York's Medieval Churches I (Self Guided), York

By 1330 there had been around 45 parish churches in York. Twenty of them survive, in whole or in part, and they are amazing. Today, twelve of the surviving churches hold services. Take this tour to become acquainted with these magnificent sacred places.
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York's Medieval Churches I Map

Guide Name: York's Medieval Churches I
Guide Location: England » York (See other walking tours in York)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Author: val
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • St. Olave's Church
  • St. Wilfrid's Catholic Church
  • St Michael-le-Belfrey
  • York Minster
  • Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate
  • St. Andrew's Evangelical Church
  • St. Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel
  • St. Cuthbert's Church
  • St. Denys's Church
  • St. Margaret Church
St. Olave's Church

1) St. Olave's Church

St Olave's is an Anglican church situated on Marygate by St Mary's Abbey.

The church is situated within St Mary's Abbey walls, which was ruined in the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It is dedicated to St Olaf, patron saint of Norway. Galmanho is a former name for the area where the church stands and Siward, Earl of Northumbria is believed to have had his York residence. This is the earliest date for a church dedication to St Olaf anywhere.

The church was extensively rebuilt in the 15th century. Substantial repairs were carried out in the 1720s including the insertion of windows in the north aisle, the wall of which had earlier served as part of the abbey and later city defences. A new chancel was added in 1887-9 by George Fowler Jones, a York architect, and later extended in 1906. This contains the five-light 15th-century east window. Despite these changes the architectural style is broadly 15th century.
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Wilfrid's Catholic Church

2) St. Wilfrid's Catholic Church

St. Wilfrid's is a Roman Catholic church located in the centre of York. A Church dedicated to St. Wilfrid has stood in York since medieval times.

Catholics call it the "Mother Church of the city of York." It is in Gothic Revival style. The Arch over the main door has the most detailed Victorian carving in the city. The present Church was completed in 1864 and it was considered to be one of the most perfectly finished Catholic Churches in England, rich in sculptures, paintings and stained glass. Since 1998, the current parish priest of St. Wilfrid's is the Very Reverend Canon Michael Ryan.

The tower is some 147 ft high and is visible around much of York. Ten bells were added to the tower in 1995.

Opening hours: Winter: Monday – Sunday: 7:30 am – 3 pm

Summer: Monday – Sunday: 7:30 am – 5 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
St Michael-le-Belfrey

3) St Michael-le-Belfrey (must see)

Built unusually all in one go, St Michael's replaced an earlier church on the site during the reign of Henry VIII and sits at the end of Petergate in the shadow of the Minster. It is famous for being the place where Guy Fawkes was baptized in 1570 and many visitors come to see the enlarged copy of his baptismal entry in the church's registers.

The exterior is (predictably) executed in Tudor Gothic, and is wide and low. The west front is newer, as it was rebuilt in the 19th century when adjacent houses were demolished.

Inside, there are generous aisles running the length of the church, but the real reason for a visit is to see the fine 18th-century Baroque altarpiece and the collection of late medieval glass: that in the East window dates from the mid-14th century and comes from the previous church, whereas that in the aisles dates from its rebuilding in the mid 16th century, in the Flemish style. There is also an extensive collection of 18th-century monuments and memorials.

When the sun is going down this church really does stand out!

Opening Hours:
Sun: 10am-1pm; Mon, Fri: 1-3pm; Tue, Wed: 10am-3pm; Thu: 11am-3pm
Free admission
York Minster

4) York Minster (must see)

York Minster, a Gothic cathedral, is one of the largest of its kind in northern Europe alongside the Cologne Cathedral and as such is visible from much of the city. The title "minster" is attributed to churches established in the Anglo-Saxon period as missionary teaching churches and serves now as an honorific title.

Devoted to Saint Peter, the minster has a very wide Decorated Gothic nave and chapter house, a Perpendicular Gothic quire and east end and Early English North and South transepts. The nave contains the West Window, constructed in 1338, and over the Lady Chapel in the east end is the Great East Window (finished in 1408), the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world. In the north transept is the Five Sisters Window, each lancet being over 53 feet (16.3 m) high. The south transept contains a rose window, while the West Window contains a heart-shaped design colloquially known as The Heart of Yorkshire. The organ of the church, which was reconstructed several times after several fires, is one of the most expensive in England.

Why You Should Visit:
Very deserving of its 2nd place as the UK's best Cathedral. After taking in the sculptures, memorials, and incredible windows, you can go up the tower for 360-degree views of York and/or down to the Undercroft, revealing the foundations of a huge Roman fort which must have been easily the size of the present city. Astounding! Tickets last you a whole year so you can pop back at any time.

Do try and get on the free guided tour – loads of interesting facts and stories about the history.
Do visit the book shop opposite the Minster, too – an amazing place with some fantastic bargains.

Opening Hours:
[General Visiting] Mon-Sat: 9am–4:30pm; Sun: 12:30–3pm
[Undercroft Museum] Mon-Sat: 10am–4:30pm; Sun: 1–3:15pm
[Shop] Mon-Sat: 10am–5:30pm; Sun: 12:30–5:30pm
[Worship] Daily: 7:30am–6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate

5) Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate (must see)

Founded in the first half of the 12th century, this church's architecture is that of the 13th and 14th centuries, with woodwork and pews from the 17th and 18th centuries. The stained glass over the altar was a gift of John Walker, dating back to 1470-1480, a rare date in York glass. The churchyard is secluded behind rows of old buildings, accessed by narrow alleyways. It is about as close as you can get to how a church would have looked after the Reformation: dark, quiet, homely, with uneven floors, high box pews and plain walls.

