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Medieval stone town house known as The Norman House to the rear of Nos 48 and 50 Stonegate

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Medieval stone town house known as The Norman House to the rear of Nos 48 and 50 Stonegate

List entry Number: 1020406

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: York

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish:

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 19-Sep-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 05-Jul-2002

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 34836

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Medieval town houses were a feature of towns during the medieval period and examples survive in many towns throughout England. This class of residence was built by and occupied by individuals of high status.They would include clergymen, merchants, and the emerging professional classes. Town houses would have been among the more prominent and prestigious dwellings and thus reflect the status of their occupants. Many were built by institutions such as the church, monastic orders and civic authorities and relatively few by private citizens. The earliest surviving type of town houses date to the late 11th century. They were simple rectangular buildings but over time became more elaborate and sophisticated with the addition of extra wings and architectural embellishments. The total number of surviving medieval stone town houses is not currently known as parts or all of others are thought to be incorporated, currently unrecognised, into existing buildings. Medieval town houses were vernacular buildings and consequently they exhibit a high degree of regional variation. As well as being important buildings in the historic townscape they reflect the status and fortunes of their inhabitants and more generally, contemporary social and architectural trends. Detailed investigation of the standing fabric of the Norman House to the rear of Nos 48 and 50 Stonegate in York, together with limited excavation of associated archaeological deposits have provided considerable insight into the date and construction of the building. It is the earliest known medieval house in York and the remains will provide important evidence about both domestic life within the building and its use as a prebendal house. In addition the monument offers important scope for the study of the development of a significant northern city during the medieval period.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes standing and buried remains of a 12th century stone house located in the centre of York approximately 70m south of the Minster. The monument includes two adjacent stone walls which formed two sides of the house and also the interior of the house in which below ground remains are known to survive. The monument occupies an open paved yard located in a closely built up area on the western side of Stonegate. The south east wall of the monument forms the rear wall of Nos 48 and 50 Stonegate which are Listed Buildings Grade II* and is included in its entirety including the exposed wall within the adjacent properties. The south west wall is flush against a later building to the rear of No 46. The house has been dated to the late 12th century on architectural grounds. It was a prebendal house of Oswbaldwick and in 1376, of Ampleforth. Prebendal houses were the residences of clergymen, or prebendaries, who received the rent or tithe from a particular property which had been set aside for the purpose of providing their income. The adjacent 15th century house at 52 Stonegate was also part of the property of the prebend of Ampleforth. The Norman House was one of several prebendal houses of York Minster which were located in the same area. The foundations of another stone prebendal house are located 25m to the south west in the rear of No 38 Stonegate. Stonegate itself is one the earliest streets of the medieval city, being first mentioned in documents in 1118-9. It was the principal approach to the Minster and is approximately on the line of the Via Praetoria, one of the main roads of the Roman fortress. The upper part of the street lay in the Liberty of St Peter and many properties here belonged to the church or housed trades dependant on ecclesiastical patronage such as goldsmiths and glass-painters. The Norman House is situated in a significant enclave of similar status buildings. Many of these properties were set back from the street and as the city prospered the street frontage gap was filled in. Initially this was with primitive timber buildings which were replaced by substantial timber structures in the 15th and 16th centuries and brick buildings in the 18th century many of which still survive today. The property to the south east of the monument (Nos 48 and 50) is a 16th century rebuild of a 14th century open hall with a late 15th century street frontage. The property to the south west dates to the 18th century but may have replaced an earlier structure. The major part of the Norman House is thought to have been demolished by the 18th century at the latest and the surviving remains incorporated into new buildings. These were demolished in 1939 and the ruins of the Norman House were discovered. The house was a two-storey stone built building which consisted of an undercroft with a first floor open hall above it. It was rectangular in shape, orientated north west to south east and measured 12m in length. The eastern side does not survive above ground but from analysis of similar buildings elsewhere it is thought to be approximately 9m wide. The upstanding walls are built of dressed limestone blocks. Generally, access to two-storey open halls was through one end of the long wall to the hall often via a porch. At the Norman House this is likely to be on the north east long wall as there is no evidence of a door in the surviving opposite wall and the alley currently leading on to Stonegate may respect the traditional access route. The south western wall stands to the height of the eaves and is 12m long. Towards the southern part of the wall there is a complete first floor window. The window has two arched openings divided by a cylindrical shaft, all set into a half-round rear arch. The window was not glazed and the fittings for wooden shutters can be identified. Further to the north there is the edge of a second window beyond which the wall becomes thinner and the remainder of the window no longer survives. It is likely that there was a third window further to the north which no longer survives. At the level of the first floor there are two substantial corbels protruding from the wall as well as an offset 0.1m deep which would have supported a timber floor. At the northern end of this section of wall the masonry is squared off indicating that this was an original corner to the wall. The south eastern wall measures 9m in length and is almost certainly the gable end. Here the medieval masonry is more patchy and the gaps between the stonework are filled with brickwork. On the first floor level there is a cupboard built into the wall with grooves for shelves. The exterior of this wall is exposed within the upper storey of the adjacent properties (Nos 48 and 50) and the medieval masonry with later brick patching is clearly visible. In this exposed exterior of the wall there is a fireplace opening into the adjacent property set in to the wall at the first floor level. This was inserted after the adjacent buildings were erected, although the date for this is currently unknown. The interior of the house was partly excavated in 1939. This showed that the original ground floor was approximately 1m below the current ground level. The excavation revealed the foundations of three central pillars which would have supported the first floor. Also found was the lower part of a garderobe, or latrine chute. The standing medieval walls are Listed Grade I. The surface of the yard, the bench, the metal flue attached to the south east wall and the security light are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
'York Civic Trust Annual Report' in Norman House in Stonegate, (1969), 11-12
Syme, J S, 'York Archaeological and Architectural Society Annual Report' in The Most Ancient Dwelling House In York, , Vol. Vol. V, (1951), 36-39
Other
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York, (1981)

National Grid Reference: SE 60258 52085

Map

Map
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End of official listing