Building record MYO1759 - Castlegate House, 26 Castlegate


Town house, and railings attached to steps at front and rear; now Masonic Lodge. Built in 1762-63; altered, and Masonic Temple extension added at side, c1920. Central entrance hall plan to house: temple rectangular with apsidal end. House by John Carr for Peter Johnson, Recorder of York; Masonic Temple by Ward and Leckenby. Exterior: basement and 3 storeys; 5-bay front.


Grid reference SE 6042 5157 (point)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (5)

Full Description

Town house, and railings attached to steps at front and rear; now Masonic Lodge. 1762-63; altered, and Masonic Temple extension added at side, c1920. House by John Carr for Peter Johnson, Recorder of York; Masonic Temple by Ward and Leckenby.

MATERIALS: house front of orange-brown brick in Flemish bond on moulded stone plinth, with arches of orange gauged brick; painted stone portico and dressings. Plinth at rear of rendered brick, and staircase window of painted stone. Doric cornice of timber returns on all sides of house beneath shallow hipped roof of slate with brick stacks. Railings of wrought-iron. Central entrance hall plan to house: temple rectangular with apsidal end.

EXTERIOR: basement and 3 storeys; 5-bay front. Basement openings to right are unequal 9-pane sash windows with painted stone sills; to left, one shuttered window, and at left end fielded panel door beneath 6-pane overlight. On ground floor, stone steps lead to pedimented Doric porch with fluted frieze and cornice: door of 6 raised and fielded panels beneath radial fanlight in round-arched architrave on pilasters with impost band. Flanking windows, and first floor windows, are 12-pane sashes with flat arches, over blind balustraded aprons: raised band and sill band on both floors. First floor windows are recessed beneath round-arched arcade on moulded impost band. Second floor windows are squat 6-pane sashes with moulded sills on brackets.

Rear: basement and 3 storeys; 3-bay front, outer bays canted and rising to full-height beneath half-hipped roofs. Windows in outer bays are 3-light sashes, 12-paned on all floors except the second which has squat 6-pane sashes. In centre bay, basement window is semicircular. On ground floor, flight of brick and stone steps over basement area leads to half-glazed and panelled door in architrave with pulvinated frieze and moulded cornice. Above is Doric order Venetian staircase window recessed beneath semicircular brick arch. All other windows have flat arches of gauged brick and basement and second floor windows have painted stone sills. Raised bands and sill bands on ground and first floors, returned on centre bay of ground floor. In re-entrant angle at left of centre bay is ornate rainwater head, dated 1763, with fallpipe on rosette clamps. Masonic Temple has no external openings.

INTERIOR: of house: basement: cellars at front are vaulted: one has ventilated door of fielded panels, one fitted with stone slab shelves. Rear room to left retains kitchen fireplace without fittings, and elliptical bread oven arch of painted voussoirs to left. Panelled and shuttered bay window with window seats. Moulded cornice. Rear room to right has bolection moulded fireplace surround with moulded cornice shelf and replacement grate. Panelled window shutters and moulded skirting and cornice. Ground floor: stone flagged floor to entrance hall extends to staircase hall at rear. Front doorcase is round-arched on pilasters with acanthus leaf capitals: doorcases off both halls are plain with corniced heads and panelled reveals. Entrance hall has plaster frieze of swags, beneath cornice of acanthus modillions and rosettes which continues into stairhall. Corinthian order distyle in antis screen separates entrance and stair halls.

Front room to left: painted stone fireplace of fluted pilasters, frieze with foliate centre panel and moulded cornice shelf: replacement grate in grey marble surround with slips and hearth covered with good Pre-Raphaelite tiles. Walls sunk-panelled below moulded dado rail, panelled in plaster rosette frames above. Dentil cornice to door, and enriched dentil cornice to plain ceiling. Round-arched opening to left of fireplace inserted later.

Rear room to left: fireplace of fluted Ionic columns, frieze of foliage arabesques and moulded cornice shelf: replacement grate in carved architrave, marble surround and slips covered with C19 floral tiles. Doorcase has carved architrave and pulvinated frieze enriched with flower and leaf carvings, beneath enriched cornice. Architrave to bay window, skirting and dado rail are carved, and walls sunk-panelled below rail. Moulded cornice enriched with acanthus leaves. Front rooms to right have moulded skirtings, dado rails and cornices.

Rear room to right: marble fireplace with bolection-moulded architrave and dentilled cornice shelf, between alcove cupboard doors. Architraves of door and window cases are bolection moulded. Moulded skirting, dado rail and cornice.

