(11) The King's Manor (Frontispiece, Plates 53–76)
stands E. and S.E. of the abbey church of St. Mary; it
represents the mediaeval abbot's house adapted and
enlarged as the headquarters of the Council of the North,
and now forms a part of the University of York.
The historical part of the text which follows is largely
based on the account of the King's Manor by H. M.
Colvin which will appear in volume iv of the History of
the King's Works. The parts of the building are identified by letters A to K which are shown on the plan in
the pocket at the end of the book. For the sake of
clarity the buildings are described as though they lay on
an E.-W. axis corresponding to the liturgical E.-W. of
The Abbot's House. The first house on this site was
almost certainly built c. 1270 for Simon de Warwick,
Abbot of St. Mary's in 1258–96. Late 13th-century
plinth mouldings, similar to those of the abbey church,
still exist in enough places to suggest that the house was
U-shaped and of the same extent as the later mediaeval
rebuilding. The surviving 13th-century work is of
white magnesian limestone ashlar and is confined to the
lower storey; it does not appear on the E. elevation. It
is likely that this represents a stone-built lower storey
which had timber-framing above, as at St. Anthony's
Hall, York, a building of the 15th century where the
timber-framing was all replaced by brick in the 18th
century, and in the Hospitium of the abbey. The
quantity of reused heavy timbers to be found in parts
of the flooring may be further evidence of such construction.
The house as it now exists is mostly a rebuilding of
the late 15th century. The work, usually assigned to
Abbot William Sever (1485–1502), was begun by his
predecessor Abbot Thomas Boothe to whom a Crown
licence was given on 30 September 1483 to retain
Richard Che(r)yholme, bricklayer, and his four servants
as long as it should please him (BM Harleian MS. 433,
f. 119v). Cheryholme had been admitted to the freedom
of the City of York as a 'tyler' in 1481/2 (SS, xcvi, 204);
Cherryholme is a place near Drax, by Selby, and the
centre of a brick-making district. The building work
was continued by Abbot Sever until his translation to the
bishopric of Durham in 1502 when he promised to pay
workmen who were still owed money for work done
during his abbacy (YCA, Memorandum Book B/Y,
f. 173b). The walling of the new work was all of brick
above a stone plinth. The windows were framed in
terracotta under brick labels and relieving arches (Plate
59), probably the earliest use of terracotta in England.
The late 15th-century house faced inwards to the three-sided courtyard open to the W. (Plate 57). Contemporary floors and roofs remain in the side ranges
(Plate 63), the roofs being originally ceiled but without
attics; the roof of the main range met the roof of the
cross-wings with hips, not gables.
Dissolution. The Council in the North. The Abbey of
St. Mary's, York, was formally surrendered on 29
November 1539 (Lamp;P Hy VIII, xiv, ii, 213, no. 603)
and on the 17 December 1539 the Council of the North
wrote to Cromwell asking him to thank the king for
allowing them to use the house 'which of late was called
St. Mary Abby without the City of York' (Lamp;P Hy
VIII, xiv, ii, 258, no. 698). At first little would need to
be done to the abbot's house except repairs.
The accounts of Leonard Beckwith, receiver of the
revenues of the lands of the dissolved monasteries in
Yorkshire, show that in 1539–40 £58. 3s. 9d. were
spent 'on divers buildings within the site of the
monastery of St. Mary's York now called the King's
Manor, which are reserved for the King's councillors
in the North ... as appears by a book of particulars
made by the Bishop of Llandaff and other members of
the Council' (PRO, LR 6/121/2).
More extensive alterations were called for in 1541
when Henry VIII visited York in company with Queen
Katherine Howard and lived here for twelve days
(Drake, 128; Knight, 366). Beckwith's account for
1540–1 shows that £8. 10s. 2d. was spent on 'dighting
and cleansing' the Manor before the King's arrival, but
the main outlay was entrusted to Clement Throckmorton, an official of the Court of Augmentations. It
was he who was responsible for 'repairing and beautifying' such houses 'as the king intends to resort unto in his
progress', including York, Leconfield and Hull. For this
purpose he received at least £833. 6s. 8d. of which £400
is specifically stated to have been for works at 'St.
Mary's Manor' (PRO, Lamp;P Hy VIII, xvii, 135–6; LR
6/121/2). Two windows with hollow-chamfered members and set in reused ashlar may be of this date.
A survey made shortly before the death of Henry VIII
in 1547 shows that many of the abbey conventual
buildings still remained; it describes the church as
roofless and lists as 'uncovered' most of the former
monastic buildings. The abbot's house is not mentioned
by name but may be represented by a block of habitable
rooms listed as 'the hall, the chapell, the great chamber,
the chamber over the great chamber, two litill chambers,
a privie kitchen, two chambers over it, all under one
roof covered with leade' and measuring 34 yards long
and 14 yards broad. It is difficult to reconcile this with
the present house, but the main E. range is 103 ft. long
inside and the width across this range and the porch is
about 42 ft. Here three fothers of lead were needed to
repair the roof. One of the few buildings to be listed 'in
good state' was the gatehouse by St. Olave's church,
together with a chamber in or adjoining it occupied by
Robert Chaloner, a member of the Council. A range of
timber-framed stables 60 feet long and 24 feet wide is
noted as having been 'newe amended by my Lord
President's commandment' (PRO, E. 101/501/17).
It has always been supposed that Henry VIII ordered
a palace to be built between the abbot's house and the
river and that it was ruined a few years later (Davies, 4,
5). Foundations that could belong to this building have
been found in excavation (Wellbeloved, St. Mary's
Abbey, 9, 11, 14), but the architectural features of the
outer W. range, K, usually supposed to be built at this
time, suggest that c. 1600–20 is the correct date for it.
In November 1549 the Privy Council directed the
under-treasurer of the Mint at York to issue £30 to be
spent on repairs by the Earl of Shrewsbury (a member
of the Council in the North) and authorised the expenditure of a further £30 'in cace it shall appere unto
the said Erle that the said £30 is not sufficient' (PRO,
APC, ii, 363). The money was to be paid to John
Harbert, appointed Keeper of the Manor in 1543 (Lamp;P
Hy VIII, xviii, i, 546).
In 1550 the Augmentations prepared to pull down the
S. aisle of the abbey church, the dorter and the refectory,
and were barely prevented from laying their hands on
the Manor itself. As it was, 'the chief Wyndowe of the
Kings Mats owne bed chamber was damaged' and 'such
spoyle and defacing [was] made in divers parts of his
highnes said palace, that hit wold greve any man to see
it' (College of Arms, Talbot Papers B 216. Letter dated
April 1551). A similar protest must have been addressed
to the Privy Council, for on the 15 April 1551 that body
gave directions for a letter to be written to 'Mr
Chancellor of th'Augmentations that the Kinge's
Pallaice at York be no further defaced' (PRO, APC, iii,
When in 1562 the possibility of a meeting between
Queen Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots was being
explored, the Lord President (the Earl of Rutland) told
William Cecil that the palace was not fit for the purpose
'as it has been so defaced that only one large chamber
remains'. Some new building had been begun 'as will
appear by the plat thereof sent by the bearer' (CSP
Foreign 1562, nos. 215 and 218), and between 1561 and
1563 the Earl of Rutland received £380 for the work
(PRO, Receivers' Accounts Yorkshire, SC6 Elizabeth I/
1740–1). This new building, E (Plate 67), continues the
line of the main range of the mediaeval house to the N.
and is the earliest surviving addition.
