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A Centre of Excellence for Heritage Skills and Estate Management for York Minster

A project to establish the York Minster Precinct as an internationally recognised Centre of Excellence for heritage craft skills, focused around a campus style facility at York Minster was announced today by the Right Revd Dr Jonathan Frost, Dean of York (the Bishop of Portsmouth designate).

The vision for the Centre of Excellence is a key element of the York Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Plan which is undergoing independent examination by the Planning Inspectorate.

The ambition is to create a world class campus for research, education and training in the ancient craft skills that are vital to the ongoing cycle of repair, restoration and conservation and development of York Minster and other ancient buildings and monuments.

The centre will house and deliver training in modern techniques and processes to apprentices and students, working with cutting edge digital facilities such as modern saw technology, data scanning and computer aided design (CAD).

Existing buildings within the York Minster Precinct will be sustainably reordered, repurposed and renewed to provide new workspace and associated facilities to support the operation of the new Centre of Excellence.  The campus will comprise two main areas:

The Works and Technology Hub will be housed in the current Stoneyard on Deangate which will be reordered to create space to house a state-of-the art 5 Axis CNC saw and a new band saw.  The drawing office will be developed and improved with up-to-date IT and digital technology to support the functionality of the new equipment.  Reordered space for the heritage trades will also be incorporated.  Estates management will focus on the best practice set through the Neighbourhood Plan and associated documents, the first for an English cathedral and heritage estate.  As planned, York Minster will take the lead on sustainable development within a complicated heritage estate.  Our focus on low carbon and renewable technology, will drive and help define exemplary best practice in consultation with City of York Council, Historic England and other key stakeholders.

The Heritage Quad is to be a new, simple structure, which will replace the mason’s workshop currently located in the Stoneyard.  The building will be designed to sit harmoniously with the city walls and the gardens.   Existing old garages at the rear of the Deanery will be repurposed to provide new facilities for the Minster’s scaffolders and gardeners. The structure will include dedicated residential accommodation for the Minster’s first and second year apprentices and for exchange visitors and trainees. A key element of the project will be the resurfacing of the 1970s cobbled road.  The uneven surface has become increasingly hazardous over the years making the area almost inaccessible and forbidding for people with disabilities and mobility impairment. The resurfaced road will help Chapter to meets its commitment to make the York Minster Precinct open and accessible to all.

Dean Jonathan said:  “With the generous support of the York Minster Fund, we are aiming to create a world leading facility where ancient heritage craft skills can flourish alongside the latest technology and innovation in the field. We have already established knowledge sharing and partnerships with the great cathedral cities of Trondheim, Milan, Cologne and Washington through the vision set out in our Neighbourhood Plan.”

Alex McCallion, Director of Works and Precinct and programme lead for the York Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Plan said:

“The Centre of Excellence will give the Works Department the facilities needed to thrive and to become an international Centre of Excellence for heritage craft skill and heritage estate management.  We will work in partnership with other institutions, not least the University of York and City of York Council to continue to build the city’s profile as a world class leader in the care of heritage assets.   Importantly for York Minster, this critical programme of activity is essential if we are to secure the long term environmental, financial and heritage sustainability of York Minster for future generations to enjoy as we do today.

The pre-application public consultation on the proposed Centre of Excellence will open on Tuesday 12 October and will run until 2 November 2021.  To access the consultation go to masterplanning.yorkminster.org  Consultation boards will also be available to view on the railings of the old Minster School from Tuesday 12 October.

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Programme of services and events for Advent and Christmas announced

York Minster is preparing to mark Advent and Christmas with a series of new services and events for 2021 alongside seasonal favourites and a programme of worship online.

The cathedral’s annual Christmas Carol Concerts will return on 9 and 10 December as well as popular seasonal services including the Advent Procession (28 November), Nine Lessons and Carols (22 and 24 December) and the Crib service (24 December).

New events for this year include the Minster’s first Christmas Tree Festival, which will take place in a marquee in the cathedral’s grounds, and a Winter Village by the South Piazza, with wooden chalets offering seasonal food, drinks and gifts.

Also returning this winter is family favourite The Snowman, which will be screened inside the Minster for the first time since 2017.

Capacities inside the cathedral will remain limited and free tickets will need to be booked in advance for all highlight services, with tickets released during October and November (see full details below).

Dean Jonathan said: “Christians are those who live with a story in their hearts, a story that is told and retold as the seasons of the year unfold. It is a joy to anticipate, once again, the coming season of Advent. Here we will pause to prepare ourselves to hear the wonder-filled story of God’s down-to-earth love in Mary’s Child; and to take our place within His story.

“I look forward to welcoming most warmly all those who visit the Minster in the days ahead. After months of lockdown and restrictions, may I commend the many different events, opportunities and services that will be provided by the Minster team and our partners.

“Capacities will continue to be limited inside the cathedral to help us safely manage visitor numbers and free tickets will need to be booked in advance for all highlight services.

