The origins of St William’s College date back to
the 15th century. King Henry VI first licensed a proposed college in
1457, interrupted by politics and battles of the Roses a community of 23 fellows
was established under a renewed license granted by King Edward 1V in 1461 and
building commenced in 1465. St William, William Fitzherbert, is York’s native
saint and great grandson of William the Conqueror. Over the centuries the
building has been an ecclesiastical lodging, a private house – including a
period in the ownership of the Earls of Carlisle, the celebrated builders of
Castle Howard – and letting rooms, undergoing several developments and rebuilds.
In 1902 the College returned to the York Diocesan Trust undergoing major
restoration and conversion resulting in today’s layout, held in trust under the
Dean and Chapter of York. The college’s rooms provide a unique setting in York
for conferences, meetings, weddings and celebrations.