The Kings Manor is the city centre campus of the University of York. It now houses both the Archaeology Department, and the centres for Medieval and Eighteenth Century studies, but has been in use by historical families from the time of the Tudors.

The original Kings Manor stood in the grounds of the now ruined St Mary's Abbey and was the house of the Abbot, but after the dissolution of the monastries the manor was taken over by the Council for the North and King Henry VIII. During the rein of Queen Elizabeth I the manor was extended and had residential areas added under the supervision of the Earl of Huntingdon. Some of the stone from the old abbey was reused in the fabric of the manor at this time, and makes up most of the south-east wall in the second courtyard. One of the original rooms (now known as the Huntingdon Room), still contains a vast Tudor frieze in plaster showing the arms of the Earl.

In the reign of the Stuarts, the manor was used as a halfway house during trips to Edinburgh from London, and was again extended. The extension is now the modern Refectory, but more robbed stone from the abbey can be seen in its walls. It was the Council Chamber, but after the council collapsed in the 17th century the manor went into decline. The manor was divided into apartments and leased out.

In 1833, nearly two centuries after the end of royal patronage, the manor became home to the Yorkshire School for the Blind. This was a time of redevelopment and more building work which created the second courtyard. The manor continued to be occupied until 1958 until the School for the Blind left and it was bought by York City Council.

The University began to lease the manor in 1963, and around this time a brutal piece of redevelopment removed many of the service buildings and schoolrooms from the second courtyard. These rooms were replaced by a less than tasteful 1960s facade, completely out of keeping with the architecture of the manor, but totally in step with the architecture of the University campus proper!

Today parts of the Kings Manor are open to the public, including the Huntingdon Room and the Refectory, and it is bustling with students and bushy bearded* archaeologists.

* Not that all archaeologists have bushy beards, but it's a course requirement ;o)

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