Micklegate House

York Backpackers is not only ideally located with everything you would expect of a good hostel…. it offers you the opportunity to stay in a superb Georgian mansion with a stone-flagged entrance hall, grand sweeping staircase, original panelled rooms, vaulted cellars and a fabulous rococo ceiling featuring Shakespeare’s head.

Built in 1752 by John Carr for John Bourchier of Beningborough Hall, a direct descendant of Sir John Bourchier who signed King Charles’ 1 death warrant, Micklegate House is said to be one of the finest Georgian residences in York.

John and Mildred Bourchier, along with other members of the Gentry and Aristocracy, would come to York for entertainment, perhaps horse racing, the theatre or maybe a day in the Law Courts, which often resulted in a public hanging.

Micklegate House is built on the site of an earlier house and the cellar area is thought to be much older than the rest of the house – the oak beams in the Dungeon Bar are likely to be reclaimed ship’s timbers, and there is evidence of 16th or 17th century brickwork. What is now the bar would have once been the kitchen where servants prepared meals for the family and their guests before carrying them up the ‘servants’ staircase and through the ‘hidden’ doorway into the panelled dining room, which nowadays is in use as our Georgian Coffee Shop.

The sweeping staircase in the main hallway is a particularly striking feature with superb carved balusters and a magnificent plaster ceiling by the Italian artist Cortese, who produced the ceilings in Fairfax House, this being a short walk from the hostel and an extremely fine example of Georgian architecture, which is open to the public.

Micklegate House as it used to look
This painting by Mary Ellen Best (1809-1891) is believed to be Miss Crompton’s Drawing Room, (?) Micklegate House, York, late 1830s. The original is displayed in York City Art Gallery (R2394).