Barley Hall

Barley Hall is a medieval town house, once home to the Priors of Nostell and a Lord Mayor of York.

Until the 1980s the building was hidden under the relatively modern facade, only when it was going to be destroyed was the amazing medieval structure discovered and its rich history uncovered.

The oldest parts of Barley Hall date from about 1360, when the Hall was built as the York townhouse of Nostell Priory, a monastery near Wakefield in West Yorkshire. A new wing was added to the building in about 1430. Soon after, the Hall became the home of a leading York citizen, William Snawsell, Goldsmith, Alderman and Lord Mayor of York.

The house was bought by York Archaeological Trust in January 1987. Later that year, a full archaeological investigation of the interior was carried out through one metre of deposits to the 14th century levels, revealing the remains of the floor of the Great Hall. Further investigations in 1990 to 1991 looked at the courtyard and found the remains of the exterior stairway to the Great Chamber on the first floor. Work to restore the Hall to its former glory began in 1990 and it re-opened to the public in 1993.

The medieval building has been lovingly restored to its original splendour with stunning high ceilings, beautiful exposed timber frames, and possibly the only horn window in England. It has been decorated to replicate what it would have looked like as the Snawsell home around 1483 and boasts a magnificent Great Hall. Visitors to Barley Hall can make themselves at home and sit on the chairs and handle the objects and experience what it would have been like to live in Medieval England.

Barley Hall

Barley Hall

Tudor feasts were as much about presentation as taste. “Peacock Royal” or “Royale” would have been served at the King’s table with the feet and beak gilded in gold. Firsty the skin and feathers would have been carefully removed before the rest of the bird was stuffed with herbs and spices and slowly roasted. The skin and feathers would then have been placed back on the cooked meat. At the time they would not have know that this caused contamination. The bird was then presented to the King with great ceremony looking as if alive.*

Barley Hall

Swans were considered regal ans so only eaten on special occasions. Their beaks would have been gilded with gold leaf and sometimes small crowns were placed on their heads. *

Barley Hall

Barley Hall

Subtleties were made of marchpane (powdered almonds, sugar and rose water) and would have been carved into fantastic creations indicating the wealth and status of the giver of the feast.*

Barley Hall

Barley Hall

*Information note at Barley Hall

8 Comments CherryPie on Jun 18th 2018

8 Responses to “Barley Hall”

  1. Hels says:

    Only when it was going to be destroyed was the amazing medieval structure discovered and its rich history uncovered. And lovingly restored.

    Oh the irony!!

  2. Oh I remember this hall!
    Is it still free?! ;)

  3. We haven’t made it to this place yet – always so much to do/see in York. Judging by your photos, it looks even better than expected.

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