York Minster is the largest gothic cathedral in Northern England, it was first built in year 627 and since then, it has been renewed, repaired and extended over many centuries. The current minster is about 600 years old which took 250 years to complete.
Admission to the York Minster cost £10 while the ticket including the climb up the tower cost £15 for an adult. I used my student card to save £1 for the combine entry to York Minster and Tower.
There is a ‘free’ guided tour around the minster, open the mind and eyes to things I will never notice if I were to explore on myself.
Seated at the nave, our guide, Barbara first made us look up and introduced a dragon’s head protruding out from the left wall from high up from the nave. Till date, the real purpose of building a dragon head there is still a mystery.
Headless Statues holding haloes at different positions
They can be found at the up above at the back of nave, above the entrance to York Minster. They are actually Semaphore Saints, each of them represents a letter.
They have no heads nor halos because in the 16th century, Protestant reformers accused Catholics of praying to statues so in order to stop them from attacking, the artist, Terry Hammill made them headless. It is to make a point that despite they do not have mouth to speak, they can still use symbols to communicate. They are signalling in semaphore signs which says “CHRIST IS HERE”
In Sydney, you have the 3 sisters. Here in York, you have the Five Sisters.
It is said that these 5 long windows has been around since the 1260s and they are the oldest complete window in York Minster. There are many stories on why they are named the Five Sisters.
One of the stories that appeared in Charles Dickson’s novel, Nicholas Nicklebbeing. It was told that there were 5 sisters who enjoyed spending their free time doing embroidery and their embroidery became patterns for these stain glass windows.
Commemorate end of the War of the Roses (1455-85) and to honour Tudor dynasty
The Rose Window stonework was completed in the 13th century however the glass was added only in the 15th century after War of Roses.
Impressive Kings Screen showcasing 15 Kings
The kings sculptures on display are England’s monarchs starting from William, the Conqueror (1028 – 1087) to Henry VI (1421 – 1471). Some kings carried a sword while some carried a scepter and some carrying both. Sword symbolises the King was a military leader and scepter represents embodiment of justice.
Premonition of Tom and Jerry
Can you spot a cat and a mouse on the sculpture?
The Choir area where services are held. This area will be block off to visitors when there is a service going on.
Church organ, it was told that there was once, a man tried to set fire on the organ just because he dislike the sound that was being produced.
I left the tour a little earlier so as to make it in time for my allocated time slot to climb the tower. If you are wondering why is there a timing for each group to head up is because you literally have to climb up a narrow old spiral staircase which can only allow one person at a time. There is no space for another party to pass through and there are no shortcuts (aka lift) to go up, you need to be physically fit enough to do the climb. Hence they will need to have people going up and down by batches.
This is how the spiral staircase look, extremely old with big steps. There are a total of 275 steps!
I felt like I walked into a fairytale because I used to read stories that describes goblins or wizards carrying lamps going up into a tower with narrow and dark spiral staircases. It is like living my imagination in real time! I absolutely love the ancient feel.
I made it to the top!
I would not say the view from up above is particularly outstanding. The grills installed was kind of put off. There is a little designated opening at each grill to stick the camera out to capture shots of the city so in terms of the angle, it is pretty limited.
Get what I mean on the grills? It is like watching the whole city behind a cage.
What is a church without Jesus Christ?
They have this little cute wooden craftwork, when you put in coins into the box, the man and monkey will move. A cute way to fund the major restoration project.
New in York Minster: Revealing York Minster in the Undercroft
When you walk into the basement, it is the latest attraction of York Minster, it just opened in May this year, Revealing York Minster in the Undercroft. It further explore into the history and insights of York Minster discovering 2000 years of heroic historic and human journey. This together with the guided tour certainly made the admission fee worth it.
Ended the visit with pictures right outside, you can see that the restoration of the tower is not completed yet.
Spot the tiny people walking along the roof of York Minster, they are on their way up/down the tower. In order to get to the highest point, one will need to climb the shorter tower on the right, then walk along the roof to another towel on the left which will lead to the top.
Do you know other interesting facts to share on York Minster?