Skelton-cum-Newby Church
Skelton-cum-Newby Church
A church built by kidnap ransom money. When 20 year old Frederick Vyner was siezed by bandits while travelling in Greece on a Grand Tour, his mother quickly gathered money for ransom. Tragically, the money did not reach the kidnappers in time, and the unfortunate Frederick was murdered.
In 1871 his grieving mother hired prominent Victorian architect William Burgess, using the money meant for Frederick's ransom to create a magnificent Gothic memorial to her son in the grounds of her stately home of Newby Hall.

Even the dedication of the church stands as a memorial to a mother's grief; officially it is the church of Christ the Consoler. The church is astonishing; a mix of medieval and French styles, with a large rose window, and is lavishly decorated inside and out.

The attention to detail shows how much care Burges took in creating an ornate, even extravagant statement. Everything is built to an exacting standard, and the decoration is extraordinarily rich and ornamented in ebullient Victorian style. Burgess used lush colour throughout, but seems to have consciously made the interior progressively more colourful the closer you come to the east end. The interior is full of wonderful carving in wood, stone, and metal.

Christ the Consoler is not in regular use, and is cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust. Don't visit Newby Hall without pausing to visit this amazing church, and spare a thought for the tragedy that produced it.