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A Formidable Foe


Flooding is a centuries old problem in York. The earliest documented flood was in 1263, whilst the floods of 1315 surrounded the Castle and washed away part of the earthworks. In the Tudor period, the frozen River Ouse suddenly thawed creating a flood which washed away Ouse Bridge causing houses to plummet into the swollen river below, killing 12 people.


A novel way to get around in flooded York. A lorry with an unusual load making its way down a flooded Melrosegate in 1947.

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The view most familiar when people think of York and flooding; King’s Staith and the King’s Arms pub under water in 2021.

Until the 1980’s the River Ouse when high, would backfill into the smaller River Foss and on occasions would flood the properties along its banks, including the Hall.


Fossgate and the entrance to the Hall under water during the Christmas floods of 2015.


The Hall and garden under water on 27th December 2015. The flood reached its highest recorded level inside the building at 3 and a half feet (1.09m)

A van and other vehicles can be seen caught up in the flood waters on Melrosegate in the City, in 1933.

Flooding has affected the Hall on several occasions; the latest in 2015. Due to high rainfall, already swollen rivers and mechanical difficulties with the barrier and pumps, the Hall was once again flooded. This time to its highest recorded level.


Flood water came pouring through the floor and the walls of the Chapel on Boxing Day evening in 2015. Tables set up for a wedding floated from the Undercroft through into the Chapel.


The Hall and garden once again under water, this time an earlier flood in 1982. This flood led to the development and installation of the Foss Barrier. The barrier prevents the Ouse from backfilling into the Foss, whilst the pumps move water from the Foss into the Ouse.

Over the centuries the floor of the Undercroft has been raised to alleviate the effects of flooding and if you look closely at the oak posts, faint water level marks are still visible.

Image Credits 1947 Flood – Lorry on Melrosegate: The York Press

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