St Michael-Le-Belfrey, the local community parish church, is located on High Petergate, just next to the majestic York Minster. Whilst the Minster certainly dominates, surprisingly the Belfry holds its own with its unique architecture featuring among other aspects a beautiful bell tower at the front.
It stands in the Minster's shadow but the way it sits on the lot makes it feel light and airy. This church has been here since the 1500’s and there is no consensus on whether a building stood on this site earlier, though there were church buildings in the area since 627. No one really knows why it is called ‘Le Belfrey’ – it could refer to the Minster’s belfry or possibly to an older church on the same site which had a bell tower.
You get an up-close and personal view of St. Michael Le Belfrey and its beautiful stained glass windows while sitting across the road at Guy Fawkes Inn, which was where the famous gunpowder plot conspirator was born, and interestingly, he was baptised in this same church opposite his house in the year of his birth 1570.
There are a few benches opposite, which is a nice spot to sit and relax for a few moments after walking historic York and the Shambles while appreciating the exterior beauty of this small church.
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