Church Explorers – Christ the Consoler

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Church Explorers – Christ the Consoler
July 17, 2017
August 31, 2017
Christ the Consoler
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Newby Hall, Ripon, HG4 5AE, United Kingdom
Church Explorers
June 9, 2017
church explorers event

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.

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. The interior is wonderfully rich and colourful, 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.

This exquisitely detailed and richly built Victorian church is managed by the Churches Conservation Trust and is open to visitors daily this summer.

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