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The Grade II listed Hospitium was probably built as a guest house for pilgrims visiting St Mary's Abbey in York. The oldest parts are 14th-15th century.
The stone-built ground floor is believed to date from the early 14th century (circa 1310). As the River Ouse regularly flooded this area prior to the construction of the modern flood defences, it is likely that stone was chosen for the ground floor walls to minimise the impact of (and damage caused by) flooding. The timber-framed upper storey is believed to date from the early 15th century.
At some point after the dissolution of the monasteries, the building was used for agricultural purposes.
The York Museums and Gallery Trust holds artwork dating from the first half of the 19th century that depicts the building in a seriously dilapidated state. However, the Yorkshire Philosophical Society restored the building shortly after purchasing it in 1828. The society then used the building as a museum and storage area.
During a further bout of restoration work in 1930-31, the building was partially reconstructed and significantly altered. The height of the roof was raised (by increasing its pitch) and the windows (which originally had pointed-arches at the top) were replaced with the simpler rectangular windows we see today.
The Hospitium building was renovated again in 2008, at which point mains services were installed.
The York Museums Trust (the current owners) now use the building as a venue for corporate and private events.