York Minster aims to raise funds with the York Minster Rose

PUBLISHED: 10:47 19 October 2011 | UPDATED: 20:25 24 April 2016

Yorkshire Minster Rose

Yorkshire Minster Rose

York Minster's non-stop fundraising branches out with a new bloom

Archbishop John Sentamu with the new York Minster roseArchbishop John Sentamu with the new York Minster rose

When visitors to York inevitably find themselves in its iconic minster, their ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ of appreciation can be heard echoing around the 13th century stonework. And nowhere more so than in the south transept, where a crowd of sightseers can always be found craning their necks and cooing in awe at the stunning Rose Window.

This stained class masterpiece, which was completed at the end of the 15th century to commemorate the end of the War of the Roses and to honour the Tudor dynasty, was almost destroyed when lightning hit the minster in 1984, causing a calamitous fire.

The window was severely cracked; its 73 panels, ordinarily containing 7,000 pieces of glass, crazed into about 40,000 shards.

It was tantamount to a miracle that the rose remained in place, and it took a herculean effort to restore it to its former glory. Craftsmen secured the stained glass with adhesive film before removing it, one section at a time. They then used a specially developed glue that mimicked the refractive properties of the glass to bond it back together before sandwiching the entirety between layers of clear glass (which the restorers jokingly referred to as a Tudor sandwich).

To celebrate the proud history of this remarkable window, and to raise much-needed money for York Minster, a new bloom – the York Minster Rose – has been developed and released for sale.

This repeat-flowering floribunda bush has creamy, full petals and a delicate flush, echoing the centre of the original window. It was developed by Harkness Roses of Hitchin (originally founded in North Yorkshire) and was chosen by members of the York Minster Fund and the Dean of York, the Very Reverend Keith Jones.

‘The rose brings together the white rose of Yorkshire, the subtle golden tints of the minster’s window and the marvellous pale, carved stone of which the minster is built,’ he said. ‘It sums up many of the things that bring people back to York again and again.’

York Minster has been closely associated with roses since the Middle Ages. A medieval inscription in the Chapter House says ‘as the rose is the flower of flowers, so this house is the house of houses’. And the connection continues to flourish.

‘Every time come to York feel insignificant,’ said Philip Harkness of Harkness Roses. ‘don’t see a building, see the triumph of the collective endeavours of those who lived many years ago to produce a beautiful vision for all to enjoy.

‘I feel that owe it to the hundreds who worked to create this magnificent building, using their hands, basic tools and strength, to make a small contribution to preserving their work in the future.’

Ordering information is available via York Minster’s donation website. Roses can also be ordered directly from Harkness Roses (bare root, delivered November to February, £9.95; potted £11.95).


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