Building record MYO1131 - The Minster Song School


Originally built as St Peter's School for the Dean and Chapter by the architect J P Pritchett. The building was completed in 1832 and opened for lessons in 1833. St Peter's School moved to the buildings of the Proprietary School at Clifton in 1844 and in 1852 the Minster Yard School was occupied by The Government School of Design, in 1890 the York School of Art moved from the building to Exhibition Square and in 1903 it became the Minster Song School. A Tudor Gothick style bulding with a simple rectangular ground plan, the interior was considerably altered when the building became a choir school. Built of Magnesian limestone ashlar with slate and stone slate roofs.


Grid reference SE 6042 5207 (point)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

Formerly known as: The Song School MINSTER YARD. School. 1830-33; late C19 and C20 alterations. By C Watson and JP Pritchett for the Dean and Chapter. Magnesian limestone ashlar with slate and stone slate roofs and ashlar octagonal stacks with coved cornices. STYLE: Gothick.

EXTERIOR: 2-storey 3-bay centre range behind 1-storey 3-bay arcade, flanked by 2-storey gabled crosswings: 1-storey parallel crosswing at left end. Arcade contains three double chamfered 4-centred arches beneath coved head-stopped hoods with double doors of diamond latticed ogee-headed lights and linenfold panelling. Crosswings have embattled octagonal turrets, moulded and chamfered plinths and full height windows of five cinquefoiled lights in double hollow chamfered surrounds with traceried 4-centred heads. Moulded sillstring encircles turrets. Upper storey windows are of paired cinquefoiled lights in square-headed hollow chamfered openings with hollow chamfered mullions. All windows have coved hoods with return stops. All parts have embattled parapet with moulded coping, over coved eaves string. 1-storey gabled wing has window of 2 round-headed lights in square-headed double hollow chamfered opening and quatrefoil above.

Rear: 2-storey 5-bay front, end bays gabled: articulated 1:3:1 by pilaster buttresses surmounted by octagonal turrets with moulded caps: right end bays obscured by 1-storey parallel range. End bay first floor windows are of 3 lights with intersecting tracery in 4-centred heads: other windows are paired, tripled or quadrupled lancets with pivoting diamond leaded lights in square-headed surrounds: all are double hollow chamfered. Moulded string course beneath coped parapet, crow-stepped in centre and supporting paired octagonal stacks. Gabled 1-storey range has triple lancet window in chamfered surround with 4-centred head. INTERIOR: ground floor doorways are 4-centred and hollow chamfered: some have shaped panelled doors. Braced roof trusses, filled with panel tracery, rise from carved enriched corbels: wallplate carved with blank shields. Building was built originally to house St Peter's School.

(City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 104). Listing NGR: SE6042852078

Derived from English Heritage LB download dated: 22/08/2005

The Minster Song School, originally St. Peter's School, was built for the Dean and Chapter on part of the site of the Old Deanery, to designs by C. Watson and J. P. Pritchett (YML, M/P Y/St P 1133/5). It was begun in 1830 and completed by 1833 (New Guide, 94). In 1844 St. Peter's School moved to the buildings of the Proprietary School at Clifton (York IV, Monument (29)), and a school of design acquired the building in Minster Yard in 1848. In 1852 it was known as the Government School of Design and later as York School of Art which moved to Exhibition Square in 1890 (York IV, (13) 45b). Pritchett's building became the Minster Song School in 1903 (VCH, York, 341).

The school, of a single storey, was built in a Tudor Gothic style in ashlar. It had a simple rectangular ground plan (85 ft. by 24 ft. overall), with the Hall in the main range (40 ft. by 20 ft.) and a vestibule entrance set to the front of it, between projecting cross-wings to either end (30 ft. by 20 ft.). In the late 19th century, or when the Minster Song School took possession in 1903, floors were inserted in the cross-wings and a gallery was constructed along the N. side of the Hall to link the two upper floor compartments; a staircase was also formed in the E. cross-wing. Two large openings to each end of the Hall were mostly blocked, though smaller doorways were incorporated in all but that to S.W. More recently, a floor was inserted in the Hall and the crosswings were sub-divided. The former small structure to the rear at the E. end, built as a Library and a Master's Room, was converted to other uses, the latter room becoming a kitchen. Cellars below the E. cross-wing incorporate mediaeval stone walling.

The N. front elevation is symmetrical, with cross-wings lit by large windows of five cinquefoil-headed lights in Tudor style. The other elevations, also in ashlar, have mullioned windows. Internally, there are elaborate softwood roof trusses with short curved braces to the tie-beams, supported by enriched corbels with fleurs-de-lys, Tudor roses, crossed keys for St. Peter, and grotesque heads. The blocked openings to the Hall have stone four-centred arches, with hollow chamfers continuous with the jambs

Monument 49; City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 104

NMR Information

List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. District of York, 14-MAR-1997

BF060861 THE MINSTER SONG SCHOOL, YORK File of material relating to a site or building. This material has not yet been fully catalogued.

NMR, NMR data (Unassigned). SYO2214.

RCHME, 1981, City of York Volume V: The Central Area (Monograph). SYO65.

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Unassigned: NMR. NMR data.
  • --- Monograph: RCHME. 1981. City of York Volume V: The Central Area.

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jun 14 2020 12:01PM


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