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Imperial Magazine; ;








he founded the cathedral, over which, PauU ISTORICAL NOTICES OF YORK AND ITS

linus was appointed archbishop, being forCATHEDRAL, WITH AUTHENTIC PARTI

mally invested with the ensigns of his office by the pope Honorius. Such was the state

of York in the first part of the ninth cen(With an Engraving.)

tury, that it might very well be styled the The Cathedral Church of York, around | Athens of that dark age. The library of which the hoar of antiquity has been gather- the cathedral was exceedingly rich in valuing for ages, and that was regarded with able books, and scholars were sent from high veneration by the scholar and archi- France for the purpose of transcribing some tect, has lately, by the wild enthusiasm of a of the writings to be found only in that disordered intellect, been reduced to a de noblest repository and cabinet of arts and plorable ruin.

sciences in the whole world." The city of YORK owes its origin to the York was captured in 867 by the Danes, Romans, by whom it was named Ebora- the town laid in ruins, and most of the cum; for before the time of the invasion inhabitants put to the sword ; though it by Julius Cæsar, this, and almost every does not appear that the cathedral and other town in the island, consisted of mise- famous library suffered on this occasion. rable huts, in the midst of thick woods or But the ravages of the Danes were mild in

The central position of this their effects, when compared with the barplace occasioned it to be very early erected barities and enormities of William the Coninto a Roman station of considerable im. quoror. York, it seems, appeared to him portance; and it was afterwards made the to be the focus of rebellion, and he vented principal residence of the emperors and his anger against it by razing the city to commanders during their protracted con- the ground, and putting to death, not only test with the natives. The Romans adorned the inhabitants of the town, but those also this city with temples, palaces, theatres, of the surrounding country. A Norman and other public buildings; but all traces garrison, stationed in York, set fire to the of these works of antiquity have long since suburbs, to prevent the houses being used disappeared. The emperor Severus, whilst for filling up the ditches by the Danes, he was constructing the famous wall be who were besieging them. But the fire tween the Tyne and the Eden, resided at spreading, burnt a great part of the Eboracum; and before the completion of city, and the cathedral, with its library, the work, he died there. Excepting Veru- perished in the conflagration. “It was lamium, (St. Alban's) there was no Roman shocking,” says Simeon of Durham, “to settlement in the kingdom, which possessed see in the houses, the streets, and highprivileges at all similar to those of Ebora- ways, human carcases swarming with

It was invested with the power of worms, dissolving in putridity, and yieldself-government, 'under magistrates of its ing a horrible stench; nor were any left own choosing. York, the inodern name of alive to cover them with earth, all having the city, is a corruption of Yevor-wyc, an perished by sword or by famine, or, stimuidiomatic alteration by the Saxons from lated by hunger, had abandoned their Cair-Effroc, the British appellation. native land. During the space of nine

The earliest notice respecting the recog- years, the country lay totally uncultivated, nized establishment of Christianity in York, presenting to the view a vast and dreary bears date A. D. 314. About A. D. 628, solitude: between York and Durham not a Edwin, king_of Northumberland, hava house was inhabited, all was a lonely wil. ing married Ethelburga, sister of Ebald, derness, the retreat of wild beasts and robthe converted king of Kent, was, by her bers, and the terror of travellers." persuasion, aided by Paulinus, who attendThis celebrated city lay a long time ed her to York, induced to embrace the buried in its ruins, and for half a century Christian religion. A few years after this, its name is not mentioned in history. But

123.-VOL. XI.


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Historical Account of York and its Cathedral.


in the reign of king Stephen it began to below. In a few hours this venerable and assume something of its former importànce, elegant pile, which had been the pride and till, by an accidental fire, the town and boast of the north of England, was become cathedral were again involved in one com. a mass of smoking ruins. And the evil is mon destruction.

This calamitous event aggravated by the reflection that it was not happened on the 4th of June, 1137. Yet produced by accident, but done delibeonly forty-nine years after this terrible catas- rately, and with premeditation. That the trophe, the cathedral rose again from its unhappy man who has caused this lamentruins, and the city was considered as bear. able mischief is insane, we readily believe, ing a half-proportion to London.

for surely none but a maniac could have In 1251, the marriage of Henry the committed such an act. Yet, how well Third's daughter, with Alexander king of soever the fact of his insanity be estaScotland, was celebrated in this edifice, and blished, it can take nothing from the regret scarcely ever had been seen a spectacle so ex- which must be felt for the loss that has tensive and splendid. In the reign of Ed- been sustained. ward the Second, the suburbs of the city were On the Sunday evening divine service burnt by the Scots, under earl Murray. In was performed as usual, and the building 1328, the marriage ceremony of Edward left apparently safe. About four o'clock the Third with Philippa of Hainault, was on Monday morning, a man passing through performed in the cathedral of York. In the the minster yard, observed a light in the year 1509, a printing press was established cathedral; but supposing that it might prowithin the precincts of York cathedral, near ceed from workmen preparing a vault, or the place where the royal presses were erected otherwise engaged, he made no inquiry. in 1642, while Charles resided in the city. Between sis and seven the discovery was

