York Minster ready to unveil new visitor attraction

York Minster collections manager Vicky Harrison holds the Horn of Ulf.

York Minster collections manager Vicky Harrison holds the Horn of Ulf.

First published in News
Last updated
by

FINAL preparations are under way for the opening of York Minster's new visitor attraction on Saturday.

Set in underground chambers, Revealing York Minster is the latest stage of a £20 million, five-year restoration and conservation project part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, creating the largest visitor attraction within a UK cathedral.

The exhibition tells the story of the last 2,000 years through computer generated images and dozens of priceless artefacts, many still in use in the Minster. Many others have never been seen before before seen on public display, including the ancient illuminated York Gospels.

Other highlights include the Horn of Ulf which is 1,000 years old. It is an elaborately carved elephant tusk which was used as a deed of transfer by the Viking nobleman who gifted the land for York Minster and its precincts.

The Dean of York, the Very Reverend Vivienne Faull, said: “Revealing York Minster brings together the cathedral's archaeological discoveries and written archives for the first time.

“Once people have got beyond the awe this place inevitably evokes, the next response is to ask how it came to be.

“To ensure every visitor gets as much as possible, we have used the latest designs and interpretative techniques to enable people to immerse themselves.”

The contemporary chambers of the undercroft are built in a space created when emergency excavations were made to underpin the central tower during the 1970s.

During that work archaeologists uncovered the site’s hidden history, including an Anglo Saxon cemetery and the foundations of the Norman Minster.

They also discovered the remains of the main base for the Roman Army in Northern Britain and newly installed glass floors will enable visitors to see some of the remaining Roman walls beneath their feet.

Organisers say Revealing York Minster, with its state-of-the-art multi media galleries, interactive interpretations and 3D images promises to transform the experience of visiting York Minster and tell a more compelling story both around the remains and around the Minster's extensive collections.

Rev Faull said: “The exhibition has been designed to help visitors understand the religious, cultural and historic significance of this magnificent place of worship. A place at the heart of a community, not just within the city of York but across the globe.”

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:55pm Tue 21 May 13

Garrowby Turnoff says...

Promises to be more interesting than the big Gothic building above it.
Promises to be more interesting than the big Gothic building above it. Garrowby Turnoff
  • Score: 0

3:26pm Tue 21 May 13

Ignatius Lumpopo says...

"The Horn of Ulf". Fantastic news! Bound to be York's new 'must see' attraction!

There are horns and horns, but Ulf really was head honcho when it came to horn procurement. Just the fact that he, as a Viking, managed to find an elephant in Scandinavia willing to donate a tusk shows what clout he had all those years ago. We don't hear enough about Ulf these days - perhaps this new exhibition will put things right. People are bound to travel miles once they hear that Ulf's horn is on display.

Good old Ulf!
"The Horn of Ulf". Fantastic news! Bound to be York's new 'must see' attraction! There are horns and horns, but Ulf really was head honcho when it came to horn procurement. Just the fact that he, as a Viking, managed to find an elephant in Scandinavia willing to donate a tusk shows what clout he had all those years ago. We don't hear enough about Ulf these days - perhaps this new exhibition will put things right. People are bound to travel miles once they hear that Ulf's horn is on display. Good old Ulf! Ignatius Lumpopo
  • Score: 0

3:55pm Tue 21 May 13

Ignatius Lumpopo says...

In fact, Ulf was King Cnut's brother-in-law, a Viking chieftain married to Cnut's sister Estrid. Although he played a major part in Cnut's invasion of England, Ulf ended up running Denmark in 1024 and looking after Cnut's son Harthacnut while Cnut stayed in England. For some reason, Ulf decided to place his allegiance with the rulers of Norway and Sweden and when he found out, Cnut had Ulf assassinated on Christmas Day 1026. Silly old Cnut.
In fact, Ulf was King Cnut's brother-in-law, a Viking chieftain married to Cnut's sister Estrid. Although he played a major part in Cnut's invasion of England, Ulf ended up running Denmark in 1024 and looking after Cnut's son Harthacnut while Cnut stayed in England. For some reason, Ulf decided to place his allegiance with the rulers of Norway and Sweden and when he found out, Cnut had Ulf assassinated on Christmas Day 1026. Silly old Cnut. Ignatius Lumpopo
  • Score: 0

4:42pm Tue 21 May 13

pedalling paul says...

