The Merchant Adventurer's Hall was an attraction I really enjoyed, and I recommend it to everyone with an interest in the Middle Ages!
The grade I listed building was constructed in 1357, therefore it is more than 650 years old!!! When I heard about this building, my first question was what a Merchant Adventurer was, as I had never heard this term before. The Merchant Adventurers were a guild of merchants who did "adventures", engaging in overseas trading and risking their money on expeditions and audacious actions. They were founded in 1357 as a fraternity and became a guild in 1581. They became a very influential group of citizens in York, and many of them were very wealthy. Their aim was to have a centre in the city where they could meet and worship, but also to do charity work and business. In fact, the guild still exists today.
The building is therefore still actively used as a meeting centre, but it can also be hired for functions and moreover, it is a wonderful museum. When I entered, I just loved the big medieval hall, the walls just whispered and breathed history! Apart from this hall, there is a chapel and an undercroft, and also several smaller rooms that were used for meetings and business. The undercroft was used as an almshouses and carried out its work until the year 1900. There are many items exhibited, such as furniture, silver, seals and other items connected to overseas travel and business. I highly recommend the audio tour to understand what all this was about and what the different rooms were used for.
My last picture shows a statue in the chapel.
Admission fee: Adults £6,00, concession £5,00, children free
Opening times: Easter to October 09.00am to 05.00pm monday to thursday, to 03.30pm friday and saturday, 11.00am to 04.00pm sunday. October to March 09.00 to 04.00 monday to thursday, to 03.30pm friday to saturday, closed sunday
This unique building is remarkable for many things, since its old combed timber frames to its marvellously preserved wooden roof. It´s a medieval oasis in the middle of the city surrounded by a narrow green square all around.
Since XIVth century this building has been active as it is today. It was intended to provide charity and help for those who risked in overseas trading -Merchant adventurers- and soon became the most powerful guild in York, increasing its responsibilities. It helped to set up businesses, to train apprentices, to monitor the appropriate trading standards at the time or to intermediate in legal affairs. It works now as a Chamber of Commerce and, of course, as a museum and exhibition hall, proud to show its collections and heritage.
The Great Hall occupies quite completely the upper floor and is by far the most remarkable space here for it shows the unique feature of its spectacular wooden roof along with some features of interest: the ancient windows, the collection of paintings or the court with seales.
Even so, this unique building has many other things to show. Going down to the undercroft there are some anterooms containing every kind of very valuable furnitures and rememberances of the Guild's history and activity. Especially remarkable is the Governor's Parlour an astounding room richly orned with its superb fireplace, paintings, table and chairs.
The Undercroft was used as a hospital for poor people until 1900 and not being as striking as the Great Hall it's a wide stoned and wooden space were the basement of the old beams can be seen. Here you find the old Chapel, the great old fireplace and a nice friendly cafe to take a rest. When I was here there was an exhibition about ancient medicine, a very appropriate one here, sure!
Before stepping out to the garden I realised two interesting things too: one was an ancient panel on the wall with all of the names of the Master Governors of this place since its beginnins; the other one was a real-size old cast of Napoleon Bonaparte sniffing rape with a small information sign. It seems it's the only survivor of three old marketing puppets brought from France in 1820 and were placed open-air to advertise the product. Quite a precursor!
On alighting from the Bus I looked straight to the beautiful Merchant Adventurers' Hall. I thought, if this is York, then it is going to be pretty good!
I didn't know it then, but it is the largest timber-framed building in the UK still standing and used for its original purpose.
Once again, it is another medieval building with a lot of history!
Most of the Merchant Adventurers' Hall was built in 1357, as medieval guildhall. A group of people from York, formed a religious fraternity called the Guild of Our Lord Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In 1430 the fraternity was granted a royal charter by King Henry VI and renamed 'The Mistry of Mercers', then in the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth 1 granted it the status of the "Company of Merchant Adventurers of York."
The main part of the building consists of the Great Hall and the undercroft, which was originally a hospital or almshouse for poor people of York.
The attached Chapel is still used today!
Nicely restored, with very nice garden's, the lucky people of York can hold their wedding reception's here.
It is a museum
ADMISSION IS....Adult - £6.00 Concessions(60+/Students) - £5.00 Children(16 and under) - FREE
An audio tour in English which comes free with admission plus written guides in foreign languages are also available.
ENTRY from Fossgate entrance.
OPEN...March - November....... Monday - Thursday 9.00am - 5.00pm
Friday - Saturday 9.00am - 3.30pm.......Sunday 11.00 - 4.00pm
November - March....... Monday - Thursday 9.00am - 4.00pm
Friday - Saturday 9.00am-3.30pm........Sunday Closed
This large house, standing back from the road, was indeed worthy of a Merchant Adventurer.
Entrance into the grounds is free, but to enter the house costs £6 for adults,£5 for concession , but children under 16 go free. Unfortunately I did not have time to go inside but just the exterior was impressive.
The Merchant Adventurers are a medieval trade guild with a caritative focus which was founded in 1357 and is still active. It was an important power in English cloth trade in the 15th and 16th century. Their hall, once used exclusively for meetings and other social events, is now a museum but can still be hired for weddings etc. It was built between 1357 and 1361 and is Grade 1 listed. A collection of paintings, old furniture and similar items can be seen during a visit to the hall. The entrance is at Picadilly, close to the bus stops. However, you can access the building also via Fossgate.
Among the most interesting exhibits is a figure of Napoleon Bonaparte. This wooden hand-painted fellow was once used for advertising tobacco. It was stolen several times, thrown into the Ouse and has a more troublesome history than an average York resident. Now, it has found an adequate home in the museum.
