Richmond, North Yorkshire

Richmond is a market town and civil parish in North Yorkshire, England and the administrative centre of the district of Richmondshire. Historically in the North Riding of Yorkshire, it is situated on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and one of the park's tourist centres.[2] Richmond is the most duplicated UK placename, with 56 occurrences worldwide.[3]


Historic Richmond, with its Norman castle
Location within North Yorkshire
Population8,413 (2011 census)[1]
OS grid referenceNZ170009
 London210 mi (340 km) SSE
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtDL10
Dialling code01748
PoliceNorth Yorkshire
FireNorth Yorkshire
EU ParliamentYorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament

The Rough Guide describes the town as 'an absolute gem'.[4][5][6] Betty James wrote that "without any doubt Richmond is the most romantic place in the whole of the North East [of England]".[7] Richmond was named UK town of the year in 2009.

The Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond, built in 1788, is the UK's most complete 18th century theatre.[8] Stage 3 of the Tour de Yorkshire in May 2018 started in Richmond and finished in Scarborough.[9][10]


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. 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.[11]

Richmond was founded in 1071[12] by Breton Alan Rufus on lands granted to him by William the Conqueror, though it was called Hindrelag initially.[13] 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 English Civil War, the Covenanter Army led by David Leslie, Lord Newark took over the castle, and conflict ensued between local Catholics and Scottish Presbyterians.

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.[14] One of Europe's first gas works was built in the town in 1830.[12] A permanent military presence was established in the town with the completion of Richmond Barracks in 1877.[15]

Panorama of Richmond falls, close to the town centre


Richmond Castle in the town centre overlooks the River Swale and is a major tourist attraction.[16][17] Scolland's Hall is the gatehouse and was staffed by the Lords of Bedale, such as Bryan FitzAlan, Lord FitzAlan, and Miles Stapleton, Founder KG.[16] Other staff residences were Constable Burton and Thornton Steward. Also, Richmond had an extended Wensleydale castlery initially consisting of Middleham Castle, Ravensworth and Snape (Baron FitzHugh & Neville Baron Latymer). The Conyers, Wyville, Gascoigne, Stapleton and Lovell families were all notable gentry.

The cobbled market place is one of the largest in England.[12]

The Green Howards Regimental Museum is in the old Trinity Church in the centre of the town's market place;[18] the town is also home to the Richmondshire Museum.[19]

Swale House on Frenchgate, built around 1750, was home to the headmaster and students of the nearby grammar school, before being used as a hospital for wounded officers in the First World War. For many years, it was the headquarters of Richmondshire District Council, before being closed and sold off in 2013.[20]

The Georgian Theatre Royal, founded in 1788 by the actor Samuel Butler, is 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. It is one of Britain's oldest extant theatres.[4]

To the west of the town, on the road to Marske, is the unusually named Richmond Out Moor.[21] Nearby the town is the picturesque Easby Abbey.[22] Adjacent to the Abbey is Easby Hall which was built in 1729.

Media and filmography

Richmond has been used as a filming location for a significant number of TV programmes and films including The Fast Show, Century Falls, Earthfasts, A Woman of Substance (1984) and All Creatures Great and Small.

Local newspapers include the weekly Darlington & Stockton Times and the daily Northern Echo.[23]


The town is home to two secondary schools: Richmond School—a large school and sixth form with specialisms in Performing Arts, Science and Maths—and St Francis Xavier School, which is a smaller, voluntary aided, joint Roman Catholic and Church of England School[24] for boys and girls aged 11–16. There are also three non-sectarian primary schools: Richmond Methodist, Richmond C of E and St Mary's Roman Catholic School.[25]


Tourism is important to the local economy, but the single largest influence is the Catterick Garrison army base, which is rapidly becoming the largest population centre in Richmondshire.[26]

In the town centre there are many independent shops, as well as a small Co-op, WH Smith, Boots, Heron Foods and Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

The Station food, film and art centre admits 300,000 tourists a year.[27] It was formerly Richmond railway station. It has a restaurant, cinema, art gallery and heritage centre, as well as a bakery, cheese-maker, micro brewery, ice-cream parlour, fudge house and honey-maker.[27]


The stone terminus of Richmond Railway Station, built in a Tudor/Elizabethan style, opened in 1846 and closed in 1968, a year before the branch line itself was taken out of service. After the station closed, the building was used for many years as a garden centre. It has now been 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.[29] The newly renovated station is home to two cinema screens, an art gallery and a restaurant and café. There are also artisan food makers on the premises: The Angel's Share, Archer's Jersey Ice Cream, Lacey's Cheese, Richmond Brewing Company and Velvet Heaven.

Richmond has bus services include those to Darlington, Catterick Garrison, Leyburn, Northallerton and Barnard Castle.[30][31]

The legend of the drummer boy

At the end of the 18th century soldiers found an entrance to a tunnel underneath the castle keep. As they couldn't fit into the tunnel, they elected to send in a regimental drummer boy who was told to walk along the tunnel beating his drum so that the soldiers could follow the noise above ground. They did this for 3 miles before the sound stopped. The disappearance of the boy was never explained.[32]

Notable people

Born in Richmond


Nearby settlements

Twinned locations


  1. UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Richmond Parish (1170217184)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  2. "Richmond". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  3. Amos, Mike (28 May 2013). "Town crier". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  4. Andrews, Robert; Teller, Matthew (August 2004). The Rough Guide to Britain. Rough Guides. pp. 659–. ISBN 978-1-84353-301-6. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  5. "Weekend Woman's Hour". Woman's Hour. 10 July 2010. BBC Radio 4.
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  7. A kingdom by the sea : an exploration of Northumberland, Durham and the North Riding of Yorkshire James, Betty. p150
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  14. Fletcher, Terry (16 April 2013). "Ten reasons to love Richmond". Retrieved 30 April 2018.
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  19. Barnard, Ashley (25 August 2013). "Joy for Richmondshire Museum as visitor numbers surge". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  20. "Councillors say goodbye to historic offices after final meeting". Northern Echo. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  21. "304" (Map). Darlington & Richmond. 1:25,000. Explorer. Ordnance Survey. 2015. ISBN 9780319245569.
  22. "Richmond and Easby Abbey". Gazette Live. 4 December 2009. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  23. Amos, Owen (20 March 2009). "Darlington and Stockton Times goes tabloid – Press Gazette". Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  24. "About - St Francis Xavier School". Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  25. "Browse school information for your area". Retrieved 30 April 2018.
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