That new buildings were being added perhaps as
early as c. 1560 is recorded elsewhere, for on the
8 September 1570 Thomas Radcliffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex
(President 1568–72), wrote to the Council: 'By order
of Her Majesty I caused £200 to be received of the
receiver of Yorkshire for finishing buildings begun by
the Earl of Rutland [Henry Manners, 2nd Earl, President
1560/1–1563] and the Archbishop of York [Archbishop
Thomas Young, President 1563–8], when Presidents, at
Her Majesty's house in York, and have caused the money
to be so employed. Understanding from the Council
that the £200 is disbursed, that money is still due to
certain workmen, and that a gallery has yet to be tiled,
and with two other chambers ceiled in the roofs,—
which will finish the whole work begun, and unless
done before winter, the vault which is over the gallery
will be in danger of falling, as the rain has already begun
to pierce it. [This vault was probably in plaster.] I
beseech your warrant to Sir Thomas Gargrave, Receiver
of Yorkshire, and others, to take account of the £200,
pay the overplus due, see what remains to be finished
and disburse the premises, either of the revenues of
Yorkshire or of the fines of the rebels, which being done
with small charge now, Her Majesty shall have a
convenient house for her President, and sufficient for a
lodging for herself, if occasion shall draw her into those
parts. If it not be presently done, the cost already
bestowed will be lost, the like will not hereafter be
done without a far greater sum, and the house will
remain unfit for any nobleman that holds that place.
... £200 or £300 at most will pay all that due and
finish the rest; £150 is already due' (CSP Dom. Add.
1566–79, 318, no. 6). On the 10 September 1570 the
Earl of Sussex told Sir William Cecil that he had written
to the Council (ibid., 319, no. 8). Between November
1568 and April 1570 he had spent over £400 on the
house (PRO, E 101/501/16) and had been authorised to
take 100 oaks from the Forest of Galtres.
The works were completed between November 1568
and April 1570 with John Hilton as 'clerk surveyor'
(PRO, E 101/501/16). In April 1569 Sussex pleaded in
vain for a warrant for a further 100 oaks. The Queen's
Highness he was told 'layeth away her owne Buildings,
by reason of the grate charges', and would not be
pleased if any but essential repairs were carried out at her
house in York (letter from the Marquis of Winchester
to the Earl of Sussex printed by L. Howard, A Collection
of Letters of Many Princes, great Personages and Statesmen
(1753), 216–17). Eventually the Council allowed a
further outlay of £260 from the fines imposed on the
rebels of 1569, and the work was completed, but Sussex
was still out of pocket to the extent of £89 (PRO,
E 101/501/16; SP 46/14, ff. 1180–1).
In addition to the new building the mediaeval house
was largely refenestrated at this time, the characteristic
window having hollow-chamfered brick mullions,
transom and reveals, plastered to simulate stone. The
windows which Radcliffe put in on the first floor facing
the court have labels joined to form a continuous string
but this does not reach to the ends of the side ranges
(Plate 56). The end of the string coincides with the
position of a wall which closed the W. side of the court,
as is shown on a drawing by Place. This wall can hardly
have reached up as high as the top of the upper windows
but some projecting feature on this line must be presumed to have provided a termination for the string.
The enclosing wall survived till 1822 (Hargrove, iii,
578–9; A. Smith's plan in Baines' Directory, ii (1823))
but it does not appear on the plan of the YPS excavations of 1827–8. The central part of the mediaeval house
was probably altered when it was refenestrated, for there
is plaster of this date in the present roof space above the
ceiling. At this time also a porch was built in the N.E.
corner of the courtyard with re-use of sections of 13th-century plinth (Plate 57).
Earl of Huntingdon. There is little record of building
work in the time of Henry Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon
(President 1572–95), but he formed a Council Chamber
(Plate 64) on the first floor, partly in the W. end of the
N. range of the mediaeval house (C on plan) and partly
over the adjoining mediaeval kitchen (D) into which
he inserted the present floor. A frieze in the Council
Chamber (Plate 65) contains Huntingdon's own bull's
head crest within a Garter (granted 1570) and the Bear
and Ragged Staff badge for his wife, Catherine (Dudley)
(GEC, Complete Peerage, vi (1926), 657). The bay
window to the room is probably also of this period. The
room had been divided by 1682 but it was opened up
again later. The use of the upper part of the mediaeval
kitchen to form part of the Council Chamber did not
mean that the kitchen could not continue in use, for it
still had a fireplace with a flue.
(11) The King's Manor. Plans showing development.
In each plan new work is shown in black outline,
earlier work stippled.
A. Hall block of abbot's house. c. 1483–1500, remodelled
c. 1560–70 and later.
B. S. Cross-wing of abbot's house.
C. N. " " " "
D. Kitchen of abbot's house, remodelled c. 1575 to form the
E. North Range. c. 1560–70.
F. Second North Range. c. 1610.
G. Central North Block. c. 1610, upper part late 17th-century.
H. Central Range. Lower part c. 1610, upper part 1633.
J. South Range. 16th-century and later.
K. West Range. c. 1610 with modern upper storeys.
Huntingdon also erected a building along the S.
precinct wall of St. Mary's Abbey, for on the 22 June
1580 it was 'Agreed that my L Psident shall have a
license to set Butteries upon the moat without Bothome
barr, in the occupacon of John Farley, nere the mannor,
and he is to pay therfore yearlie ...' (YCA House Book,
B 27, 243) and on the 15 July 1580 it was agreed that the
Lord President should have a lease for 100 years of 'a
parcell of the moate of the Walles of this Cittie nighe
unto Bothome barr, to set four pillowes upon, nighe
adjoyninge to a newe building in the Mannor garth, and
he to pay for the same yearlie xijd' (YCR viii, YASRS
cxix (1953), 36). In the undercroft of the S. range (J)
one jamb of a window, set in a wall which bears no
relationship to the present building, is presumably a
relic of Huntingdon's building. Speed's map of 1610
shows a range along the abbey wall. William Foster,
Free of York in 1570/1 (SS, cii, 13) was described
in 1577 as the Lord President's mason; he may have
been in charge of Huntingdon's works.
