Treasurer’s House

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Things to do


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April, 2015

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Tucked away behind the cathedral, this was where the Cathedral Treasurer had his house. This was a very important position, second only to the Dean. As well as controlling the cathedral finances, the Treasurer was expected to entertain important guests. After the Reformation, this post was abolished and the name is all that survives. Nothing is left of the original building. The present building with its Dutch gables and central hall is C17th. The best view is from the walled garden.

The gardens are free to enter on days when the house is open. The central grass area is surrounded by herbaceous borders with white tulips and narcissus in flower when we visited. There are plenty of seats and this is a lovely place to sit away from the bustle of tourist York.

By the end of the C19th, the house had passed through several owners and was divided up into separate properties in, what is described in the guide book, as a ’state of decayed gentility’.

In 1897, one of these properties was acquired by Frank Green who rapidly bought another three. Frank Green was the grandson of a very wealthy Yorkshire Industrialist. The Green family wanted to improve their social standing and had estates in Yorkshire and Norfolk and the pursuit of a sporting life gave then entry into the social elite.

Frank Green was in this early thirties and chairman of the family business. He was an eccentric bachelor with a passion for travel and collecting furniture and paintings. He wanted somewhere to display his collection. He began to restore the house, designing each room to fit round the furniture of a different period. Everything was carefully positioned, and small studs in the floor indicated the exact place for each piece of furniture.

He was a bit of a dandy and was always impeccably dressed sporting a floppy bow tie and brightly coloured waistcoats. He was very fussy and insistent that servants got things right. In the basement there is a notice for workmen in the house. “All workmen are requested to wear slippers when working in this House. By order Frank Green”.

He would check up on the cleanliness and tidiness of his staff. At night he would inspect the kitchen, and turn out drawers he thought untidy. He told staff to wrap all the pieces of coal in the house individually in newspaper, as he could not stand the sound of them rattling.

He used Temple Smith to restore the house which was described as a “bug ridden slum’ back to its C17th shape and dimensions. Sash windows were removed and replaced by mullion and transom windows. He created a great hall in the central block as he believed the house would originally have had one, creating a huge open space. Work was completed just in time to host a royal visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales and their daughter in 1900. Frank Green and the Treasurer’s House were part of the social whirl of the day.

He gave the house to the National Trust in 1930 and it is still very much as he left it. The eccentric character of Frank Green can still be seen and felt today.


There is a drop off point with blue badge parking on Goodramgate, a short walk away. There is level access to the gardens through the gate opposite the Minster.

There are two steps into the house although there are ramps available. There is level access to most of the rooms on the ground floor, but not the dining room. The first floor rooms can only reached by staircases.

There are steps down to the shop, tea room and toilets.

There are separate reviews covering the inside of the house.


There are more pictures “here.”:


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