“During the pandemic we have seen our online audiences grow as people choose to connect with us in new and different ways and we will be offering a programme of digital worship alongside the activity in the cathedral so people can also join us from the comfort of their homes.”

The cathedral will be open for sightseeing throughout November and December but may need to close from time to time for services and events – please check its website for opening times and to book admission tickets.

The Minster Shops inside the cathedral and at 9 Minster Gates will also be open daily from 9.30am – 5pm offering a range of bespoke gifts inspired by the cathedral alongside seasonal items including nativity sets and advent calendars and candles.

For full details of York Minster’s programme for Advent and Christmas see below or visit on our WHAT’S ON page.

The York Minster Christmas Tree Festival
18 November 2021 to 6 January 2022, 10am – 7pm

Experience the Minster’s first Christmas Tree Festival set in the cathedral’s grounds. The new festival will take place in a festive marquee by the South Piazza and feature around 40 trees decorated by local businesses, schools and charities.

Visitors can vote for their favourite tree in the ‘best dressed tree’ competition and visit the activity marquee to write their own Christmas message on a tag to add to a tree there or inside the cathedral’s East End. Admission is free but donations are encouraged. No pre-booking required.

More information HERE

The Winter Village at York Minster
18 November 2021 – 6 January 2022, 10am – 7pm

The Winter Village at York Minster brings the best of both location and local produce to this brand new event. Situated at the foot of the majestic South Door of York Minster, The Winter Village comprises several decorative wooden cabins offering food, drinks, gifts and the perfect place to sit and admire the view. The Winter Village, which is being run in partnership with CMJ Events, will be open daily from 10am to 7pm. Entry is free.

More info HERE

Christmas Tree Decorations craft workshop – SOLD OUT
Saturday 20 November, 10am – 3pm

Create your own special Christmas tree decoration to take home at a family-friendly craft activity workshop as part of York Minster’s first Christmas Tree Festival. The craft sessions will run throughout the day in a festive activity marquee by the cathedral’s South Piazza, with the medieval Minster as its backdrop. Tickets cost £2.50 per participant and need to be pre-booked in advance at HERE or by calling 01905 557200.

Tickets will be available from 10am on Tuesday 12 October.

This event is now SOLD OUT.

Evensong: Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cantata 140, Sleepers, wake
Sunday 21 November, 4pm

The Choir of York Minster gives its traditional annual performance of Bach’s popular Cantata 140, ‘Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme’ (Sleepers, wake), with orchestral accompaniment at Evensong for the Sunday before Advent. No booking required.

This service will also be livestreamed via our Advent YouTube page HERE.

Advent Procession – FULLY BOOKED
Sunday 28 November, 5.30pm

An atmospheric and breath-taking candlelit service of music, readings and prayers for Advent, in celebration and anticipation of the arrival of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. Free tickets will need to be booked in advance for this service and will be available from 10am on Tuesday 19 October HERE or by calling 01904 557200.

This event is now FULLY BOOKED.

This service will also be livestreamed via our Advent YouTube page HERE for those who would like to mark the start of Advent from the comfort of their own home.

Sankta Lucia: Festival of Light – FULLY BOOKED
Friday 3 December, 7.30pm

An atmospheric, candlelit procession and carol service for all the family based on the traditional Swedish Lucia celebration. The service is run in partnership with the York Anglo-Scandinavian Society.

Free tickets will need to be booked in advance for this service and will be available from 10am on Tuesday 26 October HERE or by calling 01904 557200.

This event is now FULLY BOOKED.

Experience Christmas Together – FULLY BOOKED
Saturdays 4 and 18 December, 10am and 1.30pm

This special family session is led by the cathedral’s clergy and encourages participants to explore the Christmas story through interactive stops around the Minster. The sessions are free but tickets need to be booked in advance and will be available from 10am on Tuesday 19 October HERE or by calling 01904 557200.

This event is now FULLY BOOKED.

Experience Christmas Trail
Saturday 4 December to Thursday 6 January, 9.30am – 4pm

Discover more about the Christmas story by exploring six activity stops hidden around the Minster. Families can follow a special trail with items to look at, touch, smell and discuss at each point. There will also be interpretation encouraging adult visitors to spend time reflecting on what each stop tells us about the Christmas story. Free with admission.

York Minster’s Christmas Carol Concerts – SOLD OUT
Thursday 9 and Friday 10 December, 7pm

York Minster’s popular Christmas Carol Concerts return this year offering the perfect start to the festive season. The Choir of York Minster, one of the UK’s leading choirs, will perform traditional and much loved Christmas music, with seasonal readings from special guests and the chance for the audience to join in with carols. Tickets for the concerts priced at £15 – £30 will go on sale at 10am on Tuesday 12 October HERE or by calling the cathedral’s Box Office on 01904 557200.

This event has now SOLD OUT.

