Coordinates: 53°50′21″N 0°25′29″W / 53.83917°N
0.42472°W / 53.83917; -0.42472
Beverley Minster in Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire, is a parish
church in the Church of England. It is one of the largest parish
churches in the UK, larger than one-third of all English cathedrals
and regarded as a gothic masterpiece by many.
Originally a collegiate church, it was not selected as a bishop's seat
during the Dissolution of the Monasteries; nevertheless, it survived
as a parish church and the chapter house was the only major part of
the building to be lost. It is part of the
Greater Churches Group
Greater Churches Group and
a Grade I listed building. Every year it hosts events in
association with local schools, including the
Beverley Minster Primary
School Nativity Performance and the
Beverley Grammar School Speech
Night.[not verified in body]
3 Other burials
5.2 Assistant organists
5.3 Organ scholars
6 See also
8 External links
The minster owes its origin and much of its subsequent importance to
Saint John of Beverley, who founded a monastery locally around
700 AD and whose bones still lie beneath a plaque in the nave.
The institution grew after his death and underwent several
Gamel, Sheriff of York
Gamel, Sheriff of York was informed in a writ by William
the Conqueror that
Archbishop Ealdred should draw up a privilegium for the lands
belonging to the church of St
John of Beverley
John of Beverley and that they shall be
free from the demands of the king, his reeves, and all his men, except
for those of the archbishop and priests of the church.
After a serious fire in 1188, the subsequent reconstruction was
overambitious; the newly heightened central tower collapsed c. 1219
bringing down much of the surrounding church. The subsequent rebuild
may have taken at least another 20 years. Henry III granted oaks from
Sherwood in 1253, and the high altar was dedicated in 1261.
It took 200 years to complete building work but, despite the time
scale involved, the whole building has coherent form and detail and is
Thomas Rickman as one of the finest examples of Early
English design. The twin towers of the west front are a superlative
example of the
Perpendicular style. These formed the inspiration for
the present west towers of Westminster Abbey, designed by Nicholas
Thomas Becket of Canterbury, (c. 1118–29 December 1170) was
named Provost of
Beverley in 1154.
Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland
Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland (1449–1489), was buried in
the church after being murdered by his own retainers at Cockslodge
near Thirsk, in 1489 during the Yorkshire rebellion over high taxes
imposed by King Henry VII.
As with many English churches during the wars of religion in the 16th
Beverley Minster was not immune to dissension. Church
authorities cracked down hard on those they felt were part of the
"Popish" conspiracy contrary to Royal decrees. "Among those holding
traditional beliefs were three of the clergy at the minster, who were
charged with Popish practices in 1567; John Levet was a former member
of the college and Richard Levet was presumably his brother. Both
Levetts were suspended from the priesthood for keeping prohibited
equipment and books and when restored were ordered not to minister in
Beverley or its neighbourhood."
In the 18th century the present central tower replaced an original
lantern tower that was in danger of collapse. This central tower now
houses the largest surviving treadwheel crane in England, which used
to be used when raising building materials to a workshop located in
the roof. A distinctive feature of both the north and south transepts
is the presence of wheel windows, with ten equal parts. Tours to the
roof space to see the crane and rose windows are available to the
general public, subject to other church commitments.
Both west towers contain bells. In the south-west tower contains a
non-swinging bourdon bell called Great John. It chimes the hour and it
dates from 1901. It weighs over 7 tons and it is over 7 feet in
diameter. despite its name, it is not dedicated to Saint John of
Beverley. It reads, “I am called the great bell of Saint John the
Evangelist 1901”. Records show that the Minster possessed two bells
in 1050. Four bells were installed in 1366, three of which having been
recast and are still used in the Minster. The chimes for each quarter
are rung on the 10 bells in the north-west tower and the melody was
composed by organist John Camidge. There have been two major overhauls
of the bells, one in 1896 and the other in 1901 by Taylor of
The West Towers
John of Beverley, (died 7 May 721).
Eleanor, Lady Percy, 1328.
Idonea de Clifford, 1365.
George Percy, a priest, 1474.
Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland
Maud Herbert, wife of 4th Earl of Northumberland, 1485/1495.
Henry Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland, 1527.
Catherine Spencer, wife of 5th Earl, 1542.
Feast of Fools, Carving in
Beverley Minster (p.62, January 1824)
Features of the interior include shafts of Purbeck Marble, stiff-leaf
carving and the tomb of Lady Eleanor Percy, dating from around 1340
and covered with a richly decorated canopy, regarded by F. H. Crossley
as one of the best surviving examples of Gothic art. A total of 68
16th-century misericords are located in the quire of the minster, and
nearby is a sanctuary or frith stool dating back to Anglo-Saxon times.
The misericords were probably carved by the so-called 'Ripon school'
of carvers and bear a strong family resemblance to those at Manchester
Cathedral and Ripon Cathedral.
The church contains one of the few remaining Frith Stools (also known
as Frid Stools, meaning "peace chairs") in England. Anyone wanting to
claim sanctuary from the law would sit in the chair. The chair dates
from Saxon times before 1066.
