The extraordinary exuberance of Christ the Consoler makes an immediate impact on the visitor. Built in 1871-76, it stands as an extravagant memorial to a young man, Frederick Vyner, who was murdered by brigands while travelling in Greece.
His mother used the money collected for his ransom to commission the famous Victorian architect, William Burges, to build this church in the grounds of her home at Newby Hall. Standing inside the gates of the park, and surrounded by huge beech trees, the outside is impressive, with its lofty spire, pinnacles and fine rose window. The design is based on mediaeval French church architecture, but with Burges’s unique interpretation.
The interior is wonderfully rich and colourful, with each window containing stained glass in strong and vibrant colours. Every detail here repays attention: the carvings on the corbels and on the organ case, the coloured sculptures over the chancel arch depicting the Ascension, the carvings of the chancel stalls and the fine pavement. Colours and details become progressively more opulent as you approach the east end. Burges employed the best craftsmen of the day to work here, and everywhere you look there are examples of their skill. Excellent carving in stone and wood, lovely metalwork, and the finest quality sculpture enrich the walls. Everything is on a magnificent scale; the effect is almost overwhelming. And yet, for all its splendour, you cannot forget the tragic circumstances out of which this church was built.
The Church is open daily during daylight hours.