St. Sampson’s Church,
Sub-Roman Archiepiscopal Cathedral?
The great interest of St. Sampson’s lies in the fact that it is the only church in the country dedicated to the legendary Archbishop of York who was supposedly installed by King Arthur’s uncle, Ambrosius Aurelianus, after repelling a force of Saxon invaders in AD 466. The building appears to have originally been built into the wall of the old Roman city. Part of an early 11th century cross shaft, found in the area, certainly shows its ancient origins.
The tower of this 15th century church was heavily damaged by cannon fire during the Civil War Siege of York in 1644. It was later restored but, by 1845, the whole building was almost a complete ruin, apparently due to a bad fire