York Abbey

Has been described as a Certain Palace (Royal), and also as a Certain Fortified Ecclesiastical site, and also as a Certain Urban Defence

There are major building remains

NameYork Abbey
Alternative NamesSt Marys Abbey; The Kings Manor
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityYork
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishYork

C12 Benedictine abbey and monastery. Originally founded as the minster of St Olave at Galmanho before 1055, it was refounded as a Benedictine monastery as part of an exchange of land between the Archbishop of York and monk Stephen of Whitby by 1068. Following a visit by William Rufus circa 1086-9, the church was found to be too small for the brethren and William granted land adjacent to the church to expand the abbey. A new church was built and rededicated to St Mary. It was the first monastic establishment founded in Yorkshire after the Conquest and became one of the wealthiest abbeys of the order and had a mitred Abbot who sat in the House of Lords. The chief portions remaining are the late C13 north aisle with arcading and traceried windows, the adjoining west wall and doorway, most of C13 precinct wall, towers and gatehouse. Licence to crenellate granted in 1318. The abbey precinct wall forms part of York Town Wall. The Abbot's House, constructed by Abbot Sevier 1485-95, altered and rebuilt in 1541, additions of 1572. Offices of the King's Council of the North and occasional royal residence 1539-1641. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

The precinct wall of the Abbey has slots in the sides of the merlon and a reconstructed shutter and a notice describing this as a military feature to protect 'soldiers' on the wall walk and saying it exists only there and at Alnwick. Unlike the city wall, there was not a masonry wallwalk behind this wall although there is evidence there was a wooden platform. The shutters may have served as much to hid the lack of patrolling soldiers as to 'protect' them.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSE599521
Latitude53.9620704650879
Longitude-1.08957004547119
Eastings459940
Northings452170
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reserved

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

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Books

  • Wilson, Barbara and Mee, Frances, 2009, St Mary's Abbey and the King's Manor, York: The Pictorial Evidence (York Archaeological Trust)
  • Dean Gareth, 2008, Medieval York (The History Press)
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 119
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 319
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 282-5
  • Pevsner, D. and Neave, D., 1995, Buildings of England: Yorkshire: York and the East Riding (London, Penguin) p. 181-6
  • Thurley, Simon, 1993, The Royal Palaces of Tudor England (Yale University Press) p. 50, 57
  • Colvin, H.M., Ransome, D.R. and Summerson, John, 1982, The history of the King's Works Vol. 4: 1485-1660 (part 2) (London) p. 355-64
  • Waterman, R.D., 1980, The Bars and Walls of York: a Survey. An Assessment of their Condition and State of Repair (City Engineer's Department)
  • RCHME, 1975, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York Vol. 4 the North-east (London, HMSO) p. 3-24
  • RCHME, 1972, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York Vol. 2 The Defences (London, HMSO)
  • Knowles, David and Hadcock, R Neville, 1971, Medieval religious houses in England and Wales (Longman) p. 82, 487
  • Turner, H.L., 1971, Town Defences in England and Wales (London) p. 111
  • Tillott, P.M. (ed), 1961, VCH Yorkshire: City of York p. 357- online transcription
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 407 online copy
  • Grainge, W., 1855, Castles and Abbeys of Yorkshire p. 183-95 online copy

Antiquarian

Journals

  • 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
  • Whittingham, A.B., 1971, 'St Mary's Abbey, York: an interpretation of its plan' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 128 p. 116-46

Guide Books

  • Wilson, C. and Burton, J., 1988, St Mary's Abbey, York (York)

Primary Sources

  • Stamp, A.E. (ed), 1932, Calendar of Close Rolls Henry III (1256-59) Vol. 10 p. 315 (Permission to build wall) view online copy (requires subscription but searchable) [alternative online copy > http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/FHMedieval2,68849]
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1903, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward II (1317-21) Vol. 3 p. 190 (licence to crenellate) online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1909, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1354-58) Vol. 10 p. 84-6 (dispute between abbey and town. Details rights and obligation regarding wall) online copy