Seven or More Yorkshire Cathedrals and Minsters

Top Cathedrals for age and Architecture

1.York Minster Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter is the Mother church of the Province of York AD 627.

2. Ripon Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Wilfrid AD 655.

Parish and modern Cathedrals

3. Bradford Cathedral Church of St Peter 15th century

4. Leeds Roman Catholic Cathedral Church of St Anne

5. Wakefield Cathedral Church of All Saints consecrated AD 1329

6. Sheffield Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Paul  + like Liverpool with a second cathedral the 7. Roman Catholic Cathedral Church of St Marie

8. Middlesbrough  Saint Mary’s Roman Catholic originally Cathedral Church of Our Lady Of Perpetual Succour

Minster Churches not Cathedrals?

  1. Beverley Minster Parish church of St John and St Martin
  2. Dewsbury Minster All Saints Church
  3. Marsden St Bartholomew’s church
  4. Halifax Minster West Riding
  5. Howden Minster was owned by monks from Peterborough Abbey in Saxon times
  6. Leeds Minster and Parish Church of Saint Peter-at-Leeds
  7. All Saints Church, Rotherham, also known as Rotherham Minster,
  8. Doncaster Church of St George, Doncaster, also known as Doncaster Minster.

Significant or Greater Churches Network

Southwell Cathedral and Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary prior to the dissolution of 1539  was a Minster in the diocese of York.

  • Bolton Abbey
  • Bridlington Priory
  • St Peter’s Church, Harrogate
  • Holy Trinity Church, Hull newly promoted to a Minster church on 13th May 2017
  • Selby Abbey

The greater church network aims to help former monastic properties and others  large parish churches built at a time of great wealth. They have common problems of financing facilities for a large number of visitors and the specialist maintenance and repair of old or large buildings.

Fascinating Facts about Yorkshires Newest Minster

  • Holy Trinity Church,Hull needed a £4.5m renovation  and the Archbishop Dr John Sentamu revealed it would become Hull Minster if the funds could be raised.
  • The largest parish church in England was newly promoted to a Minster church on 13th May 2017
  • Holy Trinity’s  mother church is All Saints in Hessle just up river.
  • The church was built in the 1300s, after King Edward I granted the former settlement  a Royal Charter for Kings Town upon Hull
  • It is the oldest brick-built building in the country still in use foor it’s original purpose.
  • Anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce was baptised at the church
  • The church now houses beer festivals and other activities to help raise the funds for refurbishment.
  • During World War One, the church was bombed and damage by fire and in  World War Two it became a  flight marker for the German aircraft looking to bomb the docks and city.


Holy Trinity Goodramgate & Charity

Book Cover

A strange picture for an article on a medieval church but this church is where I bought the book ‘Bells and Bikes’.  Holy Trinity Goodramgate’s environment and a charity donation to Marie Curie encouraged me to part with some cash. I was not disappointed on either front.

As can be seen charity is nothing new at Holy Trinity. This wall mounted board records 17th century donations for bread to the poor.

The church is a marvel from 12th – 15th century worship that still has 3 services each year. It is now in the care of the historic Churches Conservation Trust.

‘The floors and arcades are charmingly uneven. Light filters through the windows, illuminating honey-coloured stone. The east window especially has marvellous stained glass that was donated in the early 1470s by the Reverend John Walker, rector of the church. On sunny days, transient gems of coloured light are scattered on the walls, and various medieval faces stare out from the windows.

The building dates chiefly from the fifteenth century, but has features from its foundation in the twelfth century right up to the nineteenth century. The box pews, unique in York, are exceptionally fine, and an interesting collection of monuments and memorials paint a picture of life in this busy city throughout the ages’.

‘The church is of interest for the evidence it retains of a complicated, piecemeal development, but it is chiefly remarkable as the best surviving example, little altered, of pre-Tractarian arrangements to provide an auditory setting for Anglican worship with three liturgical centres contrived within a mediaeval church. It has suffered badly from decay but has been restored without loss of character. Among the fittings, the mediaeval glass and the surviving woodwork of the 18th-century ordering or reordering are of particular interest.’ British History online

Church & Charity

More importantly linking the church to the book, Holy Trinity Goodramgate has a large bell suspended near the entrance that children take delight in banging with a tethered clapper. The author is a keen campanologist, native Yorkshire man and cycling obsessive. Rod Ismay is also endorsed by the post office as a superhero for Children in Need in recognition of his many cycling related fund raising activities.

