Ripon Cathedral & Bell Banks (Sharow)

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Ripon Cathedral & Bell Banks (Sharow)

Turner visited Ripon at least twice: in 1797 when making his first tour of Yorkshire and again in 1816 when making illustrations for Whitaker's history of York series.

Ripon Minster, not yet a Cathedral at the time of Turner's visits, was the focus of his sketches of Ripon.  Dominating the Ripon skyline, this wonderfully atmospheric building continues to inspire, with the likes of Lewis Carroll and Wilfred Owen enthused following their visits.

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Turner's Viewpoint

In 1797, Turner concentrated on views of the old Ure Bridge (Ripon: The Ure Bridge and the Minster from the North, Tate Gallery, Finberg number: XXXVI D) and the Minster from various aspects, including one particularly fine record of the view of the west front as seen down the still-picturesque street of Kirkgate (Ripon Cathedral from Kirkgate, 'Tweed and Lakes' sketchbook, Tate Gallery, Finberg number: XXXV 8).  He made two of his most complete drawings of the whole tour from within the Minster, including one the captures the crossing and nave from the north transept while the other records the crossing and choir screen from a bench at the base of the column at the junction of transept and north aisle (Ripon Cathedral: Choir Screen and South Transept from the North Transept, 'Tweed and Lakes' sketchbook, Tate Gallery, Finberg number: XXXV 6).

In 1816, although Turner made a number of close up studies of the Minster (Ripon Cathedral, from South-West, 'Yorkshire 1' sketchbook, Tate Gallery, Finberg number: CXLIV 36a), he was looking for a more distant view.  He returned to the Ure Bridge (Bridge with a Number of Arches; Ripon Cathedral in Distance, 'Yorkshire 3' sketchbook, Tate Gallery, Finberg number: CXLVI 8) and also ventured further afield, possibly with local guidance, to a fine viewpoint called Bell Banks on the north bank of the River Ure near Sharow.  This spot is only now visited by those with local knowledge, but Turner sketched it several times (Ripon Cathedral, from the River Ure, 'Yorkshire 3' sketchbook, Tate Gallery, Finberg number: CXLVI 9).  It seems clear that he was planning a finished watercolour of this view, though none appears to have been completed.

Discover The Landscape

The Turner Trails bench and panel are located within the grounds of Ripon Cathedral.

Turner's Religious Houses

Listen to Episode 4 of our Turner podcast series when Turner expert, Professor David Hill, is joined by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, as they look at Turner's sketches and paintings of Yorkshire's historic religious houses.

The Venue


Minster Road, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 1QS‎

Map reference: SE313711

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Directions to Ripon Cathedral & Bell Banks (Sharow):

4 miles west of the A1 on the A61 to Ripon. View from Bell Banks: From the A1, follow A61 to 1st roundabout and bear left, signposted Sharow.

Bell Bank is only accessible by foot and a footpath leads off Sharow Lane which can be followed down to the river (no parking available).