Monday, December 25, 2023

Some Arms on the Exterior of York Minster

Arriving at York Minster,* formally the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, one of the things that you notice is a frieze running across the façade consisting of a number of different shields.

Across the top picture, from left to right, I believe we have: St. Peter (crossed keys); a blank shield; St. Paul (two swords in saltire); St. Peter again (as the first Pope, with the crossed keys surmounted by a papal tiara); and St. Wilfrid (three suns, and whose arms we have seen before in my post of November 9 (, and which we will see again inside the Minster).

Across the bottom picture, from left to right, we have: an unidentifiable shield; St. Paul; St. Peter as Pope; St. Wilfrid; St. Peter as Pope (again); St. William of York (seven mascles conjoined three three and one); and two shields unidentifiable from being worn away. St. William was Archbishop of York not once, but twice: first from 1141 to 1147 and then again from 1153 to 1154.

And here are close-ups of some of these shields. (Of course, you an also click on the images above to see a larger, more detailed photo of the rows of shields.)

First, St. Peter:

and St. Paul:

and St. Wilfrid:

We will meet more reprresentations of these three attributed coats of arms inside the Minster as well.

* Why is it not called a "cathedral"? By definition a cathedral is the site of a bishop's throne (a cathedra) but the word "cathedral" did not come into use until after the Norman conquest. Hence, "minster", a large or important church, typically one of cathedral status in the north of England that was built as part of a monastery. And now you know.

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