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by David Nash Ford BA,
History on Britannia
St. Michael le Belfry
Sandwiched between Minster Yard & High Petergate
St. Michael's, sandwiched between Petergate and Minster Yard, is called Le Belfry from its closeness to the bells in the south-west tower of York Minster. Built in the middle of the reformation (1535), it is the only old church in the city completely erected at one go.
There was, however, a previous church here dating from at least the 13th century, perhaps from 1066. Its 14th century glass has been retained in the fine east window. The church is usually open to the public and other interesting features include Etty's 18th century altarpiece, a stone altar from the Minster and 17th century brasses. Pride of place, however, goes to a copy of the 1570 parish register showing the baptisimal entry for one Guy Fawkes, the man at the head of the infamous Gunpowder Plot. His parents lived in Petergate.
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