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Pictures of Duncombe Park

a Garden or Park in the town of Helmsley, in the county of North Yorkshire

About Duncombe Park

This magnificent historic mansion has a rich, colourful history. The house is an impressive Baroque style building overlooking rolling countryside and the River Rye. It stands on land acquired several centuries ago, upon which once stood a medieval castle.

The Helmsley Estate was purchased by Sir Charles Duncombe in 1695, he was a rich London banker. Following the death of Sir Charles, the estate was inherited by Thomas Duncombe his nephew - he commissioned a new house to be built on the estate and chose for his architect an unknown amateur by the name of William Wakefield, a prominent lawyer by profession, Wakefield is also accredited with the building of York Castle Goal.

Duncombe Park's landscaped grounds are thought to have been laid out by Charles Bridgeman. A magnificent terrace with elegant circular temples at either end dominates the eastern side of the house. This terrace is considered to be one of the most important pieces of 18th century English landscaping. Later in the same century another terrace was added, this overlooks the Rievaulx Abbey side, the abbey was formerly part of the Helmsley estate.

Although the landscaping was preserved, the house met with mixed fortunes with each successive owner adding and altering according to design taste of the era. The result of these changes was never less than stunning, but sadly in 1879 the house became ravaged by fire. Between 1891 and 1894 restoration work was carried out by Scottish architect William Young. However, 30 years later the house was abandoned by the family and leased out for use as a girl's school.

For sixty years the school occupied Duncombe Park, then in a reversal of fortunes, the 6th Lord Feversham took over the house and began a programme of restoration and renovation. Since then, it has been lovingly restored and filled again with some of the paintings and furniture previously removed. To these have been added other appropriate pieces so that once again the great house has a gracious, exquisitely decorated interior with a warm "lived in" feel.

Visitors are invited to visit for a tour of the house between April and the end of October. The tour takes in the magnificent staircases, grand hall, dining room, withdrawing room, the saloon and the library. There is a splendid set of bedrooms including the famous Italian bedroom, and below stairs fascinating servants quarters.

In the unique parkland you can enjoy walks in imaginative gardens and through miles of richly wooded areas, visit a nature reserve to see gorgeous feathered Peacocks, other birds and animals, all of this is in glorious open countryside. There are tempting shops, a Parkland centre, picnic and play areas, and a tearoom. Duncombe Park plays host to a number of annual events, these include craft fairs, a steam fair, a dog show and falcon displays.

For lovers looking for a special venue in which to exchange their marriage vows, followed by a wedding breakfast in the splendour of a great historic house, Duncombe Park in its unrivalled setting provides the perfect answer.

Duncombe Park lies close to the fringe of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, it is of interest to everyone who cares for the nations heritage, and offers an exciting time for all age groups.

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