Bedern and St. William's College

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1981

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57-68

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'Bedern and St. William's College', An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in City of York, Volume 5: Central (1981), pp. 57-68. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=125990 Date accessed: 20 October 2014.


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Public Buildings and Institutions

Bedern and St. William's College

(33) Bedern, now a street leading from Goodramgate to St. Andrewgate, was until 1852 a cul-de-sac reached only from Goodramgate. The name, meaning a 'house of prayer', is first recorded c. 1270 and was also given to mediaeval colleges at Beverley and Ripon. The Bedern housed the Vicars Choral, who deputised for the canons at services in the Minster and constituted a college, founded in 1252 and dissolved in 1936.

The thirty-six vicars were maintained by incomes from three benefices in Yorkshire and one in Hampshire, and by rents from some two hundred houses, mostly in York, including many properties in Goodramgate. During the 15th century they also owned two tile works outside the city walls, making roofing tiles and bricks for use on their own buildings and for sale; over 144,000 tiles were produced in 1427. The site of their close, said in 1275 to be 'of the common of the land of Ulphus', was given in 1248 by Canon William of Laneham. The college was ruled by the subchanter as warden, with a council of five; officers were a bursar, maltster, steward, chamberlain and repairer. The vicars lived in small houses within the Bedern, worshipped in the chapel there and, until 1574, dined in common in the hall. In 1865 their property was taken over by the Church Commissioners and their numerous records are now in the Minster Library.

From the records it is possible to locate other buildings beside the chapel and hall, still standing on the S.W. side of the street, and the gatehouse, now represented by No. 25 Goodramgate (189). The houses of the vicars apparently faced the hall and chapel across a grass plot; the kitchens and buttery were at the S.E. end of the hall and the brewhouse was to the W. An evidence house, or record room, plundered during the Commonwealth, when the college was temporarily dissolved, was fitted out for meetings in 1725. The garden, with its wood-shed and pigeon-house, lay towards Aldwark and the common orchard towards St. Andrewgate. There were also a 'Long House', or common latrine, erected in 1395–6, for which building accounts survive, but rebuilt as a stable c. 1745, and two common wells, one near the dunghill S.W. of the hall and another, later fitted with a pump, to the N. In 1396 licence was given for a bridge across Goodramgate, at first-floor level, to enable the vicars to reach the Minster without hindrance. Described as an 'introitum sive perambulatorium', it was to be of sufficient height to enable vehicles to pass below (CPR, 1391–96, 712). In 1390 a Great and a Little Bedern were distinguished; the latter, still mentioned in leases in 1855, is probably identical with Back Bedern, a later name for Bartle Garth or Yard which lay S.W. of the hall and contained the poor-house for St. Peter's Liberty. The surviving close of the Vicars Choral at Wells, though longer and more regular, may indicate the mediaeval arrangements in the Bedern.

In 1548 Edward VI granted the college buildings and close to Thomas Golding and Walter Cely, but this grant was annulled. After 1574 the vicars, fewer in number and often married, ceased to dine in common. As a result, the kitchen equipment was sold in 1581 and the table linen was divided among them in 1592. The hall, which before the Reformation had contained a high table, reading desk and hearth, was still used for feasts and meetings until 1630 but from 1640 was leased to laymen and sub-divided into three tenements, becoming a mineral-water factory in the 19th century and, until recently, part of a meat-pie works. Several of the vicars' houses or 'cubicles' were let to lay tenants even before the Reformation and by 1700 only five were occupied by vicars. During the 18th century, 'vicarial mansion houses' replaced the old cubicles and eventually all the houses, new ones were built in their gardens or on the site of the orchard, and any other college buildings, except the chapel, were let out on lease. Some twenty houses can be traced in leases from 1600 to 1870, most of which apparently represent the vicarial cubicles, generally 15 ft. wide and 30 ft. deep. A grass plot in the garden, 35 yds. by 7 yds., had been used as a bowling green before 1714.

Petitions to establish a university in York, submitted to Parliament in 1641 and 1647, suggested the suitability for this purpose of the Bedern, 'with a large hall for the readers, and good convenient lodgings for the students, also divers fair houses, of late the dean and prebends', which, though now in lease, may in time expire, and remain unto some pious uses' (G. W. Johnson, The Fairfax Correspondence, ii (1848), 274–80; cf. YCA, B36, ff. 58, 212, 216v). St. Peter's School moved to the Bedern when its buildings in the Horsefair were damaged in the siege of 1644 and remained there until c. 1730 when it was transferred to the former St. Andrew's church. Methodists met in a house in the Bedern from 1747 to 1752. By 1857 the area was described as a 'sad spectacle of poverty and wretchedness — the poorest of the Irish emigrants being its chief residents' (T. Whellan, York and the North Riding (1857), 486). The Irish population of the Bedern had increased from seven to three hundred and thirty-eight between 1841 and 1851 and the close was for long a notorious slum. The extension of the street to St. Andrewgate was made in 1852; houses on the N.E. side, including three with Dutch gables to their narrow brick fronts and the principal vicarial mansion, resembling Bell Hall, Naburn, and built c. 1690, were demolished in 1883, but Ebor Buildings and Hawarden Place which replaced them as lodgings for the labouring classes and the school of 1873 have in turn been demolished and the area is awaiting redevelopment.

