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One of York's oldest and most well-known Tudor buildings

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Timber-framed Tudor Design
Residence of Lord Mayors
Visited by King Charles I
Herbert House is one of York's oldest and most well-known Tudor buildings. The first historical records of its existence come from 1557, when it was bought by Christopher Herbert for 54 pounds, 10 shillings, and 8 pennies. At the time, Herbert was an extremely important man in the city - in fact he had recently been the mayor! In addition, he governed the Merchant Adventurer's Guild for 3 years. But despite this, the sum of nearly 55 pounds was just too much for him to cough up all at once, and so it was paid in installments, over 36 months.

The front of Herbert House
In the past, the building actually used to be three separate houses. Of these, only the first can be seen from the street. To find the others, you must head into Lady Peckitt's Yard, a tiny alleyway with an entrance directly next to the house. These buildings are just as old, and were used by similarly important people, including another previous Lord Mayor of York called John Peckitt, who gave the alley his name.
The three residences were soon joined together, and Herbert House continued to be used by the cream of York society and business. Perhaps its most famous inhabitant was actually born inside the building itself. This was Sir Thomas Herbert, a 17th century traveller and adventurer, who managed to get all the way to Persia, while still in his twenties! Later in life, he became a personal attendant to King Charles I. Some historical accounts describe Herbert as being so incredibly loyal to the British monarch, that he would burst into tears whenever the King got even slightly upset. A plaque, recording Sir Thomas' birth, was affixed to the outside of the building in 1925.
Thanks to this connection with royalty, rumour has it that Charles himself dined at Herbert House on several occasions, during official visits to the city.
But despite the importance of the property, by the 20th century it had fallen into terrible disrepair. An architect was hired to supervise the restoration work, and he described the house as dejected and shabby. As it turned out, though, the main damage had been to the external plasterwork. When this was removed, the timbers beneath were found to be in surprisingly good condition.
As restoration continued, the workers made several other unexpected discoveries. Several of the beams were decorated with images of flowers, and one of the larger timbers featured a striking painting of pomegranates and grapes. Similar designs were found around the impressive oak fireplace.
All these details give a good impression of just how impressive and extravagant the house must have been. And thanks to a skilful restoration project, we can still enjoy its striking features, nearly half a millenium later.
Visitor Information
The shop is open daily during normal shopping hours. Entry is FREE.

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