RICHMOND : Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.
Wapentake of West Gilling - Poor Law Union and County Court District of Richmond - Rural Deanery of Richmond West - Archdeaconry of Richmond - Diocese of Ripon.
Richmond is a municipal borough, market town, and the head of a parish, union, and county court district. It is locally within the wapentake of West Gilling, but has its own separate jurisdiction, and elects a member to the North Riding County Council. It is 44 miles N.W. from York, 52 N. from Leeds, 16 N.W. from Northallerton, 12 S.W. from Darlington, 14 S.E. from Barnard Castle, 12 N.W. of Bedale by road, and 240 miles N.W. from London by the Great Northern railway, and 268 by the Midland & North Eastern.
Richmond gives a name to one of the parliamentary divisions of Yorkshire, and a title to a suffragan bishop, under an Act passed in 1889, and, though now of little note in point of magnitude or commerce, it was, in feudal times, a place of considerable importance, and the capital of a barony or liberty called Richmondshire, whose earls ranked' amongst the most wealthy and influential noblemen of the land. The district under their jurisdiction extended from the river Wiske westward to the borders of Westmoreland and the West Riding, and from the Tees southward to the Ure, comprising the wapentakes of Hallikeld, Gilling East, Gilling West, Hang East, and Hang West. The whole of this wide tract, containing 164 manors or townships, was held, at the time of the Norman Conquest, by Edwin, the Saxon earl of Mercia, brother-in-law to King Harold II., by the marriage of his sister to that monarch, and one of the most powerful and popular nobles in the kingdom. After the defeat and death of Harold at the battle of Hastings, Edwin, seeing further resistance useless, made his peace with the Conqueror, who received him into favour, and promised to give him his daughter in marriage. But Edwin's submission was more specious than real. He was still the idol of the people, and, with Morcar, his brother, their only hope of deliverance from the accursed Norman yoke. William set spies to watch his movements; he, however, eluded their vigilance, and, gathering a few friends, escaped towards Scotland. But the secret of his route had been betrayed by three of his vassals; he was overtaken by the enemy, and fell, with 20 of his faithful adherents, bravely fighting against his pursuers. William abhorred treachery in a vassal, and when the three traitors appeared before him with the head of Edwin, he rewarded them with perpetual banishment.
The vast possessions of Edwin were given by the king to Alan, surnamed Rufus, or the Red, from the colour of his hair, one of the sons of Eudo, earl of Brittany, and a relative of the Conqueror. He, with four younger brothers, accompanied William to England, and distinguished himself by his military skill. At the battle of Hastings he led the rear-guard, and held an important command at the siege of York. It was on this latter occasion that he received the lands of Earl Edwin. The grant runs thus:- "I, William, surnamed the Bastard, do give and grant to thee, Alan, my nephew, Earl of Bretagne, and thy heirs for ever, all the towns and lands which lately belonged to Earl Edwin, in Yorkshire, with the knights' fees, churches, and other privileges and customs, in as free and honourable a manner as the same Edwin held them. Given at the siege before York."
This gift, it appears from Madox's History of the Exchequer, consisted of 140 knights' fees, each containing 12 plough-lands, or carucates. This measure, whatever may have been its extent, had reference only to the arable land, the wastes, forests, pasture lands, and meadows were not taken into account. It does not appear to have been a fixed standard measurement, but varied in different counties, and its extent has been variously given from 100 to 150 acres. If the area of the five wapentakes of Richmondshire, as given in the census returns of 1871 (538,872 acres), be divided equally amongst the 140 knights, each one would receive an estate of nearly 3,800 acres.
But this did not constitute the whole of the Conqueror's gift to his nephew; he received also the lands which Edwin had held in Norfolk, Suffolk, and other counties, containing in all 440 manors. These various lordships, spread throughout the country, formed the Honour of Richmond.
No mention is made of Richmond in Domesday Book; Gilling, or Ghellinghes, as therein written, appears to have been, at that time, the capital of the district, and the baronial residence; but Alan felt little security against the turbulence of the natives in the old fortress of Earl Edwin. He, therefore, selected for his residence a mount, rising almost perpendicularly from the river Swale, which could easily be made impregnable against any force that might be brought against it. Here, in 1071, according to Gale, Earl Alan commenced the erection of his castle, which he named Riche-Mont, either from a castle of the same name in Brittany, or from its being situated in a more fruitful and stronger part of his territory. What name the mount had previously borne is not known, but Richmond thenceforth became the designation of the place and of the barony.
Alan died in 1089, and the barony passed in succession to his brothers, Alan Niger and Stephen, the latter of whom died in 1137, at the age of 90. He was succeeded by his son, Alan, third of that name, also called Alan Niger, who is styled "Comes Britanniæ et Angliæ." He espoused the cause of King Stephen against the Empress Maud, and was captured after the battle of Lincoln, and redeemed his liberty by relinquishing the earldom of Cornwall. He died in Brittany, in 1146, from poison put in his gloves by his chamberlain. He was succeeded by his son,
Conan, who, by right of his mother, became Duke of Bretagne, and was the first to style himself Earl of Richmond. He built the great square tower, or keep, at the entrance of Richmond Castle, and was a benefactor to many religious houses. He left, by his wife, Margaret, sister of William, King of Scotland, an only daughter and heiress,
Constance, Duchess of Brittany, but, being a minor, the king, Henry II., took possession of the barony during her nonage. She was thrice married. Her first husband was Geoffrey Plantagenet, second son of King Henry II., by whom she had a son, Arthur. Shakespeare has thrown a halo of interest around the memory of this child and his mother, in his drama of King John. Arthur, after the death of his uncle, Richard I., was the next heir to the Crown, which, however, was seized by his uncle John. Fearing lest the boy might subsequently claim his right, the royal monster caused his nephew to be murdered in the castle of Rouen, in Normandy. The second husband of Constance was Ranulph Blundeville, earl of Chester, from whom she was afterwards divorced, and, having no children, she married Guy de Thouars, a noble Breton, by whom she had two daughters. Alice, the eldest, became final heiress, but King John kept the Honour of Richmond in his own hands for several years. In 1212 she married Peter de Dreux, of the blood royal of France, who received with her the dukedom of Brittany. Four years later Peter transferred his services to King John, against whom the barons were in open rebellion, and was rewarded with the earldom of Richmond. Peter held it for several years, but the French king having invaded his Breton territories, he made his submission to that monarch, in 1236, and forfeited his English honours. He was of a restless disposition, and for a time led the life of a pirate. Subsequently he fought under the standard of the Cross, in the Holy Land, and died on his return home, in 1250, leaving one son, John, who became duke of Brittany.
"After this time," says Clarkson, "the Earls of Richmond cannot be numbered in any regular succession, as Geoffrey, Ranulph de Blundeville, and Guy de Thouars, the husbands of Constance, Peter de Dreux, husband of Alice, and Richard, Earl of Cornwall, styled themselves Earls of Richmond; sometimes two of them at the same time, and frequently, the earldom was in the hands of the king."
In 1241, Henry III. granted all the lands and possessions of the Honour and Shire of Richmond, then worth £1,800 a year, equivalent to about £50,000 of present money, to Peter de Savoy, uncle to Queen Eleanor, who held them till his death in 1268, when, under a power granted to him a few years previously, he bequeathed them to his niece Queen Eleanor, who compounded for an annuity of 2,000 marks. Henry, having got the Honour into his own hands, conferred it the same year upon the above mentioned John de Dreux, Duke of Brittany, whose son and heir, John, had married Beatrix, Henry's daughter, and received from his father in 1268, the title and possessions of the earldom of Richmond. This latter John was a liberal benefactor to Jervaulx Abbey, and procured from Edward I. a charter for a four days' fair to be held at Richmond, at the feast of the Holy Rood. He also founded a chantry in his chapel at Richmond for six priests from Eggleston Abbey, who should celebrate mass for ever for the souls of himself, Beatrix his wife, and of all the faithful departed. They were to be lodged near the great chapel, but in time of war they were to return to their monastery, and there remain till recalled. For their maintenance he assigned them a capital messuage, several acres of arable and meadow land, and 11 cottages at Moulton. He was killed by the fall of a wall at Lyons during the instalment of Pope Clement V. in 1304. He left two sons and a daughter. Arthur, the eldest, inherited the dukedom of Brittany, and the younger son,
John, succeeded to the earldom of Richmond according to his father's will, and by grant from Edward I. He was appointed by that King, Local Tenens and Custos of Scotland; and at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314, he was taken prisoner by the enemy, but was subsequently ransomed by the release of the Scottish Queen, wife of Robert Bruce, and the bishop of Glasgow, who were held by the English. "Whatever the rank might be" says a writer, "a woman and an ecclesiastic were no adequate compensation for an active and warlike earl." John again fell into the hands of the Scots a few years later. Edward II. with his army having retreated from Scotland in consequence of the difficulty of obtaining provisions in that country, had reached Byland, and whilst resting there was surprised by the Scots, who had followed in hot pursuit. The King was at dinner at the time, and the Earl of Richmond, with other attendants, valiantly defended the passages whilst he made his escape. John was captured and kept a prisoner for two years when he was ransomed at a very high price, which was levied upon the tenants of the Honour of Richmond. It does not appear that he was ever married, and at his death in 1333, was succeeded by
John de Dreux, Duke of Brittany, son of his elder brother, Arthur. He confirmed the grant to the canons of Eggleston Abbey, and had a license to wall the town. He was thrice married, but having no issue, he was succeeded in 1341, by John, Earl of Montefort, his half brother. This earl survived his accession to the dignity only four years, leaving an infant son, John, in the guardianship of Edward III. By some arrangement with the King, the earldom was granted to John of Gaunt, fourth son of Edward III., a child only three years of age, who was created Earl of Richmond. He was afterwards advanced, in right of his wife, to the Duchy of Lancaster, and in 1372, being then also King of Castile, he resigned the Honour of Richmond into the hands of the King, who restored the earldom to John de Dreux, son of the above John, Earl of Montefort. He was also Duke of Brittany, and Comte de Montefort, but in consequence of his decided leaning towards the interests of England, he was dispossessed by the French king of his territories in that country, and returning to England, lived upon the profits of his earldom. Richard II. in the first year of his reign (1377), gave John the power of cancelling the royal mandates in the earldom of Richmond, and also granted him and his dependants an immunity from all tollage, bridge-money, and other taxes throughout the whole kingdom. Some time after this the Bretons rose in favour of their expatriated duke, and John, accompanied by a valiant band of troops, went to their assistance. After two years a peace was concluded, and John reinstated in his possessions. But he soon experienced the impossibility of serving two masters; if he won the smiles of one, he incurred the hate of the other. The English king was jealous of the influence of his brother of France, and the Honour of Richmond was confiscated to the Crown.