(Sources: W. Camidge, Bedern and its Chapel (1906); F. Harrison, YAJ, xxvii (1924), 197–209; Life in a Medieval College (1952); VCH, Yorks. iii, 382–3; York, 342; Vicars Choral records in Minster Library and Borthwick Institute; illustrations in York City Art Gallery and Central Library collections.)

Chapel of The Holy Trinity, The Blessed Virgin and St. Katherine, better known as the Bedern Chapel, stands on the S.W. side of the Bedern (Plate 20; Fig. 34). The walls are of magnesian limestone ashlar and rubble, with post-mediaeval brickwork. The roof was of tiles.

The statutes of the Vicars Choral were confirmed by Archbishop Walter de Grey in 1252 (The Statutes etc. of the Cathedral Church of York, 2nd ed. (Leeds 1910), 17–20), following their acquisition of lands in 1248, and a chapel was built soon afterwards. It was enlarged in the 1340s and building work is recorded in the Chamberlain's Roll of 1344–5 (quoted in Harrison, Medieval College, 33). The date of the consecration of the new work is variously given as 1347 (Book of Statutes (1680), YML, Acc. v, 1920/1), 1348 (Harrison, YAJ, 198) and 1349 (Harrison, Medieval College, 33). From the old chapel the S. wall with its doorway at the E. end and most of the E. wall were retained, but a new N. wall was built to make the chapel wider. The old E. window was blocked up, and a small lancet was reused or added in the new northwards extension of the E. wall. The elimination of a main E. window was probably due to the planning of other buildings E. of the chapel. The old S. wall was refenestrated to match the new N. wall, but the sills on the S. were kept at a higher level, probably to accommodate a covered walk below them. The new chapel must have been nearly finished by 1346 when mass with music was celebrated in it in the presence of many clergy and laity (Harrison, Medieval College, 191), though work was still being paid for in 1350, as Archbishop Zouche issued an indulgence on 3 February 1350/1 for the construction of the chapel and for the erection and dedication of an altar (Vicars Choral Cartulary, YML, v [B], 301v). In 1349 it received its only chantry foundation, at the altar of its patronal saints (Harrison, op. cit., 34). In 1393 Archbishop Arundel consecrated a stone altar in the chapel (Historians of the Church of York, ii (1886), 425). A pencil sketch of 1807, possibly by Henry Cave (YCAG, EC/PD 222a, Box C3) shows the chapel with a large five-light window of 15th-century date. The window does not appear in a sketch of 1874 (YCA, Acc. 28, 38–39), and the layout is difficult to reconcile with what is known of the chapel. It seems probable that the sketch of 1807 is wrongly titled. In 1505 Robert Gillow, a vicar choral, left 3s. 4d. for panelling (syllynge) in the chapel. By the 17th century the chapel was becoming dilapidated, and the E. gable was largely rebuilt in brick. In the 1690s Torre reported it as being 'in good repairs for the use of divine service'. Further repairs and alterations were carried out during the 18th century and in particular in 1757 (Reparelor's Office Book, 1708–69), and in 1782 a new bell was provided, perhaps replacing the one referred to in the Chamberlain's Roll of 1389–90. In 1817–18 Clark, a whitesmith, was paid £7. 2s. 6d. for work done on removing some painted glass from the windows (YML, E3 H). Dean Markham kept the glass in the Minster, and some of it may have been used to patch the E. window there after the fire of 1829 (Noble City, 156). The windows on the N. side of the chapel were then blocked up and never reglazed. Considerable repairs were again carried out in 1831, but by 1859 the chapel was said to be in great disrepair (SS, xxxv for 1858 (1859), 98), and in 1925 restoration work was carried out to stabilise the leaning N. wall. In December 1961 the roof-covering and timbers were taken off, all surviving fittings removed, and the walls taken down to a height of 10–12 ft. The removed stonework was left inside, and the building is now a decaying weed-filled ruin.

The chapel exhibits certain peculiarities in design: the windows in the N. and S. walls are not opposite each other; some of the window jambs are straight instead of splayed; and the window-sills on the S. side are set much higher than those on the N. This last feature suggests that there may have been a covered walk on the S. side, possibly communicating with the hall further to the S.E.

Architectural Description. The Chapel consists of one undivided area with a later gallery, since removed, at the W. end. The E. wall is cased in brick externally to a height of about 8 ft. and plastered internally. Above the casing, up to the base of the gable, the wall is of rough rubble except for the northernmost 5 ft., which is of ashlar. In the S. end of this ashlar section is a lancet window with a pierced trefoil above a chamfered trefoiled head and chamfered jambs (Plate 183). Head and trefoil are cut out of a single block of stone (possibly late 13th-century reused). The window was splayed internally, but the inner opening was later covered up. The gable has been rebuilt in 17th-century brick with brick coping carried at the N. end on a moulded stone kneeler. In the brickwork is a blocked window. The N. wall is of good 14th-century ashlar and has a chamfered water-table. In it are three windows, each originally of three ogee trefoiled lights with reticulated tracery in a square head. All their openings are closed with brick except for the W. light of the W. window, which had been built up with ashlar in mediaeval times. The original E. jamb of the E. window and W. jamb of the middle window are unsplayed. Between the first and second windows externally is a trefoil-headed niche with plain trefoil-shaped label, having a coved head, rounded back and sloping sill. At the W. end is a doorway with a two-centred head and continuous hollow-chamfered jambs; internally it has a rear-arch with flattened two-centred head and square jambs. Above is a small rectangular slit-light with splayed jambs. This N.W. corner seems to have been rebuilt, perhaps in the 18th century. The 13th-century S. wall is built of rubble, extensively patched with brick. It has a chamfered water-table and contains three 14th-century windows as in the N. wall, but with high-set sills. The E. light of the first window is built up with brick and its E. jamb must have been unsplayed, whilst the W. jamb of the second window and the external W. jamb of the third window are also unsplayed. Below the first window is an original doorway, blocked with brick. Internally this has a two-centred head with a keeled-roll moulding to head and jambs, of the mid 13th century. At the W. end is another doorway, of 14th-century date, also blocked with brick externally; internally it has a plain two-centred head with rounded arrises. The wall above this doorway may have been rebuilt in the 18th century. The W. wall externally has a skin of 19th-century brick, probably of 1831, and the gable has a brick coping carried on moulded stone kneelers. Internally it is of mediaeval date up to a height of about 7 ft., with a blocked doorway centrally; above this height it is in brick of 1757 with two large relieving arches, now plastered.


Fig. 34. (33) Bedern Chapel.

The Roof was hidden by a flat ceiling not later than the early 18th century. Above this the original close-coupled trussed-rafter roof had scissor-braces to each truss, the rafters supported at the base by sole-pieces and ashlar-pieces.

Fittings — Aumbries: in N. wall, (1) rectangular with rebated lintel; in W. wall, (2) rectangular with rebated head and jambs, now blocked. Bell: with date 1782, now in Minster stonemasons' store. Brackets: reset in E. wall, centrally over recess, (1) scalloped capital, 12th-century with later abacus; on each side of recess, (2) and (3) tapering with square top, mediaeval; in N. wall, above E. jamb of doorway, (4) large quarter-round corbel, probably for gallery, possibly 18th-century; in S. wall, over E. jamb of W. doorway, (5) corbel as (4). Door: of pine, with inner wicket, 1831. Font-cover: of oak, with scrolled openwork top in two stages and central turned column with acanthus decoration, surmounted by a dove, moulded octagonal base, c. 1700; now in the Minster. Piscina: in E. wall, with two-centred head and chamfered jambs, blocked and partially destroyed, 13th or 14th-century. Recess: in E. wall, centrally, long rectangular recess with chamfered stone lintel, mediaeval.

The Bedern Hall (Plate 65; Fig. 36), standing to the S.E. of Goodramgate and to the S.W. of the Bedern, was the common hall of the College of the Vicars Choral. Apart from the lower walls of the chapel, it is all that remains of the collegiate buildings. A hall was probably built soon after the middle of the 13th century, and the Chamberlain's Roll of 1328–9 records minor repairs to it (Harrison, Medieval College, 36). In the same roll the record of a payment of 8s. to William of Ampleforth 'because he closed the wall of the great hall with stone' has been held to mark the completion of the present building (ibid). It is doubtful, however, if the entry can bear this interpretation, for the hall stylistically dates from the middle of the 14th century, and was probably rebuilt immediately before or after the remodelling of the chapel. The timber roof is a more elaborate version of those found over the chapter house vestibule of York Minster, of the early 14th century, and until recently over the Bedern chapel (see above).

