York – Holy Trinity, Goodramgate (again)

Holy Trinity, Goodramgate, the second church we visited on our crawl of medieval churches in York, was one I’d been to, and blogged before – http://www.northernvicar.co.uk/2015/06/15/york-goodramgate-holy-trinity/. It is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, and has an excellent new guidebook (and 60,000 visitors a year). It is great that this walk is bringing people into the CCT church and other Anglican churches in the City – how else do we share the tourism potential? Have a look at the previous blog for the history.

This time we entered via Hornpot Lane – they made cups, combs and window panes out of cow horn – and walked past the bell. I flicked through the guidebook to see if I could find out about the bell. I failed, but I did find out that George Hudson, the Railway King, married Elizabeth Nicholson here on 17 July 1821. The guide comments that “the railways opened up the city to the world and beckoned a flurry of entrepreneurs, tourists, industrialists and also confectioners who made York the centre of chocolate production.” My MA dissertation is on railways, tourism and pilgrimage at Walsingham and Lindisfarne – but here’s a quote I can use. (Perhaps I can also do a dissertation on chocolate).

Looking up is rather good – note the way the vaulting works. The font is late C15, with the oak cover of 1787.


The pews are C17, and they are lovely box pews – very good at keeping everyone in place. I had not noticed how the benches go round all four sides of the box, so you can sit with your back to the preacher and do your own thing. If I was the preacher in the pulpit, would I shout at the child looking in the other direction? Interesting point made in the guidebook about families being together – the links between religion and the family unit in this new Protestant faith.

The light is lovely, as is the Mayoral board, communion rail and benefaction board. And a gorgeous view out of the window to York Minster.

I love the East window – given by Rev John Walker in 1461. There is a representation of the Trinity – the Son on the left (note the Crown of Thorns), presumably the Father in the middle and the Spirit on the right. The old guide didn’t give details of the other window, and nor does the new one.

In the churchyard is this plaque to Anne Lister – or at least, there is a plaque to Anne Lister. Since our visit it has been changed, and now says “Lesbian and diarist; took sacrament here to seal her union with Ann Walker, Easter 1834”. The Civic Trust website says “Having previously exchanged rings and made marriage vows, Anne Lister and Ann Walker attended the Easter Sunday service [here] on 30 March 1834. Anne records the event in her diary: ‘At Goodramgate church at 10.35; Miss W- and I and Thomas staid [for] the sacrament… The first time I ever joined Miss W- – in my prayers – I had prayed that our union might be happy – she had not thought of doing as much for me.’ Receiving communion side by side was interpreted by the two women as a blessing of their union.” http://yorkcivictrust.co.uk/heritage/civic-trust-plaques/anne-lister-1791-1840/

The omission of the word ‘Lesbian’ caused upset, so a new one was made. (I think it should be ‘the sacrament’, but I won’t take offence). There is another report here : https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-47404525. If this was still a working Anglican church they would have needed DAC permission – I wonder if they’d have got it for a plaque celebrating this relationship (somehow I doubt it). Not every church is as inclusive as mine!

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