In 1397, it was given by Richard II. to Joan, the duke's sister and widow of Sir Ralph Bassett, and two years later, Henry IV. rewarded his faithful adherent, Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmoreland, with the Honour of Richmond for life, but without the earldom. After the death of the earl in 1426, it was given by Henry VI. to his uncle John, Duke of Bedford, third son of Henry IV., and afterwards to Edmond Tudor, whose son and heir, Henry Richmond, became King of England by the title of Henry VII., and the Honour and earldom of Richmond settled in the Crown.
"There is not, perhaps," says a writer, "another instance in the whole of English history, of a great estate changing hands so many times in the course of 500 years, as that of Richmond. Its immense extent made the early Sovereigns glad to seize any pretext for taking it to themselves; and when they possessed it, they were often induced by policy to present it to such of their adherents as were most serviceable to them." Not unfrequently, too, the title and profits were divided and in different hands, and the latter were sometimes held by two or more persons at the same time.
The future descent of the earldom possesses but little interest. Twice it was bestowed upon the offspring of royal lust. In 1525, Henry VIII. conferred the honour upon Henry Fitzroy, his illegitimate son, whom he created Duke of Richmond. He died without issue in 1536, and the title remained dormant until 1613, when James I. created his countryman, Lodowic Stewart, Duke of Lennox, Earl of Richmond, and ten years later raised him to the dukedom. The title expired in 1672, by the death, without issue, of Charles, Earl of Lichfield, to whom it had descended. Charles II. revived it in 1675, by creating his natural son, Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond, The vast possessions which had formerly been attached to the honour had been granted away at various times, and all that the duke received with the title was the few acres of land encircled by the walls and moat of the castle of Richmond, The present owner of the title and castle is his descendant, Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, Duke of Richmond and Gordon.
Constables of the Castle. - The office of Constable or Custodian of the Castle was formerly one of importance and responsibility. Certain lands in Burton - now called Burton Constable - were originally attached to the constableship, and descended, like an inheritance, to each successive holder of the office, which was at first, as now, hereditary. Emsant Musard was constable under the first Alan, and his descendants held the office till the reign of Edward II. In 1325 that king, suspicious of the loyalty of John, second Earl of Richmond, whom he had sent as ambassador to France, seized his Castle and Honour of Richmond, and appointed William Felton custodian thereof. Walter de Urswick held the trust in 1371. He was buried in the south aisle of Catterick Church, and his monument may still be seen there. For upwards of a century after this, the names of the constables have not been recorded. Henry VII., who was also Earl of Richmond, appointed Richard Fitz-Hugh Governor of the Castle, in the first year of his reign (1485); and in 1509 Sir William Conyers was Constable of the Castles of Richmond and Middleham. The office became hereditary in this family, and passed, by the marriage of Amelia, only daughter and heiress of Robert, eighth Baron Conyers and fourth and last Earl of Holderness, to the Dukes of Leeds.
The Castle. - The spot selected by Earl Alan for the site of his castle was a bluff, rising almost perpendicularly to the height of 130 feet above the Swale on the south and east, and falling away somewhat less abruptly on the west. The only possible approach was by a neck of land on the north less than 50 yards across, which was defended by a moat or ditch now filled up. Here the feudal owners of Richmond might rest supinely indifferent to the gathering storms of human passion which long rankled in the breasts of the dispossessed natives. "Such was the felicity," says Dr. Whitaker, "with which the site was chosen for the capital and fortress of the province, that if a disturbance should happen in the low country, within half an hour a body of horse would be on the plain, ready to chase the insurgents. Or if, as was more probable, the ruder and more hardy natives of the valleys, trusting to the fastnesses of their neighbouring mountains, presumed to rebel, - an active and disciplined body of infantry would have no time to waste in traversing plains, while their enemies above were gathering strength and courage from delay."
The outer wall was a little over 600 yards in length, enclosing an irregular space of about five acres. This barrier was embattled and strengthened at intervals by lofty square towers, in which probably would lodge the principal officers of the castle. This wall on the south side skirted the edge of the cliff, and a portion of it has fallen down, but all the rest remains almost in its original state. Along the cliff, at the foot of the wall, a shelf has been cut in modern times, and a promenade formed, commanding a beautiful view of the Swale and the country beyond.
On the east the ground descends by a gradual slope towards the river, and to strengthen this side an outer ward was constructed, now known as the Cockpit. It was further defended by a deep wide ditch, which also extended along the north side, and protected the principal entrance to the Castle. This was reached through the Barbican, a semi-circular space, enclosed by a high wall, on which were two cylindrical turrets for the defence of the gate and the drawbridge which crossed the moat. But this is now destroyed, and only a small portion of a retaining wall remains to mark the outline.
The Keep is a noble and majestic tower, presenting but few signs of decay, though it has battled with time and the elements full seven centuries. It was erected by Earl Conan for the protection of the entrance, 75 years after the foundation of the fortress. It is rectangular in plan, measuring 52 feet from east to west, 45 feet from north to south, and about 100 feet in height. At the basement the walls are from 10 to 12 feet thick, and are quite plain up to a height of about 10 feet. From this stage as a plinth rise broad flat pilasters, one at each end covering the angle, and supporting a square turret at each of the four corners, In the intervening space on the north and south sides are two narrower pilasters, and in that on the east and west, one, but all are carried up to the parapet. At one side of this tower is the entrance into the castle yard, from which the lowest story is entered by a lofty round-headed archway. In the centre of this apartment, rising from its rocky floor, is a massive octagonal column, from which spring the circular groined arches which support the first floor. This chamber is 32 feet by 21 feet, and received no light except what entered by the spacious doorway; and when this was closed, whether by night or day, the only means of illumination was by lamps suspended from the groined roof, from rings still remaining in the centre of each arch. Beneath the central pillar is a well of excellent water, which is reached through an arched recess in one of the faces of the pier. Originally, this basement chamber must have been quite plain, with the well in the centre, the column and groined roof being, evidently, an after addition. In one corner, projecting into the room, is a spiral stair encased in a thin shell of masonry. This ascended to the first floor, and is probably of the same date as the above addition; the original, and now the only, entrance is through a doorway approached by a roadway over the gateway leading into the castle yard. This first floor was the state room, and is lighted by three small round-headed windows on the north side, In the centre is a plain cylindrical pier 4ft. in diameter, but without any visible base or capital. From this apartment a flight of twenty-nine steps within the thickness of the south wall leads to the second floor. The east and west walls are hollow, and contain chambers lighted by loop holes. A staircase in the south wall ascends to the upper room, and is thence carried round the corner and up the west wall to the battlements. Here a most magnificent prospect unfolds itself to the eye, "extending," says the author of The Castles and Abbeys of Yorkshire, "from the mouth of the Tees to the minster of York, in one vast sweep, eastward; while, to the west, hills peep over hills in grand confusion."
Leaving this grand old keep and turning to the left, the wall is for some distance masqued by a modern ramp, with an inclined road above and prison cells beneath. At the end of this is a ruined tower, popularly known as Robin Hood's Tower, projecting 10 feet outward from the curtain wall. What connection Robin had with the tower is not known, but it has borne his name from time immemorial. This was the station or apartment allotted to the lords of Middleham,* subfeudatories of the earls of Richmond, The lowest chamber, a small apartment, 12 feet long by 10 feet 6 inches broad, was a small chapel or oratory. It is vaulted, and arcaded on three sides. The east window is a long round-topped loop, within two plain circular recesses.
* The great Norman barons, amongst whom the Conqueror parcelled out the kingdom, distributed their vast estates among their retainers, who, in return, were to perform military service and keep guard in the castle for different periods in the year, each in proportion to his property. According to their several offices they had different stations assigned to them in the castle, In the "Registrum Honoris de Richmond" is a bird's-eye view of the fortress, of uncertain date, but certainly very ancient, in which the stations of the nobles who performed the service of castle-guard are distinguished by their respective standards, which float above the battlements. From this we find that the lord of Middleham had his station over the chapel of St. Nicholas; the constable, in the court of the great tower; the lords of Bedale, in the hall of Scolland; the chamberlain, on the east part of Scolland; the seneschal, on the west part of the greater chapel, near the canons within the walls.