The Hall (Plate 65), of four bays, was originally single-storeyed, but had a floor inserted in the 19th century. The N.W. end wall, up to eaves level, and the side walls are of coursed limestone, and incorporate some reused 12th-century stones including moulded fragments. On the S.W. side are the remains of a hollow-chamfered stone string-course under the eaves. At the S.E. end was the screens passage, the doorways of which survived in the side walls until the late 19th century (YCA, Acc. 28, 38 & 39). The S.E. end wall has been partly cased or rebuilt in brick, but includes in the upper part, below caves level, timber framing of the 14th century apparently surviving from a slightly earlier building (Fig. 36) which must have provided a service wing to the hall. One blocked two-light window of unusual form remains on the N.E. side in the second bay from the N.W. (Fig. 36), and there is evidence for similar windows in all the bays except that at the S.E. end, where all the original walling has been replaced. The best preserved feature of the building is the fine roof (Plate 65; Fig. 36), of four bays. Within the bays, each pair of rafters is framed with a scissor-braced collar, sole-pieces and ashlarpieces, these last resting on a moulded cornice. The moulding of the cornice (Fig. 35) was returned along a tie-beam (now sawn off) near the N.W. end, presumably the top of a canopy over the dais end. Each ashlar-piece has two framing-pegs each side to support a plaster infilling up to its junction with the rafter; the rafters are numbered from the N.W. end. In the second bay from the N.W., curtailment above the collars of the scissor-bracing to the three central pairs of rafters suggests that this may have been the site of a louvre for an open hearth below. There are three open trusses, only one of which remains complete. Each of these has a second, deeper, collar supporting a chamfered collar-purlin. In the complete truss, moulded arch-braces (Fig. 35) rise to the underside of the collar from wall-posts resting on stone corbels between the windows. Into the back of these braces are tenoned extended sole-plates, and higher up are short struts between the braces and the rafters. The cornice is tenoned into the sole-plates and the canopy-beam. The N.W. end had a closed truss, replaced in the 18th century by a brick gable. At the S.E. end the roof has a composite structure combining crown-post and scissortruss designs (Fig. 36). A mortice on the outer face of the crown-post for a collar-purlin brace indicates that the roof extended further to the S.E. The tie-beam to this truss is very slender and appears to have been laid on top of the remains of a pre-existing timber-framed wall with massive studs and curved braces (Fig. 36), which has subsequently dropped slightly. The hall is now derelict and in poor structural condition.

The service wing at the S.E. end of the hall, described in 1650 as 'two rooms below . . . called the college kitchen and buttery, and another low room with three chambers over', remained until demolished in 1879 to extend the adjacent school. The layout shown in the 1852 OS map and a detailed plan of the property made in 1835 indicate a standard arrangement of buttery and pantry, separated by a long central passage leading to an external kitchen. Excavations by the York Archaeological Trust in 1977 have revealed a stone wall parallel to the present S.E. end of the hall and 18 ft. beyond it, forming a continuation which probably contained this buttery and pantry. The kitchen was apparently further S. in an area where a large tiled hearth has been uncovered.


Fig. 35. (33) Bedern Hall. Mouldings.


Fig. 36. (33) Bedern Hall.

(34) St. William's College (Plates 76–80; Figs. 37–41), on the N. side of College Street, is of two storeys, partly with cellars and attics, built round four sides of a courtyard. With some exceptions, the walls of the lower storey are of stone and the upper floor is timber-framed. The College was founded to provide accommodation for priests, other than vicars choral, serving chantries in the Minster.

The present building was begun in c. 1465 but there had been an attempt to found a college as early as 1414, when Thomas More, prebendary of Masham, leased his prebendal house in Petergate to Stephen Percy and twelve other chantry priests at an annual rent of four pounds (YML, M 2 (5), f. 176). Despite the bequest in 1419 of five marks 'for the building of the mansion of the parsons of the church of York' by Thomas Garton (SS, XLV (1865), 52n), one of the chantry priests named in 1414, there is no evidence that this foundation was actually carried into effect. A later prebendary of Masham, George Nevill, who held that office from 1447–59, was among those active in the next attempt to form a college. This came with the grant of a licence by Henry VI in 1455 to William Booth, Archbishop of York, Henry, Earl of Northumberland, and others for the establishment of a college dedicated to St. William and situated in the prebendal house of the Prior of Hexham, prebendary of Salton, or any other convenient place (CPR, 1453–61, 218), and in January 1457 Thomas Ferrer or Farrow, Prior of Hexham and prebendary of Salton, leased his house to the College for 40s. a year. In May 1461 Edward IV granted a fresh licence to George Nevill, now Bishop of Exeter, and his brother Richard, Earl of Warwick, for a college consisting of a provost and twenty-three fellows (CPR, 1461–7, 47), and in the same month John Welles, prebendary of Salton, confirmed the lease of his house to the college 'newly founded' (YML, op. cit., f. 277). The provost was to be appointed for life, the first being chosen by the said bishop and earl and his successors by election among the fellows. The provost was to choose the principal chamber for himself and allocate chambers to the others. This new licence made better financial provision for the College and the erection of a new building was put in hand a few years later. In 1465 Edward IV made a grant of stone 'lying within the quarry of Hodlestone by the bank of the river Ouse for the better building of the College' (CPR, 1461–7, 383), and in November 1465 Fulk Bermyngham, prebendary of Husthwaite, granted to the College his prebendal house immediately E. of the Salton house for an annual rent of 6s. 8d. (YML, op. cit., ff. 277–8). The grants by Welles and Bermyngham were confirmed in May 1466 by George Nevill (ibid.), who had by then become Archbishop of York. In 1467 one of the fellows, John Marshall, bequeathed 20s. 'to the building of the college newly begun' (YFR, 72n), and the will refers to a chapel in the College. A survey of 1546, prior to its dissolution, shows that it still had twenty-four fellows (SS, xci–xcii (1894–5), 7, 430).

