Building record MYO1430 - Heworth Croft and attached coach house


Villa and coach house built in 1842-3, now in use as a private accomodation. The main building is of two storeys, with additional attic space and basement. The fabric is of pale yellow brick in Flemish bond with a Welsh slate roof. Two chimneys flank the centre of the building, with a third at the rear to the west. A low brick plinth encircles the building, while at eaves level is a decorative timber modillioned comice. This omament is repeated on the gable pediments, which also reveal evidence for a domestic attic storey. Each elevation is further defined by flanking corner pilasters of brick, with stone bases and capitals which support a projecting floor band at attic level.


Grid reference Centred SE 6100 5261 (46m by 27m)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (5)

Full Description

House, now part of college. c1842, altered and extended C20. White brick with some stone dressings. Slate roof. STYLE: Italianate.

EXTERIOR: symmetrical, of 2 storeys and 3 bays, with corner pilasters of brick with stone caps and bases, a central bay which projects slightly, a moulded stone storey band, and projecting timber modillioned eaves. The windows are glazing bar sashes with rubbed brick flat arches. The 1st floor windows have stone panels below their sills. The single-storey porch has corner pilasters, and corner brackets below a painted stone or stucco cornice. The outer doorway has a round arch with moulded imposts, and the inner doorway has a round head with fanlight and a door with 3 round-headed glazed panels. 2 chimneys near centre of ridge. The eaves project at the gables to form modillioned timber pediments. At the right (east) there are mid C20 additions. Towards the rear at the left the main block is connected to a north-west wing by a low tower with a pyramidal roof. Adjoining to the west is a 2-storey former coach-house. On the ground floor it has a C20 garage door, on the 1st floor a wide casement window, and within the modillioned gable pediment a bull's-eye window.

INTERIOR: not inspected.

(An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of the City of York: RCHME: Outside the City Walls East of the Ouse: HMSO: 1975-: 77-8). Listing NGR: SE6102052610

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

Heworth Croft, No. 19, is a detached villa of two storeys and attics standing, with a coachhouse and other outbuildings, in its own grounds. It is first mentioned in the Directory of 1843, under its former name, Queen's Villa, when it was occupied by the Reverend John Acaster, incumbent of St. Helen's, Stonegate. There is a large house on this site on Robert Cooper's map of 1832 but Heworth Croft appears to be later than this in style. An advertisement in the Yorkshire Gazette of 5 August 1854, shortly after John Acaster's death, states that he built the house for himself and that he obtained a lease for 99 years from the Crown in 1842. It is therefore likely on documentary as well as stylistic grounds that the house was begun in 1842.

The house is built of white brick in an Italianate style and roofed in slate. There are raised brick pilasters to the corners of the elevations. The main garden front elevation, of three bays, has a central pilastered porch with round-arched windows to the sides, a plain ashlar band at first-floor level and a slight projection to the central bay of the first floor. In the angle formed by the main rectangular block of the house and a wing to the N.W. is a low tower which further emphasises the Italianate style in which the house is built. The wing is connected to an original coach-house building now converted to other uses. The interior has a staircase with stone treads and cast-iron balustrade, and the principal ceilings are decorated with moulded plaster in various patterns.

'Houses: Heworth', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in City of York, Volume 4, Outside the City Walls East of the Ouse (London, 1975), pp. 76-80. Monument 164

Labelled 'Queen's Villa' on the 1852 OS map and 'Heworth Croft' on the 1891 version, it is apparent from the plan that they represent the same building. A directory for 1843 also refers to 'Queen's Villa', but this may relate to an earlier house known to have existed on the same site (RCHME 1975, 77). Robert Cooper's map of 1832 depicts a large building at Heworth Croft. The absence of such a structure on the 1822 map suggests that it post-dates the Enclosure; however, the physical evidence shows that the present structure is a later replacement. This is reinforced by the documentary evidence; an advertisement in the Yorkshire Gazette for 1854 states that John Acaster, Vicar of St Helen's, Stonegate, built a house on the site after leasing the land from the Crown in 1842.