Some distance further on we come to another chapel, 21 feet by 13 feet. Parts of the great west window remain, and a hagioscope and trefoil-headed piscina. Beyond is a large apartment, 40 feet by 20 feet, with a large fireplace on its west side. This is said to have been the kitchen. Near this, in the southeast angle, are the remains of a tower, of which only the lowest apartment is left. Here, says tradition, was the entrance to a subterraneous passage, which led from the castle under the bed of the river to St. Martin's Priory, a quarter of a mile distant. Some years ago an exploratory excavation was made within this tower. The rubbish, which almost hid from view a round-headed doorway, was removed, and it was discovered that the door led to an arched passage, at the end of which was a vaulted chamber.† This tower is popularly known as the Gold Hole, from the discovery of some treasure within one of its recesses.
† In a plan of Richmond, made in 1610, by John Speed, the antiquary, there is shown an opening in the Earl's Orchard, a large field south of the castle, which he describes as "a vault that goeth under the river, and ascendeth up into the castle;" but all traces of this opening have disappeared.
The next interesting feature is Scolland's Hall, which takes its name from Scollandus, lord of Bedale and sewer to Earl Alan, who had his station in it when he performed his customary service of castle-guard. This spacious apartment, measuring 79 feet by 26 feet, was lighted by two ranges of coupled round-headed windows, five in the south wall and four in the north one, In the west wall are three windows, the central one long and narrow, the side ones shorter and lower down. The floor was of timber, and beneath this was a basement, with a door in the north wall, and lighted by a line of loops. The hall was approached by an exterior stair from the great court, through a Norman doorway in the north wall near the west end; and in this corner is a circular staircase, which led to the roof, which was probably flat. This was the most ornate apartment in the castle, and may possibly have been the banqueting room. "The carved cornices and brackets, with the chimneys carried up in the thickness of the walls, seem to point out this portion of the fortress as the residence of its princely owners."‡
‡ Grainge's "Castles and Abbeys of Yorkshire."
The south-west angle of the barrier is capped by a lofty rectangular tower, the lowest apartment of which is without doorway, window, or loophole for the admission of air or light. It is said to have been a dungeon, and it is difficult to conceive any other use for such a place. There is one somewhat similar under a portion of the keep of Warkworth Castle, to which access is by a hole in the floor above, through which the unhappy prisoners were either lowered by a rope, or descended by a ladder, which was afterwards removed. Near this tower stood the principal chapel of the castle, of which only the west window remains. This was probably the chapel in which Earl John, in 1278, founded the chantry for six canons from Egglestone Abbey, as related on page 553.
In 1855 the castle was let on a lease to the North York Rifles. The area within the walls has been levelled for a parade ground, and a row of houses for the residence of the staff of the regiment erected. These have been built in a style to harmonize as far as possible with the old Norman ruins.
Such are the chief features of the castle, now crumbling beneath the corroding hand of time. It is, indeed, from every point of view, as Longstaffe observes, "a magnificent object; and in ancient times, on its almost perpendicular rock, must have been considered as next to impregnable. Its imposing dimensions, the freshness of the masonry, the pertinacious dislike to vegetation on its exterior, strike the eye as it gazes on the towering stronghold, and are evidence of an almost indestructible durability. The hand of time is certain in its effects on all around; the ivy clings to the mouldering walls, and clothes them with a beauty which the keep despises, - proud in its sternness, reluctant to boast of prettiness."
There are but few historic associations connected with this fortress. William the Lion, King of Scotland, after his defeat and capture at Aluwick, in 1174, was imprisoned here for some time. The metrical chronicle of Jordan Fantosme, written in old Norman French, which gives an account of William's unsuccessful invasion of England, represents Henry II. anxiously enquiring, when the defection of one baron after another was reported to him, "Is Randolph de Glanville in Richemunt?" And when the messenger of Randolph arrives with the news of William's capture, Henry impatiently and fearfully asks, "Has the King of Scotland entered Richemunt?" King John was several times at Richmond; and David Bruce, King of Scotland, after his capture at Neville's Cross, in 1346, was conveyed to Richmond, and thence to York.
The Parish of Richmond is circumscribed by the parishes of Easby, Marske, and Hudswell, and the river Swale, and contains, in addition to the ground occupied by the town, 1,828 acres of grass land and 304 acres of woodlands. The rateable value of the whole is £15,335, and the population, 4,502. The principal land and property owners are the Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses of Richmond, who are also lords of the manor; the Earl of Zetland; the trustees of Richmond Grammar School; Wensley Hunton, Esq.; C. G. Croft, Esq.; Swaledale and Wensleydale Banking Co., Ltd.; J. H. Robinson, Esq.; trustees of G. J. Fielding; G. Roper, Esq.; J. G. Riddell, Esq.; Thomas Dunn, Esq.; Mrs. Hutton Brown-Simpson; J. Smurthwaite, Esq.; trustees of the late F. Hedley; Richard Bowes; Alexander Young; and R. Thompson, Esq.
THE TOWN. - Though there are no remains indicating the occupation of the hill anterior to the erection of the castle, it is not probable, as a writer observes, that a position, so marked out by nature as a rock of defence, would be neglected by the earlier inhabitants of the district; nor is it conceivable that the people who raised the formidable entrenchment known as the Scot's Dyke, still traceable on Low Back House Ing and Whitefield Farm, on the east side of the town, at the distance of a few hundred yards, would leave such a hill close to their barrier without utilizing it in some way or other. The Roman city of Cataractonium is only four miles distant, and it is supposed by some that there was an outpost here belonging to that station. Roman coins and pottery have been found at the base of the hill between the rock and the river, but foundations of buildings, sculptured stones, altars, &c. - the more evident tokens of a permanent settlement - have not been met with. But putting conjecture aside, it is certain that Richmond as a town boasts no higher antiquity than the castle of Alan Rufus, under the ægis of which fortress it rose, grew, and prospered. Fairs and markets soon began to be held under the authority and protection of the earls, by whom a toll was exacted on the goods exposed for sale. This being attended with some inconvenience and discontent, earl Alan III. for the reciprocal accommodation of all parties, granted in A.D. 1145, to his burgesses of Richmond and their heirs for ever, his borough and lands called the lands of Fontenay, in fee farm, at an annual rent of £29. *
* These lands, which now form the property of the Corporation of Richmond, are supposed to have been called the lands of Fontenay, by the first Alan, after the abbey of that name in Normandy.
He also confirmed to the burgesses "the liberty which they had enjoyed in the times of his uncle Alan and his father Stephen; with all their free customs in the town and without the town, in plains, and in woods, and wheresoever they be." The government of the town from this time was vested in the burgesses. The fairs, markets, tolls, and other privileges were confirmed to them by earl John in 1268, as was also "the whole pasture of Wyttekliff," and the fee farm rent increased from £29 to £40 a year.
The Scots having levied "black mail" on the inhabitants as the price of their forbearance to give the town to "fier and spoile," earl John in 1312, obtained the royal license to surround Richmond with a wall of stone; and to defray the cost of this, the king gave him a grant of murage, to levy for the term of five years, certain customs upon all articles exposed for sale in the market. The town was small, the area enclosed within the walls being little more than that occupied by the castle. There were three gates or bars - French Gate Bar, Finkle Street Bar, and the Bar or Gate at the head of Cornforth Hill, The two former were taken down in 1773, to make the passage wider for waggons, &c.; but the latter still remains in its original state, as also a postern in Friars' Wynd, all that is now left of Richmond's ancient barrier.
The walls were probably never a very formidable fortification, if we may judge from the only existing fragment which has a thickness of five feet, and twice in less than a century the burgesses were empowered to levy tolls over a period of three years, for their repair. They were again in a very dilapidated state when Leland visited the town in the reign of Henry VIII., and do not appear to have been afterwards restored. The town had then outgrown the limits circumscribed for it by the wall, and a considerable population dwelt on the outside. The antiquary thus describes the place in the quaint language of the period:- "Richemont towne is waulled and the castel on the river side of Swale is as the knot of the cumpace of the waulle. In the waulle be three gates, Frenchgate yn the north parte of the towne, and is the most occupied gate of the towne, Finkel-streete gate, Bargate; all three be downe, vestigia yet remayne. In the market-place is a large chapel of the Trinitie. The cumpace of the ruinus waulles is not halfe a mile about. So that the towne waulle cumpasith little but the market-place, the houses about hit and gardens behind them. There is a suburbe without Frenchgate, Finkel-streate suburbe strayt west from the marketplace, and Bargate suburbe. In Frenchgate suburbe is the paroch chirch of al the hole towne. Bargate suburbe cummith downe to the bridge end of Swale the wich bridge is sometime chaynid. At this side the bridge is no buildinge. In this suburbe is a chapel of St. James. All the towne and suburbes be on the farther side of Swale, the castel is nere hand as much yn cumpace as the circuite of the towne waulle."
