Sanctuary Project

The origins of the Minster can be traced back over 1,000 years to John, Bishop of York.  He founded a monastery where Beverley now stands in the early years of the 8th century and retired to it after leaving York.

He died in 721. His reputation for healing the sick soon attracted huge numbers of pilgrims to his tomb, and later to an elaborate shrine.

He was recognised as a saint in 1037 and gradually a town began to develop to meet the needs of the pilgrims. By the fourteenth century Beverley was one of the top 10 largest towns in England.

Tradition has it that King Athelstan visited John’s tomb in 934 while leading his army north to fight against the Scots. Athelstan reputedly credited his victory to Bishop John and granted ‘the right of sanctuary’ extending two miles from his tomb.

Our Sanctuary Project is all about telling Beverley’s story afresh to the present generation who continue to seek sanctuary today.