Sunday, September 28, 2014

St. Michael le Belfrey, York, England

St. Michael le Belfrey sits in the shadow of York Minster. The "le Belfrey" part of the name is assumed to refer to the Minster's bell tower. Originally, this church was a chapel for the Minster. It later became a parish for the locals. The church was rebuilt from 1525 to 1536 during Henry VIII's reign by John Foreman, who was the Minster's master mason. The only external alterations after that were the addition of a bell tower in 1848 and the rebuilding of the west front in 1857 when adjoining houses were removed. The church continues to serves as a Church of England parish.

West front of St. Michael le Belfrey

Side of church

The church is also famous because Guy Fawkes, he of Gun Powder Plot fame, was baptized here. A nearby pub is named after him.

Inside, the nave is a light and airy example of the Tudor gothic style.


The main altar's reredos (the wooden screen) includes the Lord's Prayer on the left and the Apostles' Creed on the right. In the center is a copy of Zurbaran's Adoration of the Shepherds which now hangs at The National Gallery. The picture was added in 1924 and replaced the Ten Commandments.

Main altar and reredos

Above the altar is a marvelous stained glass window.

Over the altar (click to enlarge)

Originallly, Queen Anne's coat of arms was at the top of the reredos but was moved in 1924 to the gallery above the entrance.

Queen Anne's coat of arms

The church has an assortment of memorials.

Robert and Priscilla Squires memorial surrounded by others

Thomas Fothergill memorial

More memorials

One impressive stained glass window includes four archangels--Raphael, Michael, Gabriel, and Uriel. I hadn't heard of Uriel before. He's mentioned in the deutero-canonical book of Esdras in which he appears to Ezra during the Babylonian Captivity.

Four angels window (click to enlarge)

The church also has some impressive tiles in the floor.

Fancy floor

An old bench nearby with recycled tombstones on the floor!

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