|Parish Church of Saint John and Saint Martin|
|Denomination||Church of England|
|Previous denomination||Roman Catholic|
|Former name(s)||The Church of St John of Beverley|
|Dedication||St John and St Martin|
|Province||Province of York|
|Diocese||Diocese of York|
|Vicar(s)||Jonathan Baker, Wendy Wale|
|Organist/Director of music||Robert Poyser|
Beverley Minster, otherwise known as the Parish Church of Saint John and Saint Martin, 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.
Originally a collegiate church, it was not selected as a bishop's seat during the Dissolution of the Monasteries; nevertheless, it survived as a parish church and the chapter house and the attached church of St Martin were the only major parts of the building to be lost. It is part of the Greater Churches Group and a Grade I listed building.
The minster owes its origin and much of its subsequent importance to Saint John of Beverley, Bishop of York (706–714?), who founded a monastery locally c. 700 and whose remains still lie in a vault beneath the nave. Archaeological excavations in 1979–82 confirmed that a major church stood on or near the present minster site from c. 700 to c. 850. That last date could support a tradition of the sacking of the monastery by Vikings.
Another tradition attributes to King Athelstan the refoundation of the monastery as a collegiate church of secular canons. The establishment of a major minster and its privileges was more likely a gradual process but, by the early 11th century, Bishop John's tomb had become a major pilgrimage centre. He was canonised in 1037, and his cult encouraged the growth of a town around the minster.The archbishops of York, the lords of Beverley throughout the Middle Ages, secured grants for four annual fairs which enhanced the town's trading role. From the 12th century Beverley was a major exporter of wool to the Low Countries.
A 12th century charter indicates substantial rebuilding work following the canonisation of St John of Beverley in 1037. Archbishop Kynesige (1051–60) added a high stone tower; his successor Ealdred (1060–69) expanded the church with a new presbytery. He also installed a painted and gilded ceiling from the presbytery to the tower. Nothing remains of this Anglo-Saxon church, and no records of building work under the Normans survive. However, large quantities of Norman masonry have been found in excavations throughout the town, and four large arches built behind the nave triforium during the 14th century are composed of reused Norman voussoirs.
In 1067/68 Gamel, Sheriff of York was informed in a writ by William the Conqueror that
Archbishop Ealdred should draw up a privilegium for the lands belonging to the church of St John of Beverley and that they shall be free from the demands of the king, his reeves, and all his men, except for those of the archbishop and priests of the church.
Saint Thomas Becket of Canterbury (December 1119 or 20 – December 1170) was named Provost of Beverley in 1154.
A fire in 1188 seriously damaged the minster and the town. Much of the church was damaged and complete rebuilding was required. Money was collected for the work and reconstruction began at the east end soon after the fire. [ page needed ] During the construction, a new lantern tower over the eastern crossing designed to illuminate the shrine of St John was under construction, but it collapsed c. 1219 necessitating a partial rebuild of the church. Henry III granted 40 oaks from Sherwood Forest in 1252, and by c. 1260 the retrochoir, choir, chapter house, transepts, and crossing were complete. Filled with light, overwhelmingly tall and spacious, and speaking to the increasing skills of the stonecarvers, this new work was radically different from the old Saxon and Norman structure it replaced. It was the product of the novel structural systems and artistic development that together define the Gothic style, originating in France and brought to England in the late 12th century.
Work did not progress beyond the first bay of the nave. Of this Early Gothic building campaign, only the chapter house has been lost, although its wonderful staircase survives in the north choir aisle. The only major alteration was the insertion of a great Perpendicular east window, for which money was bequeathed in 1416.
A new shrine for St John was ordered from Roger de Faringdon of London in 1292,to which the saint's remains were translated on 25 October 1307. Collections for further rebuilding were resumed in 1308, and work on the nave had begun by 1311. The architectural style current in England had developed into something much different from the Early Gothic displayed in the first part of the rebuilding; the new style is referred to as Decorated. More structurally daring, more richly decorated forms merge with the earlier, simpler forms in the nave of Beverley Minster, in an effort both to respect the older work and to bring it up to date. Building on the nave was ongoing in 1334, and may have been halted by the Black Death in 1348 as in many other instances across England.
