Sunday, October 26, 2014

St. Martin-le-Grand Church, York

On a busy street in York is St. Martin-le-Grand Church, easily spotted thanks to the clock. A clock has been on the building since 1668. The current clock (from 1856 with a refurbishing in 1966) has a small statue of a naval officer that is known as the "Little Admiral."

St. Martin-le-Grand Church

Less easy to spot with a truck in the way

Th church was bombed in World War II, resulting in a fire that gutted the church that had stood since the 1400s. Locals rebuilt the church in the 1960s. Only the south aisle was used for the refurbished church, leaving a courtyard outside as a memorial to the horrors of war.

Former nave and north aisle

Gargoyles on the walls!

The church has a typically ornate entrance which only dates back to the 1800s.

Church entrance

The current nave (the former north aisle) is small but has a lot of features in it.


The star of the church is the west window or the St. Martin Window dating from 1437. It was taken down in 1940 to keep it safe, thus it survived the bombing.

St. Martin Window (click to enlarge)

By the St. Martin Window is a Book of Remembrance dedicated to all who lost their lives in the 1942 raid that almost destroyed the church.

Book of Remembrance

A monument to Sir William Sheffield and his wife Elizabeth is further down the wall. Sheffield was knighted by King James I in 1617. He died in 1633.

Sheffield Memorial

The main altar is at the east end of the church and features a stained glass window from 1968 depicting the church in flames and a reredos from the same year showing the Last Supper.

Main altar

Reredos detail

East Window

At the back of the church is the medieval baptismal font. The age of the font is uncertain but records show that St. Margaret Clitherow was baptized in this font in 1553. She was also married in this church.

Baptismal font

Also at the back of the church is the bell pulls for the tower. I was tempted to try them out but was able to resist.

Bell pulls

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