A new Canon Precentor for York Minster
The Chapter of York today announced that the Archbishop of York has appointed The Reverend Canon James Milne, currently Canon Precentor at St Paul’s Cathedral, as the new Canon Precentor at York Minster. James succeeds The Reverend Canon Dr Victoria Johnson who is to become Dean of Chapel at St John’s College, Cambridge.
At York Minster, James will lead and oversee the cathedral’s Music and Liturgy Team. He will enable the planning and delivery of worship and music day-to-day, supporting the work of the Director of Music, the 40 choristers (20 boys and 20 girls) and 12 adult singers of the world-renowned Choir of York Minster. As a Residentiary Canon of the cathedral, James will also share in its governance and in the overall responsibility for its mission and ministry.
Commenting on his appointment, James said:
“I am deeply honoured to have been appointed Canon Precentor of York Minster and I am greatly looking forward to joining a dynamic community of faith and worship in such a beautiful setting, and to being part of the next chapter in the life of the Cathedral. Having grown up in Edinburgh I am excited to be moving to another historic city within the United Kingdom, which I have greatly enjoyed visiting over the years.”
Welcoming James to York Minster, The Very Reverend Dominic Barrington, Dean of York, said:
“We are very fortunate to be able to welcome James to York Minster as our new Canon Precentor. James has already had a distinguished ministry in cathedral worship in one of the country’s busiest cathedrals, and we are excited that he will bring the fruits of this experience to the Mother Church of the Diocese of York and the Northern Province of the Church of England. I am much looking forward to working with James during this next phase of the Minster’s life.”
James will be collated and installed in his new role during Evensong on Saturday 18 May by the Archbishop of York and the Dean of York.
Half-term fun at York Minster
Families can enjoy a range of fun events and activities at York Minster this half-term, all designed to help young explorers discover the medieval Minster.
Highlights of the holiday programme will include ‘Peter and the Wolf’, a family-friendly organ concert with exciting narration, and ‘P is for Pilgrim’, a special trail inspired by the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell’s new book.
Archbishop Stephen said, “I am delighted that York Minster is offering this half-term trail activity for children, parents and carers, linked to my book P is for Pilgrim. Our church buildings have so much to teach us about aspects of the Christian faith, symbols often hidden in plain sight. I hope that many will enjoy exploring this fantastic place of worship and leave not only with more knowledge but having encountered something of the person of Jesus Christ.”
Visitors to the York Minster Precinct will also be able to experience welcoming, outdoor spaces with wonderful views of the Minster: the revamped and replanted College Green and Minster Gardens, a peaceful garden oasis next door to the York Minster Refectory. The ever-popular Dean’s Park is also open throughout the year, perfect for winter walks and escaping from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
York Minster’s full February half-term programme is as follows:
P is for Pilgrim
Saturday 10 – Sunday 18 February
Free with General Admission
Follow a special trail inspired by the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell’s new book P is for Pilgrim. Suitable for children of all faiths and none, the trail is designed to help young adventurers spot Christian symbols and concepts as they explore the Minster and learn more about faith.
Peter and the Wolf
Tuesday 13 February, 7pm
Tickets now available
Join brave young Peter as he overcomes his fear of a big bad wolf in Sergei Prokofiev’s classic Peter and the Wolf played on York Minster’s recently-refurbished Grand Organ.
Hear captivating instrumental characterisations of Peter’s animal friends as a live feed of the cathedral’s marvellous organ being played by Ben Morris, Assistant Director of Music at York Minster, is shown on screens to the audience. Using special stops on the organ, Ben will guide young listeners through the sounds of this magnificent instrument. The performance will be narrated by Stuart Perry, the Silly History Boys’ silliest boy.
Tickets cost £8 for an adult and £6 for a child. A family ticket of £22 for two adults and two children is also available.
Free with General Admission
Have you ever wondered how many panes of glass make up the Five Sisters Window? Look for shapes, patterns and colours as you journey around York Minster with specially designed STEM trails: Maths Quest, Light Quest and Nature Quest. Perfect to keep little brains busy!
Little Explorer Backpacks
Free with General Admission
Grab one of our ever-popular Little Explorer Backpacks filled with gadgets including maps, binoculars, and a magnifying glass to help your young adventurer explore the medieval Minster.
Free with General Admission
Follow in the footsteps of Roman soldiers as you discover 2000 years of history in our state-of-the-art Undercroft Museum. Delve beneath the cathedral’s floor and see archaeological finds from across the centuries through digital displays and interactive chambers.
Enjoy our green spaces
Relax in Dean’s Park, College Green or Minster Gardens and take in these peaceful outdoor spaces nestled in the heart of York.
Following in the footsteps of women of faith: York Minster hosts annual Hilda’s Heirs festival
York Minster is marking International Women’s Day by hosting the annual Hilda’s Heirs festival on Saturday 9 March, in partnership with the Diocese of York and the Yorkshire North and East Methodist District.
The festival will begin at 10am with a service giving thanks for the role that women of faith, past and present, have on our lives. After the service, women in positions of leadership, including Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, will host a market place, offering conversations and activities to visitors.
