From priest’s home to pub to parish room: intriguing York building opens its doors

Played many roles in city life: Jacob's Well on Trinity Lane
20 Jan 2014 @ 9.15 am
| Entertainment, History
Played many roles in city life: Jacob's Well on Trinity Lane
Played many roles in city life: Jacob’s Well on Trinity Lane

Residents will have an opportunity to visit one of the most intriguing buildings in York next Saturday (January 25). Jacob’s Well is the little timber-framed house in Trinity Lane, next to Holy Trinity Church, which you catch a glimpse of as you walk down Micklegate, past the end of lane.

The little house has belonged to Holy Trinity since it was built in the 1470s with an endowment from by a parishioner, Alderman Thomas Nelson, to provide a dwelling for a priest to say masses for his soul in Holy Trinity Priory.

When the Priory was closed down by Henry VIII, the house was sold to Isabel Ward, the last Prioress of Clementhorpe Nunnery, whose brother had been a monk in the Priory.

Shortly before her death, Isabel gifted the building back to Holy Trinity Church to provide a charity for the parish on condition she could live in it until her death on payment of an annual rent of one red rose, payable on Midsummers Day.

During its long ownership of by the church, Jacob’s Well has been rectory to the church, home to a succession of tenants including a coach-maker whose premises were on the opposite side of the road, and it became an inn sometime in the Georgian period.

At the beginning of the last century, following a major programme of restoration, it was taken back into use by the church, and since then has acted as the parish room.

Jacob’s Well will be open to visitors as part of the York Residents’ Festival, on Saturday, January 25, from 10am to 4pm.

Don’t miss this chance to take a close look at this very accessible little building in the medieval city.