The establishment of fairs and markets in the neighbouring towns had a very depressing effect on the trade and commerce of Richmond; and says Clarkson, "To increase the calamity, a plague and epidemic disease carried off about two thousand of the inhabitants, so that the greatest part of the houses and buildings were deserted, and the lands in the fields and pastures became waste and overrun with briars, nettles, and other noxious weeds." The burgesses, driven to the utmost straits, and unable to raise from markets, tolls, &c., scarcely a half of their fee farm rent, laid their case before Henry VI., the earldom being then in the possession of the Crown, who, having caused inquiry to be made, reduced the rent to £19 13s. 4d., of which sum £12 were to be paid annually to him and his heirs for ever, and £7 13s. 4d. to Henry le Scrope and his heirs. This sum of £12 is still paid to the receiver of the Crown rents, who by authority of a grant from Queen Elizabeth, returns it to the Mayor to be by him distributed to the poor. The other portion of the rent (£7 13s. 4d.) passed from the Scropes to the Howes, by one of whom it was sold to Ralph Lodge, of St. Trinians, whose assignees conveyed it in 1780, to the Rev. Thomas Kay, rector of Melsonby, by whom it was bequeathed to University College, Oxford, The rent is still paid to that college.
Richmond was again devastated by the plague in 1597-8; and the country people afraid to bring their produce to the town, the market was held on the outskirts, on the spot now occupied by the barracks, and the shaft of the Market Cross still stands in the barracks yard. According to the parish register, there died of the pestilence between 17th August, 1597, and 15th December, 1598, no less than 1,072 persons, but a Latin inscription in Penrith church recording the deaths from the plague at Penrith, Kendal, Carlisle and Richmond, gives the number at the latter place as 2,200.
Government. - Richmond has possessed the privilege of municipal government, in one form or other, since the time of Earl Alan III.; at first, by a burghreeve and assistants under the earls; and later, by four bailiffs and burgesses. The charter of Queen Elizabeth, granted at the prayer of the inhabitants in 1576, gave a more definite corporate form to the governing body, which was henceforth to consist of an Alderman and Twelve Capital Burgesses, the former to be elected by all the inhabitants, twice in the year, and the latter to fill up vacancies in their number from the other inhabitants of the borough. There was also to be a Recorder, who should preside in the Court of Record, to be held in the Tolbooth.
The town was governed according to the provisions of this charter until 1668, when Charles II. granted a new one incorporating the town under the name of the Mayor and Aldermen of the Borough of Richmond. The charter provides for the election of one of the most honest and discreet men of the town for Mayor, and twelve of the honestest and most discreet men of the same town for Aldermen. Richmond, in common with many other towns, surrendered its charter to Charles II., who, in 1684, granted another, which introduced many arbitrary innovations, and gave to the Crown the power of removing any member of the corporation. In this charter, for the first time, common councilmen (24 in number) were appointed. The charters, which had been surrendered by the various towns not having been enrolled, were, consequently, void at law, and James II., by a proclamation, restored to the several corporations their ancient charters, liberties, rights, and franchises.
The Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 changed, somewhat, the constitution of the governing body which was appointed to consist of a Mayor, four Aldermen, and 12 Town Councillors. This Act was repealed by the Corporations Act of 1882 (45 and 46 Vic., c. 50); but the constitution of the corporate body remains as heretofore. The Commission of the Peace consists, at present, of 10 Magistrates, besides the Mayor (who is a magistrate during his year of office, and for one year after), and the Recorder, whose names, and also those of the members of the corporation will be found on the first page of the directory of the town.
The Income of the Borough is derived from lands granted by the earls of Richmond as before specified, or awarded at the inclosure of the common, from markets, water and gas, and borough rates. The total receipts from all these sources for the year ending September, 1888, was £4,636 1s.; and the expenditure for the same period was £5,233 8s. 3d.
Several pieces of ancient corporation plate are in the custody of the Mayor for the time being. The oldest is a silver bowl, or rather cup, standing on a long graceful stem, presented by Robert Willance to the Incorporated Alderman, and Burgesses of Richmond in 1606, in memory of his wonderful escape on Whitcliffe Scar, when his horse leaped over that precipice. (See Marske Parish.) A peg tankard was given by W. Wetwang, the first Mayor, in 1668.* The oldest of the silver gilt maces bears the inscription "Robert Wilson, Alderman in that happy year of His Majesty's Restoration," (1660).
* A Peg Tankard is a cup with marks or pegs at certain distances, to indicate how deep each one shall drink, so that he may not take more than his neighbour
Parliamentary Representation. - The privilege of returning members to parliament was, in the middle ages, regarded, especially by the small boroughs, as a burthen to be avoided rather than a privilege to be coveted. When Richmond was summoned in 1304, and again in 1328, to send representatives, the burgesses claimed exemption by reason of the charters granted by the earls of Richmond, and confirmed by the kings of England. In the reign of Elizabeth, however, the burgesses humbly petitioned the Queen for the privilege of being represented in parliament; and in the 19th year of her reign, 1576, she granted the charter of incorporation alluded to above, constituting the town a parliamentary borough. The charter enacts that the representatives shall be chosen by the Alderman and Burgesses, and that of King Charles, by the Mayor, Aldermen, and Free Burgesses. The first members were John Pepper and Marmaduke Wyvill, who were returned to the parliament which assembled in 1584. At first, every burgess had a voice in the election; later, only those who rented a house within the borough and contributed towards the duties of watch and ward, and paid all the taxes incidental to them as inhabitants, were privileged with a vote. Subsequently, the privilege was transferred from the occupiers to the owners of the houses, and the rights of the latter were confirmed by parliament in 1727, when, in answer to the prayer of a petition, the House of Commons resolved "That the right of voting is vested in such persons, as are owners of ancient burgages in the said borough, having a right of pasture in a common field called Whitcliffe Pasture." From this time the burgage tenures began to be bought up and engrossed by the two families of Yorke and D'Arcy, who either sat themselves, or deputed whom they pleased. The latter, at length, obtained a preponderating influence by purchasing the burgage tenements belonging to the last duke of Wharton, and from this time the Yorke interest began to decline.
The Reform Act of 1832 was fatal to Richmond as a pocket borough, for whilst it reserved the rights of resident freemen to a certain extent, it extended the right of election to £10 householders, and enlarged the limits of the borough, thereby including the whole parish of Easby. The Reform Act of 1867 still further improved the electoral system, but reduced the number of members to one, and with the passing of the Redistribution Act of 1885, Richmond, as a parliamentary borough, ceased to exist. The last member that represented it was the Hon. J. C. Dundas, who sat in the liberal interest.
Passing from the great council of the nation to the local parliaments, established by the Local Government Act of 1888, the borough of Richmond was constituted an Electoral Division for the County Council of the North Riding, and at the first election, held in January, 1889, Capt. Gerald Walker was chosen to represent the borough.
The situation of the town is charmingly picturesque. Cresting the bluff, which rises abruptly from the Swale, is the castle; beyond is the town, spread over a little amphitheatre of hills, the streets of red tiled houses descending steeply down the declivities, or ranged in terraces along the slopes. The spacious Market Place was once the outer bailey of the castle. The old cross, which stood here, was removed in 1771, and the present stone obelisk erected on the site. In an old map, dated 1724, three crosses are shown, called Oat Cross, Wheat Cross, and Barley Cross, probably from the commodities sold thereby. The Market Hall, a commodious stone building, was erected by the Corporation, in 1854, on the site of the old shambles, at a cost of £900. The Market is held on Saturday, and Fairs for cattle, pigs, sheep, and horses, on the 2nd and 3rd of November; and for cattle, pedlary, &c., on Holy Rood day, and on the Saturday before Palm Sunday.
The Guild or Town Hall, in the Market Place, was erected by the Corporation, in 1756, but was very much altered and improved, both inside and out, a few years ago. Public meetings, &c., are held in the large hall, and the Quarter Sessions for the borough, and the Petty Sessions for the division of Gilling West, are held in the Court Room every alternate Saturday, and a County Court every two months. On the site formerly stood the hall, or house of the Guild of St. John the Baptist, a fraternity or society combining both commerce and religion. The members possessed certain privileges and immunities in Richmond and other markets, and contributed towards the support of their poorer brethren. They had also a house in French Gate. The property of the Guild was seized by the king, in 1545, but the chalices, vestments, and ornaments of the altar were delivered to the chamberlain of the borough.
The Gaol is an old stone building in Newbiggin. In ancient times the earls of Richmond had "custody of the prisoners in Richmond, and a prison within the precincts of the liberty of Richmondshire"; they had also a gallows for the execution of criminals, the memory of which is preserved in the names of Gallows Field and Gallowgate. By the recent Local Government Act, Richmond has been amalgamated with the Gilling division of the North Riding County Constabulary, and the Borough Gaol transferred to the county police. The North Riding Police Station, situated in Victoria Place, was erected in 1873, and is the head quarters of the Gilling division.
The Gas Works were erected by a company of shareholders, in 1821, at a cost of £2,050, and, in 1849, the works and interest of the company were purchased by the corporation. The manufacturing plant was completely reconstructed in 1877, at a cost of £1,800, and again extended in 1885, at an outlay of £650.
The Water Works, also the property of the corporation, were constructed in 1837, at a cost of about £2,000. The water is drawn from High Coatsgarth, into a reservoir at the head of Gallowgate. Leland, in his deseription of the town, says, "There is a conducte of water in the Grey Freres, els there is none in Richemont." About the year 1583, water was conveyed in leaden pipes from the West Field to a conduit, or reservoir, near the Consistory Court, and, in 1749, to increase the supply, a deep channel was cut from Aislabeck spring through Whitcliffe Pasture to the wells, in West Field, whence the water was conveyed to the Market Place, in an aqueduct of brick pipes. In 1771, when the new cross was erected, a reservoir, capable of holding 12,000 gallons, was constructed beneath it, and the water conveyed into the new receptacle. In 1812 the brick pipes were replaced by leaden ones, at a cost of £1,500, but this reservoir is now disused.