There is no clear evidence in the existing building of the survival of any parts of the two prebendal houses which stood on the site, but it is possible that the stonework of the W. wall, thinner than any of the other stone walls, may have been incorporated from earlier buildings. This length of wall is of reused stone of varying dates.

Little of the original disposition of rooms in the College can now be recognised. In the middle of the N. range was a hall, raised over a cellar and rising through two storeys to an open roof. The kitchen was presumably to the W. of the hall, but neither of the existing chimneys appears to be original. The chapel was no doubt in this range as well but the wall drain in the room next E. of the hall may not be a piscina as has been claimed. A series of doorways round the courtyard suggests a plan like an Oxford or Cambridge college with a straight staircase inside each doorway, but the fairly regular spacing of the timber-work inside does not bear this out. How the twenty-four fellows were accommodated remains obscure.

After the dissolution of the College in 1549 (CPR, 1548–9, 205), its buildings were granted to Sir Michael Stanhope, executed in 1552, and John Belloe, who died in 1559. In 1557 Henry Vavasour of Copmanthorpe and Thomas Warde of London were receiving its profits (Noble City, 372). Among the early changes in a long series of alterations were the building of chimneys, the division of the hall into two storeys, and the formation of additional cellars. By the early 17th century the College was owned by Sir Henry Jenkins of Grimston, whose son and grandson continued to hold it for most of the century (Drake, 571). A major alteration, probably in the third quarter of the 17th century, was the addition of a substantial stair block to the N. range, the remodelling of some of its rooms and the formation of a centre-piece to give a grand entrance to the former hall. The College was occupied by the Earl of Carlisle (YC, 15 May 1764) during the building of Castle Howard (1701–21) and further alterations in the E. and S. ranges were probably made for him. Subsequent owners include Robert Benson (Lord Bingley) and George Fox of Bramham Park (Drake, 571). In 1818 Hargrove recorded that it was leased from James Fox by Mr. Jameson, a solicitor, who occupied a part, and the College also housed a small school. The E. elevation was remodelled in the 18th century when the E. range was divided into two dwellings, each with a central staircase; surviving doorways and windows in the street front indicate the subdivision of the S. range into small tenements and shops in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The College was bought c. 1900 by Frank Green (see the Treasurer's House (35)) and in 1902 he sold it to the church authorities as a meeting place for the Convocation of the Province of York. Extensive restoration and rearrangement followed under the architect Temple Moore, who formed the large halls on the upper floor of the N. and W. ranges, the Maclagan Memorial Hall in the N. range being opened in 1911 (York Journal of Convocation, 1900–11, passim; YML, Maps and Plans y/st. W). Parts of the College are now used for meetings and exhibitions and parts as offices and a restaurant.

Although much altered, the College is remarkable as a survival of a college of priests built on a courtyard plan, unique apart from the primarily academic colleges in Oxford, Cambridge and elsewhere; it is also of interest as a closely-dated example of mediaeval carpentry. It is disappointing that so little of the original disposition of rooms can now be traced.

Architectural Description. The College is built round a courtyard with ground-floor walls generally of ashlar and the upper storey timber-framed, but the W. end of the N. range and the adjoining part of the W. wall were originally timber-framed for their full height and the N. wall of the hall is carried up in stone to the top. There are cellars under parts of all four ranges but some are no longer accessible. The South Front (Plate 76), facing College Street, has a completely renewed entrance doorway in the middle, with shafted stone jambs and moulded head under a crocketed label enclosing a statue of St. William flanked by shields and by the pinnacles of side standards. The present stonework is all modern, but old photographs show that the design follows that of the original. The original wooden door is preserved, not in situ, in the College; it has a four-centred head containing cusped double panels above a transom, and below the transom a wicket door between side panels in two heights (Plate 158). To each side of the main doorway, above a plinth, are doorways and windows of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and at the E. end the wall has been refaced in brick, probably in the 18th century. The upper floor overhangs, with a coved jetty rising from moulded beams at the head of the ashlarwork to moulded bressummers carrying the framing above. The curved timbers of the cove flanking the entrance are carved with figures of St. Christopher and the Virgin respectively, each with the Christ-child (Plate 198). The framing of the upper storey is in close studding divided into two heights by a middle rail with a projecting moulding, and at the wall head is a coved eaves cornice. The framing is much restored. The windows, apart from an 18th-century oriel at the E. end, are entirely modern restoration work by Temple Moore and comprise five oriels and four flush windows. The design of these oriels is based on the original fragments which remain facing the courtyard. The roof is covered with pantiles and contains 18th-century and later dormer windows. None of the chimney-stacks shows brickwork older than the 18th century.

