Building record MYO1150 - Gray's Court and gate piers and gates attached to south east corner


House constructed during the 17th/18th century, incorporating the 12th century Treasurer's House. A restoration was carried out in circa 1900.


Grid reference Centred SE 6040 5229 (48m by 31m)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (9)

Full Description

House of the Treasurers of York Minster; attached double gates, gate piers and railings to garden. Early C18 subdivision of Treasurer's House (qv) and remodelling incorporating fragments of C12 and C14 houses; gallery range extension c1742; further extension and alteration 1845-6; extensive restoration, remodelling and extension c1900. Mid C18 extension for Dr Jacques Sterne; 1845-6 work by JB and W Atkinson and restoration by Temple Moore c1900 for members of the Gray family. Garden gates and railings 1902 re-using late C18 gate piers.

MATERIALS: gallery range of red brick in various bonds incorporating colonnade of limestone columns blocked with pink-grey brick: limestone porch has weatherboarded first floor. Wing ground floor of coursed magnesian limestone, garden side buttressed in brick; first floor on courtyard side of red and orange-grey brick in English garden-wall bond, garden side in orange brick in random bond. On garden side, limestone ground floor extends across end of gallery range below first floor of orange brick in English garden-wall bond. Mid C19 extension of pink-grey brick in English garden-wall bond; cottage extension in red brick. Gallery range extension towards Minster Yard is stuccoed. Timber guttering on block brackets to garden side of gallery range end bay, wing, and extension. All roofs of slate with brick stacks. Garden gates and railings of cast-iron, gate piers of sandstone ashlar.

EXTERIOR: Entrance Front: 3-storey 6-bay gallery range; to right, 3-storey 3-bay projecting wing. Blocking of colonnade of re-used C12 columns forms blind arcade of shallow 4-centred arches, each containing 2-light Yorkshire sash beneath flat arch of brick. Right of centre bay has 2-storey projecting porch containing C19 battened panel door: first floor jettied over detached squat Doric columns has gabled 5-light casement window, centre lights rising into round-arched head beneath moulded cornice. First floor windows on each side are 2-, 3- and 4-light timber mullioned and transomed casements incorporating panes of painted glass. Second floor windows are 12-pane sashes, some retaining original glazing. 2-course raised brick band to second floor. Bold moulded timber eaves cornice discontinued at left end where eaves rise to half a shaped gable abutting rear of Treasurer's House. Centre bay to wing is pedimented and projects.

To right is glazed and panelled door beneath flat porch: 2x4-pane Yorkshire sash window with segmental brick arch on first floor, squat 6-pane sash on second floor. Left end bay has 2x6-pane casement window on ground floor, blind storeys above. Centre bay has segment-headed 2x6-pane casement window on ground floor. Above is 2-storey canted oriel window with moulded and modillioned cornice and unequal sashes, centre one round-arched and radial glazed in moulded and keyed surround. Gallery Range Extension towards Minster Yard: basement and 2 storeys; 4-window front, left part projecting. Steps to right lead up to glazed and panelled front door in doorcase of Corinthian columns, entablature and broken pediment with bust in tympanum. To left is basement door of 6 raised and fielded panels with divided overlight: elsewhere in basement three unequal 6-pane sash windows. Ground floor windows are square latticed casements with timber mullions and transoms, of 4-lights to left of door, of 2 lights further left. On first floor are two 16-pane sash windows with painted sills. Stone steps have plain railings and handrail.

Garden Front: 3-storey gallery end bay between dwarf buttresses with 2-storey 5-window wing to left; to right is 3-storey 3-window bow front to extension; further right 2-storey 3-bay cottage extension. Entrance on first floor of gallery bay by means of glazed and panelled double doors with lozenge glazing bars, approached by flight of steps: timber cornice and brick pediment over door. Second floor has two unequal 6-pane sash windows. T-shaped staircase bowed at landing level has moulded steps and copings, balustrade of stick railings and arabesque panels and flat handrail swept out at the foot of both flights on shaped curtail steps. Wing to left has two slit windows and deeply recessed cross window inserted between re-used moulded jambs and beneath tooled lintel on ground floor. First floor windows are tall sashes, irregularly disposed. Moulded first floor stone string continues as 2-course raised brick band.

Extension: paired small 12-pane pivoting windows on ground floor: on first floor, three tall 2x4-pane lights with wrought-iron window guards, continuous lintel and sill band: on second floor, tripled 12-pane sashes with lintels and sills. All have vertically tooled sills and lintels. Cottage has 4-panel door with narrow 8-pane sash to left, blocked window to right: on first floor, two 12-pane sashes: all have cambered brick arches and windows have stone sills.