Of the building, as it existed previous made in a singular manner. A boy, named to the late lamentable occurrence, it is to Swinbank, one of the choristers, walking be noticed, that the oldest part is the south through the precincts, accidentally stepped transept, which was built by archbishop on a piece of ice, and was thrown on his Grey, in the reign of Henry the Third, back. Before he recovered himself suffiA. D. 1228. The north transept was added ciently to rise, he noticed a quantity of in A. D. 1260, by John le Romain, who smoke issuing from several parts of the also raised a handsome steeple in the place roof. Alarmed at the sight, he went to which the lantern now occupies. In 1291, the man who keeps the keys, and they this same prelate laid the first stone of the returned together. On entering the buildnave, and ultimately finished the west ending, the scene was beyond description. The with the steeples as it remains to this day. | beautiful wood work of the south side of The choir not corresponding with the ele- the choir was extensively on fire, and gance of the nave, was taken down, and columns of dense smoke were wreathing the sum of £1810 expended in the erection their dark colossal folds up to the roof of of a new one.

the building. The alarm was given, and As the cathedral of York is one of the the whole city quickly made acquainted largest structures of the kind in England, with the distressing circumstance. Engines so it was also one of the most magnificent. were procured, and workmen arrived about In no edifice of the same nature was there seven, when they found the interior of the to be found such a splendour of detail as vestry entirely consumed, and could easily in this. Its superb windows, delicate trace the communication of the fire with tracery, and rich tabernacle-work, made it the rest of the building. a perfect study for the architectural student, “About eight o'clock the aspect was dreadand gave it a venerable interest in the esti- ful in the extreme. The whole of the west mation of every person of correct taste. nave was filled with one suffocating mass

We have now to enter on the ungrateful of smoke, whilst the choir glared with task of narrating the circumstances con- flame. From the minster-yard the smoke nected with the late destructive fire.

was seen issuing from the base of the lanOn Monday, the 2d of February, 1829, tern tower, from the pinnacles to the south at an early hour in the morning, it was front, all along the roof of the nave to the discovered that the choir of this splendid western tower. The flames had made cathedral was in flames, which, before they frightful progress at nine o'clock in the were subdued, destroyed all that part of morning, and the minster bells were rung, the building. The roof from the tower to to spread the alarm still farther, and shortly the great east window fell in, burying at afterwards the roof of the choir began to once all those relics of piety, and beautiful fall in with crashes; at every fall, sending specimens of art, which filled the space / up showers of sparks and lighter pieces of


Historical Account of York and its Cathedral.



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ignited wood, some of which were borne in
the air, to a considerable distance. The
flames now played uncontrolled on the ex-
terior of the choir and chancel, rising seve-
ral feet above the battlements, while the
water from the engines mingled with the
stream of melted lead from the roof.
“ At this moment it was impossible to

view the interior without emotions of the
most painful kind. Every vestige of the
exquisite tabernacle-work around the choir,

B and forming the prebends' stalls, &c. was consumed ; the pews, the cathedral, the pulpit, the beautiful altar screen, so justly G

H admired for its elegant architecture, had all become one commingled mass of smoul

I dering and blazing ruin, which strewed the pavement to the depth of three feet. The pillars, that once served to assist in dividing the choir from the two side aisles, now stood alone, the whole being one open

E space, with the roof burning on the ground, and nothing above but the light of heaven.

3896 The roofs of the side aisles were smoking. The organ had early fallen a sacrifice, and now, at intervals, were seen portions of the

F valuable music, falling from the relics of the loft, into the burning mass below.” The fire was so far got under by noon,

K that all apprehensions of its spreading to

K the nave were removed. The stone fabric itself has sustained considerable injury; the A. The Lady's Chapel filled with monuments. pillars being of limestone, burnt with great B. The Ornamental Screen dividing the Chan. violence to the height of the conflagration. The sight of the ruins is most me- D. The Great East Window. lancholy. Scarcely any vestige whatever

f. The Organ and Entrance to the Choir. of the choir remains. The fire engines in the city being found

H. The South side Aisle.

The Vestries, &c. insufficient, expresses were sent to the bar

K. The Transepts, north and south. racks, and to Leeds and Tadcaster, for

That portion of the roof which has fallen others. The 7th Dragoon Guards sent

in, extended from the screen F, where the their engine, with two troops to guard the workmen and building from idle intruders. the eastern extremity Ď. So that the space

organ stood, to the large stained window at The Tadcaster engine arrived presently after this. About two o'clock two engines arriv

now exposed embraces that part of the

choir used for divine service, and the chan. ed from Leeds, and at four o'clock two cel, and the interval behind the altar usually others. The total number of engines em- called the Lady's Chapel, A. Of the organ ployed was ten, and they continued play- only a few worthless fragments remain. ing all night.

