York, Yorkshire

St. Wilfrid's Church, York, Yorkshire

A medieval church of St. Wilfrid stood in York for many centuries, but became redundant in 1585 and the church was redundant.

The parish was revived in 1742 by the Catholic Church when a chapel was established in Little Blake Street. By 1848 the Catholic population of York had grown to a size where a new church was needed, but the decision was made instead to build St. George’s Church in Walmgate to cater for the huge influx of Irish Catholic families who came to York during the Potato Famine.

In 1859 the York Corporation began planning a new road system on the approach to Lendal Bridge and at this point the Dean of York Minster, Dean Duncombe, designed the new wide road which approaches York Minster and work began on rebuilding the little chapel in Little Blake Street with a big church in Duncombe Place (as the new road would be named).

The foundation stone was laid in 1862 and the church, designed by local architect George Goldie, was begun. The church is very typically Victorian gothic revival and was completed in 1864 at the very high cost of £10,000. The Church was briefly the Pro-Cathedral for the Diocese of Beverley, but that Diocese was short-lived and was split into those of Leeds and Middlesbrough.

Today, St. Wilfrid’s is probably the most frequently “accidentally” photographed churches in York being on the main approach to the West Front of the Minster.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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