Lord Sheffield. James I, on his first visit to York in 1603,
is said to have ordered the house to be embellished
(Drake, 574). On the 3 September 1609, Edmund, Lord
Sheffield (President 1603–19), applied to the Exchequer
for 500 marks a year for the repair of the King's Manor
and Sheriff Hutton Castle (CSP Dom. 1603–1610, 534,
no. 72, 541, no. 5), and the Lord Treasurer asked for an
estimate. The estimate, duly presented on the 17 December 1609 (ibid., 573, no. 71; Davies, 18–19), is important
for it details the buildings already existing: in the
following extracts an attempt is made to identify the
various sites. Work is recommended to the great
chamber, the dining and drawing chambers, the seven
chambers above them and the passages to the chambers
and half paces [the central and S. ranges of the mediaeval
house (A, B) and, if this be so, it is important to note that
that main rooms were on the ground floor]; the north
galleries with four chambers at the east end and vaults
and parlours under them [probably the N. range of
1570 (E)], the galleries next to the cloister, with four
chambers at the E. end and five parlours beneath
[probably the N. mediaeval range (C)]; the passages
and stairs between the two galleries [not identified]; the
old Hall kitchen and paistry, etc. six rooms [the W. end
of the N. mediaeval range (C)]; the larders with three
chambers over them, the granary, bakehouse and
stables [probably removed]; the new kitchen and the
building of a new Hall [the S. range (J)]; the parlours
and chamber at the north end of the tennis court and
the parlour and chambers next the garden [probably
removed] (cf. YAJ, xxxvi, pt. 143 (1944), 374–8); and
the gatehouse roofs and eight parlours and chambers
[the main abbey gatehouse, which stood intact until
The total estimate amounted to £758. 19s. 4d. and
on 28 June 1610 it was approved by Simon Basill, the
Surveyor of the King's Works (CSP Dom. 1603–1610,
573, no. 71), but not until the 4 July 1616 did Sheffield
receive a grant of £1000 towards the expenses (CSP
Dom. 1611–1618, 379, no. 4). In 1616/17 Sheffield
received £3500 for work (Receivers' Accounts Yorkshire). Craftsmen concerned were Thomas Brinsley,
mason, George Wilson, free of York 1598, carpenter,
Thomas Sell, bricklayer, and John Tayler, tyler.
Buildings erected for Lord Sheffield include three
with a characteristic moulded plinth; these are the inner
N. range (F) doubling the width of the range of 1570,
the central N. block (G) (Plate 53) and the outer W.
range (K). The new kitchen referred to in the estimate
above was not newly built by Lord Sheffield but was so
called to distinguish it from the old kitchen, and the
tiles, laths, nails and lead required make it clear that it
was to be re-roofed. The building of a new hall must
have been a more drastic reconstruction; it included
£50 for stone and £50 under workmanship for rough
work, windows and chimneys. It would appear to have
been a remodelling of Lord Huntingdon's S. range but
not extending so far W. as the present dining hall,
according to a plan dated 1682 in William Salt Library,
Stafford (Dartmouth MSS. D 1778/iii/02). Sheffield was
also responsible for linking his new hall to the original
N. range by a single-storey gallery which now forms
the lower story of the central range (H, Plate 69); the
stone frieze now at first-floor level must originally have
been at the base of the parapet and a similar frieze is
seen in 17th-century drawings at the head of a lofty bow
window on the W. side of Sheffield's outer W. range.
It is probable that Lord Sheffield also provided the two
elaborate carved stone doorcases, now both on the E.
elevation but one of which was described by Hargrove
(iii, 578–9) as facing the courtyard. To Sheffield also can
be attributed various fireplaces with jewel ornament
(Plate 66). He remodelled the mediaeval house, altering
the floor levels in the central block and improving the
outside to present a pleasant façade to the garden for the
visit of James I in 1617. There is only one mediaeval
truss left, and plaster at the top of the walls within the
roof space provides proof of Sheffield's alterations,
which could only have been possible after the provision
of a new hall.
Earl of Strafford. The last great building period in the
King's Manor was during the time of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford (1628–41). On the 31 October
1628 at about 10 a.m. a fierce wind blew down seven
chimney shafts on the roof of the King's Manor and the
eldest son of the Vice-President, Sir Edward Osborne
was killed (Benson, iii, 11).
In 1633 a letter from Wentworth to the Earl of Carlisle
who was staying at the King's Manor says 'the house
you will find much amended since my coming to it and
£1000 more to build a gallery and a chapel in that Place
where you may perceive I intend it will make it very
commodious' (W. Knowles (ed.), The Earl of Strafford's
Letters, i (1739), 85). In 1634 £1712. 19s. 7d. was
allowed out of distraint for knighthood in the five
northern counties 'circa nova edificia de le Manner
House' (PRO, E 101/668/9, m3). In 1637 the J.P.'s for
the North Riding reported that their area had not
contributed to the Manor repairs but had supplied
timber and other materials (CSP Dom. 1637, 348, no. 7;
Charles I was in York at the King's Manor in 1633
and 1639. In a letter of August 1639 Wentworth wrote
'there is a Gloria Patri sung at St. Mary Abbey, so as the
Pillars in the Kitchen now may hope to have the
Honor to become the Pillars again of a Church as
formerly they were' (Strafford's Letters, ii, 381). From
this it appears that Wentworth intended to remodel
Sheffield's hall to form a first-floor chapel over the
kitchen. At the E. end he added the external staircase
and the doorway with the arms of Charles I over it
(Plate 68). He put new windows in the hall itself and
from the W. end of the hall he provided new access to
the N. range by building a second storey upon Sheffield's
gallery (H, Plate 69) across the S.W. side of the court.
He inserted a new doorway with his own arms over it
into Sheffield's gallery, which survives to form the
central feature of the range (Plate 76).
Sir Henry Savile, who was Vice-President of the
Council under Wentworth, was nephew to Henry
Savile, Warden of Merton College Oxford, who
introduced Halifax masons to Oxford. Possibly a
similar introduction by the nephew might account for
some West Riding vernacular features at the Manor.
The Civil War and Later 17th century. The Council of
the North was abolished in 1641, after which there were
no major additions made to the Manor until the 19th
century. The place was in the forefront of action during
the siege of York and at least one range, the outer one
to the W. (K), was half demolished.
On the 18 June 1644 both the Earl of Manchester and
Ferdinando, Lord Fairfax, wrote to the Committee of
both Kingdoms at Derby House to say that the previous
day the Parliamentarians had sprung a mine which
blew up the corner tower of the abbey precinct wall on
Bootham. Manchester's Major-General had attacked
the manor house and captured 100 but he had been
beaten out with the loss of 300 men (CSP Dom. 1644,
The Manor was surrendered on the 16 July 1644 and
on the 4 August 1645 Stephen Watson and two other
aldermen were asked by the Committee of H.M.
Revenue sitting at Westminster to make an Inventory
of goods in it (CSP Dom. 1645–1647, 42). On the
26 October 1653 the Council of State ordered Colonel
Beckwith to take care of the King's Manor which had
been spoiled and wasted (CSP Dom. 1653–4, 217). On
the 17 June 1656 the Council of State ordered that
Colonel Robert Lilburne should receive £400 for
repairs, and the Lord Mayor Thomas Dickenson and
Ralph Rymer were to say what repairs were necessary
(CSP Dom. 1655–6, 376, nos. 14, 15). By the 7 August
1656 Robert Lilburne's promotion to Major-General
obviously required his services elsewhere, and the £400
was to be paid to Humphrey Harwood of York, who
was to authorise Ralph Rymer to pay the workmen for
repairs (CSP Dom. 1656–7, 64, no. 14). The King's
Manor was thus put in order and kept habitable during
On 14 June 1662 Humphrey Harwood was still living
in the Manor (CSP Dom. Add. 1660–1685, 69). Henry
Darcy, who became keeper in May 1665, obtained a
warrant for £400 for repairs in 1666 (PRO, SP 44/14,
f. 59; T 48/32, f. 156v); his account survives in a
damaged condition (PRO, E 101/529/5). It relates to
work in 'the Presence Chamber, the Withdrawing
Room, the Belcony Chamber, the King's Chamber,
the Matted Chamber, the Wainscot Chamber and the
In 1667 the Manor became the official residence of
John, Lord Freschville, Governor of the City of York
(Drake, 574). In 1671 and 1672 Lord Freschville was
seeking money for repairs, not above £100, as he was
living in part of the Manor and had 30 persons in his
family (CSP Dom. 1671–2, 275). In 1675 the Treasury
allowed £150 for repairs; old material could be used
(Cal. Treasury Books 1672–5, 335, 840).
