E.J.Wilkins

10 Oct 2009 863 views
 
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photoblog image York

York


York Minster - Dragon?

This is rather strange, and protrudes above the north side of the west section of the Nave - which is the widest Nave in Europe.

I read somewhere or other that nobody's sure what this thing is, but the Minster's own site describes it as a 'crane' or 'hoist', probably for lifting the lid off a font, but there's no longer a font beneath it because during the Civil War it was taken away and put in St John's Church, Bridlington. It must have been a massive lid, no doubt would have been ornately carved wood or stone.

I can't find out when this dragon crane/hoist was put in place, although the Nave was built between 1291 and 1350.

To me it looks like the stylised prow of a longship, maybe that's what it's meant to be - because York was an important Viking city, known as Jorvik (pronouned Yorvik). Their authority came to an end in 1066, not a hugely long time before the new Nave was built - I think it's important to remember that there has been a church on this site since AD627.
.

York


York Minster - Dragon?

This is rather strange, and protrudes above the north side of the west section of the Nave - which is the widest Nave in Europe.

I read somewhere or other that nobody's sure what this thing is, but the Minster's own site describes it as a 'crane' or 'hoist', probably for lifting the lid off a font, but there's no longer a font beneath it because during the Civil War it was taken away and put in St John's Church, Bridlington. It must have been a massive lid, no doubt would have been ornately carved wood or stone.

I can't find out when this dragon crane/hoist was put in place, although the Nave was built between 1291 and 1350.

To me it looks like the stylised prow of a longship, maybe that's what it's meant to be - because York was an important Viking city, known as Jorvik (pronouned Yorvik). Their authority came to an end in 1066, not a hugely long time before the new Nave was built - I think it's important to remember that there has been a church on this site since AD627.
.

comments (15)

  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 10 Oct 2009, 02:57
Puff [the Magic Dragon] came on a tour to see the stained glass windows...liked what he saw...decided to stay a while...
  • zed
  • Australia
  • 10 Oct 2009, 03:19
Very interesting Ellie and most unusual
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 10 Oct 2009, 06:41
Oh, what a wonderful perspective -'sursum corda!' and sursum eyes so that we can discover these beautiful details: the golden wooden apotropaic dragon, the golden wooden keystones!
As I was in Exeter Cathedral I saw also some precious keystones, and Chris' heart might have jumped while looking at some Green Men- surely you found those figures in York, too! Thanks to your interesting information!
  • Alan
  • Back home :(
  • 10 Oct 2009, 08:01
I'm sure I would never have seen this, Ellie. It is very strange to see it looking up rather than looking down. Most odd but very attractive.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 10 Oct 2009, 08:50
Sorry: 'boss' is the architectural term! The dragon could recall the (miraculous) beam in Christchurch Priory supporting the roof of a former church?
I like reading the history you have put togeather. Different angle nice shot.
Quite surprising to see this in such a place! Well spotted Ellie.
Definitely worth looking up to see this Ellie.
I'm glad you kept looking upwards Ellie. It's surprising what can be seen when you do.
It is a little different, it looks like it is staring out the window.
Very interesting the work that's gone into this Ellie.
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 12 Oct 2009, 07:48
Tch, that Ray. The dragon must have a great view smile
Superb detail Ellie and nice colouring.
  • Ginnie
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 12 Oct 2009, 15:50
Great eye and perspective on this hoist, Ellie. That's what I love about the distant past...making art out utilitarian objects!
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 18 Oct 2009, 16:08
I read:
"No-one knows the purpose of the dragon's head which protrudes high from the left hand wall of the nave. One suggestion has it that, because it is a pivot and has a hole through its neck, it was originally used as the mechanism for raising the font cover. A chain would have passed through the hole and by raising the dragon's head the font cover would be lifted so that baptism could take place." ???

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