Two specially designed trails will also be available throughout the day. ‘Women in the Minster’ will journey through the cathedral, following in the steps of women of faith who have played a part in creating the magnificent building and supporting the life of the Minster. An outdoor trail will explore the City of York to discover and celebrate diverse women who have transformed their communities over the centuries.
The Revd Catriona Cumming, Succentor at York Minster, said: “We are delighted to be part of this amazing festival, celebrating and encouraging the leadership of women and girls in our communities. This will be a brilliant day of creativity, conversation and celebration.”
The festival, which will take place inside York Minster on Saturday 9 March, is free to attend. Free tickets can be booked in advance here.
Symbolic York ledger stone leaves for New York
A ledger stone created by York Minster masons to commemorate the long-standing historic links between the cities of York and New York has officially started its journey to the American city.
A special dinner was recently held at the York Minster Refectory to mark the event and was attended by senior representatives from York Minster, the Lord Mayor of York, West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and St. George’s Society of New York.
The ledger stone, an inscribed stone slab usually laid into the floor of a church, has been specially crafted by York Minster masons as a gift from York to New York to celebrate their historic connection. The ledger stone was designed by Richard Bossons, who was responsible for creating York Minster’s statue of Queen Elizabeth II.
Not only do the two cities have an unbreakable link through the history of their names – dating back to 1664 when New York was named – but in 1924, New York presented the city of York with a bronze plaque, which is currently housed in the York Guildhall. The new ledger stone marks the centenary of this gift.
The stone was unveiled by HRH Duke of Gloucester, Patron of the St George’s Society New York on July 11th last year, a date that also signified the formal affiliation of the Company of the Merchant Adventurers of the City of York and the St George’s Society of New York.
The stone will now head transatlantic and will be formally unveiled during a special evensong and civic reception at the Church of St Thomas in New York on 5th May 2024. York Minster shares a close relationship with St Thomas’ Church through its liturgy and music.
The Very Revd Dominic Barrington, Dean of York, said: “York and New York have a deeply rooted history, and continue to remain connected in many ways, from education, business, and culture. We’re extremely excited that we’ve reached the next step in the programme of celebration marking the centenary of this historic moment as we look to further develop connections between the two cities.
“It also comes at a time where work on our Centre of Excellence is well underway, a project that will establish the York Minster Precinct as a world class campus facility for heritage craft skills, so we’re delighted to be able to showcase the talent of our stonemasons and the scheme on an international scale through this gift.”
Alongside the unveiling of the stone, the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce will be visiting New York as part of a wider trade mission to highlight the many tourism, business, travel, and education and skills opportunities that North Yorkshire has to offer.
James Mason, Chief Executive of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This visit to New York creates an opportunity to open up new trade relationships between York and North Yorkshire businesses and new audiences in North America. As a collective group of North Yorkshire representatives across many sectors it will enable us to shine a light on the region for people to think about visiting, studying and travelling to North Yorkshire whether for business or pleasure.
“This is a self-funded trip with all organisations covering their own costs. Here at the Chamber, we are using our global reach and contacts to facilitate the trip at low cost with big impact. For example, on 2nd May we will be staging a Great Yorkshire show event at the British Consulate in Manhattan and hope to plan other trips dependent on its success. Our aim as always is to support our members and has certainly caught the imagination of businesses within our region who are thinking big and further afield to grow their own organisations.”
Sarah Czarnecki, President of York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, added: “I am delighted and excited to be working with my wonderful colleagues at York Minster to send the Centenary Ledger Stone on its way to New York. The visit to unveil the stone in May presents a fantastic opportunity for York Minster, The Chamber of Commerce and our partners to represent York, Yorkshire and Britain and will be a fitting tribute to mark this historic landmark occasion.”
Mark Aiston, 2nd Vice President of St. George’s Society of New York and Owner of Aiston Fine Art Services, who is sponsoring the shipment of the stone and travelled to York especially to accompany the stone back to New York, added: “I am thrilled to be a part of such an important project for both the City of York and for New York City, particularly as it marks the 100th anniversary of a similar event for which the City of York was then the recipient. I hope many other visitors from York add this to their list of things to see in Manhattan too!”
The Centre of Excellence is a first-of-its-kind project which will see the creation of a world-class campus facility for research, education and training in the traditional craft skills required to preserve and maintain the Minster for future generations. It will also establish the Minster as an international example of best practice in managing complex heritage estates.
Find out more about the Centre of Excellence HERE.
Photo- L-R: Mark Aiston, Aiston Fine Art and representing the St George’s Society of New York; The Very Revd Dominic Barrington; Richard Bossons – York Minster Stonemason
Photo- L-R: James Mason – Chief Executive, York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce; Adam Sinclaire – Andrew Jackson Solicitors; Sarah Czarnecki – President, York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce; Mark Aiston, Aiston Fine Art and representing the St George’s Society of New York ; The Very Revd Dominic Barrington – Dean of York; David Colthup – Chapter Steward, York Minster; Alex McCallion – Director of Works & Precinct, York Minster; Richard Bossons – York Minster Stonemason; Daniel Sowden – BHP; Louise Barnaby – BHP
Sustainable redevelopment plans for York Minster’s Red House
Plans have been submitted to renovate a key building at York Minster Precinct as part of its pioneering Neighbourhood Plan.
