Building record MYO813 - 35 Stonegate (At the Sign of the Bible)


A timber framed house with a 15th century front range, an early 17th century rear range, with a late 17th century block linking them. Both ranges were altered in the late 19th century, including the addition of a new shopfront and a bay window to the rear wing. Further minor alterations were carried out int the 20th century. Above the door is a wooden book sign inscribed 'HOLY BIBLE 1682', the builduing was used as a bookshop between 1682 and 1873, when it became the home and workshop of the stained glass workere J W Knowles (much of the stained glass in the building is by Knowles). The building is now a shop.


Grid reference SE 6027 5205 (point)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (9)

Full Description

House and shop. C15 front range, early C17 rear wing with late C19 bay window, and late C17 linking block; late C19 alterations and shopfront, and other minor alterations in C20.

MATERIALS: front range and rear wing timber-framed; front range pargeted at front, rear of orange brick in stretcher bond; rear wing encased in red-brown brick in stretcher bond, part rendered, and with hipped roof; link block of brick; pantile roofs with brick stacks.

EXTERIOR: 3 storeys, cellar and attics; 1 gabled bay to street with jettied first and second floors, second floor jetty having terminal brackets carved with garlanded heads. Shopfront contained in chamfered and moulded frame beneath prominent moulded cornice on brackets carved with flower sprays. Steps up to central glazed door with decorative leaded overlight recessed in trefoiled arch with carved spandrels: on each side, 3-light square bay windows with stained glass clerestories project over cellar openings. Cellars have ornate cast-iron grilles and bands of glazed tiles, incorporating the date 1874. Painted wooden book sign hangs over door, inscribed 'HOLY BIBLE 1682'. First floor window is 4-light canted bay with leaded clerestory lights of stained glass: carved band beneath sill incorporates initials CR, date 1682, a Tudor rose and a thistle. Window surmounted by openwork wooden balustrade forming balcony beneath second floor windows.

On second floor are three cross-windows with similar clerestory lights and carved surrounds with moulded sills. Mullions and transoms are moulded. Attic window is of paired lights with decorative leaded glazing, and moulded sill on brackets carved with ball flowers. In gable apex, collar carved with oak leaves, supported on shaped console, carries king post in the form of a baluster. Carved bargeboards have terminal brackets with ball mouldings. Left return: side passage leads to front door and stained glass porch window; and square bay stained glass window in rear wing.

INTERIOR: ground floor: shop has Gothic-style fireplace and overmantel; cased framing visible; reset C17 run-through panelling. Range of fitted cupboards with ornate wrought-iron hinges at head of cellar stairs. Staircase to attic has moulded strings, turned balusters, square newels and moulded handrail. Middle room fully lined with fielded panelling; moulded dado rail and moulded cornice: plain moulded fireplace surround with later bracketed shelf and panelled overmantel flanked by alcoves in wide elliptical arches. Square bay window contains stained glass. First floor: front room has late C18 fireplace enriched with composition mouldings, fluted frieze and dentilled cornice shelf: later round-headed grate in marble surround. Second floor: front room lined with square wainscot and carved arcaded panelling: fireplace has bolection moulded surround. Attic: altered crown post roof: front truss intact, middle truss altered to incorporate door, rear truss removed. A number of 3-panel doors survive throughout the house.

HISTORICAL NOTE: the house served as a bookshop between 1682, when Francis Hildyard opened 'The Sign of the Bible', and 1873 when it was acquired by the stained glass artist, JW Knowles (1838-1931). From that date, it was his residence and workshop and remains as altered by him: much of the stained glass is his work.

(Bartholomew City Guides: Hutchinson J and Palliser DM: York: Edinburgh: 1980-: 173; Murray H, Riddick S & Green R: York through the Eyes of the Artist: York City Art Gallery: 1990-: 91; City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 232).