The communion table was removed before The annexed ground-plan of the choir, the fire had reached that portion of the and other parts of the cathedral, that have building; but the plate was unfortunately sustained the greatest injury, will enable exposed to the flames, which reduced it to the reader to form a more correct idea than mere description could give of the extent of whatever are left. Yet it is some consola

a shapeless mass. Of the pews no traces the calamity.

tion to learn, that the beautiful Gothic The dimensions of this magnificent cathe

screen F, so much admired for its delicate dral are as follows:

tracery work, has sustained no material Length from East to West,

Feet 524 damage. The effigies of the monarchs of Breadth of the East end, Breadth of the West end,

England, in the front of this screen, on the Length of the cross aisles from North to South 222 right and left of the choir door, remain Height of the two Western towers or steeples 196 Height of the nave,

perfect. Height of the lantern tower'or steeple,

The roofing of the north and south side


C. The Communion Table.

E. The Choir.

G. The North side Aisle.


105 109

99 235


Carved bosses or knots

600 500 500 550 500




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Historical Account of York and its Cathedral.

200 aisles, G and H, remains standing, though The following is a rough calculation of the lead is melted away, and it must be the expense which will attend the necessary otherwise much injured, from its contiguity repairs :to the part where the fire raged so destruc

Oak wood roofing

£2,500 Groined ceiling

2,000 tively. The monuments in these isles are par

2,800 tially injured. The large pillars on each side The large and intersecting ribs (oak wood) 2,300 of the choir have suffered greatly. These co

Slating the roof with the best Westmore

land slate, and copper nails lumns being composed of magnesian lime- Lead for gutters, ridge, &c. of 816. to the foot stone, the fire has detached large pieces from

Iron work for the whole building. them, particularly about the base. The

Plastering the ceiling, using oak laths :

Repairing the windows east side, against which the flames raged Repairing the stone work damaged by fire 5,000 with tremendous fury, has received no great

Ditto the stone screen, stair-cases, &c.
under the organ

1,000 damage, except where the roof of the choir Supposing the floor destroyed, renewing extended. The progress of the flames was

the same, the altar-steps, &c,

3,000 arrested by the lantern tower, when, indeed, Repairing the side aisles, the roofing, guinothing more that was combustible re- Repairing the altar screen, glass, &c.

1,000 mained. The elegant stone screen B, se

52 new Prebendal and other stalls, at 100i.

5,200 parating the altar from the Lady's Chapel, The screens, doors, &c. from the stalls to has suffered less than might have been ex

the altar


The pulpit and Archbishop's throne 1,500 pected. It is possible to estimate the

The galleries, robing-rooms, &c. ea side 2,000 mischief in the Lady's Chapel, A, the The pews, Litany desk, &c.


2,550 whole space being filled with monuments

Scaffolding for the whole work of great value, many of which must, at


A new organ least, be greatly mutilated. Considerable

4,000 interest is felt for the preservation of that to

£46,002 the memory of Sir George Saville.

For extras, contingencies, &c. say

5,000 The following are the principal monu

Total expense

£50,000 ments : A superb monumental shrine of But however great the loss may be in a Archbishop Bowet; also of Archbishops pecuniary point of view, it is trifling when Scroope, Sterne, Savage, Frewen, Mat- compared with the national injury that has thews, Sharp, Piers, Sewall

, Lamplugh, been sustained. An edifice of olden times, Dolben, and Hutton; of Prince William noble in its architecture, splendid and grand de Hatfield, second son of Edward IIId., in its decorations, and, above all, venerable of Sir Thomas Davenport, and several for its age, has been, at once, stripped of others. Dr. Dealtry's monument has a its beauty, and reduced to a ruin. beautiful figure of Health, bending over an lented architect may indeed engraft his reurn, and dropping a faded wreath on his novations on what remains, so as to give no ashes. There is a full-length figure of Sir offence to the eye of taste, but he cannot George Saville, six feet high, standing on a throw around them the halo of antiquity, rich pedestal; he is resting on a column, and and invest them with the venerable glory of holding a scroll in his hand : over the in- five hundred years. scription of the pedestal are emblematic During Monday night many rumours figures of Wisdom, Fortitude, and Eternity. were afloat relative to the cause of this

The large East Window D, emphatically lamentable event, which, from certain circalled, “The Glory of the Cathedral,” from cumstances that had transpired, was susthe exquisite beauty of the staining, and the pected to have been the work of an incendelicacy of the tracery work, has suffered diary. A knotted rope had been found comparatively little. Nor have any of the hanging on the outside of the building, stained windows received very serious da- from the north transept; and several threatmage. The transepts and nave of the ening letters had been sent to the dignitaries building are entirely uninjured; and the of the church. One of these letters arrived exterior exhibits no appearance of a fire on the Sunday preceding the fire, but was having taken place. The valuable docu- returned unopened to the office; however, ments deposited in this cathedral were early when the building was in flames, this letter removed to the church of St. Michael-le- was brought back and read. It was found Belfrey. Many curiosities of great interest to contain something between a threat and 10 the antiquarian have also been preserved. a warning of what would follow. After But what is of greater consequence than some investigation, the fact of the building the latter, the valuable library has been having been set on fire was pretty clearly saved, excepting some volumes of music, established. It was discovered that a man and other books, which had been left in had absconded from York, who had of the organ loft.

late endeavoured' to gain a livelihood by

A ta

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