King by King: The Choir Screen at York Minster
Now that I’m recovering from surgery, I’m working on completing a longer post about traveling to York. But, in the process, I realized I had taken a photo of every king on the magnificent choir screen at York Minster cathedral so I decided to post this brief photo guide to each king in the interim. Hopefully, my other post will be completed before I fly out next week!
Separating the choir from the nave of a medieval cathedral or church is a choir screen. Many of these are made of wood or wrought iron, some from stone. However, the choir screen (known as the Kings’ Screen for obvious reasons) at York Minster Cathedral is particularly ornate.
Fifteen expressive carved stone kings ranging from William the Conqueror to Henry VI adorn the screen: seven to the left and eight to the right. The screen dates from the fifteenth century and was initially commissioned by Henry V. One might surmise that, perhaps, the statue of Henry V might be the most accurate portrayal. However, he died before its completion and the master mason of York Minster at the time, William Hindly, completed the screen during the reign of Henry VI.
According to this post, the existing statue of Henry VI was replaced in 1810 — the original was destroyed in the late 15th century as people had taken to coming to the cathedral to venerate the statue, praying and lighting candles to it — obviously unwelcome behavior to the archbishop!
The Kings of the York Minster Kings’ Screen
Below the big photo of the entire screen (which is, unfortunately, blurry) are individual photos of the kings in order from left to right. You can click on an individual photo to open the lightbox to navigate through the photos or for more information about each king.
The kings in order from left to right: William the Conqueror, William Rufus (William II), Henry I (Primus), Henry II, Richard I (the Lionheart), John Lackland, Henry III, Edward I, Edward II, Edward III, Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI.