York, Yorkshire – All Saints Pavement

The third church we visited on our crawl of medieval churches in York, was All Saints Pavement. I have reached the stage of photoing the name boards. Fortunately this church has a good leaflet.

The leaflet suggest this was probably the first medieval street in York to be paved – I want a footnote to state their source (this is what doing an MA does to you!). Ancient tradition says the church was originally built in 683 for St Cuthbert, but the church is probably later as it stands on Coppergate and High Ousegate at the heart of the Viking town. There is a  carved Anglo-Danish carved stone here, and other bits of stonework from an earlier building are in the Yorkshire Museum.

The current church dates to a major rebuild in the C14, although the Chancel of that church would have been longer. The west lantern tower was added c1400 and the clerestory circa 1443. The blue-panelled nave ceiling is from the C13. The leaflet tells me that until 1386 the church possessed a relic, the plate on which John the Baptist’s head was given to Herod. My big question is what happened to it in 1386 – why 1386? It was a prestigious medieval church.

The pulpit was ordered in 1632 to mark the appointment of Henry Ascough, a puritan Civic Preacher, as rector of the church. It was made of oak, by Nicholas Hall, a joiner from Gossgate. “Preach the word in season and out of season” 2 Timothy 4.2 and “Where there is no vision, the people perish” Proverbs 29.18. The sounding board says “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe”. If you want an example of the importance of the Word after the Reformation, here it is.

The chancel was reduced in size in 1782, and the nave pews date to 1848. This remained an important church  – the benefaction boards and lists of mayors shows that. No doubt you can trace a lot of York’s history here. The west window dates from 1370.  It was formerly the east window of St Saviour’s church, and was installed here in 1937.

The east end was re-modelled in 1887 to a design by George Street. The three east windows (I only photoed two) are by Kempe. One of them shows three Holy Mothers, Hannah with Samuel, Mary with Jesus, and Elizabeth with John. The window was installed in memory of Mary Craven, whose family ran a confectionery factory.

There are several war memorials and items of military information in the church. The church is the Regimental church of the Royal Dragoon Guards, and the left hand window was installed in 2002. It features the Regimental badge, the badges of the six antecedent regiments and the Prince of Wales’s Feathers. The right hand window is a Commemoration to the many York men and women who served in Afghanistan, and in memory of Marine David Hart, Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton and Trooper Ashley David Smith, who paid the ultimate price. It was designed and made by Helen Whittaker, and paid for by donations from many local people. We have the dove of peace (and the Spirit), the winding pavement (the earliest in York), and a glimpse of the Heavenly City, the final resting place of all our journeys. The coloured lines refer to the three Regiments who lost men, and the men are individual stones with their regimental badges. There are more examples of Helen’s work at https://www.helenwhittakerart.com/.

The church has an interesting mix of old and new – obviously a huge part of the city for centuries. Obviously an important part of the life of the city in the C21 – https://allsaintspavement.org.uk/.

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