York Minster

A view of York Minster

York Minster is the largest Gothic Cathedral north of the alps.

Dimensions of the Minster (metres)

  • Length: 160
  • Width: 76
  • Height to the vault: 27
  • West Tower: 56
  • Lantern Tower (Central Tower): 71
  • The central tower is the same height as 2 blue whales nose to nose.
  • It has the widest nave (central part of a church building) in the world.

Why, When & Where It Was Built

York Minster was built in a hurry as a place to baptise Edwin, King of Northumbria. It was first built in the year 627 AD as a wooden structure but was then built in stone in the year 633 AD. However during the Harrying of the North in 1069 the minster was burned down and a completely new York Minster was built and designed by the Archbishop Thomas of Bayeux.


The minster burnt down 4 times in 1753, 1829, 1840 & 1984. The fire of 1753 was thought to have been started by burning coals left by workmen. In 1829 a fire broke out due to it being torched by an arsonist. 1840 saw a fire started by a candle left burning in a tower put there by William Groves, a clockmaker from Leeds. In 1984 the fire was thought to be started by a lightning strike. It was 80% probable that it was lightning, 10% likely to be a gas fuse and 10% likely to have been arson.

Stained Glass Windows

York Minster is home to 50% of England’s medieval stained glass. The Great East Window is the size of a tennis court! During the 1984 fire the 7,000 pieces of glass that make up the Rose Window cracked in about 40,000 places. And it SURVIVED!

Rose Window