Christmas Wreath making workshop
Saturday 11 December, 1pm – 3pm

Join the Minster’s flower arrangers for a masterclass in creating the perfect Christmas wreath for your home. The workshop will take place in our activity marquee which forms part of York Minster’s first Christmas Tree Festival in the cathedral’s grounds.

Tickets cost £25 per person and will be available to book from 10am on Tuesday 12 October HERE or by calling 01904 557200.

The Snowman – SOLD OUT
Saturday 11 December with performances at 12.30pm, 3pm and 7.30pm

Make it a Christmas to remember with a special screening of family favourite The Snowman accompanied by a magnificent live orchestra. Presented by Carrot Productions, the world’s leading performers of The Snowman film with live orchestra, the performance will also include the story and music of The Bear and the Piano, complete with an exclusive big screen animation and narration recorded by Joanna Lumley.

This event has now SOLD OUT.

Nine Lessons and Carols – FULLY BOOKED 

Wednesday 22 December, 5.30pm and Friday 24 December, 4pm

Two services consisting of nine special readings, carols sung by the Choir of York Minster and hymns for everyone to join in. A traditional Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Free tickets for both services need to be booked in advance and will be available from 10am on Tuesday 2 November HERE or by calling 01904 557200.

The service on Friday 24 December at 4pm will also be livestreamed via our Advent YouTube page HERE.

These services are now FULLY BOOKED.

Christmas Eve services – Friday 24 December

Join York Minster’s worship for Christmas Eve at the cathedral or from the comfort of your home.

Christmas Day services – Saturday 25 December

Join York Minster’s worship for Christmas Day at the cathedral or from the comfort of your home.

Tickets for the Christmas Day services will be available from 10am on Tuesday 16th November. 

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A New Assistant Organist for York Minster

A highly-accomplished musician has been appointed as York Minster’s new Assistant Organist.  Asher Oliver will join the internationally-renowned York Minster music department in September.

Asher will assist the Director of Music and Assistant Director of Music in all aspects of the music-making in one of Europe’s largest medieval gothic cathedrals.  As well as accompanying services and working with the choir on a daily basis, Asher will also assist with the choir library and gain experience of recitals, concerts and live radio broadcasts.

Robert Sharpe, York Minster’s Director of Music said: “After a year with no Assistant Organist in post, I am delighted that Asher will be joining us here in York as Assistant Organist, working alongside Benjamin Morris and myself in the Music Department.  We had a very strong field of applicants for the position, and Asher made a great impression.  We are all looking forward to having him on the team.”

Hailing from the North-West, Asher’s musical education began as a chorister at Manchester Cathedral alongside a place at Chetham’s School of Music, where he later studied the organ with Christopher Stokes.

Following a gap year as organ scholar at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, Asher studied for a Music degree at Trinity College, Cambridge. Working closely with the college choir there, he took part in tours across Europe, the United States, and Canada, and features as an accompanist on CDs of choral music by Gerald Finzi and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Upon leaving Cambridge, Asher moved to London, to take up the organ scholarship at St Paul’s Cathedral.

A keen continuo player, Asher regularly took part in performances of Bach Cantatas and Oratorios whilst a student, highlights of which include a project working with players from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under the direction of John Butt, as well as a performance of Bach’s Matthew Passion, for which he worked closely with English tenor and evangelist, Nicholas Mulroy.

Commenting on his appointment Asher said: ‘I am delighted to be starting work at the Minster this September. Now is a particularly exciting time to be arriving in York, with singing of all kinds restored to its place at the centre of daily worship for this coming term, and with the chance for me to get to know the newly restored Minster organ. I am looking forward to making the most of the many opportunities my new post will offer, and to becoming a part of the Minster community.’

 

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York Minster’s Grinling Gibbons Exhibition to launch with a message from HRH The Prince of Wales

An audio message from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales at Evensong on Sunday 1 August, will launch Grinling Gibbons: Monuments to Glory, York Minster’s year-long exhibition marking the beginning of nationwide tercentenary celebrations for the life, work and legacy of the extraordinary decorative carver who died on 3 August 1721.

The photographic exhibition is part of Grinling Gibbons 300 – Carving a Place in History – a national programme of festivals and events led by the Grinling Gibbons Society to mark the three hundredth anniversary of his death.

The exhibition and sculpture trail tell the story of Gibbons’ life, from his birth to English parents in Rotterdam in 1648, his early exposure to Flemish and Dutch sculpture styles, his time in York where he mastered English carving and sculpture traditions and the move to London which in 1693 culminated, in his appointment as master sculptor and carver in wood to William III.

Gibbons completed three notable commissions for York Minster during his lifetime:  stone monuments of three Archbishops of York:  Sterne (1664-1683), Dolben (1683-1686) and Lamplugh (1688-1691). The exhibition places these monuments in the context of his life and wider work. Gibbons’ work can today be seen in palaces, churches, museums and some of the country’s great historic houses.

