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Robinson's Guide to Richmond (1833)

Part 9

The Friary

THE FRIARY, Anciently tenanted by Franciscan, or Grey Friars, for whose residence it was founded, by Ralph Fitz Randal, lord of Middleham, in the year 1257. It now belongs to the Robinson family, whose substantial mansion stands near the ruins.

     There are scarcely any remains of the Friary;
     "Each Gothic arch, memorial stone,
     "And long, dim, lofty Aisle, are gone,"

except the Tower, a rich and elegant specimen of the latter English, or Tudor style, which may fairly be termed an architectural Bijou. It had been erected only a short time before the dissolution, and tradition reports that it never was finished. Two of the west windows of the south transept are yet standing, but the stone tracery has been broken down. The foundations of the Church, or that part of the building which was used for celebrating divine service, may be distinctly traced in droughty weather.

On the rising ground, to the north of the Friary, is Prior House, the residence of Thomas Ianson, Esq., and at the bottom of the noble Avenue, to the east of the ruins the mansion of Thomas Stapleton, Esq., appropriately named The Grove." In Ryder's Wynd, at a short distance, stands the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, a plain unpretending edifice, capable of containing about five hundred persons.

We often find the pages of Guide Books eked out with allusions to the melting emotions and sublime lucubrations excited by the examination of ancient ruins. The compiler of this little manual, being a plain spoken Yorkshireman, will not pretend to emulate these aforesaid sentimentalists; but he be believes that the quiet species of excitement which is congenial to many thinking minds, may often be successfully courted by a walk on that part of the terrace in Quaker Lane which commands a view of the Friary and Castle-Keep, from half-an-hour to an hour after sunset, on a still, warm, clear evening.

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