Building record MYO1210 - Garforth House and railings attached at front, garden wall attached at rear


A town house dating to 1757, formerly known as St. Margarets School. It was altered in the late 19th century, when it was used as an office. The architect was probably John Carr, and it was built for Edmund and Elizabeth Garforth.


Grid reference SE 5995 5165 (point)
Map sheet SE55SE
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (9)

Full Description

Formerly known as: St Margaret's School. Town house, now offices, area railings attached to front and wall enclosing garden at rear. Dated 1757; late C19 alteration. Probably by John Carr, for Edmund and Elizabeth Garforth.

MATERIALS: front of orange-red brick in Flemish bond, with doorcase, rusticated quoins and dressings of painted stone; triglyph frieze beneath moulded dentil cornice. Rear of pink and cream mottled brick in English bond, with orange-red brick dressings and moulded dentil cornice. Double span roof of slate, with stone coped gables, brick kneelers and brick end stacks. Railings, lamp brackets and window guards of wrought-iron. Garden wall of pink mottled brick in English garden-wall bond with stone coping. Double pile plan.

EXTERIOR: basement and 3 storeys; 5-bay front, the 3 centre bays quoined and pedimented, and breaking forward slightly. At left end, two steps lead to open-pedimented Doric doorcase with door of six raised and fielded panels beneath radial fanlight, in round-arched architrave. All windows are sashes, 12-paned on ground and first floors, 9-paned on second floor, and all have flat arches of rubbed brick. Ground and first floor windows have sill bands, those on second floor painted stone sills. Raised bands at first and second floor levels. Pediment encloses keyed radial-glazed oculus in moulded surround. Rear: 3 storeys with basement and attics; 5 unequal bays. In right end bay on ground floor, former window altered to part-glazed door; above is Venetian staircase window with radial-glazed centre sash. In similar position at left end is round-arched radial-glazed secondary staircase window. Other windows are 12-pane sashes on ground floor, 4-pane sashes on first floor, and unequal 9-pane sashes on second floor. Rainwater goods with shaped hopper, dated, and stamped with initials EEG and the Garforth crest.

INTERIOR: a series of vaulted cellars extends beneath ground floor, one with altered kitchen fireplace. Ground floor: entrance hall, staircase hall and central passage retain original stone-paved floors with marble inserts. All have an enriched moulded skirting and cornice of acanthus modillions and rosettes. Round-arched opening on sunk panelled pilasters with moulded imposts and bases, all enriched, leads from entrance passage to stairhall and central passage. The cantilevered main staircase rises from ground to first floor, and has fluted column balusters, three to a tread, serpentine moulded handrail, wreathed at foot around turned fluted newel on shaped curtail step, and matching enriched dado panelling. In the central passage are two doorcases with enriched architraves, pulvinated friezes carved with acanthus, and dentilled pediment overdoors; doors, recessed in panelled reveals, are of six raised and fielded panels, all enriched. A third pedimented doorcase with plain architrave and pulvinated frieze leads to service passage. Two round arches on sunk panelled pilasters with moulded imposts and bases open from service passage, one to secondary stairhall with moulded skirting and egg-and-dart cornice. Open string secondary staircase rises to attics, with column balusters, two to a tread, turned newel and ramped-up handrail.

Front room has moulded skirting and dado rail, panelling above, and enriched modillion cornice over frieze decorated with arabesques, shells and a female head. Panelled window shutters survive, and pedimented doorcases with pulvinated friezes flank marble fireplace with panelled overmantel. All panelling is raised and fielded. In room at right end is plain fireplace with original basket grate with thistle side panels. Larger back room has late C19 painted fireplace between segment-arched recesses, one containing later doorway, and moulded dado rail. Both rooms retain panelled shutters. Corinthian order Venetian window to main staircase, set beneath shallow round arch filled with cartouche, bearing the Garforth arms, amongst rococo plasterwork flowers and leaves. Similar plasterwork to arch spandrels, beneath stairwell cornice of acanthus modillions and rosettes, and to ceiling, moulded into panels with flowers, fruit and foliage. Secondary staircase window is round-arched, with eared and shouldered architrave and sunk panelled reveals. First floor: at head of secondary staircase, round arch on sunk panelled pilasters and reveals, with moulded imposts and bases, all enriched, leads to passage. Moulded pilaster bases continue as skirting to passage. Enriched passage doorcases with carved pulvinated friezes, modillion pediments and 6-panel doors of raised and fielded panelling in similarly panelled reveals. Front rooms at each end have moulded skirtings, fielded dado panelling beneath moulded rails, and enriched cornices. Both have carved wood fireplaces with marble slips, relief moulded friezes, possibly of applied composition, and moulded cornice shelves. Subdivided middle room has plainer fittings and, beyond inserted partition wall, fireplace carved with egg-and-dart mouldings. Saloon at rear has pedimented doorcase with 6-panel door in panelled reveal, fielded dado panelling and moulded rail, and modillion and rosette cornice, all enriched. Painted fireplace has egg-and-dart enrichment. Rococo plasterwork ceiling of grapes, musical instruments, floral garlands and leafy fronds.

