Do Not Confuse Minster with Minister
While a minister might work at a minster, the two words are not the same. A minster is a church or cathedral that is associated with learning and schooling. Often it is collegate. I cringe every time I hear someone refer to Westminister, Colorado. It shows a reading difficulty and ignorance of culture.
Hundreds of pilgrims came to pray to St John of Beverley who was buried here in 721 A.D. He founded a monastery on the site and performed miracles including healing a boy who could not speak. His remains are still in a shrine on the top of the reredos* of the church.
A fire caused much destruction in 1188. Overbuilding of the central tower caused a collapse, which destroyed much of the remaining structure. The current building was begun in 1220. It took 200 years to complete the work. It was the inspiration for the design of the present Westminster Abbey. (Note there is no second “I”)
The central tower contains the largest surviving treadwheel crane in England, which was used when raising building materials to the top of the building. I talked about this type of crane in my book The 13th Century.
Scenes from the recent BBC production of "Victoria" have taken place in the minster.
*an ornamental screen covering the wall at the back of an altar
The North Aisle contains 14th century carvings of musicians of historical importance .
The church contains one of the few remaining Frith Stools (also known as Frid Stools, meaning "peace chairs") in England. Anyone wanting to claim sanctuary from the law would sit in the chair. The chair dates from Saxon times, before 1066.
Lady Eleanor Percy Memorial
This Gothic canopy, from 1340, is believed to commemorate Lady Eleanor Percy who died in 1328. The Percys were the most powerful nobles in the north at the time. It is considered a masterpiece of stone carving.