Work did not resume until later in the century, when the nave was completed and the west front with its two great towers was built, c. 1400. These towers are a superlative example of the Perpendicular style, and formed the inspiration for the present west towers of Westminster Abbey, designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor. By the early 15th century, with the building of the north porch, the Minster was structurally complete. The great east window (bequeathed in 1416 as previously mentioned), a chapel funded by the Percys (c. 1490, in the extreme northeast corner of the church), and the choir stalls (c. 1520) were the only major later work.
Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland (1449–1489), was buried in the church after being murdered by his own retainers at Cockslodge near Thirsk, in 1489 during the Yorkshire rebellion over high taxes imposed by King Henry VII.
In 1548, the minster was reduced to the status of a parish church, the college of secular canons established before the Norman Conquest was dissolved (decreasing the minster's staff from at least seventy-five to four),and the shrine of St John was dismantled. The chapter house, now unused, was demolished. By the early 17th century the parish church of St Martin, formerly attached to the three southwestern bays of the nave, was also gone.
As with many English churches during the wars of religion in the 16th century, Beverley Minster was not immune to dissension. Church authorities cracked down hard on those they felt were part of the "Popish" conspiracy contrary to royal decrees. "Among those holding traditional beliefs were three of the clergy at the minster, who were charged with Popish practices in 1567; John Levet was a former member of the college and Richard Levet was presumably his brother. Both Levets were suspended from the priesthood for keeping prohibited equipment and books and when restored were ordered not to minister in Beverley or its neighbourhood."
By the early 18th century the church was in a state of decay. The stone vaulting used in all areas of the Minster called for flying buttresses, which had been constructed everywhere except on the north transept. By 1700, progressive structural failure of this transept over the centuries had almost brought about its collapse and the ruin of the crossing itself, with the transept gable overhanging the base by 4 ft (1.2 m). Restoration continued from 1717 to 1731 under Nicholas Hawksmoor. William Thornton of York, one of the supervisors of the project, devised an ingenious method of levering the wall back into place and securing it with a great wooden frame. The southwestern bays of the nave, where the north wall of St Martin's parish church had been, were reconstructed at this time as well to harmonize with the rest of the nave.
Both west towers contain bells. In the south-west tower contains a swinging bourdon bell called Great John. It chimes the hour and it dates from 1901. It weighs over 7 tons and it is over 7 feet in diameter. Despite its name, it is not dedicated to Saint John of Beverley. It reads, “I am called the great bell of Saint John the Evangelist 1901". Records show that the Minster possessed two bells in 1050. Four bells were installed in 1366, three of which having been recast and are still used in the Minster. The chimes for each quarter are rung on the 10 bells in the north-west tower and the melody was composed by organist John Camidge. There have been two major overhauls of the bells, one in 1896 and the other in 1901 by Taylor of Loughborough.
Features of the interior include shafts of Purbeck Marble, stiff-leaf carving and the tomb of Lady Eleanor Percy, dating from around 1340 and covered with a richly decorated canopy, regarded by F. H. Crossley as one of the best surviving examples of Gothic art.A total of 68 16th-century misericords are located in the quire of the minster, and nearby is a sanctuary or frith stool dating back to Anglo-Saxon times.
The misericords were probably carved by the so-called "Ripon school" of carvers and bear a strong family resemblance to those at Manchester Cathedral and Ripon Cathedral.
The church contains one of the few remaining frith stools (also known as frid stools, meaning "peace chairs") in England. Anyone wanting to claim sanctuary from the law would sit in the chair. The chair dates from Saxon times before 1066.
In the central tower is a massive treadwheel crane which was used to lift building materials to the roof space. It is of medieval origin but has been largely reconstructed.
The organ is mounted above a richly carved wooden screen dating from 1877 to 1880, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, and carved by James Elwell of Beverley. There is a staircase in the north aisle which was used in collegiate times to gain access to the chapter house, since demolished.