An important drawing by Jacob Richards (William
Salt Library, Stafford, Dartmouth MSS. D 1778/iii/02)
gives the plan of the Manor in some detail and is associated with 'An Accompt of His Majesties Goods now
Remaineing in the Manor-house at York taken by the
Honourable Sir Christopher Musgrave Knight, Lieutenant General of His Majesties Ordnance ye 19th
October 1682' (for more detail see RCHM, York II,
The Defences). The plan shows that the hall built for
Lord Sheffield in the S. range extended no further than
the S.W. corner of the front court where it met the
gallery (H); Wentworth proposed to make it into a
chapel, but on this plan it is called The Councill
Chamber. Access to it is from the S. end of range H and
from the external staircase from the court. The previous
Council Chamber (the Huntingdon Room) had been
divided into two smaller rooms.
The outer W. range (K) is shown joined to the central
range (H) by a gallery across the inner court, which has
since been removed leaving scars on the central range
(Plate 70). A plan by Archer of the same period shows
also a second building connecting the central and W.
ranges, along the S. side of the inner court, in continuation of the Council Chamber block. Of the outer W.
range Richards says it 'never was finished within, but
the roof was and covered with panntiles wch. were
afterwards taken off by a certain Governour and sould
for his majes. use but the money he kept for his owne,
and left the timber to shift for it self. Under this house
is a stately arched cellar the length of it' (Plate 73).
In the late 17th century when the Manor was the
Governor's residence the hips at the ends of the mediaeval
building were replaced by tumbled gables (Plate 55)
and the central block on the N. side (G, Plate 53) was
heightened, perhaps in 1682 when Sir John Reresby,
Governor of York, spent about £200 on work at the
Manor (J. Cartwright (ed.), Memoirs of Sir John Reresby
(1875), 374, 378, 386–7). On the 27 October 1687 the
Treasury asked John Fisher, the Deputy Surveyor
General of Crown Lands, for details of the Manor so that
it could be released to Francis Lawson, one of the King's
chaplains, for 31 years. He was to pay 20 nobles a year
to the housekeeper in place of the King. Fisher gave his
report on the house and 13 acres of land and pointed out
that Sir John Reresby regarded it as a perquisite of his
Governorship (Cal. Treasury Books, VIII, 1685–9, iii,
On the 24 November the Treasury gave a warrant
to the Clerk of the Pipe for the lease for 31 years to
Francis Lawson (son of Sir John Lawson of Brough),
one of His Majesty's chaplains, of the King's Manor with
outhouses, stables, barns and 13 acres, now or late in the
tenure of Sir John Reresby Bt., Governor of York (Cal.
Treasury Books, VIII, 1685–9, iii, 1602). Lawson converted
the Manor into a 'Popish School' and used the Hall (the
Councill Chamber on Richards' plan) as a chapel.
When Father Lawson had departed, Ralph Rymer
asked for the lease of the Manor at 10s. a year as granted
to Father Lawson, and it was referred to William
Harbord, Surveyor General of Crown Lands (Cal.
Treasury Books, ix, 1689–92, i, 165). On the 8 June 1690
the lease was granted to Rymer by William Harbord
by warrant, as Lawson had now fled the kingdom.
However the house was ruinous and there is a reference
to Robert Waller as housekeeper (Cal. Treasury Books,
IX, 1689–92, ii, 711–12, 749; iii, 1416). Rymer held it
until 1691/2 but on the 19 February 1691/2 the Treasury
asked the Surveyor General to report as a preliminary
to making over the lease to Robert Waller (ibid., iv,
1502). The lease was granted to Waller on the 7 March
1691/2 (ibid., 1532).
Benedict Horsley's map of 1694 shows that the back
inner court was much more built up than it now is and
it remained in this condition until c. 1800.
On the 18 May 1699 Jane Marritt, widow, petitioned
for help as Robert Waller and his heirs had demolished
that part of the King's Manor in which she lived (Cal.
Treasury Papers 1697–1701, ii, no. lxi (35), 299); the
demolition could only relate to the removal of the roof
of the outer W. range (K).
18th century. On the 3 July 1718 Sir Tancred Robinson
asked for an extension of the term granted to Robert
Waller (Cal. Treasury Books, XXXII, 1718, ii, 434), and on
the 17 July the lease was granted for 26 years from the
16 March 1722 (ibid., 466). A drawing dated 19 June
1726 shows that Sir Tancred occupied the N. range (E)
and its annexe (F) and also had some floor space elsewhere. Francis Place, the artist, lived in the N. part of
the front range (A), Mr. Lumley and his school occupied
the N. mediaeval wing (C) and (D) and adjacent
buildings, and the remainder was tenanted by Mr.
Owram and Mr. Barker (Leeds City Library, Newby
Hall Records, N.N. 2384 A/2). Ralph Thoresby brought
his daughters to Mr. Lumley's boarding school in 1712.
Other drawings in the same series (A1, A3, A4) show
that Sir Tancred was considering a project to develop
the land to the S.W; the main designs comprised four
large blocks, each consisting of conjoined symmetrically
designed houses placed round a courtyard open to the
river and with trees between it and the water. The
design could be by the unknown architect who built
similar blocks in Lendal and Micklegate. Sir Tancred
Robinson Bart. was the second son of Sir William
Robinson, for whom Colen Campbell built Baldersby,
and Robinson's local architect there, William Etty,
probably built the Red House, Duncombe Place, for
Sir William in York.
Sir Tancred Robinson modernised the N. range (E)
with hung-sash windows, panelling and fireplaces, and
the staircase there is of his date. He probably formed the
connection between ranges F and G, for he owned
rooms on both sides of the yard; it was certainly there
by 1770 (PRO, MPE 575).
The Banqueting Hall, which had been Lawson's
chapel in the late 17th century, was 'by a strange reverse
of circumstances converted into an Assembly Room
and was also used by the High Sheriffs of the County,
during the assizes and races, for the entertainment of
their friends' (Hargrove, iii, 580–1). The assemblies
began in 1710 and were well attended in 1713 (VCH.
York, 245). The drawing of 1726 shows the Hall
enlarged to its present size.
A plan of June 1770 by R. Bewlay, Surveyor (PRO,
MPE 575), shows most buildings as they are now, but
most of those in the back courtyard were in ruins.
19th century. In the early 19th century the ornate door
surround provided in the time of Lord Sheffield was still
on the inside of the first court, the main doorway to the
Banqueting Hall was blocked, and the gallery between
it and the Council Chamber was occupied by Mr.
