The Heritage Centre

Find out more about exhibitions and open days in the Events Diary and Minster News.


PaulinusIt is said that Paulinus, the first Bishop of York, preached and celebrated at this crossing point on the River Calder in AD627. He had followed Augustine of Canterbury from Rome, to bring Christianity to the Anglo Saxons. Having accompanied the Christian Queen Ethelberga of Kent north, for her marriage to the Pagan King Edwin of Northumbria, he converted the King and was then free to evangelise within the kingdom. Read a full story of Paulinus here.

A wooden church would have been built here and 200 years later circa AD850 a huge Saxon stone cross was erected to commemorate Paulinus’ visit. Remains of this cross, including early, rare examples of stone carvings, can be seen in the Heritage Centre. Find out more about the Saxon Cross.

Why a Minster?

In 1992, for the first time, the West Yorkshire Archaeology Service identified Saxon Stonework in the Worship Area of the Minster as circa 980. This stonework indicated the North Eastern corner of a large and important Anglo-Saxon Church. Such a place would have been a Minster that served 400 square miles of the West Yorkshire Pennines, being the Mother Church of all the new churches it formed there. Wakefield and Bradford Cathedrals were among them. These Daughter Churches gave the medieval Church, originally called All Hallows, a rich living through the payment of tithes to their Mother Church at Dewsbury. In 1993, All Saints was therefore restored to Minster Status, the first such church to have that distinction since the Reformation.

Building The Minster

The building on this site has undergone many transformations during its 1300 years. Because of the quality of what now remains, it is Grade II* listed. Read more on the building of the Minster.

Heritage Displays – Explore or TourHeritage Tour

The Heritage Centre displays have much more information to offer and there is a Christian Life Exhibition in the Upper Hall. Why not pay us a visit, and after exploring, enjoy a well-earned rest with refreshments in the Refectory? Find out more about the Heritage Tour.

For a comprehensive historical account of the Minster (and other publications) see Richard Middleton’s book ‘The Church at Dewsbury’ 2006. It is full of human interest, and is available from the Minster Gift shop or by post from the Parish Office.