INTERIOR: not fully inspected. Gallery range, ground floor: re-used columns are cylindrical, with original moulded bases, some restored. Inner wall of C12 masonry contains single chamfered round-headed window and incorporates bands of chip-carved paterae. Hall lined with square panelling, some original. Staircase to first floor has dado of raised panelling and newels carved in relief with fruit and floral drops. First floor: gallery lined with panelling as on ground floor; two fireplaces and two broken pedimented doorcases with foliate friezes; inner wall contains window and carved bands as ground floor, and corbel table at wall head.

Bow fronted room to garden has elaborate fireplace with caryatid jambs, frieze of classical figures and fine Art Nouveau grate. Room at opposite end of gallery lined with re-used C17 panelling; fireplace has 4-centred head. Wing, ground floor: exposed moulded beams, including one set diagonally. Staircase with close string and turned balusters rises to first floor. First floor: Sterne Room has carved doorcase with foliate frieze and dentilled cornice overdoor; skirting and window architraves also carved; ornate fireplace carved with fruit and flower swags and drops includes portrait medallion of Princess Augusta: coved ceiling panelled in plaster enclosed in guilloche surround.

STAINED GLASS: in staircase window and long gallery, some probably by Henry Gyles; also window by JW Knowles.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: square section gate piers, approximately 4 metres high, have sunk panel sides with a low relief swag in the head; moulded cornices enriched with egg-and-dart support demi lions rampant. Railings raised on low stone wall with cambered coping: double gates supported by cylindrical gate posts with ball finials. Railings and gate bars are of square section: railings incorporate trefoil headed panels.

HISTORICAL NOTE: garden gate piers were removed from the Minster front of Treasurer's House (qv) by Frank Green in 1902 and presented to Edwin Gray of Gray's Court. They were possibly erected originally by Miss Ann Clapham, whose crest the lions may be, during her occupancy of Treasurer's House between c1815 and 1833.

(City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 69-76).
Listing NGR: SE6040452297

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

The office of Treasurer was established by Thomas of Bayeux, appointed archbishop by William the Conqueror. The office was more richly endowed than the offices of Dean, Chancellor and Precentor, and the first four Treasurers, up to 1162, appear to have been resident in York. At least one Romanesque wall remains, in Gray's Court, which is presumably part of a substantial Treasurer's residence. York Minster Fabric Rolls for 1544/5 record that the house belonging to the Treasurer was in a poor condition (YFR, 273–4), and on 26 May 1547 it was surrendered by the last Treasurer to the Crown. Edward VI granted the house to the Protector Somerset, who sold it for 200 marks to Archbishop Robert Holgate, who had previously acquired the church of St. John del Pyke which stood nearby to the E. These properties later passed to Archbishop Young (1561–8), who began the destruction of the Archbishop's Palace.

Gray's Court. Architectural Description. The South-East Elevation of the N.W. range is of three storeys and of six bays. The walling is of brick; that of the bottom storey is interrupted by stone columns, of 12th-century origin but reused, from which spring low four-centred brick arches with long flat sub-arches. The openings have been bricked up to give the appearance of a blind arcade. Small windows with Yorkshire sliding sashes may be of early 19th-century origin but have been much restored. The brickwork of the first floor is much disturbed and the form of the original fenestration is not apparent. The present windows are the work of Temple Moore. At the second-floor level is a string-course above which all the walling is of the late 18th or early 19th century. At the end adjoining the Treasurer's House the wall rises to a shaped half-gable; this was built to receive the lean-to roof of a small projection in the corner of the courtyard probably contemporaneously with the addition of the top storey of the range, and since removed.

At the N.E. end of the foregoing range a Wing projects S.E. along the N.E. side of the courtyard. The front to the courtyard has mediaeval stonework, perhaps 14th-century, to the ground floor and mid 18th-century brickwork above, with a bay window added c. 1900. The last bay to the S.E. is of three storeys, all of the 19th century; the ground floor appears to have been a coach-house. The S.E. end gable is masked by modern brickwork. The North-East Elevation has the lower storey of coursed rubble, perhaps of the 14th century, which continues across the end of the main N.W. range of Gray's Court. This stone wall has two simple buttresses and is pierced by small loop-lights and a window made up with raised moulded stones. The upper part is of brick, that is, to the one upper floor only in the wing and the two upper floors in the end of the main range. The first floor of the main range has an entrance doorway reached by a flight of external stone steps. Further N.W. is a three-storeyed brick structure with bowed front, designed by J. B. and W. Atkinson in 1846.

The North-West Elevation of the main range of Gray's Court continues the work of the Atkinsons (1846) but at the S.W. end includes some mediaeval masonry with the moulded stone base of a newel stair. The mediaeval stonework continues into a wing projecting at the S.W. end. The significance of these mediaeval fragments is not known; they may represent a part of the mediaeval Treasurer's House. The South-West Elevation, facing the Minster, is of three storeys, all stucco-rendered, partly setting forward. To the S.E. is an early 18th-century entrance framed between Corinthian columns supporting an entablature with a broken pediment enclosing a bust.