Wolstenholme, carver and gilder (Hargrove, iii, 580–1),
In March 1812 the York Diocesan Society and
National School took over the S.W. part of the Manor
(Hargrove, iii, 580–1) on lease from the Crown lessee,
Lord de Grey. The Manor National School was opened
in January 1813 and buildings on the S. side of the back
court were partly reconstructed to form a typical school
of this period. In 1818 there were 440 boys. Further
accommodation was secured in 1835 and in the late 19th
century school buildings in red brick with stone
dressings were erected above the vault of the outer W.
range (K) by J. B. & W. Atkinson. In 1922 the school
was moved to Marygate (VCH, York, 449–50) and the
Blind School, already in the other part of the Manor,
occupied its premises. In 1851 the vault of the W. range
had a garden terrace over it (OS).
In 1833 the Yorkshire School for the Blind was
founded and in 1835 the lease of the King's Manor, less
the National School, was acquired for them and the
school remained there until 1956 (VCH, York, 459–60).
For a long time a statue of Wilberforce, the founder of
the school, stood in the entrance; the sculptor was
Samuel Joseph, 1791–1850 (Gunnis, 222).
While the Blind School was in possession a new
Headmaster's house was built in 1899, standing to the E.
between the old manor buildings and the City Art
Gallery, to the designs of Walter Brierley. It is in
Jacobean style, treated with much sensibility. In 1958 the
City of York acquired the King's Manor (VCH, York,
531). In 1963–4 it was restored, modernised and
extended for the University of York by William
Birch & Sons Ltd. of York under the direction of the
architects Feilden & Mawson of Norwich in association
with Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall & Partners.
Architectural Description. The Mediaeval House has an E.
elevation (Frontispiece, Plate 54), representing the E. side of
the hall block, A, and the ends of two cross-wings, B, C; it is
of c. 1480, but much altered. Above a stone plinth the walling
is of brick with remains of a diaper pattern; it finishes at the
N. end with a diagonal buttress. The positions of original
windows of c. 1480 are indicated by the surviving brick relieving arches; the windows were constructed in terracotta (cf.
Plate 59) of which there are remains at the extreme S. end in a
small window which lit a garderobe and in the surviving
fragments of small one and two-light windows by the S.
chimney, which lit a staircase. Alterations to windows in the
late 16th century can be identified by the remaining fragments
of the plaster which was applied to the brickwork to simulate
stone dressings. The upper S. window, of stone and of five
transomed lights, may be as early as 1540 but other 16th-century work is probably of c. 1570. New work of the 17th
century includes the whole of the S. chimney, the upper part
of the N. chimney, the stone parapet and, c. 1670, the formation of gables at each end of the roof, replacing the former hips.
The S. doorway, newly opened in the 17th century, has an
elaborate stone surround bearing the initials IR for James I and,
above, a large heraldic panel with initials CR for Charles I.
Over the Royal Arms there was formerly a crown, and the
niche above probably contained a bust. The N. doorway
(Plate 74) is an original opening of c. 1480 but has a stone
surround of c. 1610 brought from the W. elevation and reset;
the S. side of it is partly restored. All the existing ground-floor windows are of the first half of the 19th century but later
than Whittock's drawing of 1829. Some of the upper windows
are of the 17th century; some were restored or modified in the
19th century. Two to N. of the central chimney are covered
with Roman cement.
The S. elevation of the S. cross-wing, B (Plate 55), was very
largely refaced c. 1900 in advance of the original wall face. One
of the original terracotta windows of c. 1480 remains complete, under a brick arch similar to those on the E. front
(Plate 59); it has three transomed lights with segmental heads.
To the E. the gable of 1670 is finished with tumbled brickwork
with two oval windows in the gable. The jambs of a 17th-century window, now blocked, remain below. All the other
windows are modern. In the middle of the elevation is a small
gabled projection, probably of early 18th-century date, in
which is reset a fragment of a 17th-century carved stone frieze.
In front of the W. part of the elevation the base of a fragment
of the abbey precinct wall remains, standing only one course
above the ground.
The W. end of the S. cross-wing is almost freestanding
(Plate 68); the lower part is of limestone ashlar with a moulded
13th-century plinth in situ and contains a hollow-chamfered
three-light window of the 17th century. The walling above is
of brick with stone dressings rising to a gable which has been
heightened, above a modern first-floor window of five
transomed lights. The end wall, with the 13th-century plinth,
continues S. outside the range, having previously formed the
side of a small projection of which the other walls have been
Fig. 33. (11) The King's Manor. E. Elevation.
From a photogrammetic survey by R. W. A. Dallas.
aa. 17th-century gables.
bb. line of 15th-century hips.
c. 17th-century parapet.
d. 17th-century chimney.
e. terracotta window of c. 1480.
ff. relieving arches over windows of c. 1480.
g. window of c. 1540 (?).
hh. 19th-century window.
i. 17th-century window, blocked.
jj. fragments of terracotta window.
k. doorway with initials of James I.
l. arms of Charles I.
m. window of 1570, replacing 15th-century window, now
n. level of inserted floor.
o. level of first floor c. 1580.
p. level of present first floor.
q. diaper pattern in brickwork of 15th-century chimney.
rr. windows restored, probably 17th-century.
s. entrance to former screens passage.
t. 17th-century window.
The main court was formerly divided into two parts by a
wall joining the W. ends of the two wings of the mediaeval
building. The E. part of the court, enclosed on three sides by
buildings of 1480 formed a plain rectangle into which a gabled
projection was built in the N.E. corner c. 1590, the lower part
forming a porch in front of the screens passage as then existing
(Plate 57). The walling of the mediaeval building is mainly of
brick of c. 1480 but includes areas of stonework some of
which, on the ground floor, may represent walling of the late
13th century but none has the moulded 13th-century plinth;
stonework in the upper storey is reused from the 13th-century
building. The lower part of the porch is of stone and on the
S. side it has a 13th-century plinth but this is reset. Incomplete
fragments of diaper pattern in the walls of the main range
indicate that the brickwork is much disturbed and rebuilt. Few
traces of mediaeval openings remain: on the W. side of the
hall range are the arched heads of two first-floor openings
which may have led to an external gallery; stone corbels for
carrying the roof of such a gallery remain; in the N. wing on
the ground floor are two reset brick niches with arched heads
and on the first floor the second window from the E. is set
under a 15th-century relieving arch (Plate 57).
The main doorway in the main range is quite modern and is
set further N. than its predecessor. In the S. wing (Plate 56) the
W. doorway is entirely modern, that near the middle of the
range contains some old stonework and is flanked by a pair of
windows which may be of the 16th century. In the N. range
the doorway has a 17th-century head and is set in a small porch.
The remaining ground-floor openings in the three principal
ranges are all 19th-century or modern. In the projecting porch
the openings are all of c. 1590, but one doorway is restored and
one blocked. In the S. wing an upper window of five transomed lights set between patches of stonework may be of the
mid 16th century. In the main range and the E. part of the S.
wing a string-course over the upper windows is of c. 1570 and,
by its changes in level, indicates the positions of windows at
that time. They had brick jambs plastered to simulate stonework and this plaster can be seen flanking the second window
from the E. end in the S. wing, which is restored but unaltered,
and the N. window in the main range, where the opening is
partly blocked by brickwork flanking an 18th-century
window. The other upper windows were all renewed in stone
in the 17th century. In the N. wing three two-light windows
on the upper floor to the E. are all framed in 17th-century
stonework but also retain fragments of plaster on the adjacent
brickwork. The stonework of the central window appears to
have been originally made for a doorway. A fourth window,
further W., has four transomed lights.
