Visiting Doncaster Minster, Doncaster, England: Perpendicular architecture by Sir George Gilbert Scott
A profusion of vertical lines
Doncaster Minster, also known as St George's Church, Doncaster, or St. George's Minster, Doncaster, is a splendid, Perpendicular-style building at the aptly named Church Street in this busy, South Yorkshire town. Its origins are 14th century (a structure destroyed by fire in the 19th century), while the striking, Perpendicular architecture the work of Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811-1878)(1). Its 51.5-metre tower continues to dominate Doncaster's skyline as it has done since the 19th century (interestingly, the same architect was responsible for what was once the tallest building in the world; see Note (1), below).
Features include Gothic windows, flying buttresses and a prolific number of pinnacles. Sir George Gilbert Scott was strongly identified with Gothic Revival style, of which Perpendicular is a development, where vertical lines are emphasized, and here we see vertical lines in abundance. The building is situated close to the Don River.
The Minster possesses a Schulze organ, dating from 1862. It has been restored a number of times. Another significant feature of the building is that its clock was made by the same manufacturer as 'Big Ben', at the Palace of Westminster, London (2).
The building itself underwent a program of restoration in the early 21st century. In connection with this restoration, HRH The Princess Royal visited the Minister in 2008.
From the outset, St. George's Church, as designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, was described as 'cathedral-like'. Within the Anglican Church, however, its status -acquired in the early 21st century, is that of a Minster. It is often said in England that if a town has a university or a cathedral, then this makes it a city. This informal saying, however, does not apply to Doncaster, in the first place because although the Minister looks like a cathedral, it technically is not one, and secondly because a Royal charter of incorporation — with resultant, administrative changes — would have to be acquired for Doncaster. (But who knows? one day?)
March 20, 2014
(1) Sir George Gilbert Scott's other distinguished contributions to architecture include: the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London; the Albert Memorial, London; the Martyrs' Memorial, Oxford, the main building of Glasgow University, Glasgow, Scotland; the rebuilt Nicolaikirche, Hamburg, Germany (once the tallest building in the world); and many others.
(2) See also: http://www.doncasterminster.org/doncaster-minster-history-and-heritage/doncaster-minster-history-and-heritage.asp
Also worth seeing
In Doncaster itself, originally built around the site of a Roman fort, there are many visitor attractions, including Conisbrough Castle, a 12th century structure withing the Borough's boundaries; Cusworth Hall, a Georgian building owned by the Borough of Doncaster and set in Cusworth Park, houses the Museum of South Yorkshire Life; a large nature reserve exists at nearby Potteric Carr; the Doncaster College for the Deaf is based in an imposing structure with a Classical portico, opposite Donacaster Racecourse, itself a sought-after venue for many conference and events as well as racing.
How to get there: United Airlines flies from New York Newark to Manchester Airport (England), from where car rental is available. There is a rail link between Manchester and Doncaster. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. For up to date information you are advised to contact the airline or your travel agent.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada
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