Rod is quite keen on bell-ringing, charity fund raising and cycling so the book provided an opportunity to link all three. ‘ Why not get all the bells ringing along the Tour route, why not organise countless events, countless meetings, why not drag in churches far and wide, why not involve your employer, your friends, your family….’ as the amazon blurb has it.


One of several other historic  plaques on the church wall.

Friends Of Holy Trinity Goodramgate York registered charity no. 1096369 over the last five years has spent more than three times its annual income to finance ways of making visits to holy trinity church more pleasurable. Casting bread on waters perhaps.

See also Charity Chit Chat

It seems a shame the Bell Ringers and York Minster politicos can’t demonstrate a more effective charitable spirit and resolve the dispute that is currently keeping the Minster bells silent.

Ten Top North Riding Churches

Easby Church St Agatha in the precinct of the Abbey is an early English church with a long low slate roof. The remarkable porch leads to fine wall paintings and decorations surviving from the 13th century.

Pickering St Peter and St Paul is said to be over restored but contains material from all periods of medieval architecture. The beautiful soaring spire of St Peter and St Paul’s leads the way to this magnificent church which is otherwise hidden by the cluster of cottages and shops that nestle around it. The murals are quite a treasure.

St Michael Coxwold has an octagonal tower and relics from each century from the 15th century glass to the 20th century south window. Read more

Thirsk’s St. Mary’s Church was built between 1420 and 1480 and is a magnificent mediaeval perpendicular building. Often called the cathedral of North Yorkshire because of its outstanding Perpendicular Gothic architecture. A two storeyed porch, very fine roof, 17th century murals and tracerier doors are worth exploring.

St Gregory is well sited in Kirkdale, a church from the 13th century whilst the sun dial’s Old English inscriptions tell us that St Gregory’s was bought by Orm Gamelson when it was in ruins and he had it rebuilt during the period when Tostig was Earl of Northumbria, 1055-1065.

Lastingham St Mary’s was founded c.654 as a Celtic monastery by St Cedd of Lindisfarne, as a place of prayer and hospitality. The crypt is dated from 1078 and the days of a Benedictine monastery. More details on the shrine of St Cedd

Wensley’s Holy Trinity church dates from the mid C13 and was built on the foundations of an earlier C8 Saxon church. It consists of an aisled nave with north and south porches, chancel, vestry and three-stage west tower. The church contains a number of furnishings brought from Easby Abbey after the dissolution, including a screen forming the Scrope family pew, choir pews and a reliquary. Set in a beautiful rural location in the small village of Wensley, with a large churchyard on the north bank of the river Ure it is a focal point for visitors.

St Mary Whitby is the parish church of this fishing village and seaside town. ‘St. Mary’s is a delightful hodge-podge of many eras. The oldest parts, primarily the tower and basic structure, are Norman and date from around 1110.’ It can be explored after a climb up 199 steps from the town and is located with the Abbey.
‘The church has never been entirely stripped or rebuilt, but various extensions, modifications and furnishings were added over the centuries. The interior is mostly 18th-century and contains one of the most complete sets of pre-Victorian furnishings in England.’

Scarborough, South Cliff has two gems: St Martin’s, the parish church, which has loads of pre-Raphaelite connections, and St Andrew’s United Reformed Church, which was largely financed by West Riding and Midlands manufacturers, especially Titus Salt of Saltaire.’ according to comments by Patricia McNaughton but for my top selection I am going for St Mary’s in the grounds of Scarborough castle. It contains a collection of eighteenth century brasses but is best known as thwe resting place of Anne Bronte in the graveyard.


St Lambert in Burneston is entirely perpendicular in style with battlements, pinnacles, clerestory and large windows. There are some intersting pews dating back to 1627. Named for a seventh century bishop of Maastrict.

I hope some churches in this list inspire some people to visit these locations as a tourist or attend as a worshiper.  There are numerous other splendid buildings and interiors that deserve to be included. If you have a favourite or come across a good church let us know or comment on our selection below.

See also Top York Churches and  Top ten West Riding Churches

Visiting Churches – Buildings, Interiors and Environment

shipley St Paul's

What do you ‘look for’ and ‘look at’ when visiting a church for the first time or the umpteenth time come to that?
This is just a quick list of some of the items you may want to consider on your next visit.

The Environment

  • What and where is the village, town or parish and how has it developed alongside the Church.
  • What is the setting and positioning of the church, its elevation and relationship to other buildings and physical features.
  • What spaces are around the church and why are they there?
  • What is distinguished about the churchyard, crosses, lychgates and statuary.
  • What materials have been used in the construction and also what has no been used to put the building into context with the surroundings.