Second floor: landing arch is elliptical, on sunk panelled pilasters and reveals. Landing and central passage have moulded skirting and cornices, and passage doors are of 6 fielded panels recessed in similarly panelled reveals. In all rooms, moulded skirtings, cornices, and fielded panel shutters survive. At the front, both end rooms retain fireplaces with eared surrounds and Art Nouveau grates: beyond inserted partition wall in middle room is a plain fireplace with pulvinated frieze and moulded cornice shelf. At the back, original fireplace with fluted jambs and plain moulded shelf survives in each end room. Middle room has fireplace with sunk panel jambs, triglyph frieze and moulded cornice shelf with C19 grate. Attic: in four rooms, plain fireplaces survive.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: wrought-iron lamp brackets of scrolls, tendrils and wheatear drops flank doorcase. Early C19 window guards to two second floor windows. Area railings: on low moulded plinth, approximately 1.25 metres high, with spearhead tips, ramped-up to follow slope of street. Garden wall at rear: approximately 4 metres high, with flat coping and projecting pilaster buttresses, raked up in places. Blocked segmental arch, largely obscured by later lean-to building, adjacent to rear wall of house. (City of York: RCHME: South-west of the Ouse: HMSO: 1972-: 76-78).
Listing NGR: SE5995151653

Derived from English Heritage LB download dated: 22/08/2005

Garforth House, No. 54 , the town house of the Garforth family of Wiganthorpe, was nearing completion in 1757. It is said to have been designed by John Carr (YCL, Knowles, 'York Artists' MS., 1, 104), which is probable since Carr remodelled Wiganthorpe Hall for the family (H. M. Colvin, Dictionary, 125), and it resembles Fairfax House, Castlegate, designed by Carr. The site in 1732 had been divided into two tenements, occupied by Matthew Rayson, carpenter, free of York 1708 (No. 52, to E.), and Nathaniel Earby junior (No. 54); the freehold was then sold by Benjamin Barstow to William Tesh, a wine-cooper (YCA, E.93, f. 65). By 1736 William Garforth had acquired No. 54, and No. 52 came into the hands of his nephew, the Rev. Edmund Garforth (born Dring), by 1755 (E.93, ff. 90, 197; E.94, ff. 1, 2v.). Building of the house may have started about the time of Edmund Garforth's marriage, in 1750, to Elizabeth, daughter of the Hon. Thomas Willoughby of Birdsall; their son William, High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1815, died in 1828 without issue. In 1831 the house was for sale (Yorks. Gazette, 27 August), and it became the residence of Barnard Hague (Davies, 179). It had at times been let to tenants, notably to Walter Fawkes of Farnley Hall, the occupier in 1788 (E.95, f. 67v.). The house retains an exceptional number of original fireplace surrounds.

The street front is of red brick with stone dressings and original railings protect the area in front of the basement. The entrance, flanked by original wrought-iron lamp brackets, is in the W. bay and the corresponding window in the E. bay has been altered from a doorway which would have completed the symmetry of the elevation. Wrought-iron balconies to second-floor windows were added in the early 19th century. The back is of light-coloured brick with red brick dressings, and is assymmetrically arranged to allow for a large Venetian window lighting the main staircase. A lead rainwater pipe (Plate 81) bears the date 1757 with the initials of Edmund and Elizabeth Garforth and the Garforth crest, a goat's head couped.

On the ground floor the entrance hall is paved with white stone and black marble, and has an enriched cornice with modillions; opening to N. Is an archway flanked by pilasters, with a glazed fanlight. A large richly decorated room occupying the central part of the front of the house was probably the Dining Room; it is lined with panelling in two heights with dado rail and enriched modillion cornice above a frieze decorated with arabesques, shells and a female head. The doorways are pedimented, one to each side of the fireplace (Plate 71) which has a surround of white marble. A small room to E., balancing the entrance hall, was formerly the servants' entrance hall, with a doorway to the street; it has a late 19th-century fireplace. The larger back room has a shallow cornice and an early 19th-century fireplace with a marble surround; the chimney-breast is flanked by segmental-headed recesses. The main Staircase (Plate 88) has cantilevered treads and pine balusters , three to a tread, and a mahogany handrail finishing in a volute at the bottom. The Servants' Staircase has turned balusters, two to a tread, and a pine handrail. The doorways have carved and enriched doorcases and doors of six fielded panels. The Basement has vaulted store-rooms flanking the entrance passage from the front area. At the back are three vaulted rooms, the largest of which was formerly the kitchen.