If planning permission and listed building consent are approved by City of York Council, much needed improvement and repair work will be made to the Grade II* listed Red House building at 6 Minster Yard.
As part of the latest low carbon retrofit project by the Chapter of York, the governing body of York Minster, a ‘warm roof’ with solar slates will be incorporated on the building’s south side.
The same system has been successfully introduced on the Precinct’s Refectory building with permission also granted at 2 Deangate, where work is set to commence in 2025.
In addition to the solar slates at Red House, a platform will be created in the roof space for an air source heat pump to be installed in the future when funding allows.
Other planned improvements include a new balustrade to the side external staircase, repairs to roof timbers and the removal of an unstable chimney stack.
Alex McCallion, Director of Works and Precinct at York Minster, said: “These proposals will not only improve the existing roof at Red House but also prepare the building to remain in sustainable use for the lifespan of the new slate roof, in the face of growing climate change challenges.
“The redevelopment of Red House continues York Minster’s trailblazing approach to planning matters and creating a sustainable future for both the cathedral building and its surrounding Precinct through our pioneering Neighbourhood Plan.
“York Minster has already won two major awards for its Neighbourhood Plan which has created a planning policy framework to deliver significant changes within a heritage estate and is a shining example of best practice in managing complex heritage estates and how to secure their long-term environmental, financial and heritage sustainability for future generations to enjoy.”
Alongside plans for Red House, construction work is accelerating at the Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management, a world class campus facility for research, education and training in ancient craft skills.
The Centre of Excellence will bring benefits including continuing the craft of stonemasonry and encouraging global learning and knowledge sharing, as well as being a shining example of best practice in managing complex heritage estates.
The Neighbourhood Plan sets out a policy-led approach to creating a sustainable future for the Minster and its seven hectare estate.
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The Star of David in 600 Candles for Holocaust Memorial Day
The Star of David in 600 candles will be set out on the floor of York Minster’s ancient Chapter House on Saturday 27 January, for the cathedral’s annual Holocaust Memorial Day event. Holocaust Memorial Day remembers the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis in the Second World War and the millions of other people murdered in genocides which have occurred since.
This year’s theme, Fragility of Freedom, will reflect on how the erosion of freedom is the key precursor to persecution and genocide. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Hutu genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. More than a million people were murdered in just 100 days after the violence began in April 1994.
Commenting on the event, the Very Revd Dominic Barrington, Dean of York said: “Despite recognising the signs and signals of authoritarian regimes stripping away fundamental human rights and freedoms, all too often we choose to look away, we choose not to hear.
“Contemplating such cruelty can be overwhelming but if we don’t, genocide can happen as it did in Nazi occupied Europe, in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. This Holocaust Memorial Day we will hear accounts of lives lost to genocide and of survivors able to rebuild their lives but whose minds will never truly be free.”
The event will include poetry, readings, reflections and prayers and music by The Ebor Singers, an associate choir of York Minster. People will be invited to go to the candlestands to light a candle throughout the event.
York Minster’s Holocaust Memorial Day event is on Saturday 27 January from 6.30pm until 8.00pm. Free tickets are required for admission. To book, visit our event page here, or call 01904 557200.
York Minster’s new schools’ learning programme for 2024
York Minster has launched three brand new schools’ workshops starting in January 2024. ‘Creative Creation!’, ‘Pilgrimage in an Hour’, and ‘Magnificent Minster Marvels’ combine with an immersive tour of the cathedral that will give pupils an awe-inspiring experience and memories that will last a lifetime.
Designed for pupils at Key Stage 1 – 3, York Minster is launching a refreshed learning programme this year. Lisa Power, Head of Events and Participation said: “We are so excited to be able to welcome schools back for this fantastic learning offer. Our Learning Team have specialisms in history, archaeology, and Religious Education. Their combined backgrounds in heritage education and in secondary teaching have enabled them to develop a versatile and engaging programme.”
In addition to the new workshops, York Minster will join a network of cathedrals to participate in the hugely successful National Schools Singing Programme (NSSP). Emilie Bels, the cathedral’s newly appointed Schools Singing Lead, will work with Church of England primary schools in York and the wider Diocese to deliver outreach in singing and musicianship.
Commenting on Emilie’s appointment, Lisa Power said: “This new role is at the heart of the Minster’s role as the Mother Church of the Diocese of York. Our mission is to offer schools an outreach programme that will give children foundations in music that will last their lifetime and connect them to the rich traditions of church music.
“Emilie is an experienced classroom teacher with a dynamic approach to music education. What she will bring to the NSSP and what she can offer with the NSSP curriculum is extremely exciting.”
Schools can get further information by emailing email@example.com or speak with a member of our Bookings Team 01904 557275. Detailed information about our new learning offer is available here: www.yorkminster.org/visit/schools.
For more information about the National Schools Singing Programme go to www.nssp.org.uk.