Wednesday, April 7, 2010

York Minster

After we left Betty's we went straight to York Minster. You catch glimpses of the Minster from all over York. Its imposing presence dominates the York skyline.

The site where the Minster now stands has been occupied since Roman times; nearly 2000 years. In around AD71 it was the site of a Roman Head Quarters building which stood in the middle of a Roman fort.

The first Minster in York was built for the baptism of Edwin, the Saxon King of Northumbria, in AD627. This was a small wooden structure.

The wooden Minster was replaced by a stone structure in AD640. With the arrival of the Norman's in Britain a Norman Cathedral was built on the site by Archbishop Thomas of Bayeux (AD1080-AD 1100).

In around 1220 Archbishop Walter Gray began to rebuild the Minster in the Gothic style. This mammoth task took 250 years to complete, until we have the Minster in the form we know it today. The Minster is constructed of sandstone which has suffered alot of damage due to weathering over time.

Here is a photo of the arch above the Great West door which was replaced/repaired in 1998. It depicts the story of Adam and Eve. The detail is truly amazing and it made me appreciate and admire the work of stone masons even more; such incredibly intricate carving.

Once inside the Minster Mr Bee and B1 paid the extra few pounds to climb the 275 steps up the central Tower; whilst the girls and I tried our hand at the York Minster Treasure Hunt. This is a brochure given out to children visiting the Minster to see if they can find the treasure trove of beautiful and interesting things inside the building. Here is a very out of focus photo of the Great Western Window, built in 1338; it is affectionately know as the 'Heart of Yorkshire'. Can you guess why?

I was in awe of some of the needlework in the hassock, or kneeling cushion, in the Minster.

B3 was very concerned about the tombs in the Minster. She wanted to know why the people had been turned to stone. Even after I managed to get her to touch some of the marble statues she was not convinced, although she was fascinated by this weeping Putti on the tomb of Archbishop Richard Sterne from 1683.

Tomb of Archbishop Richard Sterne, 1683

B3 was even more concerned by the tomb of Sir Henry Bellasis (1624) as these statues were coloured and even more life like. B2 was fine about the whole ting until she realised that the bodies of the people depicted on each tomb were actually entombed within.

We went to find Mr Bee and B1 after the epic climb and we were greeted by a slightly flush faced duo. B1 was so proud of himself and made sure that I knew that it was not only 275 steps but actually 550 steps that he had climbed - up and down the stairs!

B3 became a little confused about the whole statue representing the dead thing as later we came across the Eagle lectern, which naturally enough, has a large golden eagle perched on top. Up pipes B3, 'Poor eagle, he's dead!'

This was an incredible tomb of an Naval Admiral. All the carvings were nautically based, seashells around his head, cannons, muskets, rope, globes, flags and all manner of sea faring paraphernalia, whose names I shan't hazard a guess. Once the beauty of the carvings was pointed out to B2 she forgot all about the dead bodies and focused on the artistic side of the tombs instead.

The stain glass was spectacular. A few large sections of stained glass are currently under repair but instead of the construction site marring the Minster a life size poster of the window hangs in its stead. It may not be the original but it certainly give the 'feel' of the window under repair.

This is a photo of a section of the Quire Screen. There are fifteen kings on the screen in all but due to the number of tourists I was unable to get a full length photo of the entire screen.

We looked around York Minster for about two hours, venturing to Undercroft, where below the floor of the Minster there are displays about the Minster's history, together with excavations of previous building on the site. No photography was allowed here.

We headed out into the fine Yorkshire weather to be drizzled on a little more. One of Mr Bee's favourite movies is 'V for Vendetta', so he was pleased to see the Guy Fawkes Inn which is situated in the place of Guy Fawkes birth.

Glimpses of the Minster from around the town.

We wandered around the narrow street of York and 'happened' upon the one store I have been wanting to visit for quite some time, Cath Kidston. I asked if I could take photos inside but alas no photography is permitted so you will have to make do with a photo of my purchases:

I have never seen this red spotty pattern on her website so I snapped these pillowcases up straight away as they will match in wonderfully with our bedroom linen. These were my only purchase as whilst I could easily fill half a suitcase with CK goodies our bank balance could not take the punishment.

There are a few stores in Guernsey which stock some of the Cath Kidston range but after seeing an entire store filled with it I doubt I will ever be able to go back :) B2 came into the shop with me and is a convert. She wanted to buy herself a lip balm, but at £5 a pop I told her she wasn't allowed to as it would use up nearly all her holiday spending money. Naturally I am the cruellest mother in the world as a direct result of this unspeakable injustice.

We left York at 3pm after a truly fabulous, if a little expensive, day. The Bumble B'eers were getting to the point of poopedness, as were Mummy and Daddy, truth be told, so we hopped into the car and headed back to Aunty Sue's. There still remains many family oriented activities to do in York and on our next visit to Manchester I dare say we shall return to York to appreciate more of her historic delights, and squeeze in a quick trip to Cath as well :P


  1. I'll try and organise better weather for you next time! York is always such a great day out. xxxx

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