The second largest Gothic Cathedral in Northern Europe (largest is Cologne Cathedral) is York's most Iconic Landmark. YORK MINSTER was built over a span of 250 years. The present building was begun in 1230 and completed in 1472. The Minster is 158 metres long and each of its three towers are 60 metres high. The place was Huge. I can't describe my feeling when I first laid my eyes upon it. Besides the Mosque/Cathedral in Cordoba, Spain, I have never seen anything so magnificent.
In my General Tips area, I will talk individually about the main features of York Minster, like The Nave, Chapter House, North Transepts, the Quire, etc.
You can also climb the Tower for breathtaking views of York. I declined, but Hans opted to climb the 275 steps to the Tower.
The Minster - Minster, Quire & Chapter House
Child (16 & under) free
Minster Plus - Minster + Tower or Undercroft
Senior/ Student 6.00
Do Everything - Minster + Tower + Undercroft
The Five Sisters Window dominated the north transept. It’s glazed with a glass called “grisaille” and is the largest type to survive in the whole world. It was completed in 1250 before the glass was made in England, so must have been very expensive. The Window contains over 100,000 pieces of glass. The window has been dedicated to the women who lost their lives in the two world wars.
PS: Grisaille is a French term for painting in monochrome in various shades of grey, particularly used in decoration to represent objects in relief. The term is also applied to monochrome painting in stained glass.
It's sad when people from other countries set up tips, if locals were able to do it the tip would probably have been spelt Minster instead of Minister. What a difference one letter can make.
By the time you read this you will undoubtedly already be aware from other sources that York Minster is one of the world's great cathedrals, reeking with history and spectacular stained glass windows, numbered again among the world's finest.
There's one little tale about the place that leaves a lesson in life that most of the people who are avid VTers will absolutely cherish. Let me share it with you.
So it came to pass that one day, whilst guiding one of his tours some time ago, Dave had some Germans numbered among his guests, from whom came an extraordinary tale. They related how they had been pilots during the Second World War, bomber pilots to be exact, and on one particular night they were to bomb York, specifically the Minster. Imagine what a tragedy that would have been.
Yet, somehow, they failed to hit it. That somehow emerged from Dave's lips. It so happened that they had visited York before the war and, naturally enough, had seen the glory of the Minster so, when the night came to bomb it they, in an act of defiance and common sense, deliberately dropped their bombs wide of the target, which wasn't good for St. Martins, the one they actually hit.
In an act of conciliation the Germans donated an organ after the war.
If that isn't a most wonderful reason to promote tourism, I don't know what is.
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
The construction of York Minster as it appears today began in 1220 and continued for over 250 years but this is hardly the whole story. The history of the cathedral really begins with Constantine The Great who was, in fact, living in York (or what would become York) in the year 306 when he was proclaimed Emperor of Rome. Over the next thousand years or so several churches and other structures would be built and destroyed on the site.
The window in the photo, one of the last to be completed in 1405, is the Great East Window in the Lady Chapel and is one of the largest medieval windows in existence. The Minster is a spectacular gothic cathedral but the most fascinating part for me was beneath.
In 1967 work was begun to shore up the central tower of the minster which was in danger of collapse. In the process of excavating the foundations the remains of history were discovered. Remnants of the Norman cathedral below the minster and of Roman structures below that were exposed. The area below the minster is referred to as the Undercroft and the exhibit displaying the excavations is excellent.
York Minster has the widest Gothic nave in England. It was built in 1291 and the builders were concerned about the weight of the stone vaulting and spanned the space with wood which gave it such a beautiful architectural feature. When you enter it’s awesome, such an immense space. Check the statue to the right of the west door it’s of the Minster's patron saint, St Peter holding his symbol, a key.
The nave also contains several examples of Norman stained glass on both the north and south sides, the finest example being a panel depicting St Nicholas riding over a cheat who had stolen from a money lender.
If you look directly above, you see scenes from the life of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Annunciation, Nativity, Adoration of the Kings, Resurrection, Ascention, Pentecost, Assumption of the Virgin and Coronation of the Virgin.
Behind you is the magnificient West Window built between 1338-39.
I borrowed the photo from the Minster site, as I couldn't have taken a picture that would capture it's enormous size.
This is the part of the Minster we didn't see due to the "Barristers & Clergy procession". Here is where you will see the artifacts found during the excavation under the Minster. "They say that descending into the Undercroft is like going back into time. When the Central Tower threatened to collapse, work was done to shore up its foundations from 1967 to 1972. While securing the foundations that hold up the 16,000 ton Tower, workers found the remains of buildings that once existed on this site.
These ancient remains can be seen with an audio tour allowing you to visit the site at your own speed."
This photo also came from the Minster site.
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.
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 .
One of the finest Gothic Cathedrals on the planet this is the number one destination for any visitor to York. The cost of maintaining the Minster in the 21st centaury means that an entrance fee is now charged but to see the wonderfully ornate interior it?s more than worth it. For a few quid more you can also climb the tower for a stunning view out over the city and the surrounding Vale of York on a clear day.
Tip: If you?re lucky enough to arrive when a service is starting they usually take the kiosk barriers away and you may not have to pay the entrance fee (donation boxes can still be found however).
I had already been to a couple of rather impressive Abbeys during my visit (Bath and Westminster) so I opted not to pay the L5 to visit the interior of the church but headed up the Tower instead for the fine view of the surrounding area. The admission desk is inside the minster so you can get a partial look at the interior before heading up the Tower.
I made this my first stop and was glad I did as there was only a minute or so wait to climb the Tower. The same stairs are used for up and down so you have to wait until the last batch are down before you can go up.
I got there at 10:30 and there were only about 5 people waiting to make the 275 stair climb, there's one break on the way up where you walk outside and get a nice view of some of the gargoyles, buttresses and spires. Not recommended for people who are claustrophobic or have fear of heights. And if you are a slow climber, please be considerate and don't go at the front of the pack, there's not enough room for passing on the narrow staircase.
York Minster is definitely one of the highlights in the city. It is the largest Gothic church north of the Alps and it houses the largest collection of medieval staiend glass in Britain.
If possible, don't miss going to the Undercroft. There is an audio tour called 'The Story of the Minster through the Ages' -- a fascinating way to bring to life the past of the Minster.
York's best known building is the Minster, seat of the archibishop of York, and home to the best collection of stained glass windows in England, not to mention countless other important relics. The minster looks equally great from a distance and up close. Its colour reminded me of colleges in Oxford, while the Gothic architecture is reminiscent of the great cathedrals in France, such as Notre Dame in Paris. There has been a church on the site since 627, though it was from a later church in 1080 that the present church emerged.
Built over 250 years, York Minster is steeped in history. Emperor Constantine started his progress to becoming a great power here, and beneath the central tower still stands the Roman buildings in which he once lived. Saxon kings have been baptised here, and you will also find the Archbishops of York buried here, including St William of York.
You can visit the Chapter House, Undercroft, Treasury, Crypt and even climb to the top of the tower for maginificent view over York and beyond.
It is said that the heart of Yorkshire is carved into the west window.
Entrance fees apply (GBP5.00 for adults at present) as well as fees for visiting the additional areas like the tower, undercroft, etc. but if you're in town on a Sunday morning, you can get in for free whilst services are conducted in the nave (no access to nave during services).
York Minster is a really giant cathedral and you have to take some proverbial steps back to be able to see it at its full size. This is the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe and dates back to the 13th century. The cathedral was built on the place where another church stood, dating from a period that goes back some more centuries. Both on the outside as well as on the inside you will be amazed by this building with all its details and richness.