The Savings Bank is a neat cut stone building, erected in 1851, in Low Channel, with every accommodation for carrying on the business of such an establishment. Besides the bank the premises include a residence for the actuary, and three large rooms in the upper story. In one of these rooms the Scientific Society (established in 1810) has its valuable library, containing 7,000 volumes. The adjoining room is the Mechanics' Institute, with a library of upwards of 4,000 volumes. The institute was established in 1847, and numbers 170 members. The third room is the Subscription News Room.
Banks. - For the transaction of monetary business there are two banks, viz., Richmond Bank (Messrs. Roper and Priestman's), established in 1792, by the late Thomas Stapleton, Esq., and that of the Swaledale & Wensleydale Banking Co., Limited.
Zetland Working Men's Hall, situated at the lower end of Newbiggin, was built by the late Earl of Zetland, and vested in trustees, for the benefit of the working men of the town. It contains, besides reading and recreation rooms and library, an upper room, in which the Oddfellows and Good Templars hold their meetings. The Cocoa and Coffee Rooms is a neat building in the Queen Anne style, situated in King Street, erected by the Countess of Zetland.
The Barracks. - Under the new Army Regulations Richmond was made the Head Quarters of the 19th Regimental District, comprising the North Riding of Yorkshire; and, in 1875-7 the Barracks were erected, at a cost of about £50,000. They are situated at the top of Gallowgate, and consist of several blocks of buildings, affording accommodation for 10 officers and 340 men. There are also a hospital, canteen, library, sergeants' mess, stables, stores, &c., covering in all about 15 acres. The 19th, or 1st Yorkshire North Riding Regiment of Foot, was originally raised here in 1688. It has served with distinction during the last 200 years in various parts of the world, including the campaigns under the Duke of Marlborough, at Seringapatam, in Ceylon, the Crimea, India, and latterly in Egypt and the Soudan. In 1875, when the 1st battalion was quartered at Sheffield, H.R.H The Princess of Wales presented new colours to the regiment, and gave to it, in addition to its other titles, the name of the Princess of Wales's Own Regiment.
The Railway Station is situated on the east side of the river, in the township of St. Martins, and is approached from the town by a handsome Gothic bridge, of four arches, over the Swale, erected by the Railway Co. The station is the terminus of the Richmond branch of the North Eastern Railway, and was built about 43 years ago, under the supervision of George Hudson, the whulom Railway King.
The Freemasons' Hall, situated in Newbiggin, is a handsome and commodious structure, erected in 1868, by the late Earl of Zetland, Grand Master of the Order. The Lennox Lodge, No. 123, under the registry of the Grand Lodge of England, was established by warrant, dated the 4th day of May, 1763, and had previously held its meetings at the King's Head Hotel. The Hall contains, in addition to a very spacious lodge room, a robing room, and refreshment room. Amongst the members, who number about 60, is Lawrence, present Earl of Zetland, Provincial Grand Master of the North and East Ridings.
Churches, Chapels, &c. - The Parish Church (St. Mary) is supposed to date from the 13th century, but there are indications of an earlier church having occupied the site, some of the heavy Norman columns of which were retained in the Gothic edifice. Its existence is also corroborated by an old grant to St. Mary's Abbey, York, in which Earl Stephen, who died in 1137, gives to that establishment "the churches of Richmond." The tower, which is 80 feet high, and of light and elegant design, was the addition of a later period. In the centre battlement is the shield of Neville, probably that of Ralph, Earl of Westmoreland, to whom Henry IV. granted the Honour of Ricbmond in 1399, and by whom the tower was either built or raised to its present height. "To the shield of Neville are added those of Scrope and Fitzhugh, which so often and so honourably record in Richmondshire the munificence of those great families."
The church underwent a thorough restoration in 1860, at a cost of £6,000, which was raised by subscription. The designs were by the masterly hand of Mr. (afterwards Sir) G. G. Scott, The interior has been renewed, but the style of the old building and its most prominent features have been preserved, as far as consistent with good taste. Two of its old Norman piers have been retained, on the south side of the nave. One is square, with a capital rudely sculptured with figures; the other is octagonal, with a plain capital. The chancel arch has been rebuilt, and also the double arches which separate the chancel on each side from the east ends of the aisles. The sedilia remain in the chancel, and the fine Perpendicular east window retains its ancient tracery. Previous to the late restoration there were in the northern compartment of this window the escutcheon of John, Earl of Richmond, bearing the arms of Dreux, chequered or and azure, with the ermine of Brittany in a canton, surrounded by a scarlet border studded with lions; and in the southern compartment the arms of Fountains Abbey, azure, three horse shoes, or, two and one, In the centre were the arms of France and England quarterly, but it is much to be regretted that all this ancient stained glass has been removed. The east window of the south aisle and another in the north aisle are stained glass memorials to the late Ottiwell Tomlin, Esq. The north porch, with its beautiful roof of groined stonework, has been restored; but that on the south side has been rebuilt. The curiously carved old stall work still retains its place in the chancel. These stalls formerly stood in St. Agatha's Abbey at Easby, and at the Dissolution were removed to Richmond. They are appropriated to the Corporation. On a shield over the Mayor's stall is the rebus of Abbot Bampton, a crozier fixed in a tun marked Ba, with a scroll inscribed Abbot. Bampton was Abbot in 1515. Over the stalls on a filleting is an inscription in finely carved raised letters, in which the workmen who refixed the stalls here, unacquainted with Latin, so misplaced the words as to obscure the meaning. It so remained until the late restoration, when it was correctly arranged, and reads thus:- Decem sunt abusiones claustralium, victus preciosus, cibus exquisitus, rumor in claustro, lis in capitulo, dissolutio in choro, negligens discipulus, inobediens juvenis, ociosus senex, obstinatus monachus, curialis religiosus. The baptismal font is of Tees marble, with capacious bowl resting on a plain octagonal shaft. On the faces of the bowl are eight shields, all now plain except two, on which are, in raised old English letters, ihi & ibe, the latter with a mark of abbreviation over it. They are the contracted forms of Jhesi and Johannes Baptistæ, part of an inscription of which the rest has probably been effaced. There are a few funeral monuments in the church, the most noticeable of which is one to the memory of Sir Timothy Hutton, of Marske, who died in 1629, and his wife and children. It is placed against the chancel wall. Sir Timothy and his wife are represented kneeling under a canopied recess, and below the inscription are the figures of their eight children kneeling, and in the attitude of prayer. Above the canopy stands Fame, blowing her trumpet between two angels, and below are three female figures emblematical of Faith, Hope, and Charity. A monumental brass on the floor of the chancel, now much worn, asks a prayer for the soul of Thomas Cowling, who died in 1506; and at the west end of the nave is a monument to George Cuitt, a landscape painter of some eminence, who died in 1818. In the tower is a peal of six bells, one of which is supposed to have been brought from Easby Abbey. Four are dated 1697, and one 1739. The old high backed pews have given place to substantial open seats of oak. There were before the Reformation three chantries in the church, one at the Altar of our Lady, founded by Nicholas de Blackburne in 1412; another at the Altar of St. Catherine, founded by Richard Stenall; and the third at the Altar of St. Anne, founded by a vicar of Catterick, named Cardmaker.
The living is a rectory, valued in the King's Books at £15 5s. 7d., and now worth £470, the commuted value of the tithes. The church, as before stated, was given at an early period to St. Mary's Abbey, York, and the patronage continued with the abbot and monks of that house until the Reformation, the rector paying to them five pounds a year out of the revenues of the church. This pension was given by Henry VIII., to Trinity College, Cambridge, but the patronage remained in the Crown until its recent transference to the Bishop of Ripon. There is only about half an acre of glebe.
Trinity Church. - This edifice stands in the market place, and was probably the original church of the town. Some suppose the spot to have been dedicated to religion in Saxon times; but no part of the present structure appears older than the middle of the 14th century. There was, however, we know from the grant of Earl Stephen before mentioned, a church here in the first half of the 12th century. As the garrison and inmates of the castle had their chapel within its walls, it is probable that Trinity Church was built for the benefit of the inhabitants of the town, which, at that time, comprised little more than the market place within which it stands. This Norman edifice having become much decayed, it was rebuilt about the year 1360, in what is called the Middle Gothic style. The Curfew Bell, rung nightly at eight o'clock, still hangs in the tower; and it is not unreasonable to suppose that it was placed there in pursuance of that tyrannous edict of the Conqueror, commanding a bell to be rung nightly at the hour of eight, at the sound of which all persons, under severe penalties, were to extinguish their fires. This bell is inscribed, "Omne super omen Jh's est venerabile nomen." Leland is supposed to refer to this church when he says - "There is a chapel in Richemonte Toune with straunge figures on the waulles of it. The peple there deeme that it was ons a 'Temple of Idols"'; but, as the author of the "Guide to Richmond" observes, "there can be little doubt that these strange figures were some of the common basso-relieves which adorned the west doors of Norman churches."
