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Annual Report and Accounts 2021

The Chapter of York, the governing body for York Minster, today published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2021.  Whilst the continuing impact of the Covid pandemic once again created extremely challenging economic conditions, the boom in UK staycation holidays contributed to hopeful signs of recovery at York Minster.

The return of paying visitors, together with healthy retail sales, helped to reduce the cathedral’s year end deficit at 31 December 2021 to £805,000 – a significant deficit reduction from the previous year.

After intermittent periods of permitted re-opening for worship and limited visiting, a new wave of Covid resulted in the complete closure of the Minster from December 2020 until 17 May 2021. The cathedral reopened with strict Covid-secure measures in place, an online-only booking system for general admissions and more online worship opportunities so that people could continue to worship from home.

The Accounts to the year ended 31 December 2021 show a net deficit of £805,000 before taking into account any gains and losses on investments.  This compares to a deficit of £2,304,000 in 2020, the first year of the pandemic.

Incoming resources amounted to £7,143,000 in 2021 (£6,484,000 in 2020).  The £659,000 increase was principally due to a moderate recovery in visitor income (from £868,000 in 2020 to £2,025,000 in 2021) and a notable increase in shop income (£726,000 compared to £344,000 in 2020).  Whilst hugely encouraging, the full recovery of the visitor business will take time: at 226,700 the 2021 visitor figure is 60% behind the 2019 level.

Total expenditure on mission was £7,948,000 (£8,788,000 in 2020) a decrease of £840,000 on the previous year. This was largely due to the lack of learning and outreach activities such as school visits and the absence of costs relating to the Minster School which closed in July 2020, due to the impact of the pandemic.

Chapter recorded a gain on investments of almost £3.3m in 2021 (up £335k on 2020).  However, much of this has been lost in the first months of 2022 due to stock market volatility, inflationary pressures, energy prices, the continuing impact of Covid in China and the global economic shock caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

These investments, together with Chapter’s property portfolio, have a total book value of £42.5m and are held for the long term. Income derived from them contributes to the revenue needed for the day-to-day operation and maintenance of York Minster and its precincts.

The Revd Canon Michael Smith, Acting Dean of York said:  “The tough decisions taken by Chapter in 2020, were vital in securing the cathedral’s future.  Those decisions have put us on the right track:  although we still finished 2021 with a deficit, it was much reduced on the previous year. We are in no doubt: there is still considerable work to do.  Careful stewardship of the cathedral’s resources will remain a priority for many years.

“We also continued to develop and work on the York Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Plan – a trail-blazing, collaborative community project led by the York Minster Neighbourhood Forum.  The plan sets out a 15-year route map to create a sustainable future for the cathedral and its seven-hectare estate. It will carry significant weight in the determination of future planning applications within the Minster Precinct.  The plan was voted through in a community referendum in May and formally ratified by City of York Council. Its delivery will herald the biggest planned programme of works within the Minster Precinct for 150 years.

“This Annual Report and Accounts tell the story of an organisation still recovering from the impact of the global pandemic.  The return of worshippers, visitors and the local community in such great numbers for worship, services, events and exhibitions has been joyous. We are cautiously optimistic for the future but we are in no doubt that recovery will take time.”

 

The document, ‘York Minster Annual Report and Accounts 2021’ is available here. 

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York Minster Neighbourhood Plan is formally adopted

Following a vote by City of York Council’s Executive, the Neighbourhood Plan prepared by the York Minster Neighbourhood Forum has been formally adopted.

The plan sets out a 15-year route map to create a sustainable future for York Minster and its seven-hectare estate, and will carry significant weight in the determination of future planning applications within the Minster Precinct.

Having been voted through in a community referendum of all residents on the electoral register within the Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Area last month, the council voted last night to formally ratify the plan.

This pioneering approach to planning signals the first time that a Neighbourhood Plan has been used to map the future care of a cathedral or heritage estate, and its delivery will herald the biggest planned programme of works within the Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Area in 150 years.

The first stage of the Neighbourhood Plan includes the creation of an internationally renowned Centre of Excellence for the heritage craft skills responsible for the continued care of the Minster.

If approved, this will offer apprentices from the Minster and its network of international partners the opportunity to further develop their skills through cutting-edge digital techniques such as modern saw technology, data scanning and computer aided design.

Alex McCallion, Director of Works & Precinct at York Minster, said: “We are delighted that our trailblazing approach to planning has now been formally adopted by City of York Council, and want to thank our partners at the York Minster Fund and the York Minster Neighbourhood Forum, as well as the local community, for their support in helping to make this a reality.

