Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


20.3.08
  Architecture of Imagination

Here are some more photos of York Minster. I've mentioned before that I had the minster in mind for the cathedral in Rhemuth when I read Katherine Kurtz' Deryni Rising. I've now read more books in the series, and the image remains. It is unusual - I do have strong mental images of places about which I read, but usually they are pure fantasy or a mixture of elements of several real places I've seen, not a single one like in this case.

Now to find a transfer portal in York Minster and visit Gwynedd, and meet some characters from the books. *grin*

(Left: Another outside view of the west side.)

As usual, older buildings preceeded the minster, but in this case the first church probably stood at a different place in York. It was built for the baptism of Edwin of Northumbria on Easter Sunday 627, who then ordered the small wooden church to be rebuilt in stone.

The stone church was enlarged over time. It survived the times of Viking settlement but was badly damaged by fire when the Normans conquered the city in 1069. Poor Normans, nobody really wanted them around, and York aka Jorvik had enough of the Nord-men since they sent Erik Bloodaxe packing in 954. But the Normans stayed, and eventually built a new church; it's assumed on a different spot than the Saxon one.

We know about those first versions of the minster from sources, but no archaeological evidence has been found so far.

(Right: Minster, view towards the quire.)

In 1080, the Norman archbishop Thomas of Bayeux started the new cathedral that would, over time, become the York Minster we know today. The first version of this new church was finished in 1100 and much grander than its Saxon predecessor.

During the mid twelfth century the cathedral was enlarged, and in 1215, the transepts were added under the reign of archbishop Walter Gray. His successor extended the western nave which was completed as late as 1360. The quire was completed in 1405, the central tower replaced after it had collapsed, and as last step, the western towers were erected between 1433 - 1472. Thus it took about 250 years to build the Minster we know today.

(Left: View towards the south entrance and the rosette window.)

After that, York Minster has changed but little (it escaped the Baroque interior 'improvements' so common in German churches). In 1984, a fire caused by lightning destroyed part of the south transept which has been restored. Renovations are going on on a regular basis since the 1970ies, and it was in course of the ongoing renovations that the remains of the preatorium of the Roman fort have been found under the minster.

Makes one wonder if the Normans had managed to kick a Roman garrison out as easily as the Saxon one.

(The picture to the left was taken freehand without flash and by use of Remaining View Enhancement. I've used that feature several times for interior shots, but this is one of the few examples where one can actually see the photo has been tampered with by its slightly pixeled texture. It gives the photo a look like an old postcard - I think it has its own charme that way.)
 
Comments:
Really nice photos, Gabriele. York Minster is so big it's hard to fit in a viewfinder.
 
I just read her trilogy not long ago - and yes, it looks Just like I'd imagine the cathedral in the book!
Glorious building!!
 
What a gorgeous building. Your second photo reminds me a lot of the throne room of one of the castles in my old fantasy piece. It just needs a few more banners, and the throne where the altar is...
 
These are the best photos of York Minster I've ever seen. They really show its uplifting grandeur. Same with your photos of German cathedrals. Have a (virtual) wee dram of Laphroaig on me!
 
Thank you, Shelley. Yes, the minster was a challenge to photograph; after that, even Speyer cathedral seemed esay.

Sam, I wonder if she had a real cathedral in mind.

Kirsten, Fantasy buildings tend to come out on the big side, don't they. Just look at the Wall in GRR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, and compare it with poor little Hadrian's Wall. :)

Thank you very much, Sarah. And cheers! :)
 
I've never been to York Minster (yet), but wow, what a fantastic place! Great photos. And I hope you get to Gwynedd - it's one of my favorite places, especially the native Welsh castles :-)
 
Thank, Lady D. York is worth a visit.
The Gwynedd I mentioned is a fictive Kingdom in Katherine Kurtz' Deryni novels, but I'd like to see the real place as well. :)
 
Such marvellous vaults!
 
What a beautiful building! It makes me realize that the one drawback to living in California is that we don't have much in the way of history. You're so lucky!
 
They're awesome, Bernita.

Meghan, I would not want to live outside Europe for the world. I'd miss the history too much.
 
Marvellous photos!
 
Thank you, Carla.
 
Nice shack. Be nice looking when they get it finished. The outside is all niches without statues.
When I was there, they didn't let me take photographs unless I paid some ridiculous amount of money for a sticker to put on my camera. I decided that the postcards were better anyway, more professional. But then....I am not as good a photographer as you. I tried to capture the grandeur of Wells, the majesty of Yorkminster, and the frou-frou complexity of Westiminster, and failed every time.

Travel MUST be a priority for anyone, and ESPECIALLY for anyone who fancies themselves a writer, otherwise the writing sometimes come across as parochial and too clever by half. But that being said, some imaginations are so big that the Collosseum becomes the tip of the tower of babel, Hadrian's wall becomes 20 feet high and impregnable (and finished!), and Jerusalem sheds its dirty slime and its Via Delarosa becomes a magical place, and when you go there, the reality really bites!

I can't tell you how much I am enjoying those pictures Gabriele, and your commentary is spot on.
 
Thank you, Bill.

They don't charge for photographing in York Minster any longer, but I've come across that in other places. Sometimes it helps to be a woman with a pretty smile. :)

Well, the Hadrian's Wall was never impregnable, it only made it more difficult for the tribes to attack. But there were several instances when they did work together to a degree that they managed to break through - or climb over. But in the long run, the Romans always kicked them back.
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.


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