Day coach tour to Wentworth Woodhouse
Saturday 9th July 2022
also St Joseph's Wetherby
and St Gregory's Bedale
Wentworth Woodhouse is a Grade I listed stately home in South Yorkshire. It is one of the largest houses in Europe (its east front is twice the length of Buckingham Palace). The house, surrounded by fifty acres of private gardens, was once the home of the Fitzwilliam family and was bought by the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust in 2017. Just a year earlier, the building had been added to the Historic England Heritage at Risk register and was awarded £7.2m in financial support from HM Treasury for essential repairs. Since then, the Trust has been awarded further grants from Historic England, the Cultural Recovery Fund and other organisations for repair works not only to the main house, but also to the Stable Blocks, the Riding School and more recently the Camellia House.
Our guide was Giles Proctor, a highly respected Conservation Accredited Architect working in Historic England's North East and Yorkshire Region office. He has been involved in the Wentworth Woodhouse project since its inception. He has been the lead on many successful and transformative repair grants awards and he described the conservation techniques used to rescue the building.
On the return trip, we visited two contrasting churches: St Joseph's R.C. Church in Wetherby was originally built in 1881. By 1980 it was clear that a much larger church was needed, and architect Vincent Stienlet was commissioned to design a new church within the garden of the original church. Vincent talked to us about the church, as we experienced its intriguing design.
St Gregory's in Bedale is built in a mixture of gothic styles. Its tower is a good example of one fortified for defensive rather than decorative purposes, erected after Bannockburn in 1314 by the Fitzalans. Their monuments, the 14th century wall paintings, sculpture, and fine crypt are all of great interest. The chancel east window came from neighbouring Jervaulx Abbey.
We arrived back in Newcastle, after a drop off at Scotch Corner, at about 19.30 pm.
Booking form and detailed itinerary as circulated to members (PDF);
More detailed architectural/historical information was handed round on the coach.