There were two chantries in this church, but neither the dates nor the names of the founders are known. After the dissolution of St. Mary's Abbey, the patronage was transferred to the Corporation; but the repair of the fabric was totally neglected, and so ruinous was the condition of the building in 1712, that divine service ceased to be held in it. The south aisle was demolished, and in 1740 the Corporation granted a lease of the site to William Craggs, a barber, for building purposes. In 1755 a lease was granted to him of "the shop under the steeple" at the yearly rent of sixpence, and a portion of the site of the ruined chancel to one Cuthbert Cowling. Probably about the same time was built the house which now intrudes itself between the tower and the nave. The north aisle, which still remains, was divided into two stories; the lower one was partitioned into shops, and the upper one was appropriated to the Consistory Court and Will Office; but these were transferred a few years ago to York and Chester. In 1740 the Corporation began to repair what was left of the nave, in order to entitle them to a benefaction of Queen Anne's Bounty; four years later it was fitted up with pews, &c., by voluntary subscription, and in 1755 a curate was appointed. Since that time divine service has been regularly performed in it. This reparation, however, was only superficial, and not in the best of taste; and in 1846 the question of another and more perfect restoration was mooted. In 1858 a plan was prepared by Mr. Bonomi, of Durham, by which the unsightly shops were done away with, and the north aisle restored to its original purpose. The estimated cost of the proposed alterations was about £1,000; but as the rents from the shops formed a portion of the clerical income, there remained the question of making good to the incumbent the loss of the rents; and this proved an insurmountable objection to the adoption of Mr. Bonomi's plan. In 1864 the services of Messrs. Austin & Johnson, architects, were called in, and from their plans the church was restored, and such amendments introduced as the retention of the shops and other circumstances would permit. The total cost was £1,200, which was raised by voluntary subscription. During the progress of the work a very beautiful window of the Decorated style, which had probably been walled up 200 years, was revealed at the west end of the north aisle. This window has been restored, though slightly curtailed in height, and filled with painted glass as a filial and affectionate tribute to the memory of the Rev. James Tate and his wife by their children, The chancel window is a stained glass memorial of the late Leonard Cooke, Esq. The upper portion of the north aisle, where the Consistory Court was formerly held, now forms a gallery to the church, but the lower story of the tower remains, as before, the dwelling of the bellman.
From a circular letter, which bears no date, written by an incumbent of the church, it appears that there were, previous to the desecration caused by the erection of the shops in 1740, catacombs under the north aisle.
The living is a perpetual curacy, the patronage of which was vested in the Corporation until the passing of the Municipal Corporation Reform Act in 1835, which compelled the newly elected councils to sell the advowsons of all livings in their gift. The advowson of Trinity Chapel was purchased by Leonard Cooke, Esq., who subsequently sold it to the late Earl of Zetland. This nobleman generously attached it to the emoluments of the Head Master of the Grammar School by placing it in the hands of the trustees of that educational establishment. It is worth £100 per annum.
The Catholic Church, dedicated to St. Joseph and St. Francis Xavier, is a handsome stone edifice in the Decorated Gothic style, erected in 1867-8, from the designs of George Goldie, Esq., of London, The nave is lofty and well lighted, and separated from the aisles on each side by an arcade of elegant pointed arches, resting on columns whose capitals are sculptured in severe, but elegant, foliage. The chancel terminates in an apse lighted by three windows, the central one being a stained glass memorial to the Rev. R. Johnson, who died in 1865, after having served this mission upwards of half a century. The altar piece is of Caen stone with marble columns, and in a sarcophagus beneath lies a life-sized representation of our Saviour. Behind and above the altar is an elaborately carved reredos, rising in pyramidal form, crowned with the sorrowful scene on Calvary's Mount. The chancel is paved with encaustic tiles, and on either side are the statues of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier. At the end of each aisle is a subsidiary altar of beautiful design - one dedicated to Our Lady, and the other to the Sacred Heart. The windows are all of elegant Gothic form, and filled with stained glass; that near the side porch is a memorial to the late Peter Constable Maxwell, Esq., of Richmond, and Helena his wife, and bears a representation of St. Peter and St. Helena. There are also memorial windows to the Wright family, long resident in the town, and also to the Stricklands, relatives of the Rev. W. Strickland, through whose exertions the church, presbytery, and schools were erected. In the gable of the west end is a rose window, on which are depicted the heads of the four evangelists. From the side of the atrium which crosses this end rises a lofty and elegant turret and spire, containing one bell. The total cost of the erection and subsequent decoration of the church was about £5,000.
From the Reformation until 1748, the catholics of Richmond were without any resident priest, and in those days of religious persecution they were dependent for the consolations of religion on the stealthy visits of some missionary father. In that year a priest was appointed to minister to the little handful of his coreligionists in the town and neighbourhood; but their services were held in a private house until 1811, when Sir John Lawson, Bart., erected a small chapel on the site of the present edifice. The mission is in charge of the fathers of the Society of Jesus. Near the church are the Presbytery and the School.
The Convent or Priory of Our Lady of Peace belonging to the ladies of the Order of the Assumption, is a neat and substantial pile of buildings, situated in a beautiful spot on the outskirts of the town overlooking the Swale. The site and grounds, containing about 8½ acres, were given by the Duchess of Leeds, who also erected the convent in 1860, at an expense of between £3,000 and £4,000. To this building was added an east wing in 1868, including a chapel and a new day school at a cost of about £3,000, and a west wing, containing large playroom, dormitories, &c., was built nine years ago at a further outlay of £2,000. There are, at present, 25 sisters in the community, who devote themselves to the education of young ladies. There are 55 pupils in the school, who are instructed in all the branches of a high-class education. The first superioress of this convent was Mother Mary Ignatia Burchall, a native of Richmond, and the present superioress is Mother Mary Alphonse White.
The Congregational Church and school in Dundas Street was built in 1883 on a site given by the Earl of Zetland. The designs were prepared by Messrs. Clark and Moscrop, architects, Darlington, the total cost of the structure being £1,600. The style is of that period of the Early Perpendicular Gothic, of which, the adjoining tower of the Grey Friars, is so beautiful an example. This handsome stone building, the octagonal belfry of which is a striking feature in the town, takes the place of an older chapel in Tower Street, now the habitation of the Museum and School of Art. The church will accommodate 320 persons, and the school, 150 scholars.
The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel is situated in Ryder's Wynd, off the Market Place, but the principal entrance is from the latter. It is a good substantial building, erected in 1841, at a cost of £2,200. The building is square in form, with a gallery running all round, which enables it to accommodate 650 persons. Underneath the chapel is a Sunday school attended by 120 children.
The Primitive Methodist Chapel is situated in Bargate, and was built in 1861, at a cost of about £500. It is a small plain building, with Sunday school attached. Accommodation, 260.
The Society of Friends had formerly a Meeting House in the town, and also a burial ground, which has given a name to Quaker Lane, The site of the latter is now occupied by a modern residence and its grounds.
The Borough of Richmond Cemetery is situated a short distance west of the town. It covers about five acres of sloping ground, which has been beautifully laid out, and divided into plots for the Church of England, the Catholics, and Dissenters. There is one mortuary chapel, and also a lodge for the curator. The cemetery was opened on the 1st of March, 1886, and up to the 1st of March, 1889, there had been 150 interments. The total cost of laying out, draining, &c., was about £3,000.
ANCIENT RELIGIOUS HOUSES. - On the north side of the town, beyond the walls, stood the monastery of the Grey Friars. This house is said to have been founded by Ralph Fitz-Randulph, Lord of Middleham, in 1257, but it is evident from the Scrope and Grosvenor controversy in 1389, that the Scropes had a share in the honour. Fitz-Randulph died in 1270, and his bones were laid beside those of his father in Coverham Abbey, but his heart was, by his orders, enclosed in a leaden urn, and buried in the choir of this church. The monks belonged to the Order of St. Francis (one of the Mendicant Orders), whose rule forbade them to possess more land than the site and grounds of their monastery; but they were permitted to receive legacies and donations in money, which was, however, a scarce article in those days, and on these they were dependent for their support.
The Franciscans were amongst the most vigorous opponents of Henry's divorce from Catharine of Arragon, and of the royal supremacy, and at the dissolution of their house, they received scant mercy from the king. Bishop Burnet, in his "History of the Reformation," says:- "All the difficulty that I find made against the owning of the king's supremacy was at Richmond, by the Franciscan Friars." They said that it concerned their consciences, that they had sworn to follow the rule of St. Francis, and in that they would live and die." "Many of the Franciscans" says Clarkson, "even suffered death for the same cause, and others, coupled together with chains, were sent to distant gaols to end their days in misery.
The monastery was dissolved in 1538, at which time, the clear value cf its possessions, over and above the annual reprises, was 31s. 8d. There were then in the house a prior and 14 brethren. The site of the friary, with the grounds belonging thereto, was granted in 1539, to Ralph Gowes, of Richmond, for a term of years, at a yearly rental of 31s. 8d. The priory and demesne subsequently passed through several hands, and came into the possession of Sir Timothy Hutton, whose son, Matthew, sold them in 1633. The site of the monastery, with about 30 acres of land adjoining, is now the property of Edward Robinson, Esq., to whose family the premises have belonged since 1713.
The remains of the priory consist of the tower of the church, and a small portion of the adjoining walls. The architecture is of the richest and lightest style of late Gothic, which prevailed a little before the Dissolution, at which time, apparently the Priory church, or at least this tower, was rebuilt. It is still in a good state of preservation, and affords us an example of the elegance of design, and beauty of proportion, in the architecture of the Tudor period. It rests on four lofty pointed arches, springing from semi-clustered columns, and at the angles are singularly corbelled double buttresses, diminishing in massiveness at each stage, and terminating in crocketed pinnacles, rising above an open ornamental parapet. In each side of the upper story is a very fine two-light window under a square-headed moulding. There is a tradition that this tower was part of a new priory church which was never finished, and the appearance of the ruins seems to corroborate the statement.