“The Neighbourhood Plan will be crucial for allowing us to safeguard the Minster, creating a sustainable future for this hugely significant religious, historic and architectural monument, not just for York, but for millions around the world.”

Mark Calvert, Chair of the York Minster Neighbourhood Forum, said: “The York Minster Neighbourhood Plan is a genuinely community-led plan which intimately understands the complexities and sensitivities of planning for change both in a heritage setting and in a historic city such as York.

“It is the culmination of four years of hard work and extensive consultations, and with its official ratification, we are very proud to be leading the way for other heritage organisations to follow.”

Cllr Ashley Mason, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning at City of York Council, added: “We have worked collaboratively with the Minster and its Neighbourhood Forum over a number of years to develop this pioneering Neighbourhood Plan and are pleased to support its formal adoption.

“The plan is truly unique in rooting itself in heritage to safeguard one of our city’s most significant and well known areas, whilst also embracing next generation technology and skills.

“The Minster is enormously important to York and, through delivery of the Neighbourhood Plan, we hope to work with our partners to cement its future for many generations to come.”

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York Minster announces organ recital series to celebrate Grand Organ’s return following £2m refurbishment

Join internationally renowned musicians for a special series of recitals celebrating the return of York Minster’s Grand Organ following its £2m, once-in-a-century refurbishment.

 

The inaugural recital series will take place on Thursday evenings from 21 July to 18 August and feature world-renowned organists including leading American performer Nathan Laube, acclaimed and much sought-after organist, David Briggs, and one of Britain’s most outstanding concert organists, Margaret Phillips.

 

York Minster’s own acclaimed musicians – Robert Sharpe, Director of Music, and Benjamin Morris, Assistant Director of Music, who are both experienced soloists performing in the UK and abroad – complete the line-up.

 

The Grand Organ returned to use at the cathedral in March 2021 following the multi-million pound refurbishment – the first of its kind since 1903 – but the inaugural recital series to celebrate its return was delayed to summer 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

The recitals are part of a ‘Summer of Music’ at the cathedral which opens on Saturday 4 June with a Jubilee Gala Concert, followed by a spectacular Jazz Eucharist for St Peter’s Day (Wednesday 29 June) and a celebratory Choral Evensong on Sunday 10 July marking 25 years of girl choristers at York Minster.

 

Robert Sharpe said: “We’re thrilled to announce the line-up for this very special inaugural recital series following the completion of the once-in-a-century refurbishment of the instrument last spring.

 

“With the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, we took the decision to delay the recitals until this summer to ensure people could experience the drama and poetry of the newly restored instrument in person.

 

“We have a line-up of exceptional organists for the series, and look forward to welcoming people to hear their performances in the setting of York Minster’s awe-inspiring Nave.”

 

Organist and programme details:

 

Thursday 21 July, 7pm – Nathan Laube

Nathan Laube’s extensive recital career includes major venues spanning four continents, with notable appearances at the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, the Berlin Philharmonie, the Sejong Center (Seoul), Royal Festival Hall (London), Maison Radio France (Paris), Auditorium Maurice Ravel (Lyon), Zaryadye Concert Hall (Moscow), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), Verizon Hall (Philadelphia), Maison Symphonique (Montréal), Notre-Dame Cathedral (Paris), and St. Paul’s Cathedral (London).  He is regularly called upon to inaugurate important new organs, including those of St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Vienna), King’s College Chapel (Cambridge, UK), Canterbury Cathedral (UK), York Minster (UK), the Gothenburg Concert Hall (Gothenburg, SE), Zaryadye Concert Hall (Moscow, RU), among others.

In April 2019, Mr. Laube launched the documentary-style radio program, “All the Stops,” on the WFMT Radio Network Chicago. His recording of the Stephen Paulus Grand Concerto with the Nashville Symphony and Giancarlo Guerrero, received a GRAMMY Award for Best Classical Compendium.  Mr. Laube currently serves on the organ faculty of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York where he taught from 2013-2020.  From 2020-2022 Mr. Laube was professor of organ at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart, Germany. He additionally holds the post of the International Consultant in Organ Studies at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

 

Thursday 28 July, 7pm – Benjamin Morris

Benjamin Morris is Assistant Director of Music at York Minster. In this role, he plays for services and accompanies the choir in the Minster’s daily cycle of music, in concerts, tours, recordings and broadcasts, and assists in the training of the boy and girl choristers. Prior to this, he was Organ Scholar and then Assistant Organist at Jesus College, Cambridge, graduating with First-class honours in Music. Before starting university, Ben spent a year as Organ Scholar at Gloucester Cathedral. With recent venues including Sage Gateshead, Selby Abbey, Leeds Town Hall and Westminster Cathedral, Ben is active as a soloist for recitals and other performances. He has performed as organ soloist under Sir Roger Norrington, Howard Shelley, Paul McCreesh, and Sir Stephen Cleobury, and has played organ and harpsichord continuo alongside His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts, The Saraband Consort and Britten Sinfonia. He is a prizewinning Fellow of the Royal College of Organists.

