“Des Res” with skellie

Home that really could have skeleton in the closet

FEW things are more highly prized among house buyers than original features in period properties. But a customer in York will acquire one historic feature which may test the nerve of future occupants – a Roman burial chamber complete with its own skeleton.

The chamber forms part of the basement of a Georgian property built centuries later at The Mount in York city centre.

Although it has been most recently been used as offices, it now has planning permission to be converted into two homes.

The skeleton is visible and has been entombed in an archway which forms part of the chamber, currently used as a store room, and is described by the current owner as his “Roman princess”.

Estate agents have dismissed any ghoulish overtones and Ben Pridden, manager of Savills York, said: “It’s in its own room really, so you’re not aware it’s there at all and imagine the fun to be had at a Hallowe’en party – taking your guests down to the basement to see a real skeleton.

“I don’t think it will deter buyers.

“The property is fabulous and has enormous potential to create a great home.”

Anyone who regards the building as a potential des res but is squeamish about it’s sitting tenant may struggle to get the remains removed, however, because the property is Grade II Listed which means permission is needed for any significant changes.

If consent was obtained, it would probably mean extensive archaeology costs which might also make the task prohibitively expensive.

However, it is possible a future owner might be able to block off the visible area of the burial chamber.

The property has Permission to be converted into a five-bedroom house, with a separate two-storey building which could be redeveloped as a three-bedroomed cottage, with access from Holgate Road.

Aside from the skeleton, the property has many other impressive features, according to the agents, including a wealth of period features which have survived its use as offices, along with a location described as one of the “most desirable” in the city.

I’ve just downloaded the brochure and the burial chamber is mentioned. The Mount was part of a Roman burial ground featuring some of the richest and some of the most intriguing burials.

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3 comments on ““Des Res” with skellie

  1. Brett Holman says:

    When I was in York last year, I stayed on the Mount — must have walked past this site at least twice a day. In fact, judging from this, the Roman cemetery you mention must have been all around (and under) the hotel I was staying in. Very cool!

  2. saesferd says:

    I’ve been to York a number of times, and must have stayed close to the site quite a lot. The thing about York is that it is such an old city that you must be walking on archaeology everywhere you go! Did you visit York Minster undercroft and walk on the Roman Road there ? That gives you an insight into how deep the Roman layers are.

  3. Brett Holman says:

    Yes, I did go down to the undercroft. I love the fact that the York Minster site has been continuously occupied since at least the 7th century and probably longer — it spins me out! Wish I was back over there …

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