Friday, August 18, 2006

Church Commissioners submit plans to refurbish Bishopthorpe-Residence of The Archbishop of York

16 August 2006

The Church Commissioners have submitted plans to York City Council for the refurbishment of Bishopthorpe Palace, the historic base for the Archbishop of York’s ministry since the 13th Century.

The extensive work includes refurbishing existing living and office accommodation, and ensuring the Grade I listed building meets current disability access, and health and safety regulations.

Andrew Brown, Secretary to the Church Commissioners, explained: “Our plans are aimed at providing a modern and appropriate base for the ministry of the current Archbishop and his successors.

“No major work has been carried out at Bishopthorpe for 30 years. The accommodation for the Archbishop needs to be reordered to provide privacy for him and his family, and it is intended to bring back into productive use areas of the building that have been previously disused.”

English Heritage has been consulted on the scheme. Listed building consent and planning permission are now being sought from York City Council for the works, to include:

* A self-contained flat for the Archbishop and his family
* New office accommodation and infrastructure within the existing building
* The renewal of defective parts of the internal structure
* Installation of a lift for disabled access; new toilets
* Improvement of fire protection, security and fire escape systems
* Upgrading of electrical systems and renewal of water main
* Improvement of public spaces
* A low-energy heating system
* Removal of asbestos and a defunct oil heating system
* Relocation of incoming water and energy services away from flood-threatened areas

Policy and decisions concerning bishops’ houses are made by the Church Commissioners. Expenditure is from the Church Commissioners’ own funds, to which parishes make no contribution.

The Archbishop will live in temporary accommodation until the works, which will take around 18 months, have been completed. The project will be put out to tender subject to consents and planning permission.


The Church Commissioners manage the Church of England’s historic assets, today invested in stock market shares and property, to produce money to support the Church’s ministry, including supporting the ministry of Archbishops and bishops and providing their office and living accommodation.

Bishopthorpe Palace is the official home of the Archbishop of York, situated on the River Ouse, south of York. Bishopthorpe has been the official residence of the Archbishops of York since the 13th century when Archbishop Grey erected the original house in 1226 and then the chapel in 1241. Over the years, a number of restoration and remodelling projects have taken place – the most extensive being carried out by Archbishop Drummond (1761 – 1777) who transformed the original building to its present appearance. The Palace is a Grade I listed building.

More recently, in the last 40 years, the main roofs have been repaired and remodelled. Empty rooms over the State Apartments and chapel were converted into office accommodation for the Archbishop and his staff.


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