The Building and Architecture

  • Have a good look around the building in general and then in some detail (pick a fine sunny day for this and you will be totally absorbed and potentially sun tanned).
  • Towers if present may have battlements or be a later addition, they may not be built in the usual western end of the church.
  • Is there a spire and how are high parts accessed?
  • Look at the nave and chancel to see if they are under one continuous roof.
  • How many doorways are present, have any been blocked up are the fittings medieval and if the main door is not in the south wonder why.
  • Are there any low windows or unusual high ones like Otley.
  • Porches are common on Anglo Saxon churches but Normans were left out in the cold. Some churches have external stone benches.


  • Buy, borrow or read any guidebook or information panels.
  • Windows and roofs can be very informative. The east window over the chancel and altar generally provide the majority of the light. The clerestory is an upper row of extra windows.
  • Stained glass often tells a story, but what of the story of the funding and installation.
  • The font is traditionally placed near the entrance to indicate it is easy to enter the church through baptism.  Font covers or lids may be present or at least the former hinge locations. Puritains were not against smashing the font cover or even the font itself.
  • The altar will not escape attention but the nave, pulpit, lectern and furnishings are often fascinating.
  • Memorials, effigies, wall tablets, inscriptions, curiosities and miscellaneous items often tell about the life of the church through the decades and centuries.

Welcome to Hovingham – Yorkshire

Hovingham Ford - Yorkshire

Hovingham is in great farming country on the North Yorkshire Moors. Whilst farmers are notoriously hard to please it must be a joy to work here with the animals and crops.

  1. The parish is large containing Coulton, Scackleton, and six other townships. Hovingham, formerly a market town, is situated in the vale of Ryedale.
  2. There were three mineral springs, yielding respectively sulphurous, chalybeate, and clear water. Originally Hovingham was the site of a Roman bath.
  3. Ancient parish information is available from the local historian.
  4. Hovinham Hall, for 440 years, has been the home of the Worsley family. The Palladian house was built in 1770 and is open through June.
  5. Hovingham Womens Fellowship is just one of the community activities in the area.
  6. Sport is taken seriously with Tennis, Cricket, Bowls and Table Tennis clubs all active.
  7. A full community plan can be downloaded from this pdf.
  8. Gardens in Hovingham will be open to the public
  9. All Saints Church (above) was rebuilt in 1860   retaining its Anglo-Saxon tower and a number of other early features including a Saxon west doorway and a 10th century Saxon wheel cross inset over the south belfry.
  10. The Worsley Arms is the only hotel in Hovingham but there is a shop and tearoom situated on the green. Walking is a popular activity and you can enjoy the magnificent North Yorkshire countryside

Hovingham Estate

  • The Hovingham Estate has been in the ownership of the Worsley family for 450 years.
  • It is a thriving rural Estate, in the heart of North Yorkshire located 17 miles North of the City of York.
  • The majority of the Estate lies within the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • photo Hovingham Ford – Yorkshire by nick.garrod CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • It was the childhood home of  the Duchess of Kent Katharine Worsley.,
  • About a mile from the village is The Spa, which is much visited during the summer months by invalids; the waters are of a sulphursodaic character, and there is also a copious and very strong chalybeate spring, and one of pure rock water.

Ten East Riding Churches To Visit

  • Beverley’s church of St Mary has a magnificent west front,outstanding porch and splendid tower built around 1530. Some norman remains but essentially an early English church. The woodwork is fantastic on the stalls and misericords. A rare Priests room contains ecclesiastical relics. A focal point for all visits to Beverley.
  • Hedon St Augustine although much reduced from former glory this is still one of the grandest East Riding churches. Imposing black marble grave slab form 13th century and a late 14th century effigy with a beard.
  • Flamborough St Oswald has a nineteenth century tower shown in this photograph but a Norman font and chancel-arch
  • Hemingborough St Mary linked to Durham Abbey in 1426.  Architecturally it has a slim spire rising from a thirteenth century tower.
  • Holme on Spalding Moor All Saints has one of the best churchyards in the East Riding’. There is a fine tower, patching to the roof and an eighteenth century porch of note.

Steve Punter Creative Commons

  • Hull’s Holy Trinity was rebuilt in the 14th century as the town grew It became the largest parish church in England and is now surrounded as can be seen for the photo. Inside and outside there are many monuments and a 14th century effigy in the south transept.
  • Partington St Patrick One of the finest parish churches in England built around 1300-1345. The elegant spire is enclosed with an open gallery like the cresting of a crown. Also includes fine architecture with Jacobean benches, screen and pulpit.

