York and New York to Honour 100 Years of Civic Partnership

The long-standing historic links between the cities of York and New York will be officially commemorated with the gifting of a ledger stone created by York Minster masons.

Presented as part of a Company dinner, this momentous event will also signify the formal affiliation of the Company of the Merchant Adventurers of the City of York and the St George’s Society of New York. Both organisations date back centuries and have shared core values of philanthropy, economic growth and enrichment through education.

The connections between the two cities are similarly deep-rooted. Not only do they have an unbreakable link through the history of their names – dating back to 1664 when New York was named – but in 1924, New York presented the city of York with a bronze plaque, which is currently housed in the York Guildhall, to mark their unique bond.

The ledger stone, an inscribed stone slab usually laid into the floor of a church, has been specially crafted to mark the centenary of this gift. It was created by stonemason Richard Bossons, who was responsible for designing York Minster’s recently unveiled statue of Queen Elizabeth II. The stone will be unveiled by HRH Duke of Gloucester, Patron of the St George’s Society New York on the 11th of July.

The plaque and ledger stone will be displayed together for public viewing at York Guildhall before the stone is shipped to New York early next year. It will be formally unveiled by the Archbishop of York, during a special evensong and civic reception at the Church of St Thomas in New York on 5th May 2024, to mark the centenary of this unique bond. York Minster shares a close relationship with St Thomas’ Church through its liturgy and music.  

The Very Revd Dominic Barrington, Dean of York, said: “York and New York have long collaborated on the international stage, forging connections between each city’s world-renowned institutions, including universities, businesses and cultural establishments. We’re delighted to be commemorating the centenary of this historic moment, and in particular to be doing so by showcasing the heritage craft skills of our talented team of stonemasons, whose efforts are absolutely crucial for ensuring a sustainable future for the Minster.

“Beyond the twinning of these two historic institutions, we hope to further develop connections between York and New York, as well as consequently helping to strengthen the city of York’s already strong position on the world stage through our international Centre of Excellence.”

York Minster, which has recently launched a fundraising campaign for its Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills, is one of just ten remaining cathedrals with a team of in-house craftspeople responsible for its conservation. The Centre of Excellence seeks to preserve and innovate these skills through the introduction of cutting-edge technology, as well as offering further training and development opportunities in these skills through international exchanges and partnerships.

Mr Joe Horsley, Governor of the Company of Merchant Adventurers, said: “This commitment of affiliation is a significant strengthening of our Company and the St Georges Society, with whom we share values, charitable efforts and provide a place of fellowship for and between our members. We are pleased to play our part in the wider connection between our cities and are particularly honoured to welcome HRH The Duke of Gloucester to our Hall to unveil the leger stone and meet our members.”

The original plaque

The Lord Mayor of York, Councillor Chris Cullwick said: “It is a fantastic honour to have been invited to celebrate the friendship between our two great, historic cities through the unveiling of a ledger stone that is to be presented in New York next summer. The Minster’s masons’ exceptional work will take pride of place at a world-famous location in central Manhattan, putting York even more firmly on the world map.

“I look forward to welcoming the St. George’s Society to York and working with them, the Minster and others, both here and in the United States, to strengthen links and maximise the benefits that this historic relationship brings.”

David Drinkwater, President of the St George’s Society of New York, added: “We are delighted that the allegiance between our two cities continues to blossom and that our pact to help those in need remains unwavering. With the invaluable support from members both near and far, St. George’s Society of New York takes immense pride in our charitable programs designed to safeguard our community from adversity while empowering students to unlock their academic potential.”

To find out more about the Centre of Excellence and donate to its fundraising campaign, visit: https://yorkminster.org/discover/centre-of-excellence-for-heritage-craft-skills-and-estate-management/.

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