Judges' Lodgings, York
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The Judges' Lodgings is a Grade I listed townhouse, at grid reference SE601519 at 9 Lendal, in York, North Yorkshire. It is so named because from 1806 it provided accommodation for judges visiting York to sit in the Assize Courts.
In 1736, local surgeon and historian Francis Drake (antiquary) recorded the recent building of a house for Clifton Wintringham (senior) in Lendal, which he described as one of the ‘best built houses in the city’. Drake recalled that when the foundations were dug ‘several cart loads of human bones were thrown up’.
The building was erected between 1711 and 1726 on land that formerly belonged to St Wilfred's Church (which was demolished between 1550 and 1587). It is rumoured that the kitchen floor and the oven shelves of the original house were made up from ancient tombstones - it is said that freshly baked bread would often come out of the oven with inscriptions such as ‘Rest in Peace’!
John Cossins included an image of the house on his New and Exact Plan of the City of York (1727), as one of the smart new town houses recently built in the city. The house is a very early example of the classical style which was to become popular throughout the eighteenth century. Festoons of fruit emphasise the unusual stone door surround, which is framed by a Venetian style arch. The keystone of the arch is carved with a bearded mask representing Aesculapius, the Greek demi-god of medicine.
The architect is unknown, but may have been Lord Burlington, who designed and built the Assembly Rooms in 1730 and possibly the Mansion House between 1725 and 1730, both close to the Judges' Lodgings.
The wing to the South-East of the building was built in three stages. In the 18th century, the first two storeys were constructed, in 1806 a further extension was erected and in the mid-19th century, a third storey was added. The outside front stairs are 19th-century, originally there was only a single flight to the front door. The fireplaces in the dining room, breakfast room and office are all 19th-century. The main internal staircase is Georgian and is made from oak, as are the doors and treads. In the dining room, hidden behind a secret panel, concealed by a window shutter, is a chamber pot, which was for the use of the Judges and other gentlemen diners.
During excavations in the early 1980s, a 3 metre by 2 metre area of floor in a mid-18th-century cellar beneath the house was removed. Measurements had shown that the area lay within the rear chamber of the late Roman interval tower, one of six along the south-west façade of the Roman fortress. Excavations revealed that the cellar builders had dug out any remaining late Roman levels, although part of an early Roman building was found represented entirely by its foundations of cobbles and clay, lying on a similar alignment to the fortress itself.
It was built as the private residence for one Dr. Clifton Wintringham (1689-1747/8), a medical practitioner who was appointed Physician at York County Hospital in March 1745/6 and educated at Jesus College, Cambridge.
Winteringham was a governor of the York County Hospital and attended the Earl of Carlisle at nearby Castle Howard. He authored several books and practised in York for over 35 years, was the author of a number of books and attended the Earl of Carlisle at nearby Castle Howard. He was married twice: by his first wife Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Nettleton of Earls Heath, Yorkshire, he had a son, Clifton Wintringham (1720–1794) who himself had a distinguished medical career, becoming joint military physician to the forces in 1756, Physician general to the forces in 1786 and Physician to George III in 1792. It was in February of that year Clifton Wintringham was knighted. There is now a monument in his memory at Westminster Abbey in London.
On the main door of the building is the Greek god of healing, Aesculapius, representing the Wintringham family’s dedication to human health. Dr Wintringham is buried in St. Michael-le-Belfrey Church, opposite York Minster. After his death, the building was bought by Dr. John Dealtry to whom an elegant monument was erected in York Minster.
In 1806 the building was bought out of county rates for use as the Judges' residence, when they attended the quarterly sessions at the Assize Courts at York Castle. These were criminal courts held for the most serious crimes in the country. The judges were of the Kings Bench Division of the High Court of Justice. It was given five commissioners, picked from Justices of the Peace for the Three Ridings. A Mr and Mrs Kilvington were appointed to keep house, for which they received a salary from the county. The rooms on the top floor of this building were allocated to the Judge's own staff and the rooms in the wing were kept for resident housekeepers.
The Judges' Lodgings now serve as a hotel and bar.