Places

Richmond

Discover Richmond

Discover Richmond Founded by the Normans in 1071, Richmond is a vibrant market town.

It’s the Original Richmond, with 56 other Richmonds around the world named after it.

Visitors love the impressive castle keep, riverside setting and elegant Georgian architecture.

The fast-flowing River Swale meanders around the edge of the town offering lovely riverside walks from the former Station to the waterfall, the ruins of Easby Abbey or through Billy Banks Woods, which climb steeply above the river to Round Howe.

It’s no surprise that Richmond attracts so many artists – the views are stunning. The surrounding countryside delights walkers and cyclists alike.

Richmond is a gateway to the rugged beauty of Swaledale, and the Northern Yorkshire Dales.

Richmond 950

In 2021 in Richmond, the castle and the town celebrated a big birthday - as the town reached 950 years old!

About Richmond, North Yorkshire

Richmond is a market town and civil parish in North Yorkshire, England and the administrative centre of the district of Richmondshire, which was an invented "shire" created by the Local Government Act 1972 amalgamatic several rural district councils into one local authority.

Richmondshire District Council is based in the town, at the site of the former Lower School of the town's Richmond School.

Historically in the North Riding of Yorkshire, it is 16 miles from the county town of Northallerton and situated on the eastern edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and is one of the park's tourist centres.

The population of Richmond according to the 2011 United Kingdom census was 8,413.

The Rough Guide describes the town as 'an absolute gem'.

Betty James wrote that "without any doubt Richmond is the most romantic place in the whole of the North East [of England]".

Richmond was the winner of the Academy of Urbanism's "Great Town" award in 2009.

History of Richmond

The town of Richemont, in Normandy (now in the Seine-Maritime département of the Upper Normandy region) was the origin of the place name Richmond.

It is the most duplicated UK place name, with 56 occurrences worldwide.

Richmond in North Yorkshire was the Honour of Richmond of the Earls of Richmond (or comtes de Richemont), a dignity also held by the Duke of Brittany from 1136 to 1399.

Richmond was founded in 1071 by Breton Alan Rufus on lands granted to him by William the Conqueror, though it was called Hindrelag initially.

Richmond Castle was completed in 1086 with a keep and walls encompassing the area now known as the Market Place.

Richmond was part of the lands of the earldom of Richmond, which was intermittently held by the Dukes of Brittany until the 14th century.

John V, Duke of Brittany died in 1399, and Henry IV took possession.

In 1453, the earldom was conferred on Edmund Tudor, and it was merged with the crown when Edmund's son became King Henry VII in 1485.

During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, the Covenanter Army led by David Leslie, Lord Newark took over the castle, and conflict ensued between local Catholics and Scottish Presbyterians.

In 1608, Robert Willance became the first alderman of Richmond, two years prior in 1606, whilst hunting on the nearby Whitcliffe Scar, the horse Willance was riding became nervous when thick mist descended, bolting over the edge and falling over 200 feet (61 m) to the valley floor, Willance survived this fall with a broken leg and erected a monument on top of the cliff as a show of gratitude for his survival. Willance died in 1616.

The site of Willance's Leap is a great place for a walk, in modern times, offering terrific views over Swaledale.

The prosperity of the medieval town and centre of the Swaledale wool industry greatly increased in the late 17th and 18th centuries with the burgeoning lead mining industry in nearby Arkengarthdale.

It is from this period that the town's Georgian architecture originates, the most notable examples of which are to be found on Newbiggin and in Frenchgate.

One of Europe's first gas works was built in the town in 1830. A permanent military presence was established in the town with the completion of Richmond Barracks in 1877.

During the First World War, Richmond's own Green Howards Regiment raised 24 battalions for the war effort, the castle assumed a role as a barracks and training camp for new recruits and members of the Non-Combatant Corps, in 1915, the first troops occupied the area south of Richmond in what was to become Catterick Camp, the planning of which was commissioned by Lord Baden Powell during his residence at the town's barracks.

In 1916, a group of "absolutist" conscientious objectors known as the Richmond Sixteen were held at the castle after refusing to undertake even non-combatant military duties.

After being transported to France, they were court-martialled and formally sentenced to be executed by firing squad, but this sentence was immediately commuted to ten years' penal servitude, and the men were eventually released in 1919.

Richmond Castle's 19th-century cell block continued to be used to house prisoners into the Second World War. Visitors to the castle can still see their graffiti scratched into the cell walls today.

In June 1927, Richmond was a centre line of totality during a solar eclipse, the event is marked with a plaque at the top of Reeth Road.

Notable People of Richmond

Born in Richmond

  • Rob Andrew, former rugby union international and director of Newcastle Falcons RUFC
  • Peter Auty, opera singer who sang the song Walking In The Air from the TV film The Snowman
  • George Bell, publisher, founder of George Bell & Sons
  • Amanda Sonia Berry, CEO of BAFTA
  • Francis Blackburne, archdeacon and dissenter
  • John Brasse, writer
  • William Brice, ethnographer
  • Samuel and Nathaniel Buck, engravers and printmakers
  • George Cuitt the Younger, painter
  • George Errington, Roman Catholic archbishop
  • John James Fenwick, founder of Fenwick's department stores
  • Henry Greathead, inventor of the lifeboat
  • Anthony Hammond, legal writer
  • Thomas Harrison, architect
  • Herbert Sedgwick, first class cricketer
  • Theo Hutchcraft, one half of synth-pop duo, Hurts
  • Francis Johnson, dissenter
  • John Lawrence, 1st Baron Lawrence, viceroy of India
  • Robert Lawrence Ottley, theologian
  • Zoe Lee, European champion rower and Olympic silver medalist
  • George McGuigan, rugby player
  • Conyers Middleton, clergyman
  • Tanya Bardsley, model
  • Tim Rodber, rugby union international
  • Edward Roper, first class cricketer
  • Fran Summers, model
  • James Tate, headmaster
  • Thomas Taylor, clergyman

Notable Richmond Residents

  • Lord Baden-Powell, Founder of the scouting movement.
  • Robert Barclay Allardice, pedestrian, educated at Richmond School.
  • John Bathurst, physician to Oliver Cromwell.
  • Marcus Beresford, Primate of All Ireland.
  • Lewis Carroll, author, attended Richmond School, lived in nearby Croft-on-Tees.
  • Henry Butler Clarke, historian of Spain
  • J. R. Cohu, headmaster of Richmond School.
  • Edward Ellerton, educational philanthropist, educated at Richmond School.
  • Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, British Prime Minister. Educated at Richmond School.
  • Brenda Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond, a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
  • Angela Harris, Baroness Harris of Richmond, Deputy Speaker in the House of Lords.
  • Thomas Hounsfield, first class cricketer.
  • Samuel Howitt, painter.
  • Peter Inge, Baron Inge, former head of the British army and colonel of the Green Howards (1982–1994).
  • Joanne Jackson, Olympic swimmer.
  • Philip Mayne, last surviving British officer of the First World War.
  • William Young Ottley, writer on art and collector. Educated at Richmond School.
  • George Peacock, mathematician, attended a school in Richmond, one of "Tate's invincibles".
  • Donald Peers, singer.
  • James Raine, antiquarian, educated at Richmond School, one of "Tate's invincibles".
  • Peter Robinson, author, DCI Banks series
  • Thomas Sedgwick, clergyman.
  • Richard Sheepshanks, astronomer. Educated at Richmond School, one of "Tate's invincibles".
  • T. H. Stokoe, head of Richmond school.
  • Mackenzie Thorpe, artist.
  • Stanley Vann, composer.
  • John Warburton, herald and antiquary.
  • Tim Clissold, author.

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