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 York Area Index  2a. York Minster

The Cathedral and Metropolitan Church of St Peter

One tiny example of the wonderful stained glass panels in the windows of York Minster.

York Minster is the largest medieval gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. Not all cathedrals are minsters and vice versa, but York Minster is both. A cathedral is the 'mother' church of a diocese and where the bishop has his cathedra or 'seat'. A 'mynster' was the Anglo-Saxon name for a missionary church.


The south facade of York Minster, magnificent stone work and a prodigious amount of wonderful medieval stained glass throughout the Minster, but much of it is too high up to see clearly!

The Metropolitan Church of St Peter was founded by King Edwin in 627 AD. St Wilfrid rebuilt the church around 670 and after further work about 680, the church survived until a fire in 1069. The Norman church was built out of the ashes, but most of the building you see is Gothic from work carried out between ~1220 and ~1480.

York Minster was originally a Roman Catholic church, but became an Anglican or Church of England church since 1534, when Henry VIII parted company with Rome!


Alphabetical Index of Minster sections portrayed

Chapter House and carvings * Crossing and Tower * Crypt, Treasury and Undercroft

East End, Chapels and Great East Window * Nave Interior * North Aisle of Nave

North Aisle of Quire * North-East Exterior and Buildings * North Transept & St John's Chapel

North-West Exterior and buildings * Quire and High Altar * South Aisle of Nave

South Aisle of Quire * South East Exterior * South Transept & St George's Chapel

South-West Exterior and bookshop * The Vestibule - the entrance to Chapter House and carvings

West End of Nave and West Window * West Front Facade, Doors and West Towers

Wide distant views of York Minster from various locations around the City * Zouche Chapel

These correspond to the simplified plan button-diagram above

which is reproduced on all pages rather than the text index above


A brief synopsis of the Minster's architectural history

The Minster is built on a Roman site

627 Wooden church built for the baptism of King Edwin of Northumbria

627-631 The first stone church begun by King Edwin and finished by King Oswald

1080 The second stone church by Archbishop Thomas of Bayeux

1154 Choir of second stone church rebuilt

1181-1230 Building of the present Cathedral begins with the South Transept in the Early English style of architecture

1241 North Transept started, also in Early English Gothic style

(The transepts were built ~1220-1270, date sources differ, but they constitute the start of the present building promoted by Archbishop Walter de Grey)

1291-~1350 The Nave and Chapter House built in the Decorated Gothic architectural style

(Chapter house built 1260-1280?, completed 1286?, nave began 1291, date sources differ)

1361-1400 East end of Choir in Early Perpendicular style and west end of Choir in Late Perpendicular style

1432-1456 South-west tower built in Late Perpendicular style

1470-1474 North-west tower built in Late Perpendicular style

(Twin West Towers built between 1438-1472? or 1433-1475? - date sources differ!)

1480 The Central Tower is completed in Late Perpendicular style


The sculpture of Emperor Constantine in suitable regal pose and what a setting on the south side of York Minster!





The Rose Window and central tower of York Minster viewed from Minster Gates.

The outer petals of the Rose Window are filled with red and white roses of the work of 16th century Flemish glass-painters.


The Roman column near the Minster. This Roman column once stood within the great hall of the headquarters of the sixth legion and was found during excavations of the south transept in 1969 and lying where it had presumably collapsed.



Reeds Cafe Tea Rooms is just across from the west door of the Minster and in combination with some street art' what a great location and ambiance to rest those weary street-wise feet and take in some refreshment and admire the west front and towers of York Minster!


View from above the railway station along the city walls towards the Minster.


York Minster from the cafe on the top floor of M&S !!!


View of the towers of York Minster from the steps of the Art Gallery on a fine summer's day.



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