I found myself staring at the most intriguing man made wonders of the world. I looked around and I saw a multitude of people flocking to and fro and I realised I was not alone, with the unquenchable desire to see the most distinctive building in the Northern region of Europe. I stared and stared it again and I wondered who were these men who were utterly genius that they had tremendously displayed their mental power to build an astonishing building that world had ever seen. As my eyes continued to explore the beauty of York Minster Cathedral I found myself standing next to a light painted green life-size statue of Constantine. The resemblance showed he was a man of great power and probably mightily feared and respected in the whole world.
As I turned around I screamed loudly. “It’s amazing,” I said and it was echoed by a huge number of people. “Absolutely,” they chorused. But this was the beginning of my appetite. The hunger to know the depth of the root had inflicted my mind. I was filled with some emotional desire to know the brain-storm of this mesmerising building. Fortunately it did not take long before my hunger was rewarded.
York Minster foundations can be compared to a tiny dot of the word. It was in the year of 627 when it was built. It was chiefly established for the baptism of the Anglo Saxon King, Edwin of Northumbria. It was a tiny wooden church. The baptism took place on Easter Sunday. Soon after his baptism, Edwin ordered that the small wooden church to be rebuilt in stone. Unfortunately in 633, Edwin was killed before the completion of the church hence it did not meant that it was the dead end of the assignment but it flowed. The work was delegated to Oswald. The small stone church was constructed on the same site as the original wooden church and it was enlarged time and again. Surprisingly, it fought all types of odds through the Viking age in York, but it also faced its first ever deadly catastrophe. It was engulfed by fire in the 1069 when the gigantic Normans had overthrown the city.
It did not take long before the Normans had decided to replace the damaged Saxon Minster church. It was around 1080 when Thomas of Bayeux became and archbishop and began building the cathedral that become what we have today. The vast of Norman was polished up around the 1100 and the distinctive base can still been seen today.
In 1215, a prominent figure known as Walter Gray became the archbishop. It is during his time of 40 years of service when a captivating idea channelled into his mind to transform the church into the Minster we have today. It is understood that the South and North transept were built first. Unfortunately, like Edwin, Walter passed away before their completion. Was it a curse? I asked myself. No, said my thoughts. It was meant to be passed on generation to generation until it was fully completed.
Then, Nave western end was erected 1360 after major work had commenced in 1291. Later the work was transferred to East end with the building of Lady Chapel which was completed by 1405.
Accomplishment was not easy or like spreading margarine on a slice of bread. There was sweat and blood in the process of building. The builders faced major setbacks that were utterly compelling. In all, the fire wanted to destroy the hearts of these medieval architectures. In February 1829 Jonathan Martin purposely started a fire in the Quire. This act of combustible resulted in the destruction of the whole east end roof and timber vault and all the wooden furniture of the Quire. 11 years later a second, accidental, fire destroyed the Nave roof and later a central tower was reportedly collapsed and work replacement was not done till 1433. It was between 1433 and 1472 that the western towers were added and the Minster was finally completed. It had taken over two centuries and five decades (250) for it to please the eyes of the world from one generation to another. Even in the twentieth century, the 1967, 1972 and 1984 the fire had stroked again on the building like a venomous snake.
I found myself being amused with such detailed work that the ancient architecture had displayed over the years and it’s absolutely second to none. Inside, the building, I saw stained glass window depicting the family tree of Jesus Christ and on another stained glass window depicting King Solomon. These wide distinctive decorations within the Minster building left me without a word that I found some of the intricate ornate carvings were simply baiting to watch that they also led me to see the medieval perpendicular gothic style. The perpendicular style, which relies on a network of intersecting mullions and transoms rather on a diversity of richly carved forms for effect, gives an overall impression of great unit, in which the structure of both windows of both clerestory and east end are integrated with arcade below the vault above.
The exciting news is that the current York Minster administrators are making sure that the ancient architectural would not come to a dead end but passed on from generation to generation. They are only doing this by doing a project known as York Minster Revealed and it is supported by Heritage lottery Fund. The aim of the project is to preserve and to repair this prehistoric building is constant.