Sites and Remains of Religious Houses

A History of the County of York East Riding: Volume 6, the Borough and Liberties of Beverley. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1989.

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A P Baggs. L M Brown. G C F Forster. I Hall. R E Horrox. G H R Kent. D Neave, 'Sites and Remains of Religious Houses', in A History of the County of York East Riding: Volume 6, the Borough and Liberties of Beverley, (London, 1989) pp. 180-183. British History Online [accessed 24 May 2024].

A P Baggs. L M Brown. G C F Forster. I Hall. R E Horrox. G H R Kent. D Neave. "Sites and Remains of Religious Houses", in A History of the County of York East Riding: Volume 6, the Borough and Liberties of Beverley, (London, 1989) 180-183. British History Online, accessed May 24, 2024,

Baggs, A P. Brown, L M. Forster, G C F. Hall, I. Horrox, R E. Kent, G H R. Neave, D. "Sites and Remains of Religious Houses", A History of the County of York East Riding: Volume 6, the Borough and Liberties of Beverley, (London, 1989). 180-183. British History Online. Web. 24 May 2024,

In this section


The institutional history of the religious houses of Beverley is described elsewhere, (fn. 1) as is the architectural history of the collegiate church, the minster, which later became a parish church. (fn. 2) The following account is concerned with the sites and buildings of the college, apart from the church, and of the other religious houses, and with their fate after the Dissolution. Several of the lesser hospitals were succeeded by postReformation almshouses, and their later history is considered in another section. (fn. 3)

St. John's College.

The minster was apparently not contained within a clearly defined 'close' or precinct, though the church was probably encircled by collegiate buildings and clerical houses. The only communal building of which there is evidence is the Bedern, which included a refectory and dormitory for the provost, the canons or prebendaries until they acquired their own houses, the vicars, and some of the lesser clerks. It also housed the provost's court and gaol. (fn. 4) The refectory of the Bedern was mentioned in 1237 (fn. 5) and the hall in 1304, and in the latter year an inventory of the provost's goods made reference to the great and small halls, two kitchens, and other rooms, presumably all in the Bedern. (fn. 6) In the early 15th century the provost added a tower to the Bedern. The Bedern and provost's house may later have been separated by the provison of a new building for the Bedern, (fn. 7) and in 1472 the seven parsons also had a separate house, next to the Bedern. (fn. 8) The provost's house was evidently large (fn. 9) and Leland thought that the fairest parts of it were the gate and the front. (fn. 10) The Bedern probably lay west of the minster, in the modern St. John Street, occupying the ground between Keldgate and Minster Moorgate. (fn. 11)

By the early 14th century the canons had their own prebendal houses standing around the minster, (fn. 12) St. Martin's, for example, north of the church, St. Andrew's in Flemingate, St. Stephen's in or near Lurk Lane, and St. James's in Eastgate. (fn. 13) The houses of the chancellor, precentor, and sacrist were probably all in Minster Moorgate. (fn. 14)

The prebendal houses of St. Andrew and St. Michael were presumably included in the grant of those prebends by the two canons to Sir Michael Stanhope in 1547. (fn. 15) After the suppression of the college the prebendal houses of St. James, St. Catherine, St. Martin, St. Peter, and St. Stephen, and the houses of the provost, the chancellor, the precentor, the sacrist, and the seven parsons were all granted by the Crown to Stanhope and John Bellow in 1548, and the site of the house of the vicars (i.e. the Bedern) and the prebendal house of St. Mary the next year. (fn. 16) It was apparently Stanhope who was responsible for the demolition c. 1550 of the chapter house, charnel, and St. Martin's chapel at the minster and the sale of lead thence and from the gatehouse of the provost's house. (fn. 17) After Stanhope's attainder in 1552 the Crown granted the prebendal house of St. James to Edward Fiennes, Lord Clinton and Saye, and Henry Herdson the same year, the seven parsons' house, together with ground perhaps forming part of the sites of the chancellor's, precentor's, and sacrist's houses, to Lady (Joan) Constable and Sir John Constable in 1554, (fn. 18) and St. Andrew's prebendal house to the corporation in 1585. (fn. 19) By 1590 St. Michael's prebendal house belonged to Michael Warton. (fn. 20)