Nunnery. - To the west of the friary, on a spot now called "Nun's Close," stood a nunnery, but nothing is known of its history; and even the order to which the sisters belonged has passed out of memory. This convent is mentioned in the Pipe Roll of the year 1171, but it must have disappeared before the time of Leland's visit, as the antiquary does not in any way allude to its existence. There was formerly a well, called "Nun's Well," which was covered over at the enclosure of the waste ground about the beginning of the present century.
St. Martin's Priory. - See Hipswell Chapelry.
Ancient Chapels. - The spiritual wants of the inhabitants of Richmond seem to have been well provided for in the rough old days. In addition to the two churches previously described, and also that of the Grey Friars to which they had access, there were several chapels in different parts of the town, but all without the walls. "A little beyond the end of Frenchgate Streate," writes Leland, "is, or was, a late chapel, of a woman, Anchorette." This cell is supposed to have been founded by Whyomar, sewer to the earl of Richmond, in the reign of William II. It possessed a few small endowments which were surrendered in the first year of Edward VI., by Agnes Dent, the last Anchoress.
Adjoining this cell was a chapel, dedicated to St. Edmund the king, and on its site now stands Bowes's Hospital. The chapel of St. Anthony was on Pinfold Green, formerly the Beast Market, in the middle of which stood an ancient cross. In Bargate was a chantry chapel dedicated to St. James the Apostle. It was founded by one John Copeland, who endowed it with land, a house, and two closes called Aislabeck Closes, of the value of £6 a year; and in 1442, John Bellerby gave to it a messuage and close near the chapel. These Free Chapels, says Clarkson, "were voluntarily erected by the inhabitants, independent of the parish church, and exempt from all ordinary jurisdiction. They were provided with a minister, without any charge to the rector of the parish, and were endowed with rents, lands, &c., for their perpetual maintenance."
Hospital of St. Nicholas. - This institution, for the relief of the poor and infirm, was founded at an early period, but neither the exact date nor the founder's name has been ascertained. It is mentioned in the Pipe Roll of the year 1172, where Ralph de Glanville, Chief Justice of England, gave to the sick of the hospital of Richmond "five seams of bread corn." In 1334, Nicholas Kirkby gave to the master and brethren certain lands in Richmond and Skeeby, and a pension of £3 to the chaplain, who was to say mass daily in the chapel of St. Edmund, as well as in the chapel of St. Nicholas. In 1448, the buildings of the hospital were in a dilapitated condition, and the revenues very much diminished, whereupon William Ayscough, of Ayscough, near Bedale, one of the Justices of Common Pleas, restored the fabric, and founded in the chapel of the hospital, a chantry for one priest to say mass daily for ever. At the Dissolution its revenues amounted to £13 12s. per annum; but out of this sum had to be paid £3 to the chaplain who said mass daily in the chapels of St. Nicholas and St. Edmund; and 12s. a year, the price of 12 bushels of corn, to the Anchoress of Richmond, which earl John had given to that cell. The hospital was surrendered to the king by Richard Baldwin, the last master, in 1535.
The Hospital stood on the outskirts of the town, on the Catterick Road. It remained in the possession of the Crown until 1585, when it was granted away by Queen Elizabeth, and soon after the modernised house now occupying the site was erected, in which a fragment of the original fabric was incorporated. After passing through several hands, the hospital estate came into the possession of the Nortons in 1646, from whom it passed, by the marriage of an heiress, to Sir John Yorke, of Goulthwaite, by which family it was sold to the Blackburnes. In 1813, the Rev. Francis Blackburne sold the property to Lord Dundas, from whom it has descended to the earl of Zetland.
In 1841 the house underwent extensive repairs, and in digging the foundations of the out-offices near the north wing, a large quantity of human bones was discovered, and also a stone coffin, in which, besides the remains of the dead, was a small chalice, indicating the priestly character of the deceased.
The Grammar School. - This very excellent school was founded by the Corporation in 1566, but under circumstances which rob the act of any appearance of spontaneous generosity. At the Reformation that body saw no reason why they should not, as well as the Crown, share in the church plunder, and accordingly they appropriated the revenues and possessions of the dissolved chantries, hospitals, and guilds of the town. They sold a portion of the property, and applied the rest to their own use, and not to charitable purposes as the statute of Edward VI. directed. Elizabeth, in the third year of her reign, appointed a commission to investigate the matter, when it was found that the bailiffs and burgesses were in possession of the revenues, and that when the further retention of them was impossible, the Corporation prayed Her Majesty's permission to endow a Free Grammar School with the spoil. Letters patent were granted, and suitable premises were erected in the north-east corner of the churchyard. Various bequests have since been made to the school by burgesses and others, and its income, arising from these different sources, is now about £300 per annum.
This School has long held a distinguished reputation among the educational establishments of the country; and not a few of its pupils have risen to eminence in the church or in the state. In the list of masters there is no more honoured name than that of the Rev. James Tate, who was appointed to the charge in 1796, and under whom, the school attained the very highest state of excellence. He was a native of Richmond, and had himself been a pupil at the school. He was not only a profound scholar, but an apt and skilful teacher. "His nice appreciation of character," says Canon Raine, "told him where he was to begin, and how far he could go with each of his pupils, and his enthusiastic love of what he taught, together with his childlike simplicity of manner and unaffected kindness, won the hearts of his scholars, whilst he raised and quickened their intellectual powers." In 1833 he was appointed a Canon Residentiary of St. Paul's Cathedral, thus severing his connection with the school after 37 years of labour, and 10 years later he ended his useful life.
In 1848 many of his pupils and friends, desirous of testifying their respect for his name by connecting it with some permanent memorial, raised subscriptions for the purpose of rebuilding the Grammar school of Richmond, Mr. Tate's native place and the scene of his successful labours. With the funds thus raised the present handsome school, called the "Tate Testimonial," was erected in 1849, from the designs of Mr. Andrews, of York.
In 1867, the premises were enlarged by the addition of a new school-room, class-rooms, &c., at a cost of nearly £2,000, which was raised by subscription. A new scheme was formulated, and confirmed by the Charity Commissioners in 1864, which transferred the patronage and management of the school from the Mayor and Corporation to a new body of trustees, of whom the mayor of the borough for the time being shall always be one. The present trustees are the Right Honourable the Earl of Zetland, The Worshipful the Mayor of Richmond, and the Rev. the Rector of Richmond, ex officio; Richard Bowes, Esq., J.P., George Roper, Esq., J.P., C. G. Tate, Esq., J.P., Wensley Hunton, Esq., and E. Mason, Esq, J.P. There are Scholarships tenable at the school, and several at the Universities; and its pupils are eligible for competition for Lady Hastings' Exhibitions at Queen's College, Oxford, and also for the Akroyd Scholarships.
The Public Elementary Schools of the town are enumerated in our directory, and call for no special descriptions here.
HOSPITALS. - Bowes's Hospital or Bede House was founded by Eleanor Bowes, widow of Robert Bowes, Esq., of Aske, in 1607, on the site of the chapel of St. Edmund, on Anchorage Hill. She endowed it with £10 a year, payable out of Lonewath farm for the repair of the fabric, and the maintenance of three poor widows, two of whom are to be from Richmond and one from Easby.
Pinkney's Hospital was founded in 1699, by George Pinkney, alderman of Richmond, for three poor widows, with an endowment of £2 a year to each of them. The original foundation was near Frenchgate Bar, but having become ruinous, the Corporation erected the present building in Tower Street, in 1825.
Thompson's Hospital, on Castle Hill, consists of four rooms, founded by William Thompson, of Richmond, gentleman, for as many tailors' widows, and endowed with an annuity of 10s. and six acres of land in the West Field, which was exchanged at the enclosure for three acres in the East Field.
The Cottage hospital, off Gallowgate, was erected by Mrs. Hutton Brown-Simpson, in memory of her son, James Brown-Lister, formerly James Brown-Simpson, who died in 1871. It is for the reception of patients suffering from infectious diseases, and is supported by voluntary contributions.
Trade and Trade Guilds. - However varied or extensive the trade of Richmond may have been in the past, its industries new are few and inconsiderable, and except the paper manufacture there are none that call for special notice. This trade was introduced here by the firm of H. Cooke & Co., who removed from Barnard Castle a century ago. About 150 hands are employed. Formerly the various trades of the town were united into Guilds, for the protection of their own interests, and with laws and regulations, especially binding and stringent upon those whose selfish proclivities might lead them into antagonism with the common weal. The town being small, the members of each trade were not sufficiently numerous to form separate guilds, and, therefore, two, three, or more united together, forming in all thirteen companies, viz.:- (1) Mercers, Grocers, and Haberdashers; (2) Drapers, Vintners, and Surgeons; (3) Tailors; (4) Tanners; (5) Fellmongers, consisting of Glovers and Skinners; (6) Butchers; (7) Cordwainers and Curriers; (8) Saddlers, Bridlers, Glaziers, Coopers, Bakers, Osiers, and Painters; (9) Carpenters and Joiners; (10) Fullers and Dyers; (11) Blacksmiths; (12) Masons, Wallers, and Limeburners; and (13) Cappers. Though they possess no charters of incorporation, it is probable that many of them existed long before Queen Elizabeth incorporated the town. They possessed many immunities, not the least of which was freedom from the payment of pontage when travelling with their goods, and the liberty to sell in any market without the payment of toll.
