Beverley, A Yorkshire Market Town


This market town is situated to the north of the Humber Bridge in a rural area on the edge of the Yorkshire wolds, and it has over 1300 years of history in its outstanding buildings and architecture. The town of Beverley has a varied mix of building types and ages, and there are around 800 listed buildings in the area of which above half of them are within the town. There are narrow medieval streets with descriptive names tell a lot about the towns history and its musical traditions. The antique shops and craft arcades and the buildings range from Georgian terraces to some of the best ecclesiastical architecture in Europe.

 The Minster.

Click to enlarge    Beverley Minster is the Parish Church of St. John and St. Martin and is the finest non cathedral church in England after Westminster abbey and is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in Europe, Click to enlargeThe Minster owes its origin and its importance to St John of Beverley, who founded a monastery around 700AD on the site of which is now The Minster. The original building structure was burnt down in 1188 so the present building was built in 1220 and was completed in 1425. It has within it the world's largest collection of stone carvings depicting musicians playing medieval instruments. There is also the Percy Tomb, a masterpiece of European medieval art.

 North Bar.

Click to enlargeThis medieval gateway was rebuilt in brick in 1409/10 AD. The North Bar, is the oldest surviving brick built bar in England and is the only remaining town gate of 4 which guarded the towns main entrances during medieval times. It was built in 1409/10 by the town council for the sum of about £96.00

    One of the ancient rights that Beverley had, was that of Sanctuary, given to them in 939 AD by the Saxon King, Athelstan and used until 1540. The fugitives on the run were, as soon as they entered the town, given 30 days free food and shelter, and during this time the clergy would try to get forgiveness and a pardon for them. The rights were briefly used again when King Charles 1st was refused entry into Hull prior to the Civil War, which ended his reign.

 The Westwood.

    Beverley Westwood is the open pasture land on the outskirts of the town and is a fabulous green belt with it's unusual bylaws.Click to enlarge There are now two windmills which survive on the Westwood out of an approx total of five, The Anti-mill which is now part of the Beverley Golf Club House and the other having various names such as High, Far, Black, and Baitson's Mill. It was rebuilt in 1803 and worked for a further 65 years until the sails were blown down in 1868 and then was dismantled, the tower still remains on the Westwood. Also located on the Westwood is the Racecourse which holds up to 18 flat race meetings a year and other events include veteran vehicle rallies, steam engine meets, agricultural shows, craft and country fairs and of course equestrian competitions.

 St. Mary's Church.

    To the north of the town is St Mary's parish church,Click to enlarge built in 1120 AD, it has some outstanding items in the church, there is the decorated ceiling depicting the Kings of England, the brightly painted Minstrel Pillar, a reminder of Beverley's musical traditions. You can also find a carving of a white rabbit, said to have inspired the March Hare in Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland'.
The view across the Westwood towards Beverley with St. Mary's church in the background.