Bar Convent Museum, York
Established in 1686, The Bar Convent is the oldest living convent in England...
Bar Convent Museum
17-19 Blossom St
Welcome to the Bar Convent in York...
The community at the Bar Convent belong to the Congregation of Jesus which was founded by the Yorkshire woman, Mary Ward (1585-1645).
Mary Ward was a pioneer of education for women who fought life long, for the right of religious sisters to pursue a variety of ministries outside the convent walls. Mary Ward's order has two branches, known today as the Congregation of Jesus and the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Bar Convent was established in 1686 by Frances Bedingfield, an early member of Mary Ward's Institute, in response to Sir Thomas Gascoigne's words,
The Bar Convent is the oldest living convent in England. It was established as a school for Catholic girls in 1686 on the current site and the surviving Grade 1 listed Georgian building, which dates back to the 1760's, now offers a variety of award winning facilities for historians, the general public and businesses alike.
The present buildings include what was once an open courtyard but which is now a splendid Victorian tiled Entrance Hall. There is also the Great Parlour, with its portraits of the early sisters, the library of antique books, the richly endowed archive rooms and finally, the stunningly beautiful neo-classical chapel, completed in secret in 1769 by the York architect Thomas Atkinson before the repeal of the Penal Laws for Catholic Chapels in 1791. The chapel is open to visitors throughout the day and serious research students may apply for access to view the extensive Library.
In addition to the general architectural and historical interest of the site, the convent has a fascinating museum bringing to life the history of the Bar Convent and religion in the North of England.
This elegant Georgian backdrop, so close to the historic centre of York, also provides a marvellous setting and ambience in which to browse leisurely in our gift shop or enjoy a tasty breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea.
Our cafe is well known locally for its relaxing atmosphere, beautiful surroundings, secluded garden and of course, it's delicious food.
For those inclined to stay a little longer we offer comfortable Bed and Breakfast accommodation , with some en-suite and self catering facilities, and the Convent is also a perfect venue for meetings and events, dinners, arts and crafts shows, fashion shows and concerts. We also host our own program of events throughout the year. .
The Bar Convent Trust is a Registered Charity (No 294320), which was established in 1986 to continue the long tradition of the advancement of education and religion at the Bar Convent, while securing an appropriate future for the historic building. Bar Convent Enterprises Ltd is a trading subsidiary of the Bar Convent Trust which assists the charity in its objectives.
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