Ripon Minster, west end
Artist: Grimm, Samuel Hieronymus
Medium: Ink on paper
Ripon Minster, originally a monastic church, was first established by Scottish monks in the seventh century and later became a Benedictine Abbey under the Abbot Saint Wilfrid. The present building was begun by Archbishop Roger of Pont L'Eveque between 1154 to 1181. In 1220 a distinctive Early English west front was added to the Minster with twin towers topped by wooden spires. These spires were removed in 1664.
Celia Fiennes visited Ripon and noted, "there is a good large stone built Church well carved they call it a Minster". Daniel Defoe noted that, "the church is still standing, tho' the monastery and hospital are suppress'd...an antient building, but firm and strong, the work Gothick, according to the times, and plain; no imagry or statues of any note to be seen about it; there are three homely spires one on the tower in the middle, and the other two on the angle towers of the west end; they are covered with lead, but not very high or handsome".
Celia Fiennes (1662-1741) travelled extensively throughout England and recorded her experiences in her diaries. These were discovered in 1885 and published three years later under the title 'Through England on a Side Saddle'.
Daniel Defoe (1660-1731), best known as the author of Robinson Crusoe, was also a journalist, pamphleteer and political / social commentator.