Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Merchant Taylor's Hall, York

Lying next to the historic city walls, this Guildhall is one of seven guilds within the city that existed from the 13th century onwards. Only three now remain. Originally built by the Fraternity of St John the Baptist, it belongs to the Merchant Taylors, as in tailor, and would have been a meeting place for all men working with the cloth within the city.

I pointed out in my last blog some features which can show the chronology of a building......can you see any in the picture above?

The first reference to tailors within York are in the 1387 registers and ordinances. The Merchant Tailors played an important role within the city, both socially and economically and would have discussed everything from individual prices to city wide practices.

The whole building would have originally been timbered with plaster boards as you see on the end gable, but it was re-covered in brick in the 18th C either as a fashion statement or due to structural issues....or both!

The Great Hall, where all the main meetings would have taken place, is the largest room within the building and the earliest fabric dates to 1415.  It currently stands at 60ft in length and 30ft in width, with a 30 ft ceiling. This was to house the 130+ members that made up the guild at the time. 

 The Little Hall is a bit later and was first built in timber from 1446 - 1503.

In 1702, with the accession of Queen Anne to the throne, Henry Gyles (revivor of the art of glass painting) painted two stain glass windows that exist within the little hall.

The building is still used by the Taylors today, but can also be hired out for functions and weddings! It is a beautiful setting, set right in the centre of the city and would be an impressive place to hold business meetings, conferences, and of course to hold your special day.

Just incase you were interested, there are two other guildhalls located around the York: The Merchant Adventurers and The Guildhall.

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