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Robinson's Guide to Richmond (1833)

Part 10


COMMENCING again from the Market-place:- Towards the end of Newbiggin stands the Roman Catholic Chapel, erected in the year 1809, by the late Sir John Lawson, Bart., of Brough. In the Gallery Window is a painting of the Crucifixion, on glass, copied from Rubens's celebrated picture, preserved in the Church of the Recollets, at Antwerp.

Nearly opposite is the Debtors' Gaol for the liberty of Richmondshire, which is held by his Grace the Duke of Leeds, as chief bailiff of the liberty.

Proceeding a little further to the right, we enter through a small private door, the varied and secluded pleasure grounds usually known as the "Yorke Grounds," which were attached to the mansion of the Yorke family, that lately stood in the south-east corner. The walk first descends a sloping terrace, and then winds through the wood, abounding with ancient and grotesque yew trees, natural and artificial grottos, &c., along the margin of the river. There are several pleasing views both of the castle and the town, and also of the romantic valley which lies to the westward. The naturalist will observe a beautiful species of Geranium:- and the Nut-hatch, a bird of rare occurrence in the northern counties, is sometimes seen among the woods. The Tower, on the brow of the hill, was erected to commemorate the victory of Culloden.

Returning into the street again, we come to the Arsenal for the Military Stores of the North York Militia: and a little further to the left, is the parish Workhouse, a neat modern edifice. Passing the Workhouse, the road leads directly into the West Field. The walk to the summit of the hill will be amply repaid by the romantic and extensive prospect which it presents. Immediately in front is the town of Richmond:- the massive solemnity of the castle keep, contrasting finely with the spruce neatness of the modern buildings, and the elegant lightness of the Friary Tower; beyond are the woods of St. Nicholas and Easby and far behind these stretches a wide expanse of fertile country, bounded by the Hambledon Hills. To the right we overlook a delightful valley, watered by the windings of the Swale, and enclosed on the opposite side by a steep and lofty wall of limestone rock, half covered with foliage. Here the admirer of classic lore may trace in fancy the haunts of Pan and his attendant Satyrs, while the laugh of the sportive wood nymphs seems to mingle with the faint murmer of the stream. But how did human wisdom betray its very folly, when the masters of the world could be content to revere and worship a host of sensual and besotted demons? How much more rational, how far more delightful is it to lift up the heart in holy ardour to the glorious giver of all good, and exclaim in the glowing language of the royal poet, O Lord, how manifold are Thy works! in wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches!

Still further to the right, on the opposite side of the river we have a distinct view of that singular phenomenon, the "Round Howe" -a conical hill rising out of the area of a natural amphitheatre, the sides of which are covered with hanging wood. It is not improbable, from the pebbly nature of the soil, that the course of the river has originally wound round the south side of the mount; but the continual action of the stream against the opposing side of the angle, to the north, had gradually worked a bay or recess, and some extraordinary flood would then sweep directly across the neck of land to the north of the mount, and produce the present channel; after which the old one would gradually warp up to its present condition.

In the adjoining limestone cliff, are several clefts or recesses, one of which, somewhat larger than the rest is known by the name of Arthur's Oven. There are also traces of copper ore, but it has never been found in sufficient quantities to re-pay the expense of working it.

The only manufacture carried on at Richmond is that of Paper, in the mill belonging to Mr. Henry Cooke, situate on the bank of the river, opposite to the Round Howe. The Paper is here manufactured in webs of great length, and afterwards folded and cut into any shape or size which may be required.

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Robinson's Guide to Richmond (1833)
Scan, OCR and html software by Colin Hinson.