One of the best places in Yorkshire to spend any weekend…
Beautiful conditions for a walk at Fountains Abbey this weekend, so we have been on both Saturday and Sunday to make the most of this lovely weather and take some snaps along the way – I don’t think anyone has taken photo’s here before!
The National Trust are managing a national treasure here!
A lovely spot indeed, and what better way to get there than in a demonstrator Discovery from Land Rover Ripon – I really want one of these!
We walked our legs off around the deer park this weekend, taking in the beautiful scenery and amazing wildlife.
There is a lot to see for groups, with an activity centre, playground and picnic area, I can imagine returning in warmer weather to sit and watch the world go by.
A great place for a school trip I should think – if only I was 40 years younger!
After descending the hill to the west entrance, the magnificent Fountains Hall can be visited.
The house was built by Stephen Proctor between 1598 and 1604, partly with stone from the abbey ruins. It is an example of late Elizabethan architecture, perhaps influenced by the work of Robert Smythson. After Proctor’s death in 1619, Fountains Hall passed into the possession of the Messenger family, who sold it to William Aislabie of neighbouring Studley Royal 150 years later. Fountains Hall became redundant as the Aislabie family remained at Studley Royal. It was leased to tenants and at one time parts of it were used for farm storage.
The hall was renovated and modernised between 1928 and 1931, and the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) often stayed there as guests of Lady Doris Vyner, wife of the Marquess of Ripon and sister to the then-current Duke of Richmond and Gordon.
During the Second World War, Fountains Hall and other estate buildings were used to house evacuees. Studley Royal became the wartime home of Queen Ethelburga’s School from Harrogate and the school’s sanatorium was at Fountains Hall. The stable block and courtyard, was used for dormitories while one corner became the school chapel, at which Sunday Evensong was regularly said by the Archdeacon of Ripon. The hall has a balcony although it cannot be used because the staircase is considered unsafe for the public.
The Vyner Family
Vyner Memorial Window in staircase
The Vyners lost a son and a daughter in the Second World War; Charles was a Royal Naval Reserve pilot missing in action near Rangoon. Elizabeth was a member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service and died of lethargic encephalitis while on service in Felixstowe, Suffolk. There is a sculpture remembering them which can be seen as one comes out of the house down the stone steps.
Elizabeth Vyner WRNS – Died on Active Service June 3rd 1942 Aged 18 years. Also her brother Charles De Grey Vyner Sub Lieut (A) RNVR Reported missing from Air Operations Off Rangoon May 2nd 1945 Aged 19 Years.
Once you have mavigated the Hall, it’s time for a cuppa and a look around the Mill – this is where the monks milled their wheat and contains many working models and a waterwheel.
And then it’s time to walk around the Abbey, although you will not be alone if it’s a sunny day like today!
Fountains Abbey is one of the most photographed sites in England, for good reason.
The Water Garden at Studley Royal
The water garden at Studley Royal created by John Aislabie in 1718 is one of the best surviving examples of a Georgian water garden in England. It was expanded by his son, William who purchased the adjacent Fountains Estate. The garden’s elegant ornamental lakes, canals, temples and cascades provide a succession of dramatic eye-catching vistas. It is also studded with a number of follies including a neo-Gothic castle and a palladian style banqueting house.
St Marys church in the Studley Royal Estate
The Anglican church of St Mary’s was the religious masterpiece of architect William Burges.
The richly decorated Victorian Gothic church was commissioned in 1870 by the first Marquess and Marchioness of Ripon to commemorate the Marchioness’ brother who had been allegedly murdered in Greece.
St Mary’s Church was one of two, late Victorian, memorial churches in Yorkshire, built by the family of the First Marquess of Ripon in memory of Frederick Grantham Vyner. The other is the Church of Christ the Consoler at Skelton-on-Ure, and the architect of both wasWilliam Burges. Vyner was murdered by Greek bandits in 1870 and his mother, Lady Mary Vyner, and sister, Lady Ripon, used the unspent ransom, gathered to obtain his release, to build two churches in Vyner’s memory on their respective Yorkshire estates. Burges’ appointment as architect was most likely due to the connection between his greatest patron, John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute and Vyner, who had been friends at Oxford. St Mary’s, on Lady Ripon’s estate at Studley Royal, was commissioned in 1870 and work began in 1871. The church was consecrated in 1878. As at Skelton, Burges’ design demonstrates a move from his favoured Early-French, to an English style.Pevsner writes of “a Victorian shrine, a dream of Early English glory.” The interior is spectacular, exceeding Skelton in richness and majesty. The stained glass is of particularly high quality. St Mary’s is Burges’ “ecclesiastical masterpiece.”
So what is stopping you? I can’t recommend Fountains Abbey enough, have a look at the National Trust website and make some time to get there this year, I will finish with some more photos and I look forward to snapping more deer and the open spaces for my next visit to Studley Royal.
OK, I could not resist including some of my photos from a visit earlier in Autumn 2014, and Boxing Day also…thanks for reading and let me have your comments.