Richmond
Richmond market place from the castle
Richmond is an attractive market town on the River Swale. The impressive ruins of Richmond Castle rise above the town, and look down on the market square, where you will find the Green Howards regimental museum.
There are fine examples of Georgian architecture in Richmond, including the Georgian Theatrre Royal, founded by Samuel Butler in 1788. A short walk away are the lovely remains of Easby Abbey, a medieval monastery on the banks of the river.

Richmond Castle

The castle that dominates the town was begun by a Norman lord named Alan 'the Red' shortly after the Conquest. Unusually, it was built in stone, rather than timber, as was common at the time. It passed to the Dukes of Brittany, and was later owned by Edmund Tudor, the father of Henry VII, sand by Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III).

The castle is built on a triangular plan, with a stone keep protected by a curtain wall. The wall is pierced by three towers, including Gold Hole Tower, built by Alan the Red. The tower is connected to Scolland's Hall, the earliest example of a Great Hall in England, named for Alan's steward. You can climb to the top of the keep for amazing views down over the town and the market square.

In the square is the Green Howards Regimental Museum (the Green Rifles), which has occupied Trinity Church since 1938. The museum has exhibits tracing the long history of the regiment, which was established in 1688 and has been known as the Green Howards since 1744. Among the displays are over 3700 medals awarded to regiment members, including 16 Victoria Crosses.

Also in the market square is The Obelisk, a peculiar monolith that was erected in 1788 to replace a medieval market cross. Also in the market place is the Town Hall, built in 1756.

Just off the market place is Friars Wynd, a narrow alley used by Dominican monks to reach their friary, located where the current Friary Gardens and Tower now stand. The Tower dates to the 14th century and served as a bell tower for the Friary church.

On Friars Wynd is one of the original town gates, which gives access to the Georgian Theatre, thought to be the oldest working theatre in its original form anywhere in Europe. The theatre was the brainchild of actor Samuel Butler and opened in 1788. It closed in 1848, and was used as an auction house and warehouse before being restored and reopened as a theatre in 1968.

In Ryders Wynd is the Richmondshire Museum, tracing the town's heritage and the history of Swaledale. A highlight is the film set used in the BBC's original James Herriot TV series.

St Mary's Church

Richmond's historic parish church was established in 1137, and retains original Norman features including 2 beautifully carved pillars at the west end of the nave. The medieval church was in poor condition by the middle of the 19th century, so the famous Victorian architect Sir Gilbert Scott was called in to restore the building.

Part of that rebuilding was the installation of an organ by the Harrison and Harrison company, considered one of the great organs in any English parish church. Look for the 16th century memorial to Robert Willance, whose house in Frenchgate still stands. A poignant touch is the memorial to the 1050 residents of Richmond who died in the terrible plague of 1597.

Culloden Tower

One of Richmond's most unusual landmarks is this striking neo-Gothic tower, built in 1746 by John Yorke to commemorate the Duke of Cumberland's victory over Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Ciulloden. The monument was designed by architect Daniel Garrett and was originally called the Cumberland Temple.

The Temple was decorated in Rococo style and stands on the same site as a 14th century pele tower. It stood in the grounds of Yorke House, which was torn down in 1823. The tower is now owned by the Landmark Trust , who rent it out as a very unusual holiday cottage.