On May Bank Holiday Monday the virgers at Beverley Minster are opening the north western (clock) tower to the general public for only the second time in 30 years.
The two 165 foot towers give unrivalled views over East Yorkshire and the 40 minute guided tour includes a rest and demonstration of the clock mechanism as well as ample time for photographs from the top.
The finest views of Beverley and the surrounding countryside are from these towers but they are normally locked off, except for maintenance, flying the flag on special occasions and on Easter Sunday morning when the choir sings seasonal hymns from the top.
During this bank holiday, however, the virgers at Beverley Minster are offering keen photographers access to this roof, from which you get magnificent views over all of Beverley as well as miles and miles of Yorkshire countryside.
It’s not an easy climb, however. The staircase is narrow, dark and uneven but most people think the view is well worth the effort.
To make it easier the virgers will be breaking the ascent half way up to show off the clock mechanism and unique rodding that operates one of the few chimes in the world that covers two separate towers.
Not recommended for those with low levels of stamina, claustrophobia or a fear of heights, but an irresistible and rare opportunity for those who like to look down on people. The tours will not be available if weather conditions make them too dangerous.
Despite the difficult nature of the climb the previous tours day was heavily oversubscribed. To avoid disappointment ring the Parish Office on 01482 868540 and leave a name and contact number to reserve a space.
For those who can’t manage the north west tower then the virgers are also offering their ever-popular trips up the central tower throughout the day.
Fully enclosed, so no danger of being cancelled by the weather, you still get excellent views north and south as well as a demonstration of Britain’s largest surviving mediaeval tread wheel crane and a look behind the scenes at how the Minster was built and has been maintained over 800 years.
Roof tours will begin at 10am and then hourly from 11.15am to 4.15pm,. price £5 per adult, £2.50 for under 16s.
For those who can’t leave the ground floor (and for everyone else as well) the Minster will be revealing more of its hidden treasures. Last year the virgers were able to display at ground level some of the 44 exquisite wood carvings that are normally hidden over 20 foot up in the Minster quire, showing off exquisite detail that had been lost to casual viewers (and even regular church members) for nearly 100 years..
Carved by Robert Baker, who later went on to become a millionaire in the USA as a result of his public statues, these exquisite objects are truly hidden treasures in their normal location. On Bank Holiday Monday. 3rd May only, a further six of the statues will be on display in the North Transept of Beverley Minster, and everyone is invited to take this opportunity to see them properly
There will be free admission to the Minster and the exhibition, but £3 permits will be required for photography – permits also allow photography elsewhere in the Minster.)
Refreshments will be available in the Minster Parish Hall for the whole day.
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