Places

Richmond Castle Facts

The Birthday Castle

Richmond Castle is a bold statement of great wealth and power and an incredible survival of an early 11th century stone castle. Strategically located in the centre of a vast estate, the castle was originally built to subdue the unruly North of England and is one of the greatest Norman fortresses in Britain.

The castle has a history that spans centuries, from the Norman Conquest to the First World War. Building was begun in 1071 by Alan Rufus, who had fought at the Battle of Hastings alongside William the Conqueror. A great symbol of power and status it is one of the finest and most complete 11th-century fortresses in the country. The keep, probably built by Count Alan’s great-nephew Conan in the mid-12th century still dominates the town’s skyline today offering breath-taking views.

The museum at Richmond Castle re-opened last year after a £300k refurbishment. The three year long project has seen the creation of a cleverly designed space which aims to better tell the story of the people who lived and worked at the castle on a daily basis throughout the ages. The museum features a series of new displays as well as engaging exhibits. In the summer of 2019 a new permanent exhibition opened at Richmond Castle, telling the story of its people, history and now living heritage. In the new museum space you will be able to learn about the castle's history, from the 11th century Norman conquest to its occupation by the northern Non-Combatant Corps during the First World War. Among other things the new exhibition will feature a series of new objects on display as well as an interactive area for children, telling the stories of some of the castle's most famous and less well known characters.

For more information on the history around Richmond Castle click here.

To book a special birthday trip to Richmond Castle in 2021 click here.

Top Facts

  • Building of the castle was begun in the 1070s by Alan Rufus, who had fought at the Battle of Hastings alongside William the Conqueror.
  • It is the best-preserved early Norman castle in England.
  • By the early 16th century the castle was derelict and it remained in ruins for 300 years.
  • In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, artists including JMW Turner were inspired by the castle’s ruin.
  • In the Victorian era, the castle became the headquarters of the North York Militia.
  • Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, briefly commanded here.
  • During the First World War the castle was occupied by the Northern Non-Combatant Corps, a unit for men who had asked for exemption from military service.
  • In 1916, 16 conscientious objectors from the Non-Combatant Corps were sent to France where they faced court martial for refusing to obey orders. They became known as the Richmond Sixteen

For more information, click here.