Ecclesiastical exploration encouraged for JORVIK Medieval Festival

Church Explorers, 1 – 31 August 2015

Volunteers around the region will join forces to reveal the colourful history of churches around the York Diocese during August, as the Diocese of York, Churches Conservation Trust and JORVIK Medieval Festival encourage visitors to explore these historic buildings in a series of Church Explorers! events.

From unusual carvings by leading sculptors, to plainsong vespers reverberating around the historic aisles, Church Explorers aims to shed light on the region’s medieval history through the eyes of the buildings which stood at the heart of their community throughout turmoil, trouble and even the Reformation! 

“We know so much about English history from records kept by the network of churches throughout the country, so we are delighted to be working with the Diocese of York and the Churches Conservation Trust on this year’s JORVIK Medieval Festival to help uncover some of the stories that these magnificent buildings can tell,” comments director of attractions for the JORVIK Group, Sarah Maltby.  “There are some fantastically varied events taking place throughout August, from walking tours around the churches of West Buckrose Churches, to lectures, games and re-enactments with the knights of the Holy Redeemer Church in York’s Boroughbridge Road in 9 August – a real mixture to appeal to all ages.”

The Rt Revd Dr John Thomson, Bishop of Selby, said, “I’m delighted that so many churches are taking part in Church Explorers! and I hope that hundreds of people will visit them as part of the Festival.  Church Explorers! is a great way to encourage people to visit their regions’ churches, discover their  histories, and experience a Christian welcome.  Our churches tell the rich stories of their communities over the generations and are still full of life today.”  

The Church Explorers! events take place right across the region, from St John The Baptist church in Adel, Leeds, to St Nicholas in Hornsea, and from All Saints in Northallerton down to Selby Abbey.  Three of the churches, including York’s Holy Trinity in Goodramgate, St Lawrence’s Tower off Lawrence Street and St Mary’s in Goathland, are open daily throughout August.

Highlights of the Church Explorers programme include:

  • Medieval Day at St Nicholas, Hornsea on 1 August, including tours of the crypt, artwork, refreshments and activities.
  • West Buckrose Churches tour on 1 August, with a trail linking eight churches in the parish from 10.00am to 4.00pm
  • An archaeological dig at St Wilfrid in Monk Fryston from 2 – 8 August
  • A Medieval Fair at St Mary and St Alkelda in Middleham, of which the future Richard III was patron, on 15 August
  • Medieval fayre, tours, displays and even Church Ale at St Mary, Leake (nr Thirsk) on Saturday 15 August.
  • A fun day of medieval celebrations at Selby Abbey on Wednesday 26 August, including drama and music to bring the stunning abbey to life!

More information on the full programme of events during the JORVIK Medieval Festival is available online at


For further media information or photographs, please contact:

Jay Commins

Pyper York Limited

Tel:         01904 500698


About Us

Based in York, UK, the JORVIK Group of Attractions comprises:JORVIK Viking CentreDIGBarley HallThe Richard III Experience at Monk BarThe Henry VII Experience at Micklegate Bar The JORVIK Group also organises the annual JORVIK Viking Festival each February in York, and the Yorkshire Medieval Festival in August.