York Minster is, at first sight, a Gothic building, but surviving within it are the remains of its Norman forerunner. The site, originally that of the Roman fortress headquarters building, is thought to have been occupied also by a church founded by King Edwin of Northumbria in 627. Although no remains of a pre-Conquest church survive, documentary sources suggest that it was enlarged on several occasions before being burnt in 1069 and damaged again in 1079. Subsequently Archbishop Thomas of Bayeux (1070 - 1100) began construction of a new church, 111.5 m (366 feet) long. Excavations have shown that it consisted of an aisleless nave, transepts, each with an eastern apse, and a long apsed eastern arm. Some lower parts of the walls of nave and transepts are visible in the Minster Undercroft.
Under Archbishop Roger Pont L'Evêque (1154 - 81), the east end was rebuilt and enlarged. Little is known of Roger's choir, but still surviving is much of his crypt, now known as the western crypt to distinguish it from the 14th century eastern crypt. Particularly striking are four massive piers, two each side, of the outer arcades which bear incised lozenges similar to those on piers in the nave of Durham Cathedral. Some painted glass from Roger's church survives reset in the nave clerestory.
Brown, S., 1999. Stained and Painted Glass at York Minster (London)
Norton, C., 2001. .'Archbishop Thomas of Bayeux and the Norman Cathedral at York', Borthwick Paper 100 (York)
Phillips, A.D., 1985. 'The Cathedral of Archbishop Thomas of Bayeux', Excavations at York Minster, 2 (London, HMSO)
Pevsner, D. and Neave, D., 1995. The Buildings of England, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding (Penguin), 126-32