By Tara Copplestone (@gamingarchaeo)

The Heritage Jam team have been busy pulling together a once in a lifetime opportunity for those attending the in-person portion of the jam! We know that hostels can be expensive but also that sleep-overs and Grade 1 listed buildings are awesome, so we combined these latter two options to help you save on the first and ensure a truly memorable experience over the course of the jam. So without further ado we are proud to announce that this year our in-person jammers will have the opportunity to sleep-out in the King's Manor - a beautiful, quirky and historically rich building right in the centre of York.

The remainder of this blog-post will be a quick run-down of some of the amazing history you will be able to share a night with during your stay - to find out more about the technical details of the sleep-over please check out our FAQ and announcements page.

St Mary's Abbey Ruins - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Photo Commons.

St Mary's Abbey Ruins - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Photo Commons.

An Abbott's House and a Seat of Power:

The first phases of the building are associated with the stunning ruins of St Mary's Abbey which are located in the museum gardens to the rear of the site. During this phase an Abbot's House was located on the premises. During the Dissolution of the monasteries the house was retained by the Crown and was subsequently allocated to the council of the North and in 1561 the site officially became the residence of the President of the Council. The majority of the construction occurred during the reign of Elizabeth I, when the courtyards were substantially extended.

During the late 16th century the President of the Council of the North, the Earl of Huntingdon - Henry Hastings, carried out further extensive renovations - adding a residential wing and service buildings. Much of the stone work used in this set of renovations was re-claimed from the St Mary's Abbey. The room in which we will be staying for the sleep-over - The Huntingdom Room - is part of the Elizabethan extension, although it gathers its name from the Earl of this time and boasts a plaster frieze bearing the arms of Henry Hastings.

A Manor Fit For a King:

The Grand Entrance to the Manor - Photo Credit: York Conferences.

The Grand Entrance to the Manor - Photo Credit: York Conferences.

Perhaps the most famous use of the Manor was during the Stuart era - during which the Stuarts leveraged the prime location of the Manor as a stopping point on their travels between Edinburgh and London. Further extensions were developed over this time - a new U-shaped court-yard was added and the Council Chamber was updated.

The abolition of the Council in 1641 had knock on effects to the Manor - effectively stopping all in-progress and planned constructions, eventually leading to the Manor being divided into appartments and leased out in 1688. The use of the Manor as a seat of power and royal residence was over - and a new era was about to begin.

A School For the Blind:

Following a significant period of decline the Yorkshire School for the Blind took over the Manor, gradually renovating and restoring the buildings from the 1870s onwards. Further extensions during this time included the construction of a cloister - sectioning off an area which creates the second courtyard at the Manor - as well as the Principal's House, which sits to the right of the main entrance to the manor. The school vacated the premises in 1958 after which the Manor was acquired by the York City Council who maintained the property until its subsequent lease in 1963 to the University of York.

A Home for Archaeology:

View from the entrance games showing the Centre for Medieval Studies and the first block of tutorial rooms for the Department of Archaeology. 

View from the entrance games showing the Centre for Medieval Studies and the first block of tutorial rooms for the Department of Archaeology. 

When the University originally took over the Manor it was used to host the Institute for Advanced Architectural Studies. A series of restorations during this time replaced the old school-rooms to the rear of the building with a more modern tutorial block which is now home to the Department of Archaeology. The Manor also hosts the centre for Medieval Studies and the Archaeological Data Service - making it a foremost location for all things historic, archaeological and digital... perfect as a setting for the Heritage Jam!

The Manor is a much loved part of University life for the archaeologists who work, study and research here - at every turn there is a story to unfold, told through the quirky irregularities in courtyard sizes, the patchwork of re-used masonry and the impressive royal and government crests which adorn the site.

Your Home for the Jam:

We look forward to welcoming the in-person jammers to the Manor for what we promise will be an unforgettable night.

There are no longer any King sized beds in which you can stay here - so you best bring a sleeping roll and bag - but plumbing has improved considerably since the Elizabethan times, meaning we have a set of showers and bathrooms ready for use for the event. In the morning a host of top-notch cafes are right on the door-step and if you are in need of a breath of fresh-air the museum gardens, hosting the beautiful ruins of St Mary's Abbey are located just to the rear of the building.

So make sure you save the date - the 2015 Heritage Jam, and the incredible opportunity to sleep-over in this stunning building are not to be missed!

AuthorIan Kirkpatrick