York Minster

A bishop of York was summoned to Arles council in 314AD indicating the presence of a bishopric and presumably a cathedral church at that time.  Despite this in 627AD a wooden church had to be rapidly built to provide a place for the baptism of King Edwin of Northumbria (d.633).  A stone replacement built for King Oswald (d.642) was standing by 637 but was dilapidated by 670 when it was repaired and renewed and Saint Wilfrid (d.709/10).  After being burned in 741 it was rebuilt to contain 30 altars.  The fate of the church through the Viking invasions is uncertain, but Archbishop Ealdred crowned William I in 1066.  The church suffered damage in 1069, but was repaired by the first Norman archbishop, Thomas Bayeux (d.1100).  Damaged again in 1075 it was again rebuilt, damaged and repaired again repeatedly.  The current standing structure was begun in the early thirteenth century and not completed until 1472 and is the second largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe.  Despite this, some of the window glass is claimed to date back to the twelfth century.

Hidden from view in the crypt are the foundations of an elongated apse encased by a later crypt 45' in length and 5' thick.  The lower courses of this are faced with rough herringbone work which was probably supposed to be under original floor level.


Copyright©2021 Paul Martin Remfry

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