York Minster including St. William's College, York

4.5 out of 5 stars 119 Reviews

Deangate, York YO1 7HH +00 44 (0)1904 557200

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  • Roman history
    Roman history
    by iaint
  • from the north
    from the north
    by iaint
  • 5 Sisters Window, dedicated to Women.
    5 Sisters Window, dedicated to Women.
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  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    YORK MINSTER - YORK'S ICONIC LANDMARK

    by LoriPori Updated Sep 26, 2008

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    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.

    2008 Prices:
    The Minster - Minster, Quire & Chapter House
    Adult 5.50
    Senior/Student 4.50
    Child (16 & under) free

    Minster Plus - Minster + Tower or Undercroft
    Adult 7.50
    Senior/ Student 6.00
    Child 2.00

    Do Everything - Minster + Tower + Undercroft
    Adult 9.50
    Senior/Student 8.00
    Child 3.00

    West Front - View from Low Petergate The Rose Window The Nave The Nave Chapter House

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    Statue of Constantine

    by Balam Updated Jul 7, 2010

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    In 306 AD The Roman Emperor Constantius Chlorus died in The Principia which was his headquarters in the northern British garrison of Eboracum (York), His Son Constantine seized power.
    The Principia was on the site now occupied by the Minster and so it was on this site that Constantine became Emperor of Rome, he later became the First Christian Emperor making Christianity the religion of Western Europe.

    Statue of Constantine
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    St Williams College

    by Balam Updated Jul 7, 2010

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    Built in 1461 St Williams College housed the young Chantry Priests who were paid to pray for the souls of their benefactors. The house was built near the Minster so that the Staff there could keep an eye on these somewhat rowdy young priests. The collage is named after William Fitzherbert (Yorks own Saint and one time Archbishop).
    The building was restored in 1906 by wealthy business man Frank Green who owned nearby Treasurers House.
    The College now houses the Minsters Tea rooms and restaurant as well as a conference centre.

    St Williams College St Williams College St Williams College
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    See the 5 Sisters

    by Goner Updated Apr 8, 2004

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    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.

    The 5 Sisters

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    York Minster - A heart-warming tale

    by iandsmith Updated Dec 27, 2005

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    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.

    Impressive from any angle
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    A Massive Cathedral

    by Goner Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    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.

    Opening Times:
    Summer 07.00-20.30
    Winter 07.00-18.00
    Admission: no charge, but a donation is requested

    I see now they charge to visit the Minster:
    Entry into the Minster
    Adult: £4.50
    Children (under 16s): Free

    Entry to the Undercroft, Treasury & Crypt
    Adults: £3.00 Children: £1.50
    Entry to the Tower : Adults: £2.50
    Children: £1.00

    York Minster
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    York Minster - Many Layers Of History

    by tpal Updated Mar 25, 2005

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    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.

    The Great East Window

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    The Nave

    by Goner Updated Apr 9, 2004

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    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.

    York Minster Nave

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    The Undercroft

    by Goner Updated Apr 11, 2004

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    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."

    Admission:
    Adult: £2.50
    Concessions: £1.50
    Children: £1.00

    This photo also came from the Minster site.

    York Minster Crypt
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    Statue of Constantine

    by ettiewyn Updated Dec 9, 2012

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    Close to the southern door of the Minster, there is a statue of Constantine the Great. He was proclaimed Emperor of Rome in 306A.D., right here in York! Of course the Minster was not there at that time, but at the very spot there were the headquarters of the Roman fortress and it is highly probable that the proclamation took place there.
    Constantine was the first Roman Emperor who became a Christian and therefore was utterly important to the course of European history.

    Three weeks after my visit to York I travelled to Milan and saw a statue of Constantine the Great in front of the church of San Lorenzo alle Colonne. Constantine stopped the prosecution of Christians through the Edict of Milan in 313A.D. Seeing two statues of the same person about 2000km away from each other made me realize how huge the Roman Empire actually was!

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    York Minster

    by Myfanwe Written Jul 15, 2010

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    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.

