beauty intact.
The towers and bells
The two west towers of the minster hold bells and clock chimes. The north-west tower contains Great Peter
(216 cwt or 10.8 tons) and the six clock bells (the largest weighing just over 60 cwt or 3 tons). The south-west tower holds
14 bells (tenor 59 cwt) hung for change ringing and 11 chiming bells (tenor 23 cwt) which are rung from a clavier in the ringing
The clock bells ring every quarter of an hour during the daytime and Great Peter strikes the hour. The change
ringing bells are rung regularly on Sundays before Church Services and at other times, the ringers practice on Tuesday evenings.
The chiming bells are occasionally rung before services.
The fire of 1829 destroyed the organ and the basis of the present organ dates from 1832, when Elliot and
Hill constructed a new instrument. This organ was reconstructed in 1859 by William Hill and Sons. The case remained intact,
but a large amount of new pipework was introduced.
In 1901, J.W. Walker and Sons undertook reconstruction. Walkers added a considerable amount of new pipework.
A small amount of work was undertaken in 1915 by Harrison & Harrison and the famous Tuba Mirabilis was
added. Other minor work was undertaken in fits and starts by the same firm until 1928.
In 1961 J.W. Walker rebuilt it and it was cleaned in 1982. The fire of 1984 affected the Organ but not irreparably.
The damage hastened the time for a major restoration. This was begun in 1991 and finished one year later by Geoffrey Coffin
who had at one time been Assistant Organist at the Minster.
1633 James Hutchinson
1667 Thomas Preston
1691 Thomas Wanless
1715 Charles Burgatroyd
1721 William Davies 1722 Charles Quarles
1734 James Nares
1756 John Camidge
1842 John Camidge
1848 Thomas Simpson Camidge
1859 Edwin George Monk 1883 John Naylor
T. Tertius Noble
1913 Edward Bairstow
1946 Francis Jackson
1983 Philip Moore
From 2001 the person traditionally referred to as the Organist is called the Master of the Music. John
Scott Whiteley is Organist and Director of the Girls' Choir.