York Minster's East End

The East End of the Minster has a raised area in its centre. This is where the Choir and High Altar are situated. This area of the Minster is surrounded by the South Choir aisle, Lady Chapel and the North Choir aisle. It is fronted by the Choir Screen.

The Choir Screen was built in the 15th century to strengthen the east wall of the central tower. It is decorated with statues of fifteen Kings of England. The first being William 1 (The Conqueror) right through to Henry V11. Above these is a heavenly choir of Angels. The Angels were added much later, in the early 19th century.

Animals in the East End

If you begin your walk in the North Choir aisle, you will see a collection of panels. These were worked by the Broderers Guild. They depict all the animals and birds that can be found in the Minster. These animals can be in the windows, in stone carvings or decorating the tombs.

Fun for Youngsters

If you are taking some younger visitors with you, they may enjoy noting down where the animals are and what they are. See how many they can find. To start, two designs can be seen on the front base of one of the tombs. A little further down this aisle, there is a dog and a cockerel. As you walk along you can also see under the Choir and Altar into the undercroft.

Picture of York Minster's East End at night. Includes the full length of the Great East Window.

The Great East Window

The largest window in the Minster is the Great East Window. It is the size of a tennis court. It is the largest stained glass window in the world. It contains 117 panels in rows of nine. These depict the beginning and end of the world. It is situated behind the High Altar and the Choir, in the Lady chapel.

The Lady Chapel - Mousey Thompson

A Lady Chapel in many large churches was required as men and women were once segregated during services. The stalls in the Lady Chapel were the work of a famous Yorkshire carpenter, Robert "Mousey" Thompson. Mousey Thompson got his name as he declared that he had been "As poor as a church mouse" early in his career. He carved mice into his work as a trademark. Look closely for them!

Beneath the Great East Window, not much original woodwork remains. This is due to the east end of the Minster being destroyed during the fire of 1829. The fire was started by religious fanatic Jonathan Martin. Today what you see is the replacement Victorian work.

Also in the East End of York Minster is the High Altar. This is located to the south of the Choir. It is a canopied "Cathedra". This name is Latin for seat, or throne. It is the throne for the Archbishop of York. Because of the Archbishop's "throne", the Minster is entitled to be called a Cathedral.