Treasures Everywhere

One day as I was wandering around York on the city walls. I descended through Micklegate Bar and walked back toward the center of the city. Along the way I saw Holy Trinity as looked inside.

This is the place where the famous Bestiary that is held in the collections of Saint John’s Cambridge Library. I had read about this book before and never realized that it was produced in York. There in the back of the Church is an exhibit about the scriptorium where this treasure was produced.

There are more treasures per acre than I have ever seen anywhere. Yet there is not an “Disney-fabrication” there. It is a real breathing and evolving city with a profound respect for the past. I like that posture a lot.

Holy Trinity Priory

Monks of Micklegate Monks of Micklegate

Holy Trinity’s role as a parish church hides its extraordinary importance in the history of monasticism in York and in the North of England. In 1089 the Benedictines from Marmoutier in Normandy, known in York as the ‘Alien Benedictines’, created a priory here, on the site of a pre-Conquest church, which itself was possibly the successor of Alcuin of York’s great Saxon church, the Alma Sophia.

A permanent exhibition in the church, using graphics, interactives, artifacts, games, study materials and translations, tells the fascinating story of monasticism and its vital contributions to religion, education, scholarship, the arts, medicine and hospitality.

During the 13th century the monks of Holy Trinity created a beautifully illuminated Bestiary, or Book of Beasts, currently in St John’s College, Oxford. Illustrations from this unique work are included in the exhibition on a touchscreen computer.

A Victorian antiquarian, Walter Harvey Brook, carried out impressive excavations to unravel the complex history of Holy Trinity during the restoration of the church around 1900-1905. His notes and drawings will be featured in the display. Examples of stonework, including a 14th century piscina, have been conserved and mounted with interpretation, using contemporary and newly commissioned illustrations.

The exhibition also provides a link to present day monastic houses, of all denominations, especially those established in the Yorkshire area, for visitors with an interest in the spiritual life.

from — CoRE York website