Throughout the Middle Ages and continuing beyond the Reformation, the church in Ripon had a special place within what was then the huge diocese of York. Ripon Minster, as it was then, was served by seven canons, who were responsible for a ‘super parish’ extending some twenty miles around. But the college of canons was dissolved at the Reformation, its medieval rights and liberties were removed, and the church — undoubtedly a cathedral in appearance, and until then sharing some of its functions— became simply the parish church of Ripon. Even so, such was its area of responsibility and its presence within the ecclesiastical life of the Northern Province and the great diocese of York that it still had five vicars. However, in 1604 its special status was royally recognised when James I issued a charter establishing a minster-community of Dean and Canons, and so Ripon’s formal position as a distinctive, collegiate church was re-established.