When at the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall ask for the free discount card for the “hidden secrets” of York. If you pay the full price at one of these attractions, you will only pay half the price at the other four. The “hidden secrets” are Barley Hall, the Richard III museum, Micklebar Gate Museum, the Roman Bath and the Merchant Adventurer’s Hall.
What a fantastic name, The Merchant Adventurers' Hall. it certainly forms all sorts of pictures in your head, In the Middle ages great cities were controlled by the guild companys and York being a large river port had more than 50 merchant and craft guilds controlling the trade and thus the lifes of all the peoples withing the city. Of all these Guilds one of the most powerful was the Merchant Adventurers' whos controlled the trade in Cloth. Their hall was built between 1357 and 1361. The guild also helped out the poor people of the city and under the hall in it's undercroft there was a hospital for the poor.
This fantastic hall is still owned and used by the York Company of Merchant Adventurers who built it over 650 years ago
Adult - £5.00
Concessions(60+/Students) - £4.00
Children(16 and under) - FREE
April - September
Monday - Thursday 9.00am - 5.00pm
Friday - Saturday 9.00am - 3.30pm
Sunday 12.00 - 4.00pm
October - March
Monday - Saturday 9.00am - 3.30pm
An audio tour in English which comes free with admission plus written guides in foreign languages are also available
A fine medieval guild hall still owned and used by the group who built it over 650 years ago.
Easter to September :- Mon - Thurs 0/9.00 - 17.00 Fri - Sat 09.00 - 15.30 Sun 12.00 - 16.00
Oct - Easter :- Mon - Sat 09.00 - 15.30 Sun - Closed
I always realise how we in England take for granted the history and culture around for us whenever I stand in the bus queue for the park and ride bus outside the Merchant Adventurers Hall. Here I am in a bus queue and behind me is a building that was built over 650 years ago - a building that people come from across the world to see.
This is a beautifully restored medieval building with pleasant gardens that lead down to the river that provide somewhere nice to sit on a warm day for a rest. There are three rooms serving the three functions of a medieval guild; business and social in the Great Hall, charitable in the Undercroft and religious in the Chapel. Today the hall is used for many things - exhibitions and visiting displays but there is also a permanent collection of furniture and paintings to see.
The web site has details. Only £2.50 admittance with concessions and accessible to all from the entrance in Fossgate.
It was incredible to see and touch this building built in 1357-1361. Originally a medieval guide hall, it is now a museum. Merchants carried out business here, social events, cared for the sick and poor, and attended Chapel services.
The Ancient Guild Hall of the Merchant Adventurers of York is a fantastic medieval hall that is worth a visit. The great thing is that it is free to walk through! It was built between 1357 and 1361 when Sir William Percy granted the site of the Hall to three York merchants. They and others started the Guild of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary, a charitable and religious society. Major social events were held in the hall including feats, weddings and funerals. 2 decades later the Guild Guild founded a hospital (or almshouse) for poor people located in the Undercroft, which lasted until the Victorian times.
These early members were known as mercers - merchants who traded in fine cloth. In 1430 King Henry VI incorporated the Guild as the Mistery (or craft) of Mercers of York. The Guild became a decidedly business enterprise and they became the wealthiest of York's trade and craft guilds. They used the port of Hull to conduct trade with the Low Countries and Baltic. In 1581 Queen Elizabeth I granted the company (now called the Society of Merchant Adventurers) a lucrative charter giving them a monopoly of goods imported to York, except for salt and fish.
A Merchant Adventurer was someone who risked or adventured their own money in overseas trade. This is reflected in the composition of the Company's Coat of Arms. The wings and wavy lines represent travel over water and the motto Dieu Nous Donne Bonne Adventure (or Aventure) means 'May God Prosper Our Affairs'.
I like the sound of "Merchant Adventurer's Hall." It sounds so much interesting than just plain "Merchant's Hall."
In the Middle Ages, it was thought that anyone who dared to invest money in overseas trade was at best a little bit crazy. And hence an adventurer. I have the feeling that York's Merchant Adventurers were admired by some, but most people here probably thought they were loonies.
This is an excellent example of medieval domestic architecture: Simon Jenkins suggests that it is the best preserved collection of medieval guild buildings in Europe!
Most of the hall dates from the Tudor period - certainly the view from Fossgate is very evocative of the era of Henry VIII! But the interior contains rooms that are even older, including a grand central hall that is from the 1300s.
Merchant Adventurers' Hall was one of my favourite buildings in York. It's the largest timber framed building in the city, and unlike most of the remaining timbered framed buildings, it's not black and white but a lovely darkish yellow and black.
The Merchants Hall was needed as York was deemed to be the second most favourable location (after London) for trade and, in mediaeval times, that was with northern Europe, often via the Hanseatic League. York had its own Hanse and, with wool the driving force, the Flemish manufacturers of the finished product were encouraged to set up shop here.
It is, as Drake said, "a fine and spacious building" that "stands where the Ouse and Foss unite".
The third picture here is interesting. It is a plaque set outside in the small garden that indicates the trade routes that were used at the time and the date of the building (1357) though it has undergone changes since that time as you can clearly see in the other pics.
The timbered Great Hall was where merchants conducted their business and held their courts and social events. The Undercroft or hospital is where they cared for the poor. It's quite an interesting building and the floor is very wonky, pretty much all at an angle
The inscription over the door translates as "God grant us good fortune".
This beautiful timbered building is the finest medieval guild halls in Europe. It was built 1357-1361 and is the largest timber-framed building in the city of York. The gardens are a peaceful place to rest from the town too. Take a look at the little statutes in the niches of the wall around it.
This medieval guild hall was built in the 14th century and didn't change much since then. Merchants conducted their affairs in the timbered Great Hall and in the Undercroft people took care for the poor. You can see illustrated panels about guilds and trade, furniture, paintings, silver, weights and measures.