© Copyright Roger Gilbertson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

  • St Nicholas North Newbold is known as the most complete Norman Church in East Riding and one of the finest in England, was built around 1151. The upper tower, chancel and priest’s vestry were rebuilt in the 15th century. The church has been called the Cathedral of the Wolds. The church has a fine organ.
  • Winstead St German largely rebuilt during the perpendicular period and further restored in the last century. Main features include 15th century glass, medieval monuments and jacobean family chapel. On the floor of the south chapel are ten eighteenth and nineteenth marble tablets to members of the Hildyard family.

  • North Grimston St Nicholas with 13th century coffin lid and statue of St Nicholas above the west window. Remarkable font with primitive figure carvings.
  • Wetwang St Nicholas is a Norman church modified in the 13th century with a tower and transepts. Restoration and modern furnishings in 1902

Research credit to Frank Bottomley and ‘Yorkshire Churches’ and Pevsner

On Yer Bike to Farndale Daffodil Valley

Farndale, aka ‘Daffodil Valley’ by virtue of the ‘Lenten Lilies’ which carpet the valley floor in a sea of yellow each spring. The Daffodils, Narcissus pseudonarcissus, were probably brought to the valley and Douthwaitedale by 12th century Monks and got the old name Lenten Lily from the fact they normally bloom around Easter, a little later than most British Daffodils. If you are not worried by crowds then a weekend trip at the end of March or April will repay your perseverance. Because of the cold weather this year you may find a warmer and quieter time to visit will be mid-week mid-to late April.

Walking The Dove and Farndale

If you are not on your bike ‘Walking world’ has a range of interesting walks including Church houses in Farndale on this site. Wikipedia’s entry for Farndale must have been written by a southerner who dislikes moorland as ‘Farndale is surrounded by some of the most inhospitable moorland in England, and is sandwiched between Bransdale and Rosedale. …… Around the north of Farndale, is the track bed of the old Rosedale Ironstone Railway which forms part of two Long Distance Footpaths these being Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk and The Lyke Wake Walk’. Well they are right about walking so forgive and forget. There are many fine walks along the banks of the river Dove starting at the small hamlet of Low Mill where a nearby field is used to accommodate the hundreds of cars which arrive during the daffodil season.

Tea Rooms and Refreshments

Refreshments are available at the Daffy Caffy at High Mill and the Feversham Arms Inn at Church Houses. The “Daffy Caffy” cafe tearoom is situated on the well known daffodil walk in beautiful Farndale, North Yorkshire, England. The scenery and walking is quite magnificent, whether it be along the river or climbing up to Rudland Rigg on the North York Moors. In the hamlet of Church Houses, Farndale, the Feversham Arms ‘serves good food and beer for the passing walker’. Just up the road is St Mary’s Church a small moors village church built in 1831 and well worth a visit even when the Daffodils have gone.

Other Village Activities

Alt country bands, renown folk singers and even Yorkshire Countrywomens Associations use the Band Room in Farndale variously described as ‘England’s tiniest major venue,’ ‘The greatest small venue on Earth,’ and ‘a corrugated iron shed in the middle of nowhere.’ There is a big gig no 29th August 2010 the night before the 103rd Farndale Show staring Megafaun ( I will say that a bit louder). Built for the Farndale Silver Band in the 1920s this 100-capacity wooden building adds atmosphere to most performances if you can get a ticket.
Picking Daffodils is not an activity that can be pursued as Farndale is now a protected Nature Reserve. Leave the flowers for others to see and the seeds to reproduce naturally.

Top Ten West Riding Churches

To select but 10 churches for a ‘best of’ list was impossible so I tried to find 10 varying churches in each Riding and this is my effort for the West Riding of Yorkshire. I would be happy to consider for inclusion a readers top ten if you send me details.

