Richmond Castle, Richmond, Yorkshire: built on a cliff above the River Swale, flanked by towers and the massive 11th century curtain walls, it was to become the heart of one of mediaeval England's largest estates - The Honour of Richmond.
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Richmond Castle - Historic Sites - The White Goddess

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Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Richmond Castle

Richmond Castle

Richmond Castle is located in the Yorkshire town of Richmond, originally called Riche Mont, meaning Strong Hill, built on a cliff above the River Swale, flanked by towers and the massive 11th century curtain walls, it forms an impressive defensive area; triangular in shape with a gatehouse at it's northern end. It was to become the heart of one of mediaeval England's largest estates - The Honour of Richmond.

Built sometime after 1071 onwards by Alain Le Roux de Ponthievre of Brittany as part of William the Conqueror's conquest of Saxon Emgland and the 'harrying of the North'. In the Domesday Book of 1086, a castlery at Richmond is mentioned during the survey of that year. The earliest surving buildings, including stretches of the curtain wall, the gateway and Scotland's Hall where probably built by Count Alan in 1080. Richmond has some of the finest examples of Norman building in Britain. Unlike many other Norman Castles built at that time it lacks a motte or Tower Keep.

Following the death of Alain Le Roux in 1089, the castle passed to his younger brothers.  During the 12th century the castle came under the ownership of Duke Conan who ordered the contruction of the 100 foot keep which spans the original gateway and a new gateway was constructed in it's present position.  In 1171, the castle passed into the hands of the Crown and Henry II ordered repairs and strengthened the castle by adding towers and a barbican.

Richmond Castle

In front of the main gate was a barbican and on the other side of the castle was another bailey called the Cockpit, which is now a garden.  By the end of the 14th century the castle had fallen out of use and a survey of 1538 records it as ruinous.  In 1855 the castle became the headquarters of the North Yorkshire Militia and a barracks was built in the Great Courtyard.  During the First World War, conscientious objectors, where housed in the barracks.  In 1910 the castle was handed over to the Ministry of Works and the barracks block was demolished in 1931.  Since 1984, the castle has been managed by English Heritage.

The castle consists of:

Barbican
Keep
Gateway
Robin Hood Tower
St Nicholas's Chapel
Cockpit Gardens
Great Chamber
Gold Hole Tower
Scotland's Hall
Great Court
Postern Gate

Entrance Prices:
English Heritage Members: Free
Adult: £4.90
Child: £2.90

View Richmond Castle Gallery

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