 

Thursday 4 August, 7pm – David Briggs

David Briggs is an internationally renowned organist whose performances are acclaimed for their musicality, virtuosity, and ability to excite and engage audiences of all ages. Consistently ranked as one of the finest organists of his generation, David’s extensive repertoire spans five centuries. He has also become one of the foremost organ transcribers of symphonic works, thereby giving listeners the opportunity to experience the organ in a new way. He has transcribed orchestral compositions by Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Elgar, Bruckner, Ravel, and Bach as well as Mahler’s Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth symphonies. David performs more than 50 concerts a year and is also a prolific composer with his works ranging from full scale oratorios to works for solo instruments. He is currently Artist-in-Residence at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York City.

 

Thursday 11 August, 7pm – Margaret Phillips

One of Britain’s outstanding concert organists and teachers, Margaret Phillips studied with the late Ralph Downes and Marie-Claire Alain. From 1996 to 2021 she was Professor of Organ at the Royal College of Music in London, and in 2022 she was awarded the Medal of the Royal College of Organists, the highest honour given by the College. Her numerous CDs, which include the complete organ works of Bach, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns and Stanley, have been highly praised. In 1994, Margaret Phillips and her late husband founded the English Organ School and Museum in former chapel premises in Milborne Port, Somerset, where they have a small collection of organs by English organ builders from the eighteenth century to the present day.

 

Thursday 18 August, 7pm – Robert Sharpe

Robert Sharpe has been Director of York Music at York Minster since September 2008, having previously held posts at Truro Cathedral, Lichfield Cathedral, St Albans Abbey and Exeter College, Oxford.  His work centres around the daily choral tradition of York Minster with its two treble lines of boys and girls, both of which he trains, and in addition he performs frequently as an organ soloist and accompanist, having played in many parts of Europe and the USA as well as at major venues in the UK.  He has made numerous recordings with the choirs of Truro and York, all of which have received acclaim in the musical press.

 

Tickets for the recitals are available now via www.yorkminster.org priced at £12, with a combined ticket price of £50 for all five recitals. A concession ticket price of £5 for under-27s is also available.

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HRH The Princess Royal visits York Minster

HRH The Princess Royal, will today make a private visit to York Minster, following a busy morning of engagements in the city of York with 2 Signal Regiment.

Escorted by Brigadier Tim Watts (Retired), 2 Signal Regiment, The Princess Royal will be welcomed to York Minster by the Acting Dean of York, the Reverend Canon Michael Smith.

On arrival, Her Royal Highness will be invited to have a Regimental photograph with 2 Signal Regiment on the steps of the South entrance.

Once inside York Minster, The Princess Royal will meet members of the Chapter of York, 2 Signal Regiment, representatives from the Kohima Educational Trust and members of 37 Signal Regiment.

The Princess Royal will be invited to sign the Royal Corps of Signals visitors’ book and the York Minster’s visitors’ book.  Her Royal Highness will be presented with a posy by Master Leo Davidson (aged 11), son of Staff Sergeant Julius Davidson, Royal Corps of Signals.

Then, escorted by the Acting Dean of York, The Princess Royal will proceed to the South West compound.  The Reverend Canon Smith, will present Mr Richard Bossons, a member of the Minster’s team of stone masons.

Mr Bossons is the designer (and carver) of York Minster’s new statue of Her Majesty The Queen. Her Royal Highness will view progress on the statue which is due to be installed in an empty niche at the West Front of the cathedral in the autumn.

The Princess Royal will then depart York Minster.

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Celebrating 25 years of Girl Choristers at York Minster A Service of Thanksgiving – Sunday 10th July

A special service of Choral Evensong on Sunday 10th July at 4pm, will give thanks for 25 years of girl choristers at York Minster.  The cathedral has also issued an invitation to all former girl choristers to come and sing at the service.

In 1997, after an energetic campaign, York Minster introduced girl choristers into daily worshipping life, following the initial breakthrough for girls at Salisbury Cathedral in 1991.

