(active 1291-1340 in York)

Interior view

Minster, York

York Minster is only second to Canterbury. Its bishop is the "Primate of England," but the archbishop of Canterbury is the "Primate of all England." The last Anglo-Saxon cathedral to stand on this site was destroyed during the last Danish invasion of 1075; its replacement was begun by Archbishop Thomas of Bayeux (1070-1100) in about 1079, and the first stage was completed by the time he died. York Minster must be viewed as a rival of Canterbury, and that would go some way to explaining the peculiar shape of the 122-meter-long church which was excavated between 1967 and 1972. It had a mighty nave. Over the projecting transept was a sturdy crossing tower and it had stair turrets to the east and apses. The long choir had aisles and ended in a semi-circular main apse with a small crypt underneath. The present-day pillars in the nave stand on the foundations of the Romanesque nave, so the cathedral built by Thomas had a lasting influence on the newer Gothic building which was started in about 1215.

Remains of Romanesque walls, complete with their original plaster, and the painted ashlar of the crossing tower had made it possible to reconstruct the exterior, which would have been divided by tall blind niches and several rows of windows.

You can view the reconstruction of the church from the north-east, built by Thomas of Bayeux c. 1079, and the ground plan.

A new campaign was started for the rebuilding of York Minster in the last quarter of the 13th century. The French character of the architecture is intensified in the nave, which was built from 1291. The high arcade arches are sharply pointed, and the gallery is replaced by a triforium and linked with the clerestory windows by continuous vertical shafts.

The photo shows the nave looking east.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.