St Mary's Church, Studley Royal

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St Mary's

Church of St Mary, Studley Royal

Studley Royal, Yorkshire

Status: Redundant
St Mary's Church, Studley Royal - - 1633547.jpg
St Mary's, Studley Royal
Grid reference: SE275692
Location: 54°7’7"N, 1°34’48"W
Built 1871-8
Gothic Revival

The Church of St Mary in Studley Royal is a glorious Victorian Gothic Revival church built in the Early English style by William Burges.[1] It stands in the grounds of Studley Royal Park in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

William Burges was commissioned by the First Marquess of Ripon to build the church as a memorial church to Frederick Grantham Vyner, his brother in law. It is one of two such churches, the other being the Church of Christ the Consoler at Skelton-on-Ure.


The Chancel

Frederick Vyner had been murdered by Greek bandits in 1870. A significant ransom had been demanded, and in part collected, before his death. His mother, Lady Mary Vyner, and his sister, Lady Ripon, used the unspent ransom to build the two churches in his memory. Burges' appointment as architect was most likely due to the connection between his greatest patron, John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, and Vyner, who had been friends at Oxford. St Mary's, was commissioned in 1870 and work began in 1871. The church was consecrated in 1878. As at Skelton, Burges' design demonstrates a move from his favoured Early-French, to an English style.

Nikolaus Pevsner writes of "a Victorian shrine, a dream of Early English glory."[1] The interior is spectacular, exceeding Skelton in richness and majesty. The stained glass is of particularly high quality. St Mary's is Burges' "ecclesiastical masterpiece."[2]

In 1970, the church was declared redundant, and three years later it was taken into the guardianship of the Department of the Environment (whose responsibilities were later taken over by English Heritage).


The church and belongs to English Heritage and is managed by the National Trust. A local management agreement of 2008 lays down that English Heritage is responsible for the conservation and maintenance of the church, and the National Trust for visitor access.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Nikolaus Pevsner: The Buildings of : , Penguin Books page 504
  2. Church of St Mary, Lindrick With Studley Royal And Fountains - British Listed Buildings
  • Mordaunt Crook, J (1981). William Burges and the High Victorian Dream. John Murray. 
  • Nikolaus Pevsner: The Buildings of : , Penguin Books