    York Minster York Minster York Minster York Minster York Minster
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    York Minster

    by uglyscot Updated Jun 20, 2011

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    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 .

    facade The Minster model of the Minster and surroundings detail at York Minster
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    York Minster

    by Drever Written Mar 6, 2014

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    The size of York Minister and its architecture are striking. It's over 500 feet wide and has a central tower almost 200 feet high. While you are looking around the Minster bear in mind it took over 250 years to complete and the only tools they had then were simple levers, pulleys and hoists. Many Masons and Carpenters spent their entire working lives helping to erect York Minster. Over the years it has had major repair and restoration works done and on our visit continuing maintenance work was underway.

    The construction used huge quantities of magnesium limestone. It weathers and cleans itself turning from white when first quarried to the lovely pale golden honey colour which is the colour we see today. York Minster is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe along with Cologne Cathedral. The title "Minster" refers to churches built in the Anglo-Saxon period as missionary teaching churches.

    The first church on the site was a wooden one built in 627 to christen the Anglo-Saxon King, Edwin of Northumbria. Later a bigger stone one replaced the earlier one. Work on the present Gothic building began in 1230 and was completed in 1472. Gothic style uses pointed arches to enable window sizes to increase and allow more light into the building.

    York Minster was a Catholic church before 1534. Now it is Church of England. It is the seat of the Archbishop of York as well as a popular tourist site. As a tourist you can enter the Minster, Undercroft, Treasury and Crypt and Tower - while services are taking place restrictions will apply.

    The Nave is the widest Gothic one in the country. Above the great West Window, installed in 1338, look for the heart-shaped carving nicknamed the heart of Yorkshire. The Chapter house, an octagonal building, because of it shape has good acoustics.

    The North and South transepts were the first parts of the new church built. The Minster has a Gothic choir and east end, and Early English north and south transepts. Over the Lady Chapel in the east end is the Great East Window. Finished in 1408, it the largest expanse of medieval stained-glass in the world. It depicts the beginning and the end of the world based on the Bible stories and is almost the size of a tennis court. In the north transept is the Five Sisters Window, each lancet being over 16 metres (52 ft) high. The stained-glass Rose Window is something that no visitor can fail to miss. It’s at the front entrance and possibly the most beautiful window in the minster. It tells the story of the houses of York and Lancaster which historically fought each other and finally united.

    The Screen is the most impressive screen I've ever seen. Instead of religious figures the screen displays statues of 15 English kings, from William I to Henry VI.

    Walking down the stairs of the minster to the Undercroft, Treasury and Crypt you will find skeletons of buildings that were previously on the site of the Minster. Some date from the original Roman fortress on the site others from Viking and medieval times. You can also have a look at the Minister’s collection of treasures.

    I’m impressed with the beauty of the Minster, in particular the windows I mentioned earlier, the Screen and the Nave. In my inexperienced opinion York Minster and Westminster Abbey are of equal magnificence. If visiting the Minster you should be aware the Minster is still a place of worship and while these are in progress access controls apply to certain areas. Anybody is welcome to join in any of the daily services though.

    If you are energetic climb the Tower - the largest in England. Its 275 steps are steep and the stairway is very narrow but from the top the views are worth the climb for you can see for miles not to mention the medieval streets and horse carriages down below that take you back in time.

    Approaching York Minster The Undercroft Looking up towards the Screen The Screen with its statues of 15 English kings Nave Roof
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    York Minster

    by Orbital_ Written Mar 7, 2004

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    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).

    Climbing up one of the twin towers
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    St Williams College

    by Myfanwe Updated Jul 16, 2010

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    St Williams college was named after William fitzherebert (great grandson on William the Conqueror). The college was built in 1465/67 and was the home of the Chantry priests of the Minster. In those days, wealthy people gave their money to the Minster to hire priests to pray for their souls! The college was built near the Minster so that youthful escapades of the youthful priests could be curbed. During the Civil war, Charles I moved the Royal mint and his printing press here from London. Above the outer door is a figure of St William, whilst under the eaves you can see a carving of the Virgin and Child and St Christopher. In the top right hand corner of the right entrance door, you can see a little mouse, trademark of a Yorkshire master carver, Robert Thompson of Kilburn, also known as the 'mouseman'.

    St Williams College St Williams College St Williams College St Williams College St Williams College
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