They jealously guarded their privileges, and prosecuted any one who infringed their rights. In 1682, the Company of Grocers, Mercers, and Haberdashers, prosecuted Anthony Yarker for exercising the trade of a draper, he not having served an apprenticeship of seven years to the same trade. Many other prosecutions are recorded. In 1611, Thomas Malyne, with the assent and consent of the Fellmongers and Company of Mercers, Grocers, and Haberdashers, was declared free to keep open shop to sell and retail Apothecaries' wares compounded, and he covenanted not to sell any mercery, grocery, or haberdashery not compounded, and in consideration of this privilege he undertook to make the Company "a sufficient dinner." By a bye-law made in 1681, it was ordained that no one who had not served seven years' apprenticeship within the borough, should be admitted a Freeman of any Company, Mystery, or Trade, without the consent of the Mayor and Aldermen for the time being, and upon his admission such person shall pay a fine of £5.
CHARITIES. - The charities of the borough, briefly enumerated, are a portion of an ancient fee farm rent, amounting to £12, paid by the Receiver General of Crown lands (see page ); another ancient rent of 11s. 4d., paid by the Receiver General of Crown lands; a rent-charge of 20s., left by Jenkyng, alias Greetham, in 1604; a rent-charge of 24s., purchased with £20, left by Malger Norton, of St. Nicholas', near Richmond, in 1669; a rent-charge of 18s., left by Alderman Richard Dawson (Mayor in 1671); a rent-charge of 24s., left by the Rev. G. Scott, of Wensley, in 1672; a rent-charge of 24s., left by Alderman Francis Allen, in 1685; a rent harge of £12, left by Dr. Bathurst, in 1659, whereof £8 is to be applied to the maintenance of two poor scholars at the University of Cambridge, and the residue in apprenticing one poor boy yearly; a rent-charge of 20s., left by Mr. Christopher Clarke, who died in 1728, for providing books and stationery for one poor boy at the Grammar School. The bequests of Alderman George Pinckey and Mrs. Eleanor Bowes have been mentioned under the hospitals that bear their names.
Richmond Poor Law Union comprises 41 parishes and townships, embracing an area of about 126 square miles, and containing 13,458 inhabitants. The rateable value of the land and property within this area is £97,556. The Workhouse is a good stone building, erected in 1794, and altered, enlarged, and adapted to its present purpose after the passing of the Poor Law Amendment Act. New vagrant wards, on the separate cell system, to accommodate 16 males and 8 females, and a new board room were added in 1887, at a cost of about £1,000. The house will accommodate 120, but the average number of inmates does not exceed 50.
Visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales. - The visits of royalty, like those of angels, must perforce be few and far between. It is eighty-two years ago since George Augustus Frederick, Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV.), and his brother, the Duke of Clarence, whilst the guests of the noble owner of Aske Hall, paid a formal visit to Richmond; and on the 23rd of January, 1889, the pent-up loyalty of eighty years burst forth in loud huzzas and other outward expressions of joyous greeting, to welcome another and more popular Prince of Wales and his beautiful consort, the Princess Alexandra. The royal party arrived at the station the previous evening, and drove, amidst the ringing cheers of the assembled crowd, to Aske Hall.
The prince having consented to receive an address from the mayor and corporation, a dais was erected at the Market Cross, to which the elite of the town and neighbourhood were admitted. The base of the cross was encircled with crimson cloth, on which was shown the plume and feathers, the cognisance of the prince; and the buildings which surrounded the Market Place were gay with streamers, bunting, and decorations. The mayor, clad in the robes of office, and the corporation, preceded by the javelinmen and mace bearers, marched in procession from the Town Hall to the platform in front of the cross.
The royal party were escorted into the town by the Yorkshire Hussars, and received a most enthusiastic reception from the crowds that lined the route. Three carriages and pairs preceded, containing the Countess of Zetland, Lord and Lady Downe, Sir Frederick and Lady Milner, Lord Charles Beresford, Lord Harry Vane Tempest, and Captain Sarsoon; then followed the Earl of Zetland's carriage, drawn by four horses, with postilions. This carriage, in which were the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Earl of Zetland, drew up at the steps of the platform, and the mayor (Alfred Rogers, Esq.), uncovered, presented to the prince the loyal address of the inhabitants of the ancient borough of Richmond. The prince on receiving it said, "Mr. Mayor and the Corporation of Richmond, - We accept your address with great pleasure, and I beg to hand you my reply," which was as follows:- "Mr. Mayor and Gentlemen, - I can assure you that it has afforded the princess and myself unfeigned pleasure to receive your address, and we thank you sincerely for the warm words of welcome with which you greet us on our arrival in your borough. I will not fail to acquaint the queen with the words of devotion to her person, and of fidelity and attachment to the throne and the institutions of this country which animate you, and you may rest assured that Her Majesty will feel much gratification in being informed of your sentiments of affectionate loyalty. We appreciate very highly the good wishes you express for our welfare, and sincerely trust that the ancient borough of Richmond may long continue to flourish, and to increase in prosperity and happiness."
The mayoress then, stepping forward, presented the Princess of Wales with a magnificent bouquet of roses and lilies of the valley, and the princess, with winning smiles, graciously bowed her acknowledgment.
The royal party then drove to the station, which was gaily decorated, and pursued their journey to Middlesbrough, where the prince and princess opened the handsome block of Municipal Buildings erected in that town.
In commemoration of the royal visit, Mr. Thompson, the courteous station master, and friends, have planted, in the triangular space at the end of the station, five sycamore trees and one horse chestnut, which they have named Alexandra, Albert Edward, Stanley, Prince George, Victoria, and Albert the Good.
Race Course. - The Race Course is something less than a mile N.W. of the town. It is a fine oval track, a mile and a half in circuit. The Grand Stand is a handsome stone structure, built in 1775, at a cost of £1,200, and admirably adapted for the purpose. From its elevated position it commands extensive views of the surrounding country. The races, which are held in the latter-part of August or beginning of September, were regularly established in 1714, and were run on the High Moor until 1765, when the present course was formed. Richmond soon became famous as a training ground, and some good horses have been sent out from the stables here. The principal training stables now are Belleisle, in the occupation of Mr. James Watson, and Temple View, occupied by Mr. Thomas Lunn. Silvio House was formerly a large training establishment, where about 40 horses were kept and as many boys. It is now owned and occupied by Mr. Alexander Kilburn, an extensive cattle dealer.
The Vicinity. - The scenery in the neighbourhood of Richmond is charmingly picturesque - a varied combination of rock, wood, water, and hill, that cannot fail to please the most fastidious tourist. If he delights in the bold and rugged, he will find it here in the lofty limestone scars of Whitcliffe, with the sides dotted with dark green yews and sycamores. Here is Willance's Leap - a precipice 200 feet high, over which, in 1606, the restive steed of Robert Willance carried its rider in three bounds. Willance's leg was broken, but was amputated, and he recovered. The adventure is related more fully on a subsequent page. If the tourist be charmed with the beauties of woodland scenery, rich meadows, the musical ripple of the stream as it flows over its stony bed, he may enjoy them here in endless variety.
The Round Howe. - This is a very remarkable natural curiosity, consisting of a conical hill, rising up in the middle of an immense basin of rock. It is situated on the south side of the Swale, opposite Whitcliffe Mills.
Cumberland Temple. - This is a lofty octagonal tower, standing on an eminence within the grounds of Temple Lodge, above the river. It was built by Colonel Yorke, to commemorate the victory gained by the Duke of Cumberland (otherwise known as the Royal Butcher) over the Scots, at Culloden. It occupies the site of an old pele tower, erected by William de Huddeswell, in the Edwardian period, for the protection of cattle by night from the marauding Scots. The mansion of the Yorkes stood on the west side of the Green, near the river. The family was descended from Sir Richard Yorke, who was Lord Mayor of York in 1469 and 1482, and M.P. for that city in 1473. They represented the borough of Richmond in parliament for nearly a century. In 1823 the executors of Mr. Yorke sold the house and estate to Robert Jaques, Esq., who, in the following year, disposed of the property to Messrs. William Gill and George Allison. The hall occupied an unhealthy situation, and was, therefore, razed; the materials were sold for building purposes, and the stables and coachhouses converted into cottages. The estate is now the property of J. Smurthwaite, Esq., whose residence, The Temple, was formerly the lodge.
Scots' Dyke. - This great embankment extended from the borders of Scotland into Yorkshire, and it may still be traced with more or less distinctness in many places. In Northumberland it is called the "Black Dike," and consists of a ditch, with the earth thrown up on each side. It is very conspicuous in Whitefield Pasture, a little east of Richmond, and is called, in the ancient Boundary Rolls of the Borough, "The Road Dyke." Its purpose and origin are still matters of conjecture, but the commonly received opinion is that it was the boundary between the ancient Britons and the Picts.
Seats. - There are several handsome residences in the immediate neighbourhood of the town, which will be found mentioned by name in the directory which follows.
[Description(s) from Bulmer's History and Directory of North Yorkshire (1890)]
- Transcript of the entry for the Post Office, professions and trades in Bulmer's Directory of 1890.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.