Today, girls and boys contribute equally to the musical life of York Minster as part of one of the most respected cathedral choirs in the country. The choristers are educated at St Peter’s School, York, and range in age from 8-13 yrs. The Minster’s world-class choir and organists perform at services most days during term-time, with the repertoire ranging from some of the earliest known choral music, to newly commissioned works.

For this special occasion, all former girl choristers are being invited to come back to sing with the current girl choristers and adult singers of York Minster for this celebratory service. The guest preacher will be the Bishop of Whitby, Paul Ferguson, who was Precentor of York Minster 25 years ago when the first group of girl choristers gave their debut performance at the Minster.

Anne Norton made history as one of the singers in York Minster’s first group of girl choristers in 1997.  Anne said:  “It was a huge moment. For the first time we girls could sing in the Minster just like the boys. The experience of singing services, concerts and special events, such as the Mystery Plays, instilled in me a love of choral music which has lasted to this day. I still live in York and it gives me huge pleasure to attend services and hear the girls singing today. I am thrilled the Minster is celebrating this historic event.”

More recently, former chorister Naomi Simon, described how singing in the Choir of York Minster changed her life. Naomi said:  “Being a chorister completely transformed my life!  I have been able to travel internationally and work professionally.  My confidence has grown and last year I appeared on national television on the “BBC Chorister of the Year” programme and was recognised as one of the top five girl choristers in the country.  I am currently a Music Scholar at Rugby School which was enabled by being a York Minster Chorister.”

The current Precentor of York Minster, Canon Victoria Johnson said:  “This is an important anniversary in the musical life of York Minster. We are delighted that this is a place where all children can use their musical gifts to praise God in song.”

Robert Sharpe, Director of Music at York Minster said:  “We are hoping that generations of former choristers – hopefully including girls from that first group of choristers – will return to sing on this special day and celebrate their pioneering role in the history of music at York Minster.”

All former girl choristers of York Minster are warmly invited to sing at this special celebratory service.  Please email music@yorkminster.org for more information.

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Neighbourhood Plan gains public approval

York Minster’s trailblazing approach to planning for the long-term future care of the cathedral and its surrounding Precinct has received overwhelming public support.

 

Following a majority vote at a community referendum of all residents on the electoral register within the Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Area, the Minster’s Neighbourhood Plan will be adopted by City of York Council as part of the statutory development plan for the city of York.

 

As well as carrying significant weight in the determination of future planning applications within the designated Precinct, the Neighbourhood Plan will provide a 15-year route map through a policy-led approach to create a sustainable future for the Minster and its seven-hectare estate.

 

Delivery of the Neighbourhood Plan will signal the biggest programme of planned works at York Minster and within the Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Area in 150 years.

 

Alex McCallion, Director of Works & Precinct at York Minster, said: “We are thrilled about the referendum result and extremely grateful to everyone who voted.

 

“This is the first time a Neighbourhood Plan, prepared by the York Minster Neighbourhood Forum, has been used to map the future care of a cathedral or heritage estate. It sets out an ambitious masterplan to sustain and enhance the cultural significance and environmental value of York Minster’s Precinct and its buildings through specially created planning policy.

 

“The Neighbourhood Plan is crucial in not only meeting the ongoing restoration challenges we face but ensuring the Minster and its Precinct continue to flourish for generations to come. Sustainability sits at the heart of its aims for the next 15 years, specifically around three core strands of environmental, financial and heritage craft.”

 

Significantly, the Neighbourhood Plan will allow the Chapter of York to bring forward ground-breaking changes within a heritage estate at the York Minster Precinct.

 

Key projects include the Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management, the creation of new visitor facilities, a new public square and enhanced public realm and green spaces as well as a new discovery and learning centre, and museum.

 

Alex added: “The approach to our Neighbourhood Plan has been truly community led and will inspire others to follow as we become an exemplar for how heritage estates address not only their own futures but the wider challenges that they face, such as climate change.

 

“It is also enabling residents and those who work within the Minster Precinct to have a positive role in shaping the future of the area in which they live and work.”

 

Mark Calvert, Chair of the York Minster Neighbourhood Forum, said: “We have worked collaboratively with key stakeholders, including City of York Council and the local community to develop this Neighbourhood Plan. We are appreciative of their support and will continue to take a partnership approach as the Neighbourhood Plan is implemented and makes a positive impact on the community and wider city.”

 

The Revd. Canon Michael Smith, Acting Dean at York Minster, added: “On behalf of the Chapter of York, we are delighted with the result and the culmination of four years of work creating a bespoke planning policy document, against which all future planning applications in the Precinct will be determined. I would like to thank all members of the York Minster Neighbourhood Forum for their support, as well as everyone who voted to adopt the plan. This is a major milestone in securing a sustainable future for the Minster, and we look forward with excitement to continuing to work with key stakeholders and the local community as we progress with our vision.”

