A view backstage at Beverley Minster

York branch of Guild of Vergers visit to Sledmere

Approaching Sledmere House
Tuesday 6th September 2011
Way up in the windswept wilds of the Yorkshire Wolds is an oasis of calm, rustic tranquillity that was carefully crafted by Capability Brown. Sledmere House, west of Driffield, was our destination for the day at the invitation of Sir Tatton Sykes and his brother.

The roof of the family chapel
They in turn were our guests at the Anglican communion service that  marked the beginning of our visit, which took place in their family’s Catholic chapel. After lunch nearly 30 vergers and family then enjoyed a specially arranged tour of the house which took us behind the roped-off areas. It was a considerable relief that we were allowed to sit in some of the many chairs and divans in this home which was painstakingly restored after a major fire in 1911.
One of the unusual features is an organ placed at the bottom of the central staircase which has pipes located in a cupola far above. Its ability to fill the house with sound was demonstrated by trip organiser and Branch Chairman, Richard Babington throughout our visit.
Next door to the house, but inaccessible from the estate itself, is the parish church of Sledmere, the maintenance of which the Sykes family has supported financially, despite their own Catholic faith.  An attractive building, it was left where it was when the rest of the village of Sledmere was relocated to improve the view for the masters of the House..

On a purely practical note, the signage around the entire estate was a model of simple, unobtrusive clarity and could usefully be copied by many churches that also cater for large visitor numbers.

For further information about the CEGV York branch or membership enquiries contact Branch Chairman Richard Babington on 01964 630263 or via


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