In 1625 the Old Deanery was built on the site of part of the former monastery of St Wilfred, for use by the Canon-in-Residence.
The name “Deanery” probably only dates from the early 19th Century. The house was originally H-shaped, with two wings and a central hall extending to the ceilings of the bedrooms above it. The principal feature of the house is the fine 17th century oak staircase. Except for the two rooms in the 1799 range, all the ground floor rooms have 17th century moulded plaster cornices as have some of the first floor rooms.
The central portion was extended southwards in 1799. The ghost of Jenny Wanless supposedly haunted the Deanery and the church in times past and according to another a woman came down the stairs screaming, to be asked by staff, “Have you seen the Old Dean? He taps you on the shoulder and blesses you”
Some ‘ancient groining’ was revealed during the alterations of 1859 which added the bay windows to the front. In digging the foundations for the eastern of these windows three human skeletons were unearthed. This was the time when Lewis Carroll was visiting Ripon.
In later years the army used the building during the Second World War. In 1945 the building was converted to a restaurant. In April 1974, workmen discovered a door which had been invisibly encased in an outer wall of the building for an estimated 150 years. The door was still on its hinges and it was decided to use it as the main entrance to the restaurant, which it remained until 1990.
In more recent years, a full refurbishment of this grade two listed red star building and the interior was embarked upon in 2001 to provide the 10 bedroomed hotel and restaurant as seen today.
Linda Whitehouse took over the Old Deanery in 2008 and has been running it practically non-stop 24/7 since then!
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