The house he built appears to have changed little since its construction in the 1840s. In 1852, it is described as having 'dining rooms, drawing rooms and a kitchen', with 'five best lodging rooms, dressing rooms and servants accommodation' above (Webster-Appleton 1999, 16). Also of note is the description of stables, coach house and piggeries, beyond which were pleasure grounds, garden and a plantation (ibid, 17). From the map evidence, it is clear that the coach house already formed part of this complex, marking the westem boundary of an enclosed yard (Plate 2). The stables were probably located within the coach house itself, while the subsidiary buildings located in the yard's northem comer on the 1852 map can be identified with the suggested piggeries. The summerhouse, to the far north of the grounds, was already a formal feature of the pleasure gardens.

By 1891, the house had assumed the name Heworth Croft. It had also acquired a number of new outbuildings to the north. The OS map shows that the enclosed yard had been opened up to make room for extensions to the service wing (the present laundry). The gateway had also been moved with the addition of a separate stable block which encroached upon the gardens to the north. While the encompassing pleasure grounds had changed little within view of the house, the summerhouse now formed a boundary between theapparent wildemess of the gardens and the functional formality of the plantations. Between 1909 and 1931 the gardens were formalised, removing much of the openness of the earlier landscape. Part of this scheme is still visible on the present site, including the walled garden located along its northem boundary.

Subsequent development of the site is associated with the acquisition of the building by York St Johns College in the 1930s. The house was converted into a hostel for College residents, and remained in use until the 1950s when it assumed its cuffent role as the Department of Physical Education and Science. Both the extension to the east and the ancillary building to the north represent late 20th century additions. Within Hweowrth Croft it is apparent that many of the original 1840s features have survived.

The main south entry leads through an original front door which retains its early Victorian double-leaf shutters. The small entrance lobby is highly decorative with original skirting and comice, complimented by the omate moulded plaster ceiling and central rose, stylistically contemporary with the construction of the house. This decorative emphasis is continued into the large arch which leads into the house proper. This has a moulded plaster-ceiling of panel design, and includes an alcove to the west. embellished with scallop decoration. A large central stairwell which provides access to the rest of the house. As such, it was highly decorated; the room retains its original high skirting and deeply moulded ceiling comice with two omate plaster ceiling roses. Also surviving from the early Victorian period is the open tread staircase with elaborate cast iron balusters. The stair is lit at half-landing by a single arched hung sash with original fumiture.

Two large rooms are accessed directly from this central hall. That to the east is the most omate within the house, and probably represents the main drawing room. This room is lit by a single hung sash to the south which retains its 1840s panelled embrasure, descending to the floor. The room itself has decorative plaster wall mouldings which take the form of large panels with rosette detailing. The second room radiating from the central hall is located to the west of the entrance lobby. This room retains its original four-panel door and surrounding architrave. It is lit by a single hung sash window to the south which retains an 1840s panelled embrasure with carved detailing. Also of note is the early
Victorian comice, dado rail and skirting, which respect the While this mirrors the situation
in the east room, the single-storey extension to the west refutes the possibility of a bay window in this position. This is further reinforced by the map evidence, which shows the extension existing from as early as 1852.

The rooms to the north are accessed via a four centred-archway, located opposite the entrance lobby. Access to the west was denied, but it is apparent that this partition represents a later division. To the east is the dining room, which is lit by two 6-over-6 hung sashes in the north wall, both retaining their panelled embrasures. The fireplace to the west has been lost, and an 1840s dado rail and skirting
pieced in. Its function as a dining room is indicated by the arched buffet recess located in the east wall retains its 1840s moulded plaster decoration and would originally have contained a serving board. At ground-floor level is the kitchen. Presently, this room can be entered only from an extemal door to the rear of the property. The kitchen contains a significant amount of evidence from the earlier, late Georgian, building on the site. Two chamfered beams running east-west transect the ceiling, with stops at each end denoting the room's original size. Within the west elevation is a centrally-placed cast iron range typical of the early Victorian period and made locally in York. This is contained within an earlier late Georgian fireplace. Also from the earlier phase is the panelled cupboard located next to the fireplace and the 8-over-8 hung sash window in the northem elevation. However, the doors and architraves are contemporary with the 1840s alteration.

