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S_L

Hull Minster

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As has been mentioned here on numerous occasions, the organ of Hull Minster is in a pitiful state. At last, there seems to be a desire to restore this magnificent beast and, because of the huge cost involved, this is to be done in stages.

Further details appear on the Hull Minster website here:

https://hullminster.org/the-grand-organ/ 

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I wonder what has given them what seems like a change of mind? New direction, staff changes. I used to go quite often, when I lived in Hull, a few years back, and was always amazed at how such a "historically" regarded instrument, was just kind of left in the state it was in. A couple of members here, held it in very high regard, and one chap was always saying it needed doing, wonder if he had any influence? 

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Some would say that it's the largest Parish church in the UK. And I suspect that it is very difficult when you have a huge medieval building with all its attendant problems. Little or no money to speak of, in the middle of a city with little or no surrounding parish, a leaking roof, crumbling masonry brought about by the winds coming off the nearby river and North Sea. When you're putting out buckets to stop what little congregation you have from being rained on it's difficult to think about aesthetics! Survival is the name of the game.

But now, of course, it's a Minster and there seems to be a new direction and a new dynamism about the place. The new incumbent seems determined to make the 'Minster' work and be relevant to the city, and not only as a place of worship.  A huge restoration of the churchyard and of the fabric has taken place as well as a complete re-ordering of the internal space. 

I'm not sure it is to do with any one person having influence. It is to do with timing. Yes, the organ has lain waiting for restoration for a very long time, perhaps too long, but it appears as if the time is now right to start thinking  about that restoration. 

It will be interesting to follow the progress.

 

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12 minutes ago, S_L said:

Some would say that it's the largest Parish church in the UK.

I think it's the largest in terms of cubic capacity, but St. Nicholas, Great Yarmouth (now also a Minster) has a larger floor area.  Both have ailing Comptons which will hopefully be restored very soon.

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Interestingly, it seems that an increasing number of churches are becoming 'minsters'!

I don't suppose the new name implies any real practical difference to the building or the establishment, though I could be wrong.

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Do minsters always have organs in dire need of restoration?  The Willis in Reading Minster (St Mary's, Butts as I knew it in childhood) is another example.

Paul

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4 hours ago, John Robinson said:

Interestingly, it seems that an increasing number of churches are becoming 'minsters'!

I don't suppose the new name implies any real practical difference to the building or the establishment, though I could be wrong.

The word comes from the same root as 'monastery' and was used widely in Anglo Saxon times to denote a church served by a community (not necessarily of monks - sometimes of secular clergy).  Sometimes, either in early days or later, the name was applied to an important church in a very large diocese which was to some extent a pro-cathedral.  The modern custom of designating certain large churches in towns which are not cathedral cities is, I think, rather a nice one. 

Some cathedrals are alternately known as minsters - Southwell, Ripon and Lincoln for example.  According to Francis Jackson, York is not, strictly speaking, a minster, but the term came into use because "York Cathedral" sounded awkward with its double "K" sound in the middle. 

Not all minsters are big - one of the smallest and most charming is Kirkdale Minster, in the Vale of Pickering, Yorkshire, which is of Saxon foundation (the nave remains from that period).

Cue for another entry on the Beautiful English Organs thread....

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Probably because a lot of these churches were suffragan (or deputies) in the large diocese of York - cathedrals in all but name.  This would apply to Ripon and Beverley, for example.  Also, the ancient Diocese of Lincoln was very large indeed (the Saxon Minster at Stow-in-Lindsey may have been the cathedral before the See finally settled at Lincoln).  Therefore, there are a lot of big churches, some called minsters, in the east of England from the Wash to the Tyne.

Another reason for big churches is that in the Middle Ages, the East of England was very rich, because of the money made from sheep farming.  This explains the huge "wool churches" of East Anglia and others further north.

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7 hours ago, David Drinkell said:

Probably because a lot of these churches were suffragan (or deputies) in the large diocese of York - cathedrals in all but name.  This would apply to Ripon and Beverley, for example.  Also, the ancient Diocese of Lincoln was very large indeed (the Saxon Minster Minster at Stow-in-Lindsey may have been the cathedral before the See finally settled at Lincoln).  Therefore, there are a lot of big churches, some called minsters, in the east of England from the Wash to the Tyne.

Another reason for big churches is that in the Middle Ages, the East of England was very rich, because of the money made from sheep farming.  This explains the huge "wool churches" of East Anglia and others further north.

That makes a lot of sense, but it is also a fact that many churches have only recently taken on the appellation of 'minster'.

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I think that some, although not all, the Yorkshire examples resulted from the creation of the Anglican Diocese of Leeds, and Leeds Parish Church became a Minster and, effectively, a cathedral in all but name.  Hull was specifically designated by the Archbishop of York in recognition of its importance.  So there is quite a bit of variation in the modern practice.  

As David Drinkell says, minsters were widespread all over Saxon England, the most important ones often of royal foundation, e.g., two examples out of many others, Ely and Romsey.  Under the Normans Ely became a cathedral, and at the Reformation Romsey a parish church - such are the complexities of the varying status of churches in the C of E!.

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