York, Yorkshire

St. Sampson's Church, York, Yorkshire

This rather unlucky church in the centre of York is the only church in the country dedicated to St. Samson (even though it is now spelled with the “p”) who was supposedly installed by King Arthur’s uncle as Archbishop of York in AD 466. The church is nowhere remotely close to this age though, the oldest hints being 11th Century remains found close by implying work on the church started then.

Much of what does remain is 15th Century, but the tower was so badly damaged during the Civil War Siege of York in 1644 that it was rebuilt afterwards. The church, standing close to the City Walls, was often hit during the long and bloody siege.

By 1845 St. Sampson’s Church was derelict, having suffered a fire a few years before and generally having been neglected since the Civil War. It was built during the late Victorian period, but was closed as a church in 1969. Today it is a day centre for senior citizens – an ignominious end for a church which never seems to have had much good fortune.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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