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HOW HILL TOWER

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  CHAPEL OF ST MICHAEL DE MONTE
DESCRIPTION + /

A chantry chapel and folly situated on How Hill, south of Studley Royal Park. The Chantry Chapel of St Michel de Monte was constructed circa 1200 and rebuilt by Abbot Huby circa 1495-1526 but then fell into ruins until John Aislabie incorporated it into his garden scheme at Studley Royal Park. This was the first garden building to be built by Aislabie and its construction is documented in letters he wrote in 1719. The Canal (Monument HOB UID 1093044) was aligned onto this feature. It is also likely that the tower was designed by Sir John Vanbrugh which had been carefully placed to set off the ruins and to form a backdrop to them. The tower was originally a two-storeyed square building with a cantilevered roof of pyramidical form, the only parallel for which so far discovered is at Castle Howard. The tower was used as a gaming house in 1737-8 and the chapel ruins were converted and reused as farm outbuildings during the later 18th century. The outbuildings resemble a nave to the tower from a distance.

On the western and northern flanks of How Hill are a series of earthworks. To the west is a substantial bank extending north-south for 150 metres forming a boundary between the chapel and the agricultural land to the west and may have originally defined the curtilage of the chapel. Earthwork terraces and platforms lie between the bank and the hilltop. Two areas of ridge and furrow survive to the west of the bank.

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