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Merchant Adventurers' Hall

The Grade I listed Merchant Adventurers' Hall is a picturesque 14th century guildhall set in a peaceful small garden beside the River Foss in York (England).

Merchant Adventurers were international traders who risked their own money to buy and sell goods.

The double-aisled Merchant Adventurers' hall stands on the site of an earlier Norman mansion. The hall has three main parts, each with a different function and the exterior of all three parts can be seen in Image 3 below:

  • The Undercroft (i.e. the ground floor) was used as an alms house / hospital from 1372 to 1900.
  • The Great Hall (i.e. the first floor) was used for business, resolving disputes and feasting.
  • The Chapel Annex (right) was - and still is - used for worship.

The Great Hall and Undercroft were originally built between 1357 and 1361, although they were partly rebuilt in the late 16th century when the chimney stack was inserted. The bricks of the Undercroft walls are believed to be the oldest in York. The windows of the Great Hall were altered around 1720 when the current sash windows were inserted. Close examination of Image 1 reveals that the builders cut the base of these window frames into the pre-existing curved 'Kentish' style timber braces, probably to add strength and rigidity to the modified structure.

The Chapel Annex was added circa 1410-1411 and refitted in 1667, then re-roofed and restored during the early part of the 20th century.

A two-storey entrance extension was added to the Fossgate side of the hall circa 1600 (see Image 5).

In circa 1950, a second extension (known as the Governor's Parlour) was added to the Fossgate side of the hall.

Practical Information

Cost Category (Categories)

Location Information (Where is . . . ?)

Merchant Adventurers' Hall
Fossgate
York
North Yorkshire
YO1 9XD

 
Coordinates
Latitude: 53.957924000000
Longitude: -1.078860000000

View this location on an interactive map.

The best external view of the building from a public right of way is from Piccadilly.

When the hall is open for visitors, the gate from Piccadilly is normally open. However, using this entrance to the site involves descending a set of steps which can be very slippery, especially when wet. Level (and arguably safer) access is usually available from Fossgate (via the passageway shown in Image 6).