Fountains Hall

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Fountains Hall
Fountains Hall

Fountains Hall is a country house near Ripon in North Yorkshire, England, located within the World Heritage Site at Studley Royal Park which include the ruins of Fountains Abbey. It belongs to the National Trust and is a Grade I listed building.[1]


Fountains Hall in 1830.

The house was built by Stephen Proctor between 1598 and 1604, partly with stone from the abbey ruins. It is an example of a late Elizabethan prodigy house, perhaps influenced by the work of Robert Smythson. After Proctor's death in 1619, Fountains Hall passed into the possession of the Messenger family, who sold it to William Aislabie of neighbouring Studley Royal 150 years later.[2] Fountains Hall became redundant as the Aislabie family remained at Studley Royal. It was leased to tenants and at one time parts of it were used for farm storage.

The hall 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, 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 from Harrogate and the school's sanatorium was at Fountains Hall. The stable block and courtyard was used for dormitories while one corner became the school chapel, at which Sunday Evensong was regularly said by the Archdeacon of Ripon. The hall has a balcony although it cannot be used because the staircase is considered unsafe for the public.

Vyner memorial[edit]

The Vyners lost a son and a daughter in the Second World War; Charles was a Royal Naval Reserve pilot missing in action near Rangoon. Elizabeth was a member of the Women's 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 steps.

Vyner Memorial Window in staircase



Elizabeth Vyner WRNS - Died on Active Service June 3rd 1942 Aged 18 years. Also her brother Charles De Grey Vyner Sub Lieut (A) 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 dilapidation.

The National Trust acquired the Fountains Estate from North Yorkshire County Council in 1983 and has restored the hall. Part of it has been divided into flats, one of which is a holiday lets. Visitors to Fountains Abbey can view the oak-panelled stone hall and an adjoining exhibition room, and there are plans to restore the chapel.

Ghost stories[edit]

Balcony at Fountains Hall

The Hall has several reported hauntings. Years ago, when the best route into the main area of Fountains Hall was through a side entrance, visitors would report the sensation of an invisible figure running at them as they walked along the corridor and brushing past them as they walked through to the main part of the house. The Great Hall at Fountains Hall has the sound of musicians rehearsing a piece of music - the sound of a spinet and wind instruments are heard through the walls together with a woman's voice going through the same musical phrase several times and indistinctly, yet as soon as the door to the Great Hall is opened the music stops.

The bedroom adjoining a former staff flat on the first floor is haunted by a "shining golden lady" in eighteenth century dress. A former resident of the Hall during its time as staff accommodation commented that this apparition would appear to children living there at that time when they were sick in bed - she would come and sit beside them and stroke their hair. Previous occupants of the same rooms on the first floor have also reported the ghost of a dog and another apparition of a dark figure carrying a lighted candle.

The main staircase at the back of the Hall is haunted by the sound of two children at play - their voices are heard and the sound of them moving up and down the staircase, with the sound of rainfall in the background even if the weather outside is sunny.

Filming location[edit]

Fountains Hall was the location used for the outdoor shots of Baddesley Clinton for the 1603 raid in the first episode of the 2017 BBC One miniseries Gunpowder about events surrounding the Gunpowder Plot.[3][4][5][6]

Some exterior shots for the 1993 film adaptation of The Secret Garden were filmed here.


  1. ^ Historic England. "Fountains Hall (1149809)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  2. ^ "Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  3. ^ "Our places in explosive BBC series Gunpowder". National Trust. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  4. ^ Hordley, Chris (20 October 2017). "Where is BBC's Gunpowder filmed?". Creative England. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  5. ^ Laker, Chris (31 October 2017). "Where is Gunpowder filmed?". TV News. BT. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  6. ^ Pickard, Michael (12 October 2017). "Gunpowder, treason and plot". Drama Quarterly. Retrieved 5 November 2017.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°06′35″N 1°35′11″W / 54.109753°N 1.586430°W / 54.109753; -1.586430