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Newby Hall


Newby Hall has extensive gardens and a landscaped park. There is a view of around 8 kilometres to the hills and folly to the west of house. The gardens were developed by Major Edward Compton from 1925, incorporating 19th-century elements. The parkland has 17th-century origins but was laid out chiefly in the late-18th century.


On level land which rises slightly to the north from the River Ure.
The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

A park probably with 17th-century origins which was laid out in the late 18th century to a partially executed design by Thomas White. Gardens of 1920-70 by Major Edward Compton which incorporate a late 19th-century rock garden laid out by Backhouse of York to a design by Ellen Willmott are on the site of formal gardens possibly designed by Peter Aram.



Newby Hall lies immediately south-west of the village of Skelton in a rural and agricultural setting. The c 210ha site lies on level land which rises slightly to the north from the River Ure which flows through the south side of the site. The boundaries are formed by fences and walls dividing the park from agricultural land.


The principal entrance is from Skelton where there is an entrance screen with lodges (probably by William Belwood c 1774, listed grade II*) at the south-west end of Lodge Lane. A drive runs south-west and west to the east side of the Hall. An entrance with a lodge called Givendale Lodge (listed grade II) lies at the north-west tip of the site and a drive runs south-east from it to the east side of the Hall. The Kip and Knyff engraving shows that the main approach to the Hall was from the west side via a drive leading through two enclosed courtyards.


Newby Hall (listed grade I) was built c 1695-1705 for Sir Edward Blackett and wings were added on the east side by John Carr and William Belwood c 1780. The interior was remodelled by Robert Adam (1728-92) in c 1767-80 with a scheme considered to be one of the finest for its date in Europe (Pevsner 1959). Alterations were made in c 1808 and in the late C19. The Hall is in use as a private residence (1998).

A stable block (listed grade I) lies c 150m north of the Hall. It was built c 1777 to designs by William Belwood, though the south front may be the work of John Carr or Robert Adam.


On the east side of the Hall there are primary and secondary gate piers with iron railings and gates (William Burges c 1880, all listed grade II) at the end of the east drive leading into an oval enclosure with curving beech hedges on the north and south sides. Gravel paths lead around an oval lawn to the Hall entrance. This area is much as it appears on the 1909 OS map. On the west side of the Hall there is a terrace with views to the west over the park to the Ure, overlooking lawns which are separated from the park by a ha-ha. Paths lead north from the lawns and down steps from the terrace through lawns with specimen trees and shrubs to a lawn enclosed by clipped hedges overlooked from the north side by an orangery (c 1790 listed grade II) which was designed by William Belwood incorporating features designed by William Weddell.

There are extensive gardens on the south side of the Hall. A paved terrace immediately south of the Hall has central steps leading down to the south and a second terrace with a lawn and a central lily pond. This area is rectangular with apsidal east and west sides bounded by balustrading. The terrace and outline of this area are shown on the 1856 OS map, and is shown with an elaborate parterre in late C19 and early C20 photographs (guidebook; CL 1906). It was laid out in its present form by Major Edward Compton (1891-1977) in the 1920s. Central steps lead down to a rectangular lawn edged with clipped hedges. At the southern edge of this lawn an axial path called the Statue Walk (Walk, steps, statues, possibly adapted or laid out by Burges c 1880, listed grade II) runs east/west across the garden as shown on the 1909 OS map. The Walk is lined with Irish yew and prunus and has apsidal ends with seats. At the mid-point of Statue Walk there is a semicircular balustraded platform with steps leading down to a grass path which runs south between herbaceous borders backed by clipped yews and on to steps down to the edge of the river. This border is an extension of an existing border shown on the 1909 OS map and there are views along it framing the Hall. The Statue Walk and the herbaceous border supply the axial framework for a series of enclosures and a mixture of formal and informal spaces.

At the north end of the garden paths lead west from the rectangular lawn beneath the lily pond to a rectangular enclosure with clipped hedges around it called Sylvia's Garden, laid out in the 1930s, c 100m south-west of the Hall, which has broad steps at the mid-point of each side leading down to a central paved area. A gateway in the south side leads to the Statue Walk. Rectangular gardens flank the central steps down from Statue Walk, and that to the east, called Autumn Garden, has low walls stepped down to entrances at the mid-point of each side with paths leading to a central fountain. It was laid out in 1939 on the site of a croquet lawn. The Rose Garden occupies equivalent space on the west side. It has a central circular pool and quartering paths and was laid out c 1937 on the site of a tennis court. Immediately south of these areas there is an axial walk called Upper Walk, which runs parallel to Statue Walk, to which it is linked by paths leading northwards on each side of the Autumn and Rose Gardens.

Paths lead west from the Rose Garden between areas planted with the national Cornus collection and emerge in a rose pergola with stone piers on each side of a path which are linked by cast-iron hoops. At the south end of the rose pergola a network of paths leads around the Rock Garden which has large boulders with pools and streams fed by a stone aqueduct. This was built to carry water from a water tower above the Hall and was restored with the installation of a pump to carry water from the river in 1980. This area was laid out towards the end of the C19 for Robert de Grey Vyner by Backhouse of York to a design by Ellen Willmott (1858-1934). The western edge of the garden, immediately west of the rock garden, is marked by a lime avenue which runs south-west from a point c 150m south-west of the Hall to the river's edge, c 250m from the Hall. This is on the line of an avenue shown on the 1707 Knyff and Kip view and appears to be the only survivor of a system of avenues radiating from a complex of formal gardens around the Hall.

