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News release - Issued by JORVIK Group

The Sweet Smell of Relaxation – Medieval Style...

York’s hidden medieval gem, Barley Hall, has become a tranquil oasis of calm this summer, allowing visitors to escape the hurly-burly of modern life by exploring the calming qualities of lavender which has been liberally infused in decorations across the 14th century townhouse.

The restorative and relaxing properties of Lavender, that beautiful and fragrant blue flower that can be found growing and thriving across much of North and East Yorkshire, has been known for centuries and now York’s own restored medieval townhouse, Barley Hall is celebrating this ubiquitous flora with a series of special floral decorations across the Hall.

“The soothing properties of lavender would have been known to monastic healers and wise women alike in the medieval period, with the flower cultivated in monastic herb gardens and contemporary accounts of healing practices listing lavender as good for soothing headaches and calming nerves. So what could be a better aroma for our visitors to be greeted with as they step back to medieval York and away from the stresses of modern life?”

Comments Paul Ruxton, Visitor Services & Experience Manager for Barley Hall.

Indeed, it is this soothing scent that will be found in every room of the 14th century townhouse, with floral pieces adoring the Great Hall, the Parlour and even the servant quarters of Barley Hall. These installations have been devised and installed by the team at Barley Hall, with Mr Ruxton leading on the creative floristry.

However, it’s not just the Hall itself that has been transformed; Barley Hall’s retail space has been re-christened the ‘Courtyard Gift Shop’ thanks to its location in Coffee Yard, a secluded courtyard right in the heart of York, off busy Stonegate, and is stocked with a new range of lavender-inspired products inspired by the knowledge of the Middle Ages.

“Lavender's strong aroma made it a good choice for scenting soaps or washed linens and there is also some evidence that lavender would be placed in mattresses to aid sleep and folded away with winter woollens to prevent moths. Many of these practices are still used today and we are excited to be offering these goods to our visitors. From a range of beauty products including scented bath crème, soothing muscle rubs and a moisturising hand cream to infused shortbread biscuits. We even offer special lavender seed gift packs so you can grow your own relaxing medieval experience at home, making sure that visitors can continue to relax and unwind with lavender when they leave Barley Hall.” Continued Paul.

Barley Hall’s Celebration of Lavender is running throughout the summer and included in normal admission prices for the medieval visitor attraction; £6 for adults, £4.50 for concessions and £3 for children. The Courtyard Gift Shop is open daily 10am to 5pm. For more information please visit or call 01904 615505.


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About Barley Hall

Barley Hall is a stunning medieval house, once home to the Priors of Nostell and a Lord Mayor of York.

Until the 1980s the building was hidden under the relatively modern facade of a derelict office block. Only when it was going to be destroyed was the amazing medieval structure discovered and its rich history uncovered.

Owned and operated by York Archaeological Trust, a registered Charity in England & Wales (No. 509060) and Scotland (SCO42846) and part of The JORVIK Group of Attractions, which includes the world-famous JORVIK Viking Centre.

Discover more about Barley Hall at

Media Contact

Paul Whiting
Marketing Manager
01904 543433 / 07432 694176