Barley Hall - History and Facts | History Hit

Barley Hall

York, England, United Kingdom

Barley Hall is a medieval town house in the middle of York, reflecting the lives of a wealthy family at the end of the 15th century.

Lily Johnson

15 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Barley Hall

Barley Hall is a medieval town house preserved in the centre of York that explores the history of the 15th century Snawsell family who once lived there, alongside the city’s wider medieval past.

Barley Hall history

Barley Hall was built in 1360 for the use of the monks of Nostell Priory near Wakefield, for use when in York on business. It was extended by a wing which was added around 1430, and from the middle of the 1460s to the middle of the 1480s, it was occupied by Master William Snawsell, Lord Mayor of York. Born around 1415, Snawsell’s life is well documented in the archives of York Minster.

Having followed his father in the profession of goldsmith, William station was improved via his advantageous marriage to Joan Threng, from a noble family with firm connections in Sheriff Hutton, close to the castle of one of the most influential families in the country – the Nevilles.

Sheriff Hutton was also the childhood home of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, more infamously known as Richard III, and like most of the leading men of York, Snawsell supported him when he was proclaimed King in 1483. Following Richard’s death at the Battle of Bosworth however, Snawsell went on to faithfully serve Henry VII until he resigned as Alderman in 1492.

Barley Hall today

Today Barley Hall is managed by the York Archaeological Trust and welcomes visitors to view its beautifully reconstructed interiors, intended to look as it did when occupied by the Snawsell family.

Though only about 30% of the original wood was able to be salvaged, careful restoration using original methods of construction was undertaken, giving a real and authentic insight to how the wealthy lived in the last part of the 15th century lived.

Hidden slightly off the usual tourist route down one of York’s charming ‘snickleways’, Barley Hall is a hidden gem amongst the city’s more popular attractions. A number of rooms such as the Great Hall, parlour, pantry and various bedchambers are available to explore, with fascinating displays and exhibitions in each.

Getting to Barley Hall

Barley Hall is located in the centre of York, down a short passageway called Coffee Yard just off Stonegate. The nearest carpark is Marygate, a 10-minute walk away, while York also operates a free Park and Ride service into the centre. The nearest bus stop is on Museum Street, a 5-minute walk away, while York Station is just a 15-minute walk.