Golden Fleece, York
This is one of the oldest coaching inns in york and is mentioned in 1503. Before 1557 it be;longed to the Merchant Adventurers whose ancient hall is behind the Inn and access can be found in both Piccadilly and Fossgate.
The adventurers were responsible for the woolen trade with York being the principle woolen centre outside the capital in medieval times.
The present sign appears on a half penny inscribed: “ye golden fleece 1668” and bearing the name Richard Booth.
The rear entrance to the Inn is from Lady Peckett’s yard. John Peckett, whose wife Alice gave her name to the yard, owned the Inn and in 1702 became Lord Mayor of York.
Lady Peckett is said to haunt the Fleece.
The yard became a coaching station for travel between York – Manchester – Liverpool. many couriers also worked form the fleece including William Dawson (York to Pontefract), William Haggard (York to Pocklington) and W. Watson (York to Wetherby).
The Landlady Elizabeth Triffit, advertising in 1836 in the Yorkshire man stated:
The fleeces excellent beds and sitting rooms and excellent stables and coach houses, thanked the great preference given to her public house by witnesses, jurymen and others having business at the assizes (Law Courts).
In the 19th Century the inn was usually called the ‘Fleece’ but in an 1852 map it shows it as the “Golden Hart”. The present owners of the Inn claim it has no foundations and that this accounts for the uneven floors. The whole building is wooden framed and originally had three gables into the street, shown in an 1827 drawing by George Nicholson.
There once was a wide entrance to the front – the original arch now surrounds the front door and window. The old entrance is recorded in a 1910 photo with the sign saying “Golden Fleece Hotel”. Next door is the picturesque Sir Thomas Herbeists house which he bought from the Adventurers in 1557. On the otherside was a banqueting hall where Charles II was entertained by Lord Mayor Roger Jacques in 1639.
During WWI the fleece seemed to have been a popular drinking place for the army. In 1915 the landlord was taken to court for allowing soldiers to drink outside the hours permitted by military orders. (Landlord Frederick D Jackson).
Being an ancient building which is mentioned in the York Archives as far back as 1503, the Golden Fleece stands directly opposite York’s most historic and picturesque street, the shambles.
The rear yard is named after Lady Alice Peckett whose husband, John, owned the premises as well as being Lord Mayor of York around 1702.
Many guests have reported seeing the late Lady Peckett wandering the endless corridors and staircases in the wee, small hours and, including ghostly apparitions and moving furniture, hers is just one of the five resident spirits.
First Broadcast: 19th April 2005