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Announcing the Church Explorers 2019 Summer Festival

This content was originally sent to Church Explorers network partners as our Church Explorers February Newsletter. To get updates and news on the Church Explorers network delivered to your inbox sign up to be part of the network.

2019 Church Explorers Festival

Our Church Explorers festival theme for 2019 is ‘Lost and Found’.

We invite participating churches to tell stories of loss and damage, as well as rediscovery and repair. Yorkshire’s historic churches have experienced Viking raids, the Reformation, and even the bombs of Hitler’s Luftwaffe, as well as the more gradual effects of the passage of time.

Breakage (accidental and deliberate), conservation (successful and unsuccessful), concealment and revelation will all come into focus in our festival programme.

We are asking our participants to highlight an aspect of their church that best tells one of these stories. It may be a piece of damage that has defied attempts at repair, or that expresses an aspect of your church’s history. It may be a long-forgotten document or piece of church furniture rarely exposed to the public gaze, or some other feature uncovered in building or renovation work. We welcome in particular the problematic, the unloved, the hidden-away, the scruffy and the unsightly!

What you need to do to take part

Pick the feature in your church that matches the 2019 theme. Then simply complete our expression of interest form which includes:

We will then list your feature on the Church Explorers website during the festival from June – September 2019. We will be conducting a PR campaign during the festival to highlight the theme and encourage the public to visit the churches listed.

You can also hold a special event to highlight your feature during the festival. We can add an event listing to the website and help you publicise the event. You don’t have to hold an event to take part in the festival however – as long as the feature you have listed can be visited by the public at some time between June – September 2019.

Your ideas do not have to be fully formed at this stage: there will be opportunities to revise your submission before the programme goes live.

We look forward to hearing from you and to promoting your church in 2019!

York Archbishops’ Registers Revealed by The Northern Way

Church Explorers partners the Borthwick Institute and York Minster are part of an exciting new project which promises to reveal much about the history of the Archbishopric of York in the 14th century, and create a valuable new resource for anyone with an interest in this period of Yorkshire’s history.

The Northern Way is a 33-month project, commencing in February 2019. It seeks to assess and analyse the political roles of the Archbishops of York over the period 1306-1406. As part of this work, the project will create a publicly-available comprehensive searchable online index of all relevant primary sources held for the political activity of the archbishops from both diocesan archives at the Borthwick Institute and held by The National Archives.

You can keep up to date with the project’s progress here, and via @tnorthernway on Twitter.

The Northern Way Project has been made possible by funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and is run in partnership between the University of York and the National Archives with the support of the Chapter of York Minster.

Austin Canons in Yorkshire

JORVIK Group is currently undertaking some research into how we interpret the history of the austin canons in Yorkshire for our visitors. Our medieval townhouse, Barley Hall, once belonged to Nostell Priory, home to a community of these ‘black canons’, so called because of the black habits they wore. We hope to release the results of our research to coincide with Church Explorers 2019. In the meantime, we have been visiting sites connected with the austin canons across Yorkshire. This month the project team visited Bridlington Priory, a wealthy religious house dissolved in 1538.

An image of the chalk slab that lay on top of the coffin of Robert Brystwyk

Bridlington Priory has its own ‘Lost and Found’ treasures, including this piece rediscovered by workmen preparing space for burials on the south side of the church in 1821. They broke into a vault containing a stone coffin: inside were the remains of Prior Robert Brystwyk, who died in 1493. His beard and shroud were found to be undecayed. The chalk slab that lay on top of the coffin can still be seen inside the church today, and carries the following inscription (here translated from the Latin):

‘Here lies Robert Brystwyk, formerly prior of this place, who died in the year of our Lord 1493, on whose soul may God have mercy. Amen.’