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Services and events at York Minster to mark the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen

York Minster today announced special services and events to mark the Platinum Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

The Acting Dean of York, The Revd Canon Michael Smith said: “Celebrating the Platinum Jubilee gives the whole nation an opportunity to give thanks for the faithful witness and dedicated service of HM Queen Elizabeth II, a faithful disciple of Christ who has served her country for over 70 years.

“The Queen represents so much of what is good about our nation. She embodies the values of strength, loyalty and service, which, along with her abiding faith, should inspire us all to live together in a spirit of equity, mutual care and respect.

“In all that we do at the Minster over the Jubilee weekend we will be giving thanks for our Queen’s reign and for all that she has contributed, and continues to contribute, to the life of our nation.”

Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York said:  “As we prepare to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on the first weekend in June, please may I encourage you to take full advantage of the opportunity this gives for us to draw our communities together, but also be part of the wider community celebrations that will be happening up and down the nation.

“This is an unprecedented historic occasion in the life of our nation.  I will be praying for Her Majesty, giving thanks for the example of her service from which we can all learn.  Join me in praying also for our nation, and for our life together, that God will bless us.”

 

From Saturday 14 May (until end of 2022)

New exhibition – Majesty: Monarchy and York Minster

The Platinum Jubilee celebrations commence with a new exhibition exploring York Minster’s ancient relationship with the monarchy. Starting with the coronation of King Edwin in a wooden church – the first York Minster – through to the distribution of The Royal Maundy money by HM The Queen in 2012, the exhibition includes items never before seen on public display including Great Seals used by monarchs to authenticate documents of state, a Bible signed by Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII, or possibly her granddaughter Queen Elizabeth I, Chinese silk gifted to Queen Victoria on her wedding day transformed into burses and veil for Holy Communion and footage from the Royal Wedding of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent to his Yorkshire bride, Katharine Worsley in York Minster in 1961.

 

Jubilee Day – Saturday 4 June

 

2pm – Lord Lieutenant and Archbishop of York’s Garden Party

Around 600 invited guests from across the county will attend a Garden Party hosted by The Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Mrs Johanna Ropner and The Most Revd and Right Honourable Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, in the Deanery Garden at York Minster. The event is being held to thank members of the community for their voluntary service and in particular, their contributions during the pandemic.

 

5pm – Choral Evensong for the Jubilee

A special service of Choral Evensong with the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire and the Archbishop of York giving thanks for 70 years of dedicated service by HM The Queen.  There will be special prayers, readings and celebratory music sung by the Choir of York Minster and the Archbishop of York will preach at the service. All are welcome and no booking is required.

 

7.30pm – Jubilee Gala Concert

York Minster’s associate choirs, The Ebor Singers and The Chapter House Choir will join the musicians of York Minster for a traditional jubilee celebration in the beautiful setting of the cathedral’s Nave. Accompanied by the cathedral’s spectacular, newly restored Grand Organ, the programme will feature popular coronation pieces, including Handel’s Zadok the Priest, alongside music associated with the royal family and York Minster, including pieces by Francis Jackson and Philip Moore. Tickets priced between £12 and £18.50, with a concession price of £5 for under-27s, are available at www.yorkminster.org.

 

Bells for the Jubilee

The bells of York Minster will ring out across the city throughout the Jubilee weekend.  The Minster’s volunteer bell ringers are planning a number of complex peal attempts to honour HM The Queen.

 

Family activities over the Platinum Jubilee Central Weekend

 

Get crafty in Dean’s Park

Thursday 2 and Friday 3 June, 10.00am – 3.00pm

Visit our activity marquee in Dean’s Park over the jubilee weekend. Take part in colouring activities or ‘Become a Royal’ with a photo opportunity inspired by the cathedral’s Kings’ Screen. The activities are free of charge and available on a drop in basis, no need to book.

Saturday Mornings at York Minster

Saturday 4 June at 10.00am

Our popular drop in sessions for families return with a jubilee twist. The sessions run throughout the year and explore the seasons in the Christian calendar with a different interactive opportunity each time including craft workshops, sensory activities, music and worship.

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New exhibition showcases royal treasures from York Minster’s historic collection

York Minster’s centuries-old relationship with the monarchy is the subject of a new exhibition showcasing royal treasures from the Minster’s historic collection opening on Saturday 14 May as part of the celebrations of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.

