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YORK MINSTER

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  Cathedral Church of St Peter, St Peter's Cathedral
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Founded on the site of a Roman fortress in 627. Present building is the fifth rebuilding dating from the 11th century. It may be reasoned that York had a cathedral in 314 from the fact that Bishop Eborius of York was a representative of the English church at a convocation in Arles in that year. King Edwin of Northumbria was baptised in the Ouse in 627, after which he ordered an oratory to be constructed on the site. He later instructed Bishop Paulinus to build a stone church, square in plan with at least one porticus, on the same site as the oratory. This was repaired and extended by Bishop Wilfrid from 669. This was destroyed by fire in 1069. Rebuilt after 1070 on a cruciform plan with apsidal chancel, and apsidal chapels East of the transepts. That church was in turn burnt down in 1137. Rebuilding was undertaken from 1171 by Bishop Roger of which the choir and crypt remain. The nave and transepts were begun under Archbishop Thomas after 1181. The transepts were completed between 1225-55, the Chapter House between 1260-90, the nave was remodelled between 1290-1320, the West towers built 1320-50, and the choir and Lady Chapel remodelled between 1385-1410. The Old Library, to the South of the nave was built between 1410-25. The South transept was badly damaged by fire in 1984 and repaired 1984-8. Excavations in the cathedral have shown that although there was continuance of occupation in the vicinity of the site from the 5th-11th centuries, the present minster does not stand on the site of the Saxon minster. The latter may have stood a little to the North of the present site. Furthermore, it is probable that the Roman `cathedral' of Bishop Eborius stood within the colonia on the North bank of the Ouse, rather than on the South bank.

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