The Interior was drastically altered by Temple Moore c. 1900. The ground floor, some 3 ft. below the present level of the courtyard, is at about the same level as the basement of the Treasurer's House and is shown on the same plan as that basement. The entrance from the courtyard leads into a long hall, formed by Temple Moore, who removed the central staircase built by J. B. and W. Atkinson and the partitions which in the 19th century divided kitchen, pantry, scullery and store-rooms. The S.E. wall is divided into bays by reset 12th-century columns (Plate 88), as previously described. The N.W. wall is of 12th-century masonry, the original external face being towards the entrance hall. In it are a small round-headed window with renewed jambs and head (Plate 183) and two bands of stones decorated with chip-carved paterae and uniform with others in the upper part of the wall, now covered by panelling. The S.E. end wall is the wall of the Treasurer's House, complete with stone plinth against which the Gray's Court range is built, thus demonstrating that the latter is of a later date than the Treasurer's House. The entrance hall is lined with panelling, partly of the 17th century, reused, and partly modern imitation of 17th-century work.

On the N.W. the building was entirely remodelled by Temple Moore. In c. 1900 he formed a long gallery over the entrance hall where, during the latter part of the 19th century, the Atkinsons' staircase had certainly formed a division, but what other subdivisions there may have been is not now clear. The gallery is lined with panelling, some early 17th-century and some modern, set under a cornice mostly of the early 18th century. Two fireplaces with plaster overmantels and two doorcases are of the mid 18th century. The 12th-century walling on the N.W. side of the gallery is partly visible behind the panelling; it has a string-course of carved rectangular paterae and a corbel-table, of which one beast-head corbel can be seen. In this same wall is a small blocked round-headed window, with its internal splays visible from the N.W. side.

N.W. of the long gallery is the bow-fronted room of 1846 with contemporary fittings including a fireplace, and at the S.W. end is a room lined with reset 17th-century panelling and with a fireplace with a four-centred head.

The S.E. wing contains, on the first floor, the Sterne Room, said to have been built in the second quarter of the 18th century for Dr. Jaques Sterne; it has a later bay window added to the S.W. The door-case, skirting and window architraves are all richly carved. The fireplace surround of marble and wood has a central marble portrait medallion of Augusta, Princess of Wales, surrounded by scrolls and acanthus foliage. Festoons of fruit and flowers, looped behind shells, and foliage decoration are similar in style to contemporary work in the long gallery, but do not accord with the marble medallion, which may be a London-made piece set in a surround of York craftsmanship. The coved plaster ceiling is divided into circular and rectangular compartments, with decoration of foliage, shells and scrolls, partly repeating the motifs of the carved woodwork in the room. This wing also contains a late 18th-century staircase with slender turned balusters and close string. The second floor, added in the late 18th or early 19th century, contains no noteworthy features.

Stained Glass, inserted by Temple Moore, includes: in the window to the main staircase, heraldry and monograms associated with the Hitch family; in the long gallery, representations of Virtues and other subjects; late 17th and early 18th-century, most probably by Henry Gyles (J. T. Brighton in YAJ, xli (1966)). There is also late 19th-century stained glass by J. W. Knowles.

Monument 32; City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 69-76

NMR Information

Full description
(SE 60415230-O.S 1/2500, 1962)


No 1 and gate piers and gates. Gray's Court and gate piers and gates

SE 6052 SW 13/364 14.6.54


C17 and C18 incorporating some C12 fragments of the original Treasurer's House. Much restoration of circa 1900 by Temple Moore. Brick, now stuccoed; some original windows with wood mullions and transoms; some C18 windows; good Corinthian doorway with broken pediment surmounted by a bust; C17 panelled stone gate piers and contemporary ironwork, including double gates. Elevation to Gray's Court: The Treasurer's House forms the left side, and Gray's Court the central and half the right sides of a cobbled court behind No 14 and Ogleforth Cottage, Chapter House Street.

The ground storey is partly medieval and has C13 columns built into the outer wall, which has a central doorway with pedimental porch on Doric columns. Good C18 panelled stone gate piers with Clapham crest of a demi- lion and contemporary ironwork with double gates. The interior contains notable early Georgian fireplaces in the Sterne Room, 2, mid-C18, fireplaces in the Long Gallery and good C16, C17 and C18 panelling and decorative plasterwork. Jacques Sterne, Precentor, father of Lawrence Sterne lived here. (RCHM Vol V, Monument 35).

1 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. p225 City of York, June 1983.

613515 Architectural Survey Investigation by RCHME/EH Architectural Survey

NMR, NMR data (Unassigned). SYO2214.

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

Rydale Archaeology Service Ltd, 2014, Gray's Court Garden (Unpublished document). SYO2347.

Sources/Archives (3)

  • --- Unassigned: NMR. NMR data.
  • --- Unpublished document: Rydale Archaeology Service Ltd. 2014. Gray's Court Garden.
  • --- Monograph: RCHME. 1981. City of York Volume V: The Central Area.

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Record last edited

Jun 2 2020 2:28PM


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