Saint Mary's Church Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire

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**Just before the bus from York reaches Ripon it takes you past an incongruously large rural church. A little research proves it to be the Church of Christ the Consoler at Skelton-cum-Newby and there is a remarkable story behind it.

The church is a memorial to Frederick Vyner who, age 23, was captured and murdered by brigands in Greece in 1870. His mother raised money for his ransom, but when Frederick was killed she used it to to commission the architect William Burges to build the church.

That unspent ransom money also paid for the church of St Mary the Virgin at Studley Royal.

This magnificent church was a wholly unexpected pleasure at Fountains Abbey. As the guide book says:

Inside and outside, the St Mary's reflects the inspiration Burges found in medieval gothic buildings, from the studded metalwork of the great doors to the patterned encaustic tiles and mosaics of Christian images which cover the floor. The sanctuary is rich in gold and colour. Beneath the starry dome of Heaven, carved and painted angels soar above the lovely colours of the windows depicting Bible scenes/ The bronze door, the Virgin and Child is a gift from Burges to the church. The church is the resting place of a notable Liberal politician: George Robinson, the first Marquess of Ripon.

You can look from this church down to the front of Ripon Cathedral. Legend has it that a farm far away on the horizon above the cathedral was also owned by the Vyners and was painted white so that it could be picked out when they were admiring the view.

Close to St Mary's stand Choristers' Cottage, also designed by Burges and evidence that there was originally a plan to have a permanent choir of men and boys here. Nearby you will find the obelisk which served as a focal point in this man-made landscape before the church was built in 1870.**

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Comments (19)

Pete Taylor on April 16, 2013

Great information Richard, and another fine shot for me to like.


Richard Gregory 48 on April 16, 2013

Thanks again Pete For Your Nice Comments

Ildikó Fehérváry on April 17, 2013

Wonderful picture, beautiful sky and shot!


Greetings, ildikó

Richard Gregory 48 on April 17, 2013

Many thanks ildikó for your kind comment

Neil Grimwood on April 17, 2013

A nicely composed shot of this lovely church Richard, it looks like a nice day, i hope you enjoyed your visit.

Richard Gregory 48 on April 17, 2013

It was a lovely visit Neil one hour before we arrived all the deer were around the church, just my luck to miss them cheers

Onofre Pimenta on April 18, 2013

Trabalho perfeito e excelente harmonia de cores e detalhes. Paisagem de primeira grandeza. Igreja de excelente arquitetura e de grande encantamento.. Gosto 4. Muito obrigado pela visita e comentário. Opimentas, saudações de Goiânia, Brasil.

Leif Fielstrup Guldb… on April 18, 2013

Marvelous image composition, beautiful blue sky, well done. Like5.

Greetings, Leif.

Ria Wentink on April 20, 2013

Very beautiful too Richard, not only because of the church, but also because of the clouds Best regards from Ria

Nelsachi on April 24, 2013


Excellent Picture...!!!

Fine Composition...!!!

Very Beautiful View of the Church...!!!

Amazing Sky...!!!

Perfect Framing...!!!


My Best Wishes From Caracas - Venezuela...!!!


jockswa on April 25, 2013

What a beautiful church and a great history.

This just gets more and more interesting. I was sure I'd heard the name William Burges before so went surfing to find out more. Found out Burges the architect did have a connection with Oz having designed churches in Brisbane and Adelaide. But he wasn't the William Burges I recalled. That was a guy who in mid-19th century was involved in agriculture in West Oz, particularly the York (W.A.) area. My wife's cousin farms up there, so I'd seen the name in history of the area.

Neat image Richard. Lk it. Regards, Jock.

jockswa on April 25, 2013

As a matter of interest, William Burges was one of a group who lobbied to have Brit convicts brought to the colony of Western Australia, which hadn't been founded as a penal colony. Due to a severe labour shortage, there was a push mid-19th century for convicts to be brought in. There seems to be a belief in UK circles that multi-generation Aussies all descended from convicts. The majority have not.

Richard Gregory 48 on April 26, 2013

Thanks to Opimentas and Leif for your lovely remarks

Richard Gregory 48 on April 26, 2013

Thanks Ria it was a lovely day to take pictures..cheers...Hi Ian..i'm pleased you like it..Hi Nelsachi many thanks for your nice comments..Hi Jock..i'm pleased you like this church and thanks for the history lesson :-))

jockswa on April 29, 2013

Sorry 'bout that, but the name did ring some bells. I'd been reading somewhere only recently about the Aussie William Burges..

Tasha378 on May 1, 2013

The charming landscape! Like! With kind regards, Tasha.

Ijaz Ahmad Mughal on May 20, 2013

Beautiful photo , wonderful sky. LIKE,,Best greetings from Ijaz Ahmad

Cindy Breen on June 17, 2013

Beautiful shot



Bach Quatre on June 17, 2013

Excelente foto. Me Gusta.

Un cordial saludo, Ernesto.

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Photo taken in Lindrick with Studley Royal and Fountains, North Yorkshire HG4, UK
Saint Mary's Church

Photo details

  • Uploaded on April 16, 2013
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Richard Gregory 48
    • Camera: Canon EOS 600D
    • Taken on 2013/04/15 01:25:59
    • Exposure: 0.004s (1/250)
    • Focal Length: 30.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/10.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO100
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash