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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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St Andrew’s Trust, Bishopthorpe

St Andrew's Trust
St Andrew’s Trust’s charitable objectives are to preserve and protect for the public benefit the land and buildings of St Andrew’s Old Church and to facilitate heritage-led regeneration and enhance the character and appearance of historic areas.

St Andrew’s Trust is a registered Environmental Body and a Building Preservation Trust that is keen to promote traditional building skills and craftsmanship. The Trust return derelict listed buildings to practical, self-conserving use. St Andrew’s Trust is not a grant-giving or a religious body.

The St Andrew’s Trust heritage site at Bishopthorpe was given to the Trust by the Church Commissioners in 1998. It is the Archbishops’ 1000 year-old burial ground and site of his manorial parish church – an archeologically rich mass grave in a lovely riverside setting with a dramatic ruin as its centrepiece.

In 1998 it had become a neglected, isolated and vandalised wasteland. The pretty Grade II listed façade of the Archbishops’ old manorial church had become so derelict a to have been condemned by the City Engineer as a Dangerous Structure with an active Demolition Order hanging over it.

St Andrew’s Trust aimed to reverse this dereliction and decay and emphasise the extreme importance of this neglected heritage site to the Office of Archbishop of York so that it might be more valued in future.

To these ends the Trust also maintain an archive of original research into the architectural evolution of Bishopthorpe Palace and especially the role of Archbishop Drummond’s architect, Thomas Atkinson, in devising the present Neo-Gothic form of the Grade I listed Palace buildings.


Conservation work at Bishopthorpe so far

The centrepiece of our heritage site, the west front that Archbishop Drummond had ordered for his manorial church in the 1760s, was by 1998 a crumbling dangerous structure.

Yet it also represented a full third of all the architectural components that make up this Archbishop’s works to enlarge and embellish his residence in the Gothic style. The other two parts are the Gatehouse and the Palace Front.

As this architectural style is unique to Bishopthorpe Palace, the Heritage Lottery Fund, urged on by English Heritage, provided most of the funding for St Andrew’s Trust to restore it to its original form, as it stands today.

For the full story of how this façade was restored please visit  > case studies > case studies in stone.

Like many old abandoned churchyards this is a wildlife sanctuary linked to its use as an educational and recreational resource. But maintenance like this does not just happen by itself. Constant attention and plant management is required. St Andrew’s Trust is always happy to receive support and donations – especially in the present financial climate! If you can help give a little to maintain this beautiful piece of history for future generations, please email or send donations to St Andrew’s Trust Registered office, Ebor House Unit 1, Millfield Lane, Nether Poppleton, York YO26 6QY

St Andrew’s Trust is a registered charity no. 1068768.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has been patron of St Andrew’s Trust since 2007.