efore Christianity arrived York had an important part to play in the history of Britain. For the Romans, York was the capital city and many important buildings were built on the site of the current minster, including a cathedral. A stone building was built around 627 by Edwin the King of Northumberland and rebuilt again after a fire in 741. In 1069 the church was destroyed and when Thomas of Bayeux the first Norman Archbishop arrived in 1070 he found the church in ruins. Thomas built a new cathedral which lasted until the middle of the twelfth century at which point Archbishop Roger reconstructed sections in the new Transitional style. In 1230 the Normans started rebuilding the cathedral in the Early English style beginning with the transepts which can still be seen today. The south transept is the work of archbishop Walter de Gray who held the position at York from 1215 until 1255. He is buried in the eastern aisle of this transept. The north transept is the work of John Romanus who was the Treasurer at York and the work on the north transept was completed just after the south. Unusually the transepts have their own aisles. The south transept has a door with three very steep gables above it, lots of lancet windows and a circular window in the roof gable. The north transept is much simpler, consisting of five very tall lancet windows known as the 'Five Sisters', which could be the tallest medieval lancet windows in England. The chapter-house at York is unusual in the fact that it has no central column. The roof of the chapter-house being made of wood that has been designed to look like stone. Apart from the two towers, the West front was complete by around 1345. The front has a huge window containing a heart shaped from the Flowering tracery. Fire damaged sections the cathedral in the last century.

Dimensions: General

Whole length from east to west5246
Breadth of the east end1050
Breadth of the west end1090
Length of trancept north to south2220
Height of grand lantern tower2350
Height of the nave990
Height of the east window750
Source: The Saturday Magazine, Volume 2:John William Parker, 1833;
1037   Bishop John of York is canonised
 Archbishop Aelfric canonised John of York, responsible for founding the monastery at Beverley, as St. John of Beverley. 
1070   Lanfranc becomes Archbishop of Canterbury
 William the Conqueror placed Lanfranc in the position of Archbishop of Canterbury a move designed to strengthen his hold on the English throne. Thomas of Bayeux, a pupil of Odo (William's brother), was put in the position of Archbishop of York after the death of Ealred who died on September 11, 1069. Archbishop Stigand was imprisoned in Winchester. 
1137   York Minster damaged by fire
 York Minster was partially damaged by fire in this year. The near-by church of St. Mary's and some other 37 churches were also damaged. (Need to find out what was happening here.) 
1171   York Minster construction work
 Archbishop Roger began reconstruction work of a new church after the previous one had been destroyed by fire.[1] 
1221   Joan marries Alexander II
 At York Minster, king John's daughter Joan married Alexander II, the king of the Scots. Joan was only eleven years old at the time of the wedding. 
1226 - 1241 York Minster South Transept
 Building work on the South Transept of York Minster until 1241.[2] 
1242 - 1255 York Minster North Transept
 Building work on the North Transept of York Minster until 1255.[2] 
1251 Dec 26  Margaret marries Alexander III
 Henry III's daughter Margaret married Alexander III, king of the Scots, at York Minster. Both bride and groom were under the age of eleven at the time of the wedding. The festivities were huge as many members of the English and Scottish courts attended the wedding. 
1286 - 1296 York Minster Chapter-house
 Building work on the Chapter-house of York Minster until 1296.[2] 
1291 - 1345 York Minster Nave and West Front
 Building work on the Nave and West Front of York Minster until 1345.[2] 
1328 Jan 24  Edward III marries
 Edward married Philippa of Hainault at York Minster. The marriage was arranged as many were at the time. The arrangement was organised as early as 1323, when she was not nine years old. The Bishop of Exeter visited Hainault to see the girl.[3]

Episode: Isabella, She-Wolf of France and death of Edward II  
1330 - 1338 York Minster West Window
 Building work on the West Window of York Minster until 1338.[2] 
1346 Oct 17  Scots defeated at Neville's Cross
 During Edward III's absence on the campaign of Crecy the Scottish king David II was approached by the French King Philippe VI of Valois to invade England. David II did so and advanced south but at Neville's Cross they met a band of monks, priests and land workers who managed to defeat the Scottish army. The band were led by the archbishop of York William Zouche. David II was captured and sent to London to be held at the Tower.[3] 
1361   New choir built at York
 Under the direction of Archbishop Thoresby the eastern end of the building was extended elongating the choir. The architectural fashion of Decorated Gothic was changing to Perpendicular Gothic as this construction work was undertaken.[4] 
1400 - 1405 York Minster East Window
 Building work on the East Window of York Minster until 1405.[2] 
1407 - 1423 York Minster central tower
 Building work on the central tower of York Minster until 1423.[2] 
1432 - 1456 York Minster south-west tower
 Building work on the south-west tower of York Minster until 1456.[2] 
1470 - 1474 York Minster north-west tower
 Building work on the north-west tower of York Minster until 1474.[2] 

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