On the First Floor the main stair hall has an enriched cornice with dentils and modillions and a decorated panelled ceiling extending over the landing to the S. The staircase is lit by a Venetian window set in an arched recess with rococo plasterwork and a cartouche bearing a shield-of-arms of Garforth. The central passage of the ground floor is repeated giving access to three front rooms with moulded cornices with dentils or modillions, entablatures over the doorways (Plate 67), and original fireplaces, one (to W.) decorated with fine carving. At the back, to N., is a fine Saloon entered by a doorway pedimented on both sides; it has a dado of fielded panels, an enriched dentilled cornice and a rococo ceiling decorated with fruit, flowers and musical instruments (Plate 169); the fireplace has a moulded surround of white marble. On the Second Floor most of the rooms have moulded cornices and in the S.E. Room is a fireplace with moulded eared surround, set against plain pilasters.

Derived from RCHME - 'Secular Buildings: Micklegate', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in City of York, Volume 3, South west (London, 1972), pp. 76 (Monument 76)

Information derived from the NMR

A town house dating to 1757, formerly known as St. Margarets School. It was altered in the late 19th century, when it was used as an office. The architect was probably John Carr, and it was built for Edmund and Elizabeth Garforth. It is constructed of brick, in Flemish bond to the front and English bond to the rear, with stone dressings. The roof is of slate. The house is built to a double pile plan and has 3 storeys. All the windows are of sash type (with a Venetian window to the rear). The interior of the house retains a number of original features, including staircase, fireplaces and fittings. Outside there are also the original railings, garden wall and archway and lamp post dating from 1757: these are also all listed Grade I.

(SE 59945166) St. Margaret's School (Girls) (NAT) (1)

1. 5343 MICKLEGATE (north side) No 54 (Garforth House) (formerly listed as St Margaret's School)
SE 5951 NE 15/344 14.6.54
Grade I

2. 1757. Attributed to John Carr. Brick; 3 storeys plus attic and basement; 5 sash windows with flat brick arches; slightly projecting 3 window bay at centre with pediment; stone quoins to all angles; bands between storeys and at sill levels; full Doric frieze and cornice at eaves; doorcase of engaged Roman
Doric columns with entablature, open pediment, semi-circular radial fanlight and 6-panelled door. Circular window within pediment. Rear elevation has Venetian staircase window and rainwater head with initials EEG and the Garforth crest, a goat's head couped.

Interior: Exceptionally fine throughout including 2 good staircases, decorative wood and plasterwork and fireplaces. (RCHM Vol. III, Monument 66)

1. 5343 MICKLEGATE (north side) Forecourt railings and lamp brackets of No 54 (Garforth House)
SE 5951 NE 15/939 14.6.54
Grade I

2. 1757. Good wrought iron railings to forecourt and to left of doorway and, flanking the latter, a pair of good wrought iron lamp brackets. The railings and lamp brackets enriched with gold leaf 1978.
(RCHM Vol. III, Monument 66) (2)

Number 54 Garforth House, "built 1753-57 and attributed with good reason to John Carr, sylistically it is similar to Castlegate House and it was built for the Garforth family, for whom Carr later remodelled Wiganthorpe House". Pevsner notes that Garforth House has "a well preserved interior with an unusual plan". (3)

Ordnance Survey Map OS 1:2500 1962
2 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest DOE(HHR) City of York N Yorks June 1983 210
3 Yorkshire : York and the East Riding 1995 by Nikolaus Pevsner and David Neave 224

613515 Architectural Survey Investigation by RCHME/EH Architectural Survey
BF060809 GARFORTH HOUSE, YORK File of material relating to a site or building. This material has not yet been fully catalogued.

RCHME, 1972, RCHME City of York Volume III South-west of the Ouse (Monograph). SYO64.

NMR, 2019, NMR data (Digital archive). SYO2214.

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Digital archive: NMR. 2019. NMR data.
  • --- Monograph: RCHME. 1972. RCHME City of York Volume III South-west of the Ouse.

Protected Status/Designation

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Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Feb 7 2020 12:49PM


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