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Robinson's Guide to Richmond (1833)

Part 11


THE views about Richmond, which claim the attention of the tourist, are so many and varied, that it is difficult to make a selection for description. Almost from any side of the town the scenery is beautiful; but as a sort of Guide to strangers, it may not be amiss, briefly to describe those which may be considered the most attractive.

I. The view of Richmond Castle from above the bridge, has its peculiar beauties above any other by reason of the spectator's low situation. From this point the castle is a magnificent object in the landscape, being so much elevated above the beholder. To the left is seen part of the town, while Trinity Church, the Friary and the Cross in the Market-place, agreeably break the line of house tops, running to the left. Nearer the foreground, the Bridge is a good object, contrasting with the picturesque cottages adjoining, and situated close to the edge of the river. Further to the left is seen Yorke's Tower, or Summer house, on the summit of the hill, partially hid from view by the trees which surround it, this naturally forms the boundary of the picture to the left. To the right is a beautiful sloping wood, the foliage of which appears to overhang the bridge, and forms an excellent boundary on the other side of the picture.

II. The next view I shall attempt to describe is that from the foot-road leading to Hudswell, along the top of the wood. This is quite a panoramic view of Richmond, and has been considered strikingly fine by lovers of picturesque scenery; it commands a prospect of all the country round to the north and east-bounded by the Hambledon Hills. In this view, like all the others described, the castle is a prominent object in the centre of the picture. The river, winding in a serpentine course amidst richly wooded banks, gives to this landscape a delightful charm.

III. From the top of the hill to the south, opposite the bridge, we have a good view of the castle: from this point it may be seen to great perfection. Mr Turner, the celebrated landscape painter, made a drawing from this spot, to illustrate Whitaker's Richmondshire, and his choice of the station is a sufficient precedent for pointing it out.

IV. In a field about two hundred yards above the Clink Pool, we have a good subject for the pencil; the castle being considerably elevated, and in an evening in the summer season, when in shadow, it casts a very deep gloom over the surrounding objects beneath, while the foreground, and the trees on the other side of the river, are tinged with the golden rays of the setting sun. This view has something of the Swiss character about it, and is generally selected for sketching, by strangers, being quite of a different character from any of the other views described. From the road, over the Clink Pool, is another though more distant view of the same subject, and although the latter was selected by Mr. Turner for a drawing, I think the one described above equally good.

V. The views from the Gallow Fields* should not be omitted. From this side of the town the castle and houses appear to stand in a valley, and the eye extends over a rich tract of well wooded country for many miles to the east. Easby Abbey may be seen from this point, and being of a warm grey colour, it forms an agreeable contrast to the surrounding wooded scenery. The river is also seen winding its course close past the venerable ruins and is abruptly lost in the wood beyond.

* The name of these Fields, and of the Gallow Hill, near Bowes, is explained by an ancient record preserved in Gale's Register of the Honor of Richmond, from which we learn that the ancient Earls claimed the high prerogatives of "Infangtheof and Utfangtheof, with a Gallows at Richmond and at Bowes." Happily for society, these petty exclusive Jurisdictions have now entirely ceased throughout the Kingdom.

VI. There is a very pleasing view of Richmond and the surrounding country from the western extremity of the West Field, and well worth the attention of the tourist. From this place the Round Howe, and the rocky banks of the Swale, have a highly picturesque effect. The winding course of the river, through, or rather round, Yorke's Grounds, add much to the beauty of the landscape, though in composing a picture, this view is meagre and formal in the foreground, for want of a sufficient quantity of wood.

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