The East Elevation was entirely remodelled in the early 18th century with hung-sash windows set within raised surrounds; the whole is cement-rendered, the ground floor rusticated and the first floor plain with a coved cornice above. The North Elevation is interrupted in the middle by a substantial brick stair block of the third quarter of the 17th century, pierced by rectangular and oval windows with moulded brick surrounds or labels (Plate 78). The brickwork extends a short way W. of the projection and for some 15 ft. E. of the projection the stonework is carried up the full height of the building. This high stone wall respresents the N. side of the original two-bay open hall, the division between the bays being marked by a small buttress. In the W. bay is the outline of the E. side of a lofty arched window with brick blocking contemporary with the stair-turret, and in the cellar below is an original external doorway which may be the 'ingress from the street of Ogleforth' referred to in the 1472 visitation as being 'of great peril to the clergy'. In the E. bay are two windows which may replace a second tall arched window. The lower opening retains the stone sill and double hollow-chamfered jambs of a three-light 15th-century window with an inserted timber head probably of the 16th century; the upper part of the window is blocked, for it rises above the level of the present upper floor (see Section a–a, Fig. 40). The window itself is formed of reused 17th-century frames. The upper part of the 15th-century window has been destroyed and replaced by an opening containing two pairs of hung sashes of the 18th century. In the cellar below is an original window with hollow-chamfered stone jambs, also shown on Section a–a, now converted to a doorway. The E. end of the elevation is masked by a later building, immediately W. of which is a large window of six lights divided by stone mullions in two groups of three, probably of the late 16th or early 17th century but heavily restored. W. of the stair block, the original stone wall to the lower storey continues for about 19 ft. and contains the much altered remains of a four-light stonemullioned window and a small slit-light which appears to have lit a newel staircase, now removed. For the remaining 22 ft., the wall of the lower storey is partly of brick and partly of stone, but was originally timber-framed; the peg-holes for studs in the beam at first-floor level show the extent of this framing. In the inserted stonework at the W. end is a two-light window with double-chamfered stone jambs, now converted to a doorway. In the framing above there is evidence for two original windows but the existing windows are of 18th-century and later date. There was originally coving under the eaves of the whole elevation, but only fragments now remain.

The West Elevation is partly masked at the S. end by an adjoining house. The middle part has the lower storey built of random reused stone blocks, some of which show 12th-century tooling on the inside, and the upper part is timber-framed with close studding divided by a horizontal rail. The framing has been much renewed and contains modern windows. The northern part, originally all timber-framed, was partly rebuilt in brick in the 16th and 17th centuries. Much of this brickwork is associated with a large inserted chimney, the N. end of which is defined by a clear straight joint.

Elevations to Courtyard. On all four sides the walls of the lower storey were of stone and those of the upper storey timber-framed and jettied. At the E. end of the S. range the jetty has been under-built in 18th-century brickwork; at the W. end of the N. range the stonework has been extensively renewed, and much of the stonework of the W. range has been refaced in brick (Plate 77). The E. range is substantially unrestored. Windows, lighting the cellars, are set within the plinth at the base of the stonework. At the head of the stonework are moulded beams from which a cove under the jetties rises to the moulded bressummers carrying the timber framing above, which is in tall panels in two heights, divided by a rail with a continuous projecting moulding which also formed a sill to the windows. The moulding has been cut back in places, particularly on the N. range where the framing has been much altered. A cove under the eaves, now incomplete, rises from a moulded beam pegged to the face of the framing.

In the middle of the S. range the entrance passage leads into the courtyard through a plain chamfered archway, and in the middle of the N. range opposite is a centre-piece of the third quarter of the 17th century, comprising a renewed stone entrance doorway within a porch flanked by Ionic pilasters with entablature and broken segmental pediment masking the jetty; above are plaster panels, including a sunk oval between side pilasters (Plate 77). Two 19th-century windows E. of the centre-piece, one replacing an earlier oval window, are insertions in the ground-floor wall of the original open hall. A buttress to this wall has been removed (see Fig. 37). Around the courtyard there is evidence for nine original doorways with hollow-chamfered jambs and four-centred heads: one in the S. range, W. of the entrance passage, three in the W. range (Plate 77), three in the E. range, of which one is still in use, and two towards the E. end of the N. range. The doorways at the S. ends of the E. and W. ranges were awkwardly contrived in the corners against the S. range and only one jamb of each survives. The W. doorway in the N. range is later, of the late 16th or early 17th century, much restored, and the adjacent windows, some with hollow-chamfered jambs, may be original or contemporary with the doorway; they are much altered and restored. Their jambs are similar to those of other smaller windows surviving in the S. and E. ranges, mostly over doorways. There were originally timber oriel windows to the ground floor in the E., S. and W. ranges. In the E. range one of these oriels remains, blocked but nearly complete; a second one has been cut back. Two in the S. range were partly reconstructed by Temple Moore and the positions of two in the W. range can be identified from the interruptions in the moulded beam at the head of the stone wall. The mouldings on the beams under the jetties were returned down the side of each oriel. Moulded oak sills were supported by stone corbels and each window had two pairs of lights to the front and one light to each side with pierced tracery in the head and a solid carved panel in the base (Plates 77, 78). In the N. range the moulded beam under the jetty is continuous but partly renewed.