The N. side of the N. wing, C, is now mostly masked by
later buildings. During repair work in 1962 it was seen that this
wall, of c. 1480, stands on the base of a 13th-century wall with
its footings carried round two projecting chimneystacks
corresponding to the 15th-century stacks still existing. Between
the stacks is a garderobe projection built out beyond the face
of the 13th-century footings, and a bay window, both part of
the 15th-century building. The bay window, now partly
masked, is of ashlar with four cinquefoil-headed lights at first-floor level (Plate 59). On the first floor and covered by later
building is a blocked window framed in terracotta similar to
that shown in Plate 59.
The mediaeval kitchen, D, projects N. from the N. wing
(Plate 58). The walls to the lower storey are of ashlar, partly
with the remains of a 13th-century plinth, and above is 15th-century brickwork with stone quoins. In the N. wall a five-light window to the ground floor framed in ovolo-moulded
stonework was inserted in the late 16th or early 17th century,
replacing an earlier opening, and on the first floor a transomed
window of c. 1610, also ovolo-moulded, cuts through plasterwork surviving from the jambs of a window of c. 1570. On the
W. a ground-floor fireplace and its chimney have been removed, the upper part being made good in old brickwork, the
lower part, now containing a doorway, in brickwork of the
19th century. Further S. is an ovolo-moulded three-light
window of the late 16th century now partly converted to a
doorway, flanked by masses of masonry which support a
rectangular, gabled bay above with a window of four ovolo-moulded transomed lights in the main face and single-light
windows in the sides, all probably of c. 1580 (Plate 58). The
bay would then have formed a central feature in a free-standing
Interior of Mediaeval House. The mediaeval building was of
two storeys but it has been partly converted to three storeys,
the first floor of the hall range having been lowered and a
second floor constructed in the 17th century. In the Hall
Range, A, the present entrance hall was formed by c. 1610 and
now contains a modern oak staircase with pine balusters
probably including some of c. 1700 reused. At the N. end the
original screens passage leads to the former porch. On the
first floor there are remains of the timber-framed cross walls
at each end of the range, from which it can be seen that the first
floor has been lowered about 2½ ft. The present ceiling cuts
across the heads of the 17th-century windows. In the W. wall
are exposed the head and jambs of one of the blocked 15th-century openings visible outside (Plate 61). In the S. room is an
elaborately decorated plaster ceiling of the early 17th century
brought from No. 6 North Street and re-erected in 1963
(York III, Plate 186).
The top storey, extending partly into the roof, does not run
the full length of the range; the four bays at the S. end are
unused. At the N. end the upper part of the 15th-century
timber-framed cross wall is exposed (Plate 60); it has a moulded
head beam and plain vertical studs which at the W. end are
stopped to allow for a former opening no doubt associated
with a spiral staircase which came up at this point. The roof
is carried on simple queen-strut trusses of late 17th-century
date erected when the hall roof was extended across the wings
to end in gables, replacing the mediaeval hips.
The South Cross-wing, B, of c. 1480, comprised four rooms
on the ground floor. The E. room, largely refitted in the
19th century, has a deep recess in the S. wall representing a
mediaeval garderobe. The fireplace has a surround of c. 1760
with rococo ornament enclosing an iron grate of c. 1820 in
gothic style (Plate 66). The middle part of the wing now contains a library formed out of two rooms; the E. end has simple
chamfered intersecting ceiling beams and the large W. part
has moulded intersecting beams. To the W. is a timber-framed
partition. At the W. end is a small room with a single chamfered beam. The whole of the upper floor now forms one large
reading room, now open to the roof, but was originally sub-divided, and the divisions were rearranged in the 16th century.
In the S. wall is an opening to an original garderobe. There are
three fireplaces: that to E. is of the late 15th century and has a
segmental arched head in moulded brick (Plate 66); it was
blocked in the course of 16th-century alterations when the
other fireplaces were inserted but has been reopened; the
middle fireplace has moulded jambs of reused stone and a flat
lintel (Plate 66); the third fireplace, of c. 1540–50, has chamfered stone jambs and a segmental arched brick head. To the
N. the timber-framing of the partition across the end of the
hall range is exposed (Plate 62). The roof (Plate 63) is carried
on eight simple king-post trusses with moulded tie-beams
morticed for ceiling joists; most of the timbers are of c. 1480
but with some new members. The ridge-purlin has been
The North Cross-wing, C, has on the ground floor a large
room at the E. end with the 15th-century ceiling divided into
square panels by moulded beams with mason's mitres at the
intersections (Plate 60); a wider beam near the W. end originally
had a partition under it. In the N. wall is a fireplace with a
stone surround enriched with jewel ornament of c. 1610 (Plate
66). Next W. was a small compartment of one bay, with
chamfered ceiling beams; it must have contained a staircase,
and a doorway from it to W. led to a garderobe. In the
next room to W. is a ceiling of two bays of intersecting
chamfered beams but the room has been slightly enlarged.
In the S. wall, between modern windows, is part of a 17th-century doorway (Plate 72). None of the partitions further W.
are in original positions and the ceilings and ceiling beams in
the W. part of the range are all of c. 1580. In the W. wall of
the range is a doorway of c. 1610 to the added building beyond;
it has moulded stone jambs and flattened four-centred head
with sunk spandrels (Plate 61). The former kitchen (Plate 61),
projecting to N., has a ceiling of c. 1580. In the E. wall is a large
fireplace recess; the chamfered stone jamb to S. may be of late
13th-century date but the arched head is probably of the 15th
century. The N. jamb has been reconstructed in modern times.
A brick arch to S. may represent an oven. In the W. wall are
recesses one of which was originally another fireplace; the
chimney has been removed as described under the exterior
Fig. 35. (11) The King's Manor. N. Cross-wing.
Ceiling beams on ground floor. 15th-century.
On the first floor the E. room has the ceiling divided into
square panels by moulded beams of the late 15th century.
Towards the W. end of the room partitions have been
removed and the smaller compartment formed by them must
have contained a staircase giving access to garderobes projecting from the N. wall. The last bay and a half at the W. end
also have the ceiling carried on late 15th-century beams but of
different design and the wall-plates are embattled. The fireplace in the N. wall is adjacent to the position of a mediaeval
window now blocked; further W. are the remains of the four-centred brick head of the entrance to a garderobe. In the S.
wall remains of the timber-framing of the partition wall to the
hall range are exposed, and further W. is the brick arched head
of a former doorway to a spiral staircase.
