One of three churches named Holy Trinity in York (with the other two being Micklegate and the former King’s Court), Goodramgate is thought to be the oldest. It’s estimated that the church’s earliest building date was around 1250. Most of the structure was completed during the 15th-century.
Often considered a shining example of medieval church architecture, part of the church’s modern-day uniqueness stems from the presence of box pews, in which families would be isolated from others during prayer. Also of note are its many stained glass windows, the oldest of which dates to 1470.
In addition to its architecture, the church was the site of a unique union during the 19th-century. Anne Lister, an aristocrat from Northern England, was a noted diarist known for her disdain of traditional gender roles. Her typical all-black attire and demeanor earned her the nickname “Gentleman Jack.” Through her diaries, it’s now known she had relationships with several women during her life. Perhaps the most notable of these was Ann Walker.
While not officially recognized by the Church of England as an institution, it’s believed Walker and Lister were allowed to take communion together by the authorities of Holy Trinity Church on Easter Sunday. The couple also exchanged rings. According to Lister’s diaries, they considered themselves a married couple from that point forward. Their relationship and lives were dramatized in the BBC series Gentleman Jack.
While there were older same-sex unions in the country before theirs, many were annulled. Lister and Walker’s union is considered by many the first in the modern history of the United Kingdom.
It wouldn’t be until March 2014 that same-sex marriages would become fully legal in England.
Know Before You Go
Opening times are usually Tuesday - Saturday; 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. The plaque can be seen on the way in from Goodramgate, or just about visible via the street at any time.
The churchyard is accessible from the street via a single stone step. Access to the church is via a ramp, with much of the church and the box pews having level access.
On this street, next to the entrance, you can also find the oldest houses in York and among the oldest in the United Kingdom.