Listing NGR: SE6027552054

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

(486) House, No 35 (Plate 125; Fig. 148), of timber-framed construction, is partly two-storeyed, partly three-storeyed with attics. The front block was built in the 15th century as a three-storey range, two bays deep, with a gable-end towards the street; a separate two-storey range behind, of two bays of unequal width, was built in the early 17th century, possibly as a workshop. The gap between the two ranges was filled with a brick-built link block in c. 1700, and at the same time a new staircase was inserted in the front range. There are interior fittings of the 17th-century period and later, and in the 19th century further additions were made at the rear. The house was the home and workshop of J.W. Knowles (1831-1931), stained-glass artist, and his son J.A. Knowles.

The front elevation has jettied first and second floors; the walls are rendered and all the details, including much carved woodwork and a noteable shop front, are of the late 19th century, including a spurious date of 1682. The back wall of the front range is faced with brickwork of c. 1700 and has plat-bands at the floor levels; the framed range behind is rendered but one post is visible; the windows of the rear part of the house are mostly sashed, with one large late 19th-century bay window.

In the front range the framing is not exposed but indicated by cased posts and beams; the roof trusses have cambered tie-beams, crown-posts and cross-bracing supporting braced collar and side-purlins, though some members have been removed. The main room on the first floor has late 18th-century fittings and on the second floor the front room is lined with panelling, partly of the late 19th century but incorporating some of the early 17th century, including an overmantel of arched panels separated by enriched pilasters above a bolection-moulded fireplace. The staircase, of c. 1700, has turned balusters, moulded strings and handrails and substantial newels of rectangular section; door architraves on the landings are of the same date; the top flight has reset turned balusters of the early 17th century (Plate 189), perhaps contemporary with the inserted attic floor. In the entrance hall are a round-headed window with painted glass by William Peckitt and a fanlight with a painted cock, probably by Henry Gyles. The framing of the rear wing, only partly visible, is entirely of vertical studs with no bracing in walls or roof trusses. On the ground floor is a room with early 18th-century bolection-moulded panelling and on the first floor one room with reset assorted early 17th-century panelling.

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York. Volume V, the Central Area. P 234. London: RCHME

No. 35 has a C15 front range with crown-post roof and a back range of the early C17, both timber-framed. It is however the Victorian facade that impresses. It was created by the stained-glass artist J.W. Knowles (1838-1931) whose home and workshop were here. Below the ground-floor windows are half-exposed decorative tiled panels proclaiming the date 1874 which was when the refurbishment began.

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

NMR Information

Full description

1. STONEGATE 5343 (south-east side)

No 35

SE 6052 SW 27/588 1.7.68


C15 and later. Timber frame with rendering and C19 carved woodwork to front which has oversailing upper storeys; 3 storeys plus attic; gable. Late C19 shop front of heavy Tudor style on
projecting beams. Good interior features including staircase of circa 1700. Once a famous bookshop and publishing house and Sterne's 'Tristam Shandy' was published here in 1760. The house was later
the home and workplace of J W Knowles, the stained-glass artist. (RCHM Vol V, Monument 488).

1 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. p337 City of York, June 1983.
2 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. District of York, 14-MAR-1997

BF061184 35 STONEGATE, YORK File of material relating to a site or building.
BF112229 Miscellaneous photography for the Architecture of Shopping project Job number 2K/03894 (Fox Umbrella Shop, 118 London Wall, City of London) is in BF108792.Level 4 extents totals include missing prints which are recorded at level 5 but not at level 4.5.The file also contains the following miniature format film prints: MF00/0105/28 (location unknown); MF99/01282/12 (Oundle) and MF00/0125/23 (Totnes).The file also contains a file print which has been added to the CMU spreadsheet, reference FF83/00087 which is believed to be 93 London Road Reading.The file contains a copy neg, AA035322, from the J. Parkinson Collection of Woolworth shops which has been identified as being a store in Canterbury.

People and Organisation

Stained glass worker J W KNOWLES 1873

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 22 2020 11:35AM


Your feedback is welcome; if you can provide any new information about this record, please contact the City Archaeologist.