Improvements to the choir were made during the 16th and 18th centuries, and medieval glass, which was shattered by a storm in 1608, was meticulously collected and installed in the east window in 1725. The Thornton family, great craftsmen of the early 18th century, were responsible for the font cover and the west door, and also for saving the church from being completely ruined by the fall of the north wall of the north transept between 1718 and 1731. Another notable feature is the series of carvings of musicians which adorn the nave, which date to the second quarter of the 14th century.
Location sequences for the film Lease of Life (1954), two TV series of Victoria in 2016-7 and the BBC dramas King Charles III and Gunpowder in 2017 were filmed in Beverley Minster.
Beverley Minster . is the subject of a poem by Letitia Elizabeth Landon published in Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1836. In a footnote, she remarks 'It is said that the two towers on the West Front inspired Westminster Abbey'.
There is a large, chestnut-coloured organ with bright golden pipes, designed by Arthur Hill in 1916. It houses an original manual from the organ built by John Snetzler in 1769, which has been increased to four manuals since. There have been subsequent rebuilds and restoration by William Hill & Sons in 1884, and by Hill, Norman and Beard in 1962–63. The specification of the organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register.
The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, commonly known as York Minster, is the cathedral of York, North Yorkshire, England, and is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. The minster is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the third-highest office of the Church of England, and is the mother church for the Diocese of York and the Province of York. It is run by a dean and chapter, under the Dean of York. The title "minster" is attributed to churches established in the Anglo-Saxon period as missionary teaching churches, and serves now as an honorific title; the word Metropolitical in the formal name refers to the Archbishop of York's role as the Metropolitan bishop of the Province of York. Services in the minster are sometimes regarded as on the High Church or Anglo-Catholic end of the Anglican continuum.
Selby Abbey is an Anglican parish church in the town of Selby, North Yorkshire, England. It is Grade I listed.
The Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Wilfrid, commonly known as Ripon Cathedral, and until 1836 known as Ripon Minster, is a cathedral in Ripon, North Yorkshire, England. Founded as a monastery by monks of the Irish tradition in the 660s, it was refounded as a Benedictine monastery by St Wilfrid in 672. The church became collegiate in the tenth century, and acted as a mother church within the large Diocese of York for the remainder of the Middle Ages. The present church is the fourth, and was built between the 13th and 16th centuries. In 1836 the church became the cathedral for the Diocese of Ripon. In 2014 the Diocese was incorporated into the new Diocese of Leeds, and the church became one of three co-equal cathedrals of the Bishop of Leeds.
Chester Cathedral is a Church of England cathedral and the mother church of the Diocese of Chester. It is located in the city of Chester, Cheshire, England. The cathedral, formerly the abbey church of a Benedictine monastery dedicated to Saint Werburgh, is dedicated to Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since 1541, it has been the seat of the Bishop of Chester.
Southwell Minster is a minster and cathedral in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, England. It is situated 6 miles (9.7 km) miles from Newark-on-Trent and 13 miles (21 km) from Mansfield. It is the seat of the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham and the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. It is a grade I listed building.
Howden Minster is a large Grade I listed Church of England church in the Diocese of York. It is located in Howden, East Riding of Yorkshire, England and is one of the largest churches in the East Riding. It is dedicated to St Peter and St Paul and it is therefore properly known as 'the Minster Church of St Peter and St Paul'. Its Grade I listed status also includes the Chapter House.
Wimborne Minster is the parish church of Wimborne, Dorset, England. The minster has existed for over 1300 years and is recognised for its unusual chained library. The minster is a former monastery and Benedictine nunnery, and King Æthelred of Wessex is buried there.
Leeds Minster, or the Minster and Parish Church of Saint Peter-at-Leeds is the minster church of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It stands on the site of the oldest church in the city and is of architectural and liturgical significance. A church is recorded on the site as early as the 7th century, although the present structure is a Gothic Revival one, designed by Robert Dennis Chantrell and completed in 1841. It is dedicated to Saint Peter and was the Parish Church of Leeds before receiving the honorific title of "Minster" in 2012. It has been designated a Grade I listed building by Historic England.
