Project Description: One of the few great 18th century 'green gardens' to survive in its original form, the gardens, begun in 1716, comprise geometric pools, lawns and temples set in a wooded valley culminating in a view of the romantic ruins of Fountains Abbey. The estate includes a 400 acre deer park. Although Fountains Abbey was not added to Studley Royal until 1768, the garden had been designed with this authentic ruin as its inspiration. Founded in 1132 with most buildings dating from 1150 to 1250, Fountains Abbey remained active until the dissolution of religious orders by Henry VIII in the 16th century. Today, it is the most complete ruin of a Cistercian Abbey in England. Studley Royal's features include: Half Moon Pond - An enlargement of the River Skell where it swings west away from the Abbey ruins. Rustic Bridge - The bridge, the nearby Grotto and the Serpentine Tunnel cut through the hill beneath the Octagon Tower dates from the early 1730s. Temple of Fame - In the original plan a Rotunda was built next to the Banqueting House. In 1781, William Aislabie moved the Rotunda to its present site, reconstructed the superstructure in Adamesque style and renamed it the Temple of Fame. Drum Fall - Water falling down this slope can sometimes produce a regular drumming sound giving the fall its name. Temple of Piety - A Greek Doric temple originally dedicated to Hercules and started in 1740, William Aislabie re-dedicated it as a symbol of filial piety in 1742 which was soon after his father's death. The interior was finished in 1748 by Guiseppe Cortese, a York plasterer. With its backdrop of trees and reflection in the Moon Ponds, makes a dramatic viewpoint. Moon Pond - The Moon Pond with its flanking crescent basin provides the setting for three lead sculptures of Bacchus, Neptune and Endymion believed to have been made by the 18th century craftsman Andrew Carpenter. Banqueting House - Originally envisioned as an orangery, the building was probably designed by Colen Campbell. Later it was embellished as a Banqueting House with interior wood carving by Richard Fisher of York. Its exterior of rusticated stone is carved with sylvan masks, balustrades and other decorative elements. Octagon Tower - First built in severe Classical form, the tower was Gothicized when the parapet, pinnacles and porch were added in 1738. Cascade - The cascade and its fishing tabernacles were among the first garden structures to be built. The buildings are set on either side of the dam on the River Skell. The villa at the west end of the balustrade was added to the gardens in the early 19th century. The Lake - The Lake appears to be entirely of human construction. In Aislabie's time, a carriage road ran around the perimeter from the cascade to the main gates. Deer Park - Approximately 400 acres in which three species of deer, Red, Fallow and Manchurian Sika, are protected. Project History: Studley Royal was essentially designed by its owner, John Aislabie, and completed by his son William. They were assisted by chief gardeners, William Fisher, John Simpson and Robert Doe. John Aislabie inherited the estate in 1699. At that time he was Treasurer of the Navy. He later became Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1718 but his navy career was ended by the 'South Sea Bubble' disaster. After his release from the Tower of London in 1720, he returned to Yorkshire and made the garden at Studley Royal his life's work. From 1716 to 1730, the River Skell was dammed and channeled into a straight canal bordered by circular and half-moon shaped ponds which were placed asymmetrically. The floor of the valley was raised and leveled so as to contain the water, essentially turning the valley into a series of water parterres. This completed the basic layout of hills, turf embankments and ramps, gardens and vistas. After John Aislabie's death, his son William purchased Fountains Abbey and Fountains Hall and added them to the scheme. The Deer Park was established at the time John Aislabie acquired Studley Royal. He added native trees including elm, lime, beech, field maple, wild cherry and hawthorn and non-native species including sweet chestnut and horse chestnut. His main addition was the planting of avenues, such as the avenue of limes with an outer avenue of sweet chestnut which was put in on either side of the main drive. The garden and park were changed little in the late 18th and 19th centuries. The estate was preserved by the Vyner family (descendants of the Aislabies) until 1966 when the garden and park were purchased by West Riding County Council. The National Trust acquired the estate in 1983 and has restored much of the garden. Care of the Abbey is provided through English Heritage through a Deed of Guardianship arrangement. In 1992, a Visitor Centre was opened making it possible to extend footpaths and increase the scope of circular walks.