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Listed Building
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Statutory Address:
Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

York (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SE 59861 52444



SE5952SE ST MARY'S 1112-1/12/952 (South East side) 01/07/68 No.38 and attached walls and railings


Alternatively known as: Penn House BOOTHAM. Includes: No.68 BOOTHAM. House, now boarding house for Bootham School. c1852 with later C19 additions and alterations, and some C20 alterations. Cream brick, presently grey in colour, with sandstone dressings, slate roof and brick stacks.

PLAN: Original plan was L-shaped with shallow outshot to west corner. Main entrance on St Mary's opens through vestibule into large central entrance and stair hall rising full height of the building lit by rectangular lantern. Main rooms open off hall. Later secondary entrance and stair hall infilling narrow space to abut No. 70 Bootham, and form deep rectangular plan.

EXTERIOR: Three storeys over basement. The main elevation on St Mary's has pedimented outer bays and a slightly recessed centre with an ashlar portico. Ground floor window has panelled ashlar apron, first and second floor windows have sill bands and the pediments are linked by a stone gutter. Windows are mostly hung sashes with glazing bars and gauged brick flat arches. Pedimented outer bays have a single window on each floor; the ground floor window opening in the left-hand bay is bricked up with poorly matching brickwork. The first floor window above is a blind sash with glazing bars. Above the portico the recessed centre has one main window on the first floor with a smaller inserted sash window to its right. On the second floor, there are three windows, the flanking windows narrower. The portico has a plain entablature with cornice and blocking course and is supported by four columns with Ionic capitals, the volutes of the corner capitals set diagonally. The door has six panels and a plain overlight. Flanking lights are set between the pilaster responds. Two chimney stacks are visible, to each side of the recessed centre and set back from the façade. The Bootham elevation is of four bays, with the right-hand bay slightly recessed. Sill bands and stone gutter are continued from the main elevation, and ground floor windows have panelled ashlar aprons. The windows are hung sashes with glazing bars and gauged brick flat arches; the second and third windows on the first floor are 2-over-2 pane sashes. The right-hand bay contains a doorcase with three pilasters, the left-hand opening partly blocked and containing a window (originally a doorway into service rooms), and the right-hand opening containing a six-panel door with overlight. The south-west, garden, elevation is of five bays, with similar detailing to hung-sash windows. The left-hand bay has a doorway with rendered porch with round-arched opening, and a projecting extension over, on the first floor, with oriel window. Adjoining on the ground floor is a projecting, flat-roofed extension with glazed door, with glazing flanking and above.

INTERIOR: The main staircase has cantilevered stone treads with cantilevered landings, cast iron geometric balusters and a swept wooden handrail. Rooms opening off central entrance and stair hall and the staircase have six-panel doors and architraves with pulvinated mouldings and diamond-pointed paterae, windows with panelled shutters and soffits, and moulded cornices, some reeded. Some original fire surrounds of timber or marble. The second stair hall has open-well staircase with closed-string timber treads, cast-iron balusters, and swept wooden handrail. Moulded architraves to six-panel doors associated with later C19 alterations. The inner side wall of the stair hall has a large round-headed archway or window, on the ground floor and windows on floors above, all blocked (former exterior wall). Large room on first floor on south-west garden side refitted in late C19, when first floor extension built over porch in left-hand bay. Panelling to dado level, wooden arcade dividing extension to form separate space, timber fire surround with overmantel. This room and others now sub-divided. Basement has rooms and barrel-vaulted cellars.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: Both road frontages have basement areas enclosed by iron railings on low ashlar walls and with ashlar piers of square plan with curved tops. The railings have bulb finials, and in front of the St Mary's façade they include iron gates, and standards with mushroom finials.

HISTORY: The house was built c.1852 and was called Top House as it is at the top of St Mary's with its main elevation facing the road, which was constructed in 1851. Top House was built for Joseph Rowntree's father, also Joseph (1801-59), a grocer and prominent Quaker, who, with Samuel Tuke, established the Quaker Bootham and Mount schools. His widow, Sarah, continued to live at Top House until her death in 1888. At some time after the marriage of her son Joseph to Julia Eliza Seebohm in 1856, the house was divided into two residences, and the Bootham entrance added. Julia died in 1863, and in 1867 Joseph married her cousin, Antoinette Seebohm. They had four sons and two daughters, and as the family expanded they moved out of Top House, returning in 1888 after Joseph had taken up the option in his mother's will of buying the house for £2,600. In 1905 Joseph and his wife moved to Clifton Lodge, Rawcliffe Lane, York (q.v.), where he lived until his death in 1925. From 1905-20 his son, Benjamin Seebohm, continued to use Top House as an office. In 1920 Joseph donated the house to Bootham School, when it became known as Penn House.

SOURCES: Jackson, E, 'Joseph Rowntree (1801-1859), Citizen of York' York Historian, Vol 23 (2006), 41-43. Yorkshire Gazette, January 11, 1851, 4 (York Local Reference Library) Fitzgerald, Robert, Rowntree, Joseph (1836-1925), cocoa and chocolate manufacturer, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004),, accessed 13 July 2009. Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Our Heritage,, accessed 13 July 2009

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Penn House, No. 38 St Mary's and No. 68 Bootham, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * As a mid-C19 villa with classical detailing constructed by an unknown architect c.1852 * It retains its plan form of rooms opening off a large central entrance and stair hall, with original interior fixtures and fittings including a stone cantilevered staircase with iron geometrical balusters, six-panel doors, architraves, panelled window shutters and soffits, a number of fireplaces, and cornices, with a later C19 secondary staircase * It was built for the Rowntrees, a prominent Quaker family, and was intermittently lived in by Joseph Rowntree (1836-1925), chocolate manufacturer and philanthropist who founded three charitable Trusts, was father to Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree, sociological researcher and social reformer, and son of Joseph Rowntree (1801-59), who was co-founder of the Quaker Bootham and Mount schools.


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

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Books and journals
'Yorkshire Gazette' in Yorkshire Gazette - Jan 11th, (1851)
Jackson, E, 'York Historian' in Joseph Rowntree (1801-1859) Citizen of York: Volume 23. , (2006), 41-43


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 01 Sep 2001
Reference: IOE01/05281/08
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Chris Broadribb. Source Historic England Archive
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