Discover one of Ryedale's true gems
To visit Rievaulx Terrace is to take a journey back in time, stepping away from the cares of daily life and into an idealised vision of the natural world.
Discover one of Ryedale's true gems - the 18th-century landscape of Rievaulx Terrace and temples. Stroll through woods, before emerging out on to the terrace, with its stunning views down over the Cistercian ruin of Rievaulx Abbey.
Until the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century the Terrace was once part of the estate belonging to Rievaulx Abbey. It was then granted to Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland and it passed from him to the George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham. On the death of his son it was sold to Sir Charles Duncombe in 1687 and inherited by his nephew Thomas Duncombe in 1711. This later passed to his son Thomas Duncombe II, along with the adjoining Helmsley estate (now Duncombe Park).
When Thomas returned from his Grand Tour in 1747 his thoughts turned to the development of his estate in particular Rievaulx Terrace. Here he had an opportunity to create his own idealised landscape, complete with views over a magnificent ruined abbey. His desire was to complement, and perhaps even surpass, the more formal terrace and temples installed by his father at Duncombe Park house a mile away.
At each end of the terrace stands a temple. At the far northern end is the rectangular Ionic Temple inspired by the Temple of Fortuna Virilis in Rome. Here the Duncombe family and guests would have dined and socialised under the magnificent painted ceiling.
At the south stands the rotunda Tuscan Temple with its medieval tiled floor and painted ceiling.
Take a look at the film to see more of Rievaulx Terrace. Copyright Samuel Philipp.