The W. part of the range together with the upper part of the
kitchen wing, D, together form the Huntingdon Room
(Plate 64), L-shaped on plan with a large bay opening out in
the middle of the W. side. Around the walls of the room is a
plaster frieze containing three motifs (Plate 65): a pomegranate
between two wyverns, the crest of Hastings, a bull's head erased
gorged with a ducal coronet between two H's all within a garter
under an earl's coronet, for Henry Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon, President of the Council of the North 1572–95, created
Knight of the Garter 1570, and a bear and ragged staff for
Catherine his wife, daughter of John Dudley, Duke of
Northumberland. In the E. wall of the N. part of the room is a
magnificent fireplace with segmental head formed of carved
stone voussoirs and ornamented pilaster jambs (Plate 65). The
E. end of the S. part of the room is lined with early 17th-century panelling perhaps reused; a recess E. of the fireplace
represents a mediaeval bay window. The ceiling in this part
of the room shows the continuation of the beam system in the
adjoining room to the E. On the window glass are various
schoolgirls' scratchings going back to 1745.
The roof is carried on king-post trusses; towards the E. end
the last king-post has an elaborate head cut to receive the
timbers of the hall range and the cross-wing, meeting at right
angles (Plate 63). The later 17th-century roof covers this
junction at a higher level.
Inside the porch projection between the hall range and the
N. cross-wing the two main floors and the semi-attic have been
converted to offices; the room on the first floor has an original
moulded timber lintel over the window opening; in the top
room the tie-beam and collar-beam of a roof truss are exposed,
together with the undersides of the rafters. The room is lit on
the W. by a modern dormer window below which are the
remains of a window, now blocked.
The North Range, E (Plate 67). The line of the main hall
range of the mediaeval house is continued to N., beyond the
cross-wing, by a range which forms the first post-dissolution
addition. It is of 16th-century date; the S. end was probably
started by the Earl of Rutland in 1560 and continued by
Archbishop Young after 1563, and the N. part was probably
erected c. 1570 for Thomas Radcliffe, Earl of Sussex. It is of two
storeys built in reused ashlar, presumably from the abbey, and
brick. Stone-built dormer windows were added at the end of
the 16th century. The E. wall is without plinth or stringcourses, reflecting the fact that in the 16th century this was still
the back of the house. On the ground floor towards the S. two
original windows with later mullions flank a blocked doorway.
The other windows to the main storeys are all of the early 18th
century and have hung sashes; they are generally rather
narrower than the 16th-century windows they replace, but
there are remains of an original window, now blocked, on the
upper floor. On the N. end is a large semi-octagonal bay window of two storeys (Plate 53), projecting from a stone wall
with chamfered plinth and moulded strings between the
storeys, and with a stuccoed gable. On the ground floor the
side lights of the bay have been blocked and the mullions have
been taken from other lights to allow for the insertion of hungsash windows. In the upper storey the windows are unaltered.
The W. elevation of the range is largely masked by later
building; it had two projecting chimneys. Inside, in the S.
room is the projection of a mediaeval chimney of the adjoining
cross-wing. In the W. wall is an original fireplace, now
blocked. In the middle of the range is a spacious staircase of
c. 1725 with turned newels and balusters (Plate 72). An
original window of c. 1570 remains in the W. wall under the
stairs. The N. room, running into the bay window, is lined
with 18th-century panelling and panelled pilasters flank the
fireplace and overmantel. The fireplace is framed by a simple
mid 18th-century moulding with a later mantelshelf above.
Behind the panelling the moulded jamb of a blocked window
is made up with moulded stonework of c. 1300.
On the first floor the S. room is lined with early 17th-century
panelling. Behind the panelling the window openings have
been narrowed by the addition of brickwork within the original
stone splays. The N. wall is built largely of reused 13th-century
stone and retains above the head of the present doorway the
depressed four-centred head of an original doorway. The
fireplace has a decorated surround of c. 1800. The room N. of
the staircase is lined with 18th-century panelling. In the N.
end room is an original fireplace with chamfered four-centred
head and chamfered jambs. The original roof remains; it is of
seven bays with simple tie-beam trusses and lap-jointed
purlins passing through the principals.
The Second North Range, F. was added along the W. side
of the main North range, probably c. 1610 (Plate 53). It is of
two storeys with original attics. The walls are of stone with a
moulded plinth and on the W. side rise to small gables over
dormer windows. The W. wall abuts against a brick-built
garderobe of the mediaeval N. cross-wing. The windows have
ovolo-moulded stone frames and mullions.
Recesses in the S.W. corner of the S. rooms represent the
garderobes of the adjoining mediaeval range. Brick vaults over
the garderobes were removed in 1962, two storeys of the
garderobes corresponding to the first floor of the building of
1610. A 17th-century staircase here has been taken away.
Between the rooms on the first floor are doorways with
moulded stone jambs and four-centred heads. In the attics is a
stone fireplace with chamfered four-centred head. The roof is
carried on collar-beam trusses with lapped purlins passing
through the principals.
The Central North Block, G (Plate 53), built in the angle
between the mediaeval N. cross-wing and its kitchen, is a
structure of three main storeys, of which the lower part, built
in coursed masonry, is of c. 1610. The upper storeys, mainly of
brick, are of the late 17th century. The upper part of the N.
elevation is divided into three bays by brick pilasters; above
are two brick gables, rebuilt but following the late 17th-century
design. The windows all have ovolo-moulded or chamfered
stone frames and mullions; some are early 17th-century and
some are of the second half of the century. On the N. front the
central window on the first floor is set under a segmental arch.
The rooms inside have been modernised but at the S. end are
some remains of the mediaeval bay window; modern attics
have been formed in the roof.
The Central Range, H (Plate 69), separates the E. and W.
courtyards and at the N. end returns to meet the W. end of the
mediaeval N. cross-wing (Plate 70). It was originally designed
c. 1610 as a single-storey gallery with a two-storey return, to
give access from Lord Sheffield's new hall to the Council
Chamber devised by Lord Huntingdon and now known as the
Huntingdon Room. The frieze between the storeys which
forms a marked feature of the E. elevation was originally
surmounted only by a stone parapet except in the return at the
N. end which was always of two storeys. An upper storey was
added to the range by Lord Wentworth in 1633 and an
elaborate new doorway surmounted by a shield-of-arms of
Wentworth is of the same date (Plate 76). The W. courtyard
was formerly sub-divided, as shown by the broken lines on the
plan, and another building abutted against the W. side of the
central range (Plate 70).
The E. front of the central range has original windows of
c. 1610 and 1633, all with ovolo-moulded members. The
elaborately decorated doorway contemporary with the first-floor walling is surmounted by a panel with achievement of
arms of Wentworth quartering Woodhouse, Hooton, Neville
and Newmarch. Other doorways, where original, have
depressed four-centred arched heads. On the W. side a gable
towards the N. represents the end of Sheffield's two-storeyed
return and the ashlar facing continues for one bay further to
the S.; part of the walling is very disturbed and openings are
blocked where the building projecting into the second courtyard has been taken away (Plate 71).
Inside, the ground-floor gallery has been sub-divided. At the
N. end an enriched semicircular-headed doorway (Plates 74,
75) gives access to a stairhall. The staircase is of stone (Plate 62)
and was constructed c. 1633 blocking a large window in the
N. wall. In the same wall is a 12th-century stone carved with
pelleted interlace. A blocked doorway of Lord Sheffield's date
in the upper part of the stairhall indicates a change in floor
levels. The upper gallery is sub-divided so that the S. end is now
open to the dining hall. A blocked archway in the W. wall
indicates a former projection removed; an offset in the walls
indicates the top of the original parapets. From the upper part
of the stairhall a modern doorway leads to the ante-room to
the Huntingdon Room. At its side the original doorway, now
blocked, has a moulded depressed four-centred head. The
ante-room has a fireplace enriched with jewel ornament
similar to that on the ground floor further N.E., shown in
Plate 66. At the E. end a grand doorway to the former Council
Chamber, the Huntingdon Room, has a moulded four-centred head under a stone entablature with a pediment
flanked by obelisks (Plates 74, 75).
