Building record MYO809 - 31 Stonegate


Formerly known as 21 Stonegate and The Saracen's Head Inn. A house dating from the late 17th century, the building was refronted in the late 18th century (it retains the 18th century shopfront), at this time the building was in use as a coffee house. Further alterations took place in the mid 19th century and in the late 19th century the building was used as a public house. The 20th century alterations included the conversion of the building into a shop.


Grid reference SE 6026 5204 (point)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (6)

Full Description

Formerly known as: No.21 STONEGATE. House, now shop and offices. Late C17, refronted late C18; late C18 shopfront, altered mid C19; other later alterations.

MATERIALS: front of orange brick in Flemish bond, ground floor of painted render; left return of orange-red brick in English garden-wall bond on chamfered brick plinth; rear rendered: partly hipped pantile roof, with timber cornice and brick stack.

EXTERIOR: 3-storey 2-window front. Shopfront incorporates open passage entry beneath flat lintel. Curved glazed and sunk-panelled double doors on passage corner to left of 3-light window with moulded mullions. Window framed in plain pilasters with heavy scrolled consoles and pendants at the head, beneath full-width cornice enriched with composition rosettes, festoons and drops. First and second floor windows are 12-pane sashes with flat arches of orange gauged brick, with painted sill band to those on first floor, painted sills on second floor. Moulded eaves cornice. Left return to Coffee Yard: door of 6 panels with carved borders of anthemion and acanthus in architrave enriched with flutes and rosettes, beneath frieze of festoons and putti.

INTERIOR: cellar retains fireplace with mid C19 kitchen range. Ground floor: open-well staircase to attic has heavy moulded close string, bulbous balusters, square newels with attached half balusters and pendants, and heavy moulded handrail terminating in volutes at the foot. First floor: landing has cupboard door of 2 raised and fielded panels with drawers beneath. Front room has window and door architraves richly decorated with composition mouldings including ribbon and flower, and fret enclosing rosettes; fireplace with satyrs' heads, vines and grapes on jambs, frieze of rinceaux with Bacchus in centre panel; skirting is moulded and dado rail enriched with flutes and paterae. Rear room has 6-panel door and blocked bolection-moulded fireplace. Second floor: from landing, doors of 2 moulded panels in beaded architraves lead to both rooms. Front room has boarded corner fireplace with frieze of ribbons, festoons and paterae and moulded cornice shelf. Back room has plain fireplace with hob grate and plank cupboard door. Attic: two 2-panel doors survive. In the late C18, house was owned by John and William Staveley, carvers and gilders.

(City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 231). Listing NGR: SE6026752045

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

(483) House, No. 31. An L-shaped building of three storeys and attics built partly over a passageway to Coffe Yard, dates from the late 17th century and was refronted in the late 18th century. It was known as Briggs' Coffee House in the 18th century, as the Saracen's Head Coffee House in 1815 and as the Saracen's Head Inn later in the 19th century. The building was owned but not occupied by Hjohn Stavely, carver and gilder (free 1776), at the end of the 18th century and at the beginning of the 19th, and the rich composition decoration in the first-floor front room and that on the shop front and on the side door must be ascribed to him and to his partner William Staveley (free 1781) (YCA, 195, f. 200b; E96, f. 21; E97, ff. 3-8; Deeds of No. 31).

The front elevation, of brick, has on the ground floor a passageway to Coffe Yard at the N.E. End and a shop front decorated with composition ornament. The two upper floors both have two hung-sash windows with flat arches of fine guaged brick wity simulated joints; the windows on the first floor have a continuos sill-band. The N.E. Side elevation, of brick in random bond, has a variety of openings, some blocked, and a doorway contemporary with the shop front decorated with composition ornament. The S.E. Gable end is rendered but formerly had a window with raised brick surround.

Inside, the plan affords a front and back room on each floor with the staircase in between rising to the attics in short irregular runs about a rectangular well. The late 17th-century staircase has been renewed between ground and first floors but above retains the original heavy close string, bulbous balusters, square newels with attached half-balusters and pendants and a heavy square moulded handrail; it is very similar to that in No. 33 to the N.E. Other early fittings incluse a fireplace with bolection-moulded surround in the first-floor rear room and some doorcases. The first floor front room has been completely refurbished paying respect to the rebuilt facade, and the fireplace (Plate 180), dado rail and skirting, the window and door architraves and the door panels are all haevily enriched; decorative motifs include palmette, anthemion, styrs' heads with vine garlands and fret ornamentation filled with floral paterae. The second-floor front room has a simpkler fireplace of the same date.

1981. An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York. Volume V, the Central Area. P 231. London: RCHME

No. 31 is of the late C17, refronted in the late C18. But the staircase inside is late C17, with a heavy close string, bulbous balusters, square newels and a heavy square moulded handrail of late C17. The first-floor front room has some delightful late C18 enriched decoration, especially a door and fireplace, which can be ascribed to the carver and gilder John Stavely who owned the house.

Pevsner N and Neave D 1972. The Buildings of England:Yorkshire: York and the East Riding, p235. London: Penguin

NMR Information

Name: The Former Saracens Head Inn

Full description
(SE 60275205 - O.S 1:2500, 1962)

1. STONEGATE 5343 (south-east side)

No 31 (formerly listed as No 21)

SE 6052 SE 27/586 14.6.54


2. Early C17 with later alterations. Late C18 brick refronting; 3 storeys plus attic; 2 sash windows with flat brick arches; sill band at 1st storey, covered-way on left-hand side with good side doorway
having architrave enriched with rosettes and flutings, a frieze with swags and amorini, moulded cornice, enriched 6-panelled door.

C18 shop front, altered but retaining original, light cornice with swags. Interior retains partly renewed late C17 staircase. (RCHM Vol V, Monument 483).

List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. p336-337 City of York, June 1983.
List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. District of York, 14-MAR-1997

BF061180 31 STONEGATE, 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 (2)

Record last edited

Jun 21 2020 7:29PM


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