Church of Christ the Consoler, Skelton-cum-Newby, North Yorkshire
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A church built with unpaid ransom money
With its colourful and vibrant interior, this Victorian church seems the very celebration of life, yet it stands as a testament to tragedy. It is a memorial to Frederick Vyner who, age 23, was captured and murdered by brigands in Greece in 1870. His mother used the money collected for his ransom to commission British architect William Burges -- celebrated for decorating Westminster Palace and rebuilding Cardiff Castle -- to design this church (built 1871-76) in the grounds of her home at Newby Hall.
Standing inside the gates of the park, and surrounded by huge beech trees, the outside is impressive, with its lofty spire, pinnacles and fine rose window. The design is based on Medieval French church architecture, but with Burges' unique interpretation. A little dog keeps the gargoyles company -- a sweetly domestic touch in this magnificent monument to a lost son.
Every detail here repays attention. Burges employed the best craftsmen of the day to work here, and everywhere you look there are examples of their skill. The interior is wonderfully rich and colourful - pattern and colour are everywhere, with stained glass, fine marble and gilded mosaics filling the interior. Exquisite carvings on the corbels and on the organ case bring stone and wood to life, while in the rose window, Christ the Consoler presides.
Everything is on a magnificent scale; the effect is almost overwhelming. And yet, for all its splendour, you cannot forget the tragic circumstances out of which this church was built. The best time to visit is on your way in to Newby Hall.
There is a small step into the porch and a further step up into the church. The main door can be heavy and assistance may be requried to open it. The birdgate in front of the door needs to be opened by moving the metal latch to the right.
Facilities & Hire
Due to the historic nature of our buildings, only a very small number of them have heating, running water or toilet facilities. The lighting is usually operated via a 'push button' timer or a motion sensor.
4 miles south east of Ripon, off B6265; turn off A1 at Boroughbridge and follow B6265 to Ripon; turn left following brown signs to Newby Hall; go through main gateway, follow road towards the Hall. Church on right.
Nearest railway station: Knaresborough (6.5 miles). Bus route numbers 142/143.
History & Further Information
Why not make your visit more enjoyable and informed by finding out more about this church before you visit? You can download a range of publications below including the relevant county guide, and any walk round guides we have for this church.Skelton-cum-Newby Christ the Consoler - Your Church Tour Yorkshire County Guide 2012
This free of charge short guide contains details of all the churches we care for in North, South and West Yorkshire. Printed copies of the county guides are also available at the church.
Useful local links:
- Discover North Yorkshire tourism website: www.discovernorthyorkshire.co.uk
- Days out with the kids in North Yorkshire: www.dayoutwiththekids.co.uk
- North Yorkshire Moors Steam Railway: www.nymr.co.uk
- The City of York and District Family History Society: www.yorkfamilyhistory.org.uk
- Family History Section of Yorkshire Archaeological Society: www.yorkshireroots.org.uk
- Yorkshire Archaeological Society: www.yas.org.uk
- List of churches in North Yorkshire: www.achurchnearyou.com
- North Yorkshire is in the Dioceses of Rippon and Leeds: www.riponleeds.anglican.org