Many of you had never heard of Beverley in East Yorkshire when I shared my recent visit to its magnificent Minster. I’m back this morning to give you a whistlestop tour of the town. Hold on to your hats!
It was another of those whims of mine that took me there on a coach trip one September day. The journey seemed tortuous and I wondered why I was putting myself through it, but immediately I set foot inside the Minster I knew that it had been worthwhile.
I glimpsed the spires as we drove into town and as soon as the coach doors opened I was off and beelining for it. I found the Tourist Information office on Butcher Row en route, and grabbed a map with details of the Beverley Town Trail. Patience not being my middle name, when I realised that it gave a choice of 4 local walks I threw up my hands and just got on with the job. Straight down Highgate brought me to the gates of the Minster. It was a grey old sky, not bringing out the best of the old stone, yet the building had presence.
Bowled over by Beverley will take you inside, if you missed it. Glancing at the map when I came out, I continued around the outside of the grounds to Minster Yard South. I was quite surprised to find a grassy paddock with cows grazing contentedly, here in the middle of town. I knew that it was a market town, but still, a little strange? The white phonebox set a smile on my face as I continued onto Eastgate.
I detoured, as directed, on Friary Walk for a look at the former Friary, but this was planted firmly in the midst of a housing complex, and I did not loiter. Back towards Wednesday Market- what an endearing name for the square, peaceful on a Thursday, with pavement cafes and coffee drinkers enjoying the mild temperatures. On along Butcher Row, taking more notice this time of an interesting mix of shops and eating places.
I stopped occasionally to consult the trail guide, which was full of fascinating snippets of information. Medieval Beverley was a wealthy town with a diverse population of skilled workers. Carpenters, armourers, printers, locksmiths, weavers, hatters, brewers, ropemakers- the list is impressive and comprises 39 different medieval guilds. Do you know what trade a fletcher pursued? No- nor me! (He made arrows) The trail encourages you to look for signs of each, but time was precious. I was heading for Saturday Market and a handsome Market Cross.
It surprised me to read that Beverley was once the 10th largest town in England, and one of the richest, based on the wool industry and the pilgrims who came here to venerate its founder. The town dates back to 700AD, when St. John of Beverley founded a monastery on the site of the Minster.
Market Cross sits most elegantly at the heart of the square known as Saturday Market, surrounded by attractive buildings. Did you notice two more white telephone boxes? Saturday is the main market day here and I can imagine traffic coming to a standstill. Just beyond the square you can see the tower of St. Mary’s Church, and that’s where I headed next. As luck would have it, closing was at 4, giving me half an hour to explore.
St. Mary’s was founded in 1120 and the foundations of the early Norman building are still visible in places. A notable feature of the church are the stone carvings. The Minstrel Pillar is shown below but I missed the carving of a rabbit dressed as a pilgrim, dated around 1330 and said to have been the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s White Rabbit. (You can see him on this link) The vestry ceiling is painted to represent a map of the heavens, and reminded me of Polish churches I’ve seen.
Amazing to have such a beautiful church and the Minster in one small town. The ceiling of the chancel is quite breathtaking and I was thrilled to be able to get close to the 28 wonderfully carved misericords. And who can resist that humble donkey, waiting in the wings?
Take a breath! The misericords next…
My time in Beverley was running out, and looking at the trail guide it seems I’d covered most of the 4 walks. I was disappointed not to have found the Beck and its shipping heritage, but a bonus was the logically named North Bar Within and North Bar Without. They sandwich North Bar, the earliest brick built town entrance in England.
Heading back to the coach, there was just time to stick my nose in the Coronation Garden, formerly owned by St. Mary’s Church, which explains the headstones. The benches were empty but I couldn’t stop.
I grabbed a takeaway coffee and a few munchies and subsided onto the bus home, via the Humber Bridge. But that will have to wait for another time. I’m off to the Algarve on Wednesday and not sure exactly when I’ll be posting again.
Did you manage to keep up? I hope you enjoyed it. I’m onto my second cup of coffee and I’m hoping you’ll do the same. Put the kettle on and have a good read. All of these are worth it so please do visit them. Thank you so much to everyone who’s taken part and kept me company all these weeks. I’ll be popping in on you when I can.
Starting with an introduction- meet Nadja and her scene stealing photos of Austria :
Fantastic memories of one lovely lady, from another! Thanks so much, Becky :
What would you expect to find at a zoo? Violet had a bit of a surprise :
I adore dates, and here’s Jackie teasing me with date cake!
Are you an early morning jogger? Ju-Lyn has the nicest surrounds to tempt you out of bed :
Guess who I met at the Singapore Botanic Gardens?
Candy has some really lovely walks in Brittany. This is just one of many :
Kathrin is determined to hike Half Dome one day, but this looks just as good!
Carol’s finally finished her English adventures. What next? I think I know :
Woolly has a wonderful way with our feathered friends :
Bringing a bit of desert heat our way, I wish I was looking over Drake’s shoulder :
And with even more sand in the picture, this is a real beauty from Karen, if a little strenuous!
Putting up a gutsy performance and us dilettantes to shame, I’m ending on a real high with Lexie :
Ending on a high is always a good way to go. Take good care of yourselves, and I’ll be back before you know it.
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