York Minster is a venerable cathedral nestled in the center of an ancient city. One of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe, this grand church soars above the meandering medieval streets of York. Its bells still serve to call worshippers to service and mark the hour. York Minster’s architecture is considered a marvel around the world. York is a very popular tourist destination in England, and the magnificent cathedral is its number one atrraction.
York Minster was established as a missionary teaching church in the Anglo-Saxon period of English history, which earned the cathedral its familiar name, “minster.” However, the church’s formal name today is The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York. It serves as the seat of the Archbishop of York, a position in the Church of England second only to the Archbishop of Canterbury. York is a very popular tourist destination in England, and the magnificent cathedral is its number one atrraction.
One of the greatest draws to York Minster is the building itself. A monument to Gothic architecture, York Minster boasts a very wide nave, decorated with pointed arches and vaulted roofs. The north and south transepts of the building have retained their Early English style, including a rose window. The Great East Window, built in 1408 and situated over the Lady Chapel, is the largest area of medieval stained glass in the world.
In April 2008, York Minster became the first English cathedral to have a carillon of bells. 24 small bells were installed with the existing Nelson Chime in the west towers of the cathedral, giving a total of 35 bells in three chromatic octaves. These bells ring every quarter of an hour during the day. At the top of the hour, the largest bell in the northwest tower, named Great Peter, strikes the hour. The bells are also rung to mark daily evensongs, Sunday services, and special occasions.
During World War II, the city of York sustained heavy damage and many people lost their lives. In commemoration, an astronomical clock was installed in the cathedral’s north transept in 1955. It serves to honor the airmen from Yorkshire, Durham, and Northumberland who lost their lives during the war. Many UK cathedrals have World War II and World War I memorials, including Westminster Abbey in London, where the remains of the Unknown Warrior are buried.