Sunday, September 21, 2014

St. Helen Stonegate, York, England

St. Helen's Church on Stonegate in York has a long history, dating back to Roman times. The site of the church was probably one of the gates into the Roman town of York. Stonegate heads right back to York's Minster where the center of the Roman fort was located. People speculate a Roman temple was here. The church's courtyard has been turned into St. Helen's Square with plenty of shops and historic buildings.

St. Helen's Square

St. Helen's Church

The church has been rebuilt several times over the centuries. The first stone church dates back to the 12th century. The baptismal font is one of the surviving features from that time.

1100s baptismal font

The interior took its final shape in the 1500s. The nave is simple with stone pavement in the center aisle and a simple wooden roof.


Main altar

Several statues adorn the church, including a fun little "peekaboo" Madonna and Child and some much earlier carvings.

Madonna and Peekaboo Jesus

14th century (?) carving

The church was the medieval parish church of the local glaziers guild, so naturally the church has a fine history of stained glass. Sadly, not much has survived from the medieval era, but one window recreates the coats-of-arms of the guild members.

Glazier guild member coats-of-arms

The aisle windows contains round panels that are probably of Flemish origins circa 1550s.

Good Shepherd from an aisle window

Maiden tames a unicorn?

The west window above the entrance door includes glass from 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries, as well as more modern glass. The figures are St. William, Mary Queen of Heaven, St. Helen, and probably her son Constantine.

West Window

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