Building record MYO1776 - CASTLE MUSEUM THE DEBTORS PRISON

Summary

Former debtors' prison, now a museum. Built as the County Gaol in 1701-05 and altered and extended between 1824 and 1835. The building was converted into a museum circa 1950 and restored in 1966. It stands south of Clifford's Tower, in the former bailey. The building is three storeyed, with a central range and clock turret flanked by projecting wings.

Location

Grid reference SE 6053 5136 (point)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire

Map

Type and Period (5)

Full Description

Formerly known as: The Old Prison CASTLE PRECINCT. County Gaol and Debtors' Prison, now museum. 1701-1705; altered during extensions of 1824-35; modified for conversion to museum c1950, and pediments rebuilt and strengthened in 1966. Possibly by William Wakefield. MATERIALS: front of limestone ashlar, with ashlar parapet and pediments reinforced with concrete. Rear and returns have upper storeys faced in red brick, returns in Flemish bond, rear in English garden wall bond, on ashlar ground floor; pilasters, entablature and dressings of ashlar; parapet of brick with ashlar coping. Roofs of lead and slate, and ashlar clock turret with timber cupola. EXTERIOR: 3-storey, 3-bay central range, flanked by projecting 3-storey 5-bay wings. Ground floor to all parts is rusticated on chamfered plinth, and forms podium to giant Roman Doric pilasters rising from raised first floor band to entablature with prominent moulded cornice. In centre bay, rusticated central round arch with dropped double keystone is flanked by coupled rusticated pilasters carrying triglyph frieze. Plain entablature to wings, beneath massive segmental pediments. Centre range has central door of 6 incised panels in stepped surround with keyed lintel: at each end are original bolection moulded doorways with dropped keyblock lintels, altered to 2-light barred windows. Original ground floor windows, stepped back beneath flat arches of radiating voussoirs, survive to fronts of wings and return of left wing. In right wing return parts of two original bolection moulded doorways remain, and one original 2-light barred window. Chamfered plinth band forms window sill band, stepped up over door openings. First floor windows generally 2-light small-pane cross windows, with one 24-pane sash in centre of right wing front, and one 18-pane sash in wing return: centre window in centre range has sunk-panel apron. Second floor windows are squat, of 2 lights, some sashes, some casements, centre one in centre range round-arched with radial glazed head. All windows have bolection moulded architraves with dropped keyblocks and moulded sills, extended to form sill band interrupted by pilasters, on wing fronts. Centre range surmounted by square clock turret and octagonal cupola flanked by volutes. Surround to clock face is moulded, and cupola is arcaded with keyed round arch on imposts to each
face: dome above moulded cornice is finished with ball finial and weathervane. Plentiful rainwater goods, with inverted bell hoppers embossed with winged cherubs, and fleur-de-lys clamps. Rear: 3-storey 9-window front. On ground floor windows are 2x6-pane fixed lights behind massive iron grilles, over chamfered sill band. On first floor, former doorway at left end, originally approached by external stair, altered to 24-pane sash; other windows are small-pane cross windows as on front. On second floor, 7 windows are 2x8-pane fixed lights, with, towards right end, two altered to sashes. All first and second floor openings have plain keyed surrounds with moulded sills. Plain first floor band. 7 sets of rainwater goods as those on main front. Left return: 3 storeys, 5 windows arranged 2:1:2. Rusticated ground floor on chamfered plinth, with raised first floor band at base of giant pilasters clasping outer angles and flanking centre bay. Ground floor openings altered, but at left end original door and window openings survive, detailed as on main front. First and second floor windows repeat those on main front, in plain keyed surrounds with moulded sills and aprons. Moulded cornice over first floor windows breaks forward and incorporates window keyblocks. Entablature has moulded cornice beneath parapet, interrupted by ashlar pedestals over pilasters, with moulded coping. Right return: 3 storeys, 5 bays, with irregular fenestration. On ground floor, heavy nail studded door with original door furniture, in raised tooled surround, in centre: altered windows generally small-paned, behind iron grilles, some in chamfered surrounds. On first floor, blocked former doorway in hacked-back surround at left end; windows are mainly of 2 lights, generally cross, in plain raised surrounds with keyblocks, some retaining moulded sills. Second floor largely obscured. Raised first floor band. Entablature returned from main front and rear but interrupted across return. INTERIOR: 2 early C18 staircases survive, one in east wing from ground to second floor, second in centre range, from first floor to clock turret: both have close string, thick column balusters, square newels and flat moulded handrail. Lower stair in centre range is cast-iron, with thick square section balusters and flat moulded handrail. In west wing, inserted staircase from ground to second floor has stone treads, turned balusters, newels and swept handrail of cast-iron. Ground floor passages and cells are vaulted and groined. Doorways are chamfered in tooled surrounds, many retaining original doors. Fittings in the condemned cell retained, comprising plain stone fireplace with tooled shelf and cast-iron grate, iron bed frame raised on stone blocks and stone table with charcoal cooker hole. Several heavy iron grille doors survive in passages. In wing to right, the stepped and moulded cornice of former 2-storey chapel is visible on second floor. (An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York: RCHME: The Defences: HMSO: 1972-: 78-82).
Listing NGR: SE6053651369