The exhibition traces the influence of the monarchy throughout York Minster’s history. From the humble baptism of King Edwin of Northumbria on Easter Day in 627 AD in a small wooden church built hastily for the service – the first York Minster – to HM Queen Elizabeth II’s glorious return to the cathedral to attend the Royal Maundy Service in 2012.  These royal events have shaped life and worship at York Minster over the centuries.

Running until the end of 2022, the exhibition – Majesty: Monarchy and York Minster – will be located in the cathedral’s Treasury and features some items never before seen on public display.

Visitors can see Great Seals used to authenticate important documents by previous monarchs; a Minster Police wooden truncheon emblazoned with the keys of St Peter, for York Minster, under a crown, signifying royal authority; and a Bible signed by Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII, or possibly her granddaughter Queen Elizabeth I.

Other highlights include footage from the royal wedding of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent to his Yorkshire bride Katharine Worsley in York Minster in 1961 and Chinese silk gifted to Queen Victoria on her wedding day transformed into burses and veils used in preparation for the celebration of Holy Communion.

The exhibition showcases the range of York Minster’s nationally important collections, with a focus on local connections. From the ancient ‘coronation chair’ of York Minster, once believed to have been used in the coronation of Anglo-Saxon kings and more recently in the enthronement of the Archbishops of York, to Maundy money distributed in York by HM Queen Elizabeth II and a dialect poem celebrating the coronation of Queen Victoria, it offers insights into the royal history of York Minster.

York Minster is renowned for its choir and music, and also on display will be a rare manuscript part-book, compiled for the choir of York Minster in the 18th century, featuring Handel’s magnificent anthem ‘Zadok the Priest’, written for the enthronement of George III and performed at the coronation of every British monarch since.  The brilliantly coloured cope worn by Thomas Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury, to officiate at George III’s coronation draws the eye.

Younger visitors will also have the chance to try on regal robes, bear a crown and sceptre, and pose for a majestic photograph showing off their best royal wave.

Helen Rawson, Head of Heritage at York Minster, explains: “Since King Edwin of Northumbria converted to Christianity in 627 AD and ordered the construction of a small wooden church for his baptism, the first York Minster, the cathedral has had strong royal connections.  It was the site of the wedding of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault in 1328, while Richard III’s son Edward was invested as Prince of Wales in 1483 in a glorious ceremony in the adjacent old Archbishop’s Palace.

“These associations have continued over the centuries with Queen Elizabeth II’s mother, then Duchess of York, attending the re-dedication of the famous medieval Five Sisters window in memory of the women who died in service of the British Empire during the First World War, while her husband the Duke of York, later George VI, unveiled the York City War Memorial.”

The exhibition is part of a series of activities at York Minster to celebrate HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. For further details go to our What’s On page.

The exhibition will be open from Saturday 14 May during normal visiting times, currently Monday to Saturday 9.30am – 4pm and Sunday 12.45pm – 3.15pm. Entry is included with a standard admission ticket and entry to the Minster is free for York residents with valid proof of address.

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Permission granted for Church House conversion at York Minster

Plans to change the use of Church House at York Minster Precinct from office to residential accommodation have been approved.

 

Following the decision by City of York Council’s planning committee, Church House, at 10-14 Ogleforth, will be converted into 11 apartments.

 

As part of the approved planning conditions, York Minster has committed to ensuring that a proportion of the apartments will be offered as affordable accommodation through the Government’s Build to Rent scheme.

 

Income generated from the apartments, which will all be offered as rental accommodation, will be used for the ongoing care of the Minster, including the restoration of the cathedral’s precious medieval stained glass windows.

 

Church House was previously used as the principal offices for the Chapter of York, the governing body of York Minster. The Chapter is set to relocate to St William’s College at the Precinct, which has previously secured planning permission and listed building consent for its restoration.

 

Alex McCallion, Director of Works and Precinct at York Minster, said: “The approval of our plans at Church House is not only good news for York Minster Precinct but also for York itself, as it will deliver much needed affordable housing, secured in perpetuity through the planning process, in the city centre.

 

“Additionally, income generated from the rental properties will provide an important source of revenue to contribute to the care of the Minster, which costs £22,000 a day to operate.

 

“Specifically, this will enable work to begin to conserve and protect an at risk thirteenth century stained glass window in the south nave of the Minster for the enjoyment of future generations. We are grateful to City of York Council for its ongoing support.”

 

Work to convert Church House, including landscaping, bicycle store and a new ramped access boundary wall and gate, is expected to be completed by late summer 2023.

 

The granting of planning permission follows the recent submission of plans to establish the York Minster Precinct as a world class campus facility for research, education and training in ancient craft skills.

