In 1900 - “When the great bell in the southern tower of the Minster booms forth its deep and solemn notes over the city of Beverley, you experience an uplifting of the mind - a sense of exaltation greater, perhaps, than even that produced by an organ's vibrating notes in the high vaulted spaces of a cathedral.
Beverley has no natural features to give it any attractiveness, for it stands on the borders of the level plain of Holderness, and towards the Wolds there is only a very gentle rise. It depends, therefore, solely upon its architecture. The first view of the city from the west as we come over the broad grassy common of Westwood is delightful. We are just sufficiently elevated to see the opalescent form of the Minster, with its graceful towers rising above the more distant roofs, and close at hand the pinnacled tower of St. Mary's showing behind a mass of dark trees. The entry to the city from this direction is in every way prepossessing, for the sunny common is succeeded by a broad, tree lined road, with old-fashioned houses standing sedately behind the foliage, and the end of the avenue is closed by the North Bar - the last of Beverley's gates.
We go through the archway and find ourselves in a wide street with the beautiful west end of St. Mary's Church on the left, quaint Georgian houses, and a dignified hotel of the same period on the opposite side, while straight ahead is the broad Saturday Market with its very picturesque 'cross.' The cross was put up in 1714 by Sir Charles Hotham, Bart. [Baronet], and Sir Michael Warton, Members of Parliament for the Corporation at that time.
In the Perpendicular work of the western towers [of the Minster] everything is in graceful proportion, and nothing from the ground to the top of the turrets, jars with the wonderful dignity of their perfect lines. In the north-east corner of the choir, built across the opening to the lesser transept on that side, is the tomb of Lady Eleanor FitzAllen, wife of Henry, first Lord Percy of Alnwick. It is considered to be, without a rival, the most beautiful tomb in this country. The canopy is composed of sumptuously carved stone, and while it is literally encrusted with ornament, it is designed in such a masterly fashion that the general effect, whether seen at a distance or close at hand, is always magnificent.
On entering the city we passed St. Mary's, a beautiful Perpendicular church which is not eclipsed even by the major attractions of the Minster. At the west end there is a splendid Perpendicular window flanked by octagonal buttresses of a slightly earlier date, which are run up to a considerable height above the roof of the nave, the upper portions being made light and graceful, with an opening on each face, and a pierced parapet. The tower rises above the crossing, and is crowned by sixteen pinnacles.
In its general appearance the large south porch is Perpendicular, like the greater part of the church, but the inner portion of its arch is Norman, and the outer is Early English. One of the pillars of the nave is ornamented just below the capital with five quaint little minstrels carved in stone. Each is supported by a bold bracket, and each is painted. The musical instruments are all much battered, but it can be seen that the centre figure, who is dressed as an alderman, had a harp, and the others a pipe, a lute, a drum, and a violin. From Saxon times there had existed in Beverley a guild of minstrels, a prosperous fraternity bound by regulations, which Poulson gives at length in his monumental work on Beverley. The minstrels played at aldermen's feasts, at weddings, on market-days, and on all occasions when there was excuse for music.”
Extracts from Project Gutenberg's Yorkshire Painted And Described, by Gordon Home
Today - The Minster still provides the main attraction for visitors to the town. And, as these photos show, some parts of the historic town remain largely the same.