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Grade I
NHLE 1257929
Date assigned 14 June 1954
Date last amended 16 March 2016


Guildhall and chamber range, council chamber (Atkinson Block), Common Hall Lane: a boundary wall with the Lendal Cellars Public House (Grade II), Lendal containing an entrance to Common Hall Lane. Guildhall 1449-1459, built for the Mayor and Commonalty of York and the Guild of St Christopher, masons Robert Couper, city mason, and John Barton, master mason of York Minster; restored 1958-1960 by the London architects’ practice Miller and Craze with glass by H W Harvey, following extensive damage in a Baedeker air raid in 1942; chamber range C15; council chamber (Atkinson Block) 1808-1810 to designs by Peter Atkinson the younger, City Surveyor, restored 1958-1960; boundary wall of various dates incorporating medieval work on the Lendal Cellars side relating to the boundary with the former Augustinian Friary. MATERIALS GUILDHALL AND CHAMBER RANGE: magnesian limestone ashlar with 1958-1960 restoration in Portland oolitic limestone, roof not visible. Chamber range to the river front; magnesian limestone ashlar on a gritstone wall, the roof is not visible. Common Hall Lane; walled in magnesian limestone, ceiled with stone flags on timber joists. Atkinson Block; the river front is magnesian limestone ashlar and a 1958-60 restoration in Portland oolitic limestone, elsewhere buff-brown brick and cream brick in Flemish bond, the roof is not visible. Boundary wall; is double-skinned with ashlar and coursed and squared magnesian limestone blocks, partly rendered on the Guildhall side, and on the Lendal Cellars side is a mixture of squared magnesian limestone blocks, orange brick in stretcher bond and darker orange brick in random bond. PLAN: the Guildhall runs east-west and comprises a six-bay aisled hall, originally over cellars (now infilled) with a chamber range at the west, river end with a rectangular, single-storey Inner Chamber, originally over a cellar (now infilled), with a spiral staircase in the south-east corner up to the roof and a straight staircase in the north-east corner rising to the first-floor room of a smaller, two-storey block on its north side. Common Hall Lane runs beneath the north side of the hall and the chamber range down to a river staith on the west side of the building. The two-storey with cellar Atkinson Block abuts the south side of the chamber range. EXTERIOR GUILDHALL AND CHAMBER RANGE (1449-1459, hall restored 1958-1960): the gabled east front of the Guildhall faces into a small yard to the rear of the Mansion House. The upper section of wall is renewed using paler oolitic limestone ashlar with a crenellated parapet above a moulded eaves string. A moulded plinth steps up near the right-hand end over the arched entrance to the Common Hall Lane arch, of which only the top is now visible due to a rise in ground level. The central arched doorway has moulded jambs, a moulded hoodmould with head-stops and a demi-angel holding a shield at the apex. The oak double doors with tracery panels were installed during the post-war restoration. To the left is a small, restored two-light window in a hollow chamfered elliptical arched opening, originally deeper. Immediately left of the doorway is a blocked opening marking the position of the head of the cellar stairs. To the right of the doorway is a blocked square window. Above the doorway is a large, five-light Perpendicular window with small-pane leaded glazing and a hoodmould. A moulded string runs between ground and first-floor levels, stepping down beneath the window. To the right of the window is a pitched roof scar. The north and south side elevations are divided into six bays by buttresses, and have moulded plinths and plain parapets over moulded eaves strings; the use of paler oolitic limestone shows areas of restoration. The bays contain large three-light Perpendicular windows with hoodmoulds and moulded string sills and small-pane leaded glazing. On the north side the left-hand bay contains a blocked doorway and overlight, both with four-centred heads, which originally gave access to the screens passage, with an adjacent two-light window, and a shortened three-light window above. The right-hand bay on the south side has a small, stone-built, flat-roofed structure housing services, built in the early C20 and obscuring the wall beneath the window. The west front faces onto the river. The gabled west wall of the Guildhall rises behind the chamber range. It has a plain parapet above a moulded eaves string and a large, five-light Perpendicular window containing stained glass. On the right-hand side is a small, engaged octagonal turret with a pointed roof rising above the parapet. The chamber range, and the Atkinson Block to the right, is built on a basement formed by the river wall. To the left is a two-storey, three-bay chamber block (abutting the 1889-91 Municipal Offices and Council Chamber to the left) with the single-storey, four-bay Inner Chamber to the right with the masonry coursing through both elevations and crenelated parapets above moulded eaves stings. The Watergate arch to Common Hall Lane is set into the river wall beneath the two-storey block with a small, square, chamfered unglazed window to the left. The ground-floor windows of the chamber range have four-centred heads with hoodmoulds with two-over-two pane sashes. The first-floor windows to the two-storey block are square-headed with two trefoiled lights and hoodmoulds. ATKINSON BLOCK (1808-1810, restored 1958-1960): the main elevation of this 1808-10 block faces west onto the river and is designed to respect the medieval chamber range which it abuts to its left. It is a tall, two-storey, four-bay block, also built on a basement formed by the river wall, and similarly has a crenellated parapet above a moulded eaves string; there is a tall, brick stack set back. The first floor has been restored post-war using paler oolitic limestone ashlar. The windows are similar in form to those in the adjacent chamber range. The ground-floor windows have four-centred heads with hoodmoulds, and metal casements with small pane leaded