Paths lead east from the Rock Garden to a curving path leading through a pergola with stone piers linked by beams. This originated in the late C19 as part of an approach to the Rock Garden and was renovated and planted with laburnums in 1929 and restored in the 1980s. The path continues eastwards through glades of shrubs and trees to an axial path called Middle Walk which runs parallel to and c 40m south of Upper Walk. The south-west side of the garden is planted with trees and shrubs with glades and clearings, while the south-east side has a late C20 water garden c 220m south of the Hall with a Rhododendron Walk immediately to the north which was laid out and planted with hardy varieties in 1930. In the south-east corner of the site the Orchard Garden is planted with fruit trees in a design simplified and renewed in the 1980s, and immediately south of this the Tropical Garden is planted with exotic shrubs and climbers. These two areas are protected on three sides by high brick walls and were laid out in 1936.

The gardens are notable for the contrast between the long axial views and the intimate character of enclosed areas which blend formality and informality, and the succession of linked areas which supply unexpected views and vistas. Major Compton was influenced by Lawrence Johnston's work at Hidcote, Gloucestershire (qv) and the garden he left in 1977 has been maintained, restored and developed within the existing framework by his son, Robin Compton.


The park is largely open pasture land with scattered trees. On the east side of the Hall a pond of irregular shape lies within a clump of trees c 400m east of the building, and to the north a finger of woodland called Icehouse Wood extends from the Hall for c 500m as far as Scour Gutter which is a drainage dyke running along the west and north side of the park. A band of planting on the south-east side of the site extends along the north bank of the Ure, and is called Bragget Wood. The home farm, on the north side of the site and outside the registered area, is screened by a patch of woodland called Dark Walk Wood within the register boundary.

The church of Christ the Consoler (listed grade I) lies in the north-east corner of the park c 1.3km north-east of the Hall. The building, designed by William Burges 1871-6 for Lady Mary Vyner, is within a churchyard planted with weeping beech trees and yews. The spire rising above the trees is a focal point for views north and east across the park, and the view is backed by a band of woodland north-east of the church which extends along the north-east boundary to the eastern entrance.

A map drawn up by Thomas White in 1766 represents proposals for the landscaping of the park, not all of which were executed. The pond within a clump of trees is shown, and woodland to the north and south-east of the Hall is shown as an encircling belt with a band of trees joining Icehouse Wood, Dark Walk Wood and Bragget Wood east of the pond. This arrangement conforms with what is shown on an estate map of 1772 and broadly with the pattern of tree cover shown on the 1856 OS map. An outer ring of woodland, to the east, is shown enclosing parkland on the White map. A band of woodland along the curving line of Scour Gutter c 1.3km north-north-east of the Hall is called The Carrs and although it is shown on the 1772 map the area it encloses is not shown as part of the park and seemingly never has been parkland since. It is outside the registered area. An area White shows enclosed by the outer circle of woodland on the south and central eastern parts of the park are simply shown as fields on the 1772 map but the 1856 OS map shows that planting enclosing parkland had been instituted broadly along the lines suggested by White along the east and south-east boundaries.

On the north-west side of the site the land on the north side of the approach from Givendale Lodge has a band of woodland called De Grey Wood, and the area on the south side is open pasture. This area is not within the park shown by White, who prepared his plan before either of the lodges were built, but is shown as parkland on the 1856 OS map.


Rectangular walled kitchen gardens lie c 300m south-east of the Hall alongside the Ure. They are grassed with a canal running east/west through the southern half of the enclosures. A restaurant and children's playground have been introduced, late C20. White shows a rectangular enclosure in this area, and the 1772 map shows the gardens divided into three compartments.


Country Life, 19 (20 January 1906), pp 90-8; 81 (12 June 1937), pp 658-64; 165 (7 June 1979), pp 1802-6; (14 June 1979), pp 1918-21

C Morris (editor), The Journeys of Celia Fiennes (1948)

N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Yorkshire The West Riding (1959), pp 375-6

D Turnbull, Thomas White (1739-1811): Eighteenth Century Landscape Designer and Arboriculturist, (University of Hull DPhil thesis 1990, pp 267-8, 276-9, 287-90, 498)

Newby Hall and Gardens, guidebook, (R Compton 1997)


Thomas White, A Plan of Alterations Designed for Newby the Seat of William Weddell Esq, 1766

Flintoff, Estate Map, 1772

OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1856; 1928 edition

OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1909; 1929 edition

Description written: October 1998

Edited: October 1999

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

The site is open to public visitors. Please see:



Mr & Mrs Richard Compton

Newby Hall, HG4 5AE

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):


In the 13th century the Nubie family owned land in the area. By the 17th century Newby belonged to Sir Jordan Crossland who sold it to Sir Edward Blackett in 1689. Blackett laid out extensive gardens which were possibly designed by an assistant of London & Wise, Peter Aram (active 1690), who was Blackett's head gardener, and these are illustrated in a view of 1707 by Knyff and Kip (guidebook, 3). A description written in 1697 by Celia Fiennes (Morris 1948) corresponds well with what is shown in the engraving. The estate remained in the Blackett family until 1748 when it was sold to William Weddell, who died in 1792. An estate map drawn up for Weddell in 1772 shows a layout by Thomas White (1736-1811), illustrated in an earlier map of 1766, in its executed form. The estate passed to Weddell's cousin, the third Lord Grantham and Earl de Grey, who gave it to his younger daughter Mary who married Henry Vyner of Gautby. It subsequently passed through the female line to the Compton family and remains in private ownership (1998).


  • 18th Century
  • Late 18th Century
Associated People
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens

  • Reference: GD2069
  • Grade: II*


  • Folly
  • Rose Garden
  • Herbaceous Border
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The house was built under the guidance of Christopher Wren. The interior was designed later by Robert Adam.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • River
  • Description: The River Ure.
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential


18th Century





Open to the public


Civil Parish

Newby with