[Bell Historians] Minsters

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Tue Oct 14 03:01:55 BST 2008

I have been quite involved with the liturgical and parochial life of St
George's and would beg to differ with Mr Bryant.
The community and liturgy at Doncaster is far from the sidelines of life and
is very much at the centre of its community.  They have a thriving choir of
boys and men, and also a most impressive girls' choir.
If Mr Bryant would like to accompany me to Evensong and, afterwards, to the
pub, I would be delighted to introduce him to the Vicar and Director of


From: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com [mailto:bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com]
On Behalf Of David Bryant
Sent: 10 October 2008 16:39
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com
Subject: RE: [Bell Historians] Minsters

"I know we have discussed the definition of a 'minster' in the past, but why
has there been a sudden proliferation of churches being designated as "the
minster church of ."?   I notice on Campanophile that St Mary's, Reading has
become another church with delusions of grandeur!"

As you are doubtless aware, Richard, minster is a somewhat imprecise word
generally referring to an ancient missionary centre pre-dating the parochial
system. Unlike cathedral (principal church of a diocese and location of the
diocesan bishop's throne) or abbey (monastic institution, present or
former), there are no concrete attributes which define a minster so the word
was ripe for reuse, or misuse.

Presumably the modern-day CofE, in designating these pseudo-Minsters, is
trying to indicate that they are the new centres of missionary activity. I
confess I find it more than a little pretentious, and an indication that the
CofE recognises that it is in a long decline - why else would it consider
that it needs new missionary centres when in theory the whole of England is
already covered by its parishes?

And in practical terms, it doesn't seem to make any difference. The one I
pass most often is 'Doncaster Minster', cut off from its unpleasant town by
the main road and generally having an air of being very much on the
sidelines of life.



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