Little remains of any of the collegiate buildings or houses. Nos. 6-11 St. John Street, however, although much altered are thought to date from c. 1500, the front wall of no. 9 resting on earlier stone foundations. (fn. 21)

The remains of 14th- and 15th-century buildings have been excavated in Keldgate, near Lurk Lane, but they have not been identified. (fn. 22)

The Dominican Friary.

The Dominicans were established in Beverley before 1240. (fn. 23) Building work at the friary, which lay north-east of the minster, beyond Eastgate, was apparently in progress in 1263, when the king gave 15 oaks for timber. A proposed gift of land to enlarge the site was found in 1309 to be prejudicial to the Crown. (fn. 24) The dormitory and library were burnt down in 1449, whereupon the king contributed towards the rebuilding. When the friary was dissolved in 1539 the site covered 4½ a. within the precinct wall, including churchyard, gardens, and orchards, (fn. 25) and it may therefore not have included the whole of the area bounded by Eastgate, Trinity Lane, Grovehill Road, Chantry Lane, and Friars Lane. (fn. 26)

The site was let by the Crown in 1539 to Richard Faircliff and then granted in fee in 1544 to John Pope. (fn. 27) It later passed to the Wartons. Michael Warton (d. 1590) had a chief house called the Black Friars (fn. 28) which fell to the share of C. A. Pelham when the former Warton estates were partitioned in 1775. (fn. 29) The house was sold to Richard Whiteing in 1827. (fn. 30) It was later converted to three houses, in divided ownership, but all were sold to Armstrong Patents Co. Ltd. in 1960 as part of its factory site. (fn. 31) Restoration of the building began in 1974 and it was opened as a youth hostel in 1984. (fn. 32)

Excavations between 1960 and 1983 uncovered the foundations of part of the church and cloisters, and further excavations in 1986-7 revealed a complex building history and the addition of a second cloister. (fn. 33) The surviving building is of ashlar, chalk rubble, and brick, with timberframed partition walls. That part built mainly of stone and chalk stands on 14th-century footings and has a doorway of the same period; a two-storeyed porch was added, perhaps in the 16th century. The brick part presumably represents the rebuilding that took place after 1449. Surviving wall paintings are probably of the late 15th or early 16th century. Two 16th-century brick gateways also remain, one in situ in the precinct wall in Friars Lane, the other moved in the 1960s from the east to the west side of Eastgate. (fn. 34)

The Franciscan Friary.

The Franciscans were established in Beverley by 1267, (fn. 35) evidently on a site outside Newbegin bar in a lane later known as Westwood Road and on the north side of St. Giles's croft. (fn. 36) It was presumably the site near St. Helen's chapel (fn. 37) which was said to have been given to them by William Likston and Henry Wigthon, and where their house was said to have fallen through poverty to decay. (fn. 38) The friars' abandonment of the house may have been anticipated (fn. 39) and it eventually took place, but presumably not before the site had been enlarged by a gift of 3 a. from Warter priory in 1304. (fn. 40) John of Hotham's gift of a moiety of 1¼ a. in 1352 (fn. 41) was probably for a new site and building work was evidently in progress in 1356, when the friars were allowed to take sand from Westwood to finish it. (fn. 42) The refounded house stood outside Keldgate bar, evidently close to Queensgate, (fn. 43) and its proximity to Westwood was sometimes noticed. (fn. 44) It was evidently intended to found a chantry for Thomas Kelk and his son John in the friary church c. 1400, but the chantry seems eventually to have been established in St. Mary's church instead. (fn. 45) A bequest of 95 marks by John Kelk in 1407 for repairing the friars' church and dormitory (fn. 46) suggests extensive work. When the friary was dissolved in 1539 the site covered 7 a., evidently occupying the ground between Westwood, Cartwright Lane, Sloe Lane, and the borough boundary. (fn. 47)

