Friday, 23 March 2018

Beverley Minster

The difference between a minster and a cathedral. ... A minster is a church that was established during Anglo-Saxon times as a missionary teaching church, or a church attached to a monastery. A cathedral is the seat of a bishop (his seat, or throne, is called a cathedra).

Beverley Minster in Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire, is a parish church in the Church of England. It is one of the largest parish churches in the UK, larger than one third of all English cathedrals and regarded as a gothic masterpiece by many.(LINK)


Beverley, six miles to the north of Hull was once the capital of the East Riding of Yorkshire and is the home to Beverley Minster, regarded as one of the most beautiful churches in England.

The minster has the architectural grandeur of a cathedral rather than a church and indeed many English cathedrals are more than overshadowed by Beverley. The first church, with an attached monastery was built at Beverley in the 7th century by St John of Beverley who had trained under St Hilda at Whitby. In 687 AD he became the Bishop of Hexham and later the Bishop of York.

John later returned to Beverley, where he retired and was buried in his church. Later the Danes almost destroyed the church but it was rebuilt and visited by King Athelstan in the tenth century, sometime before a great battle with the Vikings. Pilgrims continued to flock to John's shrine and in 1037 he was canonized as a saint. In 1138 the saint's banner was carried with the standards of other famous northern saints at the Battle of the Standard near Northallerton.

Sometime after the Norman conquest the church was refashioned by the Normans, but their new building was destroyed by fire in 1188. Around 1220 rebuilding of a new minster church began and work continued until around 1420 culminating in the magnificent church of today.

Inside the minster is an elaborate shrine to the Percy family which was constructed in the fourteenth century. Nearby is a Frid Stool or peace stool, a primitive seat of Anglo-Saxon origin which is similar to one found at Hexham Abbey. The stool offered sanctuary to criminals similar to the sanctuary offered at Durham Cathedral.Beverley's organ is a Snetzer organ, one of the best surviving examples, dating from 1767.(LINK)

Medieval  tomb 

Before the Reformation of the 16th century there would have been many medieval tombs in the minster. When Beverley Minster changed from being a collegiate church to a parish church many of these tombs would have been thrown out. The two remaining tombs, both 14th century, lie in the shop – a priest (Nicholas de Huggate, d. 1338, who was provost of the Minster) and a merchant.

On arriving in the minster you are blown away by the stunning building inside and out, it was all the different levels of architecture leading to the roof that amazed me the most. I took far to many photos which I have included in this post. 

Being such a large place to discover we have missed some things, and I might struggle to explain or name all the photos. 

First we had to perches a 3 pound photo permit, something we did looking at churches in Edinburgh, this all went towards the keep of the building , as the lady said it costs a thousand pounds a day to run. There was free coffee on hand for the visitors, and a rather nice gift shop. 

There was many lower parts of the walls covered in Graffiti, new and old.

Art by
Helen Whittaker 

"A Spiritual and Artistic Pilgrimage"

The two life-sized sculptured figures formed in copper have three triangular stained-glass hearts within them. The hearts function as a crucial link between the figures and the window, as within every pilgrim is the knowledge of the love of God in the form of the Trinity. The heart theme continues within the window itself since here the glass triangles create a path and guide the pilgrims’ journey. Similarly, the viewer’s gaze is invited to follow the spiral pattern formed in the window towards its centre. (LINK)

The Pilgrim window

Memorial to Sir Michael Warton of Beverley Parks (d1725).

By Peter Scheemakers (1691-1781).


The Minster Organ dates from 1767, and still contains pipes made by Snetzler, the builder. Music by Handel was played at its dedication in 1769. All church organs go through modification, and the latest new work was completed in 2016. There are 4000 pipes, with four 'manuals' (keyboards) and pedals. The organ screen dates from the 1877-80, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and made by James Elwell, and his employees at his workshop in Beverley.

High Altar & Reredos.

Renewed 1826 by William Comins following the removal of Hawksmoor's baldacchino.

Statues by Nathaniel Hitch (1845-1938), 1897.

Mosaics of the twelve Apostles by James Powell & Sons of Whitefriars.

The carvings on the ends of the benches of the choir stalls

The carvings on the ends of the benches of the choir stalls

These may well go unnoticed by the discerning eye searching for views of the misericords!

Often a poppy head with other animal (sometimes strange!) or human figures

Norman Font

The Norman Font is a huge piece of Frosterley marble from County Durham.

At this point I was distracted by the "Green men" on the ceiling, and it was not till we got home I realised i hadn't gone and looked at it, so sadly this is the only photo.


In the ceiling directly above the nave alter is a circular boss in richly painted wood; this is removable, to allow building materials to be hoisted into the tower. The massive tread-wheel which used to operate the hoist can still be seen in the roof.  (we missed seeing this !)

First World War cenotaph memorial.

South transept.

Gargoyle, pig/man
Green Man

Green Man 

Without Yorkshire, and its rich heritage of historic piles, one of the most elaborate screen dramas could never have been made. Victoria, the new eight-hour series from ITV, was almost entirely shot on location in the county, with hardly a historic property missing out.

Back outside 

(tip... get there for the doors opening, by the time we left the place was filling up and harder to get a photo without to many people in )

We walked round the back of the Minster.

Pew! that was a lot of photos ,
 same again as most places we visit there is still more to discover.


April – October: 9.00 – 17.30 (doors close 17.15)
November – March: 9.00 – 16.00 (doors close 15.45)