The first floor is accessed from the central stair, the service wing being provided with its own staircase to the west. The first-floor hallway mirrors the arrangement below, with two large rooms and a lobby accessed directly, while a large arch to the north leads to another large room to the rear. The room to the east has been heavily subdivided, its original size being denoted by the 1840s ceiling comice. Its cast iron fireplace in the west wall is a late Victorian insertion. It is likely that this room was a principle bedchamber, with access to a large dressing room to the west. This adjoining room has also been subdivided, but retains its original ceiling comice throughout. The late Victorian addition of skirting and a picture rail, with embossed wallpaper above, suggests that the subdivision of this room occurred at a contemporary date. The original room had a comer cupboard, still present, within the chimney breast to provide heated storage. It was also lit by a large 6-over-9 pane hung sash in the south wall.

To the west is a less substantial bedchamber. This room was also heavily altered in the late Victorian period, when the present skirting, dado rail and cornice were wallpaper introduced. Also of this late date is the cast iron fireplace with tiled surround. Of the original 1840s fixtures only the window, with panelled embrasures, and four panel door and architrave remain. Access to the north was confined to the east end. This area is divided into one large room with a smaller room to the east. The larger of the two retains its 1840s entry, including the door and architrave, ceiling comice and picture rail. Also of this date are the two 6-over-6 pane hung sashes with panelled architraves. The skirting and
fireplace are late Victorian interventions. The skirting has been broken through along the east wall to provide access to the northem room. Originally, this room was entered from the corridor through a door situated in the southem wall, as indicted by the break in the 1840s skirting, but this has since been blocked and the architrave moved to the west elevation. Also of note is the Edwardian stained glass housed within the lower panes of the hung sash.

The first floor of the Georgian service wing is only accessible from its ground floor. It is divided into an 'L'-shaped corridor, housed within the extemal turret, and two large reception rooms. That to the west has been subdivided to provide a late 20th century bathroom, but the late Georgian plaster comice defines its original dimensions. A blocked doorway in the west wall relates to the first-floor walkway into the coach house, visible in the extemal elevation. The late Georgian evidence continues into the corridor, which displays a plaster ceiling comice similar to that found in the main rooms. The eastem room also displays remains of a late Georgian skirting with a contemporary fireplace in the east wall. These rooms, in conjunction with the kitchen below, represent the surviving remains of the earlier 'Queen's Villa' building.

The staircase up to second-floor level is a replacement of the 1920s, as demonstrated by an offset in the west wall intended to support joists for the attic floor. The probable position of the original stair was to the east, in place of the present cupboard. There are three rooms located at second-floor level. Each retains its original 1840s door and architrave, but all have been heavily ., remodelled in the late Victorian period. To the south, the bathroom contains omate 1920s fittings, but is otherwise modem. No other features of interest remain.

The Coach House- Adjoining the main house to the west is a two-storey building aligned north-south. It is predominantly of fine red brick construction in English garden wall bond, with a slate roof. However, the south facade was been replaced in the 1840s in order to unite the building with the main house.This elevation employs the contrasting yellow brick, laid in Flemish bond. The gable pediment is decorated with a timber modillioned comice and is pierced by a single brick oculus, thus uniting it with the wider Italiante architectural scheme. The facade is further defined by flanking comer pilasters with stone bases and capitals, in imitation of the main house. The large window at first-floor level is a later replacement, while the garage doors below have extended the original arched doorway.

The west elevation is of red brick construction, with a brick plinth. The ground floor contains a single door to the north, and a further three openings to the west. The first has since been blocked, whilst the other two contain early 20th century fenestration with stone lintels. Above these are three openings, only one of which remains open. All openings are framed under segmental brick arches.
The north elevation is curved with red brick below and timber above. A single stone gate post has been built into the brick construction. The 1852 map shows only a curved wall in this position, therefore, the timber superstructure represents an extension to the building and is probably dated to the mid-20th century.

The east elevation contains the most diagnostic features of the Coach House. The elevation is of three bays, with the central bay projecting westward slightly. Although it is of late Georgian red brick construction, it repeats the classical emphasis with a modillioned eaves comice, continued into the pediment of the central bay. This bay contains a single window at first-floor level which is repeated below, but contained within an earlier four-centred brick arch with stone imposts. Flanking this bay are two doorways under round brick arches. Only that to the south retains its original function, that to the north having been converted into a window. There is no opening to the south at first-floor level due to the proximity of the main house. However, to the north is a single pane hung sash typical of the late 19th to early 20th century. The blocked archway described above, confirms the use of the building as a coach house, as detailed in the listing description. Before the extension of the service wing to the north, there was adequate room for the movement of vehicles within the courtyard. This also provided a convenient means for making deliveries to the house. The 1852 map evidence supports this conclusion, showing a walled yard to the east with access from the north.