The house and site were granted by the Crown, in 1540 to Thomas Culpeper (fn. 48) and the site several times changed hands later in the 16th century. (fn. 49) In the early 19th century the digging of clay for a brickyard which lay on the west side of Queensgate near the junction with Sloe Lane revealed a cemetery and foundations which are presumed to have been those of the friary. (fn. 50) Closes known at least since the early 18th century as High and Low Friars (fn. 51) mark the earlier site of the friary. Many remains have been found in Low Friars. (fn. 52)

The Preceptory of the Holy Trinity.

The house of the Knights Hospitallers, which was probably founded soon after 1201, lay on the east side of the town, beyond Trinity Lane. (fn. 53) When the preceptory was dissolved in 1540 the site covered 11 a. (fn. 54) The house and site were let by the Crown in 1541 to John Cowell and then granted in fee to Sir William Berkeley in 1544. (fn. 55) The site later passed through various hands (fn. 56) before being sold to the corporation, which evidently took possession in 1577 but did not complete the purchase until 1585. (fn. 57)

The house was moated, and it or another built on the site was mentioned in the later 16th century. (fn. 58) A building within the moat was used as a pest house during the 17th-century plagues and it still stood in the mid 18th century. (fn. 59) A corporation lessee of the Inner Trinities, as the site was called, was ordered in 1825 to restore part of the moat that he had filled in. (fn. 60) The Inner and part of the Outer Trinities were used for the railway station and line in 1846, but parts of the moat survived in the late 19th century. (fn. 61) Both medieval and 17th-century burials on the site were discovered in the 19th century, and others, together with the remains of buildings, in the 20th. (fn. 62)

St. Giles's Hospital.

The house existed by the late 12th century and was annexed to Warter priory in 1277. (fn. 63) Together with its church and churchyard it evidently stood on the west side of Lairgate, to the north of Minster Moorgate. (fn. 64) It was dissolved in 1536 (fn. 65) and the site was granted to Thomas Manners, earl of Rutland, the same year. (fn. 66) The site evidently belonged to Robert Grey (d. 1557) (fn. 67) and, as the 'manor' of St. Giles, was acquired by Ralph Hansby in 1582. (fn. 68) The former hospital was presumably the chief house called St. Giles which belonged to Hansby in 1616 and to Roger Beckwith in 1635 (fn. 69) and the house called St. Giles owned by the Appleyards in the early 18th century. It was sold to Thomas Pennyman in 1753 (fn. 70) and the Hall, Lairgate, was later built on the site.

St. Nicholas's Hospital.

The house, which was mentioned in 1287, stood north-east of the minster, near Chantry Lane. Its occupants were sometimes called the brotherhood (fraria) of St. Nicholas and the house sometimes the 'frary'. (fn. 71) A chantry in the hospital chapel was mentioned from 1311 and was endowed in 1378; it was worth £5 6s. 5d. at the suppression. (fn. 72) The house, chapel, and 3-a. Friary garth were granted by the Crown in 1549 to Sir Michael Stanhope and John Bellow, (fn. 73) but forfeited on Stanhope's attainder in 1552. The buildings may have been in 'the Paradise' or Paradise close, which belonged to Edward Truslove by 1609, to the corporation by 1636, and later to the Wartons. (fn. 74) Part of a moat around the close still existed in the late 19th century and the remains of buildings have been found there. (fn. 75)

The Hospital of the Holy Trinity.

A chantry chapel and hospital were founded by John of Aike by 1397 and the chantry was worth £3 12s. at the suppression. (fn. 76) The building, which stood in Toll Gavel, next to Cross bridge, had been acquired by the town council by 1556-7 (fn. 77) and was for a time maintained as a maison dieu before being used as a prison. (fn. 78)

St. John the Baptist's Hospital.