Fig. 37. (34) St. William's College. N. side of courtyard from drawing by (?) J. Beckwith (Wakefield Art Gallery, Gott Collection, III, f. 18).

On the S. range the moulded beams under the jetty are carved with angels each side of the main entrance; they carry shields-of-arms of the See of York and of St. William respectively. There is a similar angel with a plain shield at the N. end of the E. range. The timbers of the cove under the jetty are exposed and on nine of those under the main posts above are carved figures; some of these represent the Labours of the Months and others are not now identifiable (Plate 198). Two other figures from the series are now in the Yorkshire Museum. The bressummers carrying the framing above are moulded, the moulding being interrupted over the carved figures on the W. range by paterae and a lion's mask. The original first-floor fenestration in the E. and W. ranges seems to have comprised a plain window of two or three lights towards the N. end of each range, and further S. oriel windows repeating those below but with the addition of miniature buttresses to the principal mullions and framed coving under the sill; flanking the southernmost oriels were flush two-light windows with moulded frames and probably tracery matching that in the oriels. The oriels on the W. range were reconstructed by Temple Moore (Plate 77). The S. range has four oriels, probably replacing original ones; three are plain reconstructions of varying sizes, perhaps of the 17th century; one is mainly a modern reproduction of the original moulded and traceried form but incorporating enough old fragments to justify the restoration. Two flush windows in the middle are not original but their date is uncertain. The windows to the upper floor of the N. range (Plate 77) have been much altered: a large, plain, oriel immediately E. of the centre-piece may be of the 17th century; the other, flush, windows are of varying dates, mostly of the 16th and 17th centuries. Paired pegs in the sill-beam across the former hall suggest that there was some special feature there which has been removed. An oriel in 15th-century style, to the E., is modern.

Interior. The South Range is pierced by the entrance passage with a beamed ceiling inserted, leaving a void, with a window to the courtyard, above. The ground-floor rooms mostly retain original moulded ceiling beams and wall-plates, but some internal partitions have been moved, and to the E. the ground-floor courtyard wall has been moved out. To the W., a large chimney, with a stone newel stair alongside it, is probably an insertion of the 16th century. The chimney contains a fireplace with a three-centred brick arch. The newel stair gives access to the cellar as well as to the first floor; it was extended to the attics in the 19th century. The partition (A) contains two doorways with three-centred timber heads, one blocked, the other raised. E. of the entrance passage, the staircase (B) is a construction by Temple Moore re-using newel-posts, handrails and pierced splat balusters like those in the N. range stair block. On the first floor much of the timber framing is exposed and some of the original framed partitions remain. The partition (C) has been reconstructed about 1½ ft. E. of its original position, and the partition (D) has been moved W. The bays in this range vary in width from 10 ft. to 13 ft. and were partitioned one from another, except at (E) where the chimney has been inserted into a two-bay room (Plate 79), part of which now forms a landing. The fireplace has moulded stone jambs and four-centred head. The ceiling in this room is an early insertion and rises in the middle to follow the line of the steeply cambered tie-beams, and the joists are supported by richly-moulded timber cornices. This may have been the Provost's Chamber. Doorways to the adjacent landing have eared bolection-moulded architraves of c. 1700. In the attics above are trusses with simple collar-beams similar to those exposed in the N. and W. ranges.

The East Range is now mostly used as offices, together with the E. end of the S. range. It was extensively refitted at the beginning of the 18th century to form two dwellings, each with a central staircase; the S. staircase remains and has close strings, square newel-posts and heavy turned balusters. The N. staircase is of similar style but is modern (see below). The ground-floor room between has a bolection-moulded fireplace, bolection-moulded panelling and a cupboard, with shaped shelves and half-domed top, formed in the blocked oriel window. The large room at the N. end is a modern contrivance formed by the removal of partitions and the second 18th-century staircase and runs into the E. end of the N. range. The said room has a heavily restored, reset stone fireplace with moulded jambs and four-centred head identical with that at the first-floor N. end of the W. range. On the first floor, the rooms to both sides of the S. staircase have bolection-moulded fireplaces and some bolection-moulded panelling.