glazing. The first-floor windows have square heads with two trefoiled lights and hoodmoulds, and metal casements with small pane leaded glazing. The south, side elevation has one bay of ashlar returning from the river front with a similar window with four-centred head and hoodmould on the ground floor and similar square-headed window with trefoiled lights and hoodmould on the first floor. The rest of the elevation is built of cream brick in Flemish bond on the ground floor and buff-brown brick on the first floor, the whole topped by a crenellated ashlar stone parapet above a moulded eaves string. Two small rectangular windows have been inserted towards the right-hand side of the ground floor. On the first floor the brick section has a similar, central, square-headed window of ashlar with two small rectangular windows towards the right-hand side. The rear, west elevation is built of buff-brown brick in Flemish bond with a plain, ashlar parapet. The ground floor is obscured by the later cells. The first-floor has a horizontal row of windows with a four-light window flanked by two-light windows. BOUNDARY WALL AND COMMON HALL LANE: the boundary wall between the Guildhall and Lendal Cellars Public House, Lendal is double-skinned and varies in height from approximately 1.5 to 2 metres and extends approximately 30 metres south west of The Mansion House. Abutting the rear of The Mansion House is a rendered section of the wall with stone coping and built against a higher, curved, brick wall on the Lendal Cellars side. The rendered wall contains the entrance to Common Hall Lane with a restored segmental-arched hollow chamfered surround and a nail studded panelled door. The short return, over Common Hall Lane is also rendered. It abuts a higher stone wall with chamfered coping which runs in a south-westerly direction, curving round the north-east corner of the Guildhall and terminating against the rear wall of a brick-built building standing on the Lendal Cellars Public House side of the wall. The wall on the Lendal Cellars Public House side has medieval masonry offset at two levels, combined with brick. INTERIOR GUILDHALL AND CHAMBER RANGE: the large, rectangular Guildhall has north and south arcades of octagonal timber columns with carved capitals on moulded stone bases. The arches are formed by spandrel braces to moulded arcade plates, with cambered tie beams and aisle ties. The roof is panelled with bosses, mostly renewed, at intersections. Braces at the east and west ends spring from massive corbels carved with grotesques in foliage, and aisle braces from corbels carved with heraldic shields carried by grotesques. At the west end a reconstructed dais is flanked by two doorways in four-centred moulded arches, that to the right is blocked. The left doorway leads to the Inner Chamber and has a blank cartouche incorporating grotesque masks and a door of six fielded panels. In the right-hand, west bay of the south wall an inserted doorway with an elliptical, moulded arch with a hoodmould and a C20 panelled door leads through to the Atkinson Block. At the west end of the north wall two doorways lead into the Municipal Offices and Council Chamber. The wide doorway in the first bay is inserted. It has a chamfer-stopped moulded arch, traceried panelling to the reveals and soffit and timber, traceried double doors. The doorway in the second bay is original with a four-centred, chamfered arch. It has a C20 panelled door. The large west window has modern stained glass depicting incidents in York’s history designed by H W Harvey. The Inner Chamber is approximately rectangular, with projections in the north-east corner for a straight staircase and in the south-east corner for a spiral staircase. The staircase doorways have chamfered reveals marked with masons’ marks. The C15 masonry is visible above the panelling and there are blocked C15 windows in the south wall. The panelling is in two heights divided by a dado rail and surmounted by a cornice incorporating a band of foliage. The fireplace in the centre of the east wall has an early-C19 white marble fluted surround with angle rosettes, and an enriched cornice shelf over a rococo foliage spray enclosing the arms of York. An overmantel panel enclosed in an enriched raised surround contains an inscription framed in foliate scrolls and grotesque masks. Above the overmantel is a cartouche of Sir John Hewley’s arms. In the right-hand corner of the north wall a door of three fielded panels in a panelled two-centred arch leads to the adjacent room in the two-storey block. To the left, above the panelling, is a hatchment of the Stuart Arms. The room has an original panelled ceiling with moulded beams on corbel heads with bosses at the intersections. ATKINSON BLOCK: the interior has been almost totally reconstructed during the post-war restoration, retaining the original layout of a large room on both floors. At the foot of the staircase is an original door in a segmental-arched doorway with traceried panelling to the reveals and soffit. To its left is a small doorway leading to the cellar steps. COMMON HALL LANE: the lane opens to the staith at the west end of the Guildhall, runs under the north aisle of the hall, and continues underground east of the Guildhall with steps up to the doorway in the boundary wall of the yard. The lane is enclosed by walls of magnesian limestone on the north and south sides. Two-centred arches carry the east and west end walls of the hall and the west wall of the two-storey block of the chamber range. Other, similar arches on each side, now blocked, formerly led to cellars beneath the Guildhall and ancillary buildings. One cellar remains open on the north side at the Watergate end. The lane is ceiled with stone flags carried on timber joists, while the section to the east of the Guildhall has a brick barrel vault, with steps up at the east end.

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Grid reference Centred SE 6010 5189 (49m by 49m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SE65SW

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Apr 21 2016 4:37PM


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