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Richmond is a market town and civil parish on the River Swalemarker in North Yorkshire, Englandmarker and is the administrative centre of the district of Richmondshiremarker. Situated on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Parkmarker, it is a popular tourist destination, with a total population of 8970 .



The town of Richemontmarker in Normandy (now in the Seine-Maritimemarker département, Haute-Normandiemarker region) was the origin of the name Richmond. This Richmond was the eponymous honour of the Earls of Richmond (or comtes de Richemont), a dignity normally also held by the Duke of Brittany from 1136 to 1399.

Early history

Richmond was founded in 1071 by the Norman, Alan Rufus, on lands granted to him by William the Conqueror. Richmond Castle, completed in 1086, consisted of a keep with walls encompassing the area now known as the Market Place.

The constitutional ambiguity of Dukes of Brittany as vassals of both Valois Francemarker (in right of Brittany) and Plantagenet Englandmarker (in right of Richmond) was the source of much tension in Breton and Northern English history, particularly during the great Breton War of Succession and Wars of the Roses.

Richmond was eventually willed by Francis II, Duke of Brittany to Henry VII of England, whose grandson Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset was independent Richmond's first duke, to distinguish from an earlier junior status as county. Richmondshire's unification with the Principality of Wales and Kingdom of England into England and Wales was part of the same period as the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542, paralleled by the 1532 Union between Brittany and France, under Francis III, Duke of Brittany. Richmondshire had previous participation in the Statute of Rhuddlan, during which preceding conflict the Lord of Bedale became a seasoned soldier that aided in his promotion to a Viceroy of Edward I in the Scottish Lowlands. Richmond has been joined with the Welsh Marches since the time of Esmé Stewart, 3rd Duke of Lennox and Richmond's relations with Merciamarker, go back to the time when Edwin, Earl of Mercia, held the old manor of Gilling Westmarker (an enclave within Northumbriamarker), that was moved by the Bretons to Richmond.

Richmond's inclusion into the royal body politic of England was opposed by locals for over a century, through numerous plots and rebellions, Spanish confederations and Jesuit missions, finally cracking in the Civil War period. The most notable personages of this faction, were the Lords Baltimore, who had to retreat to Ireland and the American colonies for their peace of religion.

The prosperity of the medieval market town and centre of the Swaledalemarker wool industry greatly increased in the late 17th and 18th centuries with the burgeoning lead mining industry in nearby Arkengarthdalemarker. It is from this period that the town's attractive Georgian architecture originates, the most notable examples of which are to be found on Newbiggin and in Frenchgate .

Scottish relations

Conan IV, Duke of Brittany married Margaret of Huntingdon, whose brother William I of Scotland was prisoner in the castle keep after the Battle of Alnwick marker. At the Battle of Old Bylandmarker, Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland led an assault on Richmond and this resulted in the capture of John of Brittany, Earl of Richmond. After the last Tudor Richmond, Ludovic Stewart, 2nd Duke of Lennox became magnate here. During the English Civil War, the Covenanter Army led by David Leslie, Lord Newark, took over the castle; there was conflict between local Catholics and Scottish Presbyterians.


Richmond Castle
Richmond Castlemarker situated in the town centre overlooking the River Swale is a major tourist attraction.

Scolland's Hall is the gatehouse and was staffed by the Lords of Bedalemarker, such as Bryan FitzAlan, Lord FitzAlan, and Miles Stapleton, Founder KG. Other staff residences were Constable Burtonmarker and Thornton Stewardmarker. Also, Richmond had an extended Wensleydale castlery initially consisting of Middleham Castlemarker, Ravensworthmarker and Snapemarker (Baron FitzHugh & Neville Baron Latymer). The Conyersmarker, Wyvillemarker, Gascoigne, Stapletonmarker and Lovell families were all notable gentry.

The Green Howards Regimental Museummarker is based in the old Trinity Church in the centre of the town's market place; the town is also home to the Richmondshire Museummarker. The Georgian Theatre, founded in 1788 by the actor, Samuel Butler, is just off the market place. A decline in the fortunes of theatre led to its closure in 1848 and it was used as a warehouse for many years. In 1963 the theatre was restored and reopened, with a theatre museum added in 1979. More recently, the theatre has become the Georgian Theatre Royal and was extended in 2003 with the addition of a new block providing services and access next to the original auditorium.

view from Frenchgate

Media and filmography

Richmond has been used as a filming location for a significant number of TV programmes & films including The Fast Show, Century Falls, Earthfasts, A Woman of Substance and All Creatures Great and Small amongst others.

Fresh Radio, the local radio station for the Yorkshire Dalesmarker, broadcasts programmes from studios in Richmond.

Local newspapers include the weekly Darlington & Stockton Times and the daily Northern Echo.


The town is home to two secondary schools: Richmond Schoolmarker and St Francis Xavier School. There are also three non-sectarian primary schools: Richmond Methodist, Richmond C of E and St Marys Catholic School.


The fine stone terminus of Richmond Railway Stationmarker, built in a Tudor/Elizabethan style, opened in 1846 and closed in 1968, shortly before the railway line itself was taken out of service. After the station closed, the building was used for many years as a garden centre. It is now being renovated by the Richmondshire Building Preservation Trust and opened in late 2007 - retitled, simply, The Station - as a mixed-use space for community and commercial activities.

Richmond has a frequent bus service to Darlington and Catterick Garrison, and a wide range of local bus services to nearby towns and villages including Leyburn, Northallerton and Barnard Castle.

There have been many places around the world named Richmond after this town.


A town as old as Richmond is bound to have generated some legends over the years and one of those attached to Richmond is that of the Drummer Boy.

Nearly 200 years ago some soldiers found an entrance to a tunnel near the castle keep. They could not fit into the tunnel so they elected to send a regimental drummer boy. The boy was asked to walk along the tunnel and beat his drum so that above ground the soldiers could follow the noise. They did this for 3 miles before the sound stopped unexpectedly. This was never explained and today a stone marks the spot the noise stopped. More confusingly the entrance can also not be found. Today schools celebrate this local legend with children marching through town annually. Legend claims that on some cold nights you can hear the faint sound of the drummer boy still.

They also say that the Drummer Boy died in the tunnel as he was testing it, because he got stuck and he was left there and never found again, alive.

Nearby settlements

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