The South Range, J (Plates 68, 70, 71), forms the S. side of
part of the E. court and of the whole of the W. court, with the
middle range, which divides the courts, abutting it. It is of late
16th-century origin, but has been largely rebuilt in the 17th,
18th, 19th and 20th centuries. It comprises a first-floor porch
to the hall at the E. end approached by an external stairway of
the 19th century, a first-floor hall and its kitchen below built
for Lord Sheffield c. 1610 replacing a building of Lord
Huntingdon, an extension of the hall probably made at the
beginning of the 18th century for the Assembly Room, a
19th-century Board School, and, at the W. end, a gatehouse.
The N.E. corner of the porch is joined to the S.W. corner of
the mediaeval house by a short length of wall with a 13th-century plinth described above.
The porch block, of three storeys, is built mainly of ashlar
with some 17th-century brick in the upper part and a modern
timber-framed gable to the E. A large buttress added against
the E. end is near but not on the line of the abbey precinct wall.
Windows are of the 17th century and modern but there is
evidence of disturbance and rearrangement; a blocked window
in the E. wall is represented externally by a concrete lintel but
on the inside a two-light timber frame of the 18th century
remains exposed. The first floor of the block, which forms an
entrance lobby to the hall, is approached from the court by a
modern external stone stairway leading to a round-headed
doorway flanked by tapered pilasters enriched with strapwork with entablature above and, in a moulded frame with a
pediment, an achievement of Stuart royal arms, all very
weathered. It is probably of c. 1635, erected by Wentworth
Lord Sheffield's hall block is of two storeys, the upper storey
being much taller than the lower, and now contains a dining
hall on the upper floor and kitchens below. It is built of reused
limestone ashlar and on the S. side it appears as five bays, but
the W. bay, separated from the rest by a straight joint in the
masonry, is an extension probably made at the beginning of the
18th century. The windows on the S. side are all modern on
the ground floor; on the first floor are transomed windows
almost completely restored but retaining a few pieces of old
stone in the jambs. The elevation to the E. court has on the
ground floor two large semicircular arches closed by modern
windows and walling. Above are two windows of four
transomed lights. Facing the W. court the extension of the hall
block has a small chamfered plinth which continues W. to the
gatehouse. The windows to this bay are modern and at
mezzanine level are traces of a former opening now blocked.
Next W. of the hall block is a lower two-storey building
reconstructed as a Board School in c. 1820–30. The N. wall is
continuous with that of the hall extension with a continuous
plinth as already described, but the S. wall sets forward and
has a plinth finished to a very different section. The upper part
of the S. wall is all 19th-century work and in the ground floor
are modern windows and a modern doorway; straight joints
suggest the position of two earlier doorways. Facing the court,
the lower part of the N. wall shows evidence of disturbance; it
contains a blocked doorway and three windows of the 17th
century but with modern heads, perhaps shortened. The whole
of the upper part is of the 19th century with tall mullioned
and transomed windows rising into small gables projecting
above the eaves.
The Board School building is continued to W. by a narrower
building with the N. wall continuing in the same line as before
but with the S. wall recessed. On the N. side there is a slight
change in the character of the masonry in the upper floor but
no clear joint. The windows are much restored and modern.
At the W. end the plinth returns into the gatehall, the jamb of
the gate being formed by what was a free-standing corner of the
building. The gatehouse projects boldly on the S. side and the
S. gateway has been formed in place of a 17th-century window
the head of which remains above the arch of the gateway.
Both the arches to the gatehall rise above the level of the first
floor inside and low windows have been introduced in the
head of the N. archway. Above the S. arch is a restored 17th-century window. The W. jamb of the N. archway is built up
against a fragment of a lofty 16th-century building in which
there is the moulded jamb of a gateway, with hinge-pins
remaining, and the splay of a first-floor window.
Interior. In the modern kitchen under the hall, the walls are
faced with stone, mostly mediaeval and reused. The E. end is
divided by a length of late 16th-century walling which finishes
at the W. end with an ovolo-moulded window jamb. This
suggests that originally these were rooms some 12 ft. wide,
with an open loggia formed in front of them when the hall
above was built. In the S. wall, between the windows, is a big
17th-century fireplace with a four-centred arched head. In the
N. wall a modern doorway to the central range is a reconstruction of an older opening. On the first floor the hall now
extends into the W. bay, and also includes a section of the
central range. In the S. wall of the Hall a large fireplace has
been restored with a modern arched head. In the middle of the
hall the ceiling is carried up into an octagonal cupola within the
roof, of early 18th-century date.
The lower floor of the Board School building is approached
from the kitchens by a doorway with four-centred head which
has a blocked window beside it, so placed as to suggest that this
was the E. end wall of a building antedating the extension of
the hall block. A corresponding doorway in the E. wall of the
gatehouse is of different design but also with a four-centred
head. It is of 16th-century date, probably reset. In the W. wall
of the gatehouse are original windows antedating the conversion to a gatehouse, now blocked. The rest of the range has
been thoroughly modernised.
The outer West Range, K, stands in part on the site of the
chapter house of St. Mary's Abbey; a fragment of rough walling
near the N. end of the E. front may represent the E. wall of the
chapter house. The range was erected for Lord Sheffield
c. 1610; it included a vaulted basement, which still survives
(Plate 73), containing a buttery and cellar, and lofty rooms
above, lit on the W. side by semicircular bay windows. The
upper storey was damaged in the siege of 1644 and removed
in the 18th century. A drawing by F. Place (c. 1680) shows only
part of the W. wall standing with a big bay window surmounted by an entablature in which the frieze matches that on
the E. side of the central range. Parts of a similar entablature
from a second bay window are incorporated into the walling of
St. Mary's Tower as rebuilt after the siege. School buildings
were erected over the basement in the late 19th century and
still remain over the projection at the N. end. Over the rest of
the basement new buildings for the University of York were
erected in 1962 to the designs of B. M. Feilden.
The W. side of the building is completely masked by the
Yorkshire Museum. On the E. side the stone wall of the 17th-century building stands some 7 ft. above ground level. It is of
reused mediaeval masonry and has windows and a doorway
in the plinth, the moulded capping of the plinth being stepped
up over the doorway; the windows are mostly original and
of two lights with ovolo-moulded stone frames and mullions.
There is a similar window now blocked in the S. end. When
the top of the vault was exposed during the building work of
1962 it was seen to include much reused material of the late
12th century; some of the carved voussoirs illustrated in
Plates 38, 39 were found here. Inside, the basement is divided to
give one long room each side of a central square compartment.
This central part is covered by a brick vault but the two long
rooms have segmental barrel vaults of good ashlar. A doorway
at the S. end of the N. room is of the early 14th century and
is reused from the abbey cloisters (Plate 74).
Fig. 38. (11) The King's Manor. Decoration from
fireplace of c. 1760.