Ought to get King Cnut back to try and stem the tide of traffic in York....! OK so he may fail but there are better ways of succeeding.
Ought to get King Cnut back to try and stem the tide of traffic in York....! OK so he may fail but there are better ways of succeeding. pedalling paul
  • Score: 0

6:32pm Tue 21 May 13

Seadog says...

Although I do favour the "Ulf as Knut's brother-in-law scenario" he is only one of several possible Ulfs who gave this horn and its associated land. However, we cannot say that he "gifted the land for York Minster and its precincts" as we still don't know - for certain - exactly where the Minster was was at that time. Whoever he was, he certainly donated substantial estates and their revenues to the pre-existing Anglo-Saxon / Anglo-Scandinavian Minster (wherever it was) via the well-known legal process of "cornage", whereby illiterate noblemen used prized possessions, such as horns, as tokens of their bequests.

Until and unless we actually find hard archaological evidence for the pre-Conquest Minster, we should be quite circumspect about its location.

The discovery of Saxon and Viking graves (in the late 1960s) with associated Christian imagery inscribed on the slabs does suggest the proximity of a Christian church ... but was it the Minster?

What about that elusive building referred to by contemporary chroniclers as the "Alma Sophia" ... often confused with the Minster but clearly a parallel institution?

Personally, I think both the original Minster (and, indeed, the Alma Sophia) were pretty close to the site of the present cathedral, but probably not within its exact "footprint".

Whatever - the Horn of Ulf is a fantastic artifact and I look forward to its return to public display.
Although I do favour the "Ulf as Knut's brother-in-law scenario" he is only one of several possible Ulfs who gave this horn and its associated land. However, we cannot say that he "gifted the land for York Minster and its precincts" as we still don't know - for certain - exactly where the Minster was was at that time. Whoever he was, he certainly donated substantial estates and their revenues to the pre-existing Anglo-Saxon / Anglo-Scandinavian Minster (wherever it was) via the well-known legal process of "cornage", whereby illiterate noblemen used prized possessions, such as horns, as tokens of their bequests. Until and unless we actually find hard archaological evidence for the pre-Conquest Minster, we should be quite circumspect about its location. The discovery of Saxon and Viking graves (in the late 1960s) with associated Christian imagery inscribed on the slabs does suggest the proximity of a Christian church ... but was it the Minster? What about that elusive building referred to by contemporary chroniclers as the "Alma Sophia" ... often confused with the Minster but clearly a parallel institution? Personally, I think both the original Minster (and, indeed, the Alma Sophia) were pretty close to the site of the present cathedral, but probably not within its exact "footprint". Whatever - the Horn of Ulf is a fantastic artifact and I look forward to its return to public display. Seadog
  • Score: 0

3:58am Wed 22 May 13

Magicman! says...

So the Minster can dig out and open up space below the cathedral sooner than they can lay a few bits of paving outside in front of the Minster? Seriously, the road has been in a state of disruption for 5 months now, complete with a current unauthorised and unenforceable request for cyclists to dismount when cycling on the road so as to let pedestrians wander free on the road whilst the footpath is closed (yet when the road was closed there was no cycle diversion). Yes we get it, it'll be a big open space - but my God since when does laying a few stones take about 24 weeks?!
So the Minster can dig out and open up space below the cathedral sooner than they can lay a few bits of paving outside in front of the Minster? Seriously, the road has been in a state of disruption for 5 months now, complete with a current unauthorised and unenforceable request for cyclists to dismount when cycling on the road so as to let pedestrians wander free on the road whilst the footpath is closed (yet when the road was closed there was no cycle diversion). Yes we get it, it'll be a big open space - but my God since when does laying a few stones take about 24 weeks?! Magicman!
  • Score: 0

9:22am Wed 22 May 13

Blimp says...

Brilliant, love it! More please.
Brilliant, love it! More please. Blimp
  • Score: 0

9:32am Wed 22 May 13

Bo Jolly says...

pedalling paul wrote:
Ought to get King Cnut back to try and stem the tide of traffic in York....! OK so he may fail but there are better ways of succeeding.
Stop exaggerating! There is no 'tide of traffic'.

In York, "peak period traffic levels have remained stable since 2006" - a direct quotation from Dave Merrett, no less.
[quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: Ought to get King Cnut back to try and stem the tide of traffic in York....! OK so he may fail but there are better ways of succeeding.[/p][/quote]Stop exaggerating! There is no 'tide of traffic'. In York, "peak period traffic levels have remained stable since 2006" - a direct quotation from Dave Merrett, no less. Bo Jolly
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree