Treasurer’s House at the back of York Minster is a peaceful place compared to the busy Minster nearby. The gardens are quiet, very well maintained and arranged around a central lawned area. They also benefit from the stunning backdrop of York Minster on one side. It is the perfect spot to get away from the bustle in summer and find a quiet spot to enjoy your lunch.
The house was built on top of an old Roman road, which was discovered when the cellars were excavated. The house itself was built in 1419 as a residence for the Minster’s treasurer. It served in this capacity for nearly a hundred and fifty years. Such a grand house was necessary because the Minster officials who lived in the house were expected to host VIP guests. The house stopped being used by the church when the job of treasurer disappeared during the Reformation of the English Church. In 1720 Grey’s Court was created when the building was divided into two. This is now a hotel and restaurant. Treasurers’ House passed into the hands of various private owners and was eventually subdivided into three separate houses.
The house(s) was bought in the late 19th Century by the wealthy industrialist, Frank Green. It was Frank who restored the house to its present state. He was a very well-travelled man who was a friend to many of the celebrities of the day. Frank used the house to showcase his collection of art, curios, ceramics and antique furniture. Then, in 1930 Frank Green retired and moved away from York. He gifted the house and all of its contents to the National Trust. This was the first time that the National Trust had received both a property and a collection together.
Treasurer’s House today
Thirteen-period rooms contain Frank Green’s amazing collection. The house also has a cellar and Edwardian servants’ quarters in the attic of the house. Special tours run on certain days to the old servants’ quarters in the attic and to the basement. The basement is famous as a haunted place. Harry Martindale, a heating engineer apparently saw a ghostly legion of Roman soldiers marching along the buried Roman road underneath the house. Because the house is famous as a haunted place it starred in the very first episode of the TV series Ghosthunters.
Other ghosts have been seen. When the house was gifted to the National Trust, Frank Green did so on the condition that the rooms were kept as he intended. He promised to haunt the building if any changes were ever made. Of course, since then some things have been moved. It is said that some strange happenings at the house were Frank carrying out his promise. The ghost of George Aislaby, head of the house in the 17th century, has also been seen (allegedly).
The National Trust still owns the house and it is open most days. The garden and cafe are free to enter and there is a small entrance fee to enter the house. However, if you are a National Trust member entrance to the property is free. The nearest car park is Lord Mayor’s Walk and being in the city centre, the house is close to all the major bus routes and park-and-ride services. Dogs on a lead are welcome in the garden, but no dogs are allowed inside the house. Full opening times can be found on the National Trust website.
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