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The Bar Convent

The Bar Convent  About The Bar Convent

The Bar Convent is home to members of the Congregation of Jesus Community.  The Sisters have been committed to the service of the City of York for over 300 years and are passionate about engaging with people to encourage spiritual growth, education and the provision of hospitality. 

The Bar Convent was founded in 1686 as a base for their mission and has left a rich and fascinating history of social change, perseverance and faith in action. It was established in 1686 by Frances Bedingfield, an early member of Mary Ward's Institute, in response to Sir Thomas Gascoigne's words, "We must have a school for our daughters”.

They initially set up a boarding school for Catholic girls, and this was followed in 1699 by a free day school.  In 1921 the day school and boarding schools merged, and later became the Bar Convent Grammar School. The community ran the school for 299 years, until in 1985 it was transferred to the Diocese of Middlesbrough to form part of the new comprehensive school system as All Saints Catholic School.

The original 17th century house purchased by Frances Bedingfield in 1686 was replaced by the fine 18th century Georgian buildings (Grade 1 listed).  The Entrance Hall was once an open court, surrounded by 18th century buildings.  GT Andrews (the architect for the ‘old' York railway station) was responsible for the mid 19th century addition of the glass roof over the central court. The Maw tiled floor was then added, with the Coalbrookdale iron furniture and plants which are so much a part of the Victorian character of the Entrance Hall.

The Bar Convent Trust was set up in 1986 to continue the long tradition of education and religion at the Bar Convent, while securing an appropriate future for the historic building.  It is committed to promoting the Bar’s unique spiritual, historical and educational heritage and as a place of welcome, hospitality and sanctuary to people of all faiths and none.

The Bar Convent – a place of welcome, hospitality and sanctuary…

The Bar Convent is currently open to the public as a museum, shop and café, and offers guest house accommodation, meeting & conference facilities.   Church, family and business groups appreciate its central location, conveniently positioned near the railway station and city centre and regularly use the modern meeting facilities for events and groups.  Other’s just love to visit for coffee and excellent cakes, or simply find a little sanctuary in our tranquil garden (at lunch times) during another busy day at the office. 

Our next project is to re-launch our museum as a modern, interactive visitor experience to preserve the Christian history of York.  The Bar Convent wants visitors to appreciate the stories of commitment and sacrifice of many faithful followers and to allow them to learn of the many projects that the Congregation of Jesus are currently progressing in a variety of different countries.  The Bar Convent seeks to inspire the next generation of history changers and to continue our commitment to educate and create further spiritual growth as widely as possible.

James Foster, General Manager, The Bar Convent

The Archbishop of York has been Patron of The Bar Convent since 2008.

Registered Charity No: 294320