York Minster is one of the best examples of early English Gothic architecture and from every aspect, it does not disappoint. I've been here a few times now and I am still awed and inspired by the beauty and majesty of what we created almost 800 years ago.
I am also generally irritated with how we build things today, with concrete and cheap materials, to be easily destroyed and rebuilt on over and over, instead of ever considering building something to last, like the many examples like York Minster.
I don't agree with the symbol of the Minster either, being a staunch atheist what it stands for across the span of time is pretty horrible. Oppression, power, prejudice, corruption, pedophilia... need I say more? There are some very horrible things related to 'The Church'.
It is a knotty problem to be sure, because I still marvel and stare and fall in love with this beautiful edifice every time I see it.
It is also pretty cool that it was featured quite prominently in the (very beloved, by Doug and I) book Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.
Really the architecture speaks for itself. I could maunder on and on about the history and the fires and rebuildings but that is all easily found information on a simple google search. It is safe to assume that an edifice this important and long lived has had quite a history - and it has.
I found the most interesting tidbit that we discovered on our latest visit was that they found a crypt below the church with Norman era leftovers of previous buildings in the 19th century because of a fire. They had no idea why there was no crypt (most Cathedrals have them) and after the fire destroyed some of the floor a crypt was discovered. Kind of hilarious that you can "lose" whole sections of a giant cathedral simply because it's been around so long people just basically forget about things.
My guess is that when the upheaval of the dissolution of the Monasteries was going on and the basic attempt by the Elizabethan area to dismantle any aura of Roman Catholicism from England in the years thereafter is likely when it was "lost". I am just theorizing, but since the Cathedral itself was looted and robbed out during that time and had to be 'saved' from further destruction in the mid 18th century (so that's 200 years of people just kind of doing what they wanted to the Minster) it could have been lost during that time - hell, maybe it was even bricked up on purpose.
Hard to tell. But despite all of it, I'm still agog at the majesty of the building and everytime I see it, I'm reminded of the presence of the church in medieval England. It would have absolutely dominated the landscape in every way possible and there would be very little doubt as to the power of the church. Only the crown with their castles could have remotely compared.
York is a glorious medieval city and it is one of my favorite places to explore and visit in England. I've been here now many times and it always has something new to discover.