Ripley Castle was built more than 700 years ago, it was originally built as the home of the Ingilby family and has remained so ever since. Its long, fascinating history is threaded with some of the countries most famous characters, Henry Ingilby collected taxes for Edward III, and later Sir William served both King Henry VIII and his daughters' Mary Tudor and Queen Elizabeth I. James I was a guest at the castle in 1603, but two years later several members of the Ingilby family were involved in the Gunpowder Plot, trying to kill him.
Architecturally, the castle is now a magnificent 18th century mansion built around a 15th century tower, it is set amongst fine lawns sweeping down to the River Nidd. The oldest part of the original buildings is the gatehouse of 1410, this stands close to the village market place.
Over the centuries only a few changes have been made, thus the house retains the air of a much loved family home with collections from all periods and memorabilia of its distinguished line of owners. In the early part of the 19th century William Ingilby transformed the gardens and almost entirely rebuilt the pretty estate village.
Much of the lovely interior remains as designed by John Carr of York who favoured the neo-classical design. The Entrance Hall, with its Doric colonnade screening, leads to a smaller Inner Hall. All of the rooms are lavishly furnished, the Round Drawing Room features chairs and settee's by Thomas Chippendale and there is a fine plaster-work ceiling to see in the Large Drawing Room, as well as a classical chimney-piece flanked by Kentian mirrors. In this room there is a magnificent sculpture of "Venus emerging from her bath" by Canova, and paintings by Gainsborough and Kneller.
There is a wonderful semi-circular Staircase Hall with a Venetian window of 1784-85 by William Peckitt of York. In the three storey tower there is a wood panelled Library on the ground floor and throughout the rest of the tower there is much Civil War armour on display, together with family portraits, early books and panelling covering a priest's hiding place. Some splendid paintings adorn the tower walls, the highlight being the picture at the top of the staircase "Constantinople" by Jan van Mour, painted in 1730. Of all the tower rooms the most spectacular is the Knights Chamber, this has its original 16th century oak ceiling and panelling.
The lovely landscaped gardens of the castle bear all the hallmarks of "Capability" Brown. Here you can see walled gardens and a Regency conservatory. The gardens contain the National Hyacinth Collection and the Ripley Tropical Collection with its rare and exotic plants. The kitchen garden is delightfully planted with varieties of old fruits and vegetables.
Ripley Castle is now a venue for weddings, hosts corporate events and a number of special events throughout the year. For those touring the house and gardens there is a pleasant tea-room for refreshments.
The picturesque estate village adjacent to Ripley Castle is well worth seeing, it is beautifully laid out and has a few attractive shops.
in the county of North Yorkshire(3.5 miles, 5.6 km, direction S)
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in the county of West Yorkshire(10.5 miles, 17.0 km, direction SW)
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