Finally got to the last post on York, and this time inside York Minster.
York as a whole, and particularly the minster, have a long tradition of creating beautiful stained glass. Some of the stained glass in York Minster dates back to the 12th century. The Minster’s records show that much of the glass (white or coloured) came from Germany. Because of the extended time periods during which the glass was installed, different types of glazing and painting techniques which evolved over hundreds of years are visible in the different windows. Approximately two million individual pieces of glass make up the cathedral’s 128 stained glass windows. Much of the glass was removed before and pieced back together after the 1st and 2nd world wars,and the windows are constantly being cleaned and conserved to keep their beauty intact, which was happening to the magnificent East Window, so we didn’t get to see that a.
The choir screen has a statue of every King of England
We went into the undercroft, the vaulted cellar below ground level. It has archaeological remains covering all of York’s history, from the Roman fort to the Norman foundations. There’s an exhibit of artifacts on display in the undercroft normally, including a luscious Norman-era 12th century relief of sinners being tortured by demons in Hell’s cauldron known as the Doomstone.
Lots of tombs and shrines in the walls of the Minster
There are 2 interesting clocks in the Minster, a medieval mechanical clock where 2 armed figures strike the 1/4 hours
and an astronomical clock, installed in the North Transept in 1955. It was first conceived in 1944 and designed by R d’E Atkinson. The clock is a memorial to the airmen operating from bases in Yorkshire, Durham, and Northumberland who were killed in action during WW2. It’s quite a complicated clock to get your head around as Atkinson based the design on the appearance of the sun and stars from the viewpoint of a pilot flying over York, and if you are interested how it works HERE is the link. As it happens damage to the clock’s mechanism was sustained during the fire of 9 July 1984; after 10 years’ reparation work, vergers ceased winding it owing to inaccuracies of time-keeping. 😦
The Chapter House, where the day to day business of the Minster was run, was begun in about 1260 and is a superb example of the Gothic Decorated style which was then all the rage.
The entrance to the Chapter House is along a fairly low passage, which gives no hint of what is to come. You pass through a twin arched door…
…where a wonderfully carved Madonna and child stand, and enter into a circular space ringed with low stalls.
Then when you go inside, the stained glass windows are beautiful, and led your eyes up to this gorgeous ribbed vault ceiling.
Hard to believe it’s made out of wood, but it is. A masterpiece of medieval architecture. I tried a panorama with the iPhone, which didn’t work too well, you can see the roof lines are all jittery, but it gives you an idea..
Finally, whilst doing the tour underneath the Minster to see the Roman Fort ruins that still are visible (The Minster was built ovee part of the Fort ruins) we came across this wonderful Viking Horn.
One of the few surviving artefacts from the beginning of the eleventh century, the Horn of Ulf is a large elephant tusk which was carved in Salerno in Italy. The figures on it are believed to have been carved by Islamic carvers.
It belonged to a Viking nobleman, or thane, called Ulf or Ulphus. Ulf owned large estates around York and throughout Yorkshire. The Horn acted as a land deed and was given to the Minster when the land transferred in to the ownership of the Dean and Chapter of York.
It was lost during the Civil War but came back to York Minster, having had the silver mounts added during its disappearance.
So that ends the York Reports, hope you’ve enjoyed the journey, next time, Mount Grace Priory 🙂
websites I used for researching history during the reports:-