A special gem, basking in the shadow of York Minster.
A church dedicated to Saint Wilfrid has stood in York since medieval times. In the early 1500s, the church was an advowson of the Benedictine Saint Mary's Abbey, York. The original site of the church was on land now occupied by the Judges Lodgings in Lendal and part of the Assembly Rooms behind in Blake Street.
The Oratory Church, as it stands today, was to be built on the site of the old chapel. In 1848, plans were drawn up to build a new church in the French Gothic Revival style. The arch over the west door has the most detailed Victorian carving in the city, and the tower, visible around much of York, is designed to appear taller than York Minster in the background, even though it is not.
The present church was completed in 1864 and is considered to be one of the most perfectly finished Catholic churches in England, rich in sculptures, paintings, stained glass and fittings. To this day, the church is known as the "Mother Church of the city of York".