English Gothic is an architectural style that flourished from the late 12th until the mid-17th century. The style was most prominently used in the construction of cathedrals and churches. Gothic architecture's defining features are pointed arches, rib vaults, buttresses, and extensive use of stained glass. Combined, these features allowed the creation of buildings of unprecedented height and grandeur, filled with light from large stained glass windows. Important examples include Westminster Abbey, Canterbury Cathedral and Salisbury Cathedral. The Gothic style endured in England much longer than in Continental Europe.
St Mary's Church is an Anglican parish church in Nantwich, Cheshire, England. The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building. It has been called the "Cathedral of South Cheshire" and it is considered by some to be one of the finest medieval churches, not only in Cheshire, but in the whole of England. The architectural writer Raymond Richards described it as "one of the great architectural treasures of Cheshire", and Alec Clifton-Taylor included it in his list of "outstanding" English parish churches.
The Church of St Mary Magdalene, Newark-on-Trent is the parish church of Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire, England. It is dedicated to Mary Magdalene and is the tallest structure in the town.
The Minster Church of All Saints or Rotherham Minster is the Anglican minster church of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England. The Minster is a prominent example of Perpendicular Gothic architecture and various architectural historians have rated it highly. Nikolaus Pevsner describes it as "one of the largest and stateliest churches in Yorkshire", Simon Jenkins states it is "the best work in the county", and Alec Clifton-Taylor calls it the "glory of Rotherham". With its tall spire, it is Rotherham's most predominant landmark, and amongst the tallest churches in Yorkshire.
St Patrick's Church, Patrington is an Anglican parish church located in Patrington, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. The church is a Grade I listed building.
The Church of St Peter and St Paul is the Church of England parish church for the village of South Petherton, Somerset, England. The present church is a large and imposing cruciform-shaped structure constructed on the site of an earlier Saxon Minster, with the majority of the building dating from the 13th to 15th centuries; consequently, the building is Grade I listed.
The Church of All Saints is an Anglican parish church serving the town of Helmsley in North Yorkshire, England. It is located between the north-west corner of the market square, and Castlegate, on the B1257 road north of Helmsley Castle. Dedicated to All Saints, it has been part of the Church of England since the Reformation. It is one of four churches in the same benefice: Sproxton, Rievaulx, and East Moors. The church was granted Grade II* listed building status on 4 January 1955.
St Margaret's Church, King's Lynn, entitled King's Lynn Minster since 2011, is a Grade I listed parish church in the Church of England in King's Lynn. The building dates from the 12th to 15th centuries, with major restoration of the nave in the 18th century. Five of its ten bells and its organ also date back to the mid-18th century.
All Saints Church is an Anglican parish church in the village of Crondall, Hampshire, England. It is a Grade I listed building and stands at the highest point in the village. Much of the church dates from the Norman period, although the original central tower was replaced by a brick one at the north-east corner in 1659 and some alterations, particularly to the fenestration, the nave arcades and transepts, and the north porch, were made in two stages during the 19th century.
St Mary Magdalene Church is the Church of England parish church in the village of Ickleton in Cambridgeshire. The church is a Grade I listed building. Its parish is part of a combined benefice with those of St Peter's, Duxford and SS Mary and John, Hinxton.
St Mary's Church is an Anglican parish church in Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It is designated a Grade I listed building.
St Mary's Church is an Anglican parish church in the English village of Welwick in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It is a Grade I listed building.
This chair is the "Frid Stool". It is Saxon and predates the Norman and Gothic minsters here. It is a physical connection to John of Beverley, founder of the 8th-century monastery which is the origin of everything in modern Beverley ... Over its history the Frid Stool has become the symbol of sanctuary. Beverley was a sanctuary town where, if you had committed a crime which demanded death, you could claim sanctuary and your sentence was commuted – often people were sent abroad. The whole town had this function and there are crosses on the boundaries to define the geographical limits of this provision. Jeremy Fletcher. Beverley Minster vicar, 2007