Building record MYO1858 - Bedern Hall


Remains of the Vicar's College built before 1248. The hall itself is mid 14th century. One wall is timber framed the rest is coursed limestone and brick in English garden wall bond with a steeply pitched pantile roof. Restored and extended in 1984 the building is now used as a meeting hall and guildhall and is part of the College of Vicars Choral of York Minster.


Grid reference SE 6052 5210 (point)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (6)

Full Description

Common hall of the College of Vicars Choral of York Minster; now meeting hall and guildhall. Mid C14; restored and extension added 1984.

MATERIALS: one wall timber-framed; coursed limestone incorporating re-used moulded stone, on chamfered plinth; restored in orange-pink brick in English garden-wall bond with dressings of tooled stone; boxed timber eaves to steeply pitched pantile roof.

EXTERIOR: 1-storey 4-bay fronts. Entrance in extension at eastern end of south-west front through C20 door on strap hinges in renewed chamfered doorway with 2-centred head. Similar door in north- east front. Windows on both fronts are double chamfered with 2-centred heads, some retaining original fabric, now filled with C20 square lattice glazing. Original tracery survives in one window on north-east front, of 2 cusped and lobed lights beneath traceried head and with hollow-chamfered mullion and transom.

INTERIOR: renewed doorways are of 2 orders with 2-centred heads recessed beneath segmental rere-arches. Fragments of hollow chamfered surrounds survive to some windows. Wall to service end of hall contains 2 blocked chamfered pointed doorways, one original, one reconstructed in brick, beneath exposed timber-framing. Roof of scissor trusses carried on moulded wall plate; 3 trusses have arch braces rising from 2 original, 4 renewed corbels. Stone-flagged floor.

(City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 60). Listing NGR: SE6052652108

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

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, 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 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., 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, 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 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 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. 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 , 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.

Monument 33; City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 60

NMR Information

Full description
[SE 6052 5210]. Remains of the Bedern. [AT]
[SE 6050 5213] Trinity Chapel. [AT]

AREA STATUS Descheduled Monument
AREA STATUS Listed Building Grade II*

The Bedern, or Vicars' College, was established before 1248. Remains include the chapel, a scheduled ancient monument now used as a store, and parts of the hall incorporated in a confectionery works were visible in 1959.

Only the N.E. wall of the chapel is now standing. This has been reduced in height, and is in a dangerous condition. See GP AO 63/115/7.

The remains of the hall were inaccessible and could not be verified.

Sources ?


Title (& comments)






1 Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date). OS 1:1056 1852.
2 Medieval religious houses : England and Wales 2 copies 1953 by David Knowles and R Neville Hadcock p.346
4 Field Investigators Comments F1 RWE 06-JUN-63
5 Scheduled Monument Notification. Descheduling, 16-Jul-1998
6 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Vol.1112-1 York, 14-Mar-1997
7 An inventory of the historical monuments in the City of York. Volume V: the central area
Includes index. 1981 Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, England p.60

BF060279 BEDERN HALL, YORK File of material relating to a site or building. This material has not yet been fully catalogued.

People and Organisations
Compiler D SMITH 1962-12-27 1962-12-27 Ordnance Survey Archaeology Officer 08-FEB-1960-31-MAY-1961 and 01-NOV-1966-26-JUL-1974
Compiler RICHARD W EMSLEY 1963-06-06 - OS AO 22-JUN-1959 to 1973 (613)

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 (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jun 12 2020 9:50AM


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