In his message, The Prince of Wales, who is patron of both the York Minster Fund and the Grinling Gibbons Society, pays tribute to the exceptional talent and craft of Gibbons and to the generations of wood and stone carvers who have followed in his footsteps. York Minster’s current generation of carvers and stonemasons are currently working to repair and replace decaying and eroded masonry on the cathedral’s 600-year old St Cuthbert Window.

In his message, His Royal Highness says: “This evening marks the beginning of this year of tercentenary celebrations and allows me to express my support for two organizations of which I have recently become Patron – the Grinling Gibbons Society and the York Minster Fund.

“As we celebrate the three hundredth anniversary of this incomparably talented craftsman, we must also celebrate and pay tribute to all the magnificent craftsmen and women who have followed in his wake, and continue to do so today, leaving us with such a magnificent legacy in York Minster and beyond.”

Commenting on the exhibition, Neil Sanderson, Director of the York Minster Fund said:  “Gibbons was a master craftsman, a celebrity in his own lifetime, a towering figure whose influence is reflected every day here at York Minster in the work of our team of expert carvers and masons who lovingly protect, repair and restore this magnificent cathedral.

“We are delighted that His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has agreed to champion the memory and the legacy of this remarkable man and highlight his achievements to contemporary audiences.”

An audio-visual version of the message from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, will go live on the Minster’s You Tube page and social media accounts on Sunday 1 August at 5.45pm.

The photographic exhibition and sculpture trail Grinling Gibbons:  Monuments to Glory will be at York Minster from 1 August 2021 until 31 July 2022.   Entry is free with general admission.

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New exhibition exploring the medieval St Cuthbert Window opens at York Minster

new exhibition exploring York Minster’s medieval St Cuthbert Window, which is nearly 600 years old and one of the largest surviving narrative windows in the world, will open at the cathedral on Friday (25 June).

Light, Glass & Stone: Conserving the St Cuthbert Window explores the window’s history, its representation of the life of St Cuthbert through a series of exquisite stained glass panels and the new five year, £5m project to conserve its stained glass and the stonework of its tracery and the surrounding South East Transept.

The window, which dates from around 1440, tells the story of St Cuthbert, an Anglo-Saxon monk and bishop of Lindisfarne who lived between c.634 and 687 and was renowned for his good works and miracles, which made him for many centuries the most important saint in northern England.

Visitors to the exhibition, which will run until 2024, will have the rare opportunity to see at close range a selection of stained glass panels removed from the window as part of the conservation work, alongside an animated projection and soundscape of one of St Cuthbert’s miracles.

Dr Helen Rawson, York Minster’s Head of Heritage, said: “The window, in its beauty, detail and technique, is one of the finest surviving examples of the art and craftsmanship of medieval glaziers and stonemasons and their skills show in detail the life, work and miracles of St Cuthbert, who was the leading saint of northern England in the Middle Ages.

“The conservation project has given us the rare opportunity to showcase the detail of some of the window’s richly decorated stained glass panels, which would normally only be visible to visitors from a distance.

“It has also created the opportunity for new research into the window’s history and the stories it tells, and we look forward to sharing this insight with our visitors.”

The exhibition is housed in a specially created gallery at the foot of the scaffolding which is currently surrounding the window to enable the conservation work to take place.

The first phase of work to conserve the window started in spring this year when experts from York Glaziers Trust removed all 152 stained glass panels from the window, allowing the Minster’s stonemasons to start carrying out urgent work to replace and repair eroded and decaying masonry.

Professor Sarah Brown, Director of York Glaziers Trust, explained: “York Minster is a treasure-trove of stained glass and the St Cuthbert Window is one of the jewels of the cathedral’s East End, sitting alongside the St William and Great East Windows which have both undergone major conservation and restoration projects in the last two decades.

“The essential repair of the stone of the South East Transept has created a once in a lifetime opportunity to conserve the window, which was last restored following the Second World War.

“Now the glass has been removed, conservators at the Trust have started the intricate working of cleaning and repairing the medieval glass and lead matrix, before it is eventually returned to the window with state-of-the-art environmental protective glazing, to protect it for generations to come.”

Initially the exhibition will display three stained glass panels from the window which have already been conserved and cleaned, with additional panels added as the conservation work progresses.

Other exhibition highlights include images from a 12th century manuscript about St Cuthbert’s life, which was consulted when the window was designed, and details of how his remains were eventually placed in a shrine at Durham Cathedral following Viking raids on Lindisfarne, his original burial place.

Explanations of some of St Cuthbert’s most famous miracles are also accompanied by an animated projection and soundscape of his prediction of the end of a storm, while journeying by boat to Scotland.

The exhibition will run until 2024 and is free with general admission. All tickets must be booked in advance, visit www.yorkminster.org for further details.

The exhibition is part of a series of activities at the cathedral to mark the start of the conservation project. Two talks in July and September by renowned experts Dr Katharine Harrison and Professor Sarah Brown will offer the opportunity to explore the window in more detail, including its history and significance, and to learn more about the conservation project. For full details visit www.yorkminster.org/whats-on.

