I was dead out of luck
The Minster was closed when I wanted to visit due to Battle of Britian services.
But I got to see the outside and a small part of the interior. - Next time hopefully.
BUT I got to hear the organ :)
York Minster is a historic, beautiful Gothic church, one of the largest in Europe. It's a working church but also a tourist attraction.
There have been various churches on the site for a thousand years, building of the current one being started in the early 13th century. Work carried on until 1472 when it was declared as completed.
The architecture and the engineering are stunning, the detail in the stonework and stained glass windows are amazing.
You can walk into the main entrance with no charge and view quite a lot of the building but if you want to view the whole building there is a charge. Details are given on the website.
This magnificent cathedral dominates York with its lofty spires and its bells that ring out loud, long and clear. I was unable to get more than a quick glimpse of its interior and famous stained glass, because the crowds were too thick, but walking round and focussing on the magnificent facade was enough to satisfy me.
The Minster is the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe.
The first Minster was built for the baptism of the Anglo Saxon King, Edwin of Northumbria. It was made of wood and had been built for the occasion, in 627. It was soon rebuilt in stone. As Edwin was killed in battle in 633 the task of completing the new stone church fell to Oswald. It was built on the original site and was enlarged over time.
In 1069 it was badly damaged by fire when the Normans took control of the city of York.
After taking control of the city, the Normans decided to to build a new Minster on a new site. About 1080 Thomas of Bayeux became Archbishop and started building the cathedral that became the Minster we know today. Additions to the nave, rebuilding of the central tower
which collapsed, and the western towers were added. In all it took 250 years to build .
York Minster is definately one of the greatest and best preserved masterpieces of Gothic architecture and stained glass art. It was originally designed as a Romanesque Norman cathedral, but more than 100 years into its construction following a major fire, the original design was scrapped in favor of the flambouyant Gothic style that was becoming popular for European churches. However, many of the Norman elements were retained.
The tops of the three main towers contain platforms that are shielded by what appears to be defense bulwarks. The towers therefore resemble the rooks of a medieval fortress castle, which is largely what they originally served as. It was determined that the massive stone ramparts built around the city did not provide sufficient protection against the invaders. The cathedral and its towers provided a second line of defense. The lantern near the top of the main tower helped the defenders of the city spot enemies who approached during the night. Because the towers were not to be supported by flying buttresses, they had to be built with very thick walls. Photo #1 shows some of the many spires.
Photo #2 is an interior view of the cental nave. The intricately vaulted Gothic arched ceiling was strengthened in tension by wooden ribs and ties. The ceiling elements were all outlined in gold long after the original construction was completed.
The north transept of the cathedral is dominated by the "five sisters" windows ( shown in photo #3 ), which is a brilliant set of five lancet windows topped by five smaller lancets. The windows are all made from many small pieces of glass fused together. These brilliant windows were crafted by an early form of monochroming. It is difficult to imagine that these windows are 750 years old. The Great East Window, completed in 1408, is the largest cycle of monochromed, medieval stained glass windows in the world. The walls of the cenral nave are completely lined with cycles of exquisite stained Christian events.
With the exception of the stained glass windows and the fascinating arches and pillars, you will no doubt notice the almost complete lack of sculpture and other artwork. During the "reformation" minded reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the cathedral was stripped of memorials, altars, vestments, sculptures, portraits, and tombs. These adornments were features of Catholic churches, and thus had no part in the Anglican minster that the cathedral had been converted into. Because the many sculptures of saints were transformed into sculptures of former British kings, they were allowed to stay in place. Surprisingly enough the many gargoyles protruding from the spires were not destroyed. Possibly the queen was fond of these stone beasts.
Open to the public: Monday through Saturday 0900 - 1700
Sunday 1200 - 1545
Closed a few times per year for important religious events. ( see web link )
General admission: £ 5.50 adults, £ 4.50 students and 60+ seniors, children under 17 free of charge. Separate admission charge to climb lantern tower, and to visit undercroft. Combinded tickets are available. Additional charge for photography permit. Admission was free of charge when old hund visited in 2001. Perhaps it was just after my visit when the holy church decided that one too many cheapskates had toured the cathedral.
York Minster is one of the most impressive cathedrals I've seen in Europe, it overwhelms the town of York. It's difficult to take a picture of all the Minster because it is so large and because the town surrounds it.
A good way to view the Cathedral together with its buildings and grounds is to walk the city walls between Bootham Bar and Monkgate Bar. This should be followed by a tour inside the Minster, including the Choir Screen which has fifteen statues of the kings of England from William I to Henry VI. For the more energetic there is a climb up the 275 stone steps of the spiral stairway to the top of the Central Tower, which provides splendid views over York. On clear days you can see more than 35 miles of the surrounding countryside
The large Rose Window shown in the pictures was originally built in 1500 but due to a 1984 fire it was rebuilt in 1987.
Admission: no charge, but a donation is requested
I see now they charge to visit the Minster:
Entry into the Minster
Children (under 16s): Free
Entry to the Undercroft, Treasury & Crypt
Adults: £3.00 Children: £1.50
Entry to the Tower : Adults: £2.50
A lot of history has been made at this Gothic Minster, the largest medieval cathedral, since the 600 AD! Those who had made a mark at Minster are buried there including Emperor Constantine; Edwin of Northumbria, an Anglo Saxon King and past and present Archbishops including St William of York
The very first Minster was built in the 7th Century and was a small wooden church. During the 12th Century, the Normans who acquired York built a Minster on the very same spot and replaced the previous one. The church enlarged and Walter Gray, the archbishop, in 1215 comissioned for the church interiors to be added including transepts, the naves, the Lady Chapel and the Quire. The interiors were completed over three centuries and the Central and Western towers were added to the Minster.
