Treasurer's House

The main entrance to Treasurer's House.

1562AD - 1930AD

The name ‘Treasurer’s House’ relates to the building that first stood on this site which was built for the medieval Treasurers of York Minster. The first Treasurer was appointed in 1091 AD. The Treasurer controlled the finances of the Minster but also entertained important guests, which is why he was provided with a grand residence. All that remains of the original Treasurer’s House is an external wall from the 12th century.

The Reformation of the English Church in the 1540s brought an end to the job of Treasurer and the house passed into the hands of the Archbishops of York. Thomas Young, Archbishop between 1562 and 1568, and his descendants are responsible for the structure of Treasurer’s House as it is today. The symmetrical front was part of changes made by the Young family in the early 17th century which involved almost entirely rebuilding the house. Treasurer’s House played host to royalty when Sir George Young entertained King James I in 1617.

During the 18th century Treasurer’s House became the town residence of gentry families, lawyers and clergy. The greatest changes made during this period were the division of the building into several residences and the various extensions made. By the end of the 19th century, the house was very decayed and poorly cared for. However, just at the turn of the century Frank Green came to the rescue.

Frank Green was a wealthy collector, and owned Treasurer’s House between 1897 and 1930. He demolished the additions made to the building in the 19th century and restored the house to what he thought was its original shape. He turned Treasurer’s House into a stage for his collection, designing rooms of different periods to display his antique furniture. It was at this time that Treasurer’s House received a second royal visit, in June 1900. Edward VII and Queen Alexandra visited as Prince and Princess of Wales along with their daughter Victoria. It was in their honour that the King’s Room, Queen’s Room and Princess Victoria’s Room were so named.

Frank Green was a very precise man, in both his own appearance and the way he ran his home. He was a bit of a ‘dandy’, neatly dressed and often seen wearing a floppy silk bow tie. He had studs fixed to the floor in the rooms of Treasurer’s House so the house maids knew exactly where furniture should stand. Frank was also careful about the state of his house; signs can be seen at Treasurer’s House with careful instructions to the staff. A former kitchen maid told how Frank would inspect the kitchen, turning out any drawers he thought were untidy. Frank Green retired to Somerset in 1930 and gave Treasurer’s House to the National Trust, complete with his vast collection. It was the first historic house acquired by the Trust with its contents complete.


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