A fundraising campaign for the conservation project is ongoing, and people can support the work by adopting a piece of the window’s stained glass. St Cuthbert Window Adoption Packs are available from the York Minster Shops inside the cathedral and at Minster Gates or online at shop.yorkminster.org.

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York Minster pays tribute to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

The Dean of York, The Right Revd Dr Jonathan Frost, has issued the following prayer on the announcement of the death of His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh.

Eternal God, our Heavenly Father,
We bless your holy name for all that you have given us, in and through the life of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
We give you thanks for his long and full life:  for his strength of character, for his devotion to family, Nation and Commonwealth.
We give you thanks for the encouragement he gave to so many and especially the young.
We pray for Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family in their grief, that they might know the comfort of your love. 
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

The Dean also confirmed the following arrangements at York Minster for today, Friday 9th April.

3pm: The Great Peter Bell will be tolled 99 times marking the years of the late HRH Duke of Edinburgh’s life.

3.30pm: York Minster will open for private prayer, reflection and for the lighting of candles. Please note that capacity inside the Minster will be limited in line with the current Covid restrictions.
Floral tributes may be brought to Dean’s Park where they will be placed close to the Five Sisters Window.  Dean’s Park will remain open until 7pm.

4.30pm: The Archbishop of York, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Stephen Cottrell, will give a news conference in the Lady Chapel of York Minster.

5.30pm: There will be a service of Evening Prayer led by the Archbishop of York and the Dean of York.

York Minster will be open from 3.30pm for private prayer until 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and 2.15pm until 4pm on Sundays from today until 18 April. There will be no book of condolences to sign, but we invite you to send a message online using the Church of England’s online condolence book.

On Sunday, 11am Eucharist and 4pm Evening Prayer, in memory of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, will take place. Both services will be livestreamed here.

Dean’s Park will also be open from 10am until 7pm where you are welcome to lay flowers for The Duke of Edinburgh.

 

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The Grand Organ returns after once-a-century restoration project

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York Minster’s newly refurbished Grand Organ will be blessed on Sunday (7 March) and played at services throughout Lent following the completion of work on a once-a-century project.

A prayer will be said for the organ during the cathedral’s livestreamed Eucharist service at 11am, before it is played for the first time during worship since 2018.

The blessing is the first step in marking the completion of the £2m refurbishment project, allowing the instrument to be played at services throughout Lent before the dedication of the organ by the Archbishop of York at Evensong on Easter Day (Sunday 4 April).

The instrument was last played during worship in October 2018 before work began to remove the organ, including nearly all of its 5,000 plus pipes, so it could be taken to organ specialists in Durham for cleaning, repair and replacement.

The work has included bringing the majority of the organ’s 102 decorative case pipes back into use, which have been silent since the last major refurbishment in 1903.

Robert Sharpe, York Minster’s Director of Music, said: “We’re delighted to be able to bring the Grand Organ back into regular use at the heart of worship at the cathedral. It will be a gentle return in March due to the solemnity of the season of Lent, but building to a celebration on Easter Day when the organ will be dedicated by the Archbishop of York.

“The refurbishment preserves the unique sound of the Minster’s organ whilst renewing its mechanism.  Work has included bringing many of the 102 case pipes which have been silent since 1903 back into use and restoring the grander, imposing qualities of the instrument which were altered during work in the 1960s.

“Organ music has played a central role in worship at York Minster for nearly 1,000 years and we hope this project will help ensure that tradition continues throughout the 21st century and beyond.”

The work to refurbish the organ, which dates from the early 1830s and is one of the largest cathedral organs in the country, weighing approximately 20,000kg, has been completed by Durham-based organ specialists Harrison and Harrison.

The team removed the organ in October 2018 and transported it to their warehouse in Durham so they could undertake work to replace the organ’s mechanism and clean and overhaul the instrument.

In 2019 and early 2020 parts of the organ were returned to the Minster, including the 102 decorative case pipes which are among the oldest surviving pipes in the organ, dating from 1832.

During the refurbishment 30 of the original case pipes were found to be beyond economic repair and were replaced, with the originals auctioned to help raise funds to support the project.

In autumn 2019 and early 2020, graining and marbling specialists Robert Woodland & Son cleaned and repainted the original case pipes and decorated the new, replacement pipes to match the originals.

Work on the refurbishment project briefly paused in March 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, before the instrument was rebuilt between June and October 2020.

Between November 2020 and February 2021 experts worked to ‘voice’ the organ, a process which involves making sure all 5,000 pipes play the correct note, pitch and volume.

The project has also included creating a new music library underneath the organ, behind the Pulpitum – known as the Kings’ Screen – the 15th century stone screen which separates the Minster’s Quire from the Nave.

The organ will be dedicated by the Archbishop of York at an Evensong service on Easter Day (Sunday 4 April) and a programme of events to celebrate the organ’s return will be announced later this year.

