YORK Minster has unveiled a new exhibition featuring treasures from its collections - including diamonds and silver.

The exhibition, entitled ‘People & Parishes’, launched on Thursday, October 19, and showcases items from the Minster's collection, as well as from those of local parishes.

Organisers say the collections offer a glimpse into Yorkshire life, as well as the history of the Minster.

The exhibition, in the Undercroft Museum, boasts eight distinct sub themes, each one showcasing a unique collection.



Exhibition curator, Kirsty Mitchell, said: “We started this wanting to celebrate our parishes' collections.

“Our sub themes focus on ways that the collections came to be.”

The individual exhibits have titles such as: ‘Lost Churches’, ‘Don’t Judge a Book’ and ‘Women of Influence’.

The collections have remained in excellent condition, she added, despite surviving periods of religious turmoil, fire and war.

York Minster’s importance in the county is highlighted in this exhibition, standing as the mother of the Church of England’s Norther Province, which includes more than 1,400 churches.

York Press: Forepaugh Chalice

One of the centrepieces to the new exhibition is the Forepaugh chalice. Containing a 32-carat diamond, the chalice was presented to York Minster by Lily Deacon Forepaugh (1858-1946). It was made in 1927 and first used on Easter Day, 1928.

Lily was a well-known equestrienne who travelled across Europe and America with the Forepaugh Circus. Although she was born in London, her family was from Yorkshire and had strong connections to the county.

Elsewhere, the ‘Communion Cup’ from the neighbouring St-Michael-Le-Belfrey church is a relic of the start of the period in which parishioners were invited to join in on Communion with their priests. The changes were introduced by the newly crowned Elizabeth I, dating back to 1558.

Another piece is the Cartulary. During the siege of York (1644) this register of charters to the Monks is said to have been in St Mary's Tower when it was blown up.

York Press: Cartulary, part of the 'Survivors' collection

The book has a distinctive semi-circular hole on the outside edge of all the pages. The damage, it has been suggested, could have been left behind by a cannon ball strike, or musket.

Kirsty said the exhibition showcased a wide array of stories.

She said: “It was the desire to create something that spoke more locally to the communities of North Yorkshire.”

The ‘People & Parishes’ exhibition is set to run until February 2025, with entry included in the general admission fee. Tickets can be purchased here.