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Thursday, 10 January 2013


I had quite a leisurely time in Yorkshire.  richmond from maison dieu Colin unfortunately had to be at a hospital appointment last Thursday, so I took myself off in the car to Richmond, stopping on the way in to photograph the town from the road called Maison Dieu – House of God, because of an old chapel possibly to St Nicholas, or maybe because it was the road to nearby Easby Abbey.  Parking in the large square surrounding Trinity Church in the town centre I set off to do a bit of exploring. 

This Richmond was the first of all the Richmonds in the world!  The building of the huge castle on the ‘riche mont’ - the strong hill -  was begun a few years after the Norman Conquest of 1066 by a Norman knight who had been given the land (and a great deal more) by his kinsman William I – William the Conqueror.  richmond castle Apparently the tall keep wasn’t built until the 12th century when it was erected over the original gatehouse.

In the middle ages the town grew quite substantially, with 13 craft guilds controlling trade.  The Saturday market still takes place in the square about 550 years after its inception by royal charter in the15th century.

The town thrived in the Georgian period of the late 17th and 18th centuries and the old medieval houses of the town began to be knocked down and rebuilt, giving the town the appearance we know today. eichmond market place    

This is the top of the square, the market place with the Trinity Church tower and the 18th century obelisk that replaced the original market cross.  It was interesting to discover that there was (is?) a huge water tank below the obelisk, once providing the town’s water supply.  To our right of the white building near the centre of the photo is the King’s Head hotel, built in 1718 as a well to do family’s home, converted to a hotel in the  mid-18th century. Here was where wealthy visitors to the town stayed indulging in card parties, dances and other assemblies, and attending the horse racing that took place nearby.

top of market square The castle is almost behind and to the right of where I stood to take the picture above – this is the view of the castle as I turned around -  and has a walking path round the outside of the walls where visitors could promanade.  I decided to take a promenade of my own.  The castle stands way above the river Swale, on its riche-mont, so the views are generally ones looking down.  the culloden towerSeveral of the streets that lead down to the river are quite steep.  My path led behind the white house here on the right.    richmond rooftops




and here I could look down on one of the postern gates built in the old town wall.  In the distance on the green hill you can see, in both photos, the Culloden tower, built to commemorate the victory of the Hanoverians over the Jacobites at the battle of Culloden (CullODDen) in 1746.

Richmond Green A little further on there was the view of Richmond Green where in the middle ages a tannery, a brewery, several mills and a nail makers were found.  When I was living in Yorkshire over 25 years ago, I would come to Richmond often to shop, and got to know the town reasonably well.  The tree you can see in the middle of the green replaced the tree I remember!  Can’t remember what happened to it though.  Did it fall down or was it cut down?  I only remember it going, and the green being covered with branches of it.  Later they planted a new tree – the one there now.  It’s quite a bit bigger now than it was!

richmond bridge2 Green Bridge, so called because it is pretty near the Green, is an interesting bridge.  When it was built in the 18th century two different  builders were charged with the building of it.  richmond bridge askrigg lancaster

They obviously didn’t communicate too well with each other as the parapet can be seen to be two stone blocks high to the middle of the bridge from one side, and three smaller stone blocks high from the other side!  (I took this photo on a previous visit). 

castle walk Continuing along the Castle Walk the walls are high on your left, while views to the river are obscured with trees these days.  Shame really!  The river with Billy Bank Wood on its far side, then the waterfalls further along would have been lovely to look at from this height, but I couldn’t get a clear enough view.  richmond castle

Then turning away from the river the buildings of the town come into view, and the path ends at the gate to the castle.  (No apologies for showing this photo twice)

So!  There were so many other things I could have gone to see in Rchmond, and already I am compiling a list of them for next time – places of interest; views of interest……

Talk again soon. 


Peggy said...

What a lovely town and the castle walk looks divine!

Evelyn/Ev/Evee said...

Hi Peggy, Yes, Richmond is a lovely town. I love the Georgian style of architecture. Next time I go down to visit Colin and take a ride up to Richmond I will take some more photos of the buildings and the views!
I think the castle walk would be lovely on a sunny summer day, but the trees in leaf would obscure even more of the river views.

Katrina said...

We always seemed to be there on a Saturday and it was mobbed. We must go again as we don't remember seeing the bridge, this time we won't be trailing wee boys with us!

Evelyn/Ev/Evee said...

Saturday is market day in Richmond, and I think just about everyone in Swaledale at least, comes to town! The Green and the bridge are a bit out of the way for the regular tourist, but it's worth going down one of the roads to have a closer look. There's a nice road along the riverside beneath the Castle Walk, that takes you to the Foss, dialect for waterfalls, probably comes from the word Force.