In the North Range, the central entrance leads into an entrance hall formed from the lower part of the mediaeval open hall. A row of three posts which support the W. wall of the hall above replace a partition removed by Temple Moore; the present partition, further W., was inserted by Temple Moore and contains only one door-post which is certainly old, but the rest of the doorway and adjacent blocked hatch may represent a reconstruction of features in the partition removed from the line of the posts. The ceiling is modern, having been lowered c. 1910 (see Section a–a, Fig. 40); it is divided by moulded plastered trabeation similar to what is known to have existed before 1910. The fireplace to the E. has a flat head, plastered over but probably of 16th-century origin. The upper part of the chimney has been removed. On this E. side of the original hall, the lower part of the hall may have extended to a partition in line with the E. side of the chimney but the closed truss above lines with the W. side, so that the space now partly occupied by the chimney originally came under an overhang of the storey above to form a flat canopy. Alternatively, the space may have accommodated a stair. To W. of the hall, where there are now cloakrooms, two modern staircases etc., running into the N. end of the W. range, there must always have been service rooms and kitchen. The brick chimney at the extreme W. end appears to be the earliest insertion. It had two fireplace openings under a relieving arch, which have been reduced in size and altered. The stone chimney to the W., nearer the hall, is probably a second insertion formerly associated with a circular newel stair to the N.; the curve of this stair appears in the splays of a small slit-window in the N. wall. The arrangement, opposite a doorway to the courtyard, exactly matches that in the middle of the S. range and the fireplace is of similar form.

E. of the hall and at a lower level is a large room, generally considered to have been the chapel on the strength of a possible piscina in the S.E. corner. The plinth outside shows that there were originally two doorways to this room, but the massive beams carrying the floor above show no evidence for division, but some have been renewed. The main stair to the first floor is housed in the block projecting to the N. Heavily restored, it has square newel-posts, shaped and pierced splat balusters (Fig. 11a) and a moulded and dentilled handrail. The top flight of steps was removed c. 1910 when the level of the floor inserted into the hall was lowered.


Fig. 38. (34) St. William's College.

On the first floor, the upper part of the open hall and all the space E. of it was opened up by Temple Moore to form one large modern hall, the Maclagan Memorial Hall (Plate 80), open to the roof except at the extreme E. end where an attic floor was retained. The hall so formed has a row of six freestanding oak posts with connecting beams and braces, all of which, with the exception of the post supporting the archbraced truss, are totally new insertions by Temple Moore. Moore also renewed several tie-beams, inserted wind braces in the roof and ceiled its apex. The two W. bays formed the upper part of the mediaeval hall and between them is an open truss with arch-braced collar-beam (see Section a–a, Fig. 40) spanning from the N. wall to the partly renewed free-standing post. This stands on the inner edge of the ground-floor wall and the space behind it may have formed a passage or a gallery. The E. wall of the hall (see Section b–b, Fig. 40) appears to have had near-symmetrical framing similar to that of the surviving W. wall. When first divided into two storeys, a floor was inserted at a higher level than the present floor, and a fragment of the timber construction for this remains in the N.W. corner. When the floor was lowered c. 1910 by Moore, it blocked the upper part of the N. ground-floor window.


Fig. 39. (34) St. William's College.

The two bays E. of the hall appear originally to have been sub-divided into unequal-sized ceiled rooms, probably divided by a partition under the central spine-beam. The original arrangement of the remaining two E. bays and of the adjacent bay to the S. in the E. range had been altered in the 18th century to one with a central staircase between N. and S. rooms with attics over. Temple Moore swept all this away.

W. of the hall, the 'Bishops' Chamber' is lined with 17th-century panelling, reset between pilasters which are largely modern, and has a stone fireplace with moulded jambs and lintel. The ceiling is divided by beams encased in renewed 17th-century moulded plaster. On the W. side of the chimney to the Bishops' Chamber is a stone fireplace with moulded jambs and four-centred head, which was part of the panelled room created in the mid 17th century. The tie-beam at its S. end has mortices for the partition between it and the W. range. Above the roof, two flues appear to have been added to the chimney, indicating that both these upper fireplaces were added after the chimney was first built.


Fig. 40. (34) St. William's College.

The West Range was originally sub-divided. Surviving beams on ground and first floors show that there must have been an entrance passage and staircase placed diagonally from the S. corner of the courtyard to give access to the rooms in the S.W. corner of the College. This arrangement was interrupted by the insertion of a chimney probably in the 16th century, and all the associated partitions have been removed. Other partitions have also been removed and chimneys have been added on the W. wall. On the ground floor there appear to have been two rooms, with fireplaces of the first half of the 18th century, between the diagonal access arrangement and the N. range. On the first floor, a room in the extreme S.W. corner of the College has the exposed timbers and intervening plaster painted with foliage and arabesque patterns of the late 16th century (Plate 79), not now complete. The painting continues on bearers pegged to the E. and W. walls to carry an inserted ceiling; these bearers have been reset at a higher level, leaving an unpainted gap below them. The stone fireplace to this room has moulded jambs and four-centred head. The rest of the range is opened up to form one large hall, extending to the N. wall of the N. range (Plate 80). The hall is divided into bays by trusses which were closed with collar-beams and studding and, where the tie-beams have not been renewed, there is evidence for partitions below, each bay presumably forming one or two rooms. Some of the ties have housings for longitudinal beams, possibly indicating the division of bays into front and back rooms.


Fig. 41. (34) St. William's College. Grate.