Friday, May 17, 2013

York Minster Exterior, Anglophile Friday


I wonder if anyone ever really gets over York Minster, once they've visited. It's an amazing work.  So as I was scrolling through my [ever-aging] photos, I decided to post a few photos of the exterior of this great Cathedral today, and post a few interior shots next week. This has been done before, but it was about three years ago -  and since I never tire of them, I thought maybe you could enjoy them too. I hope so.


 West front
Okay, look at those red arrows, and then find the close-ups in the two photos below.

I have spent far too much time today trying to find out who the figures represent in the statues above and the one below. Everything I'm finding simply calls them 'stone carvings.' Drives me crazy.  I did find one source that said there was a 'seated figure' holding a church above the east door, but this is on the west front, so I don't know. I guess they're keeping it a big secret. There is so much intricate stone carving on this building it's just incredible.

So here's today's puzzle: I think the photos above are of the west front of York Minster. However, I found the following information which sounds very much like it describes the figure above:


'One of the mysteries of the East Front is what has become known as the ‘seated figure’. It’s a large carved human figure – now badly worn with the ravages of time - obviously an integral part of the East Front stonework and highly significant for the medieval builders. The figure has one hand raised in blessing and in the other hand is holding something. But who is the figure? What does this piece of stone represent?

'The academics have their views. One is that the figure is a representation of St Peter, the Apostle to whom the Minster is dedicated. Another suggests that he is one of the medieval archbishops. There are points to be made on both sides, but wherever the truth might lie, an important practical question remains: ‘what are we to do about it?’ 

'We’ve removed the badly worn stone and have decided that we will replace the figure with a piece of 21st century craftsmanship – a new seated figure, to take the place of the old. But who will it be? Decisions have had to be made, and the die has been cast in favour of St Peter.'

That description certainly sounds like this guy, doesn't it. But when I do a Google image search on the west front of the minster, I get photos like the ones I'm showing  you here. So if anyone has a definitive answer, I'd be happy to hear it.

Zoomed out a tad

 South Transept with Rose Window

Photo Credit

From Wikipedia:

'York has had a verifiable Christian presence from the fourth century. However there is circumstantial evidence pointing to much earlier Christian involvement. According to Bede missionaries were sent from Rome by Eleutherius at the request of the chieftain Lucius of Britain in AD 180 to settle controverted points of differences as to Eastern and Western ceremonials which were disturbing the church. Tradition speaks of 28 British bishops, one for each of the greater British cities, over whom presided the Archbishops of London, York and Caerleon-on-Usk.

'The first recorded church on the site was a wooden structure built hurriedly in 627 to provide a place to baptise Edwin, King of Northumbria. Moves toward a more substantial building began in the 630s. A stone structure was completed in 637 by Oswald and was dedicated to Saint Peter. The church soon fell into disrepair and was dilapidated by 670 when Saint Wilfrid ascended to the see of York. He repaired and renewed the structure. The attached school and library were established and by the 8th century were some of the most substantial in northern Europe.'   READ MORE...

I hope you get to visit York Minster some day - and I hope I get to visit it again too...someday.


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Have a great weekend, everyone! 

(Especially you, Stacey - and Happy Birthday!)


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Cherry's Prairie Primitives said...

I wonder why there wasn't any documentation kept about the figures from the sculptor or rather by the church. Definitely a mystery!! I hope someone finds the info!!

Paulette said...

How I love a good mystery, but will we ever be able to find out who all of the stone figures represent. It is a beautiful church, and I can't wait to see the inside next week.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

How interesting. It's always a treat to see your photos and read some of the history! Sweet hugs!

Diane said...

That is a mystery. Surprised there is not solid info on those figures. Great photos too!

laurie said...

Sounds like you need to go back and solve that mystery!

Anonymous said...

such beautiful architecture, I love good mystery!You always have the most interesting posts.I'm looking forward to the next post.

Cranberry Morning said...

I've actually downloaded a couple e-books on the architecture of York Minster. We'll see if they tell me anything specific on those particular stone figures.

TexWisGirl said...

just incredible detail!

if you ever want to link up churches, you can do so at inSPIREd sunday at she opens the link on saturday evenings.

Sandra said...

i came down to comment and had to wait a moment for my eyes to clear the tears of Bridgers photo. then i scrolled down and saw your other beloved pets and my heart hurts for you.
this building in just incredible, the details of each square inch o fit are amazing and thinking of when the built it and how they did it without the mechanical help we have now is amazing all by itself.

Debra @ Homespun said...

I know that I'd have to pretend I was a Queen when I walked through there:)

Suzan Sweatman said...

I can vouch from experience that no, you never get over seeing York Minster ( or the Notre Dame Cathedral for that matter ) the history sinks into your soul and finds a permanent resting spot.
So does the Shambles once you've walked through them, right?
History - just love it!
Have a wonderful wknd Judy,

Terri D. said...

I felt the same way about the beautiful and ancient cathedrals in Italy. I would put my hand on the stone walls and try to imagine who else may have done the same thing 2000+ years ago. It's an awesome experience.

Anonymous said...

Extraordinary photos and I look forward to your next post.

Hope you have a nice weekend.

Ginger Zuck said...

Very Interesting. Love all the photos. Sorry, I missed you during the Derby, I'll be thinking of you tomorrow at race time. Hope all is good with you. Hugs

Amy Burzese said...

Very interesting. I just love all the wonderful details of that architecture. I could look at it for hours. Would rather do in in person, of course. Thanks for sharing all of your travel shots.

Cynthia said...

This so stunning, I really enjoyed this post. Now go solve the mystery and let us know! LOL


debbie bailey said...

I've been there and took some photos from the very top looking out over the city. I love all the red rooftops! We also did the Viking tour underground. Did y'all do that? Pretty interesting!

Denise said...

Wow, so lovely.

Bruce Clark said...

Love the details in the stone work though I can't help you in your search for info.

J_on_tour said...

Your mystery may be solved as "the little grey cells" have got to work. How about Archbishop Melton

He was Archbishop of York about 100 years before the West front was built. He was so influential that he became Lord Treasurer of England. I'm guessing that he holds York Minster in his hand & his heart as the enemy of the time were the Scots who were raiding & destroying churches. He inspired the soldiers & clergy of York to put up a great fight in Swaledale around 1319. He may have kept the enemy at bay sufficiently enough to protect York Minster & possibly go down in folklore over the next 100 years.

Beth @ E. lizard Breath Speaks said...

awesome place. would love to see it in person. great!! ( :

thanks, for linking up with us. sorry to be late commenting... been camping. you take care this week.


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