History of St. Sampson’s

St. Sampson’s Centre for the over 60’s was opened in 1974 by the Queen Mother. The church building has a rich history dating back Century’s.

St. Sampson’s is an ancient church in the heart of York City Centre. We don’t know exactly when it was built, record show that it was in use in 1154 A.D. It is built on the South-east wall of the Roman defences of Eboracum.

The Church has been rebuilt many times over it’s 850 year history.
Records show how the North and South Isles were rebuidt in 1400 and 1445 respectively. The tower was first rebuilt in 1485.

The tower was damaged by gunshot in the civil war in 1644. By 1844 the church building was so dilapidated that the church was forced to close. Only half the tower was intact! The church was most recently rebuilt in 1848 and later the upper stage of the tower was added in 1907.

Time for change.

In the early 1960s the church congregation of St. Sampson’s had dwindled to just a handful of pople. The decision was made to close the church in 1968.

For six years the church stood empty and unused, before York Civic Trust was able to arrange for its conversion in to an Old People’s Centre.

St. Sampson’s Church, after a period of decay and neglect , once again was given a new lease of life – serving a new community of people.

A Royal Opening

On 13th November 1974, Her majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother officially opened St. Sampson’s Centre for Old People.

The Centre quickly became very popular, welcoming up to 1500 people daily to the centre for social activities, events and refreshments.

Adding the Annexe

So popular was the centre, that in 1984, 10 years after it’s opening, the adjoining parish hall was acquired.

The Annexe Hall of St. Sampson’s was opened by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Kent. 

Additionally the church yard was levelled and made in to a courtyard garden.