Newby Hall

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Newby Hall
West Riding
Newby Hall-geograph-4538609-by-Chris-Heaton.jpg
"The finest house I saw in Yorkshire"[1]
Grid reference: SE34796744
Location: 54°6’6"N, 1°28’10"W
Village: Skelton-on-Ure
Built 1695–1705
By: Sir Christopher Wren (attrib.),
John Carr and Robert Adam
Country house
Owned by: Richard Compton

Newby Hall is a country house beside the River Ure in the parish of Skelton-on-Ure in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It is three miles south-east of Ripon and six miles south of Topcliffe Castle, by which the manor of Newby was originally held.

A Grade I listed building,[2] the hall contains a collection of furniture and paintings and is surrounded by extensive gardens. Newby Hall is opened to the public.


The manor of Newby was originally held by the lords of Topcliffe Castle. In St Columba's Church at Topcliffe are several monuments to the Robinson family of Newby and Rainton.[3] After the death of Sir John Crosland in 1670, the Crosland family sold the manor of Newby in the 1690s to Sir Edward Blackett, an Member of Parliament for Ripon. He demolished the existing manor house and in 1697 built a new mansion, reputedly with the assistance of Sir Christopher Wren. In 1697, when visiting Newby, Celia Fiennes described it as "the finest house I saw in Yorkshire".[1] Blackett was succeeded in 1718 by his son Edward, who, in turn, was succeeded by his nephew also called Edward, who in 1748 sold the estate to Richard Elcock (later Richard Elcock Weddell), to whose young son William Weddell it passed in 1762.[4]

William Weddell (1736–1792), an MP for the constituency of Malton, benefited from his great-uncle's South Sea Company fortune and improved and enlarged the house during the 1760s. The interior was remodelled, to the designs of several architects, including John Carr and Robert Adam.[5] The building housed William Weddell's collection of Roman antiquities which he had brought back from Italy during 1764–5.[6] Both Robert Adam and William died in 1792, leaving the estate to Thomas Philip Robinson, Lord Grantham, who later changed his name to Thomas Weddell and was subsequently also known as Thomas de Grey, 2nd Earl de Grey. When he died in 1859, his titles passed to his nephew, George Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon, 2nd Earl of Ripon, but Newby Hall went to his daughter, Lady Mary Gertrude Robinson, who married Henry Vyner (1805–1861).

Lady Mary commissioned William Burges to build the Church of Christ the Consoler in the grounds in 1871–76 as a memorial to her son, who was killed by bandits in Greece in 1870.[7] An equestrian statue brought to England by the Vyners and erected in London after the 1660 Restoration of the Monarchy, modified to depict Charles II trampling Cromwell, was re-erected at Newby in 1883.[8] Another son, Henry Frederick Clare Vyner (1836–1883), inherited Newby, followed by his brother, Robert Charles de Grey Vyner (1842–1915),[9] who was succeeded by his daughter Mary Evelyn Vyner, who inherited Newby herself in 1915 and had married Lord Alwyne Compton in 1886. She died in 1957.

20th and 21st centuries

The present owners, the Compton family, are matrilineal descendants of William Weddell. They have restored the property. The gardens, which have extensive herbaceous borders and woodland walks, were developed in their present form by Major Edward Compton, who took over Newby in 1921. His son, Major Robert Edward John (Robin) Compton (1922–2009) was chairman of Time-Life International for many years. He took over the running of Newby Hall in 1960. In 1997, Robin Compton handed over the property to his younger son, Richard, his elder son James having inherited the Invercauld estate near Balmoral in Aberdeenshire. His father, Major Edward (Robin) Compton, had married Sylvia Farquharson of Invercauld.[10]

In 1973, a miniature railway was constructed; it was enlarged in 1985. Running along the bank of the river, a train is pulled by a Battison-built 1/5-scale model of the Royal Scot (6100) on Sundays and bank holidays. At other times the train is pulled by the Countess De Grey or Lady Mary Vyner, LPG-powered diesel-hydraulic locomotives designed by David Curwen and built by Severn Lamb.[11]

In 2016, Gyles Brandreth moved his Teddy bear museum to Newby Hall.[12]

The hall holds the UK national collection of the genus Cornus (dogwoods).[13] The collection was started in 1990 by the late Robin Compton, although some specimens date back as far as the 1930s. The oldest example is a fine Cornus kousa planted by Robin Compton's father.[14]


The house viewed from the garden  
Stable block  
Gateway to the grounds  
Equestrian statue of Charles II  

See also

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Newby Hall)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Leach & Pevsner 2009, p. 600.
  2. National Heritage List 1150307: Newby Hall (Grade I listing)
  3. A History of the County of York: West Riding - Volume 2 pp 70-80: Parishes: Topcliffe (Victoria County History)
  4. "Home". 
  5. Museum and Galleries 2004, p. unknown.
  6. Bignamini & Hornsby 2010, pp. 341–343.
  7. National Heritage List 1315406: Church of Christ the Consoler, with Eleanor Cross to east (Grade I listing)
  8. National Heritage List 1289184: Equestrian Statue East of Newby Hall (Grade II listing)
  9. "Vyner family of Newby". The National Register of Archives. Retrieved 16 February 2013. 
  10. Compton 2004, p. 9.
  11. "The Miniature Railway". Newby Hall. Retrieved 24 December 2020. 
  12. "Gyles Brandreth's 1,000 teddies move to Newby Hall". BBC News. 24 May 2016. 
  13. "National Cornus Collection". Newby Hall. Retrieved 23 June 2023. 
  14. "Seeking out something special". 21 March 2011.