These are some of the lesser-known historic buildings in York that you can visit

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York is so full of history that it can be easy to miss buildings and monuments that would be the focal points of other towns and cities.

While visitors flock to York Minster, The Shambles, Clifford's Tower and other well-trodden tourist traps, there are numerous smaller historic sites that are off the beaten track and often overlooked.

St William's College

St William's College

Bedern Hall

York's large medieval guildhalls, such as Merchant Adventurers' Hall and Barley Hall, are open to the public and can even be hired as wedding and events venues.

Inside the historic Whitby pub where Captain Cook and Charles Dickens once drank
The Bedern Hall, tucked away behind the Minster, is lesser-known. The 14th-century dining hall near Goodramgate was built as a refectory for the vicars choral, who were based at the Minster.

It was used for this purpose until the 17th century, when the practice of vicars dining together died out. The hall, chapel and gatehouse are all that remain of the College of the Vicars Choral, which trained clergy who sang services in the Minster. There was once a bridge which linked the college with Minster Close.

Bedern Hall

Bedern Hall

The archways that once led to the buttery and pantry can still be seen inside the hall.

From 1650, parts of the hall became part of a private house, and St Peter's School moved in after their own buildings were damaged during the Civil War. At one point there were plans to establish a university on the site.

By the 1790s, the hall had been divided into overcrowded tenement dwellings, and Irish immigrants later moved in. By Victorian times it was a slum.

The site was later used as a bakery, joinery workshop, coach house and, from the 1950s, a pork butchers.

The bath-house remains inside The Roman Bath pub

The bath-house remains inside The Roman Bath pub

In 1971, the area was earmarked for redevelopment and many of the newer industrial buildings nearby were demolished. The hall and chapel were saved for their historic value.

A major restoration programme then began, and the hall's ownership was taken over by three of York's ancient guilds, who united as the Bedern Hall Company. It was licensed as a wedding venue in 2005 and regularly hosts events and meetings.

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Roman Bath pub

York has some staggeringly old public houses - but The Roman Baths might just contain the biggest surprise.

The Bar Convent

The Bar Convent

The John Smiths pub on St Sampson's Square was built in the 1920s on the site of an earlier inn. During construction, the remains of a Roman military bath-house were discovered.

The caldarium and some other features are still visible, and there are even markings made by different legions. Other parts of the baths are thought to be buried elsewhere in the area surrounding the pub, and have yet to be excavated. The remains of civilian bath-houses have been discovered elsewhere in York.

there's an entry fee of £3.50 to view the baths.

Bar Convent

The Bar Convent on Micklegate Bar is England's oldest surviving community of Catholic nuns, dating back to 1686. It was formed in secrecy due to persecution against Catholics at the time, and an alias had to be used to sign the land deeds. A school for Catholic girls was also set up.

The nuns faced hostility from the community, and were even attacked by a mob. By the 18th century, the convent began to expand, and a new house with an impressive Georgian facade was built in 1768, followed by a chapel. Laws forbidding Catholicism were later repealed, and the convent was able to become a licensed place of worship for the first time.

During World War Two, the convent was bombed, and five nuns died in air raids which also destroyed the East Wing. The school closed in 1985 but the sisters are still in residence.

Following major renovations in 2015, the building opened as a museum, and there is also a cafe, gift shop and bed and breakfast accommodation.

St William's College

Another remnant of the Minster complex when it was an educational hub, St William's was once a training school for priests. Located on College Street, the 15th-century building has distinctive timber frames. It's owned by the Minster, who run it as a function venue and exhibition hall.

The Archbishop of York wanted the building to be provided as accommodation for the 24 chantry priests, who were known for their drunken behaviour. It was used as their living quarters for around a century before being divided up into apartments for wealthy tenants.

At one point, it was home to the royal printing press, but it eventually fell into disrepair and became a slum. In the late 19th century Francis Green, who owned the nearby Treasurer's House, rescued it from ruin and sold it to the city council, who were able to restore it in 1902 and return it to the Minster's care.

It underwent further restoration in the 1980s, and visitors can tour the medieval halls, including Maclagan Hall, where the chantry priests gathered. There is also the House of Laymen, a meeting room used by laymen when the bishops were in assembly.

There is a restaurant and the building can be hired for weddings, conferences and events.

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Norman House

Although it's not intact, the ruins of the Norman House are the oldest substantial remains of a house in York that can still be seen. They can be found in a secluded courtyard off Stonegate, which the York Civic Trust restored in 1969. The walls themselves were not discovered until 1939.

The foundations, two walls and a window are still standing, but there would have originally been two storeys. It's thought it was built in 1180 as a dwelling for wealthy clergy, as building in stone was unusual at the time.

Archaeologists found a medieval toilet on the site - a rare discovery.

George Hudson's Shop

George Hudson was the railway king who, while a wealthy draper serving as Mayor of York, managed to convince George Stephenson to build a line from London to Newcastle through York in 1833.

He later became chairman of the York and North Midland Railway, which opened lines connecting the city to Whitby, Scarborough and Harrogate, as well as routes linking towns in East Yorkshire.

Hudson was eventually declared bankrupt when his dubious financial practices were revealed, and he was forced to flee to France to avoid arrest and trial. He returned to England to stand as a parliamentary candidate for Whitby, a town where he had business interests, in 1865, but was arrested before the election took place.

His debts were paid off by a wealthy coal baron, but were later reinstated after a legal appeal. His friends started a subscription fund to provide him with a regular income, and by 1870 he became a free man when imprisonment for debtors was abolished and the cases against him dropped. He died in 1871. Ironically, one of his three sons was killed after being hit by a train.

32 Goodramgate is the location of the draper's shop he ran after being taken on as an apprentice by his future father-in-law. Nicholson and Hudson grew to become the largest drapery business in York.

It's now a National Trust shop and can be visited by the public.

Other buildings associated with Hudson in York include 1 College Street, the site of the first draper's shop he worked at. When he married Nicholson's daughter Elizabeth they lived above the premises.

His main family home was at 44 Monkgate, which he inherited from an uncle. It is now called Hudson House and has been converted into flats.