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The King's Manor, now incorporated into the University of York, was built in 1483-1502 as the abbot's house of the Benedictine abbey of St Mary. The abbey was dissolved in 1539 by Henry VIII and the abbot's house was established as the northern headquarters for the King's Council. When Henry VIII visited York with Queen Catherine Howard in 1541 the building was altered extensively in preparation for their arrival. In the mean time however, the abbey church was gradually being dismantled and by 1550 many of the buildings had been taken down or fallen into disrepair. Between 1568 and 1570, Thomas Radcliffe, President of the Council of the North, ordered extensive alterations and by 1570 the house was described as a U-shaped building. It was altered even further over the next fifty years and in 1641 the Council of the North was abolished. From 1667 the manor was the residence of the governor of the City of York and in 1688, when Parliament took possession of the house, it was leased to Alderman Robert Waller and divided up into dwellings, workshops and warehouses. In 1723, when Waller's lease expired, it was leased to Sir Thomas Robinson of Newby, in whose family it remained until the early 19th century. The Yorkshire School for the Blind occupied many of the buildings between 1835 and 1958 after which time they were acquired by the York City Council and leased to the University of York in 1963. Today the King's Manor accommodates the university's Department for Archaeology, Centre for Conservation, Centre for Eighteenth-Century studies and the Centre for Medieval Studies.

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