RICHMOND: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1829.
"RICHMOND, a market town and borough, in West Gilling wapentake, north-riding, 229 miles from London, 93 from Manchester, 44 from York, and 16 from Northallerton; situated on the eastern side of a steep hill, upon the river Swale, which encompasses half the town. This river was held sacred by the Saxons, from the circumstance of upwards of 10,000 persons having been baptized in it by Paulinus, archbishop of York, upon their being first converted to Christianity. Richmond was formerly surrounded by fortified walls, and had a strong castle, and was made a dukedom in the reign of Charles II. in favour of his natural son, Charles Lenox, in whose descendents it now remains. The castle overhangs the river, which at a short distance below forms a picturesque cataract. The, town is regulated and governed by a mayor, recorder, twelve aldermen, and twenty-four common councilmen. The mayor is chosen annually on the day of St. Hillary. This borough, having been incorporated in the 19th of Elizabeth, was in the next parliament called upon to send representatives. The right of election is in such persons as are owners of ancient burgages, and having a right of pasture in a common field, called Whitcliff pasture; the mayor is the returning officer, and the present representatives are, Sir Robert Dundas and the Hon. Thomas Dundas. Quarter sessions are held in the borough court, and a court-leet for the, liberty of Richmondshire, for the recovery of debts, under 40s. Richmond is also an arch-deaconry, and an ecclesiastical court is held here once in every month. The places of worship are the parish church of St. Mary, Trinity chapel of ease, and one for the Methodists and Roman Catholics. St. Mary's is a rectory, in the patronage of the lord chancellor and incumbency of the Rev. William Barns, the present curate is the Rev. S. Haworth. Here is a free grammar school, founded by the burgesses in the 9th of Queen Elizabeth; a mechanics' institute, and a literary scientific society. The neighbourhood of Richmond is singularly romantic, abounding with hills, mountains, and rich, fertile vallies; while the rivers may be said to be alive with trout, &c. the fishing for which forms the principal amusement of the respectable inhabitants. Just before entering the town, down in the valley to the left, the river winds in a beautiful manner. About a mile eastward is the monastery of St. Agatha, and two miles further the village of Catterick, formerly a Roman station, called Cataractanum, a place of high note and great antiquity, burnt by Edward, King of Northumberland, in 769. On the banks of the Swale, at this place, the foundation of its ancient castle is still to be seen, and-the, traces of a Roman amphitheatre and circus. The market-day is on Saturday, and the fairs are on Holy-rood day, and the Saturday before Palm Sunday. The population of the borough and town of Richmond, by the census of 1821, was 3,546."
[Transcribed from Pigot's National Commericial Directory for 1828-29 ]
by Colin Hinson ©2007