Studley Royal Park and Water Gardens

St Marys Church Studley Royal Park Yorkshire

Situated 3 miles from Ripon, Studley Royal Park and Fountains Abbey is a huge estate that you really need a good whole day to explore thoroughly. Our visit was not long enough to do it justice and we confined our visit to looking at St Marys Church then walked through the water gardens to Fountains Abbey (pics later).

The Church was not open at this time of the year so we were unable to see the apparently ornate interior. The church was commissioned by the first Marquess of Ripon and built by William Burgess in 1871. Consequently I just got some pictures of the exterior from various angles.

Studley Estate

John Aislabie inherited the Studley estate in 1699. He was the Tory Member of Parliament for Ripon in 1695, and in 1718 became Chancellor of the Exchequer. Aislabie was a principal sponsor of the South Sea Company scheme, the bill for which was promoted by him personally. In 1720 when this vast financial operation collapsed, he was expelled from Parliament and disqualified for life from public office.

Aislabie returned to Yorkshire and devoted himself to the creation of the garden he had begun in 1718. After his death in 1742, his son William extended his scheme by purchasing the remains of the Abbey and Fountains Hall. He extended the landscaped area in the picturesque romantic style, contrasting with the formality of his father's work. Between them, the two created what is arguably England's most important 18th century Water Garden.
The 16th-century house at Studley Royal, rebuilt in Palladian style, as it appeared in 1880; it burned to the ground in 1946.

After William's death, the estate passed to his daughter, then her niece. It escaped major reshaping and the garden and park passed to the Vyner family, descendants of the Aislabies.

Studley Royal Water Garden

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.


The Water Gardens and lake follow the course of the river Skell