Much of the original intemal evidence has been lost due to the building's conversion into domestic space. This probably occurred in the late Victorian period, as highlighted by the single pane hung sashes in the east elevation. Intemally, this is also seen in the ground-floor living room, which contains a Victorian fireplace with flanking wall cupboards. The rest of the building has been heavily modemised during the late 20th century.

The Stable - two-storey structure located to the north of the Coach House. Although it continues the red brick construction of the late Georgian service wing and outbuildings, the map evidence suggests that it is a later addition dating to between 1852 and 1891. Thus the stables refeffed to in the 1852 description were probably located within the Coach House itself. The architectural simplicity of this two-storey structure reflects its role as a utilitarian building. The south elevation provides access to the main stable block and office to the east, via simple boarded doors under brick arches. Between them is a small window with 20th century fenestration. A further window opening is located at first-floor level, providing light to the main stable block. Also of note in this elevation is the stone gatepost which is embedded in the brickwork. This corresponds to a similar feature on the Coach House, suggesting that the gateway is contemporary with the Stable building.

The west elevation is pierced by two openings, both located at first-floor level. Below these are a series of joist holes which suggest a further extension to the west; this, however, is not confirmed by the map evidence. To the north of the building is a single opening located at ground-floor level. This opening represents an original feature and is typical of livestock housing, with vertical wooden slats providing ventilation.

Intemally, the building is divided into two rooms at ground-floor level. To the east is a small office which, although heavily modemised, contains an late Georgian cast iron fireplace. As this pre-dates the building itself, it is possible that it was retained when the earlier house was destroyed. The Stable itself retains much of its original fittings and fixtures, which are consistent with a late 19th century date. Three stalls remain with timber slat divisions and moulded segmental heads. The floor also retains its original late 19th century tiles. In the southeast comer is a simple wooden stair providing access to the first floor. This room is open to the roof and lit by low windows. Of particular note is the original collar and rafter roof structure, with additional iron supports. More recently, the roof has been replaced with modem rafters over the original trusses.

It is apparent that a large villa already stood on the site when it was acquired by John Acaster in 1842 (RCHME 1975, 77). From the standing remains found in the service wing and Coach House, it appears that this earlier structure was a substantial building which reflected the architectural emphasis of the late Georgian period. The fine red brick construction and pilaster detailing of the Coach House are consistent with the classical revival of this period. There is also a transition intemally with the move to simplified plaster comicing and utilitarian, hob-grate fireplaces. the earlier building was evidently not to the taste of the new owner who had the structure demolished and the present villa erected in its place in the 1840s. While parts of the service wing and Coach House were retained, he had the latter refaced to preserve a unified front facade. Much of the original layout of the 1840s structure can still be seen in the present building. The emphasis on comfortable living and omate embellishment of the early Victorian period, is demonstrated by the large rooms on the ground floor. Of particular note is the ceiling roses of the grand central stair and plaster wall mouldings of the drawing room. Comfortable living is also reflected in the abundance of dwellings above, with large bedchambers on the first floor and spacious domestic accommodation in the attic.

Taken form SYO831. Historic Buildings Assessment. Heworth Croft. Field Archaeology Specialists

NMR Information

List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest District of York, 14-MAR-1997

BF060679 HEWORTH CROFT, YORK File of material relating to a site or building. This material has not yet been fully catalogued.

RCHME, 1975, RCHME Volume 4, Outside the City Walls East of the Ouse (Monograph). SYO2424.

FAS, 2004, Heworth Croft (Unpublished document). SYO831.

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

Sources/Archives (3)

  • --- Digital archive: NMR. 2019. NMR data.
  • --- Monograph: RCHME. 1975. RCHME Volume 4, Outside the City Walls East of the Ouse.
  • --- Unpublished document: FAS. 2004. Heworth Croft.

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jul 5 2021 3:24PM


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