In Roman times, the site of today's Minster was home to the headquarters of the Roman Legion fort Eboracum, whose remains can be seen in the exhibition under the church.
The present church had at least three previous buildings. For the first church mentioned by Beda Venerabilis, in which 627 King Edwin was baptized by Paulinus, there is no archaeological evidence. It was probably made of wood. A stone construction completed about ten years later was enlarged by Bishop Wilfrid at the end of the 7th century. It burned down in 741 and was replaced by a stately new building. This church was heavily damaged in 1069 in the suppression of the Anglo Saxon uprising against the Norman William the Conqueror and finally destroyed during a Viking invasion in 1075.
In 1080, the first Norman Archbishop Thomas of Bayeux began construction of a Norman church modeled on the Bayeux Cathedral. This survived the city fire in 1137 damaged and was enlarged in the following decades by annexes. Walter de Gray, who became Archbishop of York in 1216, began building the present-day Gothic church. The Romanesque church was partially replaced by the new building. Pillar stumps of the predecessor building are accessible in the exhibition under the church. There is also the tomb of Saint Paulinus.
August 12, 2019
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