Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The churches of York

The last time I was in York it was 1972. The town, with its medieval walls and street layout, overpowered me. I was particularly impressed by the cathedral, York Minster, the biggest piece of medieval architecture I had seen yet. But as a budding medieval historian I was seriously taken with the number of other medieval churches there were in the immediate vicinity. It spoke to me of the tangible presence of the church in the city which was the capital of the north. I mused on the revolt against that presence during the Reformation (in an unsophisticated way).

This time what strikes my eye is how the people of York kept doing it -- building churches in medieval style in the vicinity of the Minster and those other real medieval churches. There are an awful lot of churches from, say, the last two centuries crowding into the Minster neighborhood, demanding attention.

Image: the Minster, from which a "clerk in holy orders" told me you can see a distant brewery tower. Ask me in person.

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