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The largest wooden building in the UK still being used for its original purpose

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Great Hall
Guild Banners
In 1357, a group of traders joined together and formed a guild. They planned to meet up, conduct business, and take part in social occasions. Of course, to achieve all this, they needed somewhere to do it. So they set to work, and just a few years later, their new guildhall was finished. The traders moved in, and business soon began to flourish. The guild grew and grew, and in the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I granted them the title Company of Merchant Adventurers of York.

Close up of Merchant Hall
The guildhall, now known as the Merchant Adventurer's Hall, can still be seen here in York. It was built before most buildings of its type, but in the 640 years since, it has barely changed at all. Even more surprisingly, the guild still uses it! In fact, it's the largest wooden building in the UK being used for its original purpose.
The Merchant Adventurers may no longer trade, but they meet here regularly to discuss the building's upkeep. They are also heavily involved in the support of many charitable organisations. The guild hasn't forgotten about its roots either, because it continues to support new business enterprises through a competitive award programme.
The Merchant Adventurers also allow the general public inside their headquarters. Visitors can view the Great Hall, which was used for business, the Chapel, which was used for religious worship, and the Undercroft, which was used for charity. Over the years, the guild has taken immensely good care of their records and possessions, and so each section of the building is filled with interesting plaques, paintings and objects. They still have documents from as far back as the 1200s, as well as maps, plans, books, paintings, and furniture. The hall is also surrounded by a garden, which is always open to the public.
If you find yourself wishing you owned a building like this, you'll be pleased to hear that the Merchant Adventurers' Hall is available for private booking. It is often used for parties or banquets - but the Hall is also licensed for weddings!
Actually, it's no surprise that people want to tie the knot here. It's one of the best examples of medieval architecture in the country, and with good reason, it is a Grade I listed building. It looks like the Company of Merchant Adventurers of York will continue meeting here for many years to come.
Visitor Information
The Merchant Adventurers Hall is open Mon to Sat, 9am - 3.30pm (Jul to Sep, open till 5pm on Mon to Thu) and Sun 12noon - 4pm (closed Sun Oct to Mar). Entry costs around £3. Tel: 01904 654818

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