The gardens also contain the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, a large, medieval Benedictine Monastery that became the wealthiest in Yorkshire. It was closed on King Henry VIII’s orders in 1539 as part of his dissolution of the wealthy and powerful monasteries. Over the centuries the stone was used for other buildings around the city, leaving the abbey in its current sorry state.
The timber-framed building is the Hospitium, the abbey’s former guest house.
The abbey’s stones were also used in the making of the flower beds at the side of the museum, with their collection of ferns and plant fossils, as well as a handsome specimen Gingko Biloba tree.
Tip On a fine day Museum Gardens makes a good stop for a picnic break in a busy day of sightseeing.