We are currently livestreaming our Sunday services at 11am and 4pm each week via our WHAT’S ON page and will reopen for public and private worship from Sunday 14 March.

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Prayers for Dr Richard Shephard MBE

Prayers were said at York Minster today for Dr Richard Shephard, Lay Canon, former Head Master of The Minster School and distinguished composer of Church Music, who died yesterday.

Speaking to York Minster Community’s on the 10am Zoom service this morning, The Revd Michael Smith, Canon Pastor at York Minster said: “I am sorry to say that Richard Shephard, who most of you will know, died yesterday. He had been very ill for some time. He has been a part of the Minster Community for well over 30 years. He was Headmaster of the Minster School for many years, then he worked for the York Minster Fund and helped to raise well over £10,000,000 for the Great East Window amongst much else. He has sung in the choir and was Chamberlain for many years helping to lead Choral Evensong each day. In recent years he has been a member of Chapter.

“He was also a prolific composer of church music and is internationally renowned for that. He loved York Minster, his home is covered with paintings of it he collected over many years. We will miss him. We surround him with our love and prayers today and give thanks for his creativity, loyalty, friendship, humour and humanity.”

The Dean of York, the Right Reverend Dr Jonathan Frost led prayers for Dr Shephard at the 11am livestreamed service and there will also be prayers for Richard during the Evensong service which will also be livestreamed from 4pm this afternoon.

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UPDATE: Services and sightseeing throughout the National Lockdown

Amended timings for private prayer and services at York Minster 

Please find amended timings for services and private prayer in line with the Government’s new measures to control the pandemic. The cathedral will remain open for public worship and for private prayer. However, the building will be closed for sightseeing until further notice.

Booking is required for Matins, Eucharist and Evening Prayer on Sundays and free tickets are available here. Eucharist and Evening Prayer are livestreamed every Sunday via our YouTube channel.

The new timings for services and public prayer up to and including Friday 5 March are as follows:

Tuesday 5th January
07:30: Morning Prayer
07:50: Holy Communion
Closed for private prayer
17:30: Evening Prayer

Wednesday 6th January, Epiphany:
07:30: Morning Prayer
07:50: Holy Communion
12:00 – Midday Communion cancelled
15:00 – 16:30: open for Private Prayer (Nave)
16:00: Evening Prayer (Zouche)
17:30: Epiphany Eucharist (Nave)

Thursday 7th January:
07:30: Morning Prayer
07:50: Holy Communion
16:30 – 17:30 open for Private Prayer (Nave)
17:30: Evening Prayer (Nave)

Friday 8th January:
07:30: Morning Prayer
07:50: Holy Communion
16:30 – 17:30 open for Private Prayer (Nave)
17:30: Evening Prayer (Nave)

Saturday 9th January:
07:30: Morning Prayer
07:50: Holy Communion
16:30: open for Private Prayer (Nave)
17:30: Evening Prayer (Nave)

Sunday 10th January:
08:00: BCP Holy Communion (Lady Chapel)
10:00: Matins (Quire) (with adult choir)
11:00: Eucharist (Nave) (with adult choir)
14:00 – 15:00: Private Prayer (Nave)
16:00: Evensong (Nave) (with adult choir)

Monday 11th January:
07:30: Morning Prayer
07:50: Holy Communion
16:30 – 17:30: open for Private Prayer
17:30: Evening Prayer

Tuesday 12th January:
07:30: Morning Prayer
07:50: Holy Communion
16:30 – 17:30: open for Private Prayer
17:30: Evening Prayer

Wednesday 13th January
07:30: Morning Prayer
07:50: Holy Communion
16:30 – 17:30: open for Private Prayer
17:30: Evening Prayer

Thursday 14th January to Friday 5th March:

Monday – Saturday:
07:30: Morning Prayer
07:50: Holy Communion
16:30 – 17:30: open for Private Prayer
17:30: Evening Prayer

Sunday:
08:00: BCP Holy Communion (Lady Chapel)
10:00: Matins (Quire) (with adult choir)
11:00: Eucharist (Nave) (with adult choir)
14:00 – 15:00: Private Prayer (Nave)
16:00: Evensong (Nave) (with adult choir)

The Minster Shop will be closed from today until further notice, but our online shop remains open here. The Old Palace Library and Archive service is closed for public access:  staff are working remotely, with limited capacity, and can be contacted via collections@yorkminster.org. Dean’s Park will continue to open daily from 10am until 4pm. People using the park will be required to adhere to Government guidance on social distancing.

Timings for services and public prayer will be regularly reviewed and updated.

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York Minster to reopen for Advent and Christmas

For all sight-seeing, book HERE. Please note the Heart of Yorkshire exhibition will recommence on 5 December.
For all Sunday services, book HERE

Full Advent and Christmas programme (in-person and online) available to view HERE

York Minster will reopen for public worship on Wednesday 2 December and for sightseeing visits on Thursday 3 December.  The cathedral will reopen in line with guidance and the restrictions in the Government’s new three tier Covid control system. York is a Tier 2 location which allows the Minster to reopen for worship and for paying visitors, with appropriate measures in place for social distancing and controlling the spread of the infection.

