Monday 14 September 2015


We had a week's holiday in York a number of years ago, and haven't felt the need to do again the tourist thing of visiting all the interesting buildings. We might have been more inclined to do so had not the weather been rather drizzly, and if there hadn't been an admission charge to just about everything. But the buildings are wonderful, even from the outside.

There has been a Christian presence on the site of the Minster since (probably) the late 2nd century, and a church building since the 7th. Construction of the present cathedral began in the 13th – it's one of the largest in Europe. Like the church in Leeds it has a very long chancel, which was packed out late Sunday afternoon for a special Choral Evensong service, in which we joined.

Right next door to the minster is St Michael-le-Belfry. Wikipedia doesn't comment on why there should be a separate church so close to the Minster, but notes that it dates from the 16th century, and was where Guy Fawkes was baptised. We decided to join in with their evening service as well, called "The 6", involving a very lively and informal style of worship, and targeting young people and students. It, too, was very full, but the contrast with the Minster was extreme!

This morning we wandered around a bit, finding our way to the Shambles. It's a wonderful hotch-potch of buildings reaching out over your head. And then I couldn't resist this:

Tudor wooden frame, with "Gert & Henry's" scrawled on the white plaster, presumably to indicate the current name of the establishment. The purpose of the wacky disparity between the two styles bemused me – I couldn't really see the point.

Later, going in search of the point from which the bus to Ripon will leave tomorrow, I wandered past other buildings which are enjoyable to look at, so we might do a bit more wandering together before we finally leave. And I think it is incumbent upon us, in this city, to visit again one of those exhibitions which explain with passion why Richard III (Richard of York) was not the complete bad egg that the Tudors and Shakespeare made him out to be.


  1. I think that it is very unlikely that there was any real sense of a Christian presence in England during the 1st century. What there may have been was stories from the Roman soldiers of Christ plus their accounts of the Pagan deities.
    The Emperor Constantine did forge Christianity into a religion until AD 313.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Just to note – I did actually say late 2nd century, not the 1st. My source was that infallible fountain of all wisdom: Wikipedia! Its article on the Minster mentions circumstantial evidence pointing to this, and cites its own sources. I was surprised by the suggestion, and thought it worth mentioning, albeit hesitantly.