 

The Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management 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 plans, designed by acclaimed architectural practice Tonkin Liu, have been submitted to City of York Council for the development of two sites – The Heritage Quad and The Works and Technology Hub.

 

The £5m fully funded project has been made possible through the generous support of the York Minster Fund.

 

The vision for the Centre of Excellence is a key element of the York Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Plan, which sets out a policy-led approach to creating a sustainable future for the Minster and its seven hectare estate.

 

The draft Plan has recently been through independent examination and City of York Council’s Executive and will now proceed to a community referendum of all residents on the electoral register within the Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Area on May 10. If passed, it will be adopted by City of York Council as part of the statutory development plan for the city.

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An Honorary Minor Canon Theologian for York Minster

The Revd Dr Peniel Rajkumar, Global Theologian, United Society Partners in the Gospel (USPG), will be installed as Honorary Minor Canon Theologian at the Evensong service at York Minster on Sunday 8th May at 4pm.

Commenting on Peniel’s installation, the Revd Canon Michael Smith, Acting Dean of York said:  “In his role as Global Theologian, Peniel is part of USPG’s research team, addressing some of the defining issues of our time. His work takes a deep and systematic look at the contexts in which USPG’s partners are engaged around the world. With Peniel installed as Honorary Minor Canon Theologian at York Minster, USPG looks forward to continuing a long and mutually beneficial partnership here.”

Welcoming Peniel’s appointment, the Revd Canon Maggie McLean, the Minster’s Canon Missioner said:  “Peniel will bring a global perspective to our understanding of Christianity and discipleship. He will contribute a distinctive voice to our theological discussions and Bible Studies, and to our teaching through participating in webinars as well as other opportunities, such as preaching and leading small groups. His appointment as Honorary Minor Canon Theologian at York Minster, will also give him a base in the North of England as he continues his work with USPG across our region and as we support the work of this Mission Agency.”

The Revd Dr Duncan Dormor, General Secretary, USPG said:  “The appointment of Peniel, a person of exceptional gifts, ability and experience is an exciting and creative move and demonstrates York Minster’s commitment to engaging with the issues facing the world and the Church, and each one of us as we seek to serve our neighbour global and local today.”

Anticipating his new role, Peniel said:  “I am looking forward to supporting York Minster in fostering a culture and climate of theological engagement that can, in perpetual openness to the surprises of the Spirit, embrace the many promises and challenges of our times with courage, creativity and compassion.”

Peniel’s installation service will be live streamed on 8th May. The link to the service will be available from 4pm HERE.

Biographical Details – The Revd Dr Peniel Rajkumar

Peniel Rajkumar joined USPG in July 2021 after serving for the past nine years as Programme Executive and coordinator for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation with the World Council of Churches, Geneva. He was also Adjunct Professor at the Ecumenical Institute to Bossey.

Peniel was ordained in the Diocese of London and served his curacy in North London (2005-2008), while completing his PhD in Applied Theology from the University of Kent at Canterbury.  He also served as Associate Professor of Theology and Christian Social Ethics and Director of Field Education at the United Theological College in Bangalore India from 2008 to 2013.

A theologian with a focus on justice and solidarity, Peniel’s research interests are in Dalit Theology, Interreligious Dialogue, Mission, Decolonialism, and World Christianities. He is the author of many books and articles including Dalit Theology and Dalit Liberation (Ashgate: 2010), Asian Theology on the Way: Christianity, Culture and Context (SPCK/Fortress 2013/2016), and recently edited Faith(s) Seeking Justice: Dialogue and Liberation, (Geneva: WCC 2021). Peniel is an Honorary Canon at Worcester Cathedral.

As Global Theologian with USPG, Peniel seeks to facilitate theological education, encounter and exchange both within the UK as well as the wider Anglican Communion that is genuinely global in scope and decolonial in perspective. Peniel believes in having an honest and healthy engagement with the past so that we can live God’s just future now.

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York Minster submits plans to create internationally renowned Centre of Excellence

Plans to establish the York Minster Precinct as a world class campus facility for research, education and training in ancient craft skills have taken a major step forward today.

The Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management 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 plans, designed by acclaimed architectural practice Tonkin Liu, have been submitted to City of York Council for the development of two sites – The Heritage Quad and The Works and Technology Hub.

The £5m fully funded project is being co-ordinated by the York Minster Fund.

The scheme will provide new facilities for craftspeople, including York Minster’s stonemasons, and house and deliver training in modern techniques and processes to apprentices and students in York and further afield, working with cutting edge digital facilities alongside the ancient craft skills for which the Stoneyard is renowned.