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

Observations on surface levels and external repair works noted in SYO1384.

NMR entry:

1.
5343 CASTLE PRECINCT

The Debtors' Prison
(The Castle Museum)
(formerly listed as The Old Prison)

SE 6051 SE 22/113 14.6.54

I GV

2.

1705. Attributed to William Wakefield. Ashlar; 2 main storeys and a heavily rusticated semi-basement. Consists of a central portion surmounted by a clock turret and octagonal cupola, flanked by 2 considerably projecting wings with segmental pediments. On the 2 upper floors of the wings, giant pilasters alternate with the windows and support an eaves cornice. In the central block, the round headed central window, together with the one below, are contained in a rusticated architrave and flanked by coupled giant pilasters which are heavily rusticated. The altered interior now houses part of the Castle Museum. (5)

Former debtors' prison, now a museum. Built as the County Gaol in 1701-05, possibly by William Wakefield, and altered and extended between 1824 and 1835. The building was converted into a museum circa 1950 and restored in 1966. It stands south of Clifford's Tower, in the former bailey. The three storey building is constructed of brick and ashlar, with a central range and clock turret flanked by projecting wings. (2-4)


1 VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION Willis R. 1962. York Castle Museum The Living Past, Herald Printing Works
2 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Default value used to record large numbers of archive items which are not separately catalogued. See Monument Recording Guidelines for details of use. District of York, 14th March 1997
3 Yorkshire : York and the East Riding 1995 by Nikolaus Pevsner and David Neave 191
4 An inventory of the historical monuments in the City of York. Volume II: the defences
2 copies. 1972 Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, England 78-82
5 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Default value used to record large numbers of archive items which are not separately catalogued. See Monument Recording Guidelines for details of use. 43-44 City of York, June 1983

NMR related objects:
BF061945 York Castle, Castle Precinct, York Includes guidebook photography of the castle and related buildings. Report BF061945/1 was written for The Law Courts of England Project - EHC01/048 and photo job 95/02032 was referred to by the Architectural Investigators during the project.

FL01196/03 York Castle - Female Prison, Debtors Prison and Assize Court Sub-file containing a set of 13 photographic prints and 3 postcards. The views are of the Assize Court, Debtors Prison and Womens Prison of York Castle. All are part of the Y series numbering scheme and are captioned on the reverse.

NMR06 NMR Measured Drawings This material has not yet been fully catalogued. As a result copyright and date information may be incomplete or inaccurate.


On-Site Archaeology, 2017, York Castle Museum, Debtors Prison WB, Appendix 4 (Unpublished document). SYO2052.

Sources/Archives (1)

  • --- Unpublished document: On-Site Archaeology. 2017. York Castle Museum, Debtors Prison WB. Appendix 4.

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (4)

Related Events/Activities (7)

Record last edited

Jul 1 2020 11:30AM

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