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A treasure trove spanning almost 2,000 years of history

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Further details on how to book an appointment, along with our opening times, can be found on the Visiting York Minster Library and Archives webpage.

The 300,000 objects that make up our collection each tell fascinating stories about York Minster’s past and present.

From textiles to silver, books to archaeology, our objects were brought here to enhance or understand our faith. Many are still used today and surround you when you enter the Minster.

Our story isn’t finished, so we are still adding to our collection. If you have something you think would add to the story of York Minster we would love to hear from you. Please contact collections@yorkminster.org and we would be happy to discuss this with you. Here are links to our collections development policies for the Museum & Archives and the Library, which explain the kind of things we can accept.

The collection is divided into the following three areas.


Our object collections may be searched using our objects, archives and manuscripts catalogue.

The objects in our collection are diverse, from the semaphore saints who sit above the West Doors to Anthony Babington’s rosary on display in the Undercroft.

Our oldest objects date back to the Roman Fortress that sat on this site almost 2,000 years ago.

You can see some of these objects on display in our Undercroft Museum,  the only accredited museum in a cathedral in the country. Or learn more about our objects and the stories they tell under Stories.


Our library is the largest cathedral library in the country, with just over 90,000 volumes.

It holds the historic printed collections of the Chapter of York dating back to the 1470s, as well as being a modern reference and lending library.

Our books cover a wide range of subjects including local history, early York printing, Civil War tracts, theology through the ages, church history and architecture. Modern books include theology and the history of the Minster and the city. You can search our online catalogue via the University of York or via Library Hub Discover, a website which contains the holdings of the UK’s national libraries.

Archives & Manuscripts

Our collections of archives and manuscripts date back to the year 1000, and occupy a kilometre of shelving.

We hold the archives of the Chapter of York, including the fabric rolls, which document the construction of the Minster. We also hold prints, plans and drawings of the building and surrounding land.

Our manuscript collections span the last millennium, with examples on display in the Undercroft including the 1,000-year-old York Gospels.

Many of our archive and manuscript collections are included in our objects, archives and manuscripts catalogue, but others may currently only be searched at the Old Palace.


We also hold prints, plans and drawings of the building and surrounding land.  Our manuscript collection spans 1,000 years, with examples on display in the Undercroft including the York Gospels.

Discover more on the history of the library here

The Old Palace
Dean’s Park

Please see our precinct map for further details.

Contact us:

T: 01904 557250
E: collections@yorkminster.org

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