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A brief history of York Minster

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Making Music

The Minster’s grand organ underwent extensive restoration work.


Minster Makes History

Dr. John Sentamu becomes Archbishop of York. He is the first person from a black or minority ethnic group to become an Archbishop in the Church of England.


Girl power!

York Minster was one of the UK’s first cathedrals to introduce girl choristers alongside the boys.


Tower at Risk of Collapse

£2million is raised for major engineering works to reinforce the foundations of the tower and to repair damage to the stonework.


Minster at War

After zeppelin raids on York the stained glass is removed for safety. Eighty windows were also removed in 1941 for the duration of the Second World War.



Fire strikes York Minster in 1753, 1829, 1840 and 1984. Jonathan Martin is responsible for the fire of 1829, the same year the Minster Police force is established.


York Surrenders

The Dean and Chapter is abolished when York surrenders to Sir Thomas Fairfax and his Parliamentary forces. The surrender agreement protects the Minster and other York churches.



Henry IV has Archbishop Richard Scrope killed for treason. His tomb lies beneath the Great East Window. John Thornton began glazing this window in the same year, finishing in 1408.


A Royal Wedding

King Edward III marries Philippa of Hainault in York Minster. Their second son, William of Hatfield, dies very young and is buried in the Minster in 1337.


York’s Saint

William Fitzherbert, twice Archbishop of York, is officially declared Saint William of York.

1154 - c.1225

The Minster expands

From 1154 Archbishop Roger of Pont l’Évêque oversees the complete replacement of the East End. C.1225 Archbishop Walter de Gray begins building a new South Transept. It takes a further 250 years for the York Minster we know today to emerge.


A New Minster

Archbishop Thomas of Bayeaux begins building a completely new cathedral after the Minster was burnt during the Harrying of the North in 1069.


York’s First Archbishop

Ecgbert becomes the first Archbishop of York.


The First Stone Church

Early historians tell us that a stone church was built around the wooden church of King Edwin’s baptism. Edwin was killed in battle and buried in the new church.


A Royal Baptism

In 625 King Edwin marries the Christian princess Ethelburga. Bishop Paulinus accompanies her to York and baptises Edwin in a small wooden church, probably on the site of the Roman fortress.


Hail Constantine!

Constantine the Great is declared emperor in York, or Eboracum, as the Romans called it when they settled here in c.71.

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