The Revd Canon Vicky Johnson, Precentor at York Minster said: “It is a blessing and a relief that worship and visiting can restart at York Minster and that we will be present for people as they prepare for Advent and Christmas,.”

Vicky explained that the impact of the pandemic will result in a very different Advent and Christmas at York Minster.  She said:  “The ongoing need to control the virus means that capacity at services will be severely limited. Attendance at key services on Sundays and in Christmas Week will only be possible via our pre-booked online reservation system.

“However, digital worship has flourished at York Minster this year so all of our Advent and Christmas services and events, will be available digitally via livestream and on platforms such as YouTube and Facebook.  So everyone will still be able to experience and enjoy Advent and Christmas at York Minster wherever they are.”

The cathedral’s reopening schedule is as follows:

For Worship
Public worship will restart at York Minster on Wednesday 2 December with the following pattern of services:

Monday – Saturdays                                    
7.30am            –           Matins                                     No booking required
7.50am            –           Holy Communion                    No booking required
5.30pm            –           Evensong or Evening Prayer  No booking required until 15 December for Evensongs.

Sundays
8am                 –           Holy Communion                  No booking required
10am               –           Matins                                   Booking required
11am               –           Sung Eucharist                      Booking required
4pm                 –           Evensong.                             Booking required.

Reservations for Sunday services and services during Christmas Week
Attendance at the three main Sunday services in December and services during Christmas Week will be by advance online reservation only with a strictly limited attendance.  Reservations for the service on Sunday 6 December will open on Monday 30 November.  The reservation dates for services during December and Christmas weeks will be announced approximately two weeks before the service is due to take place.

Reopening for Visitors
York Minster will reopen for paying visitors from Thursday 3 December. Admission by pre-booked online tickets only. Bookings open for visiting on Monday 30 November.

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
10am until 3.30pm (last timed ticket slot is 3pm).
(York Minster is currently closed on Tuesdays).

Sunday 
12.30 until 2.30pm (last timed ticket slot is 2pm).

The Minster Shops inside the cathedral and at Minster Gates will also open daily:

Main Shop
Mon – Sat : 10:30 – 4:30
Sunday : 12:30 – 4:00

No9
Mon – Sat : 10:30 – 4:30
Sunday : 11:00 – 4:00

Dean’s Park,
The popular green space which runs along the north side of the cathedral, is open daily from 10am until 4pm.

Keeping people safe:  Covid-19 control measures at York Minster
In line with Government and Church of England guidance, York Minster has implemented a range of measures to help keep visitors and staff safe. These include:

Changes to services include no singing or sharing of the Peace and the suspension of the Common Cup during Holy Communion will continue. There will also be no plate collection at the end of services, although people are encouraged to make a donation using contactless donation points inside the cathedral.

Parts of the cathedral will remain closed including the Central Tower and Undercroft Museum and there will be no guided tours.

The Minster has been approved for the UK-wide ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard, launched this week by national tourism organisations for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, which demonstrates it is adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance.

York Minster’s arrangements for worship and visiting will come into effect from Wednesday 2 December but may be subject to change following any further Government advice.

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A service of Evensong with the Enthronement of the Archbishop of York

The Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell, will be enthroned as the 98th Archbishop of York at a service of Evensong at 4pm on Sunday 18 October at York Minster.

The Enthronement will take place on the Feast day of St Luke, Apostle and Evangelist. Choral Evensong, one of the Church of England’s fastest growing services, is often considered a jewel in the crown of Anglican worship. Much of the service will be sung by the adult singers of the Minster Choir and there will be readings, music and prayers. Elements of the service will be based on previous historic enthronements and Archbishop Stephen will take his oath on the York Gospels.

This is a ticketed service and will be held under careful Government and Church of England Covid19 secure guidelines, with strict limits on the numbers attending.

The service will be streamed via York Minster’s and the Church of England’s national social media channels making it possible for communities across the Diocese of York, the Northern Province and the worldwide household of the Christian Church to experience the occasion in real time.

Stephen was confirmed as Archbishop of York on 9 July 2020, in a Confirmation of Election service broadcast entirely via video conference.  He walked as a pilgrim through the city of York, praying first at the shrine of St Margaret Clitherow and then at the tomb of St William of York in the crypt of York Minster, before taking up the historic Braganza Crozier – his staff of office – from the cathedral’s High Altar.

Archbishop Stephen had previously expressed hope that an improvement in the pandemic might enable a large public enthronement service to be held at York Minster.  However, three months into his role and with the country still on high alert, Archbishop Stephen is completing the final stage of becoming an Archbishop, taking up his seat in the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter in York, in a simple service of Evensong.

