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York Minster Cathedral

UNITED KINGDOM | Thursday, 13 April 2023 | Views [97]

York Minster Cathedral

York Minster Cathedral

DURHAM CATHEDRAL WAS COMPLETED IN ONLY forty years—it took two centuries longer to build the “Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York.” I guess Gothic cathedrals must be holier than Norman ones. As with the City Walls, York Minster is built upon Roman ruins, a bit of which were uncovered during preservation work on the cathedral and can still be seen today. 

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                   The Five Sisters

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             Great East Window

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                     Chapter House Windows (internet photo)

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                          Close-up of Saint Cuthbert Window

But it’s the stained glass that dominates the interior of York Minster—128 of them with an estimated two million individual pieces of glass. The Great East Window has the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world and each lancet of the Five Sisters Window in the north transept is over 50 feet high. Only two of the stained glass panels in the octagonal Chapter House are original. Although the Rose Window is has no religious symbols the recently restored St. Cuthbert Window details the saint’s life and miracles.

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               Chapter House Ceiling

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                     York Minster Choir

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                     A Collection of English Kings

The history of York Minster is one of destruction and decay—Danish and Norman invasions, the English Reformation and Civil War, two World Wars, suspect engineering and fire—alternating with rebuilding and more recent conservation efforts. Much of the stained glass was removed for protection during both World Wars I and II. In 2017 all 311 panes of the Great East Window were removed and restored using the most accepted preservation methods. 

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               Restoration of St. Cuthbert Window (internet photo)

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                Skilled Stone Masons work on restoration and preservation

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         Grotesques (not a gargoyle) and Stone Mason

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         Journeywoman Stone Mason at work

And the conservation is ongoing. We watched three journeymen stone carvers—actually two journeymen and one journeywoman—from the York Minster Stoneyard Mason Lodge chipping away at replacement corbels and grotesques, just as the original masons must have done more than 500 years ago. Except for the HSE mandated air-filtration rigs they wore, that is.

 

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