Cantilevered main staircase from ground to first floor has slender turned balusters, 3 to a tread, and ramped-up moulded handrail, wreathed at foot around bulbous newel on scrolled curtail step. Moulded dado rail parallels staircase rail. Venetian staircase window is of enriched Ionic order, retaining original glazing, beneath plaster cartouche festooned in floral garlands. Flanking walls of upper stair well have scrolled consoles carrying classical busts.

Cantilevered secondary staircase from ground to second floor has stone treads, wrought-iron balustrade of elongated S-shaped scrolls, turned newels and ramped-up wood handrail. Bottom flight to basement has square section balusters. Staircase windows are round headed sashes. First floor: 3 doorcases on landing have carved architraves, pulvinated friezes enriched with acanthus carvings, and enriched dentil cornice overdoors. Ceiling cornice is moulded and enriched with dentils.

Front room to left: fireplace surround carved with rosettes, garlands and drops. Doorcase architrave carved with foliage, pulvinated frieze and dentilled cornice overdoor. Window architraves carved, and walls sunk panelled below dado rail carved with Greek key and foliage motifs: skirting carved with ribbon and floret mouldings. Cornice enriched with egg, shell and floret mouldings, dentils, and paired acanthus modillions and rosettes.

Rear room to left: fireplace has replacement grate in carved architrave, in surround of sunk panel pilasters carved with foliate pendants, frieze of rinceaux, and dentilled cornice shelf. Doorcase with carved architrave, frieze of acanthus with garlanded centre panel, and enriched cornice overdoor. Window cases have carved architraves, and shutters of enriched panels. Carved skirting and dado, and moulded cornice. Plaster ceiling with oval medallion in centre containing classical figure, surrounded by foliage tendrils and enclosed in scalloped frame with subsidiary medallions and pendants. Rooms to right retain moulded skirtings and dado rails: front room has dentil cornice, rear one acanthus cornice.

Throughout the house, doors are of six raised and fielded panels, most retaining original door furniture. Panelled window shutters survive. Interior of Temple: double doors of raised and fielded panels in doorcase with pulvinated frieze and cornice overdoor lead to lobby, screened by panelled partition. 3-bay

INTERIOR: articulated by giant coupled attached Composite columns carrying entablature with dentil and modillion cornice. Subsidiary arcade of round arches on dwarf attached Ionic columns with moulded impost band, broken by giant columns, and continuing around apse, shapes bays into round-headed blind panels. Tunnel-vaulted main ceiling containing moulded roundels; hemispherical roof to apse. Wall panels fitted with shaped boards.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: railings to front area are square section interspersed with panels of scrolls and intersecting curves, ramped-up and swept up steps to portico. At rear, short balustrade of railings and standards similar to those of secondary staircase closes off steps.

(City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 114-115).
Listing NGR: SE6042551571

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

(89) Castlegate House, No. 26, now occupied by a Masonic Lodge, was built in 1762–3 for Peter Johnson, Recorder, to the designs of John Carr (YAJ, iv, 206; Colvin, 125). In the previous year Johnson acquired two houses in Castlegate from William Wainde and a house and garden in Castlegate Postern Lane from the Misses Dinah and Grace Hammond. Further property was acquired from Henry Perkins and, in 1764, from Thomas Norfolk; this last was no doubt to complete the large garden which stretched S.E. to Tower Street and S.W. to a lane nearly on the site of Clifford Street. The property thus occupied a substantial part of the site of the former Franciscan Friary.

The house is of three storeys with basement and attics and on plan forms a rectangle with two large bays projecting at the back. The walls are of brick with stone plat-bands and the roofs are covered with Westmorland slate. The house faces N.E. to Castlegate but will be described as facing E. The main front is in five bays with a central round-headed entrance under an open Roman-Doric porch. Wide plat-bands mark the ground and first floors with narrower bands joining the window-sills above; the space between each pair of bands is interrupted by recessed balustrading under each window.

The first-floor windows are set in shallow arched recesses, the arches springing from moulded stone imposts. The second-floor windows have stone brackets under the sills. The window heads and the arches to the recesses are carried out in gauged brickwork. At the wall-head is a boldly projecting timber Doric cornice which is continued all round the building. The W. elevation to the garden, with two projecting canted bays, repeats the stone bands of the E. front but without the balustrading under the windows. The bays have red brick dressings at the angles. A central doorway is approached by a flight of steps with wrought-iron balustrades and carried on a rampant arch; above it, set in a shallow arched recess, is a Venetian window at an intermediate level, lighting the stairs. The basement is well lit by good hung-sash windows and a semicircular window under the external steps. On the N. side round-headed windows light the secondary staircase. Rainwater heads are dated 1763.

