John of Caen House, York Cathedral Close

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Town House

There are no visible remains

NameJohn of Caen House, York Cathedral Close
Alternative Names
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityYork
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishYork

In 1298, Johannes de Cadamo (John of Caen) was given licence 'to crenellate his houses within the close of the church of York' (domos suas quas habet infra clausum Ebor. ecclesi). Actually he seems to have one house in the Minster close and another in Goodramgate, just outside the close. Caen was an Apostolic notary and held a number of prebends as well as being a royal clerk. The question here may be the nature of the house in Goodramgate, was this property let or was it used by Caen for his own possible business interests (the location might suggest private legal work rather than trade). Was the licence only a fairly straight forward recognition of Caen's royal links and works with a building in the Minster close that was decorated with crenellations or were there also some security features added to both houses to protect the legal documents so often the target of the mob? Despite the wealth of medieval buildings surviving in York none of these buildings survive and their actual forms are unknown. (Davis 2010)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSE602522
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  • Greenaway, Diane (ed), 1999, 'List 23: Prebendaries: Driffield' Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300 Volume 6: York p. 68 online transcription
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 404 online copy


  • Davis, Philip, 2010-11, 'Crenellated town houses in Medieval England' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 24 p. 270-91
  • Coulson, C., 1982, 'Hierarchism in Conventual Crenellation: An Essay in the Sociology and Metaphysics of Medieval Fortification' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 26 p. 69-100 see online copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1895, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward I (1292-1301) Vol. 3 p. 358 online copy