HOMEPAGE Yorkshire Wolds and East Riding Scenes

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11. Sledmere House, Museum, Gardens & St Mary's Church

Scenes from the Yorkshire Wolds, East Riding of Yorkshire

Sledmere House

Sledmere House and Gardens are near Driffield in East Yorkshire, on the B1253 minor road between Malton and Bridlington, England, which are open from Easter to September.

Sledmere House is a fine English country house at the heart of a thriving rural estate near the village of Sledmere.

The Sykes family, who have owned the house and estate since 1718, have welcomed visitors for over 200 years.

The Sykes family were merchants in 16th century Leeds, but the present house was started by Richard Sykes in 1751, who presumably demolished the earlier medieval manor house.

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Sledmere House: The house has landscaped gardens inspired by Capability Brown, fine examples of Chippendale, Sheraton and Hepplewhite furniture, 18th century porcelain, many fine paintings, wonderful plasterwork by Joseph Rose junior and the unique Turkish Room. After Richard Sykes, the next important builder ('developer') was agricultural reformer Sir Christopher Sykes who died in 1801, but left a restrained but noble late 18th century house.

The museum is free to go around and access to the cafe, but have to buy tickets to (i) tour the house, (ii) explore the grounds or (iii) an admission ticket for both the house and grounds.


Sledmere House: In 1911 Sledmere House was gutted in a disastrous fire but the Sykes family had the house rebuilt and restored to its former glory in every respect over the following five years under the restoration jurisdiction of Brierley.


Sledmere House: The box hedge of the formal gardens by the west side of the house, with its 'Hampton border'..


Sledmere House: The house and grounds can be hired as a magnificent venue for weddings and conferences and there are garden tours and planting design tours available courtesy of the Head Gardener and staff.


Sledmere House:


Sledmere House: The magnificent plaster work of the ceilings. The original interiors were by Joseph Rose who worked for Robert Adam.


Sledmere House: The beautiful pictures and paintings of the rooms


Sledmere House: The splendid design, decor and fittings of the Library, the architectural jewel of Sledmere House?


Sledmere House: The partial 'octagonal' external wall of the 1912 chapel and one of the stained glass windows in entrance passage to the chapel.


Sledmere House: In the post 1911 restoration after the major fire, the chapel was built in 1912 by the chief restorer Brierley. The chapel has an elaborately decorated ceiling.


Sledmere House: General view of the chapel with its supporting columns and altar.


Sledmere House: The brightly painted ceiling of the chapel.


Sledmere House: Two of the stained glass windows in the chapel.


Sledmere House: Two more stained glass windows of the chapel.

Sledmere House Gardens, Grounds and Park Land

Sledmere House: The views of the church, formal gardens and parkland through the windows of the house.


Sledmere House: The lake and fountain


Sledmere House: One of the grass paths you can follow to walk around the estate.


Sledmere House: There is a delightful park walk following paths around the extensive grounds and parkland of the Sledmere House estate. You cannot but not miss the huge herd of red deer (above) and lots of other wildlife.


Sledmere House: Looking down to the lake and fountain, with lots lovely trees around.


Sledmere House: The view of the beautiful landscaped parkland just makes you want to walk around it, which you can!


Sledmere House: The gardens at Sledmere are based around the walled garden built in 1786. The walled garden was originally designed as a kitchen garden to supply the Sledmere household as well as a place for recreation and rest. The walled garden now contains many climbing shrubs and hybrid tea roses and herbaceous borders.


Sledmere House: The gazebo and urn near the walled garden.


Sledmere House: Plenty of borders rich in flowers and shrubs.


Sledmere House: Beyond the flower borders are lots of trees in the surrounding parkland, much of which you can walk through.

Sledmere Museum

Sledmere House: The museum is divided into two parts. Firstly, as an introduction to Sledmere, there is a room full of illustrated displays of how the house and estate has developed (lower pictures) over the past ~300 years. The second room houses the museum of the Wagoners Special Reserve (upper pictures). From February 1913 to July 1914 around a thousand men from the East Yorkshire Wolds joined the Wagoners Special Reserve under the inspiration of Sir Mark Sykes (6th Baronet). These farm workers went to Northern France driving supply wagons to the troops at the front. The museum displays, photographs and memorabilia tell the story of these humble farm workers and their hard and grim life in World War I. See pictures of the Wagoners memorial further down the page.

Sledmere House Cafe

Sledmere House: The stables have been converted into the Terrace cafe and shop and you can also purchase plants from the nursery. The cafe serves a range of delicious range of home cooked food using local produce wherever possible. The building has an attractive yellow brick front with pairs of Tuscan columns carrying a pediment and the side bays have giant arches.

Sledmere House also has a playground near the picnic area.

The Triton Gallery

Sledmere House: Across the road from the entrance to Sledmere House are the buildings (e.g. barns) built as a model farm in the 1840s. One of the long buildings, which was meant as a stud stable built in 1834, has been converted into an art gallery, mainly for local artists.

Monuments and memorials in the Sledmere House area

The Waggoners/Wagoners' memorial, built in 1919 is a War Memorial to Sir Mark Sykes's Company of Wagoners. It consists of a large cylindrical centre carved with carved pictures, reliefs depicting the war stories of the army life of the Wagoners and this is surrounded by four decorated columns and the whole structure topped with a short spire. The carvings were done by Carlo Magnoni to the designs of Sir Mark Sykes himself.






The Eleanor Cross is by Temple Moore, erected by Sir Tatton Sykes in 1895. It is a copy of the Northampton (Hardingstone) Cross of 1291. Brasses have been added to convert this 'replica Eleanor Cross' into a War Memorial for the fallen of World War I.


Detail of the Eleanor Cross


Detail of the Eleanor Cross


St Mary's Church, Sledmere

St Mary's Church, Sledmere: The church is set in the grounds of Sledmere House, and built between 1897 and 1898 to designs by Temple Moore for Sir Tatton Sykes (1826-1913), son of Sir Tatton Sykes (died 1863) who were great restorers and builders of churches, apart from being owners of Sledmere House.


St Mary's Church, Sledmere: The church building is designed in the English medieval Decorated style but there are fragments built into the structure from an earlier medieval church e.g. the base of the tower. The porch and main entrance is on the south side, entering into the south aisle.


St Mary's Church, Sledmere: On the right the buttressed chancel.


St Mary's Church, Sledmere: The statues above the south porch entrance.


St Mary's Church, Sledmere: Detail of the porch statues.


St Mary's Church, Sledmere: Looking east down the nave to the rood screen separating the nave from the chancel. On the left, the pointed arches and pillars separating the nave from the north aisle.


St Mary's Church, Sledmere: The nave and chancel have wagon roofs.


St Mary's Church, Sledmere: One of the transepts with a small altar.


St Mary's Church, Sledmere: A good view of the stone vaulting supporting the roof of the aisle.


St Mary's Church, Sledmere: The aisles are vaulted with diagonally set ribs.


St Mary's Church, Sledmere: Detail of the aisle-nave arches and pillars.


St Mary's Church, Sledmere: Details of the pulpit and rood screen.


St Mary's Church, Sledmere: Details of the magnificent wooden vaulting supporting the upper section of the rood screen.


St Mary's Church, Sledmere: The stone rib vaulting beneath the tower.


St Mary's Church, Sledmere:


St Mary's Church, Sledmere: Looking into the richly decorated chancel and the east window with its elaborate tracery.


St Mary's Church, Sledmere: Some of the stained glass windows, mostly by H. V. Milner and some by Burlison & Grylls.

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