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The King's Manor: northern powerbase
King's Manor in York

In the 16th century, the King's Manor in York was the base for the Council of the North.

With the prospect of a regional assembly back in the news, the history of the Manor makes interesting reading.


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 It is claimed that the King's Manor is haunted by a very well dressed Tudor lady. Could she be the Queen Catherine Howard, who was King Henry VIII's guest here in 1541?

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The King's Manor sits just inside York's walls, close to the city's art gallery. Set back from the road, it is a peaceful haven, populated by students and those who know about the refectory tucked away in the first courtyard.

King's Manor, York
The King's Manor

The place is steeped in history, walking into the reception you may not notice the coat of arms above your head. Sitting in a seminar you may not notice the timber roof that dates back to 1480.

The Manor was developed from the 13th century lodging of the abbey of St Mary's, now much extended, its architecture spans 700 years.

Following the dissolution of St Mary's Abbey in 1539, the Manor was retained by Henry VIII and allocated to the Council of the North. It acted as the seat of the Council of the North until that body was abolished in 1641.

Since its days as a base for the northern parliament, the King's Manor has played host to diverse groups.

The abolition of the Council in 1641 marked the beginning of two centuries of retrenchment. After 1688, the Manor was leased out, divided into apartments and gradually declined.

The foundation in 1833 of the Yorkshire School for the Blind marked a new start.

King's Manor, York
The King's Manor

On the departure of the Blind School in 1958, the Manor was acquired by the City of York Council, who leased it to the University in 1963 which used it to house the Institute for Advanced Architectural Studies.

It is now home to the Department of Archaeology, the Centre for Medieval Studies and the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies of the University of York.

Incidentally the refectory is in the 17th century Council Chamber - meaning you can now have a cup of tea in the former northern powerbase!

(Thanks to the University of York for providing historical information.)


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