Monday, 18 April 2011
The Temple of Piety, Studley Royal
Celebrating International World Heritage Day today... Part of the formal gardens of Studley Royal, which together with Fountains Abbey form another beautiful World Heritage Site in the heart of Yorkshire.
The gardens were laid out in the early 18th century (Georgian) in the Studley Royal estate by John Aislabie, MP for Ripon, who had inherited the land in 1699 through his mother's family. The 1720 'South Sea Bubble' financial disaster ruined his career and (after a period of imprisonment in the Tower of London) he retired to Yorkshire to devote himself to his garden. After his death in 1742, his son William further developed the estate by buying the adjacent ruins of Fountains Abbey and incorporating them into the design. Thus, one end of the gardens is a very formal French-inspired water garden and the other a much more romantic and wild landscape. Subsequent owners (luckily) neglected to overwrite the earlier designs and so the originally conceived ideas largely still survive. There are several buildings, like the Temple of Piety, solely intended to form focal points in the design and to highlight particular views across the valley.