Our History
Grays Court is a family-owned boutique hotel and historic heritage property in York's city centre that boasts over 900 years of colourful history.

Grays Court York is possibly the oldest continuously occupied house in the United Kingdom. Dating back in part to 1080 and commissioned by the first Norman Archbishop of York to provide the official residence for the Treasurers of York Minster, the house has an unrivalled history.

The house was surrendered to the Crown on 26 May 1547 and the last of the mediaeval Treasurers, William Clyff, resigned. The first post-Reformation owner was Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset. He was given the house in 1547 by King Edward VI, the son of King Henry VIII.

In 2005 the Dean & Chapter of York Minster decided to sell Grays Court. The building had become somewhat neglected and had an institutional feel. John & Helen immediately recognised the potential to breathe new life into the house as an exclusive retreat for discerning visitors.

The Sterne Room was built above the original Medieval Magnesian Limestone wall (which can still be seen) by Jaques Sterne, Precentor and Canon Residentiary of the Minster and uncle of Laurence Sterne, author of First Tristram Shandy, when he owned the house. The marble plaque on the fireplace is of Augusta, wife of Frederick Prince of Wales, and mother of George III.

The 300m stretch of City Walls which bounds Grays Court was donated to the City in 1878 by Edwin Gray the Lord Mayor of York. This is why Grays Court retains the only private access to York’s City walls.

Nestled in the shadow of York Minster and the City Walls, Grays court is now a true one-off - a country house in the heart of the city - just waiting to be discovered. Along with our charming bedrooms, we offer fine food, exquisite gardens and the warmest welcome to everyone.