    1. St John Baptist Adel is one of our finest Norman churches and is a Grade 1 national treasure and an architectural gem. Internal decoration, chancel arch and carvings are of top quality. Through the church yard is York Gate a garden open for Perennial the gardeners charity
    2. St Cuthbert Fishlake (above) is believed to have safeguarded the remains of Cuthbert from the Vikings. The priest’s doorway is Norman and the south doorway is one of the most decorative in the country.
    3. Hatfield St Lawrence is a large cruciform church with a crossing tower externally perpendicular with some good windows and crenelations . Norman and medieval features include a fine clerstory, monuments and font.
    4. St Mary’s Sprotborough like other churches had its tower heightened in the perpendicular period. Monuments from 13th century onward and an interesting rood screen make this an interesting church to visit.

shipley St Paul's

    1. Shipley St Paul’s (above) is the original 1826 parish church of Shipley. It has dark, soot blackened sandstone walls that befits a church from and set in the industrial West Riding.The building, an historic “Waterloo” or “Commissioners'” church also has a “listed” organ
    2. Birkin St Mary’s is an impressive Norman church with a 14th century south aisle. Due to associations with the Templars there are items of quality in many areas of this fine church.
    3. Halifax St John is the largest 15th century parish church in Yorkshire. Fine 17th century ceilings and communion rail, poor box and box pews are key features.
    4. St Andrew`s Church Aldborough was partially destroyed by Scots raiders in 1318. The present building is the third church to occupy what is thought to be the site of a Roman Temple of Mercury in Roman garrison town of Isurium Brigantium. The north wall dates from around 1330, and carries a brass of William de Aldeburgh dating from around 1360.
    5. Dewsbury All Saints or minster has been rebuilt in 18th & 19th cneturies but many sculptural pieces from the 9th century have ben reincorporated. There is also some stunning stained glass.
    6. St.  Mary Tickhill housed Austin friars and has north and south porches. There is also an important church organ from the mid 19th century

The Yorkshire Church Notes of Sir Stephen Glynne (1825-1874) Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record is available by clicking on the picture below but at a price of £28.50. You may choose to spend the money visiting or donating to the churches mentioned ABOVE.
Book Cover

The medieval review says this book (Editor L.A.S. Butler) has ‘effectively rescued Glynne’s Yorkshire Church Notes from merely describing a frozen moment in time into a valuable resource for those who wish to trace for themselves the 19th-century changes in church architecture’. ‘A major contribution to the study of Yorkshire church architecture at a time of change’. Leeds Civic Trust.

See also Ten Top North Riding churches and Top York churches on Gods Own County.

Yorkshire’s Closed Churches

Phew pew

Open but Closed!
St. John the Evangelist is the oldest church in the centre of Leeds and it was constructed between 1632-1634. It was restored in 1868 but all the main features were preserved. That is to no avail now as the church pews are empty and the church deconsecrated. So it is closed as a church but open as a tourist attraction and art space. The Tudor fish and chip shop known to millions as Nash’s was just behind St John the Evangelist and were it not now also closed it would have been a good place to have lunch after a quick visit to this well preserved 17th century building.

It seems quirky to me to have a web site for derilict churches but this church caught my eye due to the history and provenance of Mount St Mary’s Irish Famine Church. The architect was Joseph Hansom who also created the Hansom cab abd parts were designed by E.W. Pugin who also designed the Houses of Parliament. ‘Mount Saint Mary’s stands in a district of Leeds traditionally known as ‘The Bank’. This high ground dominates Leeds and had originally been used as farmland but by the late 1840’s it had developed into an industrial area densely packed with mills and workshops whose tall chimneys billowed out smoke which all but obliterated the sun and choked the air.By this time, The Bank also became home to a large community of Irish Catholic families who had emigrated to Leeds to seek work building canals and railways and as millworkers. ‘

Churches Conservation Trust

This organisation supports 27 Yorkshire churches of which 18 are in North Yorkshire

St John the Evangelist church Cadeby was designed by renowned Victorian architect Sir Gilbert Scott in 1856 for Sir Joseph Copley and was intended as a decorated version of the Early English church at Skelton near York.Although some of the external stonework detail has eroded, the fine carving inside by J Birnie Philip is as crisp as ever and there is lovely painted decoration inside the roof.

Holy Trinity Wentworth is now a  partly ruined building which started life as a church in the 15th century but was converted to a mausoleum in 1877 after a new church was commissioned. In the chancel, brass and stone memorials and alabaster effigies from the 16th and 17th centuries trace the powerful Wentworth family, These include one to the Earl of Strafford, a supporter of the Crown who was beheaded on Tower Hill just before the Civil War, and Charles Watson-Wentworth, the 2nd Marquis of Rockingham, who helped to negotiate an end to the American War of Independence.

Wentworth estate workers and villagers rest in the churchyard, including the 17-year-old Chow Kwang Tseay from China, baptised John Dennis Blonde. He was thought to have been rescued from ‘HMS Blonde’ and brought to Rotherham in 1847 as a 14-year-old.