Today, the Minster remains intact despite fires in the 19th Century and extensive renovations in the 20th Century. Work to and the discovery of the Minster is still ongoing by The York Minster Revealed project which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
On our visit in March 2011, my friend and I went on a Tower Tour where we climbed 275 steps to the top and we got great views of York down below and the amazing architecture! One criticism is that we were not given much time at the top and the staff were keen for us to ascend and descend as soon as possible! On a future visit to York, I would like to explore the Minster itself more thoroughly.
It costs us 5.50 GBP (March 2011) to go up the tower.
If you want to visit the Minster itself including the Undercroft, Treasury and Crypt, it would cost you 9 GBP but you get a free audio guided tour.
Perhaps York’s best-known attraction and surely one which represents York’s history better than any other. It was built on the site of a former Roman Fortress and has been the center of Christianity in Northern England since the 7th century. This church from 637 dedicated to St. Peter still forms the base for the present building. In later centuries, the church was destroyed several times by fire or Danes and from 1220 on, the church began to take its present appearance. A fire in 1984 damaged parts of the transept. During the restoration works, children were encouraged to design a part of the new transept, giving it a very colourful appearance.
Among the items in the Minster you shoudn’t miss are following:
-Five Sisters Window: Five original 13th century stained glass windows
-Great East Window: Largest medieval stained glass window in the world
-Rose Window: In the southern transept, commemorating the union of the Houses Lancaster and York after the ascension of Henry VII.
-15th century choir screens with depicitions of all English Kings from William the Conqueror to Henry VI. (Henry VI only fitted in because of a miscalculation of the masons. Note that his niche is smaller than the others).
Note also one of the bosses (the decorations where the stone beams meet on the roof). One of them, where Maria was breastfeeding baby Jesus was replaced by prudish victorians by a boss where she feeds him with a bottle…
Even if you are not interested in history, you can easily spend an hour in this building. People with an affinity for the past should take three hours for it. For the latter group, there is a free optional guided tour through the building which is included in the price. The entry fee includes a visit to the crypt with a great exhibition about the history of York minster which I highly recommend. The exhibition will even lead you through the ruins of the Roman fortresses and the early medieval parts (or ruins in some cases) of the church. Free audioguides are available too. A visit to the tower is possible, but will costs you an extra 5 pound bill per adult (or four per child as of Mid-2009).
The York Minster was much more impressive to see than West Minster. Yes West Minster had all the famous people there, but that was all it had going for it. York Minster boasts all sorts of history. Beautiful views from the top (don't go up the stairs if you are claustrophobia). The largest collection of mid-evil stained glass in all of England. I enjoyed the architecture of the building. The reverent feel of it. I spend half my day in the church. I do regret not taking the opportunity to go down to the underground section. I hear it was really cool and I missed out.
York Minster is the largest medieval Cathedral in England. It is a wonderful gothic building which dominates the City. It was built over the military headquarters of the Roman Garrison. It started its' life as a small wooden church in 627 AD and was built for the Anglo Saxon King Edwin. Edwin introduced Christianity by marrying a Southern Christian Princess called Ethelberga. She brought with her a Priest called Paulinus, later to become the first Bishop of York. A Norman Cathedral was started in 1080, taking about 20 years to build. It was this Cathedral whichwas re-built from about 1220 that resulted in the present day Gothic Cathedral.
When you're walking round the outside don't miss the wonderfull craftmanship of the gargoyles and carved statues.
The largest Gothic cathedral north of the Alps and a must for church goers and non-church goers alike, this is truly one of Europe's great sights and the main reason for some to visit York. The crypt still has Roman remains from Emperor Constantine's time if that appeals to you - there has been a place of worship here for a very long time. You can visit the tower with views of Yorkshire in good weather (see fourth and fifth photo) but try to do it early since queues can otherwise be long. York being in the flat Vale of York, this is one of the few places in the city itself with good views for miles. The staff managing the tower are a bit brusque and because of the queues, they have a calling system urging you to move on up there if you stop.
The stained-glass windows are world famous, not least the Rose Window but several others are also worth admiring. Another interesting bit is the Chapter House (the conical looking building at the back) where the Minster finances were discussed and which has strong links to Richard III. One part of the Minster was badly damaged in a fire in 1984 which my now husband happened to see since he lived in one of the few hilly parts of the city (it happened after a thunder storm following a service where god's existence was questioned - spooky) and don't miss some children's contribution to the repair works after a competition in BBCs Blue Peter. When asked what symbolised modern man enough to merit it a place in the Minster, the winning children desiged 'man on the moon' and a whale amongst other things and they can be seen on bosses in the ceiling when you queue to the tower visit.
The Minster opens 7.00 and stays open until 18.30 unless there is something special going on. However, during services it is of course not open to sightseeing (Sundays before 12.00 is a no-goer) and Easter is a particular time to carefully check opening hours. Evensong or Advent is also a nice time to visit and but then you cannot walk around of course, just listen to music. Bring a cardigan even on a warm summers day - you will visit a huge stone building and it is not warm, especially since heating it would nibble away even more at the already huge costs for running this magnificent building where repairs are always ongoing in one corner or other due to the sheer size of it. This is the reason you nowadays have to pay an entrance fee if you visit at other time than for services - as with many other churches around Europe, the state now pays nothing to keep this architectural gem open. If you want to know more about the architecture and history of the Minster, you should visit its offices at St William's College (see tip) where there is also a tea room.
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