Archbishop Stephen said: “I am delighted and humbled to be the 98th Archbishop of York. I have begun my ministry at a time of huge hardship and challenge and at the moment Covid19 is having a particularly devastating impact in the north. We don’t know how long the current restrictions will be in place. However, the worship and work of the church goes on bringing much needed hope, relief and practical help to the communities we serve. I am hugely thankful for the tenacity and creativity of our churches. I pray daily that we make Jesus known to all whom we meet, even if it is via Zoom! I pledge to give my best powers of wit, energy and creativity so that we may become a more Christ-centred and Jesus shaped Church, witnessing to Christ and bringing the healing balm of the Gospel to our nation.”

The Dean of York, The Right Revd Dr Jonathan Frost, said that even in a reduced format, Archbishop Stephen’s enthronement will be both moving and significant.  Jonathan said:

“Archbishop Stephen’s arrival has, like everything else in our lives at the moment, been affected by the constraints of the pandemic.  So we are doing traditional things in new ways and we are learning to take this perspective into every part of our life.  Archbishop Stephen radiates the joy, light and Good News of Christ wherever he goes. I’m quite sure it will be a wonderful occasion.”

Commenting on the enthronement, The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Revd Justin Welby said:

“As Archbishop Stephen takes his oath on the York Gospels, he will be placing his hand over gospels that have survived over a thousand years, including through many times of struggle and suffering. It is this same Gospel that the Church is being called to live out and proclaim today. We are to follow Jesus to the side of those who weep, and weep with them. We are to come alongside those who mourn, and comfort them. Most importantly we are being called to keep alive in our hearts the hope and light of Christ, which no darkness can overcome – and to be bearers of that light in our nation and our world today.

“Even in these times of pain and struggle, it is a great joy for the Church to welcome Archbishop Stephen into his new ministry. He is a wise, courageous and faithful servant of Jesus Christ who will be a blessing to the north of England and the Nation. Archbishop Stephen and his family will be very much in my prayers as he prepares to be enthroned at York Minster.”

Because of the major organ work being carried out in the Quire, Archbishop Stephen will use the historic Garbett Throne, situated in the Nave of York Minster, for this enthronement. The Episcopal Throne was designed by Sir Albert Richardson in memory of Archbishop Cyril Garbett (Archbishop of York, 1942-1955) and has been used as the Nave seat of the Archbishop of York since 1959. The inscription on the throne reads Vos non elegistis me sed ego elegi vos, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you”, Christ’s words to His first apostles. Archbishop Stephen will deliver his first public sermon from his seat in the Cathedral and inaugurate his ministry of teaching and mission.

The following prayer will be said for Archbishop Stephen:

“Almighty and most merciful God, you have poured down your gifts upon us, making some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers for the building up of your church here on earth. We pray for your servant Stephen, that by your grace, he may be ready to share the good news of the gospel, and with humility and wisdom use his authority to draw others to the way of Christ, through the same Jesus Christ, who is the same, yesterday, today and forever, Amen.”

Watch the service HERE

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York Minster achieves highest visitor numbers on recent record in 2019

York Minster had its highest visitor numbers on recent record in 2019, according to figures released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) today (Wednesday 15 July).

The cathedral welcomed 706,484 people to worship in and explore the sacred space last year, up 2% on 2018 and its best visitor numbers on record since it introduced new recording practices in 2011.

The news, which sees the cathedral rise four places to number 53 in ALVA’s annual survey of its UK members’ visitor numbers, comes as the Minster reopened its doors to sightseeing visitors this weekend for the first time since 16 March.

The cathedral has been welcoming visitors for private prayer since 16 June, and reopened for services on Saturday 4 July, following the ease in lockdown measures.

The Right Reverend Dr Jonathan Frost, Dean of York, said: “Hospitality is at the heart of our life together at York Minster. We were delighted to welcome so many people from nearby and from around the globe in 2019 – our best visitor numbers on recent record.

“Although 2020 will look very different, we’re pleased to have reopened and are beginning to see old and new friends return. There are a thousand reasons to visit York Minster – all of them valid. Those making the journey to this magnificent sacred space will be made most welcome.”

It is thought the bumper visitor numbers in 2019 were due to a combination of the Northern Lights sound and light projection events which took place last October and were seen by 22,500 people, and the completion of the Great East Window in 2018.

The window, which is the largest single expanse of medieval stained glass in the country, and the stonework of the cathedral’s wider East End underwent a decade long conservation and restoration project, one of the largest of its kind in Europe, and were unveiled in May 2018.

The Minster is currently open for sightseeing visitors Monday to Saturday 11am to 4pm and Sunday 12.30pm to 2.30pm and has put a number of measures in place to help keep both its staff and visitors safe.

These include limiting the number of people inside by asking sightseeing visitors to pre-book tickets online, a one-way system to allow people to physically distance from one another, hand sanitizer points, additional cleaning measures and staff and clergy wearing face masks and visors to welcome people.

For further details about the cathedral’s opening times, safety measures or to book tickets click HERE

The full list of attractions and their figure are available HERE

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