Rievaulx Terrace & Temples

Rievaulx Terrace & Temples is a site located in North Yorkshire, England overlooking Rievaulx Abbey and owned by the National Trust. The site is a grass-covered terrace following a serpentine course across the side of a wooded escarpment overlooking the ruins of the Abbey. At either end of the terrace stand two mid-18th century follies: small Palladian "temples".


The site was created in 1758 by Thomas Duncombe III who had inherited it and the adjoining Helmsley estate some 10 years previously. His desire was to complement, and perhaps even surpass, the more formal terrace and temples laid out in about 1730 by his grandfather at Duncombe Park a mile away. It is thought that he may have planned to join the two terraces by a scenic drive along the River Rye.

Two "temples" are on the site. At the south-east end of the terrace is the domed Doric or Tuscan Temple, thought to be a scaled-down version of the mausoleum at Castle Howard a few miles away. The pavement floor came from the choir of Rievaulx Abbey.

At the opposite end stands the Ionic Temple, inspired by the Temple of Fortuna Virilis in Rome. It was intended as a banqueting house and the central table is still set as if for a meal. It is decorated with elaborate ceiling paintings and is furnished in the period style. The basement housed the kitchen and living quarters and nowadays it holds an exhibition on English landscape design in the 18th century.

Duncombe's descendant, the 3rd and last Earl of Feversham, died in 1963; in 1972 the site and the adjoining woods were purchased by the National Trust.

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