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York Minster




The Old English Cathedrals

The Western Facade of York Minster, Britain's largest medieval cathedral.  Whoever planted that scruffy tree should be ashamed!




Morning sunlight on the Minster's western towers.





South transept, great crossing tower and southern front.





In a canopied tomb just inside the south entrance is Archbishop (1215 - 1255) Walter de Gray - one of the heavies of Magna Carta England


Walter de Gray was Chancellor of England under King John from 1205, and was present as a witness to the signing of Magna Carta on 15 June 1215, by which time he was briefly Bishop of Worcester.  Walter also attended the important 1215 4th Lateran Council convened by Innocent III.  Later in 1215 he was made Archbishop of York by order of Innocent III, urged on by King John and cash, after the Canons of York had exercised what they (mistakenly) thought was their prerogative and  elected the much (like much) better educated Simon Langton (brother of Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury) to the post.  The York job lasted for 40 years until his death in 1255. 


Archbishop de Gray also appears as a spandrel head in the beautiful Bolton Abbey, and no doubt elsewhere as he was known as a generous benefactor.


More about Walter de Gray in Wikipedia





Nave, looking east





Choir, looking east



Roof Bosses




Annunciation - Nave roof boss




Nativity - Nave roof boss




The Magi visit Mary & Jesus




A sad dog-faced dragon (or more accurately Wyvern) with a bunch of grapes hanging from his tail gets sworded by the village idiot in another nave roof boss.


Link to more dragon killing



The Chapter House


Even though York was not a monastic foundation, York Minster has the most magnificent Chapter House in England.









These photos are mostly from 2007 when the lights were on.


Despite levying a compulsory entrance fee, the Chapter House had no lights on when we last visited (October 2009) - that's a disgrace.


The eight sided space has 40 seats around the wall, each allocated to a member of the Cathedral Chapter, headed by the Dean

On the canopies over the seats are some 250 carved faces - some ordinary some grotesque - more later ..... but meantime here are two extra cast members ......

Two lovers hide behind one of the front row capitals

And in a front row spandrel a tiny Mary and suckling Jesus, who must somehow have missed the icon smashing years of Ollie Cromwell et seq.




Above:  A Norman "Doomstone" - part of a bass relief depicting the Last Judgement - this bit showing the devil's men holding up a cauldron of boiling something, into which the condemned are being tipped.  


England does not have anything to compare with the great French Last Judgement ("Doom") reliefs at Autun and Conques and to a lesser extent Chartres and Rheims.  With a couple of exceptions - the painted "Doom" at St Peter, Wenhaston in Norfolk (detail below) and the amazing west windows of St Mary, Fairford (detail, right) - photo pages pending ....









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