Priory Church of the Holy Trinity

Holy Trinity Church on Micklegate

A church has stood on this site for more than 900 years.  It was in a bad way following the Norman Conquest of 1066, described in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'a ruined and poverty stricken church'.

It was French monks who rebuilt the church and established a Benedictine priory in 1098.  Being foreigners, the order became known as the 'Alien' Benedictines.  The priory was ended by the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536, after which the building became a parish church.

In 1551, another sort of disaster struck when the central tower collapsed during a great storm.  The stone was used to repair the city walls and Ouse Bridge.  The nave (the main central area) was restored but reduced in size.

York’s famous medieval Mystery Plays began each year outside the gateway to Holy Trinity and for generations the script for the plays was kept here.

The stained glass windows in the nave are by C. E. Kempe (1837-1907) whose distinctive wheatsheaf monogram can be seen in several of them.  The spacious chancel (between the nave and the altar) was built in 1886.  The paintings behind the altar and the fine east window show saints associated with York and the north of England.  The stocks in the churchyard date from the 18th century.

Holy Trinity church is the only monastic building in York to survive as a regular place of worship.


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