23 MAY 1840, Page 8

York Minster has again narrowly escaped entire destruction by fire,

About nine o'clock on Wednesday night, flames were seen to issue front the belfry at the South-western end of the Cathedral. The alarm was given, and fire-engines were speedily brought to play upon that part of the building ; but the tire advanced so rapidly, that within an hour the belfry was reduced to a mere shell. The bells fell with a heavy crash through the floors. Very soon the flames reached the roof of the nave; from which the melted lead poured in red-hot masses upon the marble floor below, making sad havock of the carved wood-work and the windows in its coarse. Great exertions were made to prevent the fire from reaching the lantern-tower ; for the entire building must have been destroyed had that happened. The conflagration was got under about two o'clock.

Next clay, the fine old edifice presented a melancholy appearance, The roof of the nave was completely stripped off, and every pillar damaged. The choir, the beautiful screen, and the organ, were unlit- jured ; but of the belfry only a few fragments remain. It is con- jectured that the lire might have beets caused by the carelessness of some workmen employed in repairing the clock ; but a strict investiga- tion as to its origin has been commenced. The injury is more extensive than that caused by the fanatic Martin.

A great " Protestant" meeting was being held in the Festival Con- cert-room when the alarm was given that the Minster was in flames. At first it was declared to be a Catholic hoax ; but the assembly soon discovered the melancholy truth, and adjourned to the scene of de- vastation.