The organ is mounted above a richly carved wooden screen dating from
1877–1880, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, and carved by James
Elwell of Beverley. There is a staircase in the north aisle which was
used in collegiate times to gain access to the chapter house, since
Improvements to the choir were made during the 16th and 18th
centuries, and medieval glass, which was shattered by a storm in 1608,
was meticulously collected and installed in the east window in 1725.
The Thornton family, great craftsmen of the early 18th century, were
responsible for the font cover and the west door, and also for saving
the church from being completely ruined by the fall of the north wall
of the north transept between 1718 and 1731. Another notable feature
is the series of carvings of musicians which adorn the nave, which
date to the second quarter of the 14th century.
Location sequences for the film
Lease of Life
Lease of Life (1954), two TV series of
Victoria in 2016-7 and the BBC dramas King Charles III and Gunpowder
in 2017 were filmed in
The Snetzler organ case from 1769
There is a large, chestnut-coloured organ with bright golden pipes,
designed by Dr Arthur Hill in 1916. It houses an original manual from
the organ built by
John Snetzler in 1769, which has been increased to
4 manuals since. There have been subsequent rebuilds and restoration
by William Hill & Sons in 1884, and by Hill, Norman and Beard in
1962–63. The specification of the organ can be found on the National
Pipe Organ Register.
Matthias Hawdon, 1769–76
George Lambert, 1777–1818
G. J. Lambert, 1818–74 (son of George Lambert)
Langdon Colborne, 1874–75 (formerly organist of St. Michael's
College, Tenbury, afterwards organist of
Wigan parish church)
Arthur Henry Mann, 1875–76 (afterwards organist and director of
music at King's College, Cambridge)
John Henry Norrison Camidge, 1876–1933
Herbert Kennedy Andrews, 1934–38
John Herbert Long, 1938–56 (formerly organist of St Peter's Church,
David Ingate, 1956–61 (also music teacher at
School, and formerly organist at All Saint's Parish Church, High
Peter Fletcher, 1961–66
Alan Spedding, 1967–March 2009 (formerly organist of Kingston upon
Thames parish church)
Robert Poyser, 2009–- 
This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
Gordon Reynolds, 1939–42 (later organist of St Bride's Church, Fleet
Wallace Michael Ross, 1948–50
Geoffrey Pearce, 1967–69 (later
Organist & Master of the
Choristers at St Andrew's Cathedral, Aberdeen,
Selby Abbey and
Andrew Dibb, 1990–93
Simon Taranczuk, 1993–96
Colin Wright, 1996–2010
Ian Seddon, from September 2013
This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
James Longden, from September 2011
Dominic Joyce, from September 2016
Grade I listed churches in the East Riding of Yorkshire
^ Historic England. "The Minster Church of St John (1084028)".
National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
^ Rickman, Thomas; Parker, John Henry (1862). An attempt to
discriminate the styles of English architecture, from the conquest to
the reformation (6th ed.). London: John Henry and James Parker.
p. 384. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
^ "The sixteenth century: Religious Life". A History of the County of
York, East Riding. British History Online. Retrieved 26 March
^ Phillips, John Richard (2017). Of a Fair Uniforme Making, the
Building History of
Beverley Minster 1188-1216. Pickering: Blackthorn
Press. p. 318.
^ "Cornards,-Feast of Fools". The Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical
Chronicle. 94 (1): 62. February 1824. Retrieved 13 December
^ Crossley, Frederick Herbert (1921). English church monuments A. D.
1150-1550; an introduction to the study of tombs & effigies of the
Mediaeval period. London: B. T. Batsford. p. 56. Retrieved 28
Beverley Minster, East Yorkshire history". Retrieved 6
^ "Frith Stool – Hexham Abbey". Archived from the original on 28
July 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
^ "Plan of the Minster and top visitor attractions » Beverley
Minster". Retrieved 6 July 2012.
^ "A Sanctuary for Lent". Retrieved 6 July 2012. This chair is the
"Frid Stool". It is Saxon and predates the Norman and Gothic minsters
here. It is a physical connection to John of Beverley, founder of the
8th-century monastery which is the origin of everything in modern
Beverley.... Over its history the Frid Stool has become the symbol of
Beverley was a sanctuary town where, if you had committed a
crime which demanded death, you could claim sanctuary and your
sentence was commuted – often people were sent abroad. The whole
town had this function and there are crosses on the boundaries to
define the geographical limits of this provision. Jeremy Fletcher.
Beverley Minster vicar, 2007
^ "Yorkshire, East Riding Beverley, Minster of St. John and St. Martin
[D06725]". National Pipe Organ Register website. Retrieved 26 August
^ a b History & Directory of East Yorkshire, 1892, p. 346
^ a b "New musical director for
Beverley Minster". Hull Daily Mail. 14
January 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
^ "Church Notices and News" (PDF).
Beverley Minster. 2 June 2013.
p. 3. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
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