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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fountains Hall

Fountains Hall is a country house near Ripon in North Yorkshire, England, close to the World Heritage Site of Fountains Abbey. It belongs to the National Trust as part of its Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Garden property, and is a Grade I listed building. The details of Fountains Hall are explained in world tour guides below.

Fountains HallThe house was built by Stephen Proctor between 1598 and 1604, partly with stone from the Abbey ruins. It is a fine example of late Elizabethan architecture, perhaps influenced by the work of Robert Smythson. After Proctors death in 1619, Fountains Hall passed into the possession of the Messenger family, who sold it to William Aislabie of neighbouring Studley Royal one hundred and fifty years later. Fountains Hall became virtually redundant as the Aislabie family remained at Studley Royal. It was leased to various tenants and at one time parts of it were used for farm storage. However it was renovated and modernised between 1928 and 1931, and the Duke and Duchess of York later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth often stayed there as guests of Lady Doris Vyner, wife of the Marquis of Ripon and sister to the then-current Duke of Richmond and Gordon.

During the Second World War, Fountains Hall and other estate buildings were used to house evacuees. Studley Royal became the wartime home of Queen Ethelburga's School of Harrogate, while the Q.E. Sanatorium was over at Fountains Hall. The stable block with the courtyard, set apart from the house at Studley Royal, was used for dormitaries while one corner became the School Chapel, at which Sunday Evensong was regularly said by the Arch Deacon at Ripon. It has a balcony of note, although it cannot be used at present because the second floor is used for weddings and the staircase is considered unsafe for the public.

Fountains HallFountains HallDuring the war the Vyners lost a son and a daughter; Charles was a Royal Naval Reserve pilot missing in action near Rangoon. Elizabeth was a member of the Womens Royal Naval Service and died of lethargic encephalitis while on service in Felixstowe, Suffolk. There is a sculpture remembering them which can be seen as one comes out of the house down the stone stairs.

Elizabeth Vyner WRNS - Died on Active Service June 3rd 1942 Aged 18 years. Also her brother Charles De Grey Vyner Sub Lieut RNVR Reported missing from Air Operations off Rangoon May 2nd 1945 Aged 19 Years. After the war the Hall again fell into a state of serious dilapidation. The National Trust acquired the Fountains Estate from North Yorkshire County Council in 1983 and has been undertaking restoration work on the Hall since then. Part of it has been divided into flats, one of which is available for holiday lets. Visitors to Fountains Abbey can view the oak-paneled Stone Hall and an adjoining exhibition room, and there are plans to restore the chapel.

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