The ground floor is richly fitted throughout with moulded cornices, mostly enriched, dado rails and skirtings. The entrance hall has a frieze of drapery swags under the cornice. Over the principal doorcases are moulded cornices and in the S.W. room an enriched entablature. Doors are of six panels and many retain original brass furniture.

The S.E. room has wooden panels to the dado and plaster panels above; the wooden fireplace surround has side pilasters and a panel of carved decoration on the frieze. Dado panelling is repeated in the S.W. room. The door-case in this room is particularly elaborate and the fireplace is flanked by Ionic columns carrying an enriched entablature in which the frieze is decorated with foliated arabesques. The stair hall is divided from the entrance hall by a screen of Corinthian columns and pilasters. The staircase itself has cantilevered treads, turned mahogany balusters with square knops, and no newels. Over the staircase window is plaster decoration in the form of a rococo cartouche and floral festoons. To the N. is a secondary staircase with stone steps and wrought-iron balustrade having each upright shaped as a sinuous S. A lower flight of this secondary staircase, with plain square standards, leads down to the basement which is well appointed, most of the rooms having ceiling cornices and moulded and panelled doors. It contains a large kitchen, other servants' rooms and a wine store. The kitchen fireplace has a rectangular opening framed in plain stonework. Some of the rooms have plastered vaulted ceilings.

On the first floor the Saloon and Drawing Room lie to the S. The partition wall between them has been removed. Bedrooms flank the secondary staircase to the N. The rich fittings of the ground floor are continued on the first-floor landing, where there are enriched entablatures over the doorways, and in the reception rooms. The Saloon has a panelled dado (Fig. 10f); the dado rail is decorated with a Greek key fret as well as formalised foliage. The fireplace has a later surround decorated with roundels and garlands. The ceiling cornice is characterised by the introduction of shells and florets as a variant on egg-and-dart enrichment. The Drawing Room has a plain dado (Fig. 10g) and a ceiling delicately decorated in the Adam manner, unlike the general style of the house. The enriched wooden fireplace surround has frieze and pilasters lavishly decorated with carved foliage scroll-work centred on a basket of flowers.

The rooms to the N. and on the second floor are finished with moulded skirtings and cornices and six-panel doors but mostly without enrichment. The N.W. room on the first floor has an enriched cornice and formerly had a fireplace decorated with isolated pieces of foliation set in a Greek key fret, which has been removed to Heath Hall, Wakefield.

City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 114-115

NMR Information

Full description

(SE 60435157-O.S 1/2500, 1963)

5343 CASTLEGATE (south-west side)

No 26
(Castlegate House) and railings to house

SE 6051 NW 16/126 14.6.54

1762-3. Architect, John Carr. Brick; 3-storeys plus attic and basement; 5 windows with flat brick arches, of which those in the top storey have sills on consoles, those in the 1st storey are set in shallow semi-circular headed recesses with moulded stone imposts, and both in this and the ground storey there are stone balustrades below the sills, the bases and handrails forming part of the string-courses; central doorcase with radial fanlight and Roman Doric portico with full Doric frieze, pediment and steps up; Doric eaves cornice; good wrought iron railings to the house, rising with the entrance steps. Very find interior.
(RCHM Vol V, Monument 89.)

Forecourt railings, standards and gate to No 26 (Castlegate House)


Good C18 wrought iron railings. Restored. Set on a dwarf wall. Wide opening to left flanked by modified openwork standards. Small gate on right-hand side.

List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. p42-43 City of York, June 1983

Related Monuments; General association 535209

613515 Architectural Survey Investigation by RCHME/EH Architectural Survey

Related Archives

BF060418 CASTLEGATE HOUSE File of material relating to a site or building. This material has not yet been fully catalogued. Copyright, date, and quantity information for this record may be incomplete or inaccurate.

OP07598 The ornate ceiling in the billiard room of a club in Castlegate, York From the listed description the building has been identified as Castlegate House, 26 Castlegate.

RCHME, 1981, City of York Volume V: The Central Area (Monograph). SYO65.

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

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Digital archive: NMR. 2019. NMR data.
  • --- Monograph: RCHME. 1981. City of York Volume V: The Central Area.

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jul 6 2020 7:18PM


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