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Five things you should see on your visit

There are many wonderful and interesting things to see in Leeds Minster. Here are five you should absolutely not miss:

The Leeds Cross

This ancient and very rare cross dates from the 10th century and is probably the oldest surviving object from Leeds history.

It shows ‘Weland, the Smith, in his Flying Machine’. Its style is best described as Anglo-Scandinavian. When the tower of the old church was taken down in 1838, stones from at least 6 similar crosses were found. This one was the most complete although some stones were missing and needed to be recreated.

You can find it on the steps leading up to the altar, on the right.

The Leeds Cross

The mosaics surrounding the altar

This area is called the sanctuary and depicts the twelve apostles, plus St Paul and St Barnabas, shown as life-sized figures. This is the most beautiful artwork in the church and shows the fourteen figures stunningly depicted in mosaic and set in a marble arcade. It was installed in 1877 and is the work of Antonio Salviati, whose company in Venice was widely seen as the producer of the best mosaics in the world at that time. The stones were made in Venice and assembled in Leeds. This is a a memorial to Joseph Mason Tennant, a former churchwarden, who died in 1872.

Mosaics around the altar in Leeds Minster

The Hardwick monument

Painted table-tombs dating from the reign of Elizabeth I were once common, but this charming memorial is a rare survival. Thomas Hardwick, a successful lawyer, is depicted with his wife and children. A dancing skeleton on the right-hand panel is a reminder of mortality and the need to live a good life.

The windows

Dr Hook wanted his new church to be full of beauty and colour, and he wanted it to remind worshippers of the Church of England’s long history dating back to the Middle Ages. New stained glass windows were unusual in 1841, but Hook was determined to have as many as could be afforded. Over the next 100 years, more windows were added, most by the leading stained glass artists of the day, including David Evans and Heaton, Butler & Baine. The principal window over the altar was assembled by Thomas Willement in 1841, using 16th century Flemish glass bought on the Continent.

Also notable is the St Peter window in the middAle of the south wall of the nave, produced in 1811. This is painted glass, not stained glass, and was made by Jacob Wright of Leeds, based on a design of C.H. Schwanfelder, a Leeds artist. It is a rare example of painted glass from this period.

The huge etched glass screen showing Jacob’s Ladder, in the arch leading to the tower, is by Sally Scott, erected in 1998.

Windows above the altar
The Thomas Willement window above the altar

Wooden statue of St Peter 

This depicts St Peter, the patron saint of the church, holding his symbolic keys. The statue was probably carved in the eighteenth century and was transferred from the old parish church.

You can find it over the main door where you came in.