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St Saviour's Church
St. Saviour's Church dates from the 15th century, but was mostly rebuilt in 1844-5. It now houses "DIG": a unique archaeology-based children's activity centre.
The entries in the catalogue of rectors for St. Saviour's church date back to William Luvell in 1250. However, the parish and church must be much older than this as records from circa 1088-1093 suggest that William the Conqueror gifted St. Saviour's to St. Mary's Abbey at some point prior to 1087.
An earlier building on (or close to) this site was known as "ecclesia sancti salvatoris in Marisco". This translates as 'the Church of St Saviour-in-the-Marshes' - a reference to the nearby wetlands associated with the River Foss (see the King's Fishpond).
In 1736, the church's tower boasted
"a handsome tower steeple with a large wooden cross on the top of it".
Source: Drake, Francis "Eboracum: or the History and Antiquities of the City of York”, printed by William Bowyer (London, 1736).
Both the steeple and the cross are now distant memories, but they would have made the church clearly visible from miles away across the flat marshland to the east of the City.
The church was significantly rebuilt in 1844-5 and the vestry was added in 1878.
In 1954, the parish of St. Saviour was merged into that of All Saints' Church, Pavement and the building was declared redundant for religious purposes. In 1955, it became a storeroom for York Castle Museum.
The "DIG" Activity Centre
The building was acquired by the York Archaeological Trust in 1975 and initially used as a finds repository.
In 1990, the Trust converted the building into the 'Archaeological Resource Centre (ARC)', which operated as an extension of the Jorvik Viking Centre.
Thanks in part to funding from the Millennium Lottery Commission, the Trust was able to develop the initial (relatively simple) resource centre into a fully fledged children's activity centre with associated corporate event space. This enhanced offering (rebranded as "DIG" or "Jorvik DIG") opened its doors to the public on March 25th, 2006.
In its activity centre role, "DIG" allows children to experience the thrill of excavating replica historical artefacts in a safe, clean and enjoyable environment.
For further information, please refer to the centre's own website (see 'External Links' below).