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York, metropolitan diocese of

York, metropolitan diocese of. The present province of York, founded in 735, comprises the fourteen dioceses of northern England. The York diocese itself, founded by Paulinus in 625, is now conterminous with eastern Yorkshire. Though Roman York, capital of north Britain, had a bishop who attended the Council of Arles (314), it was not until 625 that Paulinus founded the English see, after arriving from Canterbury; success was short-lived, for King Edwin, whom he had converted, was defeated and killed at Heathfield in 632 by Penda of Mercia. Christianity returned a few years later, but under Celtic auspices from Lindisfarne. After the Synod of Whitby, the Roman bishopric was restored, first under Chad (664), then under the turbulent, dynamic Wilfrid (669–78). Pope Gregory's blueprint for a northern province of twelve sees under Paulinus as archbishop, thwarted in 632, was not fulfilled until 735 under Egbert (c.732–66), the patron of Alcuin's Northumbrian renaissance. The north was so poor that the province only contained four of the twelve planned sees. Disputes between Canterbury and York over primacy were protracted. York's claim to be independent of Canterbury was enhanced by Kent's political decline. Eighth-cent. York led culturally, politically, and ecclesiastically. Under Thomas of Bayeux (1070–1100) the contest developed in earnest. With William I's support in 1072, Lanfranc (Canterbury 1070–89) was successful in resolving the matter in his favour. The dispute, renewed in 1118 with Pope Calixtus II's support for Thurstan of York, continued for two centuries until Innocent VI (1352–1405) effected a compromise, though in Canterbury's favour. York was to have metropolitan authority over the north as ‘Primate of England’, while Canterbury was to have national precedence as ‘Primate of all England’. Meanwhile, in 866 the Danish occupation forced the archbishop to move. So feeble was the see that from 972 to 1016 and for a short spell after 1040 it had to be held in plurality with Worcester. Oswald (972–92) was renowned with Dunstan and Æthelwold for his monastic reforms and fine episcopal administration in both sees. York minster is of mixed styles (13th to 15th cent.) with the broadest and tallest nave in England and a Norman crypt. It has the largest display in England of medieval glass from three centuries.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall

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