Existing buildings within the Precinct will be sustainably reordered, repurposed and renewed to provide new workspace and associated facilities, enable greater engagement and interaction with the public around key crafts and trades and allow improved links with education.

The vision for the Centre of Excellence is a key element of the York Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Plan which sets out a policy-led approach to creating a sustainable future for the Minster and its seven hectare estate.

Alex McCallion, Director of Works and Precinct at York Minster, said: “It takes a multidisciplinary team of skilled heritage craftspeople and experts in their field to maintain and care for the ongoing cycle of repair, restoration, conservation and development of York Minster, its ancient buildings and monuments. Our existing Stoneyard houses the complete range of craft and trade skills that are vital to achieve this.

“Yet despite this, the facilities available to our skilled workforce are constrained and inadequate, set against a backdrop of declining craft skills. We also recognise the need to keep pace with innovations and modern processes such as digital technology, data scanning and Computer Aided Design (CAD).
“The creation of a Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management will therefore not only enable the preservation and development of the ancient craft skills that have sustained the Minster over the centuries but will also secure the long-term environmental, financial and heritage sustainability of it for future generations to enjoy as we do today.

“It will position York Minster as leading the charge for the preservation of ancient craft skills on the international stage, facilitating knowledge sharing and exchange programmes with partner cathedrals worldwide, including Washington, Milan and Trondheim and will also have immediate economic and tourism benefits for York and the wider region.”

The Revd Canon Michael Smith, Acting Dean of York, added: “Delivery of the York Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Plan, of which the Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management is a major part, will signal the biggest programme of planned works at York Minster and within the Minster Precinct Neighbourhood in 150 years.

“It is the first time an approach of this type has been used to map the future care of a cathedral and we believe it will positively inspire others to follow as we become an exemplar for how heritage estates address climate change. It is a plan for the city of York and something we should all be proud of.

“We are incredibly excited about seeing our Centre of Excellence plans, alongside other ongoing projects including the refectory restaurant and College Green improvement works, become a reality over the coming months.”

Richard Shaw, Chairman of York Minster Fund (YMF), said: “The Centre of Excellence is the culmination of a YMF funded, three year research and development project, which benchmarked the Minster against other heritage sites around the world. It aims to bring together the best of the best in a single location, both now and into the future. We see our investment in the project as the best way of securing skills, jobs and heritage restoration at the Minster for decades to come.”

A key element of the project will be the resurfacing of the existing 1970s cobbled road leading to the new Heritage Quad, which is currently uneven and hazardous.

A planning decision is expected in late summer and, if approved, York Minster aims to successfully deliver the project in early 2024.

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Duke Ellington: Music from the Sacred Concerts

A spectacular Jazz Eucharist featuring music from Duke Ellington’s ‘Sacred Concerts’ will take place at York Minster on Wednesday 29th June at 5.30pm. Hosted jointly by York Minster and St Peter’s School, York, the service will mark St Peter’s Day, the Patronal festival of both the cathedral and the school.  The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell will preach at the service.

Described by Ellington himself as ‘the most important thing I have ever done’, the ‘Sacred Concerts’ are a unique blend of jazz and choral classical music, with elements of gospel and the blues. Debuted in 1965 and rarely performed since, the Sacred Concerts feature big band, mixed choir and soloists who combine to produce powerful and evocative melodies celebrating spirituality and the Christian faith.  St Peter’s School staged a performance of the Sacred Concerts in 2012.

In the magnificent setting of York Minster’s medieval Nave, the service will feature, the Clark Tracey Orchestra, the Choir of York Minster, St Peter’s School Choir & Choral Society, soloists Teuta Koco and Mark Williams, and tap dancer Junior Laniyan.

Commenting on the service, The Revd Canon Victoria Johnson, Precentor at York Minster said:  “This is an amazing opportunity to hear the sacred music of Duke Ellington in the context of Christian worship in one of the most magnificent cathedrals in the world. Ellington’s music is powerful and uplifting and is an incredibly fitting way to celebrate the new and vibrant partnership between York Minster and St Peter’s School, York, bringing together hundreds of musicians to lead our prayers and praises.

“This service, is for worshippers, jazz lovers, choral music fans, and anyone who enjoys great music and its potential to lift our spirits heavenward.”

Jeremy Walker, Head Teacher, St Peter’s School, York, said:  “I am very excited about the prospect of the Ellington Mass in York Minster.  It promises to be a wonderful service, full of joy and a perfect way to mark St Peter’s Day and the bond between School and Minster.”

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