Kings Manor was originally the home of the Benedictine Abbots of the thriving St Mary’s Abbey.
(The ruins of the abbey are in Museum Gardens behind). The buildings of Kings Manor date from the 13 century onwards.
The large wealthy abbey owned an extensive area of land outside Bootham Bar, covering the present Museum Gardens behind and the area of Bootham, which was a busy area of market booths.
The abbey was destroyed as part of Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monastries, when he challenged their power and wealth. (See ruins in Museum Gardens.)
It became the seat of the governing Council of the North till 1641, when it was abolished. Many kings stayed here when in the north of England, including Charles I, whose crest is carved over the main doorway. When walking round, see if you can find what is supposedly the smallest window in York. (It’s high in the wall of the main building in the passage to the left-hand side of the main entrance.)
After varying uses, eg. as schools, the building now houses the university’s Centre for Medieval Studies and archaeology department.
Tip The Refectory Café is open to the public, offering food at campus prices from 9.30 – 3.30.
TIME Allow a few minutes