Leeds Minster: A look inside the magnificent city centre church steeped in history which often gets overlooked
and live on Freeview channel 276
The Minster and Parish Church of Saint Peter-at-Leeds is the minster church of Leeds, with Leeds Minster built on the site of the oldest church in the city, modestly placed on Kirkgate. The current building - believed to be the fourth on the site - is home to worshippers, a range of events, organ recitals and a community cafe.
Our reporter Sophie Mei Lan went to look inside this not-so-hidden gem.
In our increasingly busy lives, it’s easy to walk or drive past Leeds Minster, taking its architecture for granted without realising the beauty which lies inside. It really is breathtaking as soon as you step through the doors.
When this current building was rebuilt in 1841, it was the largest new church to be built in England since St Paul’s Cathedral.
It was designed to hold up to 1,600 worshippers but regularly 2,500 people attended. While the architecture helped to lead the way when it came to Anglican churches, the real beauty of it was how the parish priest who helped to rebuild the church at the time involved worshippers from all backgrounds.
The website says: “Dr W. F. Hook, widely seen as the country’s greatest parish priest of the nineteenth century. Hook’s vision was of a ministry that combined dignified and inspiring worship in church, with committed social and evangelical work amongst the many poor who lived nearby.”
This led to huge turnouts in congregation from all walks of life, a legacy the church has tried to continue ever since.
Today the minister still holds up its proud musical heritage with regular organ concerts and its own choir. This stems back to Hook who wanted to ensure that the minister was an ideal place for music in order to uphold the majestic nature of the building and to enhance people’s relationship with God.
The Leeds Cross
This ancient and very rare cross is probably the oldest surviving object from Leeds history. It is created out of fragments of 10th century stone sculpture, from at least six similar crosses, which were found at the minister when the tower of the old church was demolished in 1838. They have been reassembled into this landmark cross which style is best described as Anglo-Scandinavian.
Whatever your denomination or beliefs, this building stands tall as a reminder of West Yorkshire’s fascinating history and a place which the new Canon hopes to revive and bring people inside and claim the building as their own.
Canon Paul Maybury, who has previously been based in Bradford, said: “Leeds Minster (Leeds Parish Church until 2012) is built on the site of the earliest Christian church in the then “village” of Leeds back in the early 7th Century. It is one of the most significant historic buildings in the city and home to a diverse and welcoming church.
“We are open five days a week, Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 2pm and on Sundays for services. We welcome anyone at no charge. People often comment on the beauty and peace of the building. We look forward to seeing you.”