I am lucky enough to work in York Minster, arguably the most famous Minster in England and the question I get asked the most is “What is a Minster?”. The simplest answer I can give is it is a centre for teaching about God and Christianity. It’s an old English word – mynster – and it has been traditionally bestowed upon significant churches that help spread the word of God, often but not always they were connected to monasteries.
Yorkshire is blessed with several Minsters. The two most famous and oldest, York & Beverley are connected by the Minster Way, a 50-mile walk taking in the breath-taking Yorkshire Wolds made famous by David Hockney in his collection of paintings, drawings and videos, A Bigger Picture. Both are wonderful examples of Medieval Gothic architecture and well worth a visit; in fact, Beverley is often considered the finest non-Cathedral church in the country. York has the largest collection of Medieval stained glass in England and with the Great East Window finally being free of scaffolding (first time in 10 years!), it’s a perfect time to visit. Beverley has the largest collection of carved musicians in its nave in Europe, it’s also doubled as another famous Minster, Westminster Abbey, in the recent ITV series, Victoria.
As well as its ancient Minsters, Yorkshire has a number of “new” Minsters, churches which have been given the title as a recognition of the important role they play within their wider communities. The newest Minster in the country is Holy Trinity Church in Hull, now known as Hull Minster since May last year. Claiming to be the largest parish church in England, it is another fantastic building full stories and characters to explore.
Why not make a visit to Yorkshire to find out more about our Minsters, old and new! All Yorkshire Blue Badge Guides are accredited to guide at York Minster.