Why You Should Visit:
Absolutely gorgeous, free to enter, and a great way to take a pause and breath in the middle of your busy day.

A cold, cloudy day does not make for ideal conditions in which to visit Holy Trinity, so check out this site when it's warmer... and bring your lunch to eat in the small but beautiful garden.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Sat: 11am-3pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Andrew's Evangelical Church

6) St. Andrew's Evangelical Church

The building of St. Andrew's Evangelical Church has been used as a school, a stable and even a brothel. In 1548 it was closed by the York City Council and sold for secular use. Between 1730 and 1823, St. Peter’s School was located here. In the early 20th century, the doors of St. Andrew's Evangelical Church were opened once again and services are still held to this day.
St. Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel

7) St. Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel

St. Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel was built in 1693 for Presbyterians, soon after the 1689 Act of Toleration, an act of Parliament granting freedom of worship. In 1756 the church became Unitarian. It was constructed in the form of a Greek cross, with a lofty central tower, and was probably the first large building in the city to have load bearing brick walls. Its large windows give it a unique airy feel.
St. Cuthbert's Church

8) St. Cuthbert's Church

St. Cuthbert's Church was built in 1430 by William de Bowes, the Lord Mayor of York. It passed on to the Thompson family, one of whose daughters was the mother of James Wolfe, hero of Quebec. Thus, this church has been called “The Cradle of Canada,” which is commemorated by the flags of Canada and the USA adorning the church. It is linked with St. Michael le Belfrey Church.
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Denys's Church

9) St. Denys's Church

The Church of St Denys, Walmgate is a Grade I listed building. It was built on the site of a Saxon church and possibly of a Roman temple (the earliest records date from ca. 1154). Inside some of the earliest stained glass in York can be found: the sculpted Norman doorway and 15th century heraldic roof are also noteworthy features. The figure of St Denys can be seen in the 15th century east window - fewer than 40 English churches are dedicated to this French saint.

The church was originally a lot larger than it is now, as part of the church subsided after the king's fishpool was drained; another part gave way shortly after as a sewer was being built nearby and the current main entrance is situated where a window used to be.
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Margaret Church

10) St. Margaret Church

St. Margaret is one of two surviving medieval churches of the original six in the Walmgate area. It dates back to at least the 12th century, though most of the present structure is from the 14th. Exceptions to this are its red brick tower, built in 1684 after the collapse of the previous tower, and the Romanesque tunnel-vaulted south porch, which is adorned with carvings of the zodiac signs and the Labors of the Months. St. Margaret was restored and enlarged in 1851, but its congregation gradually declined and it was declared redundant in 1974. It was subsequently used as a storehouse for the York Theatre Royal until its adaptation for use as a performance space and conference facility by the National Centre for Early Music in 2000.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in York, England

Create Your Own Walk in York

Create Your Own Walk in York

Creating your own self-guided walk in York is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
York Introduction Walk

York Introduction Walk

Established by the Romans as early as the 1st century AD, the walled city of York breathes history. York Minster, the 13th-century Gothic cathedral, Jórvík Viking Centre, and the National Railway Museum carry much legacy of the city's turbulent past, while the Stonegate street reveals York the way it is today. Follow this orientation walk to explore York in its variety.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 Km or 3 Miles
York's Haunted Houses Tour

York's Haunted Houses Tour

Undoubtedly, York is the most haunted city in the UK. Meet phantoms of Roman soldiers at the Treasurer’s House. Drop in at the York Arms to see the nun's ghost looking for her baby. Solve the mystery of the vanishing ballet slippers at Thomas's Hotel. At Yorkshire Terrier, discover the ghost of the old gentleman who is watching for burglars. And finally, enjoy the art of intimidation...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
York's Medieval Churches II

York's Medieval Churches II

Continue your acquaintance with York’s medieval churches, beginning with St. Helen's Church. Then visit St. Martin le Grand Church and many other fine old houses of worship. Take this tour to see more of York’s beautiful churches!

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
Bridges of York Tour

Bridges of York Tour

York contains nine bridges across the Ouse River and fourteen smaller bridges across the Foss. Take this tour to discover the city’s most beautiful bridges.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
York Gift Shops Tour

York Gift Shops Tour

Start this tour with Woodcarvers of the Shambles and visit Mulberry Hall to see its exclusive collection of fine china, crystal, cutlery and cookware. Drop in at Bettys Café Tea Rooms and try the famous Yorkshire tea. Be sure to see Christmas Angels, the York Minster Shop and other great shops in this tour.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.9 Km or 0.6 Miles
Stonegate Tour

Stonegate Tour

Begin your tour at Stonegate Teddy Bears and Tea Rooms. Acquire a teddy bear friend and enjoy a cup of wonderful Yorkshire tea. Go to the Wild Hart and buy a Country Heart for someone special. Other attractions include the Cat Gallery and the Printer’s Devil. Follow this guide to see the wonderful sites the Stonegate area has to offer.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.2 Km or 0.1 Miles