The hospital, which was mentioned in 1440, (fn. 79) stood on the east side of Butcher Row, close to Wednesday Market. It included a chapel with a chantry worth £7 85. 2¼d. at the suppression. (fn. 80) It was granted by the. Crown in 1549 to Edward Pease and William Winlove, (fn. 81) but in 1585 it was included in a Crown grant to the corporation. (fn. 82) A maison dieu presumably on the same site was later maintained by the corporation. (fn. 83)

St. John the Evangelist's Hospital.

The hospital, which was mentioned in 1444, (fn. 84) stood on the west side of Lairgate, near the southern end of the street. It was granted by the Crown in 1585 to the corporation, (fn. 85) which maintained a maison dieu that was presumably on the same site. (fn. 86)

St. Mary's Hospital.

The hospital, which was mentioned in 1433-4, (fn. 87) stood on the east side of North Bar Without, next to the bar. By 1557-8 it had been acquired by the town council, (fn. 88) which maintained a maison dieu there. (fn. 89)

Other hospitals.

Several poorhouses were founded by townsmen in the Middle Ages but they were evidently unendowed and short lived. (fn. 90) They probably included those in Dead Lane and Wood Lane mentioned in 1475. (fn. 91)

Leper houses.

A site in Humbergate (now Queensgate) was provided for a leper house in 1332. (fn. 92) The house apparently existed until 1402 (fn. 93) but was replaced that year by another outside North bar. (fn. 94) The 'spittle house' was mentioned from the 16th (fn. 95) to the early 18th century. (fn. 96)


