History Files


Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of the City of York

by Peter Kessler, 9 January 2011



Central York Part 3: Churches of York

St Helen Stonegate

St Helen Stonegate is on the south-east corner of Davygate and Stonegate in the centre of York. The church is dedicated to Helena (c.248-c.327), wife of the Emperor Constantius Chlorus and mother of Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, who was proclaimed in York in 306. Her popularity in Yorkshire is indicated by the high number of medieval church dedications to her. This church was first mentioned in 1235, but a church was already on the site in the 1100s.

St Helen Stonegate

The building was restored after 1554. Until 1745, when the square in front of the church was created, much of this area was occupied by a churchyard bounded on two sides by Stonegate and Davygate. In 1805 and 1814 significant repairs were undertaken. The steeple was replaced by a light belfry and lantern, which were in turn replaced by the rebuilt steeple in 1875. The church was closed soon after 1910, and only an appeal saved it. York Chinese Church also meets here.

York Central Mission Hall

York Central Mission Hall is on the south-west corner of Swinegate and Back Swinegate. The Central Mission used New Street Methodist Chapel in 1908-1910 before moving here. They merged with Monk Bar Chapel in 1919 and this building may have been sold. A band of revivalists led by the founder of the Elim Four Square Gospel Alliance arrived in York in 1934 and acquired the Central Mission, renaming it the Elim Tabernacle. It closed by 2008, becoming a bar and grill.

St Sampson Girdlegate

St Sampson Girdlegate is on the southern corner of Church Street and Patrick Pool. It was first mentioned in 1154 when it was granted to Pontefract Priory. Between 1334-1383 the advowson reverted to the Crown. The building consists of a nave with north and south aisles and a tower over the west end. It was rebuilt in the fifteenth century, when the tower was probably added, and again in 1848, with the exception of the tower. There is one bell and a sanctus bell.

Bedern Chapel

Bedern Chapel is on the eastern side of Bedern, just inside the narrow passageway entrance from the southern side of Goodramgate. The name Bedern is first mentioned around the year 1270 in documents relating to the college. The word is Anglo-Saxon for 'house of prayer'. The chapel and nearby hall were originally part of the College of the Vicars Choral which occupied the area, and are its only remnants. There was also a Bedern Spiritualist Church nearby in 1939.

All photos on this page contributed by Colin Hinson.

In Depth
In Depth


Images and text copyright all contributors mentioned on this page. An original feature for the History Files.