York Minster

Back in York after our trip up to Ripon we re-visited York Minster. There’s so much to see that it really needs more than one visit.

Of course there’s the stained glass.

The most interesting piece proved to be one that wasn’t actually there. The Great East Window has been removed for restoration and has been replaced by the largest digital photograph ever printed.

I was disappointed not to see this window ‘in the flesh’ but it did give us a chance to visit the restoration studio to watch how they go about restoring a piece like this. Fascinating! Apparently the work of the man who painted this particular window is easily recognisable because of the large noses he always gives his figures. We could see this clearly in the restoration studio but unfortunately they wouldn’t let us take photographs so you’ll just have to take my word for it!

On this visit to the Minster I found myself most fascinated by the exquisite carvings, particularly those in the Chapter House. They range from the ordinary, people you would have recognised in the street.

…to the grotesque

….and the downright violent. I was particularly struck by this strangler’s rather serene facial expression.

Below the organ pipes are carvings of fifteen kings – from William I through to Henry IV.


Starting at the right, Henry IV looks quite normal but as you go back in time they seem to appear increasingly insane with Edward II looking as mad as a box of frogs.

The modern carving of the ‘Semaphore Saints’ is interesting but to my mind doesn’t come close to the impact of some of the older work. The saints are headless to indicate that ‘without mouths to speak they can communicate using symbols’. Their haloes  spell out the message ‘Christ is here’.



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4 Responses to York Minster

  1. Steve says:

    Magnificent building.

  2. Pingback: York revisited | ewn ha cul

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