  • 1. V.C.H. Yorks. iii.
  • 2. Below, Churches.
  • 3. Below, Charities.
  • 4. H.R.O., PE/129/150, ff. 38 and v., 53v., 63; B.L. Add. MS. 40008, f. 348.
  • 5. Cal. Papal Reg. i. 161.
  • 6. Chapter Act Bk. i. 8, 28-9.
  • 7. Ibid, ii, pp. lxxxv, 352.
  • 8. Yorks. Deeds, ix, p. 28; cf. Cal. Pat. 1553-4, 145-6; for the parsons or berefellarii see V.C.H. Yorks. iii. 355.
  • 9. L. & P. Hen. VIII, iv (1), pp. 873-6.
  • 10. Leland, Itin. ed. Toulmin Smith, i. 46; for the gatehouse see Yorks. Chantry Surv. ii. 553.
  • 11. R. E. Horrox, in forthcoming rep., on Lurk La. excavations.
  • 12. Chapter Act Bk. i. 92, 282, 324, 353, 382, 389; ii. 17, 31, 94, 125; Leland, Itin. i. 46.
  • 13. Chapter Act Bk. i. 369; Cal. Pat. 1374-7, 97, 239; Poulson, Beverlac, App. p. 36.
  • 14. P.R.O., C 142/505, no. 134; Chapter Act Bk. ii. 317; Cal. Pat. 1553-4, 145-6.
  • 15. Cal. Pat. 1547-8, 170, 250.
  • 16. Ibid. 1548-9, 37-9, 204; cf. H.R.O., BC/III/21.
  • 17. Yorks. Chantry Surv. ii. 552-3.
  • 18. Cal. Pat. 1550-3, 366; 1553-4, 145-6; D.N.B. s.v. Stanhope.
  • 19. Poulson, Beverlac, App. p. 36.
  • 20. P.R.O., C 142/224, no. 31.
  • 21. R.C.H.M. Beverley, 14.
  • 22. Ibid. 12; Y.A.J. liii. 140; liv. 178; forthcoming excavation rep.
  • 23. Para. based on V.C.H. Yorks. iii. 263-4.
  • 24. Mon. Notes, ii (Y.A.S. Rec. Ser. lxxxi), 1.
  • 25. P.R.O., SC 6/Hen. VIII/4571, m. 9.
  • 26. As suggested in R.C.H.M. Beverley, end map.
  • 27. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xv, p. 562; xix (2), p. 190.
  • 28. P.R.O., C 142/224, no. 31.
  • 29. H.U.L., DDX/85/14.
  • 30. R.D.B., EA/250/303.
  • 31. Ibid. 1183/355/328; 1201/469/421; below, Churches (minster); J. Markham, Friary Families, passim.
  • 32. Beverley Guardian, 21 June 1984.
  • 33. P. Armstrong and D. G. Tomlinson, Excavations at Dominican Priory, Beverley, 1960-83, passim; Med. Arch. xxxi. 143.
  • 34. R.C.H.M. Beverley, 48-51; Hall, Hist. Beverley, 34-5; see above, plate facing p. 28.
  • 35. V.C.H. Yorks. iii. 264-6.
  • 36. An undated grant, probably of the mid 13th cent., describes St. Giles's croft as lying next to the friary towards the south, appparently meaning south of it: H.R.O., BC/III/1/2; cf. B.L. Lansd. Ch. 222; Bodl. MS. Univ. Coll. 82, pp. 46, 134.
  • 37. No other reference to such a chapel has been found. The friary ch. later contained an altar of St. Helen: above, Med. Beverley (Guilds and their Plays).
  • 38. Bodl. MS. Tanner 343, f. 183 (Stow's notes). No date for the gift was stated. The date 1297 appeared in T. Tanner, Notitia Monastica (1787 edn.), Yorks. XII. 8, quoting Stow, and in later works. The site was not stated, as is often alleged, to have been outside Keldgate bar.
  • 39. The undated grant (above) included a reservation for surrender should the friars give up their house; cf. Yorks. Deeds, vii, p. 22 n.
  • 40. Cal. Pat. 1301-7, 267. The gift may have been ineffective. It may have involved part of St. Giles's croft, which was given to St. Giles's hosp. by Wal. Godchep; the hosp. was later annexed to Warter priory and the land given in 1304 was held of Wal. Godchamp: H.R.O., BC/III/1/1; Yorks. Inq. iv, p. 78.
  • 41. Cal. Pat. 1350-4, 299. Hotham was consequently reputed the founder of the ho.: Bodl. MS. Tanner 343, f. 183.
  • 42. Corp. MSS. 64.
  • 43. H.R.O., BC/II/6/13; B.L. Lansd. Ch. 354.
  • 44. Test. Ebor. v. 219; L. & P. Hen. VIII, xii (1), p. 183.
  • 45. Town Doc. 43; below, Churches.
  • 46. B.I.H.R., Prob. Reg. 3, f. 263 and v.
  • 47. P.R.O., SC 6/Hen. VIII/4571, m. 8.
  • 48. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xv, p. 405.
  • 49. Ibid. xvii, p. 166; xix (1), p. 387; Yorks. Fines, iv. 60.
  • 50. Poulson, Beverlac, 772 n., which locates the finds in a field belonging to Ant. Atkinson. In addition to the close used as a brickyard Atkinson owned the closes between it and Cartwright La.: R.D.B., DF/338/428; DR/230/268; DR/231/269. Clay may have been dug in any of those closes.
  • 51. R.D.B., Q/132/311; O.S. Map 6", Yorks. CCX (1853 and later edns.).
  • 52. R.C.H.M. Beverley, 51-2.
  • 53. V.C.H. Yorks. iii. 261.
  • 54. P.R.O., SC 6/Hen. VIII/4458, m. 6.
  • 55. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvi, p. 728; xix (1), p. 503.
  • 56. Ibid. xix (1), p. 639; xxi (1), p. 692; Cal. Pat. 1550-3, 82; 1558-60, 331.
  • 57. H.R.O., BC/II/6/33-5, 38; BC/III/23/2; Boro. Rec. 8.
  • 58. H.R.O., BC/III/23/1.
  • 59. Boro. Rec. pp. xviii, 118, 137, 139; Min. Bks. 32.
  • 60. Min. Bks. 132.
  • 61. O.S. Map 1/1,056, Beverley 2, 4 (1853-4 edn.); ibid. 1/2,500, Yorks. CCX. 8 (1893 edn.); above, Communications.
  • 62. R.C.H.M. Beverley, 52.
  • 63. E.Y.C. ii, pp. 153-4, 299, 411; V.C.H. Yorks. iii. 301.
  • 64. Corp. MSS. 21, 131; Chapter Act Bk. ii. 317; Guisborough Chart. ii. 446; Poulson, Beverlac, 779; below (this section).
  • 65. V.C.H. Yorks. iii. 238.
  • 66. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xi, p. 207.
  • 67. Above, Beverley in 16th Cent. (Pop. and Topog.).
  • 68. Yorks. Fines, ii. 184.
  • 69. H.U.L., DDSY/4/164; P.R.O., C 142/535, no. 117.
  • 70. R.D.B., O/505/1238; W/419/844.
  • 71. Reg. Romeyn, ii. 51. 'Friary' was not an alternative name deriving from its proximity to the Dominican friary, as in V.C.H. Yorks. iii. 302.
  • 72. Cal. Pat. 1377-81, 259; Yorks. Chantry Surv. ii. 5345 (which located the chant. in the collegiate ch.); Chapter Act Bk. i. 288.
  • 73. Cal. Pat. 1548-9, 204.
  • 74. P.R.O., C 142/320, no. 32; H.R.O., DDBC/16/3A; ibid. BC/IV/4/1; Y.A.S., MS. 661, p. 147; H.U.L., DDMM/33/1(b).
  • 75. O.S. Map 1/2,500, Yorks. CCX. 8 (1893 edn.); R.C.H.M. Beverley, 54.
  • 76. V.C.H. Yorks. iii. 303; Yorks. Chantry Surv. ii. 536.
  • 77. H.R.O., BC/II/6/22.
  • 78. Above, Beverley in 16th Cent.; below, Charities (corp. almsho.); Public Inst.
  • 79. Yorks. Deeds, ix, p. 24.
  • 80. Yorks. Chantry Surv. ii. 536.
  • 81. Cal. Pat. 1549-51, 78, 80-3; cf. ibid. 1553, 254-6.
  • 82. Poulson, Beverlac, App. p. 36.
  • 83. Below, Charities (corp. almsho.).
  • 84. Test. Ebor. ii, p. 98.
  • 85. Poulson, Beverlac, App. p. 36.
  • 86. Below, Charities (corp. almsho.); either it or St. John the Baptist's hosp. was evidently in the hands of the town council, perhaps as lessees, by 1572-3, when money was spent on 'St John's' maison dieu: H.R.O., BC/II/7/3, f. 48.
  • 87. H.R.O., BC/II/6/9; it may have existed by 1426: ibid. BC/II/6/11.
  • 88. Ibid. BC/II/6/23.
  • 89. Below, Charities (corp. almsho.); see above, plate facing p. 29.
  • 90. Above, Med. Beverley (Townspeople).
  • 91. V.C.H. Yorks. iii. 304.
  • 92. H.R.O., BC/III/12.
  • 93. B.I.H.R., Prob. Reg. 3, ff. 71v.-72; Corp. MSS. 123, 131, 158-9.
  • 94. Poulson, Beverlac, 773-4; V.C.H. Yorks. iii. 304.
  • 95. H.R.O., BC/II/6/22 sqq.; B.I.H.R., Prob. Reg. 11A, f. 135.
  • 96. R.D.B., H/194/405; H/313/652; cf. H.R.O., BC/IV/4/1; nos. 15-21 New Walk stand on or near the site.