Rievaulx St Marys

Name: St Mary's

Date of Temple Moore Work: 1907

Work done: Remodelling, with further work by Leslie Moore

Church Description

Temple Moore's remodelling of Rievaulx's medieval chapel manages to shine even in the shadow of one of Britain's most beautiful ruined abbeys.

St Mary's was formerly Rievaulx Abbey's capella extra portas — its “chapel by the gate”. It is the only outer building of the abbey to have substantially survived. The challenge for Temple Moore and his builder was to achieve an extensive remodelling of the building while remaining faithful to the English church tradition it represents.

Opening times: Please see www.helmsleyparish.org.uk for information

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Moore's response to this challenge was to add a new chancel and a small steeple, doubling the size of the original chapel, while incorporating as much of the surviving 13th-century fabric as possible. The medieval masonry in the nave and part of a lancet arch at the north end became part of the modern church.

The plans were drawn up by Brotton of Bilsdale, a stonemason and builder who had worked on numerous Temple Moore churches in the North York Moors. Lord Feversham paid for the furniture. At a later date Temple Moore's son-in-law Leslie Moore added the altar, reredos, altar rails and sedilia.

You can see an old photo of the works at www.helmsleyparish.org.uk/pics/St%20Mary's%20rebuilding,%201906-7.jpg.

St Mary's is an example of a type of religious building called a slipper chapel. Disappointingly, the name doesn't mean that visitors stopped here to pop on a warm pair of slippers brought by friendly monks! It comes from the word slype, meaning to move — that is, to move from the secular workaday world into the sacred landscape of the abbey.

Things to do nearby

Rievaulx Abbey

Rievaulx Nr Helmsley YO62 5LB

01439 798228

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/rievaulx-abbey

Rievaulx Abbey was once among the finest in Europe, and its atmospheric ruins still convey a sense of what it was like in its prime. Worth visiting for the location alone: beautiful riverside fields in the emerald depths of Ryedale. On the hillside above the abbey are the National Trust-owned Rievaulx Terrace and Temples, a contrasting bit of 18th-century classical landscaping with fine views.

Hawnby Hill

Near Hawnby, off the B1257 north of Helmsley

Near the confluence of the Rivers Rye and Seph are two shapely humpback hills: Easterside and Hawnby Hill. Either one's worth the walk to the top, but Easterside's rounded top just loses out to Hawnby Hill's craggy summit ridge. Sunny day: don't delay. Rainy day: stay away.

Cleveland Way

http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/clevelandway

Britain's second National Trail, a 109-mile circuit of the North York Moors starting in Helmsley and finishing in Filey. You needn't commit yourself to the whole lot - turn sections into a circular day-walk. The opening stretch from Helmsley to Rievaulx Abbey is very doable for any moderately energetic person, although you will have to come back the way you went.

Duncombe Park

Helmsley YO62 5EB

01439 770213

http://www.duncombepark.com/

It's a shame the house isn't open to the public anymore, but the grounds are lovely. Half of Duncombe Park's 450 acres (182 hectares) of parkland are managed as a National Nature Reserve. It contains some of Britain's oldest and tallest broadleaved trees, many of which are nearly as old as the house itself.

Helmsley Walled Garden

Cleveland Way Helmsley YO62 5AH

01439 771427

http://www.helmsleywalledgarden.org.uk/

One of Helmsley's hidden gems, tucked out of sight under the castle ramparts. The Walled Garden was created to supply fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers to the Duncombe Park estate. It fell into disuse in the 1970's, but in 1994 a determined band of local enthusiasts set out to restore it to its former glory. Today it is once again a working kitchen garden, where you can choose from a huge range of plants, vegetables, and seasonal fruits, or just savour the wonderfully tranquil atmosphere. The Vinehouse cafe serves delicious vegetarian food using produce grown in the garden.

Where to eat and drink

Rievaulx Abbey

Rievaulx Nr Helmsley YO62 5LB

01439 798228

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/rievaulx-abbey

Rievaulx Abbey was once among the finest in Europe, and its atmospheric ruins still convey a sense of what it was like in its prime. Worth visiting for the location alone: beautiful riverside fields in the emerald depths of Ryedale. On the hillside above the abbey are the National Trust-owned Rievaulx Terrace and Temples, a contrasting bit of 18th-century classical landscaping with fine views.

Hawnby Hill

Near Hawnby, off the B1257 north of Helmsley

Near the confluence of the Rivers Rye and Seph are two shapely humpback hills: Easterside and Hawnby Hill. Either one's worth the walk to the top, but Easterside's rounded top just loses out to Hawnby Hill's craggy summit ridge. Sunny day: don't delay. Rainy day: stay away.

Rievaulx Abbey cafe

Rievaulx Abbey

01439 798228

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/rievaulx-abbey

Delicious cakes and other local fare. Handily on the doorstep, although closed during the week over the winter months

The Inn at Hawnby

Hawnby YO62 5QS

01439 798202

http://www.innathawnby.co.uk/

Award-winning restaurant in lovely location. Good walking country.

Rievaulx Abbey cafe

Rievaulx Abbey

01439 798228

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/rievaulx-abbey

Delicious cakes and other local fare. Handily on the doorstep, although closed during the week over the winter months

The Black Swan

Helmsley YO62 5BJ

01439 770466

http://www.blackswan-helmsley.co.uk/

Upmarket inn with posh nosh.

The Feathers

Helmsley YO62 5BH

01439 770275

http://www.feathershotelhelmsley.co.uk/

A local's local, with unpretentious pub grub.

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