While visions of Betty’s Tea Room, the National Railway Museum and getting the energy to walk the 2.5 miles of ancient walls that circle the of York were all part of the plan for a free afternoon, the morning of our first day in York was reserved for an historic tour of Yorkminster, one of the world’s most magnificent cathedrals that has been at the center of Christianity in the north of England since the 7th century.
Unfortunately, pictures will never do Yorkminster justice as the cathedral has the largest collection of medieval stained glass in the U.K. with the earliest pieces dating back to the 12th century. Amazingly, all of the stained glass had been removed to protect it from the possibility of bombing for World Wars I and II with the glass hidden in bomb proof shelters in secret locations around the Minster’s campus.
The Great East Window, the largest single expanse of stained glass in the country, is approximately the size of a tennis court.
Yorkminster East Window. Photo: Bill Young
Yorkminster is both the home to Saint William, the Patron Saint of York, and perhaps one of the most bizarrely interesting rooms I’ve ever seen. There’s a beautiful semi-circular room that features a number of hanging gargoyles that mostly sport the carvings of family members of the carvers. In some cases, however, the carvers put up carvings of either their pets or, if the facial expression is quite distorted, an enemy or hated individual.
At this point, given the weather, I immediately opted for ‘walking the wall’ as the line for Betty’s Tea Shop was almost as long as the wall. Setting off on 2.5 miles of wall walking completely around the city of York. I got this!
Tomorrow, we head further north and a trip to the Yorkshire Dales and all-things All Creatures Great and Small. And, yes, it’s still approximately 58 degrees and a fine misty rain off and on. Is this Heaven? No, it’s York.
In: Locations,Odds & Sods