York – All Saints, North Street

Our final church was All Saints, North Street – and I am sorry it has taken me so long to blog this final church. This church is on the other side of the River Ouse, and the first reference to it is in 1089 when the patronage of the rectory was granted by a layman, Ralph Paganell, to the Benedictine Priory of the Holy Trinity he had refounded nearby in Micklegate. It was probably a simple rectangular structure, and an aisle was added in the C12 as the population that side of the river expanded. The chancel was reconstructed in the early c13, and a second aisle added. The east end was rebuilt in the C14, the nave extended, and arcades reconstructed – indeed, it may be that almost the whole of the old church was demolished. The tower, octagon and spire were the first part to be completed – Richard Byrd gave money in his will in 1394. The work was completed in the 1470s when the lavish ceilings were installed.

At the end of the Middle Ages there were at least five other altars, so the chantries provided the church with a clerical staff as large as some of the great collegiate churches. The guide says they “ensured there was a constant supply of masses throughout the day”. I missed the squint which enabled an anchorite to view them.

The medieval stained glass is internationally famous. My pictures are not. The church website – still advertising 2018 organ recitals – is at http://www.allsaints-northstreet.org.uk/  – it has a page about the glass – http://allsaints-northstreet.org.uk/stainedglass.html. The point is made that the cost of the glazing fell upon the richer inhabitants of the parish, who often worked together as family groups or collaborated with friends and neighbours to buy a window. Many of the donors are immortalized in the glass. While I am not going to spend ages working out which window is which – perhaps I’ll come back one day and work it out properly – the first is the Corporal Acts of Mercy window, dating to 1410. You can also see a donor, and someone visiting those in prison (fastened in the stocks).

The St Thomas window (1410) has doubting Thomas on the left, the Risen Christ in the middle, and Thomas a Becket on the right (or the chap on the right could be St William of York, an archbishop murdered in York Minster in 1154).

The Pricke of Conscience window (1410) is based on anonymous poem written in the Northumbrian dialect of Middle English. It illustrates the fifteen days of the end of the world – and three more donors.

The Nine Orders of Angels window (1410) – top right. The Lady Chapel East Window (1330 – below. Just enjoy the others.

After the Reformation changes were made – you can imagine everything being swept away. From 1675 this pulpit was part of a two-decker pulpit, and that must have dominated the church. This is one of the oldest pillars, and one roof boss.

Some colourful roof bosses too.

From the 1860s the church started moving in an Anglo-Catholic direction – and the move continued into the C20. Chancel screens, and all that goes with it, were installed in the 1920s.

You can see that this is a church with plenty of candles, plenty of altars, and several Marys. I purchased a dvd of High Mass (must watch it sometime …) and a t towel of one of the windows. (I used it as a sermon illustration the following day – and received a large amount of grief when I suggested that I had purchased a t towel for my wife).

We had been to some fascinating churches today – and I was now tired. Nice photo of the spire as I walked back to meet the girls. Thank for an excellent day.

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2 Responses to York – All Saints, North